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  • Nov 7th, 2017 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Way off base

    Actually, they are paid to say things, and often on social media to promote their work and the company they work for. That's why so much of this whole thing is problematic: these folks are the public face of their companies, and if they're out there speaking it can be difficult to decide if they're speaking as a representative of their employer or as themselves.

    Look at Trump. When he tweets is it personal opinion or the policy of the US government? If it's policy, Hillary would be under investigation or locked away, so it's probably some mixture of both. But in any case, he's creating a very confusing situation with his social media interaction, one that anyone interacting with the public would be wise to avoid and that's what these companies want.

    So I don't disfavor these policies much as a general rule. Think of this as a career protection mechanism for these folks. They say something stupid enough and they'll hurt the company and they're essentially unemployable anywhere because they're so often facing the public.

  • Nov 2nd, 2017 @ 10:15am


    Interestingly, most publishers have gone to less oppressive DRM schemes and have learned to accept some "losses" from piracy over the years. Back in the day, I spent more on a Lattice C compiler than I did my car, but publishers learned that by cutting the price they actually made more money so things changed.

    Game makers haven't changed, however. Yes, their target demographic generally tends to have less money to spend so they're more likely to pirate to play. Still, the fact that their content plays much more poorly with DRM installed drives ever more of their customers to pirate solutions. I know that I would be tempted to go that route if I were a young gamer these days just because the DRM sucks and causes more problems than it's worth. Being an old fart, however, I don't need to play the latest games this very second to have cred with other gamers. I can wait until both the price comes down and the DRM goes away, so I do.

  • Nov 2nd, 2017 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Shocking

    The idea that dead folks vote is particularly associated with races in Chicago (not without reason, I might add), and that vote is controlled/delivered by Democratic bosses. It predates the JFK election and has been a constant political meme for longer than I've been alive.

    So yes, you are a humorless scold and your reaction shows the dire need for irony and sarcasm tags in html. This meme was the first thing I thought of when I saw the headline.

  • Oct 3rd, 2017 @ 9:29am

    Mixed feelings

    DRM is bad for consumers and the consumer/vendor relationship, so losing it wouldn't hurt my feelings in the least.

    What I'm worried about, however, is that it's much more likely that the industry will transition to on-line only games as a "fix."

  • Sep 21st, 2017 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re: open and shut case

    The average smartphone user doesn't change the ring tone, much less go in and mess with security settings. And when Google makes sideloading a two step procedure and tells them that it's dangerous to sideload, well...

    The only part of the complaint that really stands a chance is the fact that Google has effectively made the Play Store the only way to get apps for the vast majority of people. Forcing the sideloading of apps effectively bans them from 99+% of the market, and that's where Google's anticompetitive/monopolistic risk lies.

  • Sep 1st, 2017 @ 10:10am

    Culture change required

    I'm a hardware guy, and while I've not worked for St. Jude personally I've know many who worked there, at Medtronic, etc. In fact, the guy across the aisle is a veteran of those companies.

    The problem at places like Medtronic is more cultural than anything. Medtronic is referred to internally as "The Country Club" for good reason: it's a relatively slow moving tech company dominated by doctors and bureaucratic management. Now in general, that's a good thing since your average techie is a little too willing to cut corners on verification than I'd like in a medical device, but it does lead to technological blind spots like in this case.

    Trying to get a doctor interested in something that's this esoteric and out of their sphere of knowledge as just about impossible. Doctors tend to be pretty dictatorial and when they don't understand something like a tech issue, they just tend to ignore it as you can see from all the lax to non-existent security in just about all medical devices. In fact, one of the biggest complaints I've heard from the guys who worked in biomed companies is that it's just about impossible for techies to get any input into serious decision or product specification. It makes it rather frustrating for techies in biomed companies who recognize real issues and yet get completely ignored and shut down. The fact biomed pays more poorly, equips its engineers with poor tools, and generally gives them little input into how things could be done isn't a package that leads to excellence in the engineering staff overall. Although I know some very good engineers who work in biomed, they aren't there for the pay or working conditions.

    Most of these medical companies need to find a better way to balance the inputs of doctors and engineers. Right now there's really no balance inside the companies.

  • Aug 30th, 2017 @ 10:08am

    Re: Don't kid yourself.

    I personally find it funny how many people acknowledge that coverage of the fields they know intimately by journalists in most major media tends to be rubbish and yet they still trust journalists in fields they don't know well. (Shorter version: journalists these days are the kids who couldn't cut the requirements for an English degree.)

    And as for politics, I've personally given up on any hope of objective, honest coverage of *either* side. Jon Snow, the English broadcaster, gave the best statement I've seen: "Good evening. I know nothing. We the media, the pundits, know nothing. We simply didn’t spot it.” The media exist in their own bubble, with a political orientation that is nearly 3-sigma away from the country overall. Expecting them to pick up the patterns of the bulk of the country when they're so far apart from it is just expecting too much of them.

  • Aug 17th, 2017 @ 8:42am


    The MPAA/Hollywood have failed at making a moral argument? Excuse me, I must have misplaced my shocked face somewhere around here.

    After all, we're talking about organizations have misled the courts about what they were doing to track down "pirates", have consistently lied to consumers about things like backing up the content they've purchased, and have gleefully attempted to abuse consumers at every point they could (how many of you wanted to avoid the preview adverts at the start of your DVDs only to find that Hollywood did all it could to make sure you couldn't?), etc. And yet the public couldn't see past all that to see how righteous the argument they've been making really IS?! How unenlightened of the hoi polloi!

    Yeah, so absent honeypot sites attempting to make Hollywood's point I doubt anything has changed with the MPAA's new tack.

  • Aug 16th, 2017 @ 8:50am


    At a bare minimum Green should have sought a lawyer when he looked at the loan agreement and realized he was signing away his financial future. Why he stuck around with that group of folks as long as he did is a real puzzle. There were fewer red flags at Soviet May Day parades than there were at Proper Media.

    Programmers think they're smart, which is much of the problem. Sure, in general they've got the logical reasoning down fairly well, but they're not prepared for the real world in which systems have much more complicated, illogical rules and hidden variables to which they don't have access. And they're especially vulnerable to sharp business practices, as one of my cousins found out to his detriment when he set up his consulting company with some other programmers who were smart programmers, but less than ethical business folks.

  • Aug 15th, 2017 @ 9:17am

    An independent California would be even more dependent on tech money

    If you believe that Kali would enact laws less likely to protect their tech companies than the US in general, I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Jul 24th, 2017 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Quite right. I've had to design these chips in a past life and the signal propagation changes are just massive as you move and keeping the main signal constant is a real challenge as the signal changes multiple orders of magnitude as you hit reflections, rain and humidity changes, etc. Unless you were doing real-time analysis directly beside the phone these kinds of analyses are pretty much worthless to pinning down a phone.

    The defense expert witness, a Mr. William Folson, had it exactly right: the kind of analysis performed will tell you with somewhat moderately good precision that a certain area *may* be susceptible to dropped calls (and even then, not always if there's a change in the weather, a truck driving beside you, etc), but unless the wireless company is able to pin down the electronic environment by monitoring multiple simultaneous nearly coincident signals it would be virtually worthless for trying to determine position accurately. There is, after all, good reason we have power-hungry GPS chips in our phones for location information.

    About all this "analysis" would be good for is impugning the honesty of a suspect who says he across town at the time. I'm glad the judge listened to the actual technical folks who work on these things rather than the law enforcement types who, frankly, aren't practitioners. It's rare enough to see good science understanding in a judge that I think we should celebrate what he did here.

  • Jun 24th, 2017 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Shouldn't have told the cop that he was armed...

    There is some debate about how Castille should have responded.

    In most CCW classes in MN (required for a permit), they tell you to say, "Officer, I have a concealed carry permit and I am carrying. How do you wish to proceed?" Then you're told to repeat back the officer's instructions before asking to proceed to follow them. All in all, it's meant to slow down the interaction to allow everyone time to calm down a little and to make sure that each side understands exactly what is to come next. You'll notice that Castille should have mentioned the fact that he had a permit before saying he had a weapon, although in theory Yanez should have known that Castille had a permit if he'd run the plate before the stop.

    Now, that's how the CCW instructors tell you to handle things, but that's not what the law requires. In Minnesota you are not required to tell the cop you're carrying unless the cop asks first at which point you are required to answer honestly.

    So there is a great deal of discussion on how this should be handled, and one of the problems is that despite requests from MN gun owners, Gov. Dayton(D) has refused to come up with a protocol on how CCW carriers should respond when stopped by police. That is contributory to the mess here. It would be awfully nice to get a standard so that cops could be trained in how to respond appropriately.

    Now, on a personal level, I think I can say that Yanez has no business being a cop and was very lucky to have skated as he did. How he handled things was just wrong, and he doesn't seem level headed enough to be trusted with a weapon. Even the NRA can agree with that, as you can see from Colin Noir's epic rant on what a disgrace this whole situation was from the point of view of a black man, lawyer and NRA commentator. The problem being, even if you believe that Yanez was a fool and morally deserved to be convicted, it can be hard to overcome the burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a case like this, as Noir points out, no matter how much you might dislike the fact that Yanez was acquitted.

  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 6:43am

    Re: In the name of the Corp., for the Corp., and by the Corp. and keep the peons paying.

    But as the article points out, Delaware is now becoming even more troll friendly than East Texas. How will companies incorporated in Delaware react to that fact?

    I really suspect that you will now see jurisdiction shopping -- but on the part of companies seeking protection from patent trolls. Given Delaware's current configuration of laws and patent-troll friendliness, I expect to see some pushback on Delaware legislators from companies or an exodus of companies, especially tech companies, incorporated there.

  • May 3rd, 2017 @ 8:30am


    Some folks view this with doom and gloom.

    I, on the other hand, welcome this new technology!

    "Honey, I never said THAT! You aren't remembering our conversation correctly. Here, let me play the recording I made of it."

  • Mar 26th, 2017 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re: LOTR Warrant

    Please read the article, it states:

    More than 100 phones taken from arrested Inauguration Day protesters have had their data exfiltrated...

    It's not merely being in downtown DC, it's being arrested for being involved in an act that is being criminally prosecuted. If you were arrested at the scene of a burglary would you expect your phone to be searched? I sure would.

    As I guy who works on chips, I'll say this: unless your passcode is actually a passphrase and a long one at that, even perfect encryption software won't protect you if the phone is in my possession. Give me access to the hardware and I can almost certainly bring some industry standard tools to bear and read the data off the chips. (Yes, Apple does blow the JTAG fuse, but I can rebuild it and read all the data off the memory chips with some fancy but standard machines, just as an example.) Not that given the state of software today that I'd expect you'd need to go to those lengths, but they are available if you don't have a software crack in your back pocket and you have deep (government) pockets.

  • Feb 28th, 2017 @ 7:38am

    Re: incompetant government

    Incompetence? Probably. But it's also a sign of how screwed up civil service rules are that you can't fire folks for this kind of screw up. And the lack of accountability leads them to a sense of divine lordship over the hoi polloi; government goes from serving the people to ruling the people.

  • Feb 28th, 2017 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: All news is fake if you know what you're talking about

    If you want the perfect example of your own bias, there's nothing more dangerous in this world than a software developer with a soldering iron.

    And of course, you missed the point completely. You understand a subject well. You see how well reporters cover that subject. You see how well their background has enabled them to cover things completely out of their competence. And you even begin to trust them to cover something arguably more complex than a software bug? Just what are you smoking?!

  • Feb 27th, 2017 @ 8:57am

    All news is fake if you know what you're talking about

    We're mostly technical folks here, and we've read the results of reporters trying to cover topics we know well. So why the heck do any of you trust them on anything as large and complicated and uncertain as the effects of economic policy? Of social policy? Of health policy?

    The first rule of trusting a reporter is to remember that they're the folks who were too incompetent to become English majors. Sure, there are a few who have learned enough to cover a particular subject well, but 99% of them give the other 1% a bad name.

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 6:54am

    John Deere to the rescue!

    Who would have thought that John Deere, of all companies, would be poster child of companies that would deny you the right to actually own and do with what you want for something you've purchased?

    In a completely honest way, I'm glad that we've got a non-tech company that's taken point on this. It makes it much easier to explain to the neighbors why they should care about this issue by telling them that they can't service their lawn tractor anymore if John Deere gets its way.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 8:47am

    Re: No need to screw the residents

    It _should_ come out of the town officials' pockets, but ever heard of insurance? It's far more likely that the town will go to its insurance policy, the insurance company will fight them over the minor fact that this unconstitutional and then settle for a partial payment, at which point the town's denizens will owe something, but not everything.

    I've lived in a few states, but I'd have to say that Ohio probably has higher proportion of towns that exist solely to be speedtraps than most states.

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