Kal Zekdor’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 21st, 2017 @ 8:13am


    It's a fairly recent development, but Steam's refund system is pretty great. You can request a full refund on any purchase for any number of reasons, including it simply not being fun. Refunds can only be requested within two weeks of purchase, and for games with less than 2 hours of play time, but that's plenty of time to try out the game. They also don't seem to be hard limits, for example I refunded a game that had 2 hours and 31 minutes of play time. I've definitely found that I'm more willing to make purchases where I'm not sure if I'll like the game, as getting a refund is pretty hassle free.

  • Sep 20th, 2017 @ 4:41pm


    While an unenforced stupid law isn't as bad as an enforced stupid law, it's still a stupid law.

  • Sep 19th, 2017 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Google is the outlier

    He's a politician. The data set is clearly weighted by revenue.

  • Sep 6th, 2017 @ 10:14am

    Re: Terminology doesn't fit...

    I'd imagine #3 might apply if they offered the songs as downloads, not just streams. The medium is still digital, but the intent switches to distributing a "permanent" copy.

  • Aug 23rd, 2017 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Congrats and about that email....

    Not to defend "Mr. Email" in any way, but 20 years ago was 1997, long after the claimed date of "invention".

  • Aug 23rd, 2017 @ 3:42pm

    No clue.

    I honestly cannot remember when or how I first stumbled across Techdirt. My account says it was back in 2006, but I think I lurked for a while before signing up. Damn, I was just 19 at the time... I probably came across it while researching something or from a recommendation from a peer or a professor, but those are just guesses.

  • Aug 7th, 2017 @ 10:20pm

    Re: They aren't trying to legislate China

    Yeah, the article seems to completely miss that point. This is a good thing for government supplied equipment, but don't expect this to have any meaningful impact on consumer IoT security. Sure, some of the more commercially targeted IoT devices will benefit due to the multi-market development you're talking about, but the more egregious examples of poor IoT security usually stem from purely consumer focused goods. This legislation won't do much there. The provisions regarding security research might be the only thing that makes any real impact, though I need to do more research on the specific changes to law and how it pertains to the CFAA in order to be any more than vaguely hopeful.

  • Aug 2nd, 2017 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's not a lot of context in the article to go on, but I don't think the reporter was asking for an exact figure. If I ask you "How much do make?" I'm not looking for $72,324.18, just a rough ballpark like $70,000. An executive should absolutely know roughly how much the company pulls in in revenue, what their cost centers are, available capital, etc.

    Though, in the guy's defense, there are plenty of reasons he shouldn't be sharing that information with a reporter, so maybe he purposefully feigned ignorance to deflect the question.

  • Aug 2nd, 2017 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe I'm reading his comment completely wrong, but where did he mention anything about the accuracy of the site? I read it as a comment on how terribly that company is run. Could be I'm just projecting though, because it seems to me like an absolute shit show over there.

  • Aug 1st, 2017 @ 4:22pm

    Random Comments on Corporations

    Just a couple of random thoughts on the article from the perspective of someone who has some experience in founding/running companies.

    First, S Corps aren't nearly as bad as the article makes them out to be. They're almost always a better choice than an LLC if you need pass-through taxation. The fact that corporations can't hold shares in an S Corp is the primary reason VCs won't touch them, as they'll usually invest through a corporate vehicle. Another reason is that the shareholder count limitation prevents an IPO, which VCs always push for. If you're planning to keep the company closely held, S Corps aren't a bad choice. Though I'll almost always recommend a C Corp, it's not any more difficult to setup and gives you greater flexibility if you happen to need it down the line.

    Second, regarding the Board of Directors. Directors are elected by the shareholders, not appointed through resolution, so David's claims that there was no resolution to that effect are meaningless. Given that (at the time) there were two blocks of equal shareholders, whether or not a director could be elected without David's consent depends on tie-breaker provisions in their bylaws.

    Lastly, regarding unilaterally exiting from their agreement, if David is CEO then he absolutely had the power to terminate the agreement, barring any explicit instructions from the Board otherwise.

  • Aug 1st, 2017 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re:

    I think he was referring to the fact that the founder had no idea how much the company made.

  • Jul 25th, 2017 @ 11:07am


    I don't get this position. You're ok with the school collecting sales data in their cafeteria, and you're ok with the school giving funds to students that need them, but when they use the sales data to determine who needs funds they've suddenly crossed a line?

    The cards in question are likely reloadable cards given out by the school for use in the cafeteria or school stores, not students' personal credit cards. (My school had the same thing.) Not that it matters, because the data is available to them at point of sale regardless.

  • Jul 24th, 2017 @ 7:23pm

    Third party doctrine

    I think the crux of the matter, at least for me, comes down to who has access to the data, not so much what they use it for. (Not that that implicitly means that I'm ok with whatever action, just that how they use data has no bearing on that judgment.) In this story, unless I'm missing something, there are two actors, the student and the school. Unless the cafeteria is owned (not just operated by) a third party, it should be trivially obvious that the school has access to that data. If nothing else they'll need to track sales just so they can do inventory management. It would seem a bit crazy to me to purchase something, but demand to have all record of the transaction erased, particularly when dealing with non-cash transactions.

    Now, if this were a third-party, say a government agency monitoring private transactions and using it to, I dunno, decide who gets awarded public grants, that I would have a problem with, if it were done without the knowledge and consent of all other actors.

  • Jul 6th, 2017 @ 10:47pm

    Some sense

    I'm glad somebody is responding to this event with a modicum of sense. This non-story has somehow resulted in a controversial firestorm, with pretty much everyone involved trying to put it out using gasoline. I wish I was surprised, but that's par for the course these days. I used to get worked up about partisan vitriol, about people who are too blinded by their fantasy of "us versus them" to behave in an objective and rational manner, but now I'm just too damned tired.

  • Jun 1st, 2017 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: So?

    Neither of which explains the vitriol in the article. Maybe this is short-sighted, or maybe Netflix just thinks that net neutrality is a lost cause, at least in this administration, and are exploring other options to protect their business. I'm not going to fault them for doing what they need to do. This isn't their responsibility.

    It's pretty clear that Netflix still supports NN, even if it's only lip service. Of course, a couple of statements here and there by Netflix probably has more impact than my meager donations to the EFF and random rants on tech blogs. I'll take a tepid ally over a straight-up enemy any day. So Netflix won't be swooping in to save the day, does that invalidate the good they've done so far?

    In short, disappointment I can understand. Anger and outrage, on the other hand, not so much.

  • Jun 1st, 2017 @ 7:14am


    I really don't get this article. What's the problem here? Netflix believes that they have enough clout to protect themselves regardless of net neutrality, or lack thereof. They're probably right.

    If they'd suddenly flipped to an anti-net neutrality stance I'd understand the outrage, but that's not the case here. Netflix has decided that it doesn't make sense for them to be on the front-lines any more, and that's their prerogative. It's not like people were donating funds to Netflix to fight for net neutrality; that's what the EFF is for.

  • May 31st, 2017 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re: ??

    You seem to have missed the point entirely. It appears that you're operating on the assumption that there is a single core problem that is the source of everything. If so, you're either naive, or attempting to push a particular agenda, or both. Either way, sorry to break it to you, but there is no magic bullet that can fix everything. When I say that the problem is manifold, that is exactly what I mean; we are dealing with a cascade of interconnected problems. There are no easy answers, there is no single aspect at which we can point to say "that's the cause of everything, fix that and we're good". I wish there were, but this isn't a story, where we all join together to stop the big bad and save the day. This is reality, and, unfortunately, in reality shit is complicated. All we can do is attempt to fix the problems one by one, but even that's easier said than done.

  • May 30th, 2017 @ 5:34pm

    Re: ??

    The "problem" is manifold. Let's start with blind voting along party lines, where bills like this are rushed through without any real debate. Then we can talk about how poorly our "representatives" actually represent the will of the people, thanks to rampant Gerrymandering and unfettered campaign contributions. Then maybe we can discuss this culture of "collect everything" that is pervasive among agencies which are not headed by elected officials, even though it's been shown time and again that, not only is the data subject to abuse, but it doesn't actually perform the prescribed function, the signal gets lost in the noise. We might then finish up with the thought that laws aren't a great benchmark for determining the wrongdoings of those who make the laws, because, as the saying goes, who watches the watchers?

    Problems are easy. Solutions are what require deep thought.

  • May 21st, 2017 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh, GPL.

    I'll cop to being somewhat off-topic, but how is this trolling? Just last week had to write a library from scratch (that was pretty basic) because GPL is incompatible with pretty much any of my clients' environments. It gets frustrating. If you want to open source your code, open source your code.

    End of rant.

  • May 21st, 2017 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Last 21 digits of Pi

    Of course, if I did that, I would literally set my password to "the last twenty-one digits of PI", just so that when then finally figure it out I could simultaneously defuse the situation while smugly giving them a second finger.

    ...I'm not a nice person.

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