shanen’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Feb 15th, 2015 @ 4:34pm

    Torture is stupid, too

    This is the only reference I could find for "trap", but I wish the system was smart enough to look for obvious synonyms, etc.

    However, just to make the point clear: If your enemy knows you use torture, then they can use that against you. Not just for recruitment and motivation of their fighters, which has frequently been mentioned, but more directly, as with the baiting of traps mentioned in this post, but indirectly by relying upon complicated techniques that a person is not able to recall or use under torture. The torture may seem to authenticate the revealed information, whereas all it has actually done is authenticate the trap.

    However, I think the strongest argument against torture is that if you become as EVIL as your enemy, then your enemy has won. You can't defeat evil by becoming the greater evil.

  • Sep 11th, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

    Spoken like someone who truly has reason to be afraid of being linked to his "thoughts".

  • Sep 10th, 2014 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

    Convince me your question is sincere (for example, by asking a more specific question), and I'll be glad to explain any specific aspect of the suggestion.

    Otherwise, I'll just dismiss you as part of the problem (or problems), which mostly seems to be the way of the world lately.

  • Sep 10th, 2014 @ 6:07pm

    LOTS of good charities

    I agree that this is an important cause, and if I was made of money, then I would probably support it. Too bad I'm not so rich.

    Hey, how about #MDFC (More Democratic Funding Campaign) options after such articles. There would be 3 to 5 links to SOLUTIONS for the problems. Aren't you just too tired of hearing about all these problems? I could look at the options and pledge some money to support one (or more). If enough people agree with me that the project is good--which includes SUCCESS criteria, in stark contrast to Kickstarter--then the project gets the money.

    Not sure if I would support TechDirt to hold the money, however... Maybe I just don't know them well enough, but I think I'd prefer a charitable foundation, though they could give TechDirt a small return for their support. (In other words, if 5,000 people pledge to support some specific project after arriving from TechDirt, then there would be a monetary incentive.)

  • Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Which of the nine musicians from Wikipedia's giant disambiguation page do you mean? Probably the Monkey, per the earlier comment?

    Actually, I just wanted to note that I've never seen such an impression disambiguation page. They have a deep hierarchy of related articles and categories just under the human references there. On my google results for "david jones", this page was only the 3rd among 5 Wikipedia results.

    By the way, remember "All your attentions are belongs to the google." True corporate motto.

  • Feb 12th, 2014 @ 4:10pm

    Neo-GOP intellectual integrity = NIL

    Rand Paul is supposed to be one of the most principled members of the neo-GOP. I wanted to say "thinkers", but no evidence he's ever moved an inch beyond his childhood indoctrination.

    The problem here is that these NSA/CIA attacks on the Constitution are NOT a partisan issue, but a systemic dysfunction. There are so-called Republicans (no relation to Abe Lincoln or Teddy's GOP) who are just as liable and deserving of inclusion in this so-called lawsuit as anyone currently in the government. Actually, I'd say that the big dick Cheney and the big don Rumsfeld are probably the most culpable, and we can debate about whether or not Dubya has any liability for being such an ignorant clown.

    I'm not saying the named defendants don't deserve being sued, but leaving off the neo-GOP culprits makes into a trivial partisan witch hunt. So much for Rand Paul's so-called principles.

  • Mar 30th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    (untitled comment)

    Not sure that comment was addressed to me as one of the "either", but the new comment was called to my attention, and perhaps I should clarify three points about my comment.

    First, I am taking a broad view of "project management" as including all the people and factors that contribute to the ultimate success and failure of a project. That includes knowing the criteria by which success will be evaluated BEFORE the project begins.

    Two, my wording about failures was unclear. I was referring to projects sponsored by those three websites, not the metrics of those websites. However, in terms of evaluating such websites, I think the success ratio of the sponsored projects should probably be the most important metric.

    Third, I know that I should be more trusting of people, but I am not so rich that I feel like throwing money at every nice sounding project. Of course wealthy donors will check to see how their donations are being spent, but small donors like me need help in seeing what happens, which is the essence of my suggestion. (My version of the broader topic is under "reverse auction charity shares".)

  • Mar 3rd, 2013 @ 12:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Amanda Palmer for RIAA President

    I'm not saying that you would buy anything concrete. This 'reverse auction charity share' idea is still a form of charity, and I think that all you would get for it would be mention on a list of donors. Maybe there would be an incentive program with gold stars. For example, a magazine using this mechanism might give gold stars to the 'early investors' in an article that led to something significant like a Pulitzer Prize.

    The main difference is that this is a way that would allow small donors to have some influence and control over the charitable projects. As it stands now, small donors are mostly ignored and have no real idea how their money is spent, whereas large donors get to call the shots.

  • Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Amanda Palmer for RIAA President

    I think she's legit. She said she would make a bunch of music for the money. I think she was even up front about the kind of music and that not everyone will like her music. However, I have two problems with this approach:

    (1) There is no basis to say how much her music is worth. Kickstarter sort of said it was worth over $1 million. More power to her, but really?

    (2) What if she just took the money and ran away? Actually, I'm sure that happens pretty often, but I'm even more sure that Kickstarter doesn't talk about those cases on their website.

    I think there should be some control over the project. To make it concrete, the people proposing a project should say how much it will cost to do what they propose and how much they want to receive in exchange for doing it. I think the parent organization should even provide help in such things as describing projects in a meaningful way, helping them with the budgeting, and providing evaluation criteria to say whether or not a project was successful. It shouldn't be like a gold mine where people are trying to strike it rich, but if the project does succeed, then they can submit another project, hopefully a more ambitious one.

    I actually visualize it as a kind of 'charity brokerage'. Near as I can tell, Kickstarter basically runs a website, but the brokerage would support project management and have a vested interest in helping the projects succeed. My longest description is called 'reverse auction charity shares', for what little that is worth. The idea actually goes back before I ever heard of Kickstarter, IndyGogo or CrowdRise. (I bet there are others by now...)

  • Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re: Can't watch TED

    Thanks for the URL, though I already suspect it is inferior to 'reverse auction charity shares'.

    Now for the censorship topic: Ever heard of Nick Hanauer? Not on TED you won't, though his TED talk video is somewhat available elsewhere. I know that interest is a subjective thing, but I really defy you to find anyone who is unable to find at least one talk they find LESS interesting posted on TED. I personally have seen at least a dozen off the top of my head. Actually I think the keywords for this talk would be "true" and "important", or maybe even the local keyword "insightful"--but you will NOT see it on TED.

    The reason I mention "interest" is because TED claimed that was the basis for censoring it. In reality, the reason was obviously that what Mr Hanauer said would offend at least some of their rich donors, and TED is VERY interested in keeping the money flowing.

    In fact, TED says his topic is so unimportant and uninteresting that they will not even permit discussions of the matter. I actually had the temerity to suggest that it had become MORE relevant at a later time. In case you didn't know, TED moderates all comments. Not just to prevent spam, but to CENSOR topics they don't want discussed. Is it possible that Nick Hanauer's talk has become more interesting over time? I actually think so, and there will be periodic peaks into the future, too--but NOT for any discussion on TED.

    I admit that I am really sensitive about censorship. I think even the worst ideas cannot be made to go away simply by pretending they don't exist--but there are plenty of times when good ideas are censored precisely because they bother someone who is defending a worse idea. I'm not sure what is the best example to cite... Did you know that FM radio was effectively censored for many years because GE held the key patents and didn't want to interfere with their profits from AM radio? Or maybe the google's new censorship policies is a better example?

    Back to the topic at hand: TED censors certain talks and then lies about why. No TED for me.

  • Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 2:56am

    Can't watch TED

    I'm unable to support censorship by watching TED. Is there an alternative location for her talk? Has she done the same presentation elsewhere? If not a URL, then perhaps a summary?

  • Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 12:20am

    Re: Accountability for charity

    Well, that's exactly why I visit it as a kind of charity brokerage. You wouldn't invest in expectation of any profit, though you could choose to be listed on the page of sponsors, or maybe earn a gold star. However, just as a stock brokerage assesses the companies that want to be listed so they can sell shares, the charity brokerage would assess the people who want to do projects.

    Actually, at first they should be pretty cautious before they give out the money. Before they get experience in recognizing the trouble signs they should make sure the projects have lots of relatively small milestones and give the funds periodically. However, if someone has a solid track record for past projects, then they can be more flexible.

    The essential idea is to give small donors something like the power of large donors. The problem with a large donor project is that it only works until the large donor starts making mistakes. Look at Unbuntu, eh?

  • Feb 20th, 2013 @ 4:29pm

    Project management is also important, not just money

    Crowdsourced funding needs to be incorporated with project management. I don't have time to say much this morning, but look at "reverse auction charity shares" for one approach. It would basically provide detailed planning WITH a managed budget and evaluation criteria, and the projects would commit after enough donors joined in.

  • Feb 16th, 2013 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Project management is difficult and VALUABLE

    I hate typos.


  • Feb 16th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Project management is difficult and VALUABLE

    No, the REAL reason it failed was bad project management, though of course you can argue that is the real reason every project fails. Not limited to Kickstarter, of course, but look at the failures of IndyGoGo, CrowdRise, and my personal favorite graveyard of good ideas, SourceForge. Reiterating that I do NOT speak for my large and supposedly successful employer, but there's a reason my employer values and even highly rewards project managers.

    My own economic model to solve this problem for charitable projects actually goes back before I ever heard of Kickstarter. The idea is similar, but with integrated project management. "Reverse auction charity shares" if anyone is interesting. Or should I just wish well to an old acquaintance who also struck it rich on Kickstarter with a project that gathered vastly more money than he had proposed? I don't think crowd-based funding should be another kind of lottery or goldmine, but management is hard and I admit that I personally wouldn't want to do it.

  • Jan 13th, 2013 @ 6:40pm

    (untitled comment)

    I think that Aaron Swartz's death is mostly yet another metric of the increasing insanity of American society. While I still think things will get better over the long term, none of us get to live so long. In particular, I think that secrecy is collapsing at such a rate that pretty soon no one will be able to afford it. I'd like to think that will cure some of the problems, but at least it will change the games...

    However, this topic obviously ties to the police trying to gain privacy by deleting recordings. Are you aware that you can set your phone to immediately transfer a copy to a remote server? I use google+, though the increasingly evil google poses its own set of intrusive threats.

  • Aug 7th, 2012 @ 10:12pm

    Should close out my relatively happy story

    Well, I see that I left my story in suspense, and that was about 5 months ago. Anyway, I did receive the new ink cartridge, and it is working well, and I'm even making a bit of an effort to print on a more regular basis in hopes of preventing this one from dying prematurely. I'm not exactly thrilled, but I still think that HP is mostly being treated too harshly in most of the other posts here. (And no, I'm not working anywhere in the HP food chain, though (as mentioned below) I once sold their printers among other brands.)

    I offer my poor joke about how all printers after Benjamin Franklin are the spawn of Satan, and their only goal is to mangle and ruin as much paper as possible. Having said that, I basically think that HP is the best of the troubled lot. My own personal experience with printers has been kind of limited to three or four brands over 30+ years, but there was a period when I was in sales in a computer store, and I collected lots of stories from my customers, so I feel like I have a pretty broad view. In conclusion, I feel the printers have mostly gotten less evil over the years, and HP deserves a lot of credit for the inkjet technology that brought color printing to the masses.

    Having said that, I doubt I'll refill this particular HP again, so I'll be shopping for a new one when it dies, and support for extremely low-volume printing will be a feature that I'll be searching for.

  • Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:35pm

    Nature is like that

    The Darwinian approach may seem brutal, but the genes are steering backwards. May I strongly recommend The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins? It is only our human ability to look beyond the fact of death that allows us to create such things as Darwin Awards, and perhaps to learn from the fatal mistake without making it.

    Having said that, I think the Darwin Awards need to evolve to be more accurate. There should be categories and rankings depending on the degree of Darwinism involved. In particular, they often award Darwin Awards for people who are too old to reproduce, and in such cases there is no Darwinian penalty. Only a young person who dies from stupidity BEFORE reproducing has truly earned the standard Darwin Award. In contrast, if an older person dies by idiocy while killing some descendents, now that does merit a Darwin Award, perhaps with a gold cluster for each descendent. Of course the grand prize should be reserved for true Darwinian idiots who manage to take their ENTIRE family with them.

  • Mar 12th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Not just a calendar thing

    "Warranty" means something after all. When I looked at it yet again and more closely, I realized the printer cartridge in question had a FUTURE date written on it. Only two months in the future, but there's still no way to interpret that as a manufacturing date or anything along those lines, at least not without a time machine.

    Armed with this new information, I returned to the HP website. That was actually kind of unpleasant because of the language issues, but I don't want to make a big issue of it because when I finally managed to find the right phone number and received the return call from the right person, they quickly agreed to replace the ink cartridge. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm confident it will soon. The policy of quickly standing behind their warranty actually makes a lot of sense, though I still think they could do a bit better--except that it seems they have now gone the other route...

    He told me that the ink cartridges for their their new printers no longer integrate the print head. I actually think this is a bad decision for the consumers, but probably more profitable for HP. I guess I'll have to rest content as a HP shareholder, and just mask my consumer-level dissatisfaction behind the replacement ink cartridge.

    Still, on balance I have to give kudos to HP on this one. Not sure if I'll have to buy another printer given how rarely I need to print these years, but I'll probably go with HP if it happens. (Don't get me started on my evil experiences with printers...)

  • Feb 21st, 2012 @ 6:10pm

    Not just a calendar thing

    For whatever it's worth, I've seen this kind of thing repeatedly with my oldish HP 2750 printer. However, I'm pretty sure it can't be hard-coded on a date in the print cartridge. One reason is that HP can't be sure the printer will know the correct date. Even if it's a network printer, it may not have any access to a time server. The other reason is just from the evidence of my latest round of experiences. First it fails, then it works, then it fails, then it works... Right now it's working, and the sensor apparently reports 3/4 full, but I definitely haven't printed much with this cartridge.

    Having said that, I don't print a lot and this printer has been fairly problematic over the years. Less so than other brands I've tried, but about par for HP. My guess is that it's just in their interest to allow the ink to clot up after a while. It's confusing because touching a tissue to the print head seems to show plenty of ink coming out, but I'm guessing the ink has actually changed its consistency enough so that the printer thinks it's dry. Perhaps there is a temperature-related aspect, too.

    If you want to put it in more polite terms, why should HP try to make print heads that last a long time even if you only print a little? They just optimize for the needs of most of their customers, and you can always 'restore' the printer with a new print cartridge since that includes a new print head.

    Yeah, I feel a bit swindled with ink that I didn't use, and I wish they sold an even smaller cartridge for my case, but it's still better to spend $30 for a new cartridge than much more for a new printer--except that the new printer would have various new features.