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Comment Re:^----- THIS, e.g. Picasa (Score 0) 59

There are tons of awesome image management apps and tons of awesome mail clients, most of which are free. Unfortunately (for you), few of these are available on Windows. The problem, as I see it, is your choice of operating systems: the one you're using limits your options. That doesn't mean it's a bad choice for you (for all I know, you're stuck with it due to software otherwise unavailable), but it does mean that, like all of us, you have to make trade-offs in life.

Comment Re:I've got the DVDs waiting to burn .ISOs (Score 1) 172

MSDNAA licenses are only valid while you are a student, and only for using as part of your education.

Sorry, but that's patently untrue. You can no longer acquire or activate new licenses, but your existing licensed installations definitely remain valid after you're no longer a student (see the license agreement paragraph 2a "End of Student Status". To quote from there:

b. End of Student Status. The DreamSpark Direct Subscription is a special offering for students. Once you no longer qualify for the DreamSpark Direct Subscription (due to graduation or otherwise no longer meeting the definition of "you" above), your DreamSpark Direct Subscription will terminate; however, you may continue to use the software you obtained prior to termination of your student status subject to the terms of this agreement.

Of course, the catch is that you're not allowed to use the software for commercial or entertainment purposes but only to "further your education" (i.e., to enlarge Microsoft's mindshare)--but that's the premise of the license in the first place, even while you're a student.

You didn't "get" a copy for $0, they only lent you a license.

Sadly, that's how the proprietary software business has been working for years at this point, by tying the base to online services.

Comment Re:StartSSL ? (Score 1) 97

StartSSL certs are not free to commercial entities.

Unfortunately, you are factually wrong. Their Class 1 certs used to be free for commercial purposes up until 2012, but that policy changed back then. See StartCom Certificate Policy & Practice Statements (warning: PDF) section 3.1.2 "Classes of digital X.509 Certificates" paragraph 1. Quoting from there (emphasis mine):

Class 1 Certificates provide modest assurances that the email originated from a sender with the specified email address or that the domain address belongs to the respective server address. These certificates provide no proof of the identity of the subscriber or of the organization.

Class 1 certificates are limited to client and server certificates, whereas the later is restricted in its usage for non-commercial purpose only. Subscribers MUST upgrade to Class 2 or higher level for any domain and site of commercial nature, when using high-profile brands and names or if involved in obtaining or relaying sensitive information such as health records, financial details, personal information etc.

Comment Re:StartSSL ? (Score 1) 97

Does a new certificate automatically revoke an old one on the same domain, such that you can only have one cert per domain? That would be the question.

Nope, it doesn't. Their interface for non-EV certs simply doesn't let you emit a new certificate if you already have emitted a non-expired non-revoked one for the same CN. You can easily get around this limitation, though, by emitting for another CN within the same domain and adding the old domain as a Subject Alternative Name in the extensions section.

Comment Re:StartSSL ? (Score 1) 97

StartSSL are free for commercial use.

No, they are not, if you're referring to their free Class 1 certificates. They used to be up until 2012, but that policy changed back then. Commercially using their Class 1 certificates is prohibited by StartCom. See StartCom Certificate Policy & Practice Statements (warning: PDF) section 3.1.2 "Classes of digital X.509 Certificates" paragraph 1. Quoting from there (emphasis mine):

Class 1 Certificates provide modest assurances that the email originated from a sender with the specified email address or that the domain address belongs to the respective server address. These certificates provide no proof of the identity of the subscriber or of the organization.

Class 1 certificates are limited to client and server certificates, whereas the later is restricted in its usage for non-commercial purpose only. Subscribers MUST upgrade to Class 2 or higher level for any domain and site of commercial nature, when using high-profile brands and names or if involved in obtaining or relaying sensitive information such as health records, financial details, personal information etc.

Comment Re:Thank god (Score 2) 229

No idea about trade since I never bother with it, but an account creation cooldown is out of the question: Many ISPs deploy transparent proxies or, worse yet, they NAT tons of their customers through the same public IPv4 address. A cooldown of this type would impact Valve's bottom line *and* piss off customers, so I don't think it can be done.

Comment Re:HTTP.SYS? (Score 1) 119

I completely agree with you that doing complex parsing in the kernel is stupid. And I'll make your day just that little bit worse:

Remember TTF and OTF which evolved into WOFF? Those flexible but very complex font file formats, optionally with bytecode that's actually JITted? That can be embedded into webpages therefore are interpreted by the underlying font rendering services regardless of browser used?

Windows parses them in the kernel.

Comment Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 4, Insightful) 224

Those patents disclose algorithms. Basically, applied math. Which should have never, ever been allowed as claims in a patent since they are antithetical to the compromise between the inventor's and society's benefit the patent system was designed to facilitate. So, yes, they are pretty much what one would call "software patents".

Whether or not they describe revolutionary ideas, and whether or not they required creative thought to invent is completely beside the point. Patenting algorithms runs against the very worldview that built the research scaffolding which allowed you to come up with these ideas (the old adage about standing on the shoulders of giants--and now imagine a world where those shoulders could only be visited if you paid the piper.) Math isn't invented, it's discovered.

That being said, under no circumstances would I recommend a client to hire you if I caught wind that you owned patents applicable to the field in which you would be working. That simply screams "conflict of interest", "subsequent lawsuit", and "humongous liability."

Comment Re:*Shrug* (Score 1) 304

I.e. DRM doesn't work. Moreover, it has the opposite effect, rather than preventing copying, it encourages more copying!

I actually take issue with your assertion that DRM doesn't work. I posit that DRM works exceptionally well - it's just that most people aren't aware of exactly who DRM mechanisms are mostly aimed at: the distribution channel, the software and hardware vendors. Not the end users.

I urge you to read Ian Hickson's most excellent post on the matter. It's well worth the couple of minutes invested, but if you're impatient, this is the main takeaway:

DRM's purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well.

Comment Re:153 GOP voted to default (Score 1) 999

What amazes me is that those people seriously considered a situation that could have had a devastating economical effect on the US. Things like this cause nations to implode. A bankrupt, non-functional state has time and again led to violent overthrow and civil war. This is what their game of chicken was risking. And when you listen to some of their backers they would welcome this in the hopes to build a different state from the ashes. Only their vision is really frightening.

Indeed it should be, but I hope you're not under the impression that this is anything unprecedented in any way, shape or form. The actions of the Tea Party are perfectly rational given their underpinnings. Here's a thought-provoking (and well-researched) analysis about their origins, motives and strategies: Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: Meet the "Newest Right"

Intel

Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster 133

hypnosec writes "Stephen Hawking's ability to communicate has been deteriorating over the years and as it stands, he is only able to communicate at the rate of 1 word per minute. Intel CTO Justin Rattner has revealed that they are working on an interface that will boost the scientist's speech to up to 10 words per minute. Beyond twitching his cheek, Hawking is also capable of other voluntary facial expressions which can be tapped to achieve faster communications with the help of a better character interface and a better word predictor."
Education

Free Online Education Unwelcome In Minnesota 240

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education: "[Minnesota's] Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It's unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution: 'Notice for Minnesota Users: Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.' Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the state's Office of Higher Education, said letters had been sent to all postsecondary institutions known to be offering courses in Minnesota."

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