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Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'

sjames Re:And so therefor it follows and I quote (250 comments)

The ruling is such that it only works if Windows is offered without any sort of EULA. I can't see MS signing off on that.

The central idea is that the two agreements are seperate and cannot be joined, so it is perfectly reasonable for the user to reject the EULA but not the hardware.

4 hours ago
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Secretive Funding Fuels Ongoing Net Neutrality Astroturfing Controversy

sjames Re:The saddest part is..... (54 comments)

It's important to keep in mind that for the purposes of market theory, competition requires much more than 2 players. When Smith wrote about competition, he meant dozens of small businesses, each barely bigger than the customers they serve.

In the ISP market, this was briefly true in the dial-up days. It was effective enough to kill hourly rates and made $9/month a standard offer. This was possible because the barrier to entry was low. The massive infrastructure was already provided by a regulated natural monopoly. All you needed was a T1, a few phone lines and a few servers (occasionally installed in your basement).

Unfortunately, the regulators are asleep at the switch and so now we have only one or two competing ISPs in most places. Perhaps if their actual understanding of markets went deeper than the brief overview they learned in elementary school, things would be better.

6 hours ago
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Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina

sjames Re:One thing missing (55 comments)

In previous tests of photoreceptor transplants, it took several months for the recipient to notice a difference. Even if this does have an effect, we won't know for a while.

yesterday
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

sjames Re:Too Late (509 comments)

You can test for evidence of critical thinking but if you standardize the test, you will get rote memorization instead.

So step one, get someone who is a critical thinker to do the hiring. Step two, hire critical thinkers who value education to be teachers.

Here is the first issue. Critical thinking teachers will think critically about the administration's pet policies that generally rely on no thinking at all.

On the bright side, it may cause schools to understand that there is a real and significant difference between a student that forgets about a box knife in his trunk and a student that brings a live grenade into the classroom, even though the zero tolerance policy claims they are the same violation. Or if you prefer, that two OTC aspirins are not the same as a gram of cocaine.

THEN you have some hope of teaching students to think critically.

yesterday
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

sjames Re:What is critical thinking? (509 comments)

They named one particular program and then 'critical thinking skills' (not a particular program).

yesterday
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Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

sjames Re:What is critical thinking? (509 comments)

In other words, it's fine if the kids learn critical thinking as long as they don't learn to apply it to the cows we hold sacred.

That would translate to being able to parrot "facts" about critical thinking but not actually learning to think critically.

In other words, it necessarily produces results consistent with what GP portrayed it to mean.

yesterday
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Passwords: Too Much and Not Enough

sjames Re:Passwords should not exist (206 comments)

What I want to see is a smarter card. Ideally it has a few indicator leds and a membrane keypad on it.

It should support ssh style security and a simple agent protocol so that you can plug it into a reader, enter a pin directly on the card (so no intercepting the PIN from a hostile terminal). This should log you in and allow you to use agent forwarding to connect to other machines you are authorized on.

Possibilities when you pull the card out include locking the screen or logging you out.

It should have persistent storage as well so it can be used as a payment card as well. Enter a maximum amount of payment you are willing to make using a wallet device, then insert into a reader on the POS. POS presents it with a transaction record and if the amount is correct, it signs it and hands it back. The record should contain a sequence number so that the bank will only accept the transaction record once.

Restrict the record to ASCII so that it can be cut-pasted if you want to complete a web based transaction without a browser plug-in. At that point, the account number is strictly for identification, the crypto signature is what authorizes the transaction.

More advanced features can be carried out on a trusted computer such as your home PC.

yesterday
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Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina

sjames Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (55 comments)

but what's the point in creating a retina with the same defective DNA?

Another 70 years of functional vision?

And furthermore, is the retina connected to the nerves somehow?

If it goes like other experimental retina transplants, yes.

The brain will cope the same way it does with other changes in the eye. Your retina contains none of the cells that were there when you were a child. Can you see?

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re:Devil's Advocate (662 comments)

Why would they be replaced? Will those supposedly more productive workers just materialize out of the aether or do you think for some reason they'll decide $15 is cool and quit their $25/hour jobs to go work at McD's?

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re: This is silly (662 comments)

I'm sure if a better job comes along, the adults working minimum wage will happily jump on them. Surely you don't think they're beating recruiters with a stick so they can avoid better pay and working conditions!

Submit your proposal for making those jobs available and we will drop the minimum wage thing.

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re:This is silly (662 comments)

McDonald's is leaching off of the taxpayer by using food stamps as a payroll subsidy. They have to spend enough to keep their worker units operational. What do you suppose happens if they cut the kiosk's 'pay' by providing less electricity than it requires to run?

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re:This is silly (662 comments)

Nice sleight of hand there. How about if wages go up by $x% and prices go up by $x-1%?

As for janitors, how ever did we survive the economic black hole created by janitors making a living wage?

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re:This is silly (662 comments)

Perhaps it's because that is the rational thing to do.

yesterday
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

sjames Re:This is silly (662 comments)

So what's your alternative? Let them live in squalor until they realize you are the enemy?

Automation is good. We need more of it. Raise minimum wage and bring it on!

In the process, we need to implement the basic income. Stop punishing the people who have been taking one for the team for years now.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

sjames Re:Sorry They're Changing (540 comments)

In Chinese court? Good luck with that, assuming you can prove who did it in the first place.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

sjames Re:Sorry They're Changing (540 comments)

Not me. I would avoid a chip where the counterfeits are known to be hard to spot but where the end user may find their device (that I made) sabotaged later with the customer expecting me to refund their money (and I get a bad reputation in the process).

OTOH, if FTDI distributed a fool proof counterfeit detector free to manufacturers INSTEAD, that would increase my confidence when selecting their chip.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

sjames Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (540 comments)

Their intent was to punish end users who probably won't have any idea how to re-program the ID (not an end user procedure anyway).

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

sjames Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (540 comments)

No. The PIDs are just a number. The one and only control is that honoring the voluntary allocation is a requirement for licensing the USB logo. If you don't use the logo, there is nothing at all to legally compel you to voluntarily honor the ID allocations.

It's like choosing some random already assigned /24 for your home network. Nobody cares, the police will not be visiting. At worst, you will create a problem for yourself.

yesterday
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

sjames Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (540 comments)

Simple reason, the people who get screwed that way are not the people who wronged FTDI in the first place.

Because when the FTDI driver is bricking counterfeits but you can't tell the counterfeit from legit until that happens, the most rational approach to avoid trouble is to use anything but an FTDI chip.

In other words, they stopped because they realized they weren't just shooting themselves in the foot, they were emptying the magazine.

yesterday

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