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Comment: Bullet, meet foot (Score 4, Insightful) 565

by Camael (#46753959) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

A timely reminder why users should stick with a stable, proven OS such as Win7 (and to a lesser extent, WinXP).

Less fancy unnecessary features like Metro also means less chances for cock-ups to happen.

If MS' intention is to migrate users of older OSes to Win8.1, it is not doing itself any favors here.

Comment: Read the letter. (Score 1) 78

by Camael (#46711977) Attached to: In-Flight Wi-Fi Provider Going Above and Beyond To Help Feds Spy

Let me break it down.

The letter is from Gogo LLC to the Federal Communications Commission. In the letter, Gogo was trying to persuade the FCC that it was unnecessary for the FCC to specify a mandatory list of capabilities that Gogo would have to implement as a condition for their license. This mandatory list is being pushed for by the U.S.Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S.Department of Homeland Security. Gogo's argument is that it was unnecessary because, in their own words :-

Gogo worked with federal agencies to reach agreement regarding a set of additional capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests. Gogo then implemented those functionalities into its system design.

What I see here is a company trying to get it's business off the ground and fighting not to be saddled by mandatory government rules violating the privacy of its customers. Did they bend over backwards to try and "accommodate" the spy agencies? Undoubtedly, yes. But by far the larger portion of the blame has to rest with the government spy agencies who made it impossible to do business unless you play ball with them.

Comment: Financial pressure to exploit players (Score 3, Informative) 181

by Camael (#46711737) Attached to: Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

Except... It's not actually true that these are all "games that are designed to exploit people for money on a continuous basis". At least some of the games that have adopted F2P models have worked very, very, hard to avoid exploiting players.

Agreed, but the underlying problem with the f2p model is the financial pressure on its developers/publisher to milk their players, as follows :-
1. A large majority of players play f2p games for free.
2. A small minority of players spend money on the game.
3. Games cost money to produce, and have ongoing expenses to maintain.
4. When their quota/sales target is not met, developers/publishers are under pressure to make up the difference.
5. One of the easiest ways to boost sales is to introduce items which will confer a greatly desired benefit on its purchasers. OTOH, non-buyers who cannot enjoy the greatly desired benefit will endure a comparatively degraded playing experience.

Developers/publisher will continually be tempted to intentionally degrade the players' playing experience so as to create demand for new items that will remove the obstruction. One example is EA's infamous lawnmower tax where a previously free feature, lawnmowers was made a purchase item.

In summary, players who play f2p games have to live perpetually with the fear that the developers/publisher may at any time modify their game in any number of ways to try to gouge more cash from them. Not all f2p games gouge their players, but the risk that they may do so in the next patch is always there.

Comment: Re:where is the controversy? (Score 1) 639

Your point is that the Bible should be read in context and should not be read literally, and I agree.

The problem is that some believers DO read the Bible literally and use it as justification for many acts which others may find abhorrent.

Such as the Bible phrases the controversial Westboro Church use to justify them hating on others.

Granted Westboro is an extreme case, but then again I have been shocked by the tone and hatred shown by some of the pro-life, anti-gay, anti-Semitic etc. crowd who object on religious grounds.

Comment: Re:Let it die (Score 1) 507

by Camael (#46711535) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

You might want to take back that statement after visiting FDA's 'Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience' database and do a search on cochlear implant contradictions or failures.

I did visit the link. Cochlear implant is not even a product class. If you have something to say, say it. Don't ask others to do your research for you.

Given your singular inability to provide any evidence to the contrary, parent post's point still stands -There is no down side to going from not hearing to hearing except for having to listen to contemporary "music".

Comment: Why, yes it does. (Score 1) 224

by Camael (#46692141) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

Maybe we are adapting to skimming, filtering, and jumping from source to source of information.
Given that this is the way the (modern?) real world works, I don't see it as a problem.
The only drawback is the sentimental loss of no longer being able to sit down and be completely focused on a single thing for any length of time. Whilst this may be a shame, the fact is that such an activity these days is purely recreational and probably impractical for most people anyway. Time has moved on and so should we.

Amassing more data from diverse sources is in no way superior to gaining deep insight/understanding by focusing on, and thinking through a particular topic. Have you ever had an argument over the internet with someone who doesn't even understand the fundamentals of what he's arguing about, whose response is to blindly regurgitate what others have correctly or wrongly posted elsewhere, whose stock reply is "But this website says..."? That is a product of this skimming culture.

When you skim sources, do you remember the details of what you read a day later, a week later? I know I don't, and I'll wager many others don't either hence the popularity of keeping bookmarks, saving files, apps like Pocket etc.

If we don't even remember the details, how can we ever formulate anything beyond a superficial understanding of what we skimmed? It's a safe bet that Newton would not have been able to write the Mathematica Principia if he skimmed mathematics texts. I'm certain you would not like it if your doctor skimmed his medical texts in med school. I don't think you will be happy if your lawyer skimmed through law journals while preparing for your case.

Skimming has its uses, but loss of focus is not the 'sentimental loss' you claim it to be. There will be times when you want yourself, and the people you deal with, to be focused like a laser.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

That's a copy. The original artist still made all the important artistic decisions, the part that makes the art good. A new copy of the execution doesn't show the original is a "sham" in any way.

Michelangelo had great skill with a chisel and file, but that's not why he's a genius.

Even more interesting however was a man around the WW2 who make 'original' Vermeers, i.e. paintings which were not copies of existing paintings but were so good and a such a match to the style and quality that people believed they were (almost) real Vermeer works.

Even still, he was working in a plan and style defined and refined by Vermeer.

Your argument is that the paintings should be valued not because of who painted it, but because of the "important artistic decisions" that went into the execution of the painting.

Following your argument to its logical conclusion, once it was discovered that the Vermeer paintings were forgeries (i.e. not executed by Vermeer) but were so good that people believed it was painted by Vermeer (i.e. incorporating artistic decisions that were of Vermeer's style and quality) - should the forgery then not deserve to be priced the same as original Vermeer works? Since the forgeries achieved the same quality as Vermeer's true works?

Or should the price be affected by the fact that the "important artistic decisions" were made by someone other than Vermeer?

Comment: Subjective interpretation (Score 1) 469

That is quite true. But to invoke the mandatory car analogy a well-heeled driving enthusiast might take several sports cars out for a test drive and choose the one that was immediately the most fun to drive, and a second just for variety. But after months of driving both might discover that, once having mastered the basics, the subtleties of the second actually make for a more enjoyable drive. This is actually not at all uncommon in driving games where players have massive fleets of different cars at their disposal.

A driver/player may well come to prefer a particular vehicle because the quirks of that vehicle are more suited towards his style of driving. Similarly, a violinist may prefer to play a particular instrument because the attributes of that particular violin suit his style of playing better.

In both these cases, it does not mean that the preferred car or violin is objectively superior to all other cars or violins. Subjectively, yes, but only for that particular driver or violinist who made that choice.

Comment: Re:Time to add another layer of BS indirection: (Score 4, Informative) 469

Oh come on, this study is bogus, the artcle said it was a double-blind study, but there is noway in hell that a violinist of sufficient skill to extract from a Cremonese violin anything close to it's potential, wouldn't know a 300 year old instrument the second they picked it up; this study neither proves or disproves anything.

On the contrary, it appears that you have allowed blind prejudice to cloud your judgement. The study did look into this point specifically, as follows from TFA:-

The violins were winnowed to six old and six new in a double-blind listening test judged by the soloists. Then, each of them donned dark goggles so they couldn’t distinguish the instruments by sight and tested out these top fiddles in two 55-minute sessions, one in a small room and one in a 300-seat auditorium. (Soloists could also play their own instruments for comparison.) After each session, the soloists picked his or her four favorites fiddles and rated them on scale of zero to 10 for qualities such as articulation, projection, and playability. Finally, after the second session, each subject had to guess whether instruments in a small selection that included some of their favorites were old or new.

The consistency of results from session to session showed that soloists could definitely distinguish one violin from another. However, the soloists seemed to prefer the new violins, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In their lists of favorites, new violins outnumber old ones roughly 3-to-2, and the most popular violin by far was a new one, denoted N5. Musicians rated qualities of new instruments higher, too. And when it came to telling old violins from new, the soloists did no better than if they had simply guessed.

There may be other reasons to fault the study, but " noway in hell" is not a scientifically valid reason. It has about as much weight as "because I say so".

Comment: Re:Nah just have copyright last for 14 years (Score 3, Interesting) 645

by Camael (#46681499) Attached to: Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

Right now, you can invent something and if it turns out to be "gold", you can milk it forever. ...That's supposed to spur innovation? Could someone show me how?

I agree with you, and its not. Copyright extension was a blatant cash grab engineered by a corrupt legislature to rob the public through the Mickey Mouse Act .

I suppose we should be thankful there is a limit of any kind. Actual quote :-

Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.

Comment: Don't underestimate the convenience factor (Score 1) 301

by Camael (#46572215) Attached to: Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin

In the analogy of a real mine it's like you're operating the mine in your backyard despite making a loss on doing so all so you can keep using the dollar. You wouldn't do it. Unless the mining process can break even or at least remain cheaper than paying interest or transaction fees at financial institutions then there's no point in being involved.

Aside from the cost issue, there's also the convenience/nuisance factor to consider. I think most people would have serious objections to having to purchase, maintain and run a miner just to be able to make payments compared to paying an intermediary like a bank fees to take care of transaction costs for them.

Comment: Bitcoin has to be BETTER than fiat currency (Score 2) 301

by Camael (#46572185) Attached to: Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin

And that ABSOLUTELY doesn't happend with $$$$???
Like not even remotely as much as it happens to $$$?
So far technically bitcoin has not been hacked or anything. All of problems happened with no specific relation of Bitcoin mechanism. Guess what, IRL currency get's manipulated much worse.

All this, unfortunately, is irrelevant. Bitcoin in itself has no inherent value. Its only value lies in what its users, and ultimately what the public perceives it to be worth. If I agree to accept 1 bitcoin from you in payment for goods worth USD$1, to both of us it is worth USD$1. If I refuse to accept any bitcoins in payment, to me it is worth nothing.

This brings me to the second point- all this widely reported scandals involving hacks, scams and failed exchanges is very, very bad for bitcoin. It does not matter where the failure lies- the general public will simply perceive bitcoin to be unsafe and hence refuse to accept or use bitcoins. Hence to the general public, bitcoin is worth nothing.

To be widely adopted, bitcoin has to prove that it is better than fiat currency and so far it is doing a terrible job. The failure of the ex-largest exchange, Mt. Gox is the cherry on top.

Comment: So, they knew (Score 3, Informative) 243

This was a studio film all along- the Kickstarter purposely misrepresented the situation.WB got suckers to use their money, with ZERO profit sharing, to finance a studio picture- a new low even for Hollywood.

You're an idiot. It was made clear on the the very first day that Warner Brothers was involved. Right there on the front page of the Kickstater, on day one. Warner agreed to pay for distribution and promotion if Rob Thomas could help fund the production budget and show fan interest in the film, and that is exactly what happened. Did WB screw up by forcing it through Flixster (guess who owns Flixster, btw), Yes, but they never lied about any aspect of the Kickstarter project.

So, WB was using the backers' money and let them assume the risk if the project fails. But if the project makes a profit WB gets it and not the backers. And you're saying the backers knew and agreed to assume all the risk and take none of the profit right from the start . Somehow, I don't think AC is the idiot here.

I'm not the only one who thinks the fans were ripped off.

Worst part is, you guys aren't even getting the promised rewards, i.e. the digital download.

Comment: Different forms, same effect (Score 2) 169

by Camael (#46513271) Attached to: Kaspersky: Mt. Gox Data Archive Contains Bitcoin-Stealing Malware

There is zero counterfeit bitcoin. You can't say the same about paper currency.

Technically correct, since bitcoin does not exist in physical form and therefore cannot be counterfeited in physical form.

But can transactions involving bitcoins be counterfeited? Most certainly!

Mt. Gox, Bitstamp, and other Bitcoin exchanges have temporarily suspended withdrawal transactions after coming under a form of a denial-of-service attack that abuses weaknesses in the way they keep track of fund balances, a security expert said.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, chief security officer of digital wallet developer Blockchain, said the attacks work by flooding exchanges with a large number of malformed transactions that are similar, but not identical, to legitimate transactions that were already made. Exchanges that trust one or more of the fake records instead of the entries in the official Bitcoin blockchain quickly fall out of sync with the rest of the network and must recalculate their fund balances once the mistakes become apparent.

The net effect is the same. Counterfeit paper currency deprives its holders of the value of that currency. Counterfeit bitcoin transactions deprive the owners of the bitcoins involved in that transaction of the value of those bitcoins.

Comment: Not from the customer's point of view (Score 3, Insightful) 169

by Camael (#46513085) Attached to: Kaspersky: Mt. Gox Data Archive Contains Bitcoin-Stealing Malware

...except this was no different from someone doing the same thing to a bank. Your arguement is invalid

Except that the current banking system has failsafes to protect the depositor, even if the bank is at risk. For those who still use it, bank books and pass books record how much is in your bank account. Ditto for the monthly statements sent to depositors who have an electronic account, which is a hard copy in your hand. In many jurisdictions, these are legal evidence of a debt owed by the bank to you. Most banks are insured, both privately and by their respective governments.

If you are just a normal depositor stashing your cash in a bank account, you are much more likely to recover something in the event a bank is (electronically) robbed. Take for example the relatively recent collapse of Barings Bank - according to the Bank Of England Report on the Collapse of Barings, the interests of depositors and creditors were still protected although the bank was closed. Compare this with the uncertain fate of the Bitcoin depositors of Mt. Gox which just recently filed for bankruptcy.

The truth is that depositing funds in Bitcoins right now involves taking a substantial risk which is much higher than putting it into the current banking system. Deluding uninformed investors that investing in Bitcoins is "no different" from putting it in a bank is untrue and is likely to greatly harm the Bitcoin cause once these investors are burnt.

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