1245 posts • joined Monday 16th April 2007 14:31 GMT
>>"can people please note the difference in these statistics before they try and compare them"
But that might lessen some people's sense of righteous indignation at being expected to obey the law (or at least, obey the law+10%+3mph, or whatever).
Clearly, we'd be *far* better either not having any speed limits, or having them, but not actually bothering to enforce them.
Still, it would be good to see all the statistics about the claimed factors contributing to serious or fatal accidents
It'd also be interesting to see what correlation there was between being involved in such accidents, and having a history of speeding convictions.
>>Dawkins' atheism simply expresses fear and selfishness."
What is he frightened of?
Is he frightened there *isn't* a god? (That rather sounds like the position a doubting believer would take).
Is he frightened there *is* a god? (That rather sounds like the position a believing sinner would take).
Though I stand to be corrected, from what I've read, I rather think that Dawkins honestly doesn't believe there *are* any deities, or any evil beings he can blame whenever he screws up.
It's hard to be scared of what you believe doesn't exist.
Not believing in the existence of deities has precisely the same internal/moral implications as not believing that aliens are about to arrive on Earth to punish, reward or save Mankind.
However, looking at external implications, *saying* you don't believe aliens are about to arrive on Earth only risks offending a rather smaller number of nutcases, few, if any, of whom are potentially homicidal.
It is, of course, the *expression* of a lack of belief that really upsets the lunatic fringe of believers. Most people who would be upset by someone avowing their atheism would be perfectly happy if that atheist just kept quite and *pretended* to believe.
Thus, conformity is valued over honesty, and duplicity is promoted as the next-best-thing to faith.
Isn't there just a little bit of irony...
...in having someone urging people to sign a petition not even having the confidence to say who they are themselves?
It does seem a bit odd to worry.
How many US criminals expecting to come up against the police are worried about Tasers rather than being shot?
At the moment, apart from maybe the odd bank robber, how many US criminals bother to wear bulletproof vests?
Finally, how many criminals actively preparing for trouble and fighting off the police would fail to be carrying a gun? Do police often use Tasers on suspects who are shooting at them?
Seems a bit of a marginal risk to worry about civilians desirous of being Taser-proof.
I'd assume that the people who are currently the main recipients of taserings (drunks, the drug -addled and small-scale criminals resisting arrest, disturbed people, etc ) wouldn't generally have planned to be getting tasered and dressed accordingly.
>>"But if you'd rather cast scorn..."
>>"What ever makes you feel good, big man."
This from the person quite happy to say that a majority of the population is 'fucking stupid' to have a particular opinion. Whether or not you're actually right in that view, you're not exactly someone who shrinks from being critical of their fellow man, or even their fellow entire country.
*You* were the one with the strong opinions on what the act was 'meant' to cover, effectively saying "These politicians are using legislation completely counter to the way it was intended"
Now, most people I know would base an opinion like that on some kind of knowledge (or a few dozen seconds of research) on how the act came about and what the people who created it intended it to be used for.
If I was actually replying to someone who had already said that someone else didn't know what *they* were talking about, I'd probably make an extra-special effort to make sure I knew what *I* was talking about, but maybe that's just the engineer in me, preferring to invest time in research than waste time being wrong.
>>"Should that be "this will decrease?"
You *must* be having a Paris moment.
As it slows down, the time period between pulses will increase.
>> >>"The calculations show that the pulsar has a rotation period of 316.86 milliseconds. This will increase by one second every 87,000 years..."
What I really need...
..is a thinner remote.
Still the same width and height as a normal remote, of course, so that the buttons remain a usable size, but just a few mm thick.
That'll make it much easier to find when it decides to hide somewhere, and much stronger and more rigid when it gets leant/sat/stepped accidentally.
Also, a nice flat keypad would make it far easier to find the buttons without having to look than with those nasty sticky-up ones we have at the moment.
>>"I can't think of any use of these acts when we weren't actually at war (you know, a real one with declaration and enemy and all that stuff)."
Which are the usages you remember from *during* wartime?
As far as I understood things, the reason there was a Parliament Act in the first place was the large Conservative bias in the Lords, which was acting against convention and pursuing its own party agenda.
That wasn't in wartime.
In fact, as far as I can see, of the times the Acts were used, not one was in wartime, and indeed the first two times it was used (just before WWI), both pieces of resulting legislation ended up delayed until 2 years after the war finished.
Equally, none of the pieces of legislation enacted under the acts seem to have had much to do with war, except for the 1991 War Crimes Act
It's interesting how you're an authority on what the act was meant to cover, when like the AC I was replying to, you don't seem to know much else about it.
>>"I see your comment and raise you The Parliament Act. GodEmperor Tony Bliar shoved this little gem through and it has already been used to override the Lords overturning of ill-conceived NuLabour legislation in order that "the government" (whoever is in, so not just NuLabour - wonder if the GodEmperor thought of that when he forced it through?) can decide to ignore the Lords if the old duffers dare to disagree."
>>"And aint it funny how Bliar was going to get rid of the House of Lords until they let him have The Parliament Act... hmm. "
Anyone reading that might think that
a) Blair (born in 1953) was responsible for the Parliament Acts (of 1911 and 1949)
b) He somehow forced the lords to agree the pre-existing acts were valid. In fact, the most the Law Lords did was to unanimously confirm the view of the High Court and the Court of Appeal that the 1949 act was indeed valid.
If what he was saying...
...was actually worth listening to, he wouldn't need background music, especially not music used against the wishes of its creators.
MLK, Churchill, JFK, etc seemed to manage perfectly well getting their point across without musical backing, but then their point was possibly more inspiring than:
"Elect me and my dubious sidekick and then we'll do what our friends pay us to do"
Politics is meant to be about important things, not music-backed soundbites at the intellectual level of a wrestler's entrance into an arena full of drooling morons.
Maybe the emphasis trend is partly down to Blair, but up to a point, emphasis is ignorable, or it can at least be counted as someone just trying to convey real or imagined passion if the speaker is good enough.
However, when people who aren't naturally good speakers overdo it, especially when they play too much with the pitch of their voice, it can get to the point where it's annoying from the first word even if they happen to be talking sense.
There are certain patterns of volume, timing and pitch that really do sound like a primary school teacher talking to kids they've already written off as being a bit thick.
If someone is talking as if the audience is dense *and* they have a smile in their voice, it's actually rather hard for them *not* to sound smug.
'everyone else' ==men
>>"Sadly it's because women *have* to be tougher than everyone else to get to the top, "
Seems maybe more that the system ensures that all the people who get to the top are rather similar. Maybe years of toeing the party line and licking the relevant backsides does inculcate a desire to throw one's weight around after finally achieving some level of power to essentially the same extent in women as in men?
Some people thought "Wouldn't politics be different (as in better) if only we got more women MPs and ministers?", but the ones we have got so far don't seem obviously different from the men they replaced or work alongside, apart possibly from some having a personal conviction that they were different (as in 'better'), and that they could somehow improve things simply by doing business as usual, just without a Y chromosome.
Of course, that does lead on to pondering whether the problem all along wasn't actually that men were in control, but that the system resulted in a particular kind of person succeeding, and that just as with women, the men who succeed aren't necessarily representative of men in general.
Finally, though *maybe* it's less of an issue with Smith, there does seem to be a notable subset of female NewLabour ministers who have gone to the same poor voice coach, resulting in a delivery that sounds frequently smug and patronising, as if they're talking to a class of small children who NEED every SECOND word EMPHASISED.
Even if they're actually saying something you'd normally agree with, the tone can be so annoying that you find yourself tempted to change your opinion.
A singsong delivery may be tolerable or even appealing in some circumstances, but it really doesn't work coming from people who are supposed to be serious people doing a serious job running the country.
We're at the severe end of severe?
And yet it *still* seems like the bulk of the terrorist plots are carried out by people who can't make things explode, or who are penetrated by the security services before they can actually do anything.
I can't wait until we're at the mild end of severe.
The only obvious argument for longer pre-charge detention is in the hope that someone who kept quiet for a month will somehow become talkative in the next fortnight, or to keep someone locked up who you're confident is guilty until sufficient evidence turns up to charge them.
Once someone has been in custody even for a few days, any co-conspirators still at liberty will likely have moved, changed identities, and altered their plans, unless they're extraordinarily thick.
If the bulk of the threat is from some kind of bomb or another, since there's no shortage of potential targets (basically anywhere with people gathered together), changing plans in the face of a potential security breach must be fairly easy.
If it's a matter of getting enough evidence to charge someone with something serious enough to warrant their continued detention, if you're desperate to keep them in custody because you're sure something is going on, you can always charge them with some kind of conspiracy and worry about the case falling apart months or years later at trial.
At the moment, it doesn't seem that there's much fallout if some grand terrorist plot trial turns into a bit of a damp squib. Unless such events become too frequent, I don't expect that situation will change much, and if there was some real emergency, most people would likely be even less concerned about the people who eventually have charges dropped or are found not guilty. It's hard to see what future circumstances would warrant an instant law change just to keep some dangerous person inside.
If this Francis Offord character actually exists, I guess he's one of those bitter little people who can't really enjoy something if they think that everyone else might also be enjoying it, or thinks that something isn't worth having unless he can convince himself that other people are plotting to take it away from him.
Sure, the guy has the right to say what he thinks like anyone else and arguably it's better he were honest than just a closet homophobe.
However, if the organisation he works for is to be believed, he's also supposed to be some kind of representative of a system that's alleged to make people better humans.
Even if he doesn't have any legal obligation not to act like a tool in public, his employers may well have their own opinion.
>>"The difference between the Nazis and this bigot is that where the Nazis picked on people who had made a lifestyle choice, he wants to attack people for something that is inherent."
I suppose you could argue that way regarding the case of going after people seen as a threat to the regime (communists, trade unionists, etc), but I don't think they actually considered being Jewish, Roma, Slav, etc as a lifestyle choice made by an individual.
Who people's parents and grandparents are isn't something they have much choice about.
>>"Before belief you will find thousands of years of tribal warfare. No gods were necessary, just the protection of blood lines. Your own family was OK and helped, and your own tribe was OK, but anyone else was fair game."
Then civilisation upgrades to religion, and land-grabbing and genocide become things of the past, as can be seen from a quick glance at the Old Testament.
>>"in human history, religion was the once force that could unite disparate tribes, under the symbol of an imaginary god, and allow them to come together as a larger social unit"
...and go and massacre a different large social unit, but now ostensibly for worshipping the wrong god, rather than people having the honesty to admit it was for personal greed and revenge.
Anyway, was Europe a haven of peace when it was all united under the Church of Rome?
Did the people in power actually pay much attention to religion, or just to power?
Personally, I'd have thought that trade was a fairly significant factor uniting different tribes. When communities specialise in one or other form of production, perhaps initially for reasons of geography, and later by tradition, and they can mutually benefit by swapping objects, then they can become worth more to each other alive than dead.
If you don't know how to make a desirable product, you have an incentive not to kill the person who does know.
>>"I'd almost bet that since they didn't have the means/ability to LOGICALLY reason it out, they just made something up that made sense to themselves"
I'd have thought it fairly likely that some religious mythologies developed as a result of parents inventing tales to get curious children to shut up, rather than to satisfy themselves.
Once the germ of an idea of an invisible god was there, it's a bit too tempting to use it when a kid is asking "But *WHY* does it rain???", "What happens when Grandpa dies???", "Why ARE there cows???", etc
Even if most kids grow out of believing, they can still end up telling the same or similar stories to their children, the way we do with folk tales and fairly stories, and eventually it can start to stick.
Also, in some communities (hunter/gatherers, etc), the just-so stories might be a good way of remembering things (which plants are poisonous, how to deal with certain animals, etc), and so retain a use into adulthood.
>>"There would be no "Intelligent Design movement" without Dawkins: he created it as the sustenance he needs to keep going as a small minded, anti-human bigot."
Bollocks. ID is simply a US-based attempt to get round US prohibitions on teaching creationism, the latest round in a struggle between science and ignorance that's been going on in the US since before the Scopes Trial
About the only influence Dawkins might have had is in educating some people about what evolution is through his science writing.
>>"As for Dawkins the biologist: er... he's never actually been any kind of scientist. Dawkins has never done any research. (The boring stuff in labs with mice and petri dishes)."
Science is about more than just experimentation, and anyway, isn't labwork the kind of thing many people get their students to do while they're busy thinking, lecturing, and applying for the next round of grant money?
>>"He has done forty years of serious media time mouthing off about how people are less enlightened than Richard Dawkins. But, er... that's about it."
So the media were interested in him a decade *before* he published his first book?
He must have been a pretty impressive public speaker.
>>"Professorships are cheap these days. Anyone can buy one."
Do I hear the sound of petulant little feet stamping on sour grapes?
No doubt everyone can be a bestselling science writer as well, at least in their dreams.
@Stop right there
>>"I am Turkish, and I don't believe in the non-sense evolution theory."
Assuming for a few seconds you're not just a troll, then I pity either your lack of education or your miseducation, your dogmatic resistance to learning, or your inability to understand a remarkably simple theory.
>>"Lastly, evolution is a theory, has never been proven, will never be proven, because it is a stupid non-sense theory that was made up, so that who doesn't believe in God can have something to believe in."
Of course. How obvious it all is, now you point it out.
And I suppose meteorology was just made up to give people who didn't believe in [deity] crying rain and throwing thunderbolts something to believe in, medicine was made up to give people who don't believe in [deity] miraculously healing people something to believe in, astronomy was just made up to give people who don't believe in [deity] painting stars on the inside of some nearby black dome something to believe in, geology was just made up to give people who didn't believe in the earth just being willed into existence something to believe in, and so on.
Surely though, with peer-peer systems, someone who downloads a file shares it by default, even if some users may well not be hugely aware of that, just thinking they've downloaded something 'from the internet' and having little idea that their PC was also sharing the file with other people.
I guess a lot depends how damages were worked out - in addition to legal costs for the lawyers, can the company effectively charge for any costs they can claim to have incurred in pursuing people, on top of actual imaginary lost-sales damages?
Realistically, wouldn't almost any download by someone else be likely to try to use multiple sources for speed reasons? If so, it's likely that one individual will source a fraction of a download to many people, but possibly not using a great amount of bandwidth in total.
Maybe they claim based on the number of copies she (or her PC) helped other people to *partially* download, rather than some proportionate basis such as 'game cost x number of equivalent whole copies'
But even if it worked, why go to all that trouble when there are plenty of people knowingly sharing software, even, it would appear, software which pretty much everyone seems to think is complete pants.
Seems like if you got someone to offer almost anything under its own name, some people would download it, even if it's just to have one play and then delete it. As long as there are people like *that* around...
Then again, you could always just write some software called 'World's Biggest Tits", give it a ridiculous price, and get some people to offer *that* on a filesharing service.
"Yes, your honour, it *is* an eyecatching name for ornithological photo library package, which might be why we haven't sold very many copies. Still, that shouldn't stop you authorising damages."
@A J Stiles
>>"You missed the third option: Change the law to prevent the setting of unreasonable conditions."
Thing is, I was talking about how things are, and as things are, it is up to the creator to decide what people can and can't do
I doubt that many average people would see the current situation of 'developer chooses what to publish, people choose what to buy' as unreasonable.
And changing the law isn't an 'option' like the others, it's more of an aspiration among a few people. You can hope/try to do it eventually. The other options (accept the conditions or don't take the product), you can exercise now.
In reality, of course, if there *was* some great majority of people in favour of enforced open source, they wouldn't even need to change the law, since they could apply commercial pressure to get hardware manufacturers to publish driver source, etc
Are there *any* signs of such commercial pressure being applied - people boycotting hardware, etc?
>>"Because the programmer is in the ideal position to conceal their misdeeds!
I take it that you never install software that downloads patches/upgrades then, since that could do an end-run around any amount of pre-installation code checking?
>>"If you were a policeman standing outside a recently-robbed bank, and you asked a blinged-up person in a brand-new sports car "Did you rob this bank?" and they answered "No", would you just accept that at face value?"
I think it's highly doubtful I'd bother asking, since the answer would be unlikely to be 'yes' even if someone was guilty and enacting the 'always returns to the scene of the crime' cliche, unless they were phenomenally stupid.
>>"I still maintain that there is no legitimate reason to conceal Source Code from users."
For much commercial software, the people keenest to look at the source would not necessarily be *users*, but competitors trying to save doing their own development, and people looking (for good or ill) for security holes. Really, only a tiny fraction of users would be likely to be capable of really understanding the source code for a given application.
And that's not trying to 'knock' users, it's just stating a fact. Even if the users were miraculously all good programmers, it'd still be unlikely that many would even bother trying to understand a decent-sized application without some pressing reason to do so.
Also, for commercial software, giving away the source largely pulls the rug from under most kinds of copy protection - if someone can see the code that does online authorisation and license management, etc, it's likely to be much easier to bypass that section and produce an unprotected executable than if they had to hack the object code.
>>"I'm not talking about the embedded software; I'm actually talking about the RAW import filter (which the camera manufacturer supplies as a binary blob to Adobe et al). Sorry for the confusion"
So, in your Brave New World of enforced open source, someone actively trying to commit fraud (as opposed to people being a bit slack in description) would simply shift anything they'd rather you didn't see from inside the driver you currently don't have the source for to inside the hardware you still wouldn't have access to. No obvious gain there.
Do you mind my asking for a bit more detail?
Presumably, it wasn't just a case of the '8M' sensor chip having 4M green and 2M each of red and blue pixels, as basically every 8M sensor would, (apart from niche multilayer sensors like the Foveon), and/or just a case where the 8M/2M issue could be observed just by looking at the size of the .RAW files?
So what *was* it, and how would access to the source code have made it more obvious?
>> >> "[I]t's entirely up to the creator of a work to decide what other people can do with it"
>>"I'm afraid I don't buy that, any more than I buy the idea that it's entirely up to the owner of a knife to decide where they stick it."
As an analogy, not only is that not useful, but it doesn't even qualify as poor.
If the creator of a copyright work (program or anything else) sets clear and lawful conditions, the only legal options available for other people are to decide whether to accept/buy the work with those conditions, or to avoid the work.
>>"As the owner of a computer, I believe that none of what goes on inside that computer should be a secret from me."
You have a right to that belief, and to express it by the choice of which programs you choose to legally install and use. Since you have no intention to ever pay for software, then you've already limited your legal choices to software which is relatively more likely than average to have source available.
However, even the world's brightest people are still not *that* likely to be able to understand everything that goes on in a modern computer, even if they didn't almost all have better things to do with their time than try to find out.
If you pay someone to check software for you, you're still going to have to trust *them*. Why can't you trust a programmer?
>>"Computer users outnumber software authors, just as non-smokers wanting clean air to breathe outnumber smokers wanting to pollute it. If you don't like the thought that your Source Code should be viewable by the people who are going to be making use of it, then DON'T PROGRAM!"
I think you'll find the vast majority of computer users don't give a rat's ass about source being for commercial programs, so does that mean you should 'STOP GOING ON ABOUT IT!'?
I haven't tried to tell you what software to run. Who the hell are *you* to tell me what, whether, or how, to program?
Anyway, we're not living in your fantasy world where everyone is forced to disclose source code, so I'll just carry on doing what I do, keeping some source to myself, disclosing other code, and sharing knowledge with other actual programmers on actual programmer's forums.
>>"...There are landfills full of computer accessories which worked fine with DOS but for want of drivers would not work with Windows 95, etc.."
Now, that is a good point.
However, popular hardware does tend to have driver support in later versions of OSs. As for the rest, a lot of what isn't supported is effectively economically obsolete - not used by enough people to make it worth someone developing a new driver except as a labour of love.
Trying to think of examples of 'orphaned' products I can remember even reading of recently, let alone handling (and where they were still worth enough money to bother about), the only one that springs to mind is ADB-based Wacom tablets, which apparently don't work on recent (non-ADB) Macs, even if using a USB<->ADB adapter.
In that case, for someone trying to write a new driver, source code for an old driver is possibly not much extra use than the communication protocols for the device, which would be needed anyway
Realistically, it's quite possible that more hardware will end up unusable due to electrical incompatibility (loss/reduction in number of suitable ports) than to loss of driver support, and it's also likely that vastly more hardware is landfilled for speed/capacity reasons when upgrading to a new OS than due to loss of driver support in the new OS.
It's certainly an issue, and possibly a real pain for a few people left with unsupported expensive kit, but not much of an issue for the great majority of computer users.
>>"And that's before we mention the customers being screwed over because the hardware they bought doesn't do what it says on the box"
I'm talking about so-called "8 Megapixel" cameras up-sampling from 2Mpx image sensors and the difference between a £30 graphics card and a £300 graphics card being one resistor."
When it comes to the graphics card, even if the extreme example were true, that can be a matter of economics. You make a load of chips/boards/whatever, test enough to get sufficient passing your hardest test, and configure those as your bleeding-edge products for a premium price. Then you test enough to pass your second-hardest test, and so on, down to your budget range, which only has to pass the easiest test. Especially as processes improve, it may be that almost all products would pass the hardest test, but it might not make sense to configure/price them all the same.
Also, at the low end, the card may well have all kinds of components (chipsets, memory, etc) that might or might not reliably work faster than they are configured to do. It may be that some cards do just need a resistor changing to work faster, and that some may even work as reliably as the expensive card, but other identical cards might not do.
Even if an extreme case were true, with there being no difference in potential capabilities whatsoever, it can still be reasonable and fair to underconfigure some products to enable a spread of pricing, as long as everyone gets what they pay for.
Looking at economies of scale, marginal costs, etc can give particularly odd outcomes when applied to electronics, especially given a significant number of people who will pay large amounts for bleeding-edge kit, which is almost always terrible on a price/performance ratio.
Sometimes, with cameras, etc, there can be outright fraud. Sometimes it can be a matter of reading the small print. Sometimes, there can be whole areas where meaningless numbers seem to get get used by everyone as headline figures as some sort of convention, such as with '19,200dpi' scanners.
Anyway, with the camera, having source would likely be no use at all to you or anyone else.
If someone's trying to screw you with a truly fraudulent megapixel claim, they could easily just provide fake source code for the embedded software. For an embedded product, you'd probably have no way of knowing if the source was genuine, since you'd be unlikely to be able to compile and install it in a finished product, even if the manufacturer didn't set things up to actively prevent you.
@Was this covered?
>>"If you kill a torrent when your share ratio is at 1.99, you presumably can't have provided a full copy of "the product" to anyone. Can you then be said to have distributed the product? I suggest not, but opinions would be welcome."
Maybe you can't be said to have distributed a full copy of the product, but I imagine that lawyers would argue, probably successfully, that you were still participating in distribution and copyright infringement.
Anyway, with copyright, I don't think you need to distribute an entire work to be infringing. Copying too large a fraction of a book or a file would probably count, and I guess that'd be the case even if the recipient didn't get the rest elsewhere.
If you were taking part in an enterprise where someone could complete the downloading even after you'd quit, you couldn't easily argue that you hadn't helped someone get a complete product.
>>"1) You do: the output of the "compiler. NOTE: this was so strange that all compilers have to say that they demand no rights on the output. Copyright hasn't been written for "the computer age"."
Any explicit or implicit understanding between me and the compiler writers isn't a concern of the end user, so isn't relevant to the analogy.
Anyway, copyright has been *updated* for the computer age, as you pointed out, and if *everyone* really does puts a disclaimer on their compilers, there wouldn't seem to be any urgency for the law to change to explicitly cover what's already being covered.
>>"2) No, copyright is a grant from US to YOU. That we pirate because we can't get the law changed is your problem. Sucks for you, eh?"
Obviously, you misread what I wrote. *Whether or not copyright exists*, unless you manage to legalise burglary, your desire to get educated by looking at other people's source code will be frustrated unless they choose to let you see it.
Despite what some people claim to try and make themselves feel better, hardly *anyone* pirates because they object to copyright law. They pirate because they want to enjoy things without actually working for them, and those who also whine about copyright law largely do so because it imposes a potential cost on their freeloading.
>>"4) No, the source code is copyrighted AND a trade secret. The output is not expressive (which is a requirement of many copyright regimes, like, oh, the US) so it's only convention (untested in court) that object still falls under copyrightable works in the US"
Err - weren't you the person saying
>>"So you want Trade Secret AND copyright? Pick one"
which seemed to imply you thought it was (or should be) an either/or situation.
If it were merely a 'convention' that object code was protected, it would seem to be a convention that no pirate has tried to test in court. Odd, that, since it's object code that pirates get prosecuted for selling and/or giving away.
5) you do sell what you get from it, though. Every time you sell on a copy of their knowledge, compressed through your understanding and your expression (rather like the MP3 isn't a copy of the music ripped, but a close analogue that gets the gist across).
I sell my knowledge and skills, very largely developed through experience. I don't sell their knowledge in any form that they might possibly recognise, and hardly anything they taught me wasn't already in the public domain anyway.
And they certainly didn't teach me for free. They were paid what they asked for for contributing to a relatively small and generally declining fraction of my skills.
I think you'd maybe better go and try to learn to tell the difference between what people *actually* said, and what you want to *believe* they said.
Outside your imagination, where am I asking you (or anyone else) to feel sorry for me (or anyone else)?
Outside your imagination, could you tell me, where did I insist that I don't need, or that I don't have customers?
As far as I can see, the most I did was suggest that I wouldn't lose sleep over not having AJ as a customer, since AJ never intends to pay for software. That said, even as a paying customer, I imagine AJ is probably someone I could well manage without.
And why is it unfair to point out where AJ is not making sense, or to be slightly disrespectful when AJ tries (rather unsuccessfully) to be patronising, or when AJ claims that a software developer's decision not to give their source away is akin to some kind of personal attack, or when AJ claims to have a 'right' that doesn't exist in any meaningful sense of the word 'right'?
Anyway, if AJ cares, I assume AJ can reply and point out where I'm being wrong, or indefensibly cruel, or misunderstanding their amazing argument.
>>"1) But there's nothing creative in operating a machine. I get no copyright on an engine gasket I punch out on the press."
And I get no copyright on the output of a program.
>>"2) Nope, it's your problem. Copyright is not an inalienable right. It's a grant by government fiat and can be removed. Software never used to be copyrighted and it is only recently it has been possible. And even more recently that object code was copyrighted."
Hold the front page! "Law not set in stone!. Changes in response to society!"
Actually, you wanting to look at someone else's source code for your own education *is* your problem, if the writer chooses not to make the source available.
Anyway, IIRC, even in the very early home computer days, copied software (even non-commercial home bootlegs of object code) wasn't legal, even if it may have fallen under something other than copyright law.
Much earlier than that, and the nature of licensing on 'proper' computers made copyright less important.
>>"3) So you want Trade Secret AND copyright? Pick one. Good job on selling your work under Trade Secret, though."
What? I can sell a product, physical or otherwise, that's produced via a secret process without losing any rights to keep the process secret, since a Trade Secret is simply something that I don't tell other people.
With software, however, the fact that it's potentially cheap and easy to copy the end product means that the end product itself deserves some kind of protection, however open or otherwise its production was.
>>"4) [...] You can do so too. Secret code is not THE answer. Its one. And a poor one at that."
In some situations, secret code is the best answer, in some situations it isn't.
It's up to the developer to decide, depending on the circumstances, not up to other people (especially those (not meaning you) with with a highly developed sense of entitlement, something which seems to be shared by quite a few filesharers).
5) Have you paid your university for the money you've made from their teaching you? That is copyrighted too: a unique expression. Pay up you pirate!
Well, I don't sell *their* unique expressions of anything, only my own expressions, and to be honest, almost everything I came away that was actually remotely useful was stuff I just learned, not stuff that someone taught me.
Which is, after all, how such things are supposed to work.
A J Stiles
>>"I have a right to examine (or to employ a third party of my free choice to examine, on my behalf) the Source Code of any software I intend to run on my computer, in order to assess its suitability for my purposes; and I have a right to adapt it (or have it adapted) if I deem necessary. If you are not prepared to show me the Source Code, then I am afraid that I am not prepared to accept your binary."
'Right' is not the correct word. Not by a long shot.
You don't have a 'right' to see or adapt code just as you don't have a 'right' to screw someone. If they choose to give permission, then it's not illegal for you to do it, but it's up to them whether to grant you that privilege.
All *you* have is a 'right' to choose what software to run, what offers to accept. A 'right' which is so obvious and so weak that it would seem odd that you'd think it worth mentioning in the first place.
>>"if *everyone* was forced to show their Source Code, it would be obvious who was relying on others to do their R&D for them. Therefore, the only reason why anyone would want to keep their code secret from the people who pay their wages, is that it contains something that would embarrass them if other people found out about it"
You honestly think that an individual (as opposed to a large organisation) can really search a world full of source code for things copied from them?
For a great deal of programming, not broadcasting source code is the cheapest and most obvious first step to make it harder for other people to profit from one's own work.
None of that's knocking free/open source software. It's just that it's entirely up to the creator of a work to decide what other people can do with it.
>>"Furthermore, by denying me access to the Source Code, you are saying to me "You will never be good enough to do anything beyond what we tell you you can."
It sounds like you have a few issues there, but I don't know if they're much to do with programming.
>>"I refuse to be patronised so. I am the one who is doing you a favour here, by paying you for a program you wrote, and if I can be treated with more respect elsewhere then I will go elsewhere.
Hang on, aren't you the guy who said:
>>"I have never, ever paid for a piece of software in my life, and I fully intend never to do so until the day I die."
You reckon anyone would lose sleep if you *did* go elsewhere?
>>Yes but you are getting copyright based on the source code.
Copyright is based on software being a result of creative work, which work the creator has the right to profit from if they choose to.
>> We can't learn how to program without source code.
Wow, really? I feel for you. Still, that sounds like your problem, not mine.
I don't jack about how to design cars, but I don't expect Ford to help educate me if I buy a Mondeo.
>>We can't see what novel innovative algorithm you used to solve your problems from the binary output.
No, you can't. So you work it out for yourself, start to finish, like programmers used to do. Analyse a problem, work out possible approaches, try one or more of them, see what works, refine it, see what other ideas you've had along the way that might make a better, etc. *Much* more educational.
And if I did have a novel algorithm, why on earth should I give it away, rather than keep it as a trade secret.
>>So you lose NOTHING. Unless you code like crap, in which case you may lose customers to another who writes better code.
If there's a commercial market for my program, then the more expensive it is for other people to legally duplicate my work, the higher the value is of the work I've done. If looking at my code helps someone else write something equivalent more quickly, then I do potentially lose something by giving away my source.
I dare say there may be special situations where a program is sold commercially, yet the buyers do both want and actually need access to source code.
However, those situations don't seem overwhelmingly common.
Anyway, am I supposed to spend extra time richly commenting even the bits of code that are obvious, just so someone slower doesn't get confused reading it?
Heck, I did enough of *that* at uni.
@A J Stiles
>>"The real "piracy" going on is charging money for software and then not letting people see the Source Code."
If I sell someone software, whether as standalone software, or code embedded in hardware, I'm selling them a product to use, and that's all.
Unless I happen to choose to give source away, or I'm compensated for doing so, there's no reason why I should be expected to tell anyone exactly how my programs work, any more than a car manufacturer should be expected to give away their CAD files.
The system works like this...
...and then some people wonder why it's hard finding teachers, especially for schools in neighbourhoods where there are likely to be rather more 'problem' children.
It's one thing to teach kids that are a pain, or even possibly a physical threat. It's another to have them potentially screwing your chances of teaching anywhere (or, at least, of teaching anywhere *else*).
Is there any database of children who make malicious allegations, to let teachers know who they should all refuse to teach for their own safety?
>>"Well what is macro evolution? Where does proven evolution change into unproven macro evolution and why is the line there?"
In the arguments of creationists/IDers, proven 'microevolution' turns into unproven (and therefore suggestibly impossible) 'macroevolution' at the point where they can start pretending it didn't happen with something approaching a straight face, reckoning that Satan and/or a prankster Jehovah created all the fossils, clear similarities in DNA between related species, etc just to confuse people.
Basically, if they didn't see it happen, then they can pretend it never happened, and that they are still specially created by a deity. The desire to believe *that* seems to be what much creationism comes down to, even among those who'd loudly claim to be ever so 'umble.
>>"It's a reminder of how politicised the US court system is. After all, if the course is properly accredited, to ignore it merely because it's taught from a religious point of view is merely discrimination. The purpose of the judgement is to make it impossible to run (e.g.) Roman Catholic universities by derecognising their courses."
What the judgement is saying is that it's legitimate for an educational (as opposed to an indoctrinational) institution to set what it considers worthwhile academic entry standards even if some of the people whose toes that treads on want to whine "religious discrimination".
It's not about derecognising Universities or their courses, just dubious history courses taught in *high schools*, as was obvious from the very first sentence of the article.
>>"Sorry, but I really don't want my Bank calling me up several times a day - that would be a sure fire way for me to revert to carrying large amounts of cash around with me!"
It wouldn't be hard to let someone choose which kinds/sizes of transactions a bank informed them about about afterwards (SMS or email), which kinds/sizes of transactions might result in the bank seeking approval, and which kinds of transactions (like foreign cash withdrawals from some/all countries) were de-authorised by default unless there'd been prior approval.
Who currently takes the hit in fraudulent overseas cash withdrawals - the UK card issuer or the overseas bank?
@A J Stiles
IIRC, in the past, cards/signatures were frequently not checked.
I've known people who got their cards swapped when paying for a curry, and who didn't realise until a week or so later, when each had made several signature-based transactions - they didn't read the card they were handing over, and none of the vigilant signature-checking humans noticed that the signatures were entirely different.
Once, I signed a newly-arrived credit card rather scrappily with a half-working ballpoint, and when I called the issuer, they simply told me to sign it a second time with a different pen. For the normal life of that card (2-3 years), I think only one retailer ever asked me why I had two signatures on the back.
My signature in general is not very neat or particularly consistent, and I don't think anyone has ever questioned it on a credit card purchase.
I suppose an encoded signature (ie one that a criminal couldn't re-encode onto a cloned card) might work for retail transactions *if* any staff could be bothered to do a comparison between what someone writes and what pops up on a screen.
However, if it's the case that the current frauds tend to target foreign ATMs, then human-based security checking doesn't seem to have much of a place there.
@AC - (Why look for water?)
Unless they're *still* all busy doing shockingly amateur alien autopsies, NASA will be looking at the 'buildings', but keeping everything under wraps.
Of course, to make a really good conspiracy, they'll have to involve hundreds or thousands of people, somehow knowing in advance that not *one* of them will spill the beans even though what they know would make an amazing story.
Really, it's cunning on NASA's part.
Rather than carefully checking out all their images and witholding any that had evidence of martian construction, they carefully let a few sneak out so they could identify the people who are resistant to all the mind-control drugs they sneak into our water supply.
However, it could be that they're even smarter than that, actually holding back all the *real* martian-construction pictures, and just releasing a few they've doctored with features at 'Bigfoot resolution' (just blurry enough to look like there might be something there). Of course, when people spot the features, they can do a legitimate higher-resolution image later and show that there was really nothing there all along, and it was just an artifact in the original image.
The really sneaky thing is that by releasing those few interesting pictures, it makes people think that all the images they release with nothing on are both boring and legitimate, when in fact some are doctored to cover up the *real* buildings.
Tom, you were *replying* to someone saying he hadn't been found guilty, and that he hadn't yet argued his case.
It takes a fairly big misreading of the article to still be confident enough that he'd been found guilty to reply to someone like you did without double-checking the article first.
>>"alleging he copied confidential EMC files to his PC's hard drive and has not returned them."
Even assuming you ever had them, and still have them, and feel like giving the company proof you had them, how do you 'return' copies of a confidential file in a way that gives people any confidence it's still confidential?
>>"The security people in the article recommend the purchase of a computer to protect your computer -- something called a "NAT router with firewall". Apparently there's no chicken-and-egg problem with this idea."
I'm not sure there *is* a chicken-and-egg problem.
I don't recall seeing many news stories about router/hardware firewalls getting compromised.
In fact, I don't recall seeing any.
That's presumably why most people who know about them (not just security pros) would consider them a good idea, particularly for Windows users, and especially since they aren't exactly expensive.
On the other hand, my experience of *software* firewalls has been rather underwhelming, with some seeming to have a habit of just stopping working for no reason (on machines seemingly free of malware).
>>"And iris as fallback? Use of the less reliable more expensive method as fallback? 'tards"
Doesn't it make some sense to use a more expensive method as a backup?
That means somewhere where ID is checked (airport, etc), you only need a few of the more expensive iris scanners (possibly backed up with expensive staff?), and lots of the cheaper fingerprint ones.
Even if they're less reliable in general, if they're only covering a gap in the cheaper system, the number of errors may not be too great.
So, with one of these cars, if I *was* somewhere sunny enough to make solar power worthwhile, should I park it in the sun to help power the aircon, or just park it in the shade so it didn't heat up as much in the first place?
>>"Question to posit; how many deniers are religious? There is AS MUCH evidence that UFO's are aliens as there is that JC was alive and fraternising and the son of the big fella.....so not enough evidence for aliens? *ahem* *ahem*"
AFAIK, in the UK, few people are really religious anyway (recent arrivals excluded).
On a tech website, I'd imagine the fraction of religious believers is well below average.
If [some] UFOs were aliens trying not to be seen, they're doing a pathetic job.
If [any] UFOs are aliens trying to communicate, they're doing a pathetic job.
The rational response is that even if there were aliens (*or* deities, for that matter), there'd be no obvious point worrying about them unless/until they actually choose to do any of the innumerable things they could easily do if they exist and wish to make contact.
And this sighting took place
In the middle of the night, when it's dark, and things are hard to see.
In the BBC report, it's odd that despite the comments from the police spokesperson
>>"South Wales Police said the helicopter did not give chase"
>>""The crew are very experienced and responded in a professional manner in relation to what they saw."
the subsequent comments:
>>""But it is certainly not advisable for police helicopters to go chasing what they think are UFOs," (MoD spokesperson)
>>"Cardiff International Airport said air traffic control provided a service to the police helicopter to ensure it had appropriate air space, including allowing it space to return to RAF St Athan to refuel."
*would* seem to have squared rather better with an original story that suggested the helicopter might have tried to follow the sighting.
Unless the airport's statement amounts to nothing more than standard operating procedure bordering on the bleeding obvious ("We routinely help helicopters to go to where they need to refuel rather than dropping out of the sky"), it would appear to be referring to a specific incident of a helicopter going somewhere and then returning.
If the police didn't try to follow it, and didn't get any footage of it, what does 'responding in a professional manner' involve, beyond asking someone on the ground what the thing you saw was, which you'd think almost anyone might have done?
Why would the police even mention that the helicopter *didn't* give chase, rather than just saying what it did do, unless there was already the suggestion out there that it had done so, which the BBC article would rather seem to have fearlessly failed to go into.
I'd wonder if the original BBC story had been that the helicopter had tried to do some following, but that had then been denied by the police and the article amended accordingly?
However, if the helicopter had gone nowhere, I'd wonder about the provenance of the claimed MoD and airport comments?
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