Gatewood Green’s Techdirt Profile

woodyofid

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  • May 3rd, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Aereo is theft

    How is it stealing? Aereo is providing a technical service to solve a technical problem.

    The problem: my antenna can only reach so far. (better antennas require more money)

    The solution: place an antenna closer for you and transmit the result to you. (probably cheaper than the antenna I'd have to buy)

    Anytime someone provides a solution to your problem, they are free to charge for that service. If I take your accusation to it's logical conclusion, Ford, GM and Chrysler should be suing taxi services for cheating them out of being able to sell more cars.

    The TV station does not charge the viewer cash for the content. The charge is to watch the commercials. The Aereo viewer has the same signal and technical obligations and gets no additional access to content than having living close enough or having a high enough/nice enough antenna to receive via a local TV antenna would provide.

    Additionally, Large networks like HBO which charge cash (not commercials) for viewing their content get paid by cable companies to be carried. Smaller networks (CBS likely being under that category) pay the cable company to carry them.

    So explain to me under what law, explicit or common, that Aereo is to be prosecuted (civil or criminal). Saying something is illegal does not make it so. Provide some documentation or at least logical explanation.

  • Dec 17th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Privacy on the Internet

    Actually DPI is not necessarily akin to a privacy violation. Think of it this way. It could be no different than having a private conversation in a public place that gets overheard. You chose to speak out in a place where others *can* hear you and they have every right and in some cases legal responsibility (say you are talking about killing somebody or robbing a bank, etc...) to report what you say.

    It has already been shown in court that choosing to communicate in a public place invalidates your expectation of privacy. One should not expect communications on the Internet (a public place!) to have anymore expectation of privacy.

    Now the computer in your house and the server at the company you are shopping at have an expectation to privacy, but if you communicate in the open, the expectation is potentially lost.

    *YOU* have the ability to regain that expectation however. *YOU* have the ability to say I will only communicate using a secured channel (say using SSL). At that point you have potentially made the effort to reinstate your expectation of privacy. The only "access" to the contents of the conversation are at the endpoints where the expectation to privacy likely already exists. Do not expect privacy of a post on a public forum.

    DPI is a natural evolution not much different than sampling water in a pipe for quality or validating tickets (and checking bags and purses) at the entrance to a concert venue. It is like the cop that sits on the corner with a radar gun as you drive by. All are forms of legal "deep" inspection making sure that everyone follows the rules.

    You may not like it, but the idea is a reality of life and you have choice to attempt to counter such inspection using means and tools like SSL, IPSEC, coded communications, etc... Think of SSL like a sealed opaque wrapper around that beer bottle you are smuggling into the concert. Think of SSL as going into the store and purchasing a product at a private room cash register.

    Put in proper context, we can better decide how to react than suggest improperly that DPI is evil (it can be and it can also be useful even to you) or think that we have lost all ability to control who sees what and when.

  • Dec 6th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Devil is in the details

    Actually it turns out he lied on his account paperwork.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/06/julian-assange-swiss-bank-account

    I think most banks would take action (or at least reserve the right to do so) if you lied to then during the account opening process. It is not clear (reported) if he cannot use any Swiss bank or just that specific one.

    And lets face it right now Assange is a hot potato. This could be a convenient excuse to get their name out of the limelight. In the grand scheme of things we all tend to act in our overall best self interest. Why should this bank be any different. But can anyone prove that the bank would not have taken the same action against any other customer if it had been brought to their attention that they may have lied in the account opening process.

    I like a good conspiracy tale as much as anyone but let's put Occam's Razor to use here. This is the fault of Assange to not cross his 't's and dot his 'i's.

    As for Amazon and PayPal, let's be serious. They are going to do what makes them money. Assange does not make them a lot if any money. US government contracts (or regulation or lack thereof) make crap loads of money. What do you think they are going to do? They do not require prompting from a government monkey, they are going to be rather proactive about it. "Let's see if I get put in an either/or situation do I want a few pennies and a warm fuzzy or do I want millions of dollars?" You be the judge.

    As an aside I find it entertaining that he wants the US (specifically Obama and Clinton currently) to be investigated for possible crimes immediately and thoroughly, yet he seems to feel different about investigating possible crimes (in Sweden) he might have committed.

    Many, if not all, of *his* current problems are his own doing. Wikileaks does not require a face to accomplish its stated goal, he simply wants to be a face. and he has got his dream. He is the center of global attention. "Look at me now bitch! Defy me I dare you."

    When you open lay down the gauntlet, do not be amazed if a swipe to two comes you way. If he were really noble in the cause he would have either quietly done the work and/or accepted that certain fights for (people's) freedom require major sacrifice including possibly your own freedom. But then altruism does not appear to be his strength.

    Lastly always remember you can vote with your feet and dollars. If you think Amazon and PayPal are wrong, I invite you to boycott their services. Not for a day, not for a week, but until they reinstate cancel accounts and apologize for previous actions, but few here would do that.

    The same goes for Sweden, Switzerland, France, England and Australia. Do not go there, do not spend your money there. If you think the US is wrong in any actions or statements made, then vote with your feet. Leave.

    But remember, Palin (and her off with his head type remarks) is NOT the US government but merely one private citizen. If our president or his designated proxies calls for that, then get concerned.

  • Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Soliders dying...

    It seems like you feel legally compelled to work. Actually you are volunteering. Within the US, we are all volunteers to our jobs in that we are free to walk off the job at (almost*) any time.

    *Due to legal safety constraints, some people can't just walk off at any time, but must wait until relieved (end of shift) to avoid lawsuit and possible prosecution for negligence. Although if they are not concerned about the safety of others and/or possible prosecution...

    Some people are unable to see it that way as they think that without that specific paycheck (or amount of pay) they cannot live. This is not entirely true. You could choose to give up some or even a lot of luxury for another job that may pay less or even to become a hermit or homeless and live off the land and/or handouts.

    Having served in the military I did waive (voluntarily, I was not forced to enlist) certain rights during my time in service. And as stated above it was less about patriotism, and more about the job, pay, benefits, training and opportunity the military provided to a kid fresh out of high school who had (by ignorant choice) squandered his chance to go to college for free and who chose NOT to become a gas station attendant. Actually I wanted to attend the academy, but I squandered that away along with 'regular' college.

    The military is one job you cannot just walk off of even at the end of a shift. You will perform or you will pay the penalty (up to the possibility of execution in very rare but possible circumstances). Along with other rights you give up during your time of service (eg gov't employment).

    And quite frankly given the current state of the economy, there is no need for conscription because the military is flush with *volunteers* who like the steady paycheck, training, great benefits and opportunity as opposed to sitting around the house unemployed or pumping gas for minimum wage at the local corner store.

    Right now the military is so flush with recruits that you must have a high school diploma and be fairly darn physically fit and pass certain basic academic tests or they will not take you. They can afford to be choosy.

    And for the record *I* don't need you to work for my life to be fine so your slavery suggestion does not serve my needs or desires. So what's left to petition? I will continue to voluntarily work for my paycheck and you can slave away for yours if it so suits your fancy.

  • Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:07am

    Superman anyone?

    Swipe the "micro" remainder from every transaction.

    Random rumblings to various postings above...

    A smart store owner could make an extra profit off this. Put together a simple spreadsheet that takes into account all applicable taxes for a given area and then use it to set all of your regular one-item (things that tend to sell by themselves such as cigarettes, sodas, beer, etc...) sales prices come up to 3 cents over the next nickel (after taxes of course). Then in those cases you can reap the rewards of the 2 cent rounding error and make a tidy profit over lots of transactions. We a consumers accept .02% or less interest in a bank savings account, why is a 1 or 2% gain in a business suddenly not desirable? You could also do the same for common two and three item sales.

    Another point is that by removing the penny, the nickel becomes the new penny. Remove the nickel (make dimes the bottom coin) and you get the pinball ripoff effect. Ever notice that modern pinball machines' (and score based video games) smallest unit of score is 1000? You could easily chop off the last three zeros and reflect the same relative score. In this case, dimes become the new penny and dollars becomes the new dime. You lost a zero. And through a cruel psychological joke you will have participated in overt inflation. For what it is worth, pinball machines add the three zeros as the exact reverse psychological joke to get you to put in more quarters. Your score looks bigger, you get more excited...

    Lastly, humans do not naturally think in metric. Humans see measurements as visual relatives (ratio or fractions as earlier suggested, ever look at "standard" scale measurements?) and see quantity in logarithmic scale (ratios again) when they do not have linear scale beat into their heads at an early age.

    Interesting delve into that phenomena:
    http://www.radiolab.org/2009/nov/30/innate-numbers/

    That a meter is larger (more) that a centimeter is obvious, that 1.01 meter is larger than 1.00 meter on visual inspection, not so much (same would be true of a yard and an inch and 37 inches vs. 36 inches). This is also why a person may tend not to care about that penny. It seems so insignificant compared to our perceived base unit of a dollar. In reality your base unit is the smallest non-divisible denomination you have available. The English use to really subdivide and in the really old ages cutting a "coin" in pieces was a common way to make really small transactions. Quarter anyone? Try cutting a small coin into fifth or tenths. And when you do not make much money, that penny seems so much more useful (valuable). I know a few people on fixed small incomes that scrounge the couch regularly for any change including pennies to buy that next pack of cigarettes.

    What linear base you use is irrelevant. What is visually and even mentally easy is the logarithmic difference. Even notice that earthquakes and sound are measured in log scale? Why do you think that is? Hint: small linear differences have no significant difference in effect.

    As for the US switching to metric, nobody things of traveling in feet or meters. They think in miles and kilometers (useful base units of large scale). I doubt you tell the guy asking for directions that the store is 1500 meters down the road. Rather you tell him that its 1.5 km away. Nor would we say or that something is 2640 feet down the road, we say 1/2 mile. And really (for you non-US types), when was the last time you told somebody about your last big trip in megameters? So much for metric making common life easier. Metric is no better or worse for the common man, all that matters is that when two people communicate that agree in the "size" of the base unit.

    It is much like arguing which is better English, German or Italian. All three languages accomplish the same task equally, but two people communicating have to speak a common (base) language.

  • Oct 26th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Obligatory nothing-to-hide references

    If you are following the law you shouldn't have anything to hide.

    If you are doing what you should to be a physically fit normal human being you shouldn't worry about being exposed and compared to others.

    Everyone else deserves to be thrown in jail (threat to those of us who follow the law) or laughed at (go get a gym membership and eat healthy and save the rest of us some medical tax and insurance dollars).

    Enjoy.

  • May 18th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    Most databases (Oracle, MSSQL, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc...) are crap-tastic in this manner *given the data set*. Imagine if you will the amount of data being gathered that reflects who signed in, when, when they signed out and what IP(s) they had at the time across hundreds of thousands of customers.

    Database indexing algorithms quite frankly suck for massive amounts of somewhat random data coming in at a high volume, the DB servers probably scream under the I/O load doing full table scans on the queries. I would not be amazed if a single query took eight hours. Staffing up doesn't help since the bottleneck is likely the DB queries themselves.

    Not only is the data set not given to compact indexing, but likely the tables and indexes were poorly thought out at the time the DB was throw together. The creator of the DB probably did not take into account the shear volume of the copyright requests that are currently coming in for what was originally design for a handful of law enforcement requests.

  • May 6th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    You say there was nothing like this being discussed, yet in the paragraph: "No one had yet figured a way to reliably send computer data across a cellular phone network"

    It does not matter is the idea was far fetched, that it was considered by people at all means that yes, it was obvious. By '95 modems were fairly common and if one could do it on a land line, one could do it on a cell line if at a (at that time far) slower bit rate to compensate for the line quality.

    Today's side channel communication on cell networks is a far cry different from what was done yesterday, but speaking as someone who sold both computers and cell phones in the early to mid 90's (anyone remember bag phones?), the idea was coming. Even movies of the day hinted at it. Consider also that caller ID is a data stream to the cell phone from the cell company.

    HAMs had been transferring two-way data over wireless before then as had many commercial interests. All that was being waiting on was a convenient sized package. Finally, remember that "3G" or 3rd generation defined in the IMT-2000 specification is actually set of standards *approved* by the ITU in 1999. The writing was on the wall far before then.

    Food for thought.

  • Apr 9th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Common movies get release all the time

    The big studios tend to release in theme sets every so often. We go through Armageddon from asteroids period, then everyone is releasing space opera flicks, then they all jump on the romantic bandwagon. Movies with both loose and tight theme association come out all the time as 'regular' competition. Yes a rare moment when studios are competing as oppose to suing or legislating. Heaven forbid one company made a blockbuster because you just know that at least one other studio will try and ride the wave.

    I think the issue here is a stall tactic whereby one studio is trying to hold the other back long enough to get their version of the theme out to theaters alone instead of having direct competition for viewers. Given two movies of the same type at the same time the viewer-ship will likely split. Whereas if they come out staggered, the first movie will likely get the 'full' audience for this type of movie and the second release will get a residual audience (those who like the theme type and are not already tired from the first movie release).

  • Mar 24th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Non-Profit ??? Horrible Solution

    Non-Profit != no competition.

    The Red Cross pays an awful lot to advertise because they compete for every charity dollar they get. Many charities publish their dollar efficiency (percentage of overhead versus actual charity work) as a means to help the public (for who's attention the charity competes) decide where to put their charity dollars.

    As someone who has interest in a non-profit (rehab) hospital who serves the public without regards to payment ability, we compete for patients. More importantly due to gov't regulations on Medicaid/Medicare payouts, we compete for a very specific ratio of patients (Medicare versus non-Medicare).

    In addition to advertising/competing both for patients and for (charity) dollars, we also compete for quality doctors, nurses, therapists, etc... So your core hypothesis is blown.

    Enjoy,

    Woody

  • Mar 8th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: neutral

    Well given that it is established that the gas pedal is not linked physically to the (gas) flow regulators and that the brake pedal is not physically, or hydraulicly, linked to the brakes, what makes you think the gear shift is physically linked to the transmission? Or that the key is a physical (break-the-line) off switch?

    Food for thought.

  • Oct 23rd, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    Re: How do you overvalue music?

    No code, no game, No graphics, no game. No console or computer, no game. No controller, no game. Let's see, that is five major components of which the code and console were probably far more expensive to produce. The music was already produced (labor paid for). Although in many cases the music has to be edited and remixed (by the game company) for the game to allow for game play use.

    So remind me how much value the music is by itself?

    That said...

    Truth is "value" is what next idiot on the street is willing to pay. I like listening to the Beetles, but not $60+ much. I'd consider the game for $10. The console, controllers and original RB games cost enough. The additional investment in the Beetles' version game just does not seem to be to myself worth the payoff. Bad ROI.

  • Sep 30th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Crowd Sourcing

    In response to Michial Thompson, but generically applicable to the topic at hand...

    So, you succeeded in crowd sourcing the software but failed in crowd sourcing the support? That how I read your rant.

    I too got my start with Linux solving a problem, and I too went to the Internet for help. Today I make my living building and developing Linux solutions.

    Just because you crowdsource does not mean you will succeed. Like anything else, a effective group needs a good leader. You got lucky because the first crowd (software development group) had a good leader, or the software you think is good would not be present. The second crowd (support) did not have an effective leader.

    You can either find a leader or be the leader of the crowd. You chose to be the leader of the second crowd and did not work effectively as that leader. You could have failed to do the proper work of a leader such as finding the proper crowd or properly defining the problem or the desired goal. Maybe you failed to provide the correct crowd the proper data to define the problem.

    Any group or crowd is only as effective as its leader(s) allow(s) or facilitate(s) it to be.

    As an aside (rant of my own) I find it mildly entertaining how that if I provide a free product, you think I should provide my service free and on your terms. Maybe I do not want you as a customer of my free product.

    I have refused to provide (monetary cost) services to some potential customers because my cost (headache, time) will out weigh the costs they pay me, even at my commercial rate of $120/hr. Other customers I have helped at no monetary cost, what you think of as free. The cost to me (time), was worth the benefit. I profited in knowing I helped a good person or cause.

    When I write software I put in a certain amount of time (fixed cost). The more times that product is sold or provided to another person, the more that fixed cost per person approaches zero. There is no significant marginal costs in giving you a copy of what I already wrote.

    Support has little fixed cost. Support is almost entirely marginal. The marginal costs may drop as I improve FAQs, add knowledge bases, educate more people, improve the product, but at the end of the day support costs time over and over and over again. You want my support, the next guy who uses the software wants my support and so on and so forth.

    While in seeking (positive) exposure for my software I am willing to provide some regular support, I have expectations (costs to you, even if not in terms of money). You expect the software to work, and if it does not I expect you to be useful in helping us (you and I) solve the problem. If you complain but do not provide me what I need to solve your issue, than I do most of the work and you get most of the benefit.

    I am more willing to give you (free of monetary cost) support if you give me value (data to help make the product better for everyone) in return. However there are customers not worth having and not worth trying to make happy. I learned long ago that it is Ok to fire a customer (whether charging money or not). I do not need every customer that exists, only enough to provide adequate profit and benefits I desire (money, recognition, reputation, good feelings, thanks, etc...).

    My time has great value even if I do not charge you money for such.

    /rant

    All of that said, you can also crowdsource the Internet and get help with my or any other product. But then the pressure is on you to be an effective leader, or find one, to make an effective group/crowd to provide your support.

    Secondary rant, for most Linux related (and/or open source) developers, it is not their goal for world+dog to use Linux or their product. It is more about being part of a community (crowd!) to solve a problem and/or fulfill a need in such a way that *everyone* in the community/crowd benefits.

    If you want the full benefit of the community's work, then become *part* of the community do not leech off of it.

    /second rant

    Enjoy,

    Woody

  • Aug 19th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Re: Rose's question

    I know that in my jewelry store, we purchase jewelry from people, and it if turns up stolen, the police and the victims certainly don't hold us responsible! The person who stole the items is responsible. If that is true for real goods, how could it be less true for intellectual property?

    Simply because if your jewelery is stolen, you no longer have it to use yourself. If I have a copy of your floor plan, you *still* have it yourself and can still use it even though I have a copy of it. Now if I used (what I have reasonable reason to believe is) a legitimate floor plan supplier, how am I supposed to know (s)he did not obtain your plans legitimately. How do I know my supplier did not create the plans themselves?

    Nothing silly here at all. The 'source' of the plans the builder used should be on the hook for whatever the plans would have cost plus punitive damages as appropriate. Now if you can prove the builder did not obtain the plans *in good faith* legitimately, then (s)he is on the hook for same (addressing the shell company proposal in another comment).

  • Jul 30th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Re: Clear Laws make prosecutions easier

    To answer Pete Austin...

    No, a specific law against texting while driving is no more easier to prosecute than distracted driving. The cops believes you were texting and can subpoena your phone records to prove timing for the distracted law, how does the an extra law covering texting distracted driving help here? Most (all?) states have distracted driving laws already in place and use those laws. Additionally distracted driving laws (usually part of the state's reckless driving statute) do not require an accident to take place in order to be enforced.

  • Jul 8th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    Re: Isn't Chrome OS based on linux?

    Marshall,

    Based on reading the blog announcement, I would pose the idea that they are not about to adapt any other company/organization's distribution. Given the stated goals/means of:

    • Just works
    • Simple
    • Secure (impervious to malware, viruses and trojans)
    • Run atop a Linux kernel
    • New stripped down windowing system

    I would venture to say that they are going to build their own ground up operating system. Most distributions are built for very specific business or hardware purposes or are generic in design for a multitude of uses. None of which that I have yet to see in over ten years of running openly available Linux distributions is "browser only", locked down, extremely tight setup.

    Given their goals, I would start from scratch. It is not all that hard to do if you understand the basic inner workings of an operating system. Most distributions are too generic for their needs and have way too many extra features not required. Basic security principles imply that extra features provide more vectors for attack.

    Addressing others' comments in this discussion...

    The discussion here focuses way too much on the Chrome browser and way too little on the concept being presented (by Google). This whole effort by them is moving back to the old style centralized computing model. Make the clients simple (and easy to maintain). Do the hard work on large central systems (mainframes in the old days, today, server farms).

    Google's idea would work whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or (insert favorite browser here that any company wants to write/port to run on x86 and ARM). There is a large contingent of users out there who need simple computing. Look up stuff on the web, check email and maybe basic 'office' applications; all of which is available in your favorite browser right now.

    Even as a developer (I build and maintain embedded operating systems among other things), I use simple appliances when I can. The browser on my phone is the most used application; even more than phone calls. Leaving out time at work, I use a browser for about 80 to 90 percent of what I do on a computer and use my phone more then I pull out the laptop. It boils down to simplicity and speed, to get the task done. I want it easy and I want it now. Take away the workplace and gamers and I bet the previous sentence describes the FAR majority of remaining computer users.

    Yes there is also a large group of users who want and/or need more, and there will still be many companies (Microsoft, RedHat, Novel, [insert favorite OS vendor here]) to fulfill those wants and needs. Even Google itself will continue to develop and promote their own somewhat generic (serve multiple purposes) operating system (Android) which is built atop a Linux kernel and many other open source projects.

    But for the rest of us, Google already supplies most of the applications we need, now they are going to try and supply the simplest (easy to use and maintain) platform to run those applications upon.

  • Jun 30th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sweet!

    Many localities/states have a law (or exception in the red light law) specifically for being stuck at a red-light that does not change and no cross traffic is present. Check you local and/or state laws.

  • Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re: Setting the story straight

    So it sounds to me that your system fails to check for and handle hardware failure. Keep in mind that even using RAID6 is no guarantee. I have personally had multiple drives fail in the same RAID array (Dell PowerEgde equipment for what it is worth). My saving grace was that the data on the RAID was backed up nightly to (at that time) tape. The short time of data lost (that since the night backup), was considered acceptable given the costs of dual hot systems at that time.

    Working for a company that produces packaged equipment, I have seen a few RAID card (not drives) failures. In some of those cases, the card scribbled all over the drive data in its final death throws, making the data unrecoverable with another card of the same type and configuration

    Given the recent Seagate firmware situation that bricked drives (any one remember the IBM deathstar drives from about 5 or 6 years ago?) and potential for issues in the RAID card firmware, all beside the possibility that the hardware itself could fail, I would think that Carbonite would have contingency plans in place that include internal duplicity of core systems and storage and spare (even if cold standby) complete system replacements on the ready.

    I guess as an experienced IT manager, an engineer and a business person, I cannot for the life of me figure out how you lost more than a few hours of data (worst case). Given the nature of your business, I am not sure why you would even lose any data short of a full on nature disaster taking out an entire facility (off-site backups to minimize the total loss anyone?).

    Granted for the cost of your service, a user should clearly understand what they are paying for and be willing to understand that more reliable backups will cost more. Anyone who cares about their backup, WILL understand the full backup chain; they would know exactly where their data is and how it is managed at all times. But I still have a difficult time reconciling the nature of your business with the type of failure that occurred. You lost data in the exact situation for which your propose to protect your customers.

  • Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's simple

    Quote:

    What, in a shed in the back yard? I doubt somebody buying a 500GB external drive to do their own personal backups even has an offsite location where they can set it up.

    There is nothing to set up. Use two 500GB USB drives in rotation, one is always in a bank safety deposit box. Off site location issue solved. Fairly inexpensive; cost of two drives plus rental of the box.

  • Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    Quoting Harold: Their results are basically on popularity, which is another way of saying "whoever shouts the loudest is right".

    Not quite right. It is more a matter of whoever gets the most *other* people shouting the loudest wins. Link backs count for most of your popularity and link backs from other people/sites with more link backs to themselves count even higher. It is a highly simplistic overview, but let's at least give something of a correct structure when using that explanation as an example.

    And please give examples of your search terms exactly as you gave them to google so we can determine if your assessment of torrent site rankings is accurate. I can write searches that will forces those sites to the top of my results, but I doubt (based on my own experience) that they would occur there often on more simplistic searches.

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