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Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 2) 284

by Jason Levine (#48626831) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

I don't think of guns as inherently evil, but they are inherently dangerous. I don't have a problem with lawful gun owners who take proper precautions with their firearms. I have a big problem with the people who think that their gun is a cool toy to play with or teach their kids that it's fun to wave a gun around. I'm not willing to say that a majority of gun owners are like this, but there's a vocal group like this and these people scare me (and should scare responsible gun owners as well). People should treat guns with respect and always assume 1) that they are loaded (even if you JUST took all of the bullets out) and 2) that the gun is about to fire at whatever it is pointed at.

Comment: Re: These idiots remain idiotic (Score 1) 362

by Jason Levine (#48621119) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

At this point, I don't even think it's about the money - though that's a strong secondary reason. It's control. The MPAA sees people watching movies online as a loss of control that they have with the theater-cable TV-DVD/Blu-Ray model. They can dictate what theaters their movies play in. If they don't like a theater's policies, they can refuse to allow that theater to play the latest movie. The same goes for cable TV. They can decide what channels play the movie. If they don't like the channel, it won't get the movie. Then comes the disc-formats that only approved devices can play. If a DVD/Blu-Ray manufacturer steps out of line, the MPAA can send them out of business.

But releasing a video on the Internet in a standard format means that people can pretty much do whatever they want with it whenever they want. If I want to watch it now but immediately skip over chunks, I can. Without sitting through the FBI warning and trailers for "new movies" (that were released a year after this 5 year old DVD was released).

Losing this level of control scares them to no end and they'll wield all the power they can to retain control for as long as possible.

Comment: Re: These idiots remain idiotic (Score 1) 362

by Jason Levine (#48621067) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Yes, offline viewing and no DRM would be nice. However, merely giving Netflix (and their competitors... we don't want to form a Netflix-monopoly) access to all back catalog entries more than a year old would go a long way towards combating piracy. Yes, you would still get people pirating HOT_NEW_MOVIE that just came out in theatres, but many more people would just wait for it to appear in their Netflix queues. Would this mean a DVD/Blu-Ray sales drop? Possibly, but the movie-on-disc format is probably going to go away at some point anyway.

Would Netflix's prices have to rise? Likely, but imagine Netflix with an online streaming catalog consisting of everything ever released up to December 2013. I'd gladly pay more money for that. Actually, the losers in a scenario like this would be the cable companies. Apart from sports, why would you need to pay for cable TV if you had Everything-Up-To-A-Year-Ago Netflix?

Comment: Re:Man, am I old ... (Score 1) 155

by Jason Levine (#48618481) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

I remember buying my first computer. It had a 40 megabyte hard drive and I thought: "This is HUGE! There is no way I'll EVER fill this up." Now, can put thousands of times that amount on a microSD card the size of my fingernail. I just bought a 3TB external hard drive because our old 1TB models were filling up.

Comment: Re: These idiots remain idiotic (Score 1) 362

by Jason Levine (#48618207) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

If the MPAA really was serious about fighting piracy, they would work with NetFlix and other online video providers to get their movies online for a reasonable price. How many would stop pirating if everything they wanted was a Netflix subscription away? Instead they treat Netflix like a big threat and try to deny them as much video content as possible.

Comment: Re:This is why (Score 4, Insightful) 188

by Jason Levine (#48608407) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

NASA isn't the only agency to be forced to spend their money on horrible projects. The military has many instances of getting things they don't want because Senator X wants pork for his district or trying to close down an unneeded facility only to be informed that Representative Y is forcing it to stay open because that facility means jobs which means votes for Representative Y.

Comment: Re:Contralual capture? (Score 1) 188

by Jason Levine (#48608389) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

Part of it might have been that. Part of it might have been that it could have been more expensive to tear down and scrap what was built than to complete it and hope you could put it to some use. A big part, however, was the Republican senators from Mississippi who insisted that it be completed because it's such an important rocket testing center. (Read: This pork flows to our area and so it is important. The pork that flows elsewhere is the evil stuff that needs to be cut.)

In other words, Congress/the President make NASA cancel a rocket program for going over-budget. NASA says "Ok, then we'll stop building this testing facility that was related to this program." Congress says "No, you need to complete and maintain that" so NASA does so. Then NASA is lambasted for doing this because it reeks of wasteful spending. NASA isn't the one wasting money here. (Not saying they are perfect, of course, but this instance the blame doesn't rest on their shoulders.)

Comment: Re:The Pirate Bay (Score 4, Insightful) 301

by Jason Levine (#48606447) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

Copyright is an exchange. The government protects content, for a limited time, in exchange for the "owner" releasing it into the public domain.

This leads to the biggest problem with Copyright today: The length. When copyright was a 14 year term followed by an optional, one-time 14 year renewal, it was a sane trade-off. You get a monopoly on this book you wrote and in exchange, the public gets full access to do whatever they want with it in 14 or 28 years. If you grew up loving a story, you could write a new story using that character when you got older.

Nowadays, though, copyright length is too long. If my younger son (age 7) reads something published today that he likes, he'd need to wait around 95 years (depending on the situation and assuming no more extensions of copyright - which is a big assumption) before it landed in the public domain. Since it is unlikely that my 7 year old will live to 102, his children or grandchildren might benefit from that work going into the public domain.

This whole system was supposed to encourage authors to produce more works, but if I (at age 39) publish something today, how does it encourage me to make more works when my work is still under copyright and I'm 125 (or would have been had I still been alive)? Is an Isaac Asimov story published in 1950 really encouraging Isaac to write more because it remains copyrighted until 2045? (I can see it now. Zombie Asimov rises from the grave and, after a light brains snack, locates some typewriters and begins work on five new novels.)

Comment: Re:oh boy... (Score 1) 249

by Jason Levine (#48604727) Attached to: Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

There's a very real possibility that Sony is doing this for legal reasons. When their employees eventually sue over their data being leaked Sony can make the defense that they did their best to minimize the damage.

It's fun to make fun of Sony and all but let's not act like they aren't being advised by a legal team.

Your honor, we did our best. Once the horses had left the barn, we politely asked the people taking pictures of the horses to instead put said horses back in the barn and close the doors. What else could we do? It's not like we could install locks on the doors before the horses got out in the first place.

Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 1) 1038

by Jason Levine (#48603255) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Sadly, parents considering this "choice" hear scary news stories about Autism (whose incidence is rising only because of better detection techniques). As far as polio, measles, whooping cough, etc, they hear very few factual news stories and a lot of hogwash from "natural medicine experts" who insist that all you need to do to be immune to these diseases is wash your hands and take these supplements that the "experts" conveniently sell (while screaming DOWN WITH BIG PHARMA). The "experts" also downplay how dangerous the diseases are. Measles? You just get spots for a week and then you're all better. Whooping cough? Just a bad cough for a few days and you'll be on the mend. Without actual first hand knowledge of the horrors of these diseases, misinformation about the diseases/how to prevent them, and scary stories about Autism, it's no wonder that some parents avoid vaccines.

Comment: Re:Unclear to me depends on google action (Score 1) 191

by Jason Levine (#48603227) Attached to: Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

I wonder if this means that posting a link to a Spanish news organization in Slashdot's comments means that Slashdot has to pay or if it means I have to pay. If the former, I could see a revenue generation opportunity:

1) Pay someone (preferably someone in a third world country who will work cheap) to post links to your news website on various comment boards.
2) Threaten these people unless they pay*.
3) Profit!

* Sure, they might remove the link, but this just means you need to get your lawmakers to pass a law making removing links illegal.

Comment: Re:Vaccines are totally safe (Score 1) 1038

by Jason Levine (#48602801) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

You have anti-vaccination folks like Meryl Dorey who actively spout such nonsense as "nobody dies from Whooping Cough." Then, when someone dies of Whooping Cough, they brand the family of that person liars unless they give Meryl the person's complete medical history so she can verify that it the death was actually due to Whooping Cough. Apparently, she's more of an expert than all of the health care workers that treated the person. This happened with Dana McCaffery who died of Whooping Cough at 4 weeks old. Meryl called her parents liars and demanded they give her all of Dana's medical records. They refused, but of course had they I have no doubt that Meryl would have found the "real reason" that Dana died - especially if Meryl could somehow tie the death to a vaccination no matter how tenuous the link.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane