* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Aereo presses pause on 'tiny antenna' TV-streaming service

Tom 13

Re: I suppose the decision is the right one

Perhaps on the basis of the facts presented. The justices were correct that there is little effective distinction between cable companies and Aereo. They are also correct that broadcaster owns the rights to the material and has not granted a license for the rebroadcast from which Aereo makes their money. The recasting of legislation to require cable companies to pay broadcasters is at the heart of the issue. But given that broadcasters are using a public commodity licensed to them by the federal government, I'm quite sure the legislative rewrite was a bad one. And I suspect there ought to be some way to get it overturned vis a vie consumer interests.

Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

Tom 13

FB is doing what liberal fascists always do

Trying to control people for purposes that suit FB not necessarily the people being controlled. Then they are surprised at the reaction when people find out.

There's a reason everybody knows about the case of the school kids subject to the brown vs blue eyed psych experiment even if they are not psych or sociology majors: People get angry when you try to manipulate their emotions without their consent. Yes, this makes it harder for the experimenters to get good data in certain instances. But that doesn't negate the need for FULLY informed consent.

Tom 13

Re: I love the American way..

Not just the equipment. Looks like they also brought in all those UMW members who are now unemployed as a result of the new coal regs.

Tom 13

Re: Manipulate my mind, but don't mess with the UI I know and love

Hadn't really thought about it before, but yeah, that was around the time I stopped using FB. That and it was synergistically linked to Zynga's free game server performance going to shit. And I mostly hung out for the Zynga games in the first place. I had even just reached the point where I would have been willing to toss them a Hamilton a month for the service.

Tom 13


Not enough "hold that tone" characters for it to be that phonetic spelling in the local dialect.

Tom 13

Re: not only email

Depending of course on your definition of "operating". Last time I checked, which admittedly was more than 5 years ago and probably closer to 10 the ratio of spam to data was about what I find in my Yahoo spam box.

Tom 13

Re: Seriously, I don't get how this is such a big deal.

NSA trawling everybody's data but not actually doing anything with most of it, that's a problem. Facebook actually submitting millions of users to a psychological test without consent and you don't get it?

I'll be honest, I've personally been "meh" about it, but only for myself and only because outside of the occasional visit home when my mother wants me to send her some stuff for Farmville, I haven't touched my accounts there in about two years, maybe three. But I DO get that if I were a regular FB user, particularly one who was attempting to use it to stay in touch with Friends and Family, I would be pissed (US, not UK) at this sort of revelation.

MIT and CERN's secure webmail plan stumped by PayPal freeze

Tom 13

Re: google checkout.

I wanted Google Checkout to be a good alternative. Even gave them a try when they first started out. Two orders, no deliveries, no ability to contest or get my money back. Never, ever, ever again.

Tom 13

Re: WTF is anyone still using PayPal for?

I avoided Paypal for a long, long time. I've only within the last year gotten one for the sole reason that they were the only accepted way to make payments to a website. And no, I haven't been on eBay in a long long time either.

You want me to stop using Paypal? Great. Give me an alternative. Because credit and debit cards just don't always work. And I say that as a crazy 'Merkin.

Tom 13

Re: passing the funding through the States

except that passing funding through the States is irrelevant. Banks are required to REPORT on suspicious transactions, not stop them. Because quite frankly too many honest transactions raise flags on the suspicious list (e.g. deposit of over $10,000).

So this is all down to somebody at PayPal being a butthead.

Tom 13

Re: this is a requirement for bank operation

No, there is no such regulation. In fact, given privacy requirements on banks, it is arguable the reverse is true: that they must use encryption on email handling financial information.

BBC offers briefest of teasers for the next Doctor Who

Tom 13

Re: refresh of the decor

A bit yes, but since the reboot they've been less, shall we say, subtle. Granted the Beeb might have been as unsubtle if the original had the sort of budget the reboot has.

EU copyright chief: We could SMASH these infinite copyright contracts... just wait

Tom 13

Re: who are mostly self employed individuals

So, Time-Warner, Disney, and Fox are self-employed individuals?

You want a medal for writing a script? Sure: here it is!

Tom 13

Re: Am I missing anything?

Full team of highly paid DC lobbyists to shepherd the plan through the various Congressional Committees.

IBM's SPSS buyout: FBI cuffs two on insider trading charges

Tom 13

If the SEC were serious about ending these kinds of abuses

The first idiot charged would have been the still nameless lawyer who leaked the data to his roommate "but expected him to keep it confidential." Nail the SOB to the wall: felony jail time for him, civil damages to IMB, his law firm, and the stock owners he defrauded.

MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

Tom 13

Re: Within limits

Not in the US. The distinction is whether it is edited or filtered. If you edit, you are responsible. If you're running an automatic BBS type system with filters you aren't responsible until you receive a take down notice. In this context moderator = edited.

Tom 13

Re: Streisand Effect? Nah.

But I thought we liked flash.


Except when it comes from Adobe.

Tom 13

Re: A completely different Ass

It might be a different Ass., but it IS the same mindset.

US Supremes just blew Aereo out of the water

Tom 13

Re: It isn't a matter of opinion any more.

Downvoted because too many people like you have become too willing to roll over for anybody claiming authority. The authority of SCOTUS if it is truly binding on society must come from society. When SCOTUS renders too many decisions which look at best to be too much like the spin of a roulette wheel, society still has the right to say SCOTUS was wrong and has abused the power with which it was entrusted.

Tom 13

Re: IF Aereo were rebroadcasting "closed" content such as ESPN

Copyright is copyright, and public broadcast is a LIMITED license. The limit is that you the consumer receive it directly from the copyright owner or their authorized reseller. Aereo is neither the consumer nor an authorized agent. And apparently the rewritten cable laws eliminated what was once a safe-haven.

Tom 13

Re: Minority Report

Having read your unpopular post above, I think you are wrong on this reply. I don't like what you have written, but considering it carefully, I think you are correct. Therefore, because of the way the relevant act was rewritten, so long as the data is transmitted on private lines other than the presentation device itself, it counts as broadcast.

Now where I do see a small opening is in challenging the Constitutionality of the re-written law, which it doesn't appear to me happened in this case. But let's face it: a single person is far less likely to be able to afford the lawyers for that case than a corporation is.

Tom 13

Re: But what if I choose to..

Liability and damages in these cases don't depend on whether or not you are reselling a service, only that you are infringing on the value of the the copyright protected materials. The ability of a plaintiff to collect damages does, but not the ruling itself.

A volunteer organization I participated in tried to make that argument for services we wished to provide at a convention. We were shut down cold by the lawyers.

Tom 13

Re: bad news

Yes, but notice how they left out one of the most helpful bits:

BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN,JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS and ALITO, JJ., joined.

Breyer [Clinton, Democrat]

Roberts [Bush Jr, Republican]

Kennedy [Reagan (88), Republican]

Ginsburg [Clinton, Democrat]

Sotomayor [The Big 0, Democrat]

Kagan [The Big 0, Democrat]

Scalia [Reagan (86), Republican]

Thomas [Bush Sr., Republican]

Alito [Bush Jr., Republican]

In 86 when Reagan appointed Scalia, Conservatives still held sway in the Reagan White House. By 88 the RINOs had mostly taken over and sought a stealth candidate with little paper trail for Democrats to attack. Roberts? Well, after the 0bamacare ruling, we've all pretty much decided the NSA turned over incriminating photos to The Big 0. But there's no getting around the fact that every Democrat appointed justice voted to put the screws to the little guys.

You're inventing the wrong sort of tech for bad people who want to buy it. Stop it at once

Tom 13

Re: valued at more than the airline company itself

Stop me if you've heard this one before:

Q: Do you know the best way to become a multi-millionaire?

A: Yes, start with a billion and buy an airline.

Tom 13

Re: Much tech has lost the plot.

See, this is why you can't be rich. One sentence does not make a book. You need to go on at length about the history of printing, maybe even discuss the development of writing as the precursor to printing. At least a chapter on the development of movable type. Then move on to lithography. Perhaps dabble for a while on the typewriter before moving to the first ball head printer and pin printer. Meander over into the field of pen plotters then return to the development of the first laser printer.Only THEN will you be properly positioned to begin your discourse on ink jet printers, marketing madness, and the fall of civilization.

Having done all of this properly you can then hire an agent, work out a deal with a publishing house and print the book. Only to discover that Bezos thinks your book costs too much so your publisher will have to sell it to him at cost or he won't be able to move any copies.

Have a nice day!

Tom 13

Re: impressed - not so much

I was thinking "Yes, but I suspect not in the way he wants me to be."


Tom 13

I have mixed feeling about the events of this report.

Thumbs down for having a server with that much PII close enough to the internet to compromise it.

Thumbs up for the apparently quick response and not trying to hide what happened. Averaging the two and masking give us the posted icon.

Longer flights burning more fuel can cut planes' climate impact

Tom 13

Re: allowing researchers to find out exactly what the effect

I heard somewhere that weather =/= climate. But I guess that only applies to deniers, not Warmists.

San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

Tom 13

Re: Explain please!

They're not selling the spaces. They're collecting finders fees for the available spaces.

It certainly is a service to other drivers. If I can spend $5 for a space and save 30 minutes of driving around waiting for a spot to open, it's worth the money to save the time. And it's not like the city is losing revenue. You have to pay for the space if you use it. In fact it could even drive up revenue. If I know I will have a space available it might be worth it to me drive downtown when otherwise I might drive elsewhere.

Tom 13

Re: good source of data

If the city were a business they would. They aren't so they don't give a damn. They've set the rates, designated the buildings, and set the available number of spaces. The people can go frell themselves if they don't like it. They know where the congestion is and they know why. They regard it as a good thing because it discourages people from driving.

Traffic lights, fridges and how they've all got it in for us

Tom 13

Re: I want my breakfast...

Oh no! There's a blue screen of death on the micorwave.

Tom 13

Re: causes the door to close itself?

Having an audible alert is still helpful for those rare instances where the self-closing door gets stuck on something that wasn't put away quite right. But again, this isn't an IP stack function but a local sensor loop and you are correct that the first step is the self-closing door.

Now this on the other hand:

The internet of things is shaping up as a riot of technically possible solutions, desperately searching for some problems. On the occasions where a problem can be solved, it often seems an expensive solution for a mildly inconvenient or infrequent occurrence, often with significant additional risks.

deserves about a googleplex of upvotes.

Tom 13

Re: And that's exactly what newer fridges do.

The only other useful thing I can think of would be something that warned you if the power had been out for an extended period of time. Or maybe make it even simpler and just warn if the temperature had exceeded certain parameters and indicate the time period for which they were exceeded. But again, a simple sensor arrangement on the fridge with an indicator on the door would seem to be far more useful.

I can think of one person I know of who might have benefited from a message sent to his email or smart phone on this front recently. Had to throw out a freezer because it came unplugged and he didn't realize it until weeks later. But even at that it wouldn't have helped him. He's still fighting with Verizon to get FIOS connected to his newly built home.

Tom 13

Re: Connected fridge - a small subset of first world problem

I had this debate about 25 years ago when I was working for a home automation firm. They were always talking about connecting the fridge, oven, and VCR to the telephone gateway which would let you control them. I would look at them and ask "Why? What benefit does this give me?" They kind of looked back at me dumbfounded. Once one of them said "Well, if you forgot to set your VCR, you could do it with your phone." My response, "But if I forgot to set the VCR, what are the odds it is loaded with a blank tape anyway?"

Mind you, I thought it was a cool system and had some useful features. I was trying to direct them away from trivial stuff to things that would make it worthwhile. In the end, I sort of won the argument, but it was the king of Pyrrhic victories: the company filed for bankruptcy a year after I left.

Engineering fault stops SpaceX launch of machine comms satellite network

Tom 13

Re: like using flakey O-ring architectures

The problem wasn't a flaky O-ring architecture, the problem was a pin-headed manager not wanting to advise NASA to post-pone the launch because the President was going to call to talk to the teacher.

Oh, and the shuttle is a pipsqueak compared to Apollo missions with three stacks of liquids. So the solid fuel is purely down to cost.

Judge could bin $325m wage-fixing settlement in Silicon Valley

Tom 13

Re: How big is the class?

I ran the numbers back in the article when El Reg first ran an article about the proposed settlement. The numbers looked to be on the right order of magnitude at the time for the number of people covered in the suit and appropriate increases in wages. And the worker classes necessarily need to be small in these types of cases or the courts throw out the suit because it "doesn't have an identifiable class" or some such. So unless the settlement amount changes from 213M to 2.13B forcing the suit into court is a craps shoot.

Tom 13

Re: @Dan Paul

I think the 33% is before it goes to trial. After it goes to trial I think the figure goes up to 50%. I don't recall all the exact details, just that it was one of the reasons my Dad settled at a lower rate for a truly open and shut* injury case that was covered by insurance. Going to court risked the whole settlement, delayed payment, and wouldn't have netted him a lot more money because of the increased fees.

*Injury was a vehicle accident (18 wheeler ran a red light and nailed him in his bread truck) which almost cost him his leg. He was lucky. About three cars behind him was a surgeon who had just finished training in a new technique for reconstructing the leg. He took charge at the crash site and ordered the ambulance to his hospital. If the paramedics had taken him to their normal drop off, they would have amputated the leg.

US spanks phone-jamming vendor with $34.9 MEEELLION fine

Tom 13

Re: What we need

I'm not against SMS or internet per se on the phones, it's the loud yapping I sometimes want blocked. You know the ones, yelling into their bluetooth sets so the person on the other end can hear them better. Granted I would sometimes like the delivery sounds turned off, but if you can disable the calls, you should be able to reset the volume control too.

Apple files patent for camera lens controlled by 'artificial muscle'

Tom 13

Lots of prior art available.

Yes and no.

Given the filing (and the other good news from SCOTUS), they can't patent the concept of using a muscle like membrane for focusing. They can however patent a specific way of making the muscle like membrane and a specific set of controllers for the membrane, which is what they seem to have done here. I say "seem" because we'll have to wait for them to wield the patent in court before we know exactly what they intend.

Tom 13

Re: Is this . . .


US Supremes UPHOLD troll-busting Alice v CLS Bank decision

Tom 13

Re: This is not the ruling the press is making it out to be

Real lawyers never cite Roe vs Wade because even the ones who like the effective outcome of the case have admitted it was horrible law, and the worst of it is the way they legislated it.

Hubble space telescope seeks new encounter for Pluto-bound spacecraft

Tom 13

Re: thought it was a hoax, however....

Aren't we still about 100 years too early for Bruce Willis to be saving the universe with the help of a orange haired woman and an obnoxious video dj?

Apple settles ebook price-fixing damages lawsuit with US states

Tom 13

Re: Question is will the consumer see anything.

Nope. They were never going to despite what all the hypesters put in their political activism pieces.

People will happily run malware if paid ONE CENT – new study

Tom 13


Go back to petting your unicorns and hunting Yeti.

You can't even train the average IT people to properly handle all the potential threats out there let alone approaching the average punter. You need a suite of protections. And yes you're always at risk. Yes it sucks. But it is reality. Deal with it.

Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

Tom 13

Re: Not convinced

Back when I was a young 'un and could legally have a demand account, you put money into the bank to protect it and maybe make a bit of money off it. You kept a decent pile of cash for daily things, including the weekly groceries. You wrote a check for your mortgage, your insurance, and maybe a credit card or two. Even if you were going to the after Christmas sales at Sears and JC Penny's to buy clothing you just made a bigger withdrawl from the bank before you went.

These days you put money in the bank for the convenience of payment. Maybe you carry 40 bucks/quid around. Groceries go on the ATM card. Same thing for dinner out, even if it's just lunch at Mickey D's. Maybe you write a mortgage or rent check. More likely it's automatically withdrawn from your account. Same for your utility bills and your 4 or 5 credit cards. And it usually comes with overdraft protection so that when you run out of money at the end of the period you don't get hit with those nasty fees twice over on each bounced check.

Tom 13

Is there something Warner and I don't know about how hard it is to code a transactions system?

Probably. But since I've never done it either I can't tell you what it is.

I can however spot the flaw in your proposal. A flaw that you sir, should have spotted well before you put pen to paper electrons to phosphor as YOU are more the economic expert than I am.

Your transactional bank doesn't solve the problem of the commercial bank, it merely hides it at the Bank of England and pretends to have solved it. The interest payments are still dependent on exactly the things you've eliminated from your transactional bank. You've merely offshore/outsourced them.

Tom 13

Re: once I manage to not have month left at the end of my money

While I appreciate the humor, that's the real root of the problem. Too many of us have too much month/half-month/2-week/week left over at the end of our money. So we're all living off rolling short term credit. If you want to rebuild our economy, for a while most of us have to cut back on expenses so we have money left over at the end of the period. And while that is happening the economy WILL contract because we're paying off all those debts we owe. Only once we get back in a position where credit is extended mainly for capital type investments will the economy recover.

Finding the formula for the travelling salesman problem

Tom 13

Re: 40ft? A van?

Maybe he's from Texas. I here everything is bigger in Texas.

Tom 13

Re: you could use minutes of travel

Even that isn't simple. For instance back when I was driving my commute time could vary between 40 minutes and 100 minutes excluding days on which there was an actual collision in my travel path. There was a two month period when I was leaving the house at 4:30 am and had the 40 minute commute. Most of the time I left at 6:00 and it took 60 minutes. For 7:30 it was the 100. If it got past 7:30 I waited until 9:00 before leaving.

Tom 13

@ BillG: It always depends on your local group.

At my office the rolls are reversed. Government building, packages keep going awry and the error code reported by Fed Ex is:

unable to find residence.

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