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  • Mar 17th, 2017 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nail on the head.

    This guy, by using the sticker, is "trying to force their social, religious, secular, racial, or fiscal values" onto those who are offended by them. For no discernible purpose other than to annoy them.

    Exactly what the AC is complaining about. And I agree with that complaint.

    Yes, he's within his 1st Amendment rights to do it.

    But he shouldn't.

    Lots of things are legal that ought not to be done by civilized people.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Trump has 1st amendment rights too

    If you support freedom, everyone has the right to be an irresponsible jerk.

    "Freedom" to do only those things that other people think are responsible and admirable is hardly meaningful.

    Freedom is all about being allowed to do things that other people don't approve of.

    (sorry for the late reply)

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 10:51am

    Re: he has not even responded to my request to be able to edit posts

    All of us here can't edit our posts, not just you.

    Take the time to get it right the first time, or live with the typos for evermore. Same as the rest of us.

    Stop expecting special treatment. I invented lots of stuff too - just like millions of other young people who discover obvious and useful things (like email) but are still ignorant of the fact that other people invented those same things long ago.

    There's a reason nobody got a patent on email, you know - it's obvious. Useful, yes, but obvious and so not patentable. Even for the FIRST inventor.

    And why should Mike respond to your request if you can't be bothered to even let him know who it is doing the asking?

    (Let alone that you're suing him...)

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Makes Sense

    Why post as AC when your content makes it clear who you are, Mr. Ayyadurai?

    If you have pride, have the pride to make your case in the open under your own name.

    For sure, writing an email system at age 14 is quite an accomplishment - in any year, let alone 1978.

    And I'm quite ready to believe you "invented" it independently, without knowing about things like Unix mail.

    But that doesn't make make you the "inventor" of email. At best it makes you a "re-inventor" of email.

    By your standard, I "invented" the queue and the linked list. And a great many other fundamental concepts in computer science.

    But I didn't. These are more-or-less obvious (like email) and I re-invented them, long after others knew about them.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Simple partial solution - eliminate ACs

    You don't post as "Anonymous Coward", Wendy.

    Yes, lots of ACs make good posts. But a disproportionate number of troll comments come from ACs.

    It seems that for many people anonymity strips away many of the normal human conventions of civility. Even pseudonymity (as in "OldMugwump") seems to be enough to fix that (or most of it).

    Once people have a reputation, even a pseudonymous one, they take care to avoid trashing it.

    I suspect if trolls started posting stuff here as "Wendy Cockcroft" you wouldn't like it.

    (This thread being 3 days old, I suspect few people are reading it by now except you and me, or I wouldn't even bring up the idea.)

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Nail on the head.

    Agreed, but this is a case of exactly what you're tired of.

    Everyone in this society knows there are lots of people who find any reference to sex offensive. Mr. "Making my Family" Owens surely knew lots of prudes would be upset, and was forcing that upset on "everyone else".

    It doesn't bother me a bit (I find it worth a chuckle).

    And I support the case, because the 1st Amendment needs to be defended in the grey areas if it's to be strong in the areas we care about.

    But this is a grey area, and Mr. Owens is not a nice person.

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 9:08am

    Simple partial solution - eliminate ACs

    80+% of troll comments are from ACs.

    Just eliminate ACs - if you want to comment, create an account and log in.

    People can still comment "anonymously" by commenting under a different account than their usual one. (Don't prevent people from having multiple accounts.)

    Then set a threshold: If > (say) 30% of your comments get flagged, your account is automatically banned for 30 days.

    Trolls could still create new accounts to get back in, but the extra effort will be a big discouragement.

  • Mar 8th, 2017 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: well-meaning but ineffective

    Plenty of statements are too vague to be either true or false.

    "The crime rate is up 50%". From when? Where? Measured how?

  • Mar 7th, 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The only other options are to submit or to take up arms.

    From my viewpoint civil disobedience covers any situation where people violate a law with the express purpose of getting that law changed.

    Opinions, of course, will differ.

  • Mar 7th, 2017 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Tears for the loss of a national icon

    Hi, AC.

    Care to explain - because I've been wondering - how you invented email in 1978, when I was using email at MIT in 1977?

    And I didn't invent it. It was there for a number of years before me.

    I remember bang paths. Do you?

  • Mar 4th, 2017 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: The only other options are to submit or to take up arms.

    Uber has elevated civil disobedience to a business model.

    With some discomfort, I have to say I admire them for it.

    I'm generally a fan of the rule of law - if the law sucks it should be changed, not violated.

    But sometimes the only practical way to get it changed is civil disobedience. Esp. so with victimless "crimes".

    If Uber hadn't played games like this, they'd never have gotten the volume, revenue, and number of (voting) customers needed to get the law changed, disrupting the taxi cartels.

    Lots of other more law-abiding types have tried to break into the market for decades, and got stomped every time. Uber has found a model that works - blatant, open violation of the law, working in favor of customers. And finding sneaky ways to avoid punishment long enough to reap credit for it.

    This can only work when it's the law that's criminal, not the violators. But maybe we need more of this.

  • Mar 2nd, 2017 @ 5:33pm

    Re: well-meaning but ineffective

    This is very much an us-vs-them thing.

    "Our" side is stupid-but-good, "their" side is smart-but-evil.

    Regardless of which side you're on.

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 @ 7:43am

    States are the battleground

    Most of the reasons the US has lousy broadband (and in many places no Internet at all - not even 3G) are to be found in state legislatures.

    This isn't new - all the focus on the FCC and net neutrality has distracted a lot of people from this fact for a long time.

    Maybe a silver lining in Ajit Pai's chairmanship of the FCC is that the focus will return to the states, which is where the real problem was in the first place.

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Strategy?

    Thank you for a very informative answer. I learned a lot from it, and will make somewhat less misinformed comments on the subject in the future.

    I didn't realize that this was still in the pretrial stage where the truth of the allegations are not yet in play. (Shows I didn't do my homework; I hope that's forgivable in a blog comment.)

    Perhaps I'm biased from my own brush with the court system*, but despite my very recent schooling, my impression remains that in "slam-dunk" cases courts make an effort to return a just verdict.

    That is, the necessity of a vigorous defense is proportional to the weakness of one's case.

    Each party to any lawsuit will naturally take different viewpoints re how strong each side's case is, but cases are nonetheless objectively weak or strong.

    It shouldn't - and I still think doesn't - take much to defend against a weak case.

    Such as Ayyadurai v. Floor64, Inc. et al.

    * I pled nolo contendere pro se, which I think granted the judge both latitude and an obligation to look after the hapless pro se defendant.

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Strategy?

    I have not.

    Once many decades ago I defended myself pro se on a felony charge (driving a motorcycle without insurance - yes, that was a felony, at least then).

    The whole thing was settled in an hour (I paid a $50 fine, and not a penny in legal fees).

    I'm not snarking here - I'd truly appreciate it if you could explain what exactly is wrong with my understanding here.

  • Feb 20th, 2017 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Strategy?

    "That's... not how it works at all" doesn't strike me as an answer at all (let alone one worthy of a response).

    Care to elaborate for those of us without your understanding of the American legal system, the concept of "procedural posture", or how appeals work?

    Surely I can't be the only one.

  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Strategy?

    What makes you think the "aspirin" won't work?

    Do you think courts care nothing for justice or the law?

  • Feb 18th, 2017 @ 8:45am


    Mike, I'm sorry to hear this has been so distracting to you and the other TD staffers.

    I wonder if you're handling it right.

    I know it's easy to be cool and relaxed when it's not my own business and investment at stake, but I think it's a mistake, on multiple levels, to respond with lots of time, attention, and legal expense.

    The point is that Ayyadurai has no case. He clearly didn't invent email; that's trivial to prove in court. He's clearly attacking you solely for pointing out that the emperor is naked.

    There are other legal arguments, but given these facts I think they're irrelevant.

    I hear lots of TD commenters claiming that people have no choice but to fold in the face of baseless legal intimidation, because of the cost of defense.

    By making a huge deal out of this, raising lots of money (I bought 2 shirts and a mug), and admitting to your own distraction, you are reinforcing that meme.

    Which I think is plain wrong. Our court system isn't that bad. It does care for simple justice and the plain letter of the law.

    Instead of responding with all-hands-on-deck, red alert, and a 30 page filing, how about having your lawyer spend 4 hours drafting a 2 page reply:

    • Ayyadurai didn't invent email. See these references.
    • This is a baseless attack meant to silence his critics
    • We want legal fees and damages for this baseless case

    Then shut up. Let the courts do their work.

    Even if you lose (unlikely), you can always appeal.

    You are now 2 cents richer. Good luck. :-)

  • Feb 17th, 2017 @ 8:01pm

    Gifts are not allowed, owning property (even IP), is

    If the trademark is a gift of the Chinese government, then he can't accept it.

    If the trademark is his (intellectual) property by right under Chinese law (in this case because he was first-to-file), then it's allowed.

    Which of the two cases apply may be difficult to say, which is one of the (many) reasons why Presidents have mostly divested themselves of personal business while in office.

    Given Mr. Trump's very personal feelings about his business (after all, most of it seems to involve pasting giant letters T R U M P on every possible surface), this was always going to be a problem. But we knew that going in.

  • Feb 17th, 2017 @ 8:19am

    Re: enforcement ?

    Vito, we have to start somewhere. If your attitude is "nobody follows the rules" then rules don't matter and we have chaos where the strong crush the weak.

    This is a good start - reasonable rules. They should be praised and encouraged.

    Now they have to be enforced. That's the next step.

    The only way to make progress is to work at it.

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