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* Posts by WatAWorld

683 posts • joined 24 Feb 2012

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

WatAWorld
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Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

I've consulted for 2 dozen companies and worked for a dozen more in my career, which is coming near an end now.

Few CIOs or VPs of IT can code. Even many managers were never able to code.

Even most analysts and project leaders are poor coders.

Our industry is run by sales people and accountants. This is especially true for big organizations like governments, banks and body shops of all sizes.

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

WatAWorld
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Re: This time Microsoft has gone too far

You got scammed by the person who sold you the 4 year old netbook running Windows XP.

That person wasn't MS was it.

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WatAWorld
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I'm tired of reading people who claim the only computers available are Windows 8

"No, because as we all know Windows 8 is not a destination,"

Windows 7 computers are widely available in Canada and the USA.

Retail and OEM copies of Windows 7 are widely avaiable.

Linux is widely available.

Macs are widely available.

MS says, "Buy a new computer".

Where in that do you find a requirement that that new computer be Windows 8 ?

And the common complaint about Windows 8 were the metro UI. As of Windows 8.1 that complaint is obsolete.

I have read zero complaints about stability or speed on Windows 8. Just, "Me too, other people are bitching about 8 so I should too."

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WatAWorld
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Re: isn't MS reducing its own profits and risking loss of market share with this advise?

From the customer point of view, I have a brother who wants to keep running a 7 year old XP machine in his SOHO.

The thing is it is much easier and cheaper to replace a computer on a planned basis than as an emergency.

Getting maybe 3 more years out of a 7 year old machine is false economy.

An emergency computer replacement is going to take at least 2 business days (get the computer and initial software, get the remaining software, do conversions).

Then there is training on the new software packages (Quickbooks, etc.).

Then there is discovering at tax time that key files are in an obscure directory on that old failed disk drive and he must now manually recreate them.

Boom $1200 lost billings right there. All to prevent tossing out a cheap business computer 3 years early.

Much better to do the replacement while the old machine is still working.

If he had an XP machine that was less than 3 years old, or if he had a high end XP machine that was less than 5 years old, I would probably just install Windows 7, a mere $120 at amazon.ca.

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WatAWorld
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Re: An Alternative Possibility

The problem is infections can come in on the internet connection even if nobody is using it. They'd need to unplug the network cables.

Also infections can come in on USB drives and optical disks.

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WatAWorld
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Re: Really?

Didn't Windows 8.1 render the metrosexual UI complaint obsolete?

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WatAWorld
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You need this book, "When I say no I feel guilty".

You need this book, "When I say no I feel guilty". You can borrow it at your local public library too.

http://www.amazon.ca/When-Say-No-Feel-Guilty/dp/0553263900

And if that doesn't work take a course in assertiveness training.

That is the problem we IT people have, we are not assertive. We think we have to do things just because someone asks us or someone expects it of us.

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WatAWorld
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What is the MTBF for a hard drive that is already 7 years old?

That is the thing, a 5 year old or 7 year old computer is likely to fail at any time.

And when it fails it will probably be the hard drive that fails.

Most home users and SOHOs do not have through complete backups.

And the unplanned emergency installation and configuration of a new computer with a new OS is going to take 2 working days minimum.

So from the consumer point of view it makes sense to buy a new computer if the old computer is more than 3, maybe 5 years old.

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WatAWorld
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isn't MS reducing its own profits and risking loss of market share with this advise?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong (again ;)).

MS makes more money selling a retail Windows 7 or Windows 8 license than they do selling an OEM license.

And they make much more money selling individual OEM licenses than OEM licenses to Dell, HP, and so on.

And when someone buys a computer there is a chance they won't even select Windows but might select a computer with a totally different operating system.

So isn't MS reducing its own profits and risking loss of market share with this advise?

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Snowden documents show British digital spies use viruses and 'honey traps'

WatAWorld
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We have to make the rest of the world unsafe so that we feel safe

We have to make the rest of the world unsafe so that we feel safe -- that seems to be what Obama is saying.

But does he make us safe when he undermines democracies, including western democracies?

Does he make us safe when he spies on regular citizens, including regular citizens of his own country?

And how does Cameron (and Blair) spying on industry, probably including UK industry, make anyone safe?

Isn't their betray of our allies really spreading hate around the world?

Don't the hawks applaud the spying because the hawks no the spying will cause more ill-will and more wars?

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WatAWorld
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Re: Posting negative information about a firm on online firms or actively ...

1. Snowden did not fabricate the information. So that is one difference.

2. Snowden did this to aid the US public.

Snowden is a patriot to his nation working to defend it as a democracy run by its citizens.

Who are the NSA and GCHQ doing it for when they do it?

Their employees are patriots to their agency, not their country.

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WatAWorld
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Re: When booking a hotel...

The desk clerk is unlikely to know unless it is a tiny owner operated hotel.

In the UK and USA it would be a violation of the law to spread knowledge of security letters beyond the bare minimum people needed to carry out the request and the company's lawyers.

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WatAWorld
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Insider Knowledge to Violate Fair Tradingi Laws

"... there is a profit motive to espionage, and we all trust that the GCHQ has imbibed enough of the Thatcher spirit to monetarize their snooping ... "

It isn't just selling porn.

I don't imagine anyone at the SEC or Serious Fraud Office, Financial Services Authority or Office of Fair Trading is checking to see if NSA or GCHQ employees are using insider knowledge to violate fair trading laws.

Look at Russia. If you want to be rich, if you want to succeed in business, join the FSB or be ex-KGB. This is where we are headed if we don't change course.

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WatAWorld
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Re: LinkedIn (etc) and browser security

Sadly yes.

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WatAWorld
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Fictional spy shows so ironic they must be a hipster's dream.

Please try to remember that fictional TV programs are not news reports.

You saw it on Spooks. Spooks isn't a new show.

I'm sitting here watching the US TV show "Alias".

When it was made 10 years ago it was a fictional account of an agency called SD-6, sort of a new world order type organization. And its employees thought they were working for the CIA.

Alias portrays all sorts of psychopathic bad guys and dirty tricks by the English, the French and people in turbans.

Most of it still is over-the-top fantasy. But what isn't, the dirty tricks that are no longer fictional, they're what the CIA and NSA have been doing.

And rather than the employees of SD-6 thinking they're working for the CIA but actually working for some fantasy "new world order" it seems the reality is that the CIA is working for SD-6 working for some new world order.

It isn't precise. It is still fiction. But the irony is monumental.

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WatAWorld
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Is this technique why Tony Blair forced the UK to join the Attack on Iraq?

"Targets can also be discredited with a "honey trap", whereby a fake social media profile is created, maybe backed up by a personal blog to provide credibility. This could be used to entice someone into making embarrassing confessions, which the presentation notes described as "a great option" and "very successful when it works.""

This particular technique would work great against politicians in democratic countries.

I cannot see it working against terrorists.

So how many democracies has the UK undermined? How many elected officials? How many foreign prime ministers and presidents?

Did GCHQ use this technique to undermine the UK's own democracy, by subverting our elected officials, perhaps including prime ministers?

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WatAWorld
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Parliament is the UK's only legislature. Are ministers commiting sedition

Parliament is the UK's only legislature. Are ministers or bureaucrats committing sedition by usurping Parliament's role as the UK's sole legislature?

"All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework," said the agency in a statement, "which ensure[s] that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight,"

From what is reported, we know what they're doing and that they're doing it to companies -- not terrorists.

From what is reported, we know what they're doing and that they're doing it to governments -- not terrorists.

Only a psychopathic criminal would consider what the UK government authorize such measures as necessary and proportionate against such targets.

If there is rigorous oversight, then that oversight must be provided by people with similar high levels of psychopathic criminality.

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Sputtering storage space portends poorly for PCs

WatAWorld
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Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

Windows has nothing at all to do with it, regardless of what you've read.

People want the OS they have. Which is why they don't all switch to Windows 8.1, MacOS, Linux, etc. We want what we already know, it doesn't matter how easy to learn the new thing is, it can't be easier than what we already know.

People can easily buy Windows 7 computers, and they can buy Windows 7 software to install on a Windows 8 machine.

And they can buy Apple computers or download Linux.

Desktops and laptops are not constrained to only running Windows. Windows and MS could vanish and sales would remain the same, after a blip.

Bundling some compelling new software with a Windows 9 wouldn't going to do it either. People would buy Windows 9 for $120 instead of a new computer for $800.

The problem is merely that we've all got laptops and desktops already and won't need replacements for several years.

We don't all have smart phones and tablets. And the ones that we have from two years ago were underpowered. So that market will stay alive.

How often do you buy a TV? Every 8 years? Nothing is going to make you buy one ever year. How often do you buy new shoes? Every 1 year. Shoes and portable electronics wear out quickly.

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WatAWorld
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The PC and laptop market is mature. What does anyone expect?

The PC and laptop market is mature. These machines last 5 to 10 and 3 to 5 years. Everyone who wants one has one.

Why would any reasonable person not expect sales to drop down to an equilibrium level where new purchases match failure rates of old machines.

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Snowden leak: GCHQ DDoSed Anonymous & LulzSec's chatrooms

WatAWorld
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Re: Wrong analogy

Quote: "Except this is more like allowing the police to go around crashing the cars"

Standard practice in the USA and Canada too.

It is taught in most state's and province's police schools.

But you can't just do it whenever you want. There are certain criterion (low levels of criterion in many states, high levels of criterion almost never met in Canada).

The criterion for permitting attacks, military, cyber or otherwise, by government workers and troops need to be high, the supervision needs to be close, and the laws of parliament should be followed.

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WatAWorld
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Re: Why?

"There's no lasting damage, it's just disruptive. A common comparison is the sit-in protest in the real world:"

If we accepted that reasoning we'd have to accept that government employees could do it too without needing a court order or warrant.

They would not even need the agreement of senior managers, they could just do it on their own.

I reject that reasoning.

1. DoS attacks do cause lasting damage. They cause great expense in preventing them happening again.

2. Sit-ins done for *some* reasons are not peaceful political protests, but rather are a form of extortion. As with most criminality, it comes down to intent. Is the intent legal.

Is the intent to force someone change how they do business -- illegal?

Is the intent to force someone to spend money -- illegal?

Or is the intent to make someone consider something -- legal, provided it doesn't cause harm. Harm includes paying service providers for protection against future attacks.

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WatAWorld
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Re: DDOS

Not just Ed Milliband but just under half of Cameron's own party.

Politically active people often quarrel within their own party, it is a normal state of affairs.

But LulzSec and Anonymous are neither political parties nor political discussion groups.

They are groups that actively break the law and disrupt the normal functioning of governments and companies.

I see the problem as only that GCHQ or Special Branch should have had a warrant from a judge to do this.

Government workers should be made to work within the laws set by parliament, and they should be fired or sent to prison when they violate those laws. Being a government employee should be considered an aggravating circumstance that makes the punishment worse, rather than a 'get out of jail free card'.

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WatAWorld
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Acts are seldom ever either "legal or illegal"

Acts are seldom ever either "legal or illegal".

Shooting someone. Locking them up. Putting milk in their coffee. Holding a door open.

These are all acts that can be either legal or illegal depending on the circumstances.

Shooting someone? It could be self defense. Locking someone up?

It could be locking the door to your house and keeping you and your infant inside.

If you put milk (instead of non-dairy creamer) in the coffee of someone you know has a serious allergic reaction it would be a criminal act.

Holding a door open to knowingly facilitate a robbery is a crime.

Acts are seldom ever either "legal or illegal". Intent is a major part of the law, and necessity can be a defense.

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WatAWorld
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DoS attacks should only happen with court orders

While LulzSec and Anonymous are not physically violent groups, they are not law-abiding political organizations either.

DoS attacks on peaceful mainstream or even peaceful fringe political groups would be outrageous.

But these two specific groups are not groups set up merely to exchange and develop political viewpoints or engage in peaceful lobbying. They do advocate law breaking and denying the civil rights of other citizens.

There may be other issues I have not thought of, but only issue I currently see is why wasn't the DoS done openly under a court order. Police and security agencies must not be allowed to become an all-in-one legislative, policing, judicial and punishment system.

Police and security agencies must remain under democratic control of our parliaments and our judges -- otherwise it means the Soviets and Maoists won the Cold War.

To me this is far far less disturbing than spy agencies gathering material on regular peaceful citizens of long-time allied countries and their current and future political, business, academic, technological and religious leaders.

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NSA, GCHQ, accused of hacking Belgian smartcard crypto guru

WatAWorld
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In other news Benedict Arnold hailed as a true patriot and idol

Spy agencies spying on the people they're supposed to be protecting.

In other news Benedict Arnold hailed as a true patriot and idol of US spy agencies.

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WatAWorld
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Re: I thought my marching days were over

And yet you and I both took time to comment on the story, Obama takes time out of his day to comment on it, the CBC, NY Times and NY Post to articles on it.

People care, just not enough. They don't realize how serious this is.

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WatAWorld
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Is it the position of the Reg is that German PM Angela Merkel was up to something nefarious?

"As the story points out, the attack could be the first known instance of a spookhaus action against an individual not under investigation for something nefarious."

"spookhaus action against an individual not under investigation for something nefarious."

They're investigating all of us, just generally not doing anything with the info they gather.

So what is your definition of nefarious?

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Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

WatAWorld
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Re: Puppet

Exactly my fear. It *may* be that our politicians are already under spy agency control.

Listening to US Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat from California and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on 'Intelligence') on the news, I can't believe she supports the words coming out of her mouth on this issue.

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WatAWorld
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Re: I've given this some thought

I look at it differently. Politicians aren't the only danger.

It is the spies themselves grabbing power that is the biggest danger.

- Look at J. Edgar Hoover in the USA. What he did over decades makes what Nixon did in a few years look trivial.

- Look at Russia today and the old USSR.

- Recall the Warsaw Pact.

- If you know 20th century South American history, look there.

Politicians can be a problem, but they are not the main problem. The main problem is the security and military apparatus taking control and destroying democracy through intimidation, coercion and later, after they have power, more extreme methods.

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WatAWorld
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Re: Caught in the cookie jar denials

As Lars said, if Cameron really did think the public was okay with this he wouldn't have kept it secret from the public.

The succession of lies coming from Cameron and Obama, each lie revealed in the next day's news. Total disgrace to our puppet politicians.

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WatAWorld
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Tories and Labour will give us a UK resembling Putin's Russia

Any politician worth 2 pence would stand against spying on his own people.

In the early stages it won't be the general public being intimidated and coerced by our own spy agencies, it will be politicians.

Sure GCHQ and the NSA can help you keep down backbenchers and opposition parties, but take the long view, look at your legacy Mr. Cameron.

Do you want to join Tony Blair as the other PM who destroyed British democracy?

And that is what all this is about.

Democracies are not destroyed by terrorist attacks (with one debatable middle eastern exception).

Democracies are destroyed by their own spy agencies, with or without external spy agency help.

If you don't think Warsaw Pact history is sufficiently close to the UK situation, look at 20th century South American history. Lots of democracies as good as the UK's (if younger) toppled. They're like the black death.

Time and time again it is spy agencies who topple democracies.

Yes we need spy agencies, but not invasive spying on our own political, business, academic and scientific leaders.

I'm a UK expat.

What Blair did, what Cameron is doing, out-of-control domestic spying will transform my homeland into a UK resembling Putin's Russia were government and business is dominated by spies and ex-spies.

We need GCHQ. We do not need a UK equivalent of a super Stasi or super KGB monitoring every cellphone and every landline and able to subvert our leaders and our democratic methods.

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Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

WatAWorld
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Re: And what have we learned Microsoft?

Now that is good thinking and MS should take this to heart.

Keep the user interface, secure and improve the internals.

Most people want what they're familiar with.

To most users, familiarity is at least 50 out of 100 possible points for usability.

A user interface change always has to be sufficiently better that it justifies the inconvenience of re-learning how to do something. In other words a user interface change has to be *much* better to be worth subjecting your users to it.

MS forgets this with Windows and Office.

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WatAWorld
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MS took that to heart and people still complain.

I remember on here a few years ago people couldn't stop themselves from complaining about how bad XP was, how lousy its security was.

I remember all those folks saying, "security had to be designed in, not added on in patches."

Well MS took that to heart and people still complain.

There is no winning.

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WatAWorld
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Re: @Sannon

ComputerSecurityLevel = Min(OSSecurityLevel, AppSecurityLevel, AdminSecurityLevel, UserSecurityLevel);

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WatAWorld
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Where's Linux and MacOS on the graphs?

Where's Linux and MacOS on the graphs?

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Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

WatAWorld
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Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

1. Climate change is currently more theology than science.

2. We're told to believe it because 'climate change scientists' believe it.

3. Normal scientific dissent and discussion is suppressed.

4. Only one proposed solution is presented.

5. Raw data is suppressed.

6. Data is manipulated to fit results.

7. How accurate are climate change models? Test them on something simple.

- Do they forecast past weather changes?

- Do they forecast future weather changes?

They're never going to be able to forecast the weather in the UK accurately -- the UK is simply too small an area and weather is too chaotic. They're never going to be able to forecast the weather on a specific day accurately -- again too chaotic.

But if they had accurate models they would be able to forecast whether the weather in a large area like Western Canada would be above average, near average, or below average for a 30 day period 3 months from now.

Environment Canada uses 20 different weather modeling processes, combines the results and only comes up with 50% accuracy. Three choices, 50% accuracy. Better than chance, but not much better.

The models are just not accurate yet.

8. What we should be doing is replacing the climate change theologians with real scientists and developing better models for what is going on.

- If current climate change is man-made that is actually very good news. We can probably deal with it one way or another.

- If current climate change is a natural process that is potentially terrible news. We might not be able to do anything about it.

- We need proper scientists doing real science to determine what is really going on. I believe this means more spending in taking measurements in space and oceanographic programs.

9. I'm 59. For most of my life scientists have worried that we'd lapse back into another glacial period. We're in an interglacial period in an ice age.

The old computer models that they had for most of my life showed that one summer the Bering Straight would not thaw in summer and we'd be straight into having glaciers covering Canada, the northern USA and huge parts of Europe and Asia.

A renewed glaciation is going to destroy way more cities and agricultural land than sea levels rising 10 m.

Low lying cities on ocean shorelines are libel to damage from tsunamis anyways.

10. We really desperately need better models of climate and the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans to be able to know if we're at risk of another period of increased glaciation, or if we're in danger of the ice age we live in ending, or both.

We need to know what's broke and how it's broke before we going turning the world upside down to fix it. And we need to know it soon, just in case it turns out to be urgent.

That's how I see it.

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

WatAWorld
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I'm not surprised China doesn't want NSA software

I'm not surprised China doesn't want NSA software.

I'm sure the US government would not be happy if Chinese software was the only option for US citizens (the US government, especially Sen. Rogers complain about us Canadians having the mere option of Chinese software).

I just wonder why more governments are not following this path to protect their citizens.

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Those NSA 'reforms' in full: El Reg translates US Prez Obama's pledges

WatAWorld
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This is an excellent article.

Its a pity there is not more plain speaking honest reporting done in this world.

Too many other journalists just parrot whatever lies and half-truths they are told, regardless of whether it is obvious lies. No newspaper should be in the business of spreading lies.

Too many newspapers and TV networks drop the "Sen. Smith said" and just repeat what Smith said as if it were a fact.

And even those that take the time and space to say "Sen. said" seldom ever point out that Smith is lying.

Well done Iain Thomson.

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

WatAWorld
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A monopoly is all we need

A monopoly is all our electronics industry needs to go up against now.

Fortunately there are many nations around the world with various rare earth ores. Unfortunately the pollution required to do the mining is so monumental that most nations require pollution controls that are not economically feasible.

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US BACKDOORED our satellites, claim UAE

WatAWorld
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Re: it's like prison. You don't get to say no but if you're lucky, you can pick the least painful

The linked article says that Gulf countries like to spread their dependence around so that they are not solely dependent on the USA.

Plus Russia has all the oil it needs in its own oil fields, Russia has no need to rip-off Gulf nations as part of its national energy policy.

"Generally, Arabian Gulf countries split arms buys to reduce dependence on the US, the specialist said. The UAE flies the Lockheed Martin F-16 and Dassault Mirage 2000-9, while the Saudis operate the Boeing F-15, as well as the Tornado and Typhoon."

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WatAWorld
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Could you explain how in the world the UAE could benefit from a discrete conversation over this.

Maybe they could get a bribe to be quiet, but that would only benefit the bureaucrat concerned, not the UAE.

Borrowing the good old USA tactic of the little guy going to the press when he's up against a big powerful enemy seems to be the best solution.

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WatAWorld
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Re: No

From the linked article:

"A high-level UAE source said the two high-resolution Pleiades-type Falcon Eye military observation satellites contained two specific US-supplied components that provide a back door to the highly secure data transmitted to the ground station."

...

"France operates the Pleiades spy satellite in what is viewed as a critical piece of the nation’s sovereignty. Given that core competence, it seemed strange that France would use US technology, although there is an agreement between Paris and Washington over transfer of capabilities, analysts said."

...

"The French negotiations with the US on the technology for the UAE would have been sensitive. For example, when the US sold spy satellites to Saudi Arabia, Israel wanted to limit the resolution level in the payload, the second specialist said."

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WatAWorld
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Re: it's like prison. You don't get to say no but if you're lucky, you can pick the least painful

You'd expect it from the Russians.

But the Russians have fewer skills and resources with which to hide their backdoors.

Russia probably buys most of its chips from other nations, for example.

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WatAWorld
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My question:

Are there any western-made aircraft or spacecraft or communications systems that the USA has not put backdoors in?

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How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

WatAWorld
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Re: We're a lot further to the right on that graph than shown.

I wonder how many ideas and innovations have been scraped because the cost and complications of patenting are too expensive and how many ideas and innovations have been scraped because the risks of infringing on some unknown patent are too great.

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WatAWorld
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Re: Tabarrok's curve, first mover and the elephant

First to market is at an advantage?

That ignores global markets and the inability of any regular sized company or innovator to release even a modest product world-wide all at once.

For less modest products production is to expensive for many innovators. Consider ARM, the CPU architecture designer, they could not exist without patents.

Eliminating the patent system completely would aid only mega business.

The patent system (especially in the US) needs overhaul, but not elimination.

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Re: Can of worms

My dad died after being hit by a car.

You don't see me posting that cars should be banned.

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Re: Loser pays

US patent law changed in 2011 and again in 2013.

I don't see any reason to expect it to not change again soon, the only question is what will the changes be?

Will the changes be designed to protect lawyers, big business, small business, academics, trolls, US business, foreign business, or what? I suppose that depends on who lobbies most effectively.

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WatAWorld
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Re: Proof by assertion

Celebrity chefs, fashion designers, are artists sell their names/labels/signatures more than their products, so what they produce is not a 'public good'.

You go to a celebrity chef's restaurant, you think that's him in the kitchen that night? No, but by going there you are showing your friends your affiliation with that chef.

Same with designer labels on stuff (including much Nike and Apple stuff). Knock-offs, even of superior quality to the original, cannot be sold for the same high prices.

And consider what happens to the price of a paint if its attribution changes from a middling artist to a great master -- same painting, same artistic and aesthetic value, but suddenly goes from being worth $20,000 to $20 million.

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WatAWorld
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Duration of copyright protection is too long

Wonderful article.

I only see one problem, that being the length of copyright protection is too long for what it currently covers and would also be too long for software. It has evolved evolving from 'life + 20 years' to 'life + 95 years', and there is significant lobbying to lengthen the duration even further.

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