TKnarr’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 16th, 2021 @ 12:56am

    (untitled comment)

    This is Microsoft we're talking about here. Anyone who thought that they wouldn't be making as many games exclusive to their platforms as possible hasn't been paying attention for the last 3 decades.

    And no, that isn't exclusive to Microsoft, just they're one of the biggest and most visible in the games field.

  • Mar 10th, 2021 @ 9:27am


    The SEC may just have noticed that certain analysts changed their projections shortly before the financial call for no obviously-apparent reason, and wondered what those analysts knew that others didn't. And I'm sure in that case the analysts showed the SEC the disclosures they got, because that gets them right off the hook for any impropriety. But you're right, even in that case it should've been easy for AT&T to show that it sent the same thing out to all analysts and some of them just must've ignored it (which isn't on AT&T).

  • Mar 7th, 2021 @ 10:04pm

    Re: NIL

    Only one thing: the EA game doesn't fall under any of the cases where you can use someone's trademark (which is what NIL would be considered) without permission. EA isn't reporting on what that player actually did, or reporting factual information about them, nor are they leaving the representation of the player unidentifiable. They're creating something new that the player never participated in featuring that player and distributing that, for which they need a license to use that player's NIL. Note that whether the player can be paid for the use of their NIL is irrelevant to the need for a license.

    The question would be, rather, does that waiver grant the NCAA the right to re-license players' NIL to other companies, and whether it did so for EA. I don't know the exact wording of the waiver, so I can't speak to that.

  • Mar 2nd, 2021 @ 9:07pm

    (untitled comment)

    In a lot of cases the simplest solution is to ask whether you need a meeting or not. I don't know how many meetings I've been in that are mostly or only data dumps. If you want to give a presentation or deliver data, write it up in an email or make a slideshow and send it out to everyone. Once everyone has the information and has gotten any follow-up they want directly from the originator, then you can see if there's still a need to have everyone on a call at the same time to debate or ask questions of the group. 9 times out of 10 I find that everyone's satisfied with what they have and there's no need for a meeting at all. The whole process is asynchronous so it doesn't interrupt schedules any more than absolutely necessary, and it creates it's own audit trail which is really useful for reference.

    And it frees up more time for the meetings that really benefit from real-time interaction, which often don't require the people most likely to schedule meetings.

  • Feb 26th, 2021 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re: This is how you get not just protests but riots

    This is one of the reasons why, here in Seattle, they took 911 away from the police and gave it to an outside agency with an explicit mandate to decide which emergency services to call for any given call. The police obviously aren't happy about this, but not many people can manage to feel any sympathy for them since they keep demonstrating why decisions like this are necessary.

  • Feb 12th, 2021 @ 10:22pm

    Re: That shouldn't even be an option

    The department pointed out that the system did have maximum limits in place in hardware, and alarms that would've alerted the operators to the change if they hadn't noticed it themselves. It was just that in this case the operators acted so quickly that the additional layers of safety measures never had a chance to activate.

  • Feb 6th, 2021 @ 11:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Every system I've ever dealt with. Nobody sane trusts that the deployment of a new version went flawlessly, there's always at least some smoke tests done after deployment to make sure the system's really working before it's opened back up for use. And nobody sane does those tests using real user's accounts because nobody wants to mess up real data with test transactions.

  • Feb 6th, 2021 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Usually it's lack of outside systems. A vendor or outside agency that doesn't have a dedicated staging environment running the same software as production, for instance. Sometimes it's lack of hardware, for instance when I worked at Flying J our QA department had to buy real gas pumps and modify them for use in the lab for testing (and even then it wasn't really adequate, we couldn't replicate the variety of pump and controller firmware present at the actual stores).

  • Feb 5th, 2021 @ 10:28pm

    (untitled comment)

    Sometimes, though, the only place you can really run the final tests is in production. Nobody in software likes it, but sometimes that's the only place the networks and services you need to test with exist. You've got mock versions in the QA and staging environments, but they're not the real thing and may themselves have bugs in them so they don't behave the way the real thing would. Most often that would cause the system to fail null, and for something like the Amber Alert system you probably don't want to send out an alert and have it... fail to go out because the system sending out the alerts expected an all upper-case code (like the mocks all used) while the system raising the alert used lower-case.

    That's why every system has a few test accounts in production for the express purpose of running tests and verifying things are working after deploying a new version of the system. They're usually set up the way this alert was, with blatantly obvious bogus data so if they accidentally get where they shouldn't've they're easily recognized and discarded.

  • Feb 1st, 2021 @ 10:28am

    (untitled comment)

    We discovered on BBS networks way back in the '90s that there were two kinds of non-anonymity: verified identity and continuity of identity. Verified identity connected your real-life identity with your online identity, requiring providing valid ID to create an account and associating your real name with your account (tying your account to your real-life identity). It worked, but it was overkill. The other, continuity of identity, turned out to do everything needed and several useful things verified identity didn't do. It was basically the assurance that anything posted under a given name came from the same actual person. You didn't know who that person was, but you could trust that the same name was always the same person. There was also assurance that it wasn't trivial for one person to acquire a different online name. Not hard, mind you, but not something someone would do unless they truly intended to do it. Unlike verified identity, it allowed people's words and record to speak for themselves. Since all you knew about the person was what they said, things like what position they held, what education they had, what their economic status was, all became less important than what they were actually saying. That kept the focus on what was being said since people couldn't hide behind titles and degrees and claim authority based on who they were, they had to back it up (which the truly knowledgeable could do easily and the BS-ers couldn't). The whole system worked fairly well for... well, a couple of decades at least, I first encountered it on CompuServe and GEnie, and it was still going strong into the early 2000's.

    Maybe what we need is something like what CompuServe had, where your account identifier was just a large number that, while not hard to get, was non-trivial to get several of since you had to provide payment information for each one and the account system would balk at creating multiple accounts with the same payment information attached through the regular individual-user interface. You could set any name you wanted on your account, you could change your name any time you wanted, but everyone could see that it was always the same account identifier behind it. At the same time, that account identifier didn't reveal anything about your actual identity unless you deliberately linked the two by attributing the identifier to your name elsewhere.

  • Jan 26th, 2021 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Very Simple

    Unfortunately the Supreme Court disagrees with you.

  • Jan 25th, 2021 @ 8:52am

    (untitled comment)

    When they titled the film "Minority Report", it was accurate in far more ways than they intended.

  • Jan 21st, 2021 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: How about no?

    Problem is that all the problematic political advertising the last election cycle wasn't paid placement, it was political groups setting up accounts to post their articles on which if you can't see inside the mind of the poster is indistinguishable from organic discussion. To ban that sort of political advertising you'd have to ban posting anything political by anybody, which I agree with you would be a bad thing.

    I say allow politics, but allow any post to be fact-checked if it contains false or misleading information. And if a high percentage of an account's posts are false or misleading, say 80% or more, restrict or ban that account.

  • Jan 19th, 2021 @ 9:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Substantially increases both initial and ongoing education requirements with no money to pay for the increased costs and no assurances that the courses will even be offered

    Like no other profession has ongoing continuing-education requirements where members of that profession are expected to pay for their own education. Ha ha bloody hah!

  • Jan 19th, 2021 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The local cable company and telcos pay those same providers too. That's why you hear big ISPs screaming about how Google and other content providers are "free-riding" on the ISP's bandwidth and should have to pay the ISPs to reach the ISP's customers: those ISPs are consumer-heavy so their traffic's highly asymmetric (high download, low upload) and they're having to pay the backbone providers to carry traffic to their networks. Everyone has to pay the backbone providers eventually, but this guy's paying them directly and doesn't have to pay any of the local ISPs as well as the backbone.

    Oh, and if you're running fiber long distances, you won't be talking to any of the local ISPs to get access to fiber either. You'll likely start by talking to the railroad line that owns the rights-of-way in your area (in my case, Union Pacific). They either own the fiber along the right-of-way or lease it out to a reseller. Most of the big backbone providers and local ISPs don't run their own cross-country fiber, they lease capacity in the fiber runs the railroads laid down.

  • Jan 19th, 2021 @ 9:48am

    (untitled comment)

    Given the Trump administration's track record, I'd say their accusations against Xiaomi are probably a good indication Xiaomi isn't in fact working with the Chinese military and their biggest offenses are offering better kit at lower prices than American manufacturers and/or failing to cooperate with US intelligence agencies.

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right, as a leaf network I'd primarily be receiving traffic for my network and not carrying transit traffic. That means I'd be paying for bandwidth, but I'd be factoring that in to my budgets. I have a choice of multiple backbone providers at any given exchange, so if one provider wants to mess with me I just go talk to one of the others. All the major telcos are backbone providers as far as I know, but there's plenty of large backbone providers who aren't telcos and who make their money providing transit between exchanges. If one telco doesn't want to take my money to handle my traffic, one of the other providers will (as long as I accept that I'm not a backbone network and won't be able to "pay" for my bandwidth by carrying traffic for them in return).

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not over his fiber. If I were building an ISP, say, I'd be getting upstream connectivity from SIX or PAIX-SEA. AT&T probably also peers at those exchanges since they're a big backbone provider, but their contract is with the exchange and interfering with traffic from another of the exchange's customers would almost certainly be a breach of that contract. SIX and PAIX-SEA probably wouldn't de-peer AT&T over that, but they'd likely make it costly for AT&T to keep it up. At worst I'd simply request that my traffic be routed to the other backbone providers that peer there and go back to ignoring AT&T.

    Oh, one thing the exchange could do: since AT&T probably co-locates their connection from their backbone to their local ISP infrastructure at the exchange (since they have to have equipment there anyway to connect their backbone network to the exchange), the exchange could terminate the co-location leaving AT&T to figure out how they're going to connect their own local network to their backbone (finding or building a data center to hold the equipment and running fiber to extend their backbone and local physical plant to the new data center). AT&T might pull their backbone peering over that, but SIX/PAIX-SEA are big enough and connect to enough backbone providers that that'd hurt AT&T more than them.

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 9:33am


    Not really. In this case, if you read the article, he ran his own infrastructure (fiber-optic cable) so he's not leasing it from anyone. His upstream connection would be with a backbone provider at an Internet Exchange, bypassing the local ISPs entirely (who probably also lease capacity on the backbone at the IX instead of building their own national-level hardware infrastructure).

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 4:09am

    Re: Isn't everybody missing the point here?

    With Section 230 still in place - what is the legal basis for a hoster shutting down a service purely because of public sentiment?

    Freedom of association. Citizen's United held that corporations are legally people, so they have the same right to decide who their customers are that you have to decide who you associate with. If AWS decides it doesn't want to associate with Parler, they've got that right under the US Constitution same as you do. That's on top of their general right to enforce their ToS and kick people off for violating it.

    I've always said that the conservatives would regret pushing for certain legal decisions once those decisions started to get used against them.

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