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Comment: The handwriting's on the wall: Alice v. CLS Bank (Score 2, Insightful) 212

by DrJimbo (#48620391) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International the US Supreme Court ruled:

merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform [an] abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.

Recently, after its SCO fiasco, Microsoft's biggest gun in its ceaseless war on Linux and all things FOSS has been patent extortion. IIRC, Microsoft makes a sizable chuck of change from Android devices due to the licenses for a fuzzy bunch of patents that have never been tested for validity in a court of law.

At some point, someone with deep enough pockets to risk a spin on the roulette wheel that is the US court system in regard to patents will take on Microsoft and see if the Emperor is wearing clothes or not. Microsoft owns some very smart lawyers. The lawyers know such a challenge is inevitable. They also know there is a good chance Microsoft will lose and will have to shut down its patent extortion racket. At that point they will need a plan B. This is their baby steps towards a plan B which is way too little, way too late.

Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... legality? (Score 1) 138

by DrJimbo (#48603191) Attached to: Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny

I haven't canceled hundreds of orders on Amazon but I have canceled a handful. There has never been a fee or a penalty although I did have to fill in a small form explaining why I canceled.

If you did this maliciously with a bunch of items just to be a PITA then they would probably respond accordingly and cancel your account.

OTOH, I have had a seller raise the price of an item after I made an inquiry about it. That really pissed me off. I complained to Amazon but they said it was within their rules. The end result is it is stupid to make polite inquires about products (for example, asking if a used book listed as hardcover really is hardcover). You are better off just placing the order and then returning the item for a full refund if it does not match the description.

Comment: Re:Imagine that! (Score 2) 191

by DrJimbo (#48597301) Attached to: Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

But instead of negotiating or even trying to compromise they [Google] just took their ball and left.

Here is a better analogy:

A: If you don't pay us a bunch of money we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot!

B: That's a ridiculous business proposition. We aren't going to pay you anything. Shoot yourselves if you feel you must but we don't recommend it.

A: Wah! You are such a big baby! Why won't you at least negotiate or compromise?

Comment: Re:Imagine that! (Score 5, Insightful) 191

by DrJimbo (#48597025) Attached to: Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

But instead of negotiating or even trying to compromise they [Google] just took their ball and left.

WTF? What was there to negotiate or compromise on? Paying the extortionists any non-zero amount would have been the worst business decision ever made by Google. While there were extreme options available to Google, such as law suits and massive lobbying, Google took a rather mild approach by obeying the silly law while refusing to pay the extortion which meant they simply shut down their services that would have been encumbered by the extortion racket.

Even if the complete lunacy of the extortion racket was not clear to you previously, this idiotic press release should have made it crystal clear. The Spanish news media need Google more than Google needs them. Therefore it was idiotic for the Spanish news media to try to get Google to pay them for providing them with a service they greatly desire.

When you are freely providing someone a service they greatly desire and then they want to charge *you* for providing them with this service, there is very little room for compromise or negotiation. For example, if I owned a country and passed a law that Slashdot has to pay me for every comment I post, their only logical response would be to stop allowing me to post comments. I could bitch and moan about them being big babies about it but until my position has some relationship to reality, there is really nothing to negotiate or compromise on.

Comment: Re:Great. More touchscreens. (Score 1) 232

by DrJimbo (#48584401) Attached to: Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX

buttons are expensive and can't be reconfigured on the fly.

If true, this sounds like the most important reason why buttons are better than touch-screens in dashboards. Don't you hate it when you try to raise the volume and accidentally activate the passenger seat ejector instead?

Comment: Re:Wrong risk ... (Score 1) 151

by DrJimbo (#48464037) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

Except that in this case the law was very plain and it was obvious that it was being violated. I may not like the DMCA, but it doesn't take a legal brainiac to know that refusing to comply with take-down requests (what Kim's was doing with his links vs files argument) will lead to greater legal retaliation.

What are you talking about? KDC followed the advice of his lawyers and complied with DMCA takedown notices. He was set up in a nasty sting operation where the FBI asked him to not take down a particular file (or files) in order to aid them in an investigation. He cooperated with the FBI and this is what they busted him for.

For example, the Wikipedia gives Dotcom's perspective:

In regard to Megaupload, Dotcom believes the company had actively tried to prevent copyright infringement -- its terms of service forced users to agree they would not post copyrighted material to the website. Companies or individuals with concerns that their copyright material was being posted on Megaupload were given direct access to the website to delete infringing links. Megaupload also employed 20 staff dedicated to taking down material which might infringe copyright.

KDC was hosting files so it would be silly for him to use a "links vs files" argument as you suggest. It would have also been extremely stupid for him to ignore DMCA takedown notices because obeying those notices is what gave him "safe harbor" protection. You may be a legal brainiac but what you are suggesting makes no sense and has nothing to do with reality.

Data Storage

How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive 438

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-the-SSD-in-the-enclosure-with-the-massive-IOPS dept.
itwbennett writes: For too long, it looked like SSD capacity would always lag well behind hard disk drives, which were pushing into the 6TB and 8TB territory while SSDs were primarily 256GB to 512GB. That seems to be ending. In September, Samsung announced a 3.2TB SSD drive. And during an investor webcast last week, Intel announced it will begin offering 3D NAND drives in the second half of next year as part of its joint flash venture with Micron. Meanwhile, hard drive technology has hit the wall in many ways. They can't really spin the drives faster than 7,200 RPM without increasing heat and the rate of failure. All hard drives have now is the capacity argument; speed is all gone. Oh, and price. We'll have to wait and see on that.

Comment: Re:Wrong risk ... (Score 1) 151

by DrJimbo (#48461361) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

You can't plan for stuff like that.

What? Yes, you absolutely can. Yes, it was absolutely predictable. Yes. YES! Look, yes. The answer to all your objecting questions is yes. Yes, he could and should have predicted that the USA would do its best to sow his ground with salt. Just fucking look at us. LOOK AT US. Of course we would do that.

Even if you can predict that no rules/laws will apply, how can you reasonably plan for that contingency? What would those plans look like? Should KDC have given up business and become a survivalist?

My wholehearted prediction would have been that KDC was on the entitled side of the justice gap and as long as he had good lawyers and followed their advice then he would have nothing to worry about. The Pirate Bay getting repeatedly stomped on was not a surprise but the attack on KDC was a huge shock to me. I still find it amazing.

Comment: Re:And the floodgates open (Score 3, Informative) 706

by DrJimbo (#48353183) Attached to: President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

Why don't other countries have a net neutrality problem? Because they have competition among their ISPs. If an ISP tries to deliberately slow down a popular website to extort the site for extra payments, it doesn't put pressure on the website to pay. Instead it puts pressure on the ISP's customers to switch to another ISP. In most of the rest of the world, any ISP trying to pull this stunt puts itself out of business.

It only works in the U.S. because these ISPs have government-granted monopolies over the local customer base. The customer can't flee to a different ISP because there is none - the local government has made it illegal for there to be a competitor. Essentially, net neutrality is more government regulation to solve a problem caused by government regulation.

According to Ars Techinca (and many others) UK regulators officially mock US over ISP "competition":

Here's how US regulators do a broadband plan: talk about competition even while admitting there isn't enough, then tinker around the edges with running fiber to "anchor institutions" and start collecting real data on US broadband use.

Here's how they do it in the UK: order incumbent telco BT to share its fiber lines with any ISP who is willing to pay. In places where BT hasn't yet run fiber, order the company to share its ducts and poles with anyone who wants to run said fiber. In the 14 percent of the UK without meaningful broadband competition, slap price controls on Internet access to keep people from getting gouged. [...]

"Aside from small urban countries with highly concentrated populations, like Singapore, the main countries which are currently leading in the rollout and take-up of super-fast broadband are those which have had significant government intervention to support deployment, such as Japan and South Korea."

I've Googled around and I can't find any evidence that backs up your implication that consumers benefit from less government regulation of ISPs. Everything I've seen says the benefits in non-US countries stem from greater government intervention.

The nuanced Republican stance you refer to seems to be a code-phrase for BS. IMO the core of the problem is there is a lot of BS flying around because our corporate controlled "fair and balanced" media (including the NYT) refuse to call out politicians on outright lies. This gives a decided advantage to those who lie more. With no checks and balances from the media, public debate is mired in giant echo chambers filled with BS.

Comment: Re:Disturbing (Score 1) 331

by DrJimbo (#48289127) Attached to: Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

Thanks. I seem to be the one with an outdated mindset. I didn't know about that rule of thumb. Back when I went to school, I got by with a little help from my parents but mostly with a scholarship, loans, and a nearly full-time job. But tuition at an Ivy League school was only $5K/year and my starting salary after I got out was around $20K so even getting loans for the entire tuition would have matched your rule.

I'm glad you were able to buck the trend and find a way to pay for college that did not leave you in a financial hole you could not escape from. I still think this is not possible for the majority of students today. Sure, anyone may have been able to get the situation you found but there are not enough situations like that to go around for everyone. Having a system that puts so many college graduates into an inescapable financial black hole is very damaging to our society. It is like eating our seed corn.

When I went to school, situations like yours were open to almost everyone, even people going to Ivy League Universities.

Comment: Re:Disturbing (Score 1) 331

by DrJimbo (#48286401) Attached to: Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

Perhaps your mindset on this is a little outdated. I know mine was and that is the heart of the problem. For many decades student loans made sense. They were a terrific investment because the increase in your earning potential from going to college was fantastic. It paid for the loans many times over.

Unfortunately, both sides of the equation have changed drastically which has really screwed over the majority (I am guessing) of college students. On one hand, the cost of college has gone through the roof, vastly outpacing inflation and on the other hand, the ROI for going to college has tanked.

Taking out loans to go to college used to be the best investment you could make. Now you are likely to get screwed over. My editorial take on this is that it is a perfect example of capitalism run rampant. At various stages in the system, people have found ways to take advantage of (i.e. monetize) the general perception that taking out loans to go to college was a great investment. They did this by turning it into a lousy investment. It is no different from fleecing neophytes in the stock market.

Education used to be the cornerstone of the American Dream. Turning it into a terrible investment is extremely toxic to our society.

This is related to another result of extreme capitalism:

No matter how small and cheap and crappy something is, someone will figure out a way to make the same thing smaller and cheaper and crappier.

Comment: Re:VERY POSITIVE: Systemd is well-modularized (Score 1) 928

by DrJimbo (#48282049) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

All they've done in systemd is write C code to start up services that used to be started instead by shell scripts and added the ability to make dependency resolution automatic so that services are only started when they need to be.

If that had been all then there would not be this huge controversy. You are describing a very stripped down version of uselessd which is already a stripped down version of systemd. You are ignoring 98% of what is most objectionable about systemd by reducing it to the least controversial component.

ISTM such vast oversimplifications add fuel to the fire and further polarize the debate.

Comment: Re:Prison time (Score 4, Informative) 275

by DrJimbo (#48231095) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

No, it's called "asset forfeiture" and it does happen far too often. Hell, happening once is far too often.

In the US there are two kinds of asset forfeiture, criminal and civil:

There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Approximately half of all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil, although many of those are filed in parallel to a related criminal case. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third-party claimant. [...]

In civil cases, the owner need not be judged guilty of any crime; [...] In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender.

I don't want to put words in your mouth but I think the type of forfeiture you so strenuously (and correctly) object to is called civil asset forfeiture or civil forfeiture for short.

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