Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 47

Did you miss my comment about flying over private property owned by the pilot (or presumably, where the owner has given the pilot permission to fly in it)?

No. Why should it make any difference? Commercial aviation goes over your property too. Are you saying that somebody launching a 3-pound quadcopter into the air above their property is inherently safer at 1000' than is the person who does that from some empty lot or a wooded park in the middle of nowhere?

You don't seem to understand that you don't own the air over your property.

Comment Re:I'm not renewing prime this year... (Score 1) 27

This. And though I've had hundreds of shipments from Amazon, personal and business-wise, very few have had problems. And in every case, they've had a replacement out the door to me before I even had the tape on the return box. Probably a quarter of the items I order now are delivered the same day, stuff is arriving on Sundays ... it all just works, and keeps working better as time goes by. Be reasonably intelligent about the sources of third-party listings, and you're done.

Comment Re:More great news for AMZN shareholders (Score 1) 27

More great news for AMZN shareholders ... Sky's the limit.

It's awful, isn't it? We should definitely choose some politicians that will limit the sort of success that a company's founders and investors can earn. That's how other people will suddenly start doing the things that will make them prosperous and there will be no more wealth gap. Limit success so that everyone succeeds! There's no prosperity until there's no prosperity!

What's the matter, put all your money into Apple stock and frustrated that it's lost value over the last few months while Amazon's continued to climb? Mad because you're trying to Kickstarter a Free Range Artisanal Organic Hemp Tea Cozy Studio and don't understand why people would invest some of their money in Amazon instead of giving it to you? Why the snark?

I'm not unhappy. Amazon's stock has gone up over 650% since I bought it, and I don't think a week goes by without them dropping off a package on our doorstep instead of me wasting time and energy driving around town hunting for the same items with - at best - mixed results. It IS good news for Amazon and the people who've put their own money into that company's fortunes when they fine tune the way they do things. Because they've got a good record of keeping both their customers and their investors satisfied.

Comment Re: dry ink (Score 1) 162

I would be the first to agree that 'starter cartridges' are a dick move on any number of levels; but the e-waste issue is somewhat ameliorated by the fact that the 3rd party cartridge peddlers are keen enough to get nearly-new hardware that they can dump more toner into that they will generally pay you for them. It is routine for office supply stores and the like to offer cash or store credit for empty cartridges, so they get tossed less often than they otherwise would.

Comment Re:Pilot's licenses should be required (Score 1) 47

The FAA's current '333' waivers DO require actual pilots licenses and registered aircraft.

It's definitely necessary for someone flying a 3-pound plastic quadcopter 25 feet off the ground to take a look at whether or not some gutters need to be cleaned out ... to hold a pilots license, get a tail number for that 3-pound toy copter, coordinate with the local tower, and of course file a flight plan. Should probably be required to know Morse code, too, just in case. You can't be too careful. This should also apply to people who fly kites and weather balloons, and those who race pigeons.

Comment Re:headline is misleading (Score 1) 502

It seemed like the majority was in favor of it at the time

No, more than half the country, even in the face of the lies being told, were vocally against the law while it was being written and rammed through in a purely partisan process. The only way they even got the bill passed was against opposition from WITHIN the democrat party, by offering all sorts of quid pro quo inducements to barely get it passed on technical maneuvering between the two houses of congress.

and even more people are in favor of it now

No, even more people are polled as saying they dislike it, and now two-thirds of even the people who are having their new services paid for or largely subsidized by other people say they are disappointed with the results.

Why not try to make it better rather than worse?

You mean, change the law? Obama has said he will veto ANY attempt to change the law. Of course, he has decided that he can personally change any aspect of it that he feels the need to for political expediency, through executive order. But the law can't be changed legislatively until two thirds of the representatives have heard enough pain from their constituents that they're willing to put together changes that will get past Obama's promised veto. Or, we elect someone into that position who won't block legislative will in that regard.

Comment Re:headline is misleading (Score 1) 502

What I am saying is that unless the doctor doesn't take *any* kind of insurance, then you should be able to get the kind of insurance that the doctor accepts,

No, you're STILL not getting it. If the doctor takes three kinds of insurance, but the new law makes the plans offered by one of those brands (which we used) no longer allowed, then that plan is no longer allowed. If the provider of that plan says that it can no longer offer a produce that meets the new law's requirements while keeping it affordable enough to attract customers and profitable enough for them to even stay in business, then that plan goes away. It's gone, along with the services of that doctor.

Or, if your doctor used to take plans A and B, but because the law now requires carriers to provide so much more coverage to so many more people that one of those companies can no longer afford to make those plans available at a livable price, then you're done with that doctor - because you have to buy from the least expensive option, plan C . The new coverage requirements price the insurance out of reach, and this price that doctor out of reach if you can only afford plan C, which your doctor finds impossible to afford to accept unless they want to lose money on every service they provide when paid by that plan.

So the doctor that you've always been able to afford before is no longer available - not because the doctor charges more, but because the cost of the insurance that doctor will accept has quadrupled under Obamacare, and many people can no longer afford what they used to afford. I'm not sure why you're foggy on this. It's simple math: the government says that you, as a customer, must suddenly begin to subsidize billions of dollars in new entitlement spending, and that prices you out of certain markets - one of which includes your long time doctor. Simple as that - you can no longer keep your doctor, despite the lies to the contrary.

Obama's "lies" got lots of people healthcare they wouldn't otherwise have.

And took away health care from millions of people. And it would already have taken it away from millions and millions more, except he decided to unilaterally ignore enforcement of a plain-language provision in the law that would have forced employer-provided plans to subject their customers to the same things that already effected millions that lost their existing insurance under the law. With an unconstitutional stroke of a pen, he directed the executive branch to ignore the basic requirements of the law he championed, but only long enough to slow down how it impacts election results for his party. So, not only bald faced lies about the nature of the law in order to get it passed, but craven modifications to its impact based on election calendars and pressure from his party to avoid more bloodletting while they're trying to regain power to more of this sort of thing.

Comment Obviously Yahoo minimizes it... (Score 5, Insightful) 63

Aside from reflexive ass-covering, which is to be expected; Yahoo(and any of their ilk in the advertisement slinging business) have a fairly obvious incentive to deny the seriousness of the problem.

Ad networks are a ghastly open sewer of shoddily vetted and frequently dangerous crap; usually served agonizingly slowly and heavy on Flash and scripts and crap. Even better, ads offer a nice way to hit a broad selection of users, across sites, and without needing to compromise specific operators or lure people into the seedy side of the internet where people stereotypically go to get unpleasant viruses.

Even if you are one of the 'But advertising experiences enable the content economy, ad-blockers are immoral and killing businesses, etc.' people, what do you say about the sheer danger? Leaving ads unblocked is about as safe as letting sewage into your drinking water distribution system. That's a problem. Fix your ghastly excuse for a platform, so I could at least let my guard down without getting cyber-syphilis, and then maybe we can have a chat about whether ads are wonderful or not. Until that time, don't even bother.

Comment Re:Deny access (Score 1) 67

Denial arguably creates a problematic perverse incentive because it provides a DoS-like extra 'for free' if you can manage to make the target act enough like it has been botted.

For people who aren't exactly up to the task of running their own IDS, though, information would certainly be helpful. There probably are people who don't care about running a festering worm farm; but there are definitely people who don't know that they are doing so.

Comment Re:Microsoft (Score 3, Insightful) 167

Windows Phone is pretty nice. It's main drawback is the lack of apps (which is hard to fix, as no one wants to develop for a platform with few users and no one wants to buy a phone with no software). It's main problem selling is that people associate it with Windows on the desktop, which is a usability disaster that somehow manages to get worse each version, in spite of having passed the point where people thought it couldn't get any worse some time ago.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 177

if they used the LEGO term, even to say they were compatible with LEGO, even with all explicit trademark acknowledgements, it would be at LEGO's discretion to either issue a C&D or not to bar them from continuing to refer to them, unless they company were somehow able to show that they were not a competitor for LEGO in any way

Sigh. I'm getting tired of having to do your homework for you:

It is the wholesale prohibition of nominative use ... that would be unfair. It would be unfair to merchants seeking to communicate the nature of the service or product offered at their sites. And it would be unfair to consumers, who would be deprived of an increasingly important means of receiving such information. As noted, this would have serious First Amendment implications. The only winners would be companies like Toyota, which would acquire greater control over the markets for goods and services related to their trademarked brands, to the detriment of competition and consumers. The nominative fair use doctrine is designed to prevent this type of abuse of the rights granted by the Lanham Act. ...

Trademarks are part of our common language, and we all have some right to use them to communicate in truthful, non-misleading ways.

That's from Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. v. Tabari, 610 F.3d 1171 (9th Cir. 2010). Hint: Toyota's LEXUS mark was at issue, and had been used by a competitor, and the court did not come down on the side of Toyota.

Nominative use is a doctrine in US trademark law by which parties other than a trademark holder can use a trademark without permission if:

1) The product is not readily identifiable without using the mark. (LEGO bricks are not readily identifiable without using the LEGO mark to refer to them; otherwise you'd have to say something stupid like 'plastic toy bricks made by a well-known Danish plastic toy brick company')

2) The defendant does not use more of the mark than necessary. (The word LEGO in an ordinary typeface would be fine; the red, yellow, black and white square-shaped LEGO mark, with its distinctive balloonish typeface, on the other hand, would be too much merely to indicate compatibility)

3) The defendant cannot falsely suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder. (This is typically done by not using the mark in a way that suggests a relationship, while also disclaiming any relationship. It doesn't require not using the mark at all, however; the public recognizes that not all uses of a mark indicate endorsement)

Note, there is no requirement that the defendant claiming nominative use not compete with Lego. That's perfectly fine. If I make toy bricks and I want to say that based on a survey, children prefer my bricks 10 to 1 over LEGO brand bricks, I'm totally free to do so. (Provided, of course, that I have got such a survey; I can't just make crap up)

The decision of whether advertising should directly refer to competitors (e.g. People who took the Pepsi challenge preferred Pepsi to Coke) or whether it should not (e.g. Our dishwashing liquid works better and faster than brand X) is entirely one of the advertiser's preference. There is no legal requirement compelling one over the other, provided that the ad is truthful and (to some extent) not misleading.

I am suggesting that Steamboat Willie describes the cartoon, and Mickey Mouse describes the character.

If the MICKEY MOUSE mark describes the character, and the copyright on the Mickey Mouse character lapses such that anyone can create works featuring the Mickey Mouse character (which is a copyright issue), the MICKEY MOUSE mark no longer is capable of indicating that all such marked goods originate from a common source, which is a fundamental requirement for a trademark. Thus, the MICKEY MOUSE trademark is lost with regard to such goods, e.g. DVDs, comic books, and the like.

So if one makes an unauthorized copy of Steamboat Willie, they are not actually using the trademark in Mickey Mouse without permission

Yes, they are. "Without permission" means the same thing as "unauthorized," genius. It's no different than if I make an unauthorized copy of a Louis Vuitton purse.

Copyright and Trademark protect different things

Yes, but different aspects of a single object can be protected by different sorts of rights.

Consider a humble glass bottle of refreshing Coca-Cola. The shape of the bottle is protected by a design patent. The COCA-COLA mark is protected as a trademark. The formula for the liquid inside is protected as a trade secret. If it's a decorative bottle with a picture of Santa or a bear, or Santa Bear, the artwork is likely copyrighted. If the artwork is of a particular real person, it may also be protected by that person's right of publicity. And if they make the bottle out of some new sort of safety glass, the formula for the glass itself may be an invention protected by a patent. All this wrapped up in a single item that you can get out of a vending machine with the change in your pocket.

The Mickey Mouse character is protected, in different capacities, even in the same work, by both copyright and trademark. This is not even slightly unusual.

As I said, even though their trademark continues to be respected, the copyright on their oldest cartoons have already expired in several first-world countries with IP laws quite similar to those in the USA, and that did not extend their copyright as the US did. I live in one such country. The character was never freely copyable here even though the cartoon itself was.

I have no idea what your country is or what its laws are like, and as I said before, I really don't care. I've been discussing US law this entire time, which is reasonable on a US-based website, like this one, and that's all I'm really interested in.

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...