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nerd bert’s Techdirt Profile


About nerd bert

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  • Nov 14th, 2018 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re:

    This is exactly what Obama did. He very rarely held press conferences, while Trump has been the most accessible modern President. You'd almost imagine he likes hearing himself talk. (/s for the humor impaired.)

    Obama's solution to avoiding questions was to give one-on-one interviews to smaller players in smaller markets where he was pretty sure he'd get softball questions. Trump thrives on the contention, on getting publicity from the press, and creating a foil in the grandstanding idiot Acosta.

    There was talk about getting rid of daily briefings at the start of the Trump administration. If Acosta is required to be admitted they may well wish they had that many if Trump's appetite for vengeance continues.

  • Nov 13th, 2018 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Objecting to calling this Nuclear Winter...

    Because the patent war here isn't a total war...

    Given how Qualcomm behaves, functions, and prices its chips, it really is the equivalent of total war. FRAND licencing will enable serious competition from many sources to Qualcomm products and without the extravagant prices Qualcomm charges for its chips it will be hurt financially. Especially since so many of the competitors will have cheaper methods of fabricating the chips. Intel has its own fabs, fairly underutilized so there's plenty of capacity there, and Qualcomm has a fair number of folks who can get wafers from TSMC cheaper than they can because they can get higher volumes.

    That Qualcomm portfolio is very valuable and the patents are real and foundational for many products. Qualcomm got them into the standards that govern most radio products by claiming FRAND compliance. But, much like a company called Rambus did years earlier with SDRAM, Qualcomm turned around and used those patents against other suppliers to prevent them from competing effectively with Qualcomm by jacking their prices to the point that Qualcomm made more money if a company chose a competing product rather than Qualcomm's.

    But, like Rambus, Qualcomm has been found to have gamed the system and the licensing agreements are being forced back to FRAND levels. This will not bode well for Qualcomm. They've grown fat and unfocused by manipulating the market and, frankly, they've pissed off their biggest single customer. How pissed is Apple? There have been rumors in the semiconductor industry that Broadcom made an offer for Qualcomm because Apple asked them to do so (Trump stopped them for various reasons involving the DoD).

  • Nov 11th, 2018 @ 8:46pm

    Politician or Actor? Both!

    My grandma once forwarded me an e-mail ranting about how these Hollywood celebrities should shut up and stay out of politics.

    It closed with a quote by President Reagan

    Ironic, but was the quote from when Reagan was a politician or while he was an actor?

    And when you think of Reagan, do you think of him as an actor, serviceman, politician, president, anti-communist crusader, or union activist? He was all those things at one point in his life. Even when he was an actor he was involved in politics to at least some degree because his involvement as union president during the McCarthy era.

    And I believe my point was more the incredulity of believing that actors' (or in the case of the jibe, musicians') beliefs should have more respect because they come from actors rather than the guys at the local bar. That someone should be instantly change their vote to Breeden because Taylor Swift endorsed him seems pretty ludicrous. Inevitable, but ludicrous.

    I find it interesting that Swift broke her political silence to endorse Breeden, but the original article implied that a combination of a good net neutrality position and Swift's endorsement should have pushed him over the line, and that I found laughable. Really, we had an author who was both fan-obsessed and internet-techie obsessed and who seemingly had little connection with what the issues were for most folks. Hint: the state of internet governance and the state of current pop music aren't driving forces for most folks, so Breeden's endorsements and/or good positions on those issues probably gained him twenty or so votes.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Wingmen

    There are valid reasons to be concerned about this appointment.

    Trump is looking for a "wingman", not a non-partisan, rule-of-law guy, someone in the mold of Eric Holder. Holder quite openly disregarded the rule of law and withheld documents that were obligated to be disclosed, but that were requested for "political" reasons in his view. (I will remind you that the "wingman" description was Holder's of himself and his function for Obama.)

    Trump is looking for someone to be as devoted to protecting him as Holder was to protecting Obama now that there's active political opposition in the House. And I fully expect the Democrats in the House to howl with impotent rage when Sessions' replacement ignores subpoenas in the manner Holder did.

    We've allowed the DoJ to become a political institution, like it or not. Sessions was the one to make some modest attempt at reversion to the mean and now he's paying the price for it.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 7:59am

    Re: The Internet isn't everything, nor the only thing

    Oh, and speaking of Taylor Swift -- really? If Swift were talking about entertainment that'd be one thing, but she's talking about subjects that are far outside her expertise.

    But the good news for her fans: just wait, she's got more material and you'll get another song about how a man disappointed her.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 7:50am

    The Internet isn't everything, nor the only thing

    I somehow suspect that Net Neutrality wasn't the only issue in the campaign.

    In fact, I'd lay odds that for most people it wasn't in the top 10 reasons they voted for the candidate they voted for anywhere in this country.

  • Nov 5th, 2018 @ 7:30am

    Re: "Video cameras everywhere"

    And that's besides the fact that most prisons have video cameras everywhere, cellular communications jammed or Stingray'd and there's basically no privacy of any kind.

    That's actually not true. The market for cellphones in prisons is notorious, and guards find them all the time. It's a constant battle that isn't won by jamming. As for Stingrays, they're not cheap and typically require personnel to monitor so they're expensive and not typically used.

    And as for "cameras everywhere", that's again not true. The administration always manages to leave a few areas uncovered where particularly abusive inmates always seem to "trip and fall" in guards' custody, nor are there cameras in the cells themselves.

    Shulte probably wasn't set up. The Constitution and the courts guarantee him the right to see the evidence against him. The DoJ likely gave him some of the less classified evidence against him and monitored his actions to see what he did with it, found he'd violated the law again, and dropped this hammer. It's not so much a sting in that the DoJ was required to give him the material in the first place, nor was Shulte in particular targeted to try and get him to do something he normally wouldn't, at least if you believe the allegations against him in the first place. This is more like the DoJ being legally obligated to hand him an explosive package with a button saying "Don't push me" and then observing as he pushed it.

  • Oct 31st, 2018 @ 9:08am

    Malicious defamation?

    Steam has banned our entire platform and put up a warning that’s not only completely false but also damaging to our reputation.

    https://torrentfreak.com has been flagged as being potentially malicious. For your safety, Steam will not open this URL in your web browser. The site could contain malicious content or be known for stealing user credentials,” the warning reads.

    Maybe it's because we see so much very dubious legal action talked about on this site, but it seems to me that TorrentFreak at least has a reasonable case if they allege defamation given this warning being shown to Steam users.

  • Sep 21st, 2018 @ 6:54am


    I think what the default techie crowd here is missing is what these "classic" consoles are selling to the non-techie crowd: convenience. The hardware is there, all the software is there and known to be working, and there's no tweaking. Just plug the device in and it will work.

    While I don't mind downloading software, tweaking it for my particular adapter and monitor and whatnot, your average Joe will see what it takes to get emulators working well and walk away and gladly pay the $100 to get easy access to those games.

    In fact, that's much of the attraction for consoles in general: the games you play will work well and pretty much the same in all setups, and nobody has an advantage because of a having a better rig (in general). No, the settings won't be optimal and the controls will be such that PC players will wipe the console guys if they play in the same match, but it's easy and "good enough".

  • Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 6:36am


    So, lemme get this straight, you want the New York Times to protect it's legacy of championing free speech by... censoring an author?

    No, I want the NYT to use its corporate speech rights to counter the author's idiocy by showing it understands the importance of the First Amendment.

    Not that I expect that will happen. Too many "progressives" are far too happy to attack the basic human rights of people these days, and classic liberalism is sadly out of fashion these days being relegated to the libertarian crowd alone.

  • Jun 6th, 2018 @ 10:30am

    Re: There is no metric that can't be gamed

    Not only can every metric be gamed, nearly every metric is poorly implemented and selected because making a proper metric is incredibly hard work for management, especially when applied to a largish population doing all sorts of differing work.

    For example, in software the metric from management used to be how many lines of code you produced. That led to a proliferation of comments, which caused the comments not to be counted. That led to the elimination of macros and lots of continuation lines, which led to style formats being dictated, etc. Rather than admit that their metrics were stupid and not really measuring what they were alleged to measure, even counterproductive, management kept trying to dictate things that were in direct conflict with getting the job done properly.

    Consider the cops in this case. Do you think management was intelligent enough to set different quotas for the cops in sleepy suburbs and those working the party district? To account for the differences in drunken driving in December and that in March? To track changes in population, popularity of the various hangouts, etc? I doubt it very much. Just as the workers were trying to make their life easier, management almost certainly wasn't willing to do the work to make up a set of realistic metrics.

    All in all, I'm not blaming the cops in this situation without more data. Calling them lazy and unwilling to do their job is not warranted with this little information, and I think the article's author is showing his bias. Or does the author think that every article should only be judged on how many words it contains, no matter the subject?

    Just because cops were cheating on a management directive doesn't mean that the directive was either sensible or reasonable.

  • Jun 4th, 2018 @ 11:13am

    A third bite at the apple?

    Seems to me that something should be done to recompense the defendants after this many trials. Right or wrong, the government definitely has a massive funding advantage that can only magnify itself over time.

  • Jun 1st, 2018 @ 8:53am


    Your comments are not germane in this instance.

    The Project Veritas folks released all the videos/audio. It is the government that lied about the contents. Reread that ThinkProgress report:

    The recordings, which were made by employees of the right-wing Project Veritas, purportedly show defendants discussing de-escalation tactics and their intent not to initiate physical violence with anyone unless they are attacked first. The prosecutor had previously told the judge that no recordings existed from the meetings where the newly revealed audio and videos were made.


    “The Government has succeeded in misleading over 200 co-defendants, their attorneys, and three Honorable Superior Court Judges to believe there were only seven videos in its possession from Project Veritas,” attorney Andrew Clarke wrote in the filing. “Only by Order of the Court and more recently, its own disclosures, we now know the truth, that the Government withheld 69 additional recordings by Project Veritas and altered others.”

    In this case the Veritas guys are blameless and we need to blame the government and its prosecutors for both withholding and altering (!!!) the videos in question.

  • Jun 1st, 2018 @ 8:37am


    When you politicize "Justice" to serve your partisan agenda, you get things like this. We've been seeing increasing politicization in recent years, and now it's just seen as the norm in that department to serve the current master.

    The question is how we get back to a bureaucracy that actually is non-partisan. Perhaps a first step is to prevent partisan appointees from "burrowing-in" to various departments at the end of each administration. Right now it's very typical for political appointees to become allegedly unbiased administrators at the end of each administration. Preventing that would certainly defuse things like Lois Lerner's IRS behavior and the crap storm that raised.

    Of course, routinely punishing Brady violators would be a huge deterrent if applied to prosecutors personally. It's actually quite disturbing that judges aren't more willing to slap down prosecutors for such a basic violation of Constitutional rights.

  • May 23rd, 2018 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Chicago, the joke that tells itself

    Not quite true. You'll note that the convictions were based on Federal investigations, not state/city investigations. The city itself is quite corrupt, it's just that there is an entity outside the city and state that managed to get a conviction.

    This whole situation makes me ask if Reynolds v. Sims wasn't wrongly decided. If downstate Illinois had adequate representation in the state Senate perhaps Illinois might be able to police the corruption in Chicago. As it stands now, Chicago calls the shots at the state level and Chicago power brokers can deflect any investigation that they find inconvenient.

  • May 23rd, 2018 @ 7:00am

    Re: Nice priorities there

    I'm not terribly concerned about Trump's use of an unsecured phone dedicated to Twitter use. That stuff is way too public for his own good anyway. Heck, having Putin write his tweets for him would probably only help his popularity with his base.

    And this is just hilarious. 'Hey, so I know having foreign governments listening in to your calls may not be a big deal to you, but that same flaw allow US intelligence to listen in too if they care to'.

    As funny as that sounds, it's a far more consequential issue. If, as been alleged, US intelligence is caught as politically corrupt and serving just one master there will be a far, far larger crisis of confidence in government and very deep damage to our political system. I say caught only because the instances that have come before have been minimized by bipartisan agreement. Trump and his supporters are no fans of the established order and I doubt they'll be willing to give the intelligence community cover to escape the community's corruption. And a victory by Trump over the IC after an attack by the IC would give him the ability to reform the IC, which I doubt many folks will like on either side of the aisle.

  • Mar 26th, 2018 @ 6:51am

    Malice vs. Incompetence

    Either way, the book of examples of just how incredibly the New Zealand government has fucked up everything about this case at every single turn has now added yet another chapter.

    Normally you should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

    This is not a normal case and I think we can rule out incompetence.

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 7:20am


    A striking example of the Streisand effect in action. I'd never heard of Fstoppers before, yet now I have. I'd say that they've done a fantastic job of advertising themselves and their wares to a group of techno-nerds who never would have heard of them otherwise.

  • Mar 9th, 2018 @ 8:02am


    I think you're wrong on the age thing.

    The FBI are teenagers. They want what they want, now, without working for it because they're special. And by the way, you geeks can provide it because of your magical abilities, and the fact that you won't is because you hate us!

    Christ, what an asshole.

    Nice, 4 word summary of the entire article. Should have been the title.

  • Mar 1st, 2018 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, Politifact. Nice unbiased source, and I love the quote in your first link: "The Second Amendment is fading as a wedge issue in American politics" is pretty laughable, is it not? I know of only one other issue that seems to divide folks as starkly and that's abortion. Both guns and abortion are pretty stark, defining wedge issues. Then there is the claim in the article that "The Democrats have avoided all gun control controversies assiduously." That's quite the howler, itself.

    Overall, your first link really doesn't support your supposition, especially in the context of our present discussion on political parties. On the first point, the NRA mailer in question made an assumption without support and applied that to Obama, but the article didn't note that the Kennedy bill would have banned even common deer rounds such as the 30-30 due to the standard to which the ammunition would be tested. So the NRA's perceived threat existed; they attributed it to the wrong person, Obama, rather than Kennedy, but they got the political party right. On the second point, Sunstein's comments were true made, and he only walked them back when he had to do so politically to get appointed, and even Politifact had agree. And on the third point, the NRA was factual. In essence, if not in strict literal truth, the NRA actually was correct about the Democratic party in general, but not about Obama's personal involvement in the rifle ammunition ban in particular.

    So we can't believe what Diane Finestein said on tape? Remember, what are called "assault rifles" are really just semi-automatic rifles. They are no different than the majority of hunting rifles except that they look more like military rifles, and there are proposals that would effectively ban semiautomatic rifles.

    In reality, the vast majority of guns sold are semiautomatics, so a ban on semiautomatics is essentially a ban on the vast majority of guns. This is especially true with handguns, so Politifact's parsing of what Feinstein said is one of those 3 Pinocchio type arguments: technically it's not all guns, but it's the vast majority.

    As for Australia and Obama's admiration of their laws, the restrictions are draconian: you need what they call a "genuine reason" to own a gun, and self-defense isn't a genuine reason. The vast majority of guns were confiscated in Australia under their laws, so support for their system is effectively support for gun registration and confiscation of the vast majority of guns in America.

    And then there's this little tidbit: according to YouGov, 82% of Democrats support banning all semiautomatic weapons, and 50% want to ban all guns. That's sort of the NRA's whole point in their propaganda, isn't it?

    So no, I still don't suspect that the NRA is fearmongering or lying any more or any less than Planned Parenthood. Both are fighting even the slightest infringement of what they view as basic rights in highly polarized environments, often in the face of political parties who are extremely opposed to them.

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