Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 5:29pm

    Re: The most sacred right of all

    Until you need that specific product in order to work.

    Tractors are necessary to work farms, and all the companies that make tractors pull the same thing John Deere does, requiring authorized technicians (who can be days away and priced exorbitantly). All the while crops are not getting sown or harvested.

    It's the tractors, not the phones, that drove the right to repair issue into public awareness.

  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 5:23pm

    "Regulation created this problem. Regulation is not a solution to this problem"

    I'm totally unclear how you can lump every regulation or even the act of regulating (constraining by law) in this way. As the toxic meat situation illustrated in The Jungle (1906, by Upton Sinclair) regulation is a necessity for large markets.

    And as the telecommunications industry has shown us, regulation doesn't do enough.

    Now yes, the legal restrictions on repair have to do with how the DMCA works, specifically the anti-circumvention clause. It's a law meant to criminalize circumventing the DRM of copyrighted works (even for legal purposes, which poses a problem) being misused by companies to restrict use of physical goods (such as tractors and cell phones). It's using software to restrict hardware.

    That's a regulation with a problem. And, granted, we have many poorly-written regulations that cause many problems.

    But Right to Repair don't merely lift the DMCA obstruction to repair, but can also require that third parties gain access to equipment and specs necessary to repair them. They can also disallow the use of proprietary bolts or specialized IO cables, which are both commonly used to discourage third party repairs to electronic devices.

    So in this case we're talking about some good regulations and some bad regulations. Most of the time we're always talking about this.

    It's been revealed before that companies get as much as twenty-three times the investment more into lobbying to capture regulatory agencies and turn laws to their favor than they do researching to improve their product or marketing or improving production. We need regulation to assure products are safe, to dissuade anti-competitive practices, to assure that the market is fair.

    Because without them we will ultimately not have a market at all, rather a handful of corporations controlling everything. And toxic meat.

  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 4:37pm

    Two words, my friend...

    ...Prosecutorial Discretion

  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 12:48pm

    Everything is illegal except for the elite.

    The conviction rate is 90% for those who cannot afford their own legal defense, and we commit three felonies a day.

    You are a bad actor as soon as someone official wants you to be or decides you are. Then its up to you to prove your innocence.

    The rich elite get all benefits of law, since they can afford someone credentialed to invoke it. Officials are nearly immune to law because they control on whom it is enforced.

  • May 23rd, 2017 @ 12:38pm

    "Government nannies are not a solution to this problem."

    You're going to have to elaborate then, else it sounds like that's exactly what you're saying.

    Snippy comments without further explanation tend to suggest you haven't thought it through.

    Now if I were to infer that we'd be better off with no IP system whatsoever (no copyrights, no patents) that would be considerably better than the easily exploitable system we have today.

    But then it'd be subject to another set of abuses.

    The market needs to be well regulated (to prevent anticompetitive practices, at least). Products need to be well regulated (for safety concerns at very least). Yes, we have a problem with monied interests having too much influence on our representatives (who are supposed to represent us, the voters, not campaign contributors).

    So if you want to address voter reform, do that. Deregulation is how we get leaded drinking water and electronics that slowly microwave our brains.

  • May 18th, 2017 @ 6:14am

    Can we dunk him anyway, just to be sure?

    Well, he's obviously channeling one of those detection dogs that always signals and ensures probable cause. But without the dog.


  • May 17th, 2017 @ 8:37pm

    looting rioting firebombs

    Actually, there wasn't any shooting. There was a gun confiscated.

    I'm sorry, there wasn't shooting by any of the civilians. The police were happy to put rubber bullets into people, and we got to see close up photos of what rubber bullets look like (hint: they're not rubber)

    And yes, there was some looting, because that's what we learned in Katrina, that black people loot while white people forage for supplies. They took milk from the McDonalds to treat people blinded by tear gas. And the franchise owner was glad to provide it.

    (That's the same McDonalds that was seized by the police as a staging area two days ago, where two journalists were arrested for taking too long to move. That's all recorded too. The state of Missouri is still pressing charges in one case.)

    And yes, there were violent groups, including white supremacists and panthers from St. Louis. The community members were diligent about keeping resistance passive.

    Of course, the massive riot force imported in by the State of Missouri were less considerate, and many of the locals were hospitalized.

    So, no, regarding your looting rioting firebombs claim, even the imported extremists couldn't do the damage the State of Missouri authorities did.

  • May 17th, 2017 @ 5:42pm

    To the contrary...

    The pirate community is profoundly affected.

    New recruits from otherwise law-abiding fair-minded folk join our jolly ranks by the hour.

    We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors...

  • May 17th, 2017 @ 2:02pm


    Officer T. T. Carroll is a witch.

  • May 16th, 2017 @ 9:05pm

    So how long before...

    ...someone makes a handy Netflix extension for available media players?

    This has been the end result of pretty much every other proprietary format and service that has doubled as DRM.

    I give it two years at most.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 7:26pm

    Sometimes we are monstrous.

    And you do a grave disservice to Jews and to humanity when you compare what is happening today to the holocaust. You should be ashamed.

    Do I do a grave disservice to the Jews and to humanity when I suggest that skilled politicians might be capable of using distancing language to make holocausts palatable to the common civilian, Anonymous Coward? Do I do a grave service to imply that without vigilance such a holocaust might happen again, and without that visceral connection, people watching the news will go meh?

    About 200,000 people perpetrated the Jewish Holocaust, but how many people endorsed or tolerated it? These days Hitler did nothing wrong! is an unironic motto of the Alt-Right, so... a lot?

    In the meantime the civilian casualties in the Middle East from US military operations do number in the millions, and already did so before the 9/11 attacks. How many people have to die before you find it acceptable calling it a holocaust? (Hint: The Armenian Holocaust was ~1.5 million.)

    While one might have argued we were doing it for oil interests during the 20th century, the anti-Islam fervor expressed plainly within the current administration implies that they're happy for the casualties counted and will be happy to add to those numbers, so this may historically go down as genocide or ethnic cleansing.

    Granted, they weren't all drone strikes, for which civilian kills are estimated to be about fifty for one person of interest. The stat I like to use is that the Afghanistan drone strike program was, at its apogee, running about 500 sorties a year and killing more civilians than all the small arms in the United States combined. (Which is fun to think about the next time a school shooter massacres a bunch of kids. How much do we really want to save lives?)

    Bush and Obama made it easier to massacre people by calling them militants, that includes people too young or too elderly to walk. The children, we call fun sized terrorists. Really. That's what we call eight- and nine-year-old kids that the CIA murdered by drone. Fun sized terrorists. Isn't that a riot? You are laughing, aren't you, Anonymous Coward?

    We are, thankfully, winding down the Afghanistan drone strike program, but the Pakistan program is still ramping up, and Trump has been specifically interested in opening up drone strike programs in other theaters. He's kinda chubby about it the way he's had wood about the US thermonuclear arsenal since before the election.

    Regarding the MOAB's expiration date, I'd have to argue that the peaceful dismantling of it would have been its best possible outcome. And yes, Trump may not understand what collateral damage numbers mean, but he sure loves them high scores. I'm sure they make him feel huge.

    North Korea doesn't need demonstrations. It knows without doubt the capabilities of the United States far surpass what is needed to annihilate its infrastructure back to paleolithic technology. We could do it using old B52s and expired iron bombs if we wanted. We have that much surplus. But no, if Kim Jong Un decided to do something stupid, we'd make an example out of him.

    But I'm confident that Kim Jong Un isn't stupid, or if he is, he has handlers that will stay his stupid hand.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 6:42am

    Look in the opposite direction...

    ...and you'll find concerns of people incapable of discerning fantasy from reality regarding: television, cinema, radio and (far enough back) trashy romantic literature.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 6:30am

    Sometimes we need a monster.

    When Obama commanded the drone strike programs, he recognized that civilian casualties were bad. He ordered that the bodies not be counted too closely, that the numbers would stay classified and stay out of permanent records. We, the public, occasionally got estimates after someone in the press did some pretty deep investigating. The estimates were still super-grotesque, but the public didn't have to care too much.

    And now we have a president who celebrates civilian casualties with glee and joviality. Whether or not Trump requested the MOAB, he sure reveled in its spectacular results. Trump loves those high numbers of dead brown people.

    And the public is, for once, aghast.

    The problem with competent politicians is they can make the operations of holocaust sound routine and quotidian. We occasionally need monsters being monstrous to realize that waitaminute, something truly awful is happening, and that should change.

    Meanwhile, here at TD, there was plenty of concern of the kind of dingo that Comey is. But no one here had the ear of the President.

  • May 10th, 2017 @ 5:58am

    Ferguson Effect

    When I think Ferguson Effect I think of the lines of officers which I got to see in real time from cameras on the ground during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. To the last guy, and contrary to every firearms safety regimen I've known, they had their rifles and shotguns trained on the (unarmed) public, and I was turning blue in fear that someone was going to accidentally discharge his weapon and set off a massacre.

    Later on, they'd climb in/on their bearcat mine-proof transports and go to town raining tear gas cannisters all over the neighborhood for no discernable tactical reason, except to show they can piss anywhere they want. Rebel yelling was involved.

    For me, the Ferguson Effect is when I looked at all this and asked myself what the fuck happened to the police to turn them into this?

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 4:59pm

    Comey was a true believer in unicorns

    As Ehud Gavron notes, Comey was a big fearmonger regarding terrorists going dark and believed wholeheartedly in hobbled encryption that can be unlocked by magic golden keys that can only be used by good guys.

    In that specific regard he was a fool. How he handled the clinton email affair and electoral intervention by Putin makes him a clutzy, incompetent fool.

    Or more likely, a fool who got caught being partisan where he shouldn't have been.

  • May 9th, 2017 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Sometimes it's better with the devil you know.

    I dunno. Comey has proven to be a pretty bad devil.

    Granted, Trump is not the guy I want to be appointing the new guy.

  • May 8th, 2017 @ 12:33pm

    Is the flood of commenters related to the alleged DDOS?

    FCC Office of Media Relations released an official statement alleging that the FCC website comments section was the victim of a DDOS. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves.

    Not the dismissal of public outrage I expected.

  • May 5th, 2017 @ 11:58pm

    I played AD&D from ~1977-1990.

    ...and not once did I get a recruitment offer from Satanic acolytes or witches offering to teach me actual magic.


    Once I moved up to the Bay Area, I did find some crossover with the tabletop gaming community and the neopagan sector.

  • May 5th, 2017 @ 6:14am

    Let's see if I got this right:

    Intelligence Porn is pooping (raw) data out to the public and letting the people individually decide what conclusions to draw.

    legitimate newsgathering, informing the public, commenting on important public controversies is selectively releasing data so that it implies an intended conclusion. Data with spin. Telling the public what to think.


    Is that it?

  • May 3rd, 2017 @ 2:26pm

    Does this mean...

    I can actually get my voice-activated digital assistant to sound like GlaDOS?

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