GJ’s Techdirt Profile


About GJ

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  • Jan 13th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    reality check...

    How about, instead of banging on a keyboard to whine about how the homeless have nothing to wear, you go through your stack of clothing and give some if it away?

  • Sep 30th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Yes, But Who Would Vote For It?

    I have yet to come across a politician who's running on a platform of "I'm going to get rid of stupid laws", or one who runs on "I'm going to get rid of ANY laws".

    The only thing the lawmakers do is, surprise, make new laws. Getting rid of stuff is not on the priority list.

    I guess it's not sexy ( = obscure reference to canadian politics about worldwide medical isotope shortage ).

  • Sep 26th, 2009 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Answer Keys and Competition

    What you did actually set them up for failure, when you could have turned it around and given them an opportunity to do the learning...

    I would argue that they set themselves up for failure, and that I have provided them with a wonderful opportunity to learn; only take shortcuts that get you to the finishline faster.

    Ok, so that's a fairly flippant answer on my side, and your concern warrants some more information on how I teach, as I believe my whole approach is a bit more nuanced than how I'd originally written my comment on this site.

    Students are provided with all the ethical rules they have to adhere to the moment they attend college. I tell them up front that the exercises, which make up a negligible amount of their final mark, will help them prepare for the midterms and the exams. We're not talking about a kindergarten class, we're talking about young adults. I am not there to police their studies, I'm there to offer knowledge and opportunity for practice and a test at the end to see if they understood it.

    Now, I don't just sit back and watch people fail. Those who struggle with the assignments get lots of time from me while I go over the material with them to get to a point where they "get it" (or sometimes to the point where they say they get it). I answer questions from anyone who has a question, during class and after hours.

    Someone who thinks they can pull the wool over my eyes is welcome to do so; at every exam I tell them that there is no punishment for cheating, there is a punishment for being caught cheating. I deal with computers: I like to be precise.

    If I make an accusation of plagiarism against a student, there's a lot of hassle. If I even hint at it, they can start a procedure that involves hearings and other crap about "bias" that just sucks up my time with no benefit to me or to any other students. I'm not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV, and I'm there to teach them the course material, not fight legal battles.

    They get good advice on how they should study, and I treat them like adults. They get the opportunity to use my time, and if they don't want to, they don't have to.

    College is a different environment from high school, and the repercussions of their actions are different. If they decide to cut corners, they will find out how well that works. For some it does, for some it does not.

    Those are all valuable lessons.

  • Sep 26th, 2009 @ 9:55pm


    "there is a reason myself and many of the rest of you havent bought a CD in years."
    Indeed. And that reason is...drum roll...because you're freeloaders.

    Um, no. First of all, Anonymous Coward, the main reason that I hardly ever buy CDs is that there's very little music produced that is worth "having".

    I will buy classical CDs, because I enjoy different renditions of good music, and it's easier to buy than to look for it online.

    Meanwhile, there is a lot of music that appeals to me, that I cannot find commercially. Most of this is stuff that's 30 years old, and I can find it shared from people who have digitized their records. Am I a freeloader because of that? Perhaps I am, but it is not by choice. I would purchase if it were commercially available.

    I am also eagerly awaiting a commercially produced DVD of spamalot, which I will be buying the moment it comes out, and until that time, I will revive my memory of attending this musical with the poor quality recordings that I can find online.

    So far, new copyright laws do not extend to administering electro shock on your way out of theatre (yet), so I am of the opinion that what I am doing is not particularly damaging to anyone: I would love to attend another performance, but am unable to do so for financial reasons (air fare to cross three time zones seems somewhat excessive).

    I also break the law in other ways, because I need to remove the region codes off the DVDs that I've bought abroad. Sometimes it's just easier to download AVIs (or whatever), so I can easily burn a copy.

    Not being able to play the legal DVDs that I have legally bought is extremely annoying, and region DVDs are an extremely mild form of DRM; easily circumvented with a chinese DVD player (which costs more than your North American bought DVD player), but not with the DVD player in my laptop, or with the one in the car (minivan: I don't watch movies when I'm driving. I'm too busy looking out for red light cameras).

    I would never have felt the need to research how to rip a DVD if I could easily play (different language) DVDs in the car for my kid and if I could easily create a backup of it to protect the original from scratches.

    I would never have felt the need to go online and search for music that I grew up with, if I had been able to purchase this music in a store.

    I'm not sure how you define "freeloader", or where you get the idea that I am using circular reasoning for what I do. Nor do I have the idea that I am ethically stealing anything. I am well aware of the fact that I am breaking the law. But I stand firm in my conviction that I am not stealing anything.

    The law, in this case, is an ass.


  • Sep 25th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re: How about we instill a "Czar of Representative Opinion"

    There's a way to handle czars. Look up 1917 Russia.
  • Sep 25th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Joshua was right

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
  • Sep 25th, 2009 @ 10:10am


    Anonymous Coward wrote: Canadian University needs to go back to school! Go to hell, Oh sorry, your already there. Enjoy the cold.

    Hey, psst!! Before you use the imperative "go back to school", you may want to clean up the punctuation, the capitalization and the grammar in your post. Never mind your strange allusion to the fact that hell has frozen over. Other than that: that was like a great comment, man!


  • Sep 25th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Calculators are useless, they can only give you answers.

    Teachers can move with the times by simply changing the tests: here's the question, here's the correct answer. Now show me your reasoning and your methods. You are allowed to use google, but if your answer matches Mike Masnick's writing style over 85%, you will be ridiculed on facebook for not having a mind of your own. If your answer matches Dark Helmet, you will be given ritalin.

    Blackadder: Try to have a thought of your own, Baldrick, thinking is so important. What do you think?

    Baldrick: I think thinking is so important my lord.

    Current education in a nutshell.
  • Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    it does seem a bit silly to have to bring someone else to court after you screwed up and sent the wrong email.

    Ok, serious question for you Mike: How else would they find out who received the email?

    Google, rightfully so, doesn't want to give the info without a court order, and the bank, rightfully so, has to cover its ass(ets) and get the information.

    What other course of action does the bank have?

    This, for once, seems like a legit (pardon the pun) reason for using the court system.


  • Sep 21st, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    patent evaluation

    Let's make a patent on a method of evaluating a patent.

    I'm pretty sure there's money in licensing that!

    How about a patent on evaluating political candidates. That means you would need a license before you can vote.

    Then at last folks would be forced to make an informed decision before voting. Since that has never happened before, I'm pretty sure there is no prior art to this.

  • Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    (untitled comment)

    Ben Stein?... Ben Stein?... Ben Stein?... Anyone?... Anyone?...
  • Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Consumer Lobby..... great idea..... I'm going to patent it ;)

    You can't simply buy politicians with money. You have to offer them a place on the board, with extravagant expense accounts, and an understanding that you will continue this in the future when they get out of politics, and you have to offer the same incentives to their cronies. So having a reliably revenue stream is necessary to be a lobbyist. It also ensures that the politicians you have in your pocket have a continued interest in working for you, because if you disappear, their network of corrupt folks will frown on the fact that the gravy train has stopped. If you can't do that, they will have to depend on avian flu scares to make $5 million (David Rumsfeld), or global warming to become the next messiah (Al Gore), or swine flu (300 people dead from the vaccine, one person dead from the flu itself, this was in 1976, see http://www.examiner.com/x-6495-US-Intelligence-Examiner~y2009m7d10-CBS-60-Minutes-300-death-claims-f rom-1976-swine-flu-vaccine-only-one-death-from-flu) and that's a lot more work for them. See how that works? --GJ--
  • Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:19am

    Re: Answer Keys and Competition

    I have taught several courses at a local college, with a book to which I had the answer key. Some enterprising folks found the same answer key either online, or found a way to buy it. I knew they had it because they handed in the same punctuation and even the same syntax errors. They got full marks for the solutions that worked. Why did I not throw the "plagiarism" book at them? Because there was no point to do this: that only means more paperwork for me. They still subsequently failed the exams because they had no clue how to solve the problems I gave them.

    It's a non-problem and any issues solve themselves over the course of a single semester.

    As an aside: when I was in University and studied Mathematics, all the books contained the answers in the back. The answers were there to help us as students to make sure that our methods for determining the answers were leading to the expected answer.

    It was NEVER about the answer, it was all about LEARNING and THINKING.

    Perhaps when you study Law, this is different?

  • Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

    Thousands of people take pictures of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, every single day and distribute their copies on facebook.

    So far, the louvre isn't hurt by this.

  • Sep 16th, 2009 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Truth

    While I doubt anyone reading is naive enough to believe that the justice system is about find out the truth - isn't that what it supposed to be about?

    Perhaps that would be the case if you had a justice system. Unfortunately, you have a legal system. Justice has nothing to do with it.

  • Sep 14th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: They might work

    But what is the objective? Are we trying to stop people from running a red light, or are we trying to punish people who run a red light?

    This is an important difference.

    In Europe they've started with small fees for traffic infractions. A couple of euros (dollars if you will) for speeding 5km over the limit, staying in the left lane for too long (seconds)... It's a huge revenue generator. It has also created a lot more nervous drivers.

    If the punishment is so important as a deterrent, then I would propose this: anyone who runs a red light is to be sentenced to 40 hours community service. Now you have the financial deterrent (people would have to take time off work), without anyone government body getting rewarded for citizens' bad behaviour.

    You can even make it progressive. First offense: 10 hours, second offense: 20 hours, third offense: 40 hours.

    There are lots of soup kitchens that can use the assistance.

  • Sep 10th, 2009 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Someoen name the top 5 groups in this so called "Status Quo" and lets come up with disruptive technologies we can make money off of ....

    Might be a fun little set of project to be an "un-american" capitalist.

    Well, we can get an ex Vice President invent a problem, and make a mockumentary about it with poor science, and we can invest in his financial companies that will make a bunch of money when everyone starts to believe.

    And then we can call everyone who doesn't believe in "Global Warming" un-american, while we rake in the money.

    Oh, that's right... this is already being done. Besides, it's not really status quo; climate has always changed. Rapidly sometimes; ask the dinosaurs.


  • Sep 10th, 2009 @ 11:17pm


    I think you fail to see the simpler reason that these rules are blindly applied.

    There is no valid business reason to allow buildings / people to be identified in pictures you host if there is even a remote, slight and tiny chance that that could potentially result in a lawsuit, however frivolous.

    If you are trying to set up or maintain a business, you avoid legal issues like the plague.

    I've had to say "no" to potential partnerships (where I would be a reseller and supporter of software), because the partnership agreement stated that any legal issues would be filed in a US court (that's a foreign country from where I sit in Canada). That would mean instant bankruptcy for me. Did I talk to a lawyer before making that decision? Nope. I have customers to gain and a business to run. It's simply not worth the risk, and I'd rather forgo potential earnings than take such a risk. And I REALLY liked their (linux) software.

    Come to think of it... I haven't recommended that solution to any customers since that discussion with the vendor.

    See how that works?

  • Sep 9th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    the real reasons

    Zoocasa can include searches that don't use real estate agents (or restrict commissions), like grapevine.ca

    So it's not so much that Century21 doesn't want their real estate listings to be seen by more people, it's that they want to make sure that their real estate listings don't show up next to a listing where no real estate agent can make money.

    Furthermore... real estate agents have access to MLS listings that are not available to the general public (yet). There's typically a small delay before a listing is available to everyone. This delay allows real estate agents to be on the lookout and hunt for prospective buyers without having to compete with the general public.

    These methods are used so that customers who use real estate agents have an advantage over people who don't.

    THAT is why Century 21 Canada doesn't like Zoocasa.

  • Sep 8th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    put it another way

    If you, as a local candidate don't take out an ad in a local newspaper, you're probably not much of a viable candidate.

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