MrTroy’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jun 30th, 2015 @ 5:50pm

    Re: You are sh!tting me!

    I suspect you may be underestimating just how bad the previous (or current) system may be, and how long it would take to even get signoff to get access to the old servers, or to find out who actually knows which box the tape backups containing the pre-2014 emails might be sitting in.

    Still, a year of full-time work sounds pretty outrageous, and 9 months of 24x7 computation is completely unreasonable. As mentioned below, they should require their own access to search their old emails for any number of reasons, claiming they do not have such is just negligence!

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Obviously different strokes for different folks, but I can't imagine there'd be more than 2 months in most years that there's as many as 4 movies that I even WANT to see in the cinema.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: MrTroy...unfairness.

    You're obviously passionate about the subject, and that can be a good thing. I'd suggest taking a few breaths before and after writing such posts, and if you feel your heart rate going up as you're writing it then it's probably wise to edit before hitting submit.

    Reasoned discussion is probably the most useful thing that can be done right now, if you're not someone who's actually releasing hardware yourself. Probably the biggest issue otherwise is the problem of alternatives; yes, Google, Facebook and others (state, corporate, and maybe even criminal) are massively mining every aspect of our behaviour they can get their digital claws on and that may well become THE problem of the 21st century... or encryption might get better, easier to use and more pervasive and we slowly sidestep the problem.

    As to what we can do about it today? If you want to own a smartphone, there's not much choice if you don't want to be tracked... and that quickly disappears to no choice if you don't want to spend time with non-mainstream hardware and/or custom operating systems. Same with home computers, laptops, and even TVs. Thankfully "smart" TVs aren't quite as much of a must-have as the producers would like us to think... though if you want a good quality TV with high-end components, it's very hard and getting harder to avoid the smart options. Which is why I'm currently happy enough with a chinese knock-off brand TV with almost no features but decent picture reproduction - especially since it only cost me a couple of hundred dollars at a charity event :-)

    So, I hope you don't feel as unheard as yesterday, and I look forward to more reasoned discussion.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 5:42pm


    All the issues with DRM could be solved just fine by getting rid of anti-circumvention provisions.

    Not the issue of DRM itself.

    If DRM doesn't have the weight of the law behind it, then there aren't many issues in DRM itself. Note here that I'm talking about the kind of DRM that purely enables or disables access to the program containing the DRM. If it's legal to disable this kind of DRM in software that you have purchased, then it doesn't really matter if it's there or not. Companies that waste money on implementing it may find it harder to be competitive with companies that don't bother, or they may finally realise that it's not worth the money so stop implementing DRM naturally. Once the legal backing for DRM is removed, the problem largely goes away by itself - there's no NEED for any further legislation.

    That's what Leigh is talking about when he asks what issues would remain.

    As to software that installs rootkits, or scans your hard drive, or otherwise locks up your computer outside the boundaries of the software (or music) that you actually wanted... it's not completely clear that these should be criminal, either. The court of public opinion and the free market may still be better mechanisms for dissuading such behaviour than threat of criminal sanctions - that are nearly impossible to apply to corporations anyway.

    How would you propose dealing with a lone software developer that offered some software that lets them connect some device to their PC to control it in a new and novel way... but after some months, it is discovered that the library that the developer used to build their driver functionality on includes a rootkit that is used to build a botnet? What if the developer didn't know that about the library when they chose to use it? Should they be personally liable based on not decompiling and performing a security audit on every third-party library that they are using?

    I don't think the law is nimble enough, or flexible enough, to apply any kind of good solution to this kind of problem.

    Here's one more question, just out of curiosity: would free trial versions of software that disable after a given number of days also be illegal?

    Most likely, and everyone hates those anyway. It would provide an opportunity for innovation, to develop a better model for demo software. :)

    Spoiler: You don't speak for everyone. Those software trials can be critical for evaluating some software that may have high unit costs. Heck, I don't know how you can say they could be illegal without calling into question the entire premise of software trials, or software/services that you license on a subscription basis.

    And whether or not you LIKE such models, making them illegal sounds extreme, and would more likely reduce innovation in software marketing than provide new opportunities, especially considering those opportunities already exist. I don't think there's a single developer out there who is saying "Look, everyone hates this method of trialling software... but it's not illegal, so let's not bother looking for a new way". Well, not more than two or three.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 2:18am

    Re: Re:Re:

    Ok, those things are terrible if true, and maybe relevant in an article about Google. They are also completely compatible with Leigh's statement that he thinks "there are genuine privacy concerns to be considered around something like Google Glass".

    Why jump on Leigh for that?

    Also, there are many dozens of stories that TD doesn't report on. They also have limited staff. If they've already called out behaviour on some other company, just assume that they feel the same about the same behaviour from a different company. Why assume the worst? It just makes you look bad.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 12:25am


    Just saw this one in a re-read.

    Forgive me if I seam a bit pissy- but markets are being driven by people who are ignorant of the way there devices work.

    I think you'll find that the only markets driven by people who understand the way the products work all have the label "niche", and possibly "enthusiast".

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 12:22am


    Well, it's lucky that TD commenters are always willing to venture as far into "tin hat" territory as required, and further!

    If anything, privacy conserns are extreamly understated, most don't even understand the extent of the threat. People absolutely should be "freaking out" alot more then they are.

    Debatably true, but then you trip down the slippery slope of sanity and you aren't even talking about Google Glass any more.

    In what way was your comment relevant to Leigh's post (repeated here for simplicity)?

    I called them "somewhat overblown" and "freakouts" — not entirely ungrounded or irrelevant. I do think there are genuine privacy concerns to be considered around something like Google Glass, but unfortunately most people were unable to have any kind of rational conversation about it, and went straight to violent opposition of the technology up to and including ripping them off people's faces and smashing them (and being widely applauded online for doing so).

    If you think that was a reasonable reaction, so be it. I think it was a somewhat overblown freakout.

  • Jun 28th, 2015 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Programming makes bad decision for driver!

    Re 2, why have a gate crossing arm on the exit side of the crossing?

    Question asked and answered, sigh:

    "To reduce collisions at grade crossings, railroads are installing four quadrant gate systems on high speed rail corridors, commuter lines, light rail systems and in areas with high concentrations of foolish drivers."

    At least once people stop driving their own cars, we can return to more sane two quadrant crossing gates.

  • Jun 28th, 2015 @ 8:06pm

    (untitled comment)

    ...seems to muddle the message of claiming the UK is about freedom and democracy, doesn't it?

    Seriously, have you read much UK history? :-)

  • Jun 28th, 2015 @ 7:10pm

    Re: But at what cost, Mr. Troy? BUT AT WHAT COST?

    It might reduce the problem. But we don't know how much, and it will widen the portal for further bans of other allegedly dangerous materials (e.g. video games mentioned above, though gay-friendly children's books are a big target, as are contraceptives)

    And I'm pretty sure your standards for enjoyment are not up to par with the standards that gun enthusiasts have. Many of the other commenters think that enthusiasts should be content with computer simulations, or rented guns or slingshots. It's avoiding the issue that you're still invoking your will on their liberties.

    Controlling one thing will be used as a stepping stone for introducing more control, you're right. I don't have a good answer for that other than contacting your government representative regularly to let them know how you'd like to be represented. An imperfect answer, I'd like to find better.

    So, yeah, I appreciate your concern, and I agree that there are a lot of stupid people who do not respect the risk that comes with owning a gun. And I agree that the NRA has become something of a bag of dicks that does not represent the gun community well at all. But in the long game, gun control is not the answer, especially so as the age of 3D printing approaches and custom gun parts can be prototyped locally, rather than by a major manufacturer.

    3D-printed guns will only get better, but right now they seem to be more of a risk to their wielder than anyone else, unless the maker has a degree of expertise, see

    I will still hold up Australia as an example that gun control *can* help. It may not be *the* answer, but that doesn't mean it can't be part of the answer. Nutjob control would also help, but unfortunately governments willing to invest in good societal platforms for mental health issues, equality and education are few and far between.

    In terms of any arguments that gun control doesn't work, I'll just handball to John Oliver:

    And I relentlessly distrust anyone pushing for more gun control in this convesation to not, once their agenda is furthered, wipe their hands of the Charleston massacre deciding okay we did something. That's what O'Reilly is trying to do by accusing video games. That's what Obama is trying to do by pushing gun control.

    The Charleston Massacre is not another rampage killing to be swept under the rug like so many others. And blaming guns here is being used to do exactly that.

    I agree that any simple answer is wrong, or at least insufficient. All I can suggest is to be the change you want to see in the world, but the depressing aspect is that's probably what motivated this guy to action.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 12:55am

    Re: Banning guns

    The United States has the right to bear arms for some very serious reasons. It's up to those who govern us to create a society in which we aren't motivated to exercise and defend that right.

    And what if those reasons are not what you think they are? What if they are to provide the government with access to a militia force specifically to put down uprisings? arship


    The Second Amendment's "obvious purpose," the Supreme Court declared in United States v. Miller, was "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of ... [militia] forces." [307 U.S. 174, 178 (1939).]

    It is difficult, nonetheless, to find support in the Constitution for the notion that the Second Amendment is a license for the people to resist and triumph over government at any level by means of force and violence. To the contrary, the Constitution is replete with provisions intended to quell uprisings. For example, Congress is empowered to call out the militia-the very force envisioned to resist usurpations of power-to suppress insurrections and rebellions. Significantly, treason is the only crime the Framers believed important enough for the Constitution to condemn explicitly. In defining the crime, for example, the Constitution expressly lists "levying war" against the United States as a manifestation of the offense. Thus, the theory that the Second Amendment contemplates armed confrontations against the government is seriously undermined.

    Advocates who insist that the Second Amendment is still a viable check on tyranny often suggest that lightly-armed civilians could defeat modern armies by mounting a guerrilla war, selectively pointing to various twentieth century conflicts as evidence of the same. In reality, however, no insurgents armed only with the sort of personal weapons contemplated by the Second Amendment have prevailed, in a military sense, over any authentically modern army.

    Most of the rest is talking about the very limited likelihood of success of an civilian armed revolution, particularly compared to the remarkable success that nonviolent resistance has had recently. Interesting read though.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: Re: otherwise you might have to blame guns

    Banning guns will not solve this problem.

    Obviously no simple answer is going to solve a complex problem, but what if it reduced the problem?

    Also, to hearken back to a recent thread, what if "banning guns" doesn't actually stop you from enjoying responsible gun use in many reasonable ways?

    Neither of these are hypotheticals, in case you're wondering.

    Also, how many gun deaths per capita do you think is too many? Care to apply that quantity regarding bathtubs? Swimming pools? Stepladders? SCUBA gear? Surfboards? Because I think you won't.

    I think you underestimate how much time and energy goes into preventing each of those categories of deaths. Perhaps time and money would have much better long-term benefits from being spent on improving mental health conditions and support in the community (all communities) than in controlling guns (actually, no perhaps, it's undeniably true), but that's not enough reason (for me) not to control guns as well, especially when the consequences of properly implemented gun control are so slight.

  • Jun 25th, 2015 @ 9:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Vote with your wallets, and boycott WB games if you're a PC user. Point to this debacle as to why we don't want shitty ports. Because Arkham Origins shipped in a similar state.

    Not terrible advice, but what avenue for a fan that wants a PC port, just not a shitty one?

  • Jun 24th, 2015 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So we're back to the feudal era...

    The exchange is a zero-sum-game. What one party gain another loose. Because of this, the exchange is a zero-sum-game for the economy also.

    Yes and no. This is true on the face of it, but the exchange enables an information market that allows lenders to determine the worth of a company and so its borrowing/repaying potential. When the share price of a company goes up money is neither created nor destroyed... BUT the company can leverage its raised share price to borrow funds at a premium interest rate, and use that money to expand their business - creating new jobs and growing the economy.

    It's obviously not a perfect system, but it's arguably better than no system at all. This is not to say that I think a stockbroker is a high value job, just that I think that the stock market itself has value.

  • Jun 24th, 2015 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re:

    The whining isn't about their info, the whining is about ALM publishing stories that suggest that Denton is hurting, which has a very real chance of impacting Denton's revenue.

    The tapdancing... I don't know. "Your figures are laughable and your methodology smells like your momma's moustache! But we're still not sharing our figures." They may well be right, but from the outside it's hard to know. It's hard to fight FUD without data, but if the FUD is being thrown around in an attempt to get at data that you don't want to share... is it better to confront it imprecisely and be called out like this, or ignore it and hope that isn't seen as tacit agreement?

  • Jun 24th, 2015 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: For want of a soldier

    I get paid well because of what I can do ... it's not
    liberal or conservative, it's the value delivered. A great waitress can only add so much value to society, other professions add more to the bottom line, hence they get paid more.

    There's a fundamental problem with this, in that it is extremely difficult to measure value, and that accurately measuring value is of little use in deriving worth. I would argue that a good waitress adds much more value to society than a good stockbroker... though not the economy.

    Trash collectors and street sweepers are absolutely invaluable to society and also useful to the economy, yet they are valued (and paid) quite lowly. Perhaps these people are highly replaceable and so don't share the value of their position - someone MUST do the job, but it doesn't matter who.

    Teachers are possibly a better example - harder to replace than individual street sweepers... but I'd suggest that our society and economy would fail more absolutely if we lost all teachers, than if we lost all stockbrokers or lawyers. Perhaps the modern economy would fail faster if we lost all stockbrokers, but I suspect that society would cope quite well.

    How much value do good app developers add to society, or the economy?

  • Jun 24th, 2015 @ 6:15pm

    I don't get it

    Okay, so GCHQ is reverse engineering the Kapersky product... and then what? Are they just trying to figure out how the product works to try to get around it? So are countless security researchers (citation: I didn't count them).

    If they're performing a sleight of hand to replace the official strong version of Kapersky's AV with their own modified/weakened version, then that's terrible, but how would they do that? That seems like it would involve spoofing the Kapersky website across the UK... which would still be defeated by a VPN.

    I'm not sure how to read this story other than as an endorsement for the official version of Kapersky's software...

  • Jun 23rd, 2015 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Spying

    For real, this time!

  • Jun 23rd, 2015 @ 9:39pm

    (untitled comment)

    I love the last intercept in the list. If you follow the link, the synopsis is titled US Intercepts of France Complaining About US Intercepts of France...

    It's In[ter]ception!

  • Jun 23rd, 2015 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: ShadowRun anyone?

    Besides who wouldn't like to live in a Shadowrun world? Dragons, trolls, cyber implants... ok maybe the "wastelands" of Europe might have something against the idea
    It's very cool to read about and play games set in a Shadowrun world, but one thing that I notice from my experience doing that ... is that the Shadowrun world is a pretty terrible place for most of its inhabitants. An exciting place, but a terrible one.

    A world with megacorps and private armies, but without the magic, cybertech and metahumans... that's like trying to be one of the normal people in the Shadowrun world.

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