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Comment: Re:Yes this is Terrible. (Score 2) 191

by GrahamCox (#48612509) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case
It wasn't Apple being totalitarian, it was the music industry in general. All Real had to do to make their stuff work on the iPod was to remove ALL DRM. However, had they done that, they'd have been the ones in the dock at the behest of the RIAA, et. al. Eventually Apple's power and market dominance gave them enough clout to tell the music industry where to stick their DRM. And yes, that sounds "totalitarian", but actually, it was the consumer who benefited.

Seems to me that people just like to use the existence of the meritless case to push and reinforce their own anti-Apple views. Such views may have some validity, but to use this particular case and the history behind it to push them is ridiculous. We consumers enjoy DRM-free music today because of Apple, make no mistake. Do you really think Real (or Amazon, or whoever) would have managed the same thing if Apple hadn't? Nope - we'd still have crappy DRM-encrusted music from the industry or would be using the hit-and-miss GNUTella method.

Remember that any industry-backed music download service had to compete with free (albeit free with strings attached, in the form of terrible rips, mislabelled files and malware). Apple pulled it off, and they deserved to win this.

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 2) 161

by GrahamCox (#48592419) Attached to: Former iTunes Engineer Tells Court He Worked To Block Competitors
If a shitty 3rd party device can't use iTunes, then the consumer may fault Apple for their bad experience

Way back when iTunes was just a reskinned SoundJam, it supported an architecture for supporting arbitrary devices, alongside the visualizer API. The visualizers are still supported and even got some improvements a few years ago, but the device support was dumped very early on, version 3.0 perhaps.

I know this because I wanted to make a plug-in for iTunes that supported one of the early cassette player adapter devices (forget the name, but it was a solid-state music player in a cassette form factor that would work in a standard deck). I got it roughly working just as iTunes got revved and the device API was scotched. It was annoying but as a hobby project not something I was expecting to build a business on. Asking around Apple devs, even then (this was before the iTunes store launched) the consensus was that iTunes was only going to support the iPod from then on, no 3rd party devices, and for precisely the reason stated. The anti-competitive nature wasn't really expressed, and at that time the Mac and the iPod were extremely minority players in the marketplace so it wasn't really seen as anti-competitive. By the time the iPod and the iTunes store started to become huge, everyone had forgotten that iTunes had ever supported a devices plug-in API.

Comment: Chess (Score 3, Insightful) 171

by GrahamCox (#48560443) Attached to: Preferred Type of Game?
I voted "board" because of chess. Chess has a reputation as being the game of choice for nerds, sociopaths and elitists, but the more I get into it, the more I realise it has immense depth, and by analogy teaches a lot about all sorts of useful skills for life - planning, tactics, keeping a cool head when things look tough, thinking out the consequences of your actions, doing things in a logical order and deferring the big rewards and not settling for the short-term gain. It's life distilled into a remarkably elegant model.

Comment: America, you stink. (Score 4, Insightful) 772

by GrahamCox (#48559439) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations
As a Brit living in Australia, two of the world's most ardent allies of the USA , I say this: America, you stink. When a friend tells you you stink you'd better wise up and do something about it. Your actions are CAUSING the terrorism that you are seeking so vainly to suppress. The more you oppress, the more people turn against you. I know you have a bit of a thick skull and your thinking processes are limited (as a country, we understand you have trouble walking and chewing gum, but that's OK, intellectual disability we can accept and sympathise with - we are similarly afflicted, truth be told). It's the actions we have a problem with. But now even your friends and allies can see the terrorists' point of view, and have done for some time. Wake up, fix your stupid foreign policies and you know, maybe THAT will sort out terrorism. It's win-win.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 5, Insightful) 772

by GrahamCox (#48559361) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations
You haven't read the report have you? It's brutal alright, with plenty of lasting effects. In any case, it's beside the point. What so-called "civilised" nation sanctions such things, in the 21st century? This is utterly shameful and there's no excuse. America cannot claim the moral high-ground or any respect until it stops acting this way.

Comment: They'll be what they want to be (Score 2) 584

by GrahamCox (#48520385) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?
My daughter's 8, and she's quite into science, particularly chemistry. Also reading, particularly Neil Gaiman and inevitably J.K Rowling. She hates the colour pink, and her favourite show on TV is Mythbusters. We didn't do anything to make her "turn out" this way, other than possibly the fact that we discouraged toys that required batteries when she was young, and not forcing stereotyped toys on her, though had she ever shown an interest in Barbie, etc we would not have insisted that she shouldn't have them.

My worry (or one of my many worries) as she is on the threshold of puberty is that she'll be a bit too geeky and that will invite bullying and so on. Ad that in turn will turn her away from her natural interests just to fit in with her friends. All you can do is encourage them to be themselves and be proud of not being part of the crowd.

Comment: It's life Jim, but not as we know it... (Score 1) 307

by GrahamCox (#48452407) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies
If the environment of such worlds has large amounts of gamma radiation, surely whatever life evolves there will naturally be able to cope with it? Maybe our namby-pamby DNA-based life couldn't survive under those circumstances, but it's probable that there are trillions of alternatives.

Comment: Re:Of course it scales (Score 1) 200

by GrahamCox (#48405817) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body
I take it you never managed to actually get through any of his books

And so many unnecessary assumptions on your part as well. Yes, I've read his book (singular; one was enough). I ploughed through it. I wasn't put off by the maths, just his argument. Perhaps using the term "magic" is oversimplifying, but it's what it amounted to as far as I'm concerned.

You can argue about whether he's right or wrong, but using my opinion as a platform for a personal attack on a total stranger just makes you look like an idiot, I'm afraid.

Comment: Of course it scales (Score 1) 200

by GrahamCox (#48399731) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body
it does suggest that the ghost in the machine is just the machine. The important question is does it scale?

Our own brains are proof that it scales, at least if you get the implementation right. Unless you're of the rather woolly Penrose school of thought, there's nothing "magic" involved in the physical implementation of the mind, it's just physics. The devil is in the software model that it runs. We have no idea how that is architected, but experiments like this will probably help to shed some light.

Comment: Re:You think that's bad? (Score 1) 327

by GrahamCox (#48398373) Attached to: Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X
You wasted your money. Apple themselves simply eliminate the temperature sensor when an SSD is installed, as they run cool no matter what. All you need to do is to short out the sensor input (as Apple do) and the system keeps the HDD fans ramped all the way down. This works on the iMac, not sure about the Macbook.

Comment: Re:Most people don't object to public breast feedi (Score 1) 350

by GrahamCox (#48382537) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism
Breasts may be sexual to you, but that's your problem. Are a cow's udders sexual? Not even to other cows, as far as we can tell. I have never understood men's obsession with breasts, even as a straight man myself. I can only surmise that this stems from prevailing attitudes exactly like the one discussed here, that breast-feeding in public is somehow "inappropriate", which in turn indicates an entrenched prudishness in parts of western culture that is simply baffling. It's like how the sight of an uncovered ankle in Victorian times allegedly excited men, simply because it was something the culture denied them. Same with breasts now. Once all women are comfortable everywhere breastfeeding in public, a new generation of men will grow up (in every sense) not being titillated by them. It's that unwarranted obsession which is "inappropriate".

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions