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Facebook Scans Chats and Posts For Criminal Activity

srealm Re:Facebook is a public place (483 comments)

If it goes through their servers - yes, they do. However the government can't obtain any such information without a warrant unless Google voluntarily gives said information up. But they could have every chat and email you send through their servers displayed on a big screen in their lunch rooms if they wanted. Legally.

more than 2 years ago

Facebook Scans Chats and Posts For Criminal Activity

srealm Re:Facebook is a public place (483 comments)

This just reminds me of the whole 'freedom of speech' logic. I run some online fourms, and the whole 'expectation of privacy' fails the exact same way as 'freedom of speech' does. And it comes down to the fact that I, and Facebook, are not the government.

I, as a private citizen, am not required to allow freedom of speech on my privately run forums. And while in generally, I allow people to say what they wish, there are certain discussions my moderators are going to shut down immediately. And I can do this because freedom of speech only guarantees that the GOVERNMENT can't stop you from saying something, not another individual if you happen to be saying it on their servers.

Similarly, the whole expectation of privacy is a government thing. There are indeed certain places that the government can't just gather whatever information it wants about you or spy on you without a court order (or at least can't use any information they gather in court), because you have an expectation of privacy. Private citizens however have no such restriction (except of course if they break another law to gather such information, like breaking into your house). Which means that if you voluntarily use THEIR servers to chat, you have NO expectation of privacy from them, as they are NOT a government either. This is completely besides the fact you agreed to their terms of service for the opportunity to use their servers in the first place. Which I'm sure contains some language about them being able to see and use any and all communications you put on their servers.

Why do people not understand that many of the freedoms in this country, are freedoms that protect us from our government ONLY, not each other?

more than 2 years ago

Objective-C Overtakes C++, But C Is Number One

srealm utterly useless (594 comments)

Worst. Metric. Ever.

Using web searches? Seriously?

Given the sheer volume of code that will never, ever show up on a web search, the most they could hope to capture accurately is open source code. Which does not even come CLOSE to capturing the popularity of a language. The amount of commercial, closed-source code that is just ignored by this metric is disgusting to the point it makes it completely irrelevant.

At most, it shows what is trendy in the open source world. But having worked on a number of proprietary, multi-million line ode projects, that never see the light of a search engine, I can tell you're some languages are still as popular as ever in the corporate world. For example I have not noticed any significant decline in end for C++ programmers. Nor have I seen. Big uptick in places hiring for Objective-C. At least, not that are actually willing to pay living wage in big city.

And if not to try and inform people where to spend their 'learning time' for bet benefit (ie. to get the best job) then what is the point of such rankings?

more than 2 years ago

Apple Exits "Green Hardware" Certification Program

srealm Re:Apple doesn't give a crap about business anyway (405 comments)

Control over the device. Most big companies aren't blocking the iPhone, et al. because of individual security features like this. They are blocking it because it doesn't allow their company to dictate which apps you can/can not install, prevent you from upgrading unless approved, block phone features (like text mesaging, seriously!) In other words, they can't control your device completely, so they won't let you have one.

more than 2 years ago

Verizon Claims Net Neutrality Violates Their Free Speech Rights

srealm First Amendment vs Common Carrier (430 comments)

Every person has the right to free speech. But they can then be held accountable for that speech. Thus libel, slander, etc.

So congress introduced Common Carrier status, in which telecommunications companies could then be NOT held responsible for data that simply passes through their network.

Now let me get this straight, Verizon is trying to claim anything passing through their network is their free speech? This raises two problems for them.

First, if it is all their speech, then they can thus be held accountable for everything going through their network, as common carrier only applies to OTHERS speech going through them as a conduit. Meaning they can be held responsible for every libelous, slanderous, copyright-violating, child porn-downloading piece of data going through their network.

Second, this becomes straight out copyright violation. If I post something online, it is still copyright by me. Now Verizon is trying to claim it is THEIR free speech, not MINE. Essentially violating my original copyright by asserting their ownership of it because it happened to go through their network. It would be the equivalent of Barnes and Noble asserting copyright of any book on their shelves because it went through their store (by saying it is THEIR creation, not the original author's).

Both these arguments pretty much break down Verizon's free speech argument, without even delving into the 'corporations are people' argument. They would NEVER want either of these to be true, as it would open them up to massive amounts of civil and criminal charges. But if they are claiming that everything on their network is THEIR free speech, then one or both must be true, and they must then lose common carrier status.

And incidentally, they can't claim the whole private property rights either, because THEY are the ones letting people use the network, and THEY are connecting to peers specifically to allow the provider's content (youtube, microsoft.com, whatever) to get to the people who are paying them to use their network. You can't complain about people walking across your private property if you are charging them specifically TO walk across your private property. If they want to claim private property, they should then simply be not allowing people to access their network, or peering with other ISPs to allow traffic to flow through their network. Of course, that then means they have no customers and no business, but it would protect their 'private property.'

more than 2 years ago

AT&T To Launch LTE Network In 5 Cities This Summer

srealm Conspicuously bypassing NY (84 comments)

New York City was one of their biggest Achilles heel after they released the iPhone. A city with millions of people and a network nowhere NEAR able to cope with it. Pretty much everyone I know in NY who had an iPhone basically said it was unusable if you were not at a WiFi hot spot.

It is conspicuous that they have chosen not to roll out to such a large market in the first wave (which Verizon did). I guess they really don't want to get another black eye like they did with the iPhone roll out.

more than 3 years ago

Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill

srealm Re:WTF? (243 comments)

On the other hand, with things like software and business model patents, this is disastrous.

1. Some open source developer creates some cool piece of software, algorithm, or whatever.
2. Big Company (tm) see's this and decides it's cool, and files patent.
3. Big Company (tm) sues open source guy (and any other competitors it feels like) over said patent.
4. Open source developer who invented the cool software/algorithm/etc. is forced to abandon his/her own code because or fight in court - probably signing the rights over to Big Company (tm) to avoid being sued (just the cost of defending against a suit is big enough to make most people give up, even with smaller damages).
5. Profit for Big Company (tm) as they re-brand open source developer's code in their own name.

The cost and effort of filing for patents means that a lot of open source developers, and small businesses just won't do it. First to File combined with software patents has the potential to be a nuclear device in the software world - where only the bigger players are protected (by having large patent portfolios that they can use against each other) - the smaller fish are now no longer protected by being able to prove they actually invented their own code first - because they just didn't have the resources to file a patent on it.

Sure, First to File is easier for the patent administration office - but this is one case where 'well everyone ELSE is doing it that way' is not a good excuse for changing the law. There are some things (for example health care) where the US can and should take a page from other country's books (socialized medicine is really not a bad thing - and no, it won't create a nanny state, but your health should be a fundamental right, just like your freedom of speech). The first-to-invent part of patent law is something where the US got it right and the rest of the world didn't, they took the easy route - but not necessarily the better one.

So I say, keep 'prior art' or get rid of software & business model patents (which should never have been allowed in the first place). Losing the former without ditching the latter doesn't bring the US in line with the rest of the world anyway (very few places in the world allow software patents) and the combination is disastrous.

more than 3 years ago

Aussie City Braces For Worst Flood In 118 Years

srealm Re:Please Donate (214 comments)

That said, it is somewhat true. The first world status of Australia means the communications in general (including TV news and such) and disaster warning systems are much more advanced. And more of the population is able to get up-to-date information very quickly and thus warnings can actually have an impact. Population density does play a part, especially since so far the flooding has not hit a major city, and the overwhelming majority of the population IS in the top 5 cities - but not as much as the infrastructure in place.

Plus, Australians are now less likely to stubbornly stay in their house when they've been told a natural disaster is bearing down upon them. A hard lesson learned in a country where natural disasters are frequent (most often in the form of bush fires). The most recent lesson being the 2009 fires in Victoria. Course, that doesn't stop people being stupid and trying to drive through flood waters, but at least they knew not to stay in their home and drown in there.

more than 3 years ago

Rights Groups Slam UK Government for RIPA changes

srealm RIPA? (43 comments)

The Raping Internet Privacy Act?

about 4 years ago

Google Preparing To Launch G-Town

srealm Nightlife .. (251 comments)

Does that make the local nightclub the G-Spot?

more than 4 years ago

GE To Buy 25,000 EVs, Starting With the Chevy Volt

srealm Tesla Roadster (301 comments)

The new Tesla Roadster claims that it can do 245 miles on a single charge ... and it's a hell of a lot cooler than a volt! 100 miles on a charge, pfft! :)

more than 4 years ago

British Teen Jailed Over Encryption Password

srealm Re:right to not incriminate yourself? (1155 comments)

Actually, no.

Even with a warrant, you don't have to unlock your front door, the police just have the right to break it down or get a locksmith to pick it if you don't.

Same with a safe - with a warrant you don't have to provide the combination, but they can legally crack it or cut it open.

So if you want to extend it to cryptography - you don't need to provide the password, but they're free to try and crack or break into the encrypted 'container.' ... they're just upset because unlike a physical object like a safe or a door, brute force isn't sufficient this time.

But regardless, a password, safe combination, or any number of other things are stored in your mind - and the state (in the USA at least) cannot force you to divest the contents of your mind against your will. That's what the 5th amendment is all about and why sodium pentathol and it's ilk are barred from being used to gather evidence.

more than 4 years ago

Cyber Command Will Miss Friday's Operational Deadline

srealm Re:'Management positions are filled ...' (156 comments)

I didn't say I wanted to work for someone who could DO my job, I said I wanted to work for someone who in the past HAS DONE something similar to my job.

A dev manager should be an EX-coder. They may not have programmed in many years, maybe not in remotely the same language, and is probably not abreast of the latest technologies or techniques. However they should understand the fundamental concepts having done it before and be able to be a useful participant in design discussions. Above the 'dev manager' level (ie. not dealing directly with programmers), then it's completely different.

I used to work for a manager that had never been a programmer, and it was the worst experience of my life - he wanted to know the details of things so many times I had to explain things as if I were describing it to a 5 year old. It caused a lot of friction between me and him, because I spent half my time explaining things to him instead of getting things actually done.

Not to mention, if the manager understands they're not programmers, and knows they're never going to be asked to perform as one, but they HAVE been programmers, they also then tend to know what to look for and cut through the smoke screen in interviews. I can't tell you how many people who I've been called in to do an interview with who had very impressive resumes but in the end, could probably do a little more than "Hello World", but not much.

more than 4 years ago

Cyber Command Will Miss Friday's Operational Deadline

srealm 'Management positions are filled ...' (156 comments)

Why would any self-respecting geek want to work in a place where there is no possibility of being management, and all the management is, self-admittedly, not 'qualified' to do their job?

I'm sorry, but I've never been able to respect a manager who could not have done my job, and has done in previous years. Now that doesn't mean everyone up to the CEO needs to be a programmer, very quickly managers stop being programmers and their day focuses on other things (read: meetings and bureaucracy).

So by my example, a dev manager should be a former programmer, his/her manager should have experience leading a team of tech people, his/her manager should have been a manager for other tech managers before, etc. In other words, each level should have experience doing the day-to-day job of the level below.

And what about career advancement - it sounds pretty lame when all the management positions are pre-filled, so the only way to move up the chain is for someone higher up to retire, or get dishonorably discharged (I assume the guys in management are career military, not doing a tour).

more than 4 years ago

Astronomers Find Diamond Star 4,000 km Wide

srealm Re:Great... (197 comments)

50 light-years EACH WAY don't forget.

When you get back, she certainly won't be worth the diamond anymore - because you really won't want to 'hit that' in 100 years, even assuming you can travel at light speed ;P

And if you remember the 80's documentary "The Navigator", where he was gone 4 years and everyone else aged 12, then by extension, 100 light years will turn into 300 years.

more than 4 years ago

Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?

srealm MSI WindTop (417 comments)

Depending on your finances, I recently bought an MSI WindTop for my toddler (2) and special needs 5 year old.

This is a touch screen all-in-one computer, and after seeing one setup in the local library, and how easily my 2 year old interacted with it without having mouse skills, it was a no-brainer.

And having set the computer up in the kitchen (it has built in wifi), I can use it as a kitchen computer when I need it, and sit the kids in front of it when they want to use it. And from there you can just get any regular kids software, and they just touch the screen instead of use the mouse.

If you want to take it one step further, try http://www.awe-net.com/ - they have fully pre-built WindTop PCs, loaded with a bunch of software for kids from 2 - 10, so it will be useful for years to come. This is what my local library has, and it's great.

more than 4 years ago

Copyright Troll USCG Violates Copyright

srealm Re:The overuse of "troll" is getting ridiculous (97 comments)

No, you're a troll if you try and enforce IP rights to IP you don't actually own.

Just like patent trolls are only trolls if they try to enforce patents on products or ideas that they don't actually make or use themselves.

Completely different if you wrote something, then go after people for copyright violations on what you wrote. Or you invented something, got a patent, and actively manufacture things using that patented method, and go after other making stuff that also uses that method without paying you.

more than 4 years ago

The Oldest Timestamp On a File I Created and Still Have Is...

srealm Re:28.4.2010 (375 comments)

Remember those disk compression utilities (DoubleSpace and such)? Well, I used them back in the day, and every so often, for some reason, the file system header would get corrupted. I actually had to re-create it manually, with a hex editor. But once I did the disk would boot and work just fine until the next time.

True story.

more than 4 years ago



Mystery Company recruiting puzzle solved!

srealm srealm writes  |  more than 6 years ago

srealm writes "Less than 24 hours from posting, the Mystery Company job posting has been cracked! With the collaboration of people at the Google Group setup specifically for cracking this puzzle, the three 'challenges' have been solved, and the company un-masked as N-Brain, Inc in Boulder, CO. The date in question is the release date for their flagship UNA product, meant to promote collaborative development."

X.org Foundation releases Xorg 7.3

srealm srealm writes  |  more than 7 years ago

srealm writes "Xorg has finally released their landmark release Xorg 7.3. This release includes major improvements such as both output (ie. monitor) AND input (ie. tablet) hot plugging (laptop users rejoice!). As well as such nifty things as DTrace for Solaris builds. Get it while its hot!"
Link to Original Source

FBI/IRS raid 'Series of Tubes' senator's home

srealm srealm writes  |  more than 7 years ago

srealm writes "Agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service on Monday searched the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an official said. Heller said he could not comment on the nature of the investigation. The Justice Department has been looking into the seven-term senator's relationship with a wealthy contractor as part of a public corruption investigation."


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