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  • Jul 15th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    (untitled comment)

  • Nov 6th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    (untitled comment)

    If this system were implemented, wouldn't any nefarious bomb-makers simply become a little bit neater in response and not dump their bomb-refuse down the drain (or, at least, dump it down the drain someplace far away from their bomb factory)?

    I'm all in favor of alternative to unchecked mass-surveillance, but let's make sure they're workable and effective as opposed to YET ANOTHER security theater distraction.
  • Aug 20th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Other kinds of privacy

    I mostly work from my house but today I'm at the office. Maybe that's why I'm wondering about corporate privacy and what the impact on it might be. My company conducts a lot of internal business via email and Skype. We talk strategy. We make plans.

    Does the NSA now have all of those records of our thoughts and our plans?


    Are they keeping all of that secret from my company's competitors?

    I hope so.

    Will that always be the case?


    Well, a few years ago I would've said the NSA wouldn't have all of that data. Now, I know that's wrong. What else will change in a couple of years? What else has ALREADY changed?
  • Jan 18th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    (untitled comment)

    A great, succinct analysis. Thanks.

    What do you think are the odds that these bills were never intended to be passed as they are written, but rather they are collectively just a cats-paw intended to get a slightly-less-awful version by as a "reasonable compromise"*? Given the cartoonish, over-the-top policies outlined in SOPA/PIPA, that seems more and more likely to me as the debate drags on and the "manager's amendments" pile up.

    *There is no such thing as "reasonable" with this kind of prior restraint.
  • Nov 30th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    So, just out of curiosity...

    Piracy of intellectual property [robs] the makers of recordings, videos, movies, games, and other creative works of the money they are entitled to, [and]...costs tens of thousands of people their jobs each year.

    How long has that "fact" been in circulation? Because if it's been repeated for more than a few years, wouldn't it logically be the case that by now there's nobody left employed to make "recordings, videos, movies, games and other creative works?" Where are all of these TV shows and videogames coming from?!
  • May 10th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    (untitled comment)

    My tea leaves are telling me that the obvious integrations are the ascendent portions of Microsoft's empire: Windows Mobile and XBox. If Skype has existing voice-handling infrastructure that can integrate with and either take some load off or augment either of those services, Microsoft can focus on keeping the mobile and gaming hardware optimized for those roles.

    Skype also has IM, videochat and desktop-sharing functionality built in. My company's primary product trainer is located 2000 physical miles from the home office, but still brings new hires up to speed on the product with effective demonstrations via Skype. I do the same thing with Windows Remote Assistance when my mom can't find a file on her computer. I think there are plenty of parallels and overlaps, given how much MS really does these days.
  • Apr 21st, 2011 @ 6:07am


    Fans of Neal Stephenson's novels are likely to be unusually well-informed about this topic. The books of The Baroque Cycle examine the rising influence of currency markets, trade and capitalism in Enlightenment-era Europe, and feature long (LONG) discourses on the nature of money and how it impacts societies which use it. If you are able to make it through the sometimes-super-brainy books, you will end up with a thorough understanding of economics in general and currency in particular (as well as a pretty solid understanding of European politics around the time of the Hundred Years' War and the Golden Revolution).

    Likewise, his novel Cryptonomicon (which, full disclosure, I REALLY love) delves deeply into the issues of currency in the digital age. Half of the book follows a group of tech entrepeneurs who are trying to establish a highly secure digital currency which could be a viable online alternative to nation-backed currencies (i.e. the dollar, yuan, yen, etc.) Again, Stephenson presents the economic, scientific and philosophical issues as plot points in the book itself.

    His earlier works Snow Crash and The Diamond Age take place in a future where a digital currency paired with extremely strong cryptographic security have actually pushed the world into a post-nation political reality. The advent of untraceable online transactions made it so no government could accurately track its citizens' actual income or net worth, leading to a total inability to collect income taxes and in turn to a severe governmental collapse. It's unlikely, but a fascinating concept to explore.

    If you are interested in Stephenson's work but don't want to invest the time in an 800+ page tome, I highly recommend The Great Simoleon Caper, available for free on TIME Magazine's website. It appears to take place in the universe that is the setting for Snow Crash and The Diamond Age (which may or may not be the same setting as his other works, the links between his books are tenuous at best and not necessary for enjoying any of the stories).
  • Apr 18th, 2011 @ 8:33am

    (untitled comment)

    Na na /
    Na na na na /
    Hey, hey, hey /
  • Apr 18th, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: A little hard to unpack the legalese...

    Aren't we all?

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