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  • Oct 19th, 2018 @ 8:35am

    Oblivious isn't the right word

    The executives here are kind of caught in a world that REQUIRES buying into a false perception of reality.

    First of all, they all suffer from what some call the "golden nails" falacy in real estate: that what you own is worth so much more than market rate, that yours is special, and deserves more because of X, with varying degrees of X.

    Then, we have the fact that the executives are tasked with making their customers happy. The issue is, the customers aren't the people buying the service, it is the investors, typically wall street who are fixated on their own priorities (which is having the most "winnings" to make themselves look best, so their priorities are fixated on the best profit margin). So, the exec has to have the highest profit margin, and if the investors see someone else succeeding, their job is to get as much a piece of the pie as they can.

    The issue is, buying into their investors priorities is often not in the best interest of the company, and has everyone wasting money chasing shadows, and burning the last vestiges of a good idea that has already been maximized. So they have to have this alternate reality that their company is really amazing and worth so much and trying to keep the companies employees happy, but at the same time focusing on the short terms gains their investors want.

    The reality is simple: you cannot serve two masters. If your master is the investor, they only care about margins, and don't really care if the company lasts 20 years, they will happily sell you when you aren't in their best interest. They have little loyalty. However, since institutional investors have so much power to buy boards, what choice do you have? Basically, if you run a company in a responsible way these days, you are asking to get fired unless you have a very lucky board.

    Frankly, when I hear a company is going public, I tend to worry about their long term stability. Some giants can make it, but too often, the rest just slowly fizzle.

    So, they aren't oblivious. They are doing what their investors demand, and buy into the false reality that their product DESERVES all this.
  • Jul 5th, 2018 @ 5:25am

    Some Serious Underlying Questions

    So, there are a few things here:
    A. How long does this stuff last? I mean, the date rape drug I seem to recall meant you also couldn't remember what happened. If there are no working body cams to prove what happened, this could potentially be a situation rife with ability to abuse.

    B. The connection between the hospital doing this study and the police dept needs to be probed. When did this study start, and was it linked in any way to the more common usage? Was there communication between the entities about it? Is there any way one side gets a benefit due to this (money, renumeration, now with more patients, it helps some study practitioner, so they have more incentive to ask for more, etc)?

    I see someone in the comments seems to be defending the use who has some experience, which is interesting to see (And why I love techdirt still having their own comments section). I'd like to hear an opposing medical practitioner viewpoint if there is one though. I just feel like there is still something shady with a study that adds patients prior to consent and the increase in usage though, and it doesn't feel right.
  • May 7th, 2018 @ 5:52am

    Enabling/Prosecutorial Discretion

    Let me preamble this by saying that what the officers in this case are doing is absolutely wrong and is a clear abuse of power.

    That being said, I blame the prosecutors as much as the cops. They seem to want it both ways. They will justify their showing up in court and arguing for these laws because "they have to use the laws that are on the books". Then, when they don't want to throw the book at someone (and the book keeps getting bigger and heavier), or if it becomes a pr scandal, suddenly they can claim "prosecutorial discretion".

    I like to call it "enabling", and not taking a stand for what they should. People talk about jury nullification as a way to stand up against bad laws - prosecutors can just choose not to pursue those charges.

    There are some nasty realities out there now:
    1. The desire for winning means throwing as many charges as they can to see what will stick (see Aaron Schwartz, among many others). If they were caught, they are guilty, and their job is to argue that side. The person's defense attorney is the only one that's supposed to advocate for their client. It's all about getting as many wins as they can, with no moral regard.

    2. The cozy relationship police have with too many trades has become an issue. Reporters don't want to lose sources, so they don't report bad things, or spin things (note: this is also true in politics and sports reporting - all too many journalists now are part of the machine they report on). And prosecutors are too indoctrinated into the us vs them philosophy. See Ken's post over at reason:

    But I blame the prosecutors for not having a chat with the cop in a back room somewhere saying this isn't ok. They are supposed to be a parent here in a way, as a safeguard. They are failing.
  • Jan 10th, 2018 @ 4:21am

    New law against reckless stupidity

    Some days, I really wish we could have a civil law against reckless stupidity, where we could at least do something about these types of cases.

    Then, I realize just how many people would be guilty of it (including me when I make blunderheaded choices), and then I realize that in our already overly litigious society, it would be heavily abused.

    But on days like this, it doesn't stop me from really wanting it.

  • May 16th, 2017 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Actually, they play both sides

    Umm, neither. I am saying that based on how they phrased this press release, it can be read in many ways:

    1. It is the 3 letter agencies stockpiling
    2. It theft like a missile done by bad people and they were helped by wikileaks
    3. It is because of bad "other country" state actors.

    Basically: "it's not our fault, it's everyone else's".

    I am well aware of what happened. I think that wikileaks has shown many times that accountability and openness are lacking, but then again, this has always been the case. Some could make the argument that they went too far by releasing this source code, but I don't actually subscribe to that theory, or that they shouldn't have done expose after expose.

    So, either you read what I said wrong, or you are looking for an argument that doesn't exist. I was merely opining how cleverly written this PR was, as it kind of gave them an out against pissing off completely either side.
  • May 16th, 2017 @ 4:35am

    Actually, they play both sides

    So, the actual thought that I had when I read this when it first came out was that MS had done the perfect thing to come off as attacking, but basically appeases both sides while protecting itself. It's very nicely done PR.

    See, it gives the Intelligence community a huge out. It conflates leaked information with a missile being stolen. It in a sense adds blame to wikileaks too. So, a person on the side of the 3 letter agencies will read this as blaming wikileaks, and that this is just another reason that anyone associated with wikileaks should be locked away, because see what they did! It's their fault people know about it, not our fault for using the tools at our disposal! Let's make sure there can never, ever be another whistleblower, even legit ones!

    But at the same time, they also start with complaining about stockpiles and end with state actors, which to normal people means the NSA and CIA, which are named. But the NSA and CIA read this in order. And if you read it, it only implicates their names at the very top. It then goes on to blame hackers/leakers, then call out state actors and organized crime, and then mentions other countries. So, they can read this as "See, these are the countries that are abusing it, we HAVE TO do this, it's the new cyber cold war, we have to be ready". By the end, the key that the US Intelligence is an issue can be easily glossed over by people who don't want to accept that, and focus on other parts.

    It's craftful writing. Put the hard part in the beginning, but near the end give a higher view, so it doesn't tick them all off.

    The key is that in all this, it's everyone else's fault. There is nothing about then trying to work on their patch methods, especially since, again, THIS was patched earlier, so clearly the issue wasn't communicated to end users and IT staff all that well, now was it? Was there a campaign by anyone at MS to say "hey, wait, see, this leak over here is bad, update all your computers with these patches, just to be safe". It doesn't feel like there was. It was another attempt at security by obscurity, or by ostrich effect. And like those attempts always do, it burned them.

    It seems almost no software is bug or exploit free, at least not modern software. The fact is, that means more vigilance, which admittedly is costly for small coding groups. But especially for OS vendors, who need to accept their own responsibility for issues, and focus on fixing some basic communications. I agree a cyber Geneva convention would be great.... but that doesn't fix people not installing patches, now does it? And that is one of the core issues here.

    So, good job whoever wrote that PR, it was masterfully done. But bad job with deflection instead of admitting there was a role in it for themselves.
  • Oct 19th, 2016 @ 6:58pm

    This could backfire

    So, while their approach was spot on, you all know what is going to happen again, right? Yup, using the "Mosaic Effect" as an excuse to withhold more information, and them being all the more evasive because if it. People in charge for some reason do not like egg on their face, and their egos usually bristle at "common" folks attacking the force who are entirely engaged in "making the world a safer place".
    Of course, your definition of what makes the world a better place likely differs just a lot from what theirs does, especially when they think common people are morons who have no idea of the "wars" they have to fight every day. And the fact that making the world a safer place doesn't mean a police state (well, police city in this case) is all too often lost on them.
    But yes, I expect that now CPD has learned their lesson, and will now attempt to beat the NYPD at the game. I expect LAPD to make it a "rap" war and then add in Atlanta for good measure, just because.
    Sadly, the more that they are held accountable, the more angry they get, and more evasive they get. This is what temper tantrums and unchecked authority and misplaced goals look like...
  • Sep 26th, 2016 @ 5:55am

    Supposedly were watching to see who used them

    I read in some article on this that the NSA was "watching the internet closely" to see if anyone else started using these tools, to try and use it to see if whoever did it would out themselves, so they could track them down.

    On the other hand, I can also see that these tools were sold to other parties, so that couldn't be the sole identifier (unless there were code fingerprints). That is, unless there are bidding wars by different nations to the companies that sell the tools, requiring that only they hold that zero day. Which could also be why they didn't want to report it: they spent a lot to outbid everyone, they don't want to lose their tool. But I've seen other articles which seem to indicate that tools are sold to multiple parties, so take that for what it is worth.

    Either way, in their zeal to catch whoever got the tools, they failed to realize that maybe, just maybe, those people would be better at covering their tracks, perhaps by not trying to hack everyone on the face of the earth with them so they wouldn't be so likely to leave traces.

    This just goes to show: When your motivation is retaliation or face saving, you almost never win. When you own up, it almost always goes better for you. Everyone makes mistakes, so people are (generally) understanding of making mistakes. It's when people lie, blame someone else, make excuses, etc that people start to get really annoyed. When will corporations and politicians finally understand this? It's almost never the mistake that causes all the issues. If Hillary had just said "Yup, I ran a private server, that was dumb of me, I am sorry", then seriously, I doubt we'd still be talking about it. If Clinton and Bush had said "Yup, we thought there were WMD's, but we were wrong, we are sorry", people wouldn't be quite so pissed off.

    I used to love deflating my boss storming in mad by admitting I was wrong, and owning it. I told him I'd go back to being perfect tomorrow, but I'd try to fix this issue today. Half his bluster was lost because he knew he'd made mistakes too, but he expected me to throw someone else under the bus or make excuses. Then I'd call the customer, admit I was wrong, make it right, and then shockingly, the next time they needed something, they'd call me since I treated them right and was honest.

    So instead of just owning it, they hid and were looking at the internet to "catch them". They should have come out. But then again, we just expect this narrative now, don't we?
  • Aug 27th, 2016 @ 5:58am

    This is going to get VERY convoluted...

    So, the go to site everyone thinks of is Google images, et al. And rightly, other people realize this is EVERY site with image linking.

    But let's think this through to the next step: stock photo sites. And then let's mesh this up with the other recent stories: ht-law-licensing-images-it-has-no-rights-to.shtml

    So, in this case, Getty will give France a copyright authorization on images it doesn't actually own the true copyright to, in order that France can charge Carol Highsmith on behalf of Getty (taking a small cut in, of course), that gets passed on to Getty (who takes a small cut... well, the total cut in this case, nothing gets back to the creators).

    In this case, I assume France is not liable, since it was provided wrong information by Getty, but really, in a very real sense, this is just France getting a cut (and first in line, nonetheless!, because it hasn't even been licensed yet!). And not even on purchase, which is typically when a payout occurs, but instead upon the making available.

    So, wait, does this mean that I should expect a royalty check from France the second my image becomes available (not even downloaded by an end user, because this is before that)? Cool. I shall go make a ton of junk images online and submit them to Getty and all the other stock photo sites. I'll laugh all the way to my very tiny piggy bank!
  • Nov 5th, 2015 @ 3:31pm

    Nothing Happens in a Vaccum

    So, I think it's fascinating to take the comments in light of this ars article: w/

    HBO WANTS them to embrace their service. They want it bundled even. So, either Charter's CEO is not wanting to partner with them because they don't fight "piracy", and using that as his excuse, or perhaps he's mad because he didn't partner with them when he could.

    Either way, I have a great idea! Let's demonize one of major cost upgrade services we've used to sell and bundle and upsell for years! It's brilliant! HBO has made them tons of money, and this is how they reacted. Spoiled much?
  • Nov 4th, 2015 @ 3:10pm


    Hey, you have to admit, this time someone took the time to use a thesaurus. They suddenly realized people took offense to the phrase nanny state. So they just relabeled it a caretaker function! It sounds so much better! What could possibly go wrong?
  • Oct 7th, 2015 @ 5:48am

    Re: More than enough blame to go around

    I absolutely agree. Like I said, these groups are enabling each other. I do not find any of them blameless. There is constant overreach by all of them, and when one group overreaches, and it becomes the status quo, and then when the other party then decides to push some limits, and it becomes the norm... you get the creeping of powers, assumption that everyone is guilty and must be punished, and then there are too few people to help those who have this behemoth of a system looming over them.
    Mind you, I'm not saying everyone is innocent either, by any stretch, and there are clearly rules and laws that need to be obeyed, and there is a society to protect.
    It's like the situation where people think that because lives have been lost, that privacy needs to go away so people can be better protected, when we are also losing our freedom. People are way too scared of the "not on my watch" attitude, where they are so scared of being blamed for some tragedy that they go way overboard in trying to prevent it. The reality is, and I'm sad to say it, there are always tragedies, both by nature and by man.
    The issue is that all of them have crossed the line from protecting everyone, to only protected the ones they think are innocent. As soon as you are seen as possibly in the wrong, you are not worthy of protection anymore, and are generally contemptible and evil. When you are charged, it's like your rights in general go out the window, and they are just looking for the kill. At least, that's how it feels to me.
  • Oct 7th, 2015 @ 5:18am

    Not the Cops this time.... with some background

    Full Disclosure: I can almost see the police station involved above from where I am sitting.
    My first reaction was the usual "well, it's easy to talk about police abuses of power amorphously, very different when it's your own town, with police you've seen doing traffic details, pulling you over for going a bit over the speed limit, and who go to your kids schools to educate them (and who are suddenly doing lok-down (sic) training on Friday)".

    Then I was surprised such a middling town police force would try this tactic. This isn't super small town trying to shake down people with traffic stops (in MA, we believe in speed suggestions, not limits). This isn't a town where a lot of profiling should really happen. This is a town where it was a big deal that a selectman decided to rush out and paint crosswalks with deck paint because he was impatient, and was charged for it.

    Then I read the actual court transcript. It wasn't the police who sought it.. it was the ADA, and the commonwealth. This may seem trivial, but I'm starting to realize that the issues aren't just with the officers. It's the people telling the officers what info they want, it's the people who seem to think that everyone is guilty until proven innocent, it's the people who will take prosecutorial discretion to new lows and throw every possible law at people to force them to make a plea deal (and we won't even go into Aaron Schwartz here).

    I'm realizing nothing happens in a vacuum. The number of times we've seem evidence withheld, questionable prosecutions, and railroading is becoming a major issue (especially in light of John Oliver's recent segment highlighting this on public defenders).

    The reality is, Law and Order both brought to light the underlying assumptions in that world that the prosecution is always right and everyone is guilty, and then the rash of police procedurals perpetuated that myth. It's gotten out of control. We need to stop believing it's just X group. It's because numerous groups enable each other that these things happen. And we as a society need to find some way to get some accountability. I just wish I knew how to do that. People are too busy watching reality tv to even see the world outside their door. And until they are prosecuted, they will be happy their streets are supposedly safer. Even though they are safer because the people supposed to enforce the rules are making them up so they almost always win.
  • Sep 29th, 2015 @ 2:51pm

    Two major items most people miss

    I think people are overlooking some important details:
    1. This is a massive loss of ad revenue for them. Instead of reading a story once, then moving on, if you have a comments section, suddenly people are staying longer and returning to the site to engage, and see more ads. Since they are losing readership, and complaining about it, how on earth does it make sense for them to ELIMINATE repeat and extended ad sessions? You can't come complaining to me about being poor when you are losing a simple and useful revenue stream (and as if twitter, facebook, and google need more ad views for themselves, but if you want to gift them to them, it's your own fault).

    2. The media outlets are so used to framing the story, that they think that the way they spin it IS the truth. That's how they always get away with saying something that is mutually contradictory like this. They waste their own respect and intellectual capital they used to have to try to spin it, and they are so stuck into thinking they are the ones who can decide the news that they think it will work.

    So, now, they lose their revenue stream, their viewership, and more respect from people who see them as they are and who learn not to trust their spin (And every news story has spin based on the adjectives used, there is no such thing as pure impartial reporting anymore, if ever). Go ahead, bury yourselves even earlier, and then when you complain when you say no one is left to staff the investigative units, we can point to you giving up ad revenue, focusing too much on unnamed sources, and the even more obvious slanting of the news than ever before.
  • Jul 22nd, 2015 @ 9:59am

    A nice distraction

    Here at United, recent events have led us to make sure we keep our planes, and it's passengers, as safe as possible. To that end, we are asking you to install this little package that will make hackers focus on getting into your system (which we are amazing as easy for them as we can) I stead of ours, because your safety in this aluminum tube is paramount.
    That, and if you get hacked, it makes our ceo feel better about us getting hacked, since it happens to everyone. And we'd hat to make our ceo cry.
    Thank you for helping us keep you safe!
    *notice: unless you happen to have any sensitive information of your computer, and only until you get home anyway, at least we hope, really. But we are sure you don't and will be fine, just fine.
  • Mar 25th, 2015 @ 5:57am

    Buying a cd

    Maybe off topic, but they did ask the question:
    I always want to think about buying the full album. First of all, I can prove ownership, rather than a nebulous "license" that can be revoked (which is why when I do buy something digital, I immediately back it up somewhere).
    Second, there are often far better songs on a cd than the popular ones, and I can't always tell in a 30 second snippet (thank goodness for Spotify for taking that restriction away, at least it gives me a chance now).
    Third, I'm old fashioned and like album art.
    I also like supporting bands who have had consistently good music, and who try to tell stories with their albums (a few still do this).
    Yeah, I have cultural add me distraction levels and half the time, most mass market pop stars may have one song I like. In that case, I'm not likely to buy that song anyway. I WILL buy good music for the bands I like. And shockingly, at my local store the cost is not much more than a buck a song. And more often, more of that less profit sale (due to store cut, shipping, packaging) goes to the artist (remember what happened to Eminem with license fees?). So yeah, I still do it.
    Now get off my lawn!
  • Jan 9th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Why do they order so many tests

    This is completely overlooking one of the major issues with US healthcare, and its costs.

    Drs. order a ton of tests... but you fail to realize why. They have to, or else if something happens, they get sued. For a lot of money. In fact, look into how much of a practices income goes to malpractice insurance a year. The number is astonishing. Tests are how they try to cover their butts in case of a lawsuit.

    If you REALLY want to reign in health care costs, simple tort reform where people can't sue human beings who can and will make mistakes for exorbitant amounts of money would be a huge step.

    Drs are humans. They do their best. However, like most of us, they will not always do everything perfectly. I wish it were otherwise, but it's true. Taking 25-35% of their income to protect against lawsuits is a ton of money tied up in the insurance companies treasure chests.

    (Then again, tort reform where people aren't getting millions from McDonalds for coffee is hot would go a long way towards helping everyone, not just the lawyers and the people who win the lottery of being hurt and cash in)
  • Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:02pm


    I'm sorry sir, but you have pieced together your knowledge of our existence based on mosaic theory. Any normal person would have no need to look into our existence. Therefore, you must be up to no good. I think it's time to bring you in for some questioning. Now, let me just gag you, since an innocent person wouldn't need a lawyer. Good, now answer the following yes or no questions. I'm sure you have nothing to hide. Don't worry, we are doing this for your own good. We are serving you by protecting you from yourself. Since you are not on the police force, you must not know how best to protect yourself. Leave that to us. Now then, off to our "discussion" room...
  • Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    A refreshing admittance

    My favorite part about this post is that someone, anyone FINALLY unequivocally admitted they were wrong.

    I know it's too much to expect from a government employee, but even a scholar rarely does it.

    The fact that he doesn't backtrack, doesn't try to make it sound as if he meant this all along, and doesn't make excuses is exactly the right attitude. It shows integrity and engenders respect.

    On the other side are all the double talkers who won't admit they are wrong. I don't trust them, never will. Now, I GET why Obama won't say anything bad about the NSA. He's scared to death of another terrorist attack during his presidency, and it impacting the way he is viewed in perpetuity. If he gives us back our rights, and something happens, he gets lambasted for not doing enough to protect us, and he has no response to that (there is one, but he wont use it). The "Not On My Watch" mentality is why the government is literally afraid to do anything real about this situation.

    That's why only the courts can pull off protecting us. Only they are unelected, and aren't pandering in fear of their prestige. The Supreme court gets to answer very precise questions of law, and they are the last step in giving back our rights.

    So, I'm happy to admit when Sotomayer was up for nomination, I didn't like her either.. But at least in this, she has my respect.

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