qhartman’s Techdirt Profile

qhartman

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  • Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Re: This is wrong

    It won't prevent them from turning up, but it will prevent them from contacting their friends who are only interested in being there if the scene starts getting out of hand. Once those people show up, the trend towards things getting totally fscked will accelerate.

  • Aug 12th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Well, yes and no...

    Absolutely, and those hooligans make up the majority of the people out there. Odds are that a similar make up of hooligans vs. legitimate protesters would have shown up to the station.

    In fact, since the whole thing didn't end up materializing, it lends credence to the idea that the organizers weren't interested in social change. Once they heard there was a response ready and waiting, they decided not to show up. It's no fun using crappy situation as cover for being a self-absorbed douche who likes to cause people grief if you get arrested for it. If you really are trying to draw attention to an issue to affect a positive change, a police presence (assuming the police mind their Ps&Qs as well) is actually a GOOD thing since it almost guarantees media coverage.

  • Aug 12th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Well, yes and no...

    OK, so I rarely am on the opposing side of articles / comments here, but this time it looks like i am.

    It's possible (even likely, and the rest of my opinion is based heavily on that assumption)that BART owns the equipment that is making cell phone communication possible on the subway. They are well within their rights to shut that gear down for whatever reason they like. Although BART (like many transit authorities) is loosely tied to the government, they aren't _really_ a government organization, so this isn't "state censorship" as suggested by others above. Even if they are a bona-fide government org, this "censorship" would be easy to avoid, make your calls from outside...

    In any case, they spend money (yes, a lot of money, DAS systems are really expensive, and this is probably a DAS) to provide that service as a convenience for their riders. If they have reason to believe that the availability of that service is going to make a potentially unsafe situation worse, disabling it temporarily makes sense, for a multitude of reasons.

    This isn't a case of shutting down service for huge numbers of people in large geographic areas (like in the UK), it's shutting it down for people in that particular subway station, where they wouldn't have service ANYWAY unless BART hadn't taken the extra effort to make it available.

    Granted, BART does have a sworn police service, which blurs the lines a bit, but this still isn't really comparable to the UK situation, the scope of it just doesn't fit. If they have prior knowledge of an event that is likely to jeopardize the safety of innocent bystanders, they are not only within their rights to take reasonable steps to counter it, they have a responsibility to do so. Based (solely) on the linked article, it sounds like the steps they took were reasonable. Given the close quarters of a subway station and the number of people involved, and the proximity to trains, there is a high likelihood that a protest there could get ugly fast.

    Finally, if we're going to be drawing parallels to the situation in the UK, let's also look at the other side. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of the people involved in the riots there seem to have very little interest in creating a positive political change. Based on the coverage I've seen from MANY sources, it looks like they are just using that shooting as an excuse to go out and create some mayhem. A PROTEST is one thing, a RIOT is something else entirely. Given that context, it seems that the intent of the people promoting the protests at the BART station COULD HAVE BEEN similar.

  • Aug 4th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Hilarious

    do'h you're right, I was thinking of libel vs slander. Whee! Good thing I'm not a lawyer! :D

  • Aug 4th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Hilarious

    That is a hilarious threat letter. The funniest part though is towards the end when he starts confusing defamation with libel. I'm not even a lawyer and I know the difference between the two...

  • Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    That may be the case, but if so, then the onus of responsibility should lie with DC to set the embed restrictions correctly. And if they change their minds about the embedding, turn it off, rather than sending threats to people who take advantage of the functionality they are allowing.

  • Jul 14th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    (untitled comment)

    @Hephaestus - Oddds are nothing would happen to them until they were challenged by someone in court, then they could potentially be deemed invalid at that point. It's also possible (though vanishingly unlikely) that at some point the USPTO could just declare all software patents invalid.

  • May 13th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    (untitled comment)

    My wife and I have been cellphone only for 13 years. A few years after making that switch I remember the extra hoops we had to go through when opening a bank account because the bank wouldn't accept a cell phone as a contact number. Actually had logic in their account setup program that flagged cell numbers and refused to let them through. Ended up having to get a manager involved, put in a bogus phone number to setup the account and then immediately change it to the right number because the other software didn't have that test in it. Crazy...

    Anyway!

    As I approach the possibility of becoming a Daddy, I've been wondering about how that will work if/when little Johnnie/Janie's friends want to get a hold of them. Do current cell-only parents always act as proxies, or...? I can see the value in having a number that would reach anyone in the house. Seems like a good use for something like GrandCentral, or Whatever google is calling it now.

  • May 7th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    We are the "do-over" society

    "Sometimes you just have to let those who made a mistake take responsibility for their mistakes."

    Every hates "big government" and "socialism" until it's their ass that needs saving. I say let them swing in the breeze...

  • Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Seriously?

    I'm not sure what is more absurd, the patent, or the idea that this enough of a problem that it actually needs a solution. What is so magical about hotdogs that they are more likely to choke a kid than any other solid food? Really though, hotdogs are barely food in first place and people should be more concerned about the health problems of successfully ingesting them rather than the problems associated with not...

  • Oct 22nd, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    Sad Indeed

    It's things like this that keep me from even trying to realize the ideas I have for interesting tech outside the scope of my normal work. The IP law is so broken, and playing field so hostile, it's not worth the effort to even try. No matter what I did I would be at substantial risk of getting sued by some random patent holder, and I just don't have the resources to fight those battles regardless of their merits. I'd imagine there are a lot of would-be innovators out there in a similar situation.

  • Jul 2nd, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Redownload

    So, I just went into my download history last night and randomly picked a song to re-download and it let me do it without complaint. Didn't use a download credit or anything. I'm as pissed about the changes they have made as anyone. When my current plan expires in October I will be losing a _ton_ of value, but I'm not seeing any evidence of this particular change myself... Just Sayin'

  • Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    No friggin way

    Speaking as a network engineer, I have to say that this is a bad idea on a number of levels. I basically "me too" all the negative points raised above. I want to bring extra attention to the points about authenticity though. Something like this would multiply the problem with scams online a thousand fold. Arbitrary TLDs would introduce unimaginable problems with little or no actual benefit.

  • Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:14am

    No Grandfathered plans

    The thing that irritates me is that they are forcing people who have the old plans onto the new plans. The last time they changed, as I recall, since I kept my annual plan current, I was grandfathered in. Now when my annual plan expires in October, I don't have the option to stick with what I have. Also, I couldn't care less about the Sony catalog. If they had just made the catalogs of some of the labels they already carry more complete (Ninja Tune comes to mind right away) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. For the last 3 years eMusic has been a given for me, but when it comes time to re-up in October, I'm going to have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth it anymore.

  • Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: eMusic

    Your 19 track argument is wrong. They also introduced "album pricing". If an album has more than 12 tracks, you are charged 12 credits to get the whole thing, regardless of how many tracks it has.

  • Jun 1st, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    Oregon Too

    I would suspect that Oregon is doing something similar. When I got my license renewed a couple months ago, the woman operating the camera hassled me when I smiled because (and I quote) "the biometric thingy won't like it.". As a result, I look like a surly serial killer in my driver's license photo. Delightful.

  • May 28th, 2009 @ 3:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    I think the whole "hit series" model needs to be examined. Really, it's not realistic or sustainable to expect even a significant percentage of shows to be able to draw an audience season after season. I think that if the majority of American TV switched to the British model where a show usually is a fixed number of episodes designed to tell a specific story, we all would be better off. It could be bigger than a mini-series, but still feel "complete". One of the worst things is when a good show gets canceled mid-story and the people who do like it are left with a bitter taste.

    If something does do really well, there's nothing stopping them from doing another season, or a sequel, or what have you. This model will do a lot prevent good shows from dying slow painful deaths (Alias comes to mind, first 2-3 seasons were brilliant, after that, not so much) by not having this implied open-endedness.

  • May 27th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    I want fewer "things"

    For me, my decline in DVD purchases is something of a knock-on effect of my "green" lifestyle changes. I don't want more "stuff". Since I can access all the media I want via downloads / streaming / rental, the appeal of having to lug around a physical artifact that I will actually only use a handful of times is _not_ appealing.

    A perfect example of this is Dark Knight. I was crusing a Circuit City that was closing and they had copies for $10. I reflexively picked up a copy because it was a good deal, and I knew I wanted to "own" a copy. But as I approached the register, I looked at the box and it occurred to me that I didn't want to have to store and/or dispose of that container and disk at some point. So I put it back on the shelf, and added it to my Netflix queue when I got home instead...

  • Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Doomed (as Quentin Hartman)

    This is a perfect example of "creating an image of impropriety". Even if it's true that he sidelined his bias and made an honest and even handed judgment, the whole thing has the appearance of a back room deal. So at this point, at least one of these things is true:

    -This judge is moron, and should no longer be a judge.
    -This judge is corrupt, and should no longer be a judge.

    Personally, I'd say both of them are true.

  • Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Amen, brother

    "It may not be the bazillion dollar payday (that never really existed for most producers anyway), or, it might be even better. We'll never know but for the experiments."

    That I think is the core of the grief that this revolution is causing. It's not that the industries "are being killed", but that the wealth that they generate is no longer going to be concentrated into the hands of just few people, and those people are fighting tooth and nail to hang on to their golden geese. Rather than a handful of folks getting astonishingly rich, we're going to have tens, or hundreds, making a good living doing something they love. That feels like progress to me. But what do I know, I don't make my money creating artificial scarcities so I can make disproportionately large profits off the work of others.

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