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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

mckinnsb Re:for artists? (713 comments)

Why take exception to the first part of that statement when you can take exception to the second?

Sure, you can decide how to monetize your own work however you want. You can decide your own copyright terms. But if you decide on copyright terms that do not fit into a business model which operates within the market, you have shot yourself in the foot, plain and simple. Go ahead, for all I care.

I too, create copyrighted works ( as a developer ). In the end, I realize that the vast majority of the time, I better benefit myself by giving the majority of it away for free ( useful libraries and such get my name out there ), and then charge for premium services ( such as consulting, contracted projects, and keeping me on retainer - otherwise known as a 'job' ). There are many other companies who have realized this. Several of the "big corporate bad guys" that Mr. Lowery lambasts have provided - free of charge - libraries such as Google's v8 that have the potential to kickstart entire fucking companies - like Nodejitsu. I suppose this is somewhat analogous to a big-name band giving a lesser known band a shot, but more importantly, this is the "new model" in the software industry, which long ago - before the music industry - realized that it could not sell boxes of physical objects and expect a profit in the 21st century marketplace. Even old companies, like Microsoft and Apple, are moving far away from this.

The only difference I can see between myself and an artist - other than our audience - is that there are fewer opportunities for an artist to actually be kept on retainer. But that's the nature of the market with relation to being an artist, not the nature of being a creator of copyrighted works.

more than 2 years ago

California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

mckinnsb Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (842 comments)

In New York City, which is now considering imposing a Soda Ban, the price of a pack of cigarettes is 13 bucks at most stores. A six-pack of beer costs less here. That, and the facts that you can no longer smoke: in bars; 5 feet from publicly trafficked entrances; in parks; or in many of the homes that are available to rent, has dramatically slowed down the rate at which my friends and I smoked after moving here ( to the point where I and others simply quit, albiet not all at the same time ). The evidence is anecdotal for sure, but I've heard enough people tell me the same story that I believe it when people say that it really has had a huge impact.

Now, I think its fair to say that the education campaigns and restrictions on advertising were also crucial, but more on the side of "preventative care". It pushed enough people away from it, mostly the mild mannered kids who would have never tried pot in high school but would have had beer at a house party, that it suddenly became uncool because not that many people were doing it. However, the taxes and space bans are on the other side - "remedy care". Honestly, you shell out 13 bucks and then walk out into the January weather to smoke a cigarette when its raining and 42 degrees outside because thats your only option, and yeah, you start to rethink your habits.

A similar thing could happen with these sugary drinks. The fact of the matter here in New York City is that there are a disproportionate number of people with diabetes who are in the lower socio-economic sectors. It's not just the soda that doesn't help this situation - food is another problem - but these sodas are the cheapest thing you can get at a bodega in terms of beverage choice. Want some juice? Two bucks. A soda? 75 cents. To the poor, who might have a disposable income of five dollars a day, the choice is pretty clear. As an aside, I think most "rich" folk would be absolutely stunned at the variety of these drinks available in lower economic areas. I have never seen so many soda varieties in my life before I moved to the "hood". It's pretty clear that its a very big market for the manufacturers. Making these drinks more expensive, I believe, will influence some decision making. Making that 75 cent drink a 1.07 drink , however, may not really be enough. There definitely needs to be more education to push that consumer towards the juice, and not the soda.

And please, for the love of god, Slashdot, stop throwing around correlation is not causation. Yes, its a logical fallacy. Yes, we should all keep that in our minds. But dropping it at the end of every disagreement you have with someone else doesn't eradicate the fact that somewhere, someone may have actually worked out the causal link and it is simply the case that it is not stated here, for brevity's sake.

more than 2 years ago

Khan Academy Chooses JavaScript As Intro Language

mckinnsb Smart choice - it's accessible, and the future. (355 comments)

It's a great way to introduce kids to the basics of programming languages without miring them in the ( necessary as they grow more proficient ) details of memory management and computer science fundamentals such as data design and system architecture. It also falls into a very interesting class of languages - a class by its own really - which exposes kids to some of the concepts of procedural languages and some of the concepts of imperative languages.

But more importantly, Javascript - whether or not more traditional computer scientists like I would like to accept it - is likely a gigantic component of the computing future. Its the language that runs on the most platforms, and is used for nearly everything. Right now, many of us are familiar with how Javascript handles interactivity on webpages, but did you know that Javascript is actually used to route the majority of phone calls placed through cell networks? Did you know that most SmartTV manufacturers ( GoogleTV, Samsung )are producing SDK's and API's to produce "Apps" on their televisions written 100% in javascript (instead of the "window" host object you have "volume"...etc)? Did you know that it's being used in factories ( along with python ) to control the movements of industrial robots? With the advent of server-side event-based asynchronous web programming in javascript like Node.js as well, and the beastly v8 engine being BSD licensed, its importance will only increase over time as people find more ways to embed it as the primary interface scripting layer.

It's good thing to expose people to, for sure.

more than 2 years ago

Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh

mckinnsb Malware? Remote Control? (441 comments)

What's gonna stop Malware from pressing these buttons itself after infecting your "pure" partition? What's gonna stop a remote user with a "backdoor" from hitting reset on your box after installing its control software on your "pure" partition? This sounds like a really bad idea.

more than 2 years ago

Tough Tests Flunk Good Programming Job Candidates

mckinnsb It doesn't even test what is relevant. (743 comments)

The essential elements of a good developer lay in your personality.

  • Are you willing to admit you are wrong or don't know something? If so, how readily?
  • Are you willing to learn a completely new technology; i.e, if you are a Javascript developer, are you willing to learn C#?
  • Are you emotionally attached to the technologies you use? If so, are you willing to use different ones if they perform the job more effectively, or are you going to use a hammer in every situation?
  • Do you understand when something needs to be "good enough", and when something needs to be flawless, and are you willing to be flexible with either (i.e., will you accept that some things must be perfect and some things must be imperfect)?
  • Are you willing to put yourself in someone else's shoes and describe technical problems in a "human" way to the business, without sounding ingratiating or condescending?

All of these things, good developers make and none of them are found in a math test. You might even say that these math quizzes do more to screen these people out than let them in. You don't need to screen programmers for math skills; if they were so bad at mathematics that simple algorithms confused them, they wouldn't even try picking up the trade, and advanced algorithms can't be divined on the spot anyway. There's a reason most of them have names.

more than 2 years ago

Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating

mckinnsb Re:Actually, I was just there. (961 comments)

I've never been to the St.Patrick's Day Parade, so, I couldn't make a comparison on that basis, even though I bet you guessed I was of Irish decent by my handle. :) Also, I was not present during the protest over the weekend. So I couldn't give you any first-hand numbers.

Thousands of people walk through New York City's streets in the financial district every day - by the videos, it would be hard to figure out who the 'bystanders' and 'protesters' were, for me at least, especially after having visited the park - a lot of the protesters don't really "look" like protesters - some of them are just kids, there are a few people who are well into or above middle age. The protest was enough to warrant at least one police helicopter and what I like to term as an "AT-ST", and a good contingency of police officers (more than were there at the park today), so I would guess it had to be substantial.

As a point of reference, the last time I saw a police deployment that large was at the West Indian Parade in Crown Heights (where, sadly, three people lost their lives), and there were definitely thousands of people there.

more than 2 years ago

Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating

mckinnsb Re:Actually, I was just there. (961 comments)

Yeah - I tried to address this in my post. There are only 200 people staying within the park, as in camping with sleeping bags and plastic bags for shelter. There are thousands who are participating that are staying elsewhere in the city.

more than 2 years ago

Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating

mckinnsb Actually, I was just there. (961 comments)

I just took my lunch break off from work to check out the protest in Liberty Square. There seems to be about as many people there - staying with sleeping bags - as the small park can hold. It's no bigger than a block, and a small one at that. The estimates of about 200 people staying in the park are likely accurate.

From my understanding after talking with some of the protesters there, the incidents in New York happened when they attempted to march through the streets. In addition, I found out that the numbers of people over the weekend were not just limited to the people staying in the park; there are a lot of people who are not roughing it in the concerete jungle of NYC and are staying with friends or relatives during 'off period times' of the protest.

I can't speak to any police brutality during my brief visit. The protest was extremely peaceful while I was there (unless you consider a drum circle violent), but I did see several of the officers in the YouTube videos present at the square - although noticeably they were not the ones who perpetuated or committed any act of brutality (although you could argue they did nothing to prevent it). In fact, the officers I did recognize were the ones who had doubtful expressions on their faces in most of the videos. The officers were mostly staying out of it. There were also no "white shirts" there - the higher ranking officers whom, over the weekend, seemed to be largely responsible for the more egregious assaults. I also heard that some 100 officers refused to patrol the protest after the incidents over the weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if the commissioner or someone else "gave the department a talking to".

IMHO, it's really hard to discount the video evidence that there was unjustified force, given the multiple angles of the YouTube videos available.

I've heard some people say that some of the protesters' were "over-reacting" to the actions of the police. I think that is ridiculous. I would love to see how anyone would react to being pulled across a concrete street by four armed men. Additionally, one of the women maced in the YouTube video was deaf , and thats why she was screaming at a great volume.

It's not unheard of for police officers to attempt to arrest people videotaping them - and given a recent ruling in a Federal Appeals Court that declared video taping a police officer a constitutional right, the actions of some of those officers was foolish and irresponsible, a fact probably made more evident to not just the public, but their superior officers, by their absence today.

more than 2 years ago

IE 9 Beats Other Browsers at Blocking Malicious Content

mckinnsb Re:Nice try (235 comments)

If by "pulled out of someone's ass" you mean "they engineered the test to perform best with Internet Explorer 9", then completely.

The main center-point of this test was evaluating a "cloud based trust ranking algorithm". But the study provides no evidence that these algorithmns exist in any of the browsers; its a simple assumption which is likely false (especially when you look at the graphs). What the graphs are really showing is the performance of each browser's black list versus a set of URLs they selected, and not randomly.

If you look at the graphs themselves, they actually don't show the action of any algorithm (which would likely linearly increase or show volatility); in fact, IE9 (With App Rep) is simply a straight line. It's pretty clear that the URLs they used were already in the black list before hand, and that straight line is a continual rejection of them.

Testing a browsers ability to 'blacklist' websites is fine, I guess, but my first problem with this study is that's not the only way to measure 'security'. My second problem is that there's no evidence that the browsers themselves actually perform this activity, making the tests in the study feel like "studying the maximum (flying) climb speed of humans, rats, horses, and bats". My third - and the most troubling - problem is that they don't provide any information as to how these lists were obtained. They only say they tried to "mix URLs so as to make sure that certain domains were not overemphasized", and "NSS Labs operates its own network of spam traps and honeypots.", in addition to "In addition, NSS Labs maintains relationships with other independent security researchers, networks, and security companies,".You can assume without being overly bold that this list could have been a list of URLs that they knew IE would block. Conversely, you could probably easily design a similar test that would have Chrome at 100% block rate, and IE 9 at 10% - it's merely a measure of "what sites were in our test pool that are also in the browser's black list"


more than 3 years ago

Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

mckinnsb Re:He can still avoid the SHIELD Act (530 comments)

Yeah, that was a little off the chain. I was more alluding to the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which 9th Court declared as beyond review, but it still seems like a sham that an amendment is ratified as soon as the Secretary of State is given authority to declare it so. (i.e, it is beyond review at that point). I'm not sure thats "constitutional", but I am not a member of the Tea Party. So there.

more than 3 years ago

Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

mckinnsb Re:He can still avoid the SHIELD Act (530 comments)

Incorrect. There were several exemptions made to ex post facto laws, even ones which led to eventual punishment, all on different grounds, and its hard to imagine "national security" couldn't be one of them:

...and it's not like the United States has blatantly ignored the Constitution before, right? You might know about the IRS?

more than 3 years ago

Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

mckinnsb Re:Why does he fear Sweden will send him to US? (530 comments)

It doesn't, but Sweden has an extradition treaty with the United States (as does the UK), and all the United States would have to do would be to convict Assange of a crime in order to ask for those treaties to be acted upon. It is, however, up to Sweden to either a) try Assange first, then extradite him to the US, b) extradite him to the US, then upon completion of trial or sentence have him returned to Sweden for his trial there, or c) try Assange and simply deny the US extradition request. I would assume there might be diplomatic repercussions for Sweden if they chose c), however.

more than 3 years ago

Julian Assange To Be Extradited To Sweden

mckinnsb Re:Why does he fear Sweden will send him to US? (530 comments)

It's all about buying time for the United States to attempt to push the SHIELD bill through Congress. Right now, Assange is an Australian Citizen who has committed no crime in the United States or in the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth of Nations. While in Sweden, Assange will be incarcerated or on bail while he awaits and undergoes trial, a process which could take years. This means that Assange will not be able to leave Sweden for a country which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States while undergoing trial in Sweden: see for a list of them. This would give the United States time either pass the bill, or find *something* they can stick on Assange. (While Assange is no mobster, remember that they got Capone on tax evasion. The powers that be don't always care about *how* you become guilty, just that you are.)

I'm sure they would have preferred to keep him in the UK - they are the provincial spear carrier of the United States, to use Chomsky's words -, but he committed no crime there, and they are trying to make this look as "legal" as possible. The last thing they want to do is make a huge scene over this, or make a martyr out of Assange through "unjust law" (although that still may happen) and spawn copycats. Thus the die down in press on Assange since his first denial of bond; until now of course.

Don't be surprised if the next thing you see on FOX News is Glenn Beck extolling the virtues of the SHIELD Act, while on CNN you have a "balanced debate" about "national security" and the "continuing need" for "tighter safeguards against terrorism".

more than 3 years ago

Michael Moore Posts Julian Assange's Bail

mckinnsb Re:It's good to have allies (987 comments)

It looks like Assange may have found a way to generate the capital he so desperately needs to continue his fight against conspiracy in government. He would have lost completely without someone in big media with serious cash on his side. Now it looks like he might actually have a fighting chance of having some success with his goals, and staying out of prison.

more than 3 years ago

Malaysian Indicted After Hacking Federal Reserve

mckinnsb Re:So much for security through obscurity... (132 comments)

Likely because:

  1. The federal reserve bank may have been testing a new system which would allow financial institutions to access a list of stolen credit cards via a web or network interface for electronic transactions in order to safeguard them.
  2. FedComp is (likely) already a subscription service which is accessible via the internet for employees of said federal credit unions.

I don't think there's anything to see here. The guy stole "already stolen" credit cards and tried to sell them for a profit. He's a con artist, nothing more. There's been a lot of drum-up about US cyber security in the media lately (see: Stuxnet) and methinks its all just a lot of FUD in order to ply the citizenry into allowing "greater government oversight" of the internet and private networks.

more than 3 years ago

Convincing Your Employer To Go With FOSS?

mckinnsb Support contracts.. (369 comments)

Cost is generally not the biggest issue. Your boss is probably against FOSS because most Pay-For-Play software generally comes with support & maintenance contracts issued from the people who wrote the software, which are extremely important to management types, while software like Plone requires a support or maintenance contract through a third-party provider (i found this: )

If you can convince him that the best way for him to handle this situation and all potential future ones is purchasing a third-party support contract which can also be supported by you if need be since the software is open source, then you might have a shot. Otherwise, I'm not sure. I've seen a lot of good software packages turned down as solutions to business problems simply because there was no support contract.

more than 3 years ago

Paul Allen Files Patent Suit Against Apple, Google, Yahoo, Others

mckinnsb Re:He can't manage The Trail Blazers... (219 comments)

What gives him the idea that all of the lawyers for all of those companies would even *fit into a single courtroom?* They would need to take it to the local auditorium.

about 4 years ago

Wikileaks Now Hosted By the Swedish Pirate Party

mckinnsb Re:Political entity required to comply? (438 comments)

Correct. It would be much easier for a foreign government (lets say the U.S), to pressure ISPs within its borders to prevent access to the website and/or persecute those who host leaked information within their borders. That's not necessarily easy or without political repercussion, however, and would probably draw some negative press coverage. Given the sometimes inexorable spread of information, if the Pirate Party were to become elected within the Swedish Parliament, then it would ensure that most of the information on Wikileaks would be available in some form or another, even if foreign governments succeeded in the aforementioned pressure efforts - as long as they remained elected.

more than 4 years ago

Intel Co-Founder Calls For Tax On Offshored Labor

mckinnsb Re:Balance of tradeoffs (565 comments)

Not necessarily - the argument of "passing on the tax to the consumer" doesn't really hold up in a free market. If a good or manufactured product faces many competitors in the same market, and the prices are competitive, then the company will be more reluctant to raise the price, especially if there is little else differentiating it from its competitors. Companies act individually. They don't always act in concert.

Lets say, for instance, you have companies A, B, and C. All companies perform the same amount of work offshore, which translates into roughly the same amount of cost savings. Lets say that we now tax all three companies along the same lines of the first scenario which you have described above. Company A is the first to "pass" its tax to the consumer, and is quickly followed suit by Company B, which also "passes" its tax to the consumer, but only passes about half of the tax.

Company C is now in an interesting position. Assuming the goods of all three companies are the same, Company C now has the cheapest product on the market. It may be making less net profit per item sold, but there is a good chance that the sales for its product will increase, because it is now the cheapest alternative. It can now choose to hold its price instead of "passing the tax" to make the difference on the loss in profit from the tax, banking on higher sales because the competition has increased the price of their products.

Disregarding the companies themselves, as far as the government is concerned, it is probably more interested in getting citizens off unemployment and collecting off their income taxes than making money from corporate taxes incurred from offshoring, so analyzing how much the government would benefit from tax revenue pursues the wrong path of inquiry. The national and state governments make far more money off of income tax.

Lastly, a tax such as this would serve as a deterrent for future offshoring, which is a real concern. If a company notices that after construction, moving, and re-organizational costs, that it will also be subject to a tax that may easily be raised, then it will think more carefully about offshoring. We have lost a great many jobs, but we absolutely cannot afford to shed them in similar numbers in the future. Not all of it was due to offshoring, but a lot of the jobs that we have lost that will be difficult to replace were. Preventing that from happening again is a good idea.

more than 4 years ago



Federal Court Says You Can Record The Police

mckinnsb mckinnsb writes  |  about 3 years ago

mckinnsb (984522) writes "Gizmodo reports: Remember that nutcase cop who arrested a bystander for recording a public crime scene? Yeah, that was a violation of the First Amendment, according to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. This is great news... Although this is a district ruling, and it'd take the Supreme Court to make okayed cop-filming the law of the land, this is a terrific victory for the free use of technology, transparent society, and sanity."
Link to Original Source


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