Gerald Robinson’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Dec 1st, 2018 @ 7:09pm

    Something missing

    We are seeing a humpty dumpty trend!
    "When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    We need a common dissipating deal with common problems! So I propose the following:

    Hate speech==speech I hate.
    Fake news==news that contradicts my views.
    Dissinformation==delibrate distortion of reality which does not match my weltanschauung.

    There are likely others but they must be felt with if we are to progress. I recently ran across an individual who equated nationalism with NAZISM!

  • Mar 22nd, 2018 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thin blue line..where's my tinfoil hat??!!!

    The flight code is not protected from 3rd party audit by the DMCA. YES IT MAY HURT THE CAR COMPANY BUT THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT EXCEPT FIND ANOTHER VENDOR. Looks like there will only be 2/4 vendors. No way to even find out if the vendor is at fault.

    Current cars have a built in problem: the HUI is common to the navigation/entertainment center. Yes the car still has the usual controls but increasingly safety related operations depend on the HUI. As the control/data bus is common what happens when someone plays a video that takes 90% of the bus?

    Ai cars have a major weakness shown in the video, the driver will not be paying any attention after a few minutes and so is likely to do the wrong thing if he overrides the Ai at all. The driver is just another point of failure not a safety backup!

  • Mar 22nd, 2018 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thin blue line..where's my tinfoil hat??!!!

    '"Back at the programming farm..."

    They will constantly be taking in results of every test and making changes/improvements based on the data, since this is a damn beta test and the entire point. In the process, making them even less likely to crash compared to human drivers than they already are.'

    Fat chance! There is little incentive for the vendor (so far most car companies just buy from some one else) to make any changes which are inconvenient or cost money. There is no way to find out what is done and it is illegal to try!

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thin blue line..where's my tinfoil hat??!!!

    Having been extensively involved with computers sense 1964 I can say that unless the specifications are published and the programs open source there is no reason to believe this. The corporations will cheat and take shortcuts then lie about it.

    Under at least one interpretation of the DMCA Anti Cimcurvation Provisions any examination of the specs or code is illegal.

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 8:24am

    (untitled comment)

    The problem isn't Ai cars it's the DMCA Anti Circumvation provision. Unaudited software is dangerious. The auto companies can not be trusted to do so on their own (VW, BMW emissions faking GM, recent airbag scandal, ...).

    The only solution that seems reasonable to me is to require all Autonomous car software to only be open source with full disclosure! Otherwise, in many cases, it will be impossible to determine fault-particularly if the courts follow the bad president of not requiring full disclosure of the code and all supporting docs. Even if disclosure is required review of the code is prohibitively expensive for one person or entity. With open source many people will review the code and some even make money by publishing tweaks or collecting bounties for bugs. e.g. the remote unlock unlocks: just the drivers door, all doors, or some combination; rather than the vendors choice.

  • Mar 16th, 2018 @ 9:00am

    Hate speach

    Hate speach==speech I hate.
    These EU laws are thinly veiled attempts to penalize American companies for their success. Trump should be taking aim at these stupid laws not messing with steel and aluminum. The sad thing is that these laws make the internet less useful and effectively bar the entry of start up competition. Current attempts to grab money from these companies under the guise of fair taxation is just another anti American ploy.

  • Jul 13th, 2017 @ 10:33am


    Copyright was originally conceived as a mechanism for breaking guild sececry! That has long passed. Now it is for the benefit of big publishers, parasitic government, and crooks like Eesivier, Sage at al. Copyright no longer serves a purpose; rewarding authors, that is better done by Amazon and the rest of the web. It is pastime to abolish it. Most authors write because they feel compelled. Some are outstanding some horrid and many between-just read some of Amazon's free books. There is no justification of Copyright today not for DRM!

  • Jun 11th, 2016 @ 12:15pm

    Mental illness

    This is a clear case of haplophobia "The most common manifestation of hoplophobia is the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user." Most often applied to weapons but often applied to computers. Unfortunately this mental disease has a very low cure rate. Basically it is due to the inability of the person to recognize an opposing point of view as valid due "all powerful" 'Evil Object's Powers' and the attitude that social problems are susceptible to technical solution. e.g. drugs to cure drug dependence.

  • Aug 19th, 2015 @ 2:38pm


    The reality is that while Content may be king Convenience is Queen! MLB has declining attendance at games and because of that declining viewers because the cost of going to a stadium game is out of the reach of most folks (often upwards of $200 for a family of 4). This means that young folks are less interested in all the major league spors and if major league sports wants to get interest they need to be convenient as the content is less compelling. IMHO soccer will drive MLB to where it is like hockey a second tier sport. MLB in particular needs more fans and can't get them through physical attendance so it must be more convenient to watch.

  • Feb 18th, 2015 @ 9:39am

    FAA stupidity

    These rules pretty much prohibit drone use by fire departments in Urban Interface and forest fires. Not only that but they prohibit use in urban fires as well.

  • Feb 7th, 2015 @ 10:31am

    TPP abd comments

    Maybe they are just dumping comments because they think that the TPP will pass on fast track. From leaks it will impose third party liability on the 'net killing comments no matter how well moderated.

  • Nov 8th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Net neutrality and Netflix

    It's past the time that the FTC did it's job and broke up the nasty anti-competative oligopolies of: TW, COMCAST, AT&T, Verizon and Disney. They have an interlocking set on non-compete agreements which lock out competition in most of the US.

  • Aug 21st, 2014 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Gonna miss these guys

    Bertie baby was running a criminal operation that was obvious to even journalists and the DoJ and cost a bunch of fund managers money. Low hanging fruit and no effort required by the DoJ. No sacrifice either and no politically embarrassing revelations. As for the Too Big to Fail Banks they were scammed by the Federalies with fake mortgages and fraudlent lending supported by fannie mae and Obama abated by the Congressional Black Caucus who shutdown an investigation into fannie mae's illegal accounting practices and fraud. However had the Too Big to Fail Banks done due diligence instead of going "OH Boy it's free money". And counting on being bailed out instead of punished things would have been different.

  • Aug 20th, 2014 @ 4:37am

    Prends Fraud

    "Remember how, among other things, Judge Wright had referred Team Prenda to the IRS? I wonder if they'll be interested in some of these transactions...."
    Unfortunately the IRS is too busy covering up how it attacked opposition groups at Obama's request to do its' job.

    Expecting lawyers to do anything remotely ethical is a waste of time.

  • Jul 5th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    (untitled comment)

    There are two reforms urgently needed:
    First call bribes bribes and make them taxable.
    Second term limits so that a Congressional office is not worth millions in bribes!

    Citizens United was needed to offset the influence of labor unions and their "voluntary" contributions—which are any thing but voluntary. Often these are withheld from your pay along with Union dues, second if they aren't you are strong armed into making them, and sometimes even if they are part of the Union pay deductions.

  • Mar 27th, 2014 @ 9:07am


    Indonesia has started revoking treaties with this clause starting with its treaty with the Netherlands. See the Financial Times article 3/27. Hopefully this will torpedo the TPP and TTIP both of which include really terrible IP provisions which have nothing to do with trade and a bunch of trade provisions far to broad.

  • Mar 25th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    NSA spying

    NSA is supposed to spy on foreign powers that is its purpose after all. I say to China "Turnabouts fair play!"

    NSA's Utah data center should be defunded and their budget cut drastically as well as top officials being prosecuted for clearly illegal spying on US citizens.

  • Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 11:58am


    I am not an attorney but that seems to me to be a specious arguement. Without an at least comprehensive reviewhowever cursoryhow can scurrilous posts be identified?

  • Mar 22nd, 2014 @ 10:24am

    3rd party liability

    It appears from some of the leaked TPP and TTIP treaty materials that they will be used to impose 3rd party liability bypassing these protections. Now is a good time to write your congressman and tell him not to pass either treaty and not to give Obama TPA (Fast track).

  • Dec 7th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    SW patents

    There are only two software patents I'm aware of which are legitimate. Lempel ziv and GIF; the rest are simple business methods or obvious HUI which should not be patentable at all. Adding "computer" or "Web" does not make a normally used procedure patentable! Barring all software patents may be a bit extreme but may be the only solution. I can't articulate any clear criteria on what should make software patentable. Maybe because I'm stupid or maybe because there aren't any. I know it when I see it is not a viable criteria.

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