* Posts by Charles 9

4212 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Charles 9
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Re: But...

I believe that was made for laptops with built-in cameras that provide a fixed reference point. I'm also not sure it was ever actually released to the public.

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Charles 9
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Re: How about getting written text translation right first?

We also have to recognize that textual translation and speech translation are two entirely different beasts. With text translation, positioning and emphasizing formats need to be understood.. Whereas with speech, inflections and other auditory cues (ex. pauses) need to be understood. IOW, what you learn in textual translation probably wouldn't translate well to speech translation and vice versa.

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Charles 9
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Re: German

What I'm curious about is how well the system handles homophonic phrases. For example, are you telling someone to "Regognize speech" or "Wreck a nice beach"?

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Hooker beating: What if you read the Bible AND play GTA5?

Charles 9
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Re: "That's a flawed argument if ever I saw one."

"Someone well-versed in their Bible or with a grab-bag of stock Christian Apologist counter-points would bring up that most cherished passage in John about 'casting the first stone'."

I've always been curious about that passage, considering what if someone just-baptized had come along at precisely that instant. Part of the ritual of baptism is the forgiveness of past sins. So if he'd been there, he'd be without sin at the time, creating a loophole that would've allowed the execution to proceed anyway. Sort of like the total innocent who wasn't afraid to reveal the Emperor's New Clothes.

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Charles 9
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Re: "That's a flawed argument if ever I saw one."

"Er, yes it is. Whether or not Christians choose to adhere strictly to the old testament, it doesn't say stuff like "optionally you may, if you so wish, stone someone to death". It deals in absolutes. The fact that the new Testament lurches in the opposite direction, advocating forgiveness and some measure of tolerance doesn't change that fact."

Especially, according to Matthew, Jesus specifically noted that the old laws as laid down in Leviticus and so on still apply:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished." - Matthew 5:17-18

And the punishments laid down by the Torah were quite specific and explicit, so that supports the idea that the Bible, by its own admission, is brutal and misogynist at the very least.

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Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

Charles 9
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Re: Sticking it to the Man is one thing

Worse than that. They've threatened to bankrupt Sony Pictures, if not Sony International, turning this into an existential threat. Sounds to me like they're still holding some "nuke": like private signing keys or perhaps evidence of serious criminal activity.

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Solar sandwich cooks at 40 per cent efficiency

Charles 9
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Re: Photovoltaics is a one time, one way molecular erosion PARLOR TRICK !

"Concrete production emits a great deal of CO2. Have you seen a nuclear reactor? They take a decade to build and cost billions. All that emits CO2."

And how much concrete is needed in a modern baseload coal or oil plant? Here's a thought--what about the dams needed for water storage or hydro power?

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Charles 9
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Re: 0% efficiency...

"Or just network power in from somewhere the sun is still shining."

If they're willing to part with the power they get at that time. But that would require getting the world's nations to cooperate. Pardon me if I place my bets on a curling match in the seventh circle occurring first.

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Charles 9
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Re: Photovoltaics is a one time, one way molecular erosion PARLOR TRICK !

"If anything, the cost to build a renewable infrastructure is just as bad. The equivalent levels of carbon emitted would practically cancel each other out. Benefit? Running an industrial economy versus a hunter-gatherer one."

Don't renewables rely a lot more on harder-to-obtain materials like rare earths? Meaning they take an additional toll in the extracting and/or refining processes?

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Charles 9
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Re: Warning Words

FAILURE FAILURE.

REASON: Bad analogy.

At least hydro dams are pretty consistent. Bad weather only affects its output marginally barring a genuine disaster.

Solar has a problem in that department, and even solar thermal has a limited area of practicality (all the ones I know of are in southern deserts). Sunlight gets less consistent the further north you go. I chose Reykjavik because it happens to be just south of the Arctic Circle. That's about as far north as you can go before you go into the six-month day/night cycle (as in six-month days and nights). The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year up north, so imagine how little sunlight a place like Iceland would get that day. Furthermore, the sunlight's at a shallow angle, weakening its strength further.

Solar is just not practical for a sizable chunk of the world, and if you try to spread it around or go into space, you now have international relations to contend with, not to mention political chess (or worse, sabotage--think solar collector turned killer space maser).

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Charles 9
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Re: 0% efficiency...

"To be fair... At least night time is predictable, and typically lower demand."

Depends on the location. Down south in the summer with long days, yes, because most of the energy is used in the day with climate control. But up north, in the winter, not only are days short (meaning more lights), but it's cold (meaning more electricity used for household heating and night storage).

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Net neutrality: Cisco, Intel, IBM warn FCC NOT to crack down on ISPs

Charles 9
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"If the profit is in the line itself, as it should be, then they will continue putting lines in the ground."

But what if it was like that then but not now? IOW, what if it's no longer practical to invest in infrastructure. Think running out to the sticks: it's essential from a moral and systemic point of view, but from an economic point of view, it's a money sink because the population density's too low. Why do you think so many small towns had to agree to monopolies just to get wired? Because the telecoms companies would accept no less, and the alternative was going without, which is increasingly becoming a deal-breaker for getting people to move in.

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Charles 9
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The companies will just yell, "SOCIALISM!" and threaten Congress unless they restrict the FCC. Then they'll raise bills several times the actual cost and say it's all the FCC's fault.

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Charles 9
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Re: "This is not idle speculation or fear mongering..."

But many of the ISPs are actually or are subsidiaries of publicly-traded companies. Meaning they have the investors to please, and definition or no definition, the investors don't like risk; it's their money on the chopping block, after all. If the risk is too high, they'll bail: sell their stocks and go to some other company. In this environment, there's a limit to the level of risk you can try, and since we've had a number of high-profile busts lately, that tolerance is going down not up.

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Charles 9
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Re: Easily demystified

"If the corporations are against it, I'm for it."

But what if the battle is drawn like this: between a corrupt government and corrupt corporations?

Now you have an Evil vs. Evil decision with not way out through a third option. Which evil do you pick?

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Charles 9
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Re: Easily demystified

"Splitting hairs here, but I always thought FUD was fear, uncertainty and disinformation."

They were right the first time. It's doubt. All three are mental states.

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Charles 9
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Re: No surprise here

So it's a lose-lose. You either trust the government, which is a corrupt oligarchy out for no one but themselves, or you trust the ISPs, which are run by corrupt oligarchies out for no one but themselves. And because of the lock-in involved with infrastructure, spectrum, and so on, there's no third option.

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Put me through to Buffy's room, please. Sony hackers leak stars' numbers, travel aliases

Charles 9
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Re: Just wondering

I suspect celebrity reservations are planned out well in advance, meaning when the moment comes, the junior staff are off for the day so are blind to what happens. Meanwhile, the senior staff is savvy enough and trustworthy enough to stay mum.

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Charles 9
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Re: Just wondering

"Or in many cases the names we know famous people by are the alias."

Real names are used infrequently on the big and little screens. More often an actor/actress assumes a screen name.

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Google kills CAPTCHAs: Are we human or are we spammer?

Charles 9
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Re: Just another form of pattycake with the spammers and scammers

"If the google were sincere about fighting the problem, then they would go after the spammers' business models."

How specifically can you attack a business model that is profitable at a one-to-BILLION ratio? And has a moving target with known anti-West havens to hide in? Not to mention innocent computer users caught in botnets? Frankly, I don't know how you can squelch spammers without squelching the Internet itself. It's sort of like critical speech. You can't squelch critical speech without squelching speech itself.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'm not a programmer

There also the issue that spammers tend to think in large numbers. If you try millions of times, even a fraction of a percent still makes a decent absolute result. When 1 in millions or even billions turns a profit, it's rather hard to remove without some form of collateral damage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Numbers.

"Google can give me a house number if they want but they *never* get a right answer from me. I will *always* sabotage the answer, either by leaving out or, conversely, inserting a digit, or interchanging 1's and 7's, 0's and 8's, 9's and 4's, etc. The important thing is that the number they get is as different as possible from the actual number in the image. For example, changing 7038 to 7036 is not really worthwhile, but changing it to 138 is very satisfying indeed."

Two problems. First, they'll use statistics to remove you as an outlier. Second, you run the risk of sabotaging the wrong number (the known one) and getting rejected.

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Charles 9
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It does pique my curiosity. I note this as a difference merely in degree and not in kind. Image processing is a known-to-be-developed tech because that's the tech behind facial recognition. Sounds to me like the only thing image recognizers need is some time and metadata to train on, then they'll probably be able to defeat image-based CAPTCHAs at about the same level as text-reading ones. And not even the best CAPTCHA in the world is a match for a cyberslave farm, being as they're literally indistinguishable from honest users.

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Your data: Stolen through PIXELS

Charles 9
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"If a new HDCP standard emerged with the ability to, say, flash upload a unique key pair between source and sink, then you could pair the graphics card of a PC to a specific monitor and any interloper on the HDMI line would see not a lot at all."

Unless, of course, the monitor has to be replaced due to a hardware failure. Then you need to have a way to renegotiate the key exchange when the new monitor comes in. Then, the spy can imitate that and act as a Man in the Middle.

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Hipsters snap up iPod Classics for $$$s after Apple kills rusty gadget

Charles 9
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Re: bad HDD

Tiny HDDs use a thin and flat interface ribbon. I think it electrically matches PATA but requires an adapter to let a PC see it. I had this problem salvaging footage from a broken HDD video camera.

BTW, while 128GB Compact Flash cards do exist, they're pretty expensive (about $250+ expensive) and reserved for professional applications. Plus you gotta make room for the adapter.

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Charles 9
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Re: Worst thing they did. I can't find any decent MP3 players with more than 64 Gb

"We can't really do that any more - is this because the new assumption is that we don't own music, but rent it over those ever present 6G mobile networks..."

It's a touch early, but flash is catching up. 128GB SDXC cards are now available, with 256GB in the works. The iPod classic topped out at 160GB (I have one of these), so it's becoming a case of an alternative being able to take up the slack pretty soon.

Apple's supposed to be releasing the 6th Generation iPod Touch soon. Odds are passing fair the top end will sport 128GB, putting it level with the 120GB Classic and not far behind the 160GB. The eventual 256GB model in a year or two will surpass them both finally.

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Charles 9
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Re: So...

The main reason the Classic was so loveable was the capacity. Even now, 128GB flash is still a touch steep, plus there's the issue of the exFAT format standard in SDXC devices (because at 128GB, you're approaching the size limit of FAT32). Not to many SD-capable devices accept SDXC and the exFAT format, and repartitioning an SDXC card isn't without its issues.

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Charles 9
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Re: HD Availability

There's reason to believe that's at least part of the reason. The manufacturer contracted to make the tiny hard drives for Apple (Toshiba IINM) discontinued production of 5mm-thick drives (the kind used in the iPods), and the return wasn't there to retool the Classic to take the thicker 8mm drives.

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Home Wi-Fi security's just as good as '90s PC security! Wait, what?

Charles 9
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Joke

"And change the combination on my luggage!"

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Charles 9
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Re: Confustion

That's why they tell you to back up the settings before applying an upgrade. That way, even if the upgrade borks them, you can restore them from the backup.

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Charles 9
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Re: HomeHub 5 is the most secure system in the WORLD

Sounds like the router's overloading. I noticed many old routers start giving up the ghost or going berserk when newer security protocols were mandated. I had to retire an old D-Link because it kept resetting. It was my cue to move up to more recent hardware.

I'd have a good long look at it. If it keeps crashing or resetting, it's probably overloaded and it may be time to replace the kit.

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BLAST-OFF! BOAT FREE launch at last. Orion heads for SPAAAAACE

Charles 9
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Re: Why

Routine maintenance, mostly. Kinda hard to service a ship when it's out at sea, for example. Similarly, a spacecraft is difficult to maintain while it's out in space. A lot of the stuff you need to do a good job is stuck on Earth.

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Charles 9
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Re: And then...

Still waiting on a material that can reliably handle being flung about the planet while able to handle the massive tension needed to make it viable under working conditions (mostly its own weight). Have you ever measured a 25,000-mile-long piece of string? That's below the LOW end of the weight involved.

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Charles 9
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Re: Great news

"There is. NASA are testing the giant space trampoline next month."

No good for anything on the surface. Plus the acceleration is limited to about 3-4Gs which means it has to be able to exert a lower force for a longer period of time and still get up to escape velocity. And since AFAWK imparting force on an object takes a reactive mass, we're kind of low on options.

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Charles 9
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Re: Great news

Given the target escape velocity is somewhere in the 20,000 mph range, you know anything else with enough force?

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FCC bigwig grills Netflix: If internet fast lanes are so bad, why did YOU build them?

Charles 9
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Re: the future of the net

OK. Who pays for it? Because running a high-speed line between New York and Los Angeles (or worse, between Miami and Seattle) isn't going to be cheap. And then you have to consider all the cities in between (which if you'll note is very sparse throughout most of it). If there's one thing against the USA when it comes to the Internet, it's geography. Indeed, I can't think of any BIG country that has uniform and universal high-speed access. All the top-runners are SMALL countries.

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UK slaps 25 per cent 'Google Tax' on tech multinationals

Charles 9
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Re: Financial Transaction Tax and Commissions

Don't the money senders take a cut ANYWAY? The government would just be a tack-on.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'm confused...

"Yes. Well said. So they cannot create jobs they can only take them away. To pay for the public sector workers (from the workers to the parasites and their expenses) the gov must take money out of the hands of those who earned it. The gov makes no money, they dont earn anything, they take it from the population to provide public services. This is something we accept as we want public health, education, etc but the money for it comes out of the pockets of people earning money. When you take money away from people they cannot spend it. So a business can be taxed out of existence, a business can be taxed out of hiring workers, a person can be taxed out of hiring childcare or cleaning services etc. All of the money the gov throws your way was taken from your pocket and a large amount skimmed to pay the admin costs before being presented back to you."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that in essence true of ANY enterprise? After all, businesses don't create wealth and money from nothing most of the time. They need to provide good and services just like the public sector does. Now, the return may not be in money, but ease of use and quality of life are just as important as money. Otherwise, why isn't the private sector providing what the public sector is doing now? Because some things are more important than money.

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Charles 9
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Re: VAT for Dummies

But they get around THOSE by (a) not allowing the taxable revenues to ever enter the country in question and (b) cook their books such that the company has NO local turnover. Either way, they basically trade in the country but have ZERO revenues to show for it, and any percentage of zero is still zero.

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Hawking: RISE of the MACHINES could DESTROY HUMANITY

Charles 9
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That's precisely Hawking's point. An emergent AI may figure these out on its own, much as a kid figures out things like language.

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Charles 9
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Re: A happy AI

"There are machines that are bigger than us, stronger than us, faster than us, can lift heavier objects than us and can spill better than us. We don't feel threatened by them, so why should a machine that can think better than us be different (unless it, itself, comes up with a really good reason: but we probably wouldn't understand it)."

Think about it this way: a smart fighter can defeat a strong fighter because he compensates for general weakness by being able to maximize the impact of his strikes. But now, imagine if the strong fighter was smart as well. Now you have a deadly combination.

Furthermore, intelligence can be leveraged to create a virtuous cycle. A super-intelligent AI able to perceive the world in some way would be able to digest these perceptions and grow even smarter, which would then allow it to better learn and so on. Being strong doesn't necessarily lead to increasing strength because you need to KNOW how to get stronger, but with intelligence, the knowledge comes with the territory.

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Charles 9
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Re: A happy AI

"Alternatively, we could free ourselves from the very concept of work, and with machines to cater for our actual needs, we could use our time to pursue a more educated, artistic, hopeful future. I'd certainly like more time to spend with family and time to pursue a whole range of study I'll probably not have time for due to work and commuting taking up most of my time."

This utopian ideal always hits a snag: these robots will have owners, and these owners will be wondering about their production, maintenance, and upkeep. Eventually, they'll start thinking, "Why do we need these many people in the first place?"

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

Charles 9
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Re: bad != stupid

"In reality many will be of above average intellect."

If that were true, then we would run out of material for "Dumbest Criminals" shows. Yet they keep on coming. Remember, criminals are still human, meaning they're subject to the Law of Averages.

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Charles 9
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Re: Zounds! I envisage a threat to public order!!

(Dear Feds--how about you get a warrant, sworn out by a judge, requiring that a subject of an investigation/prosecution is required to provide his password for any devices, and throw him in jail for contempt of court if he refuses to give it? Oh wait, that takes some effort and means you have to let people know that you are accessing data on a device, and prevents you from accessing whole classes of devices in secret. Forgive my insistence that you actually act to preserve public freedoms rather than undermine them.)

You forget that, unlike in England, one is protected from self-incrimination by simply pleading the Fifth Amendment (which explicitly protects against that). If a defendant refuses to answer that's one thing, but not even Congress has been able to get around someone answering, "I plea the Fifth."

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AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

Charles 9
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Except that it's not so clear which side has the most money to spend. Sure you have big boys like AT&T and Verizon on one side, but then you have the likes of Google, Netflix, and Amazon on the other side. It's easy to SAY how to win it, but it's much harder to identify WHO is the bigger fish in this debate, and since both sides have lots of skin in the game, both sides are taking the fight seriously.

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Charles 9
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But there is big business interest on both sides of the argument, so it's not so cut and dry.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sod on

It's worse than that. The politicians in Gilded Age 2.0 were hand-picked by the big businesses themselves. They're less pansies and more peons. It's like crooked sportsmen having made sure their own officials are running the show. What's worse, the common public is not in a position to know or even care.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sod on

And the worst part is that, in a capitalist economy, monopolies and oligopolies are inevitable. Play the game long enough (like a poker tournament) and eventually someone comes out the winner and gobbles up everyone else. Eventually, it reaches a point that, barring some out-of-nowhere disruption, no one else can stand up to the giant in the playground.

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Singapore rides to rescue of local cabs by out-Ubering Uber

Charles 9
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Well, as if we didn't see this coming: a taxi company savvy enough to realize you need to beat Uber at its own game and come out with a "matchmaking" system of your own. What surprises me is that cab companies haven't thought of this sooner.

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FTC: Sony told big fat WHOPPERS in its PlayStation Vita ads – and now it has to pay

Charles 9
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Now if the FTC would just crack down harder on ads that are anything less than completely factual or at least conservative in claims. I'm getting sick of all these "results are atypical" claims and such. I want ads with typical results instead and lowballed claims.

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