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Comment: 'Social Media' and APIs more likely to kill feeds (Score 3, Interesting) 132

by QuasiSteve (#47387639) Attached to: Google Reader: One Year Later

Google Reader was merely the most popular 'client' app - its disappearance wouldn't spell the doom of feeds (RSS/atom/whatever), and here's why: practically all the major publishing apps have RSS functionality built-in.
Do you use Wordpress? You probably have an RSS feed whether you're aware of it or not.
Using phpBB? You probably have an RSS feed.
Started a subreddit? It comes with a bunch of feeds.

Now try to get an RSS feed for, say, .
Or how about an RSS feed for ?

facebook still offers an RSS for timelines, but you'll have to get it first as it's keyed.
twitter doesn't offer an RSS at all, you'll just have to use the APIs (and you'll need to authenticate even if you only want public read access, so you'll have to register, too). And don't think about trying to offer an API-to-RSS bridge, Twitter doesn't take kindly to such awesomeness;

These 'social media' platforms of course want you to stay inside their boundaries. If you want to know what @Whoever is up to, you'll just have to view twitter or, better yet, 'Follow' that user and make sure you've got yourself logged in on as many devices as possible preferably with the official twitter apps.

So what happens when a company no longer regularly posts their news or blog posts via their regular content delivery, and instead takes to twitter / facebook? The feed dies out. Sure, it's still there, and maybe once in a blue moon some new content does pop up on there.. but for that same content and everything else you'd be interested in, you'll just have to check them out on facebook and/or twitter.

It's only when companies start realizing this shift - and, again, they might not even be fully aware that they're offering a feed in the first place - that they might try shutting it down for fear of not reaching the right viewership (in the way they want, including the possibility of deleting a post that they later regret).

At least feeds will remain as the premiere way to deliver podcasts (hacked on as they are) ... until some sort of social podcasting platform emerges as the de facto standard and requires you to use their website/proprietary apps.

Comment: Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (Score 1) 532

by QuasiSteve (#47332615) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

For instance, the local mom and pop store could not sell a 44 ounce soft drink, however the local 7-11 (convenience store) could sell it without any problems.

A local mom and pop store could also sell them just fine.

the ban only applied to businesses under the auspices of the health department*

If the mom and pop 'store' was actually a small local food joint (including, say, an establishment that sells giant sugared-up bubble teas), you're absolutely right. But then, they're already subject to a whole slew of different laws.

So you'd really have to question how 7/11 with their soda dispensers etc. are categorized as merely a convenience or grocery store, when in the element of providing beverages effectively 'to go' they're not all that different from, say, a McDonald's. Not so much a problem with this law, as it is with whatever law governs business categorization and how that affects what other laws are applicable.
( Note that 7/11 could still sell their half gallon bottled products, regardless. )

* From a BBC article. You can read the full definition in the actual health code (as long as it isn't changed after the ruling):
Page 38.

New York City Health Code



81.53 Maximum Beverage Size

  • (a) Definition of terms used in this section.
    • (1) Sugary drink means a carbonated or non-carbonated beverage that:
      • (A) is non-alcoholic;
      • (B) is sweetened by the manufacturer or establishment with sugar or another caloric sweetener;
      • (C) has greater than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces of beverage; and
      • (D) does not contain more than 50 percent of milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient.
        The volume of milk or milk substitute in a beverage will be presumed to be less than or equal to 50 percent unless proven otherwise by the food service establishment serving it.
    • (2) Milk substitute means any liquid that is soy-based and is intended by its manufacturer to be a substitute for milk.
    • (3) Self-service cup means a cup or container provided by a food service establishment that is filled with a beverage by the customer.
  • (b) Sugary drinks. A food service establishment may not sell, offer, or provide a sugary drink in a cup or container that is able to contain more than 16 fluid ounces.
  • (c) Self-service cups. A food service establishment may not sell, offer, or provide to any customer a self-service cup or container that is able to contain more than 16 fluid ounces.
  • (d) Violations of this section. Notwithstanding the fines, penalties, and forfeitures outlined in Article 3 of this Code, a food service establishment determined to have violated this section will be subject to a fine of no more than two hundred dollars for each violation and no more than one violation of this section may be cited at each inspection of a food service establishment.

Comment: Re:The Sugary Slope (Score 1) 532

by QuasiSteve (#47329337) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

The analogy doesn't entirely hold. Analogous would be if they put extra taxes on sugary soft drinks, put warning labels on the bottles/cups, and banning their consumption in public places.

Vice versa, the analogy would be that places that sell cigarettes can only sell the filter-less cigarettes in packages of 10, forcing those who want to buy more cigarettes at a time to buy two packs.

( The analogy doesn't quite hold as cigarettes tend to be consumed over a longer period of time, rather than gulped down in one sitting at a restaurant/movie theater, say. )

Though this bit off of wikipedia makes me curious:

In the United States of America, the quantity of cigarettes in a pack must be at least 20.

I guess that was enacted to keep cigarette companies from dropping 2 out of a pack without people really noticing while still paying a similar price. I can only imagine there's strict rules on length and diameter, too.

Comment: Not about consumption, but about sales (Score 5, Insightful) 532

by QuasiSteve (#47329295) Attached to: NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

If people want to smash down 44fl oz of sugar like that then let them. If you need to regulate that

But it wasn't going to regulate people drinking 44fl oz of whatever, or even 16.5fl oz

If a patron wanted, there was nothing stopping them from buying, say, 3 x 16fl oz drinks and gulp that all up. Alternatively, there was nothing stopping them from getting one 16fl oz drink and going for refills.

This was entirely on businesses, disallowing them to sell anything over 16fl oz.

Changing it to say that they wanted to prohibit people from drinking more than that certainly incensed people who are against government intrusion into personal affairs - but that really only helped the case of businesses who would rather sell you one bigger drink of which more is likely to just get tossed anyway or drank because people didn't want to toss it so they drank more than they actually wanted, than that they sell you a smaller drink and then have more people realize that they really don't want any more than that.
There's a reason that the other party was "the American Beverage Association" and not, say, the ACLU or some rights group that defends individuals' personal freedoms (rather than business' freedoms).

That's what the goal was, which as a side-effect may have been that people would drink less of it - but if they really wanted to, they could always go and drink more.

Well, that and of course tell people what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat. /sarcasm

So if there's any argument to be had, it should be about whether businesses should be free to serve whatever size drink they damn well please, no matter the content (aside from those regulated already, like liquor).

Comment: Re:Predictable (Score 1) 484

by QuasiSteve (#47324961) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Sorry, AC, but unfortunately that's not how it works.

You basically pay taxes on line items. Those line items get there through politicians. Those politicians get there through voting.

The paying taxes part? That brings no sway. I mean, you can try to pay less taxes arguing against certain line items - and undoubtedly just find yourself paying even more taxes or getting incarcerated - but that's not going to help.

You voting for politicians can help - but I realize that this choice is fairly limited. Simplifying that choice a bit further, you've got candidates A, B, and C. A is pro-DRM, B is on the fence, and C is anti-DRM but also doesn't stand a snowflake's chance in hell of actually getting voted in.

And that's where lobbying comes in. Lobbying can sway candidate B either which way. More lobbying can even make candidate A change their mind.

That's how you get line items changed, and thus change where taxes are going.

Comment: Re:Predictable (Score 1) 484

by QuasiSteve (#47315555) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

"the demands of the highest bidding lobbyist".

If we truly believe that - and I'm not saying there's reason not to - then why don't people unite and form their own lobbying group?

Hollywood (well, TV/Movies/Music industry) spent ~$110M in 2013 on lobbying (figures may vary depending on source - all hover around the $110M mark). At least the above-the-table stuff.

People are fine with paying $10/month for, say, Netflix.
Q4 2013 Netflix subscribers (U.S. only): 33.1M.

That's $331,000,000 every month or $3,972,000,000 every year. That's ~4 BILLION. Not just this year. Next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, etc.

Now, what do you imagine $4B/year in lobbying politicians can do for you? Buy some laws that make it legal to download movies? Buy some laws that make it illegal to add DRM? Sway the spirit of existing laws to make remote-DVR type setups (such as Aereo and the ill-fated Zediva) legal?

The people would be the highest bidding lobbyist - by a huge margin. If one truly believes that the highest bidding lobbyist is who forms the laws or at least sways the spirit of the laws, then the logical thing for people to do would be to band together.

But that requires far more effort than scrolling to the latest recording of one's favorite show on Netflix / HBO.

Comment: Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (Score 4, Interesting) 448

by QuasiSteve (#47305467) Attached to: $500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

The basic defense from them is.. how ARE they liable?

Kickstarter's claim is that they're merely providing a platform, that they conditionally charge for the use of that platform, but that what it's actually used for is not really any of their concern. They also carefully word that backers aren't really investing, that they're basically just throwing money at a person at the hopes of getting something - while at the same time saying that getting that something is required, but that they're no party in it and that backers will just have to fall back to plain ol' contract law with the contract being between the backers and the project creators.
( Also keep in mind that recently they actually dropped a bunch of their rules - though that's more from pressure of other crowdfunding sites and all the bad press Kickstarter has gotten lately for actually policing their rules, than that they wanted to. )

I can think of 3 lawsuits that have happened that involved KickStarter in one way or another:

1. Hanfree - a sort of iPad stand, in which a backer who also happened to be an attorney sued on principle because the project creator burnt through the money (on what? no idea), stopped communicating, and then buggered off. I don't think Kickstarter was named as a defendant. If I recall correctly, that lawsuit also went nowhere fast because the project creator defaulted into bankruptcy.

2. The WA AG's case (complaint handling) against a project creator. That's ongoing, but as far as I know Kickstarter hasn't been named a defendant there either.

3. The 3D Systems case. This was a patent case brought against Formlabs, but initially also named Kickstarter as a defendant because Kickstarter took a 5% cut and promoted the project through their site. Kickstarter was later dropped as a defendant, however.

So I'm afraid your 5-step program probably isn't going to work on account of Kickstarter absolving themselves from any responsibility, and apparently having the law on their side (until proven otherwise).

On the up side, your 5-step program really only needs to be 3 steps.
1. post not entirely obviously crap Kickstarter but just something that's popular.. like wallets, multitools, iThing covers, 3D printers, custom pens, etc. for which you already know there exists an eager audience.
2. make goal (helps setting it to a realistic level)
3. run off with the money aka profit!!!

Or even two steps, if you don't mind setting up a crowdfunding website and going head-to-head with Kickstarter/indiegogo/rockethub/etc.

Comment: Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (Score 1) 371

by QuasiSteve (#47302313) Attached to: Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

The founding documents of the United States guarantee certain rights--even to rapists, terrorists, and pedophiles--to its citizens

I think it's amendments that guarantee those rights - not sure if that invalidates the 'founding documents' bit.

But my question was specifically with regard to the "to its citizens" part. What makes "its citizens" all the more special, when it's rather difficult to see what qualifies a person as a "citizen" given the circumstances outlined.

So perhaps my interest should be more directed toward what makes somebody a citizen - and what can undo that making (apparently somebody suggested that in this case, the person had forfeited their citizenship by effectively having committed one or more acts of treason) - given that the interests appear to be at odds.

Comment: Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (Score 1) 371

by QuasiSteve (#47301451) Attached to: Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

the minute we started destroying our own constitution

Are those parts, perhaps, untenable in some situations?

Example: If you're some sort of murdering loon with a predisposition to blow up schools in not-Americania where you have been living for several years, then...

If you're a "U.S. citizen", you should be captured alive and tried properly - in the U.S., of course - enjoy all the protections provided by the law, and if you're very lucky you get to be relatively comfortable while waiting to hear if you get to escape death row or - better yet - somebody messes up on a procedural element and you can be on your merry way entirely, with the general population hailing the virtues of the amendments that make this possible.

If you're not, then please enjoy these last few moments of Slashdot while we drop a bomb on you, no questions asked, with the general population shrugging or applauding once announced.

I find the whole "he was a U.S. citizen on paper, so he was more specialer" angle rather fascinating.

Comment: Re:Cartels (Score 1) 253

by QuasiSteve (#47194399) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Offers $5 Million Bounty To Defeat Extradition

I thought theaters were part of the outdated business model that everybody suggests 'Hollywood' should change?

People have a great many options for self-publishing online. And quite a few people do. Just how much that has displaced consumption of Hollywood fare (legal or otherwise, and whether that's based on it being a better product or out of principle) is a different question.

Comment: Re:Lazy. (Score 1) 58

by QuasiSteve (#47165475) Attached to: Kickstarter Expands Allowed Projects, Automates Launches

More like:

They're tired of getting flak for projects appearing on their site that people have issues with, raise a stink about on twitter, and then complain when it's still there 1 hour later - or getting flak for removing projects that use questionably language, get buckets of crap dumped on them by thousands of people alleging them of having a political agenda, and that decision being exploited for the benefit of the project getting launched at a different site.

Speaking of which...

They're probably not fond of all the attention that IndieGoGo has been getting as the 'more accessible, lower barrier, and less stuck up Kickstarter.

Regarding one specific other rule change, they probably realized that project creators - when faced with the "you can't set up pledges for multiples of a perk!" rule, simply told people to pledge more than what the tier requires, or - worse yet for Kickstarter - hit their website and use the online storefront (often using PayPal) as a pledge mechanism instead. When that happens, they might as well try winning back that slice of the pie and shrug off any scams that involve multiples (part of the reason why the rule was instated in the first place - under the guise of protecting project creators from themselves in case their project can't scale) the same way that scams involving single items have been shrugged off. The PR defense on that one is pretty strong by now, with more than half the backers toeing the company line that they're only a facilitator (who just happen to take a % of the take, scam project or otherwise) and so do not get involved in disputes ( except where there's enough negative press to warrant a statement ).

White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.