Vidiot’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 30th, 2016 @ 9:25am

    (untitled comment)

    Ahh, the ol' "appropriate channels" loophole. That means you're required to run a gauntlet of failed middle managers who, through inertia, internal political fear or simple idiocy, have failed to blow a few whistles of their own.

  • Sep 30th, 2016 @ 6:26am

    (untitled comment)

    One word: Standing. As in, none.

    Who cares what four pea-brained idiots think of a standards organization transition? And who will listen?

    Next legal action: "Four State AG's Sue El Niño for Forest Fire Losses"

  • Sep 26th, 2016 @ 10:42am

    "Oscars So White" No More

    Next up: a law that requires IMDB to replace headshots with blank, gray avatars, so actors' race won't be disclosed. Sure cure for racism in Hollywood!

  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 1:26pm


    Hostages! That's it! Finally, the other shoe drops... the supposedly-legitimizing use of IMSI catchers. Think of the (hostage) children!

  • Sep 23rd, 2016 @ 5:30am

    (untitled comment)

    Typographically, those two "T's" aren't the same... in fact, I would suspect the Bacardi designer didn't draw a character by hand, but used an existing font. No, I can't magically find it among the hundreds of thousands out there; but take a look at this search for old-west style fonts... at least a third have that pointy accent in the middle of any vertical strokes.

    One thing it does bear a striking resemblance to? The letter "T".

  • Sep 14th, 2016 @ 12:06pm

    (untitled comment)

    Presidential candidates, take note! He seems to be a good fit for your new Washington lineup... tell your transition team.

  • Sep 9th, 2016 @ 12:31pm

    Nordic urges?

    The last big flap over unnecessary automated FB censorship targeted a Copenhagen statue... what is it about these Scandinavians? Semi-naked mermaids, fully-naked napalm victims... must be a burning curiosity to see what's under everyone's cable knit sweaters. Thanks be to Woden that we have Facebook to purge these prurient interests.

  • Sep 8th, 2016 @ 8:59am

    (untitled comment)

    "Part of Yglesias' argument for a blanket email exception is that these are often informal communications..."

    Kinda like phone conversations, which can be formal, on-the-record statements, or just shootin' the shit.

  • Sep 8th, 2016 @ 4:58am

    App equivalence

    If the app is really going to serve as a substitute for an open standards STB, here's what I need it to do: pay me $12 a month, every month, in perpetuity.

  • Sep 1st, 2016 @ 9:09am

    (untitled comment)

    "... Google Fiber threatened the Nashville City Council that it would stop its fiber build if an ordinance Google Fiber drafted wasn’t passed..."

    as opposed to

    "... threatened that its lobbyists would stop sending large checks...". That would be the AT&T method.

  • Aug 29th, 2016 @ 7:29am

    Source, please

    "MPs warned that social media websites are becoming the 'vehicle of choice' for spreading terrorist propaganda..."

    Because MP's know ALL that cool stuff! What's hip-hop 'n' happenin' amongst the bearded elite of the world's terror communities. Not only are they not pathetically isolated from their own constituents, they know all the social media foibles of evildoers everywhere.

    Either that, or they read it in the tabloids.

  • Aug 25th, 2016 @ 11:31am


    Not a very busy member of the bar, apparently... that filing took an awful lot of typing.

    And I don't read too many such filings, but I can't say I've seen anyone spend as much time reciting the statutes' various requirements and intentions; there's this "hey, I just read what RICO means!" kind of quality to that voluminous prose. Bet the judge will be thankful Counselor Roy was able to explain all this complex stuff for him.

  • Aug 19th, 2016 @ 5:00am

    Sit back and wait for anomalies

    Thirty years ago, when computers first appeared in cars, a few highly-publicized throttle failures in GM vehicles prompted defense contractor Martin Marietta to try to market surplus data processing capabilities to developers of such mission-critical code. For a fee, you could run massive simulations on their mighty Cray supercomputers, testing every combination of control setting and sensor readings, to look for anomalous behaviors that might result. They'd done that for the Challenger postmortem - weeks of round-the-clock Cray runs inputting every permutation of every fractional pressure and temperature value, every throttle setting, and so on - and felt by automating the wringing-out process, developers and manufacturers could mitigate risk and control product liability.

    The self-driving guys face this same issues, but with unimaginably complex multipliers: variables introduced by random, erratic humans... fellow drivers and pedestrians. And don't forget factors like weather, crappy pavement condition and marginal road markings.

    It just feels like self-driving technologies are being implemented quickly and, perhaps, without the incredibly thorough validation required. Sure, we've got post-millennial innovation and entrepreneurial enthusiasm driving us forward, but there's this YOLO thing lurking behind it... "trust us, what have you got to lose?" I'd like a little more hard data, I think.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 8:48am

    Drop the label

    Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, cable won't acknowledge there's a problem until about 90 seconds before it's fully poached; with a high-stakes, cash-cow business model, they're fully committed to believing their own line of shit, no matter what.

    But one good indicator of a sea change... recognizing reality... is when everyone stops putting scare quotes around "OTT" -- or, better yet, drops the term altogether. It's no longer "over the top"... our current day blend of streaming, mobile and a whiff of broadcast is the new normal, and it doesn't need a label, because we're all living it.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 1:22pm

    Fool and her (or someone's) money

    Another missed opportunity. I could have achieved the same results for a fraction of that $500K!

    However, a talented spiritualist such as myself might be able to tweak her karma a bit to avoid further troubles. Does she still have that big pocketbook with her?

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 6:06am

    They're Nicola Tesla?

    That's the way I first read that. But you're right... expecting energy to flow through the ether, from the generation source (consumers' wallets) to the load (Comcast bank accounts) despite never having established a tangible connection between them. And, as a result, seeming like a crazy person, howling at the moon, when it doesn't go according to this wacky, disconnected theory.

    (Apologies to the genius of beloved Mr. Tesla.)

  • Aug 12th, 2016 @ 1:44pm


    You've got a BUNCH of shortin' to do... the researchers apparently disclosed to VW (who has responded energetically) late last year, but is still working through the disclosure-and-response process with several other manufacturers.

  • Aug 12th, 2016 @ 1:40pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's always amusing to seen a screen cap of a Google results page attached as an exhibit in a filing... Exhibit 1, no less! Say, counselor, didn't your middle school teacher warn you about using web search results as reference sources?

  • Aug 12th, 2016 @ 5:52am

    (untitled comment)

    That's the ol' censorship-vs-TOS tango... Grandpa's favorite dance!

  • Aug 12th, 2016 @ 5:48am

    Assigning value

    One of the core issues here is a variant on the fundamental question, "What's worth preserving?"

    For most of us, the answer would be "everything". I get a kick out of reading mundane, slice-of-life moments from PDF's of old regional newspapers, probably more than from viewing a digitized image of the Magna Carta. The value we assign to preservation, i.e., archiving, is a floating quantity.

    But, as always, perceived value needs to be matched by monetary value. Even the monks who hand-duplicated ancient manuscripts had to be fed and sheltered... there's always a cost. Librarians and archivists working primarily with paper archives faced this, too, but it only occurred at long intervals; today, our proliferation of digital formats means that the archivist's job is nearly continuous. As soon as a collection has been fully migrated from one fading medium to the next, greatest platform, you can bet that the process will begin again, as new technology becomes old. Preservation cycles formerly measured in centuries are now measured, at best, in decades.

    And someone needs to pay. Continuously.

    As a result, archiving efforts for the biggest, most prestigious collections are funded, because we can all agree on that question of value. Not so much, though, for media of secondary interest; those are likely to be ignored until hardware vanishes, file formats disappear or magnetic coercivity fades into oblivion. Sometimes, content's best hope is that it will drop below that secondary threshold, into the realm of "quirky ephemera", where oddballs like me might step in and volunteer to migrate the media.

    So maybe that's the next great role for the world's underused, underappreciated network of public libraries -- archiving and preservation of mid-value content. Makerspaces and 3D printers are nice, but professional librarians all have advanced degrees in the fields that would make them indispensible to this effort.

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