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Comment: Re:I just wrote this guy an email: (Score 1) 973

by Noonian Soong (#32798600) Attached to: A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

I agree with your statement that there is a difference between morality and legality. But legality without morality is not oppression.

Legality is the state in which people have to do what is right because they would face a penalty otherwise (in order to combine everyone's personal freedom). Morality goes further than that because morality does not just look at people's actions but also at people's motivation, their thinking, etc. Legality can be enforced by a state, morality cannot because no one can actually make someone else think a certain way. (I can prevent them from saying what they think, but their inner convictions cannot be controlled by anyone.) There are of course actual states that try to regulate the morality of their citizens but such attempts are futile. That is why actual laws can never be based on morality.

That said, actual laws need to comply with legality and since morality demands the same things as legality (plus things regarding motivation etc.), laws that are in accordance with legality are also in accordance with morality (but do not cover all areas that morality does).

So that means legality and morality are two mostly independent systems and while I would rather live in a moral world, I have to (and can) deal with the fact that I live in a world with people who are not completely moral and since morality cannot be enforced, I have to settle for legality (which is enough most of the time because it guarantees my freedom).

I totally agree with you in respect to copyright being unjustifiably used against society, though.

Comment: Re:The "fairest" thing since affirmative action (Score 4, Informative) 375

by Noonian Soong (#32631176) Attached to: "Cumulative Voting" Method Gaining Attention

it's making everyone else's vote count as 1/6th the vote of people "selected" by the government.

If that was the case, cumulative voting would be bad, yes. But it doesn't work that way. What cumulative voting is, it gives everyone more votes to distribute among candidates. So everyone's vote is basically split into fractions, but everyone's ballot has the same weight overall. So if I (and everyone else) got 10 votes, I might chose to give 3 (respectively 3/10 of my vote) votes to candidate A, 2 (2/10) to candidate C, D, and J and 1 (1/10) vote to candidate X. This way, I can show that I like candidate A the most, but I'm also ok with candidates C, D, J, and X, but not with everyone else on the ballot.

Comment: Is it really that bad? (Score 1) 602

by Noonian Soong (#32589058) Attached to: Digitally Filtering Out the Drone of the World Cup
I really don't get it. I have watched a couple of games so far and even though my hearing is good, I didn't feel like there was an unusual high level of noise in those games. The commentator is obviously always louder than the background noise because the station creates the audio mix that way. And for the sound of the vuvuzelas: It's an unusual sound, but at least on TV doesn't seem to be any louder than other noisemakers spectators often use. It seems to me that using horns and other noisemakers have been a part of soccer games for quite some time and the vuvuzelas, traditional or not, are just another instance of a noisemaker. They might be louder in the stadium, but on TV, they don't bother me at all.

Comment: Are all of them necessarily abuse? (Score 1) 10

by Noonian Soong (#30930914) Attached to: Serial abuse of moderation
I totally agree that the first two are bad moderation. With the latter two though, I can see how someone could see them as flamebait. They are short and provocative and since you didn't add another sentence or two describing why you see things that way, it looks a lot like flamebait.

I've been following your comments for quite some time, so I wouldn't have rated them flamebait, but if I had to meta-moderate and couldn't see the author or if I hadn't been following your comments, I might rate the latter two the same way.

Having read many of your comments and journal entries, I agree that all of them are bad moderation, but with the last two, I don't see any abuse, just bad moderation (which might have happened due to the lack of knowing your other comments).

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 386

by Noonian Soong (#30479322) Attached to: DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of <em>Avatar</em> In Germany

Unfortunately, you're trying to use "technical difficulties" as a term to make it sound as if it was all unavoidable and just a complete accident rather than saying "yeah, the rights management fucked itself again. It's a known issue and completely unnecessary but that's what's causing the problems."

But I was trying to explain that it was avoidable and DRM "fucked itself up again". I don't disagree with you; I think we just have a different understanding of the term "licensing issues".

There are two different reasons for licensing issues: One are merely technical reasons (the system is somehow broken). The other one is that the system legitimately refuses to work, for example because someone didn't pay the licensing fee. The poster I replied to suggested that the theater or the DRM service had not paid for the license and I was trying to argue that this was not the case, but that the system itself was/is broken.

So what I did was restrict the term "licensing issue" to the meaning "the system is working correctly, but it cannot play the movie because we do not have the right to show it". Maybe this usage is too narrow. Sorry about that! I hope I could clarify what I meant.

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 5, Informative) 386

by Noonian Soong (#30478510) Attached to: DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of <em>Avatar</em> In Germany
No, it is not a licensing problem. I read the German article and it clearly states that everyone paid, but the company providing the final keys (it is a process with several stages) could not produce the correct key. It was due to technical difficulties, not licensing issues.

Here is my non-Google translation of the important part that explains what went wrong technically (sorry for the slightly unidiomatic English; I tried to stay as close to the original as possible so that the text would not become my interpretation of the original):
Apparently, the DRM-keys for the film files were the cause of the problem. The distributor of 20th Century Fox sends the JPEG2000-encoded and AES-128-encrypted movies on external hard drives via courier. After that, the data (in the case of Avatar 150 GByte) needs to be copied to the theater server. Each digital projector/server combination generates a different certificate and transmits it to the DRM service in charge. The DRM service creates an individual key for each movie and sends it back to the theater. The key is always only valid for one copy of the film as well as one projector and can be limited to specific time periods and times of day.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the transmission of the correct keys for the 3D screenings did apparently not work in several cases, though. Theater technicians tried for several hours to decrypt the gigantic pile of data, but apparently the service responsible for the digital distribution of the film, Deluxe, could not provide valid keys yesterday.
Portables

+ - SPAM: MacBook Air Competitor, Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "Asus recently launched a new Eee PC netbook that looks nothing at all like its predecessors. In fact, it's likely that Asus included this machine in its Eee PC line simply due to brand recognition of their popular netbook lineup. At one inch thick, the Eee PC 1008HA Seashell is an elegant ultra-light netbook with a 92% full-size keyboard, a special scratch-resistant "infusion" coat finish and a trackpad that supports multi-touch gestures. Weighing in at a mere 2.4lbs, it's relatively firm competition for the likes of the MacBook Air."
Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - Unix Turns 40

Submitted by wandazulu
wandazulu (265281) writes "Forty years ago this summer, Ken Thompson sat down and wrote a small operating system that would eventually be called Unix. An article at ComputerWorld describes the the history, present, and future of what could arguably be called the most important operating system of them all."
Government

+ - Sequoia Disclosing Voting System Source to D.C. ->

Submitted by buzzinglikeafridge
buzzinglikeafridge (1374675) writes "After Sequoia voting machines registered more votes than there were voters in D.C.'s primaries last September and the city threatened a lawsuit as a result, the company agreed to disclose technical details of the system (including source code) to the city. Although this isn't the first time the company has disclosed the source code of its' machines, it is the first time the machine's blueprints will be handed over as well."
Link to Original Source
Patents

+ - Microsoft Trying to Patent Parallel Processing 2

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "Microsoft may have been a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to parallel programming, but that's not stopping the software giant from trying to patent it. This week, the USPTO revealed that Microsoft has three additional parallel-processing patents pending — 1. Partitioning and Repartitioning for Data Parallel Operations, 2. Data Parallel Searching, and 3. Data Parallel Production and Consumption. Informing the USPTO that 'Software programs have been written to run sequentially since the beginning days of software development,' Microsoft adds there's been a '[recent] shift away from sequential execution toward parallel execution.' Before they grant the patents, let's hope the USPTO gets a second opinion on the novelty of Microsoft's parallel-processing patent claims."
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Homework!?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With all the talk about Blizzard lately, I was asked a question about Guild Wars and World of Warcraft. While both games address different aspects, how would you get Blizzard to drop the monthly fee for WoW without trying to generate a force needed to compensate for the entropy of the players' need to play the game? After all, the no monthly free works for Guild Wars, so the model itself is fine. Or perhaps the question should be stated, how would you get this model to be the accepted form for all MMORPGs? Also, assume that the person asking me will not accept impossible for an answer. I would like to know your thoughts."
Censorship

+ - Wikipedia Blocked by Schools

Submitted by
Malkara
Malkara writes "Apparently my school system, in Central Florida, has blocked Wikipedia access on all school computers. I had known wikipedia was blocked for the last week, but I was just recently informed that it had indeed been a conscious decision. Apparently they're worried about people quoting directly from Wikipedia, and decided to take the easy way out by simply completely blocking the website in all schools from Elementary to High School."
Education

+ - Wikipedia founder Q & A

Submitted by
MattSparkes
MattSparkes writes "Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, answered readers questions in this New Scientist interview.

Q: 'Wikipedia is such a huge source of information and many articles are open to vandalism and abuse, therefore they can display people's racial or cultural beliefs. Is it hard to keep this offensive material under control?'

A: 'No, it is pretty easy.'"
Education

+ - LSU Professor Resolves Einstein's Twin Paradox

Submitted by
justelite
justelite writes "Subhash Kak, Delaune Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at LSU, recently resolved the twin paradox, known as one of the most enduring puzzles of modern-day physics. In more recent times, the paradox has been described using the analogy of twins. If one twin is placed on a space shuttle and travels near the speed of light while the remaining twin remains earthbound, the unmoved twin would have aged dramatically compared to his interstellar sibling, according to the paradox."

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