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Comment Very expensive toy (Score 1) 286

> The toy was one of the most costly toys of the time, retailing at $50 — equivalent to around $400 today.

Off topic, but I can't let it pass. Sorry.

Calculated based on published US government CPI figures, $50 in 1951 was the equivalent of $466 in 2014 (latest figures published). If you are paying the slightest attention, however, you know gov. CPI figures are crap. I know, for example that the house my parents bought in 1954 cost them under $7000. The same house today would cost over $250K (in a not especially hot market)

There's a guy making a living out of providing accurate figures to businesses who need better data that the US government is willing to provide. Using his CPI figures (from shadowstats.com) is eye-opening. That atomic energy lab would be selling for over $2000 today. No wonder I didn't get one!

Submission + - Wikia Deletes Evidence Of Wikipedia Administrator Misconduct

An anonymous reader writes: At the request of Jimbo Wales and two Wikipedia administrators, Wikia administrator Dragon Rainbow deleted a Wikia page that had collected evidence of bias and misconduct by Wikipedia editors and administrators regarding Gamergate, a subject which is currently before the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. A mirror of the deleted page exists so you can see the deleted content for yourself.

Comment Who cares what they believe? (Score 3, Insightful) 66

Carriers and internet companies who won the auction might believe the spectrum is theirs to do as they please

They might believe that regardless of how much they pay for the spectrum. Or they might not believe it but still act like they do. Both of which are irrelevant, because as long as there are rules, enforcement will be necessary, so just be prepared to enforce them and to hell with companies who are claiming they bought more than they paid for..

Comment Hardball negotiations not an effective strategy (Score 4, Insightful) 189

Not much sympathy for either party from me, as I'm sure both companies understood the nature of the contract. I wonder, though, how much it has cost Apple in sales and good will to be putting out a product without the top-of-the-line screen. Probably a lot more than they were trying to squeeze out of this deal with their ruthless negotiating tactics. This is the sort of thing Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) was going on about when he advocated seeking out the win-win deal. If your partners don't prosper, it will always come back to hurt you.

Comment In defense of Patent Trolls (Score 4, Insightful) 75

I know patent trolls are about as popular here as child molesters, but here I am, coming to their defense..,

Suppose you are the inventor of something marvelous, like say, intermittent windshield wipers. You are not likely to have the capital to start your own car company, so how do you monetize your invention? You do the obvious: approach the existing car companies about licensing. Now, if you don't happen to know the story of Rober Kearns, you may want to look him up, but the TL;DR version is that if you are not ready to spend years and $MILLIONS in court, the giants will just steam roll right over you, taking your invention with them.

Enter the "patent troll".

Patent trolls are your key to monetizing your invention. They have the expertise and the money to see a court case through. They are not producers themselves so the multi-nationals can't shut them down using their own patent portfolios. If the patent is a good one, they stand a real chance of winning in court and they compete against each other for such opportunities, so they form an alternative market where your invention can fetch you a tidy sum. They will expect a discount obviously; they assume a substantial risk, after all, due to the uncertain nature of litigation.

The facts that patent trolls don't invent anything and don't make anything are often held up here on Slashdot as reasons to deride these companies. These are red herrings. Many companies exist which perform valuable functions in society without doing either of these things. Patent trolls are among them.

I will grant that there have been some absurd patent cases ltigated by patent trolls, but that's a separate issue. If anybody's reputation should suffer for these absurdities, it should be the patent office's. The troll is just doing its duty by its investors to run a profitable company by obtaining maximum value for its patent assests.

Comment Re:Hypocracy (Score 2) 573

The parent comment is an obvious troll... but the question at the link is a good one. It asks:

is there a reason for not making the front ends dynamic libraries which could be linked by any program that wants to parse source code?

I'd like to know if RMS has any further comments on this. I.e., has there been any progress on finding other ways to prevent non-free software from being combined with gcc code, so that offering such dynamic libraries would be possible? If the GPL is not considered sufficient protection, would a stricter license be an option? What avenues are being explored?

Television

Submission + - Writer Behind Happy Days' "Jump the Shark" Episode Dies

IcyHando'Death writes: Bob Brunner, a writer and producer for the TV show Happy Days, died of a heart attack on October 28 at the age of 78. Various websites credit (or blame?) Brunner for the infamous original "Jump the Shark" moment, in which Happy Days character "Fonzie", on water-skis, jumps over a shark. I remember watching this episode when it first aired, and like many historic moments (Martin Luther's 95 theses, killing of the last dodo), the true significance of the event was only apparent later on.

Comment Re:Einen moment, bitte. (Score 1) 301

... it will consider those attempts to be damage and, like the Internet, route around them.

The nineties called; they want their argument back (they're probably looking to get this put-down back too).

What we've seen in the last decade and more is that regulation of the digital realm is absolutely possible (think "Great Firewall of China") and can shut down or marginalize targeted activities quite effectively. Not perfectly, mind you, but law enforcement has never been perfect in the analog world either.

Time to update our thinking.

Comment Re:Linus's preferences are irrelevant. (Score 5, Insightful) 289

Yes, Linus has played an important role in the ascendency of Linux over FreeBSD, but I think the GPL ought to get even more credit. Stallman is and always has been right about the BSD license. Apple is just one of many companies who have shown how easily a thriving BSD software project can essentially be taken private. Just take your wad of cash and buy out the core developers. Set them to work on your proprietary, extended version with all the security bug fixes, the slick new UI and the closed-source installer. Then get your SEO guys going and soon Google won't even be able to find the so-called "free" version. In three years, anybody who can find the BSD licensed version won't dare to use it anyway because it's so far out of date. RIP "free" version.

Comment Re:Genetic diversity... (Score 1) 213

Culture, by definition, is not genetically transmitted. Behavior is influenced by both culture and genetics and teasing out which cause has what effect is a very, very tricky business. Merely observing a correlation between race and food stamp use is likely to get you labelled a racist because only a racist (or an ignoramus) would find it at all interesting. Carefully conducted research on the subject has demonstrated much better correlation with family income than with race for a host of societal ills that are typically ascribed to race in the USA.

Comment These researchers were courting disaster (Score 1) 213

It doesn't take a genius to foresee the sort of controversy this study might raise in the hands of the media. I'm sure the researchers themselves were very careful and conservative with their conclusions, but using race or genetic data as a proxy for something as easily obtainable as immigration history is just inviting trouble.

Variables don't; constants aren't.

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