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Comment: Re:Angry Proliferation Game (Score 1) 186

by Sarten-X (#47583777) Attached to: China Confirms New Generation of ICBM

Xorploxina, for one. The extensive military capability of the Xorplo race is well documented in any sufficiently-funded library.

However, your concern about the grammatical structure of the sentence is well-founded, as the Xorplo ambassadors have not attended any interplanetary events in recent memory.

Comment: Re:Chinese liars (Score 1) 186

by Sarten-X (#47583717) Attached to: China Confirms New Generation of ICBM

The problem with that is the question of what's considered a "use".

Is the use of a small backpack nuke enough to justify an all-out assault? What about a dirty bomb set off by a state-sponsored terrorist? If a country starts a campaign using thousands of conventional explosive bombs against Chinese targets, is that enough for China to retaliate with a nuke?

It is a fallacy to assume that we will always fall down the slippery slope, but it is also a fallacy to assume that we can't.

Comment: Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (Score 1) 314

by Sarten-X (#47565795) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

The madness doesn't end there.

Every song is a copyrighted work. The CD is a derivative work containing an encapsulation and encoding of the original works*. You don't actually get a license to anything, so you're not allowed to copy the works in any part, beyond the bare-minimum on-the-fly temporary copies made for decoding, and even those are debatable**. In essence, storing any part of a CD at any stage of decoding is prohibited without a license, even for personal or educational use***.

...Or so it was until the DMCA.

Under the DMCA, the Librarian of Congress periodically receives comments from the public and declares what is or is not exempt from the DMCA's restrictions. During the most recent review process, the argument in favor of medium-shifting was rejected, because it basically boiled down to the commenters saying they didn't want to pay separately for both a CD form and a downloaded form, while the industry groups put forth a long argument citing legal precedent regarding the derivative-work perspective.

In short, what you buy when you buy a CD is the physical copy. You are not buying the information contained on that copy, so you aren't permitted to copy or transform**** it in any way. This is the key detail that so many Internet users seem to have trouble understanding. Just because you have access to information does not give you the legal basis to do anything you want with it.

* Several notable music groups have fought their albums being sold as individual tracks, because they don't see their music as just songs. They view the album as the whole creative work, and argue that the artistic message is lost when it's broken up.

** I recall arguments over whether anti-skip buffering counted as copying. I don't recall much about them other than being a bad omen.

*** "Fair use" does not actually make copying legal. Rather, it's a defense to the accusation of copyright infringement. You still infringed the copyright and did something prohibited, but there's no punishment for it.

**** By "transform", I mean an actual change to the work. Decoding (as a CD player) and understanding (as in reading a book) are not considered transformative.

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 2) 565

by Sarten-X (#47563687) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Nobody's claiming that it's more efficient. Insurance carries overhead.

However, your alternative options are missing a far more common situation: Unexpectedly requiring extensive services that cost more than one can pay off "on time".

I've worked in the medical industry. It's hard for an outsider to understand just how expensive modern health care is. The days of a lone doctor with his trusty medical bag are long gone, replaced by million-dollar machines and wholly-disposable sterile tools. Of course, we can't forget the army of nurses, assistants, and aides all helping the doctors, and those doctors all have malpractice insurance to cover the inevitable lawsuits. Every patient visit costs the hospital hundreds of dollars, even if they're in perfect health. If the doctors actually have to do anything, the costs climb into the thousands. For a complicated case, a cost in the millions is not unheard of.

I'm not talking about fraud, or unnecessary tests. This is just the cost of doing business.

For a middle-class American, keeping a few hundred dollars around for emergencies isn't unreasonable. A few thousand dollars in a safety fund is acceptable for many who've had decent fortune, but is it reasonable to demand that people pay off a million-dollar medical bill "on time"? Is it reasonable to demand that the medical staff work for free to make sure they're not putting someone in debt?

Very few people will ever have a million-dollar disease, and most will never come out ahead by buying insurance. That's not the point, though. For a small portion of our society, insurance is the only reason they aren't in (deeper) debt. It's a small and manageable expense spread out over time, but ensuring that a larger amount of money is available from the start of coverage, to pay for those rare-but-devastating disastrous cases. Having insurance means that expenses are more predictable, at the cost of the overhead. For most Americans, that's a trivial opportunity cost in the long run.

Comment: Same as usual, then (Score 2) 149

by Sarten-X (#47549821) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

In other words, the sale of a smartphone is a means to other sales.


Sales of Office lead to sales of Windows which leads to sales of Windows Server which leads to sales of Exchange which leads to sales of Office... Vendor lock-in has been Microsoft's core business model for decades. Why should it be different with phones?

Comment: Re:Keep It Ready (Score 2) 206

by Sarten-X (#47546853) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're not a business manager.

There are several reasons to switch to cloud services. Reducing current costs is one, but there are others.

A business may be facing a market change. The IT needs may grow or shrink rapidly, depending on external factors. Rather than hiring extra personnel and planning servers for needs that might arise, and adding training to the burden of the existing admins, it may just be simpler to migrate to a cloud provider while needs are worked out, then possibly even move back in-house to reduce overhead and external risks.

Clouds also offer more flexible expertise. When archival data starts to outgrow what basic storage will support, will there be enough spare time for a sysadmin to become a SAN expert to build an in-house storage system? Or would it be better to use outside expertise that's available now, without waiting through the delay of a hiring process?

Comment: Re:I'll believe it when it actually happens. (Score 2) 116

by Sarten-X (#47532453) Attached to: eSports Starting To Go Mainstream

That's part of the challenge and appeal.

Some of the old games like Starcraft are still honored at sporting platforms, because those are the games where you can see the "old masters" play their refined strategies against each other, as is expected in a game of chess. In newer games, the strategy isn't a refined battle plan, but a more volatile response to counter the opponent's particular style, more akin to a boxing match.

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 353

by Sarten-X (#47509635) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Over 70% of homes in the US have broadband access

That's the thing... I have "broadband", but it tops out at 3Mbps downstream, and is noisy enough that it often drops under 1Mbps..

I know I would never live in a home without access to non-satellite broadband [faster than 3Mbps]

I once thought so, too, but the rest of the situation is, as noted, practically perfect. That's was the gist of my post: connection speed is just one of many factors to consider in a house. To hold such an absolute hard line on it is silly, in my opinion.

The scenario you describe is a very rare one, if you are being truthful that is.

The only thing I'm not being truthful about is the implication that my housing cost is low for the area. I live in one of the least-inflated metropolitan areas in the United States, in a very old suburb. Since everything about the area is cheap, that includes taxes and the salaries needed to get good teachers. The downside, as noted, is that the buildings are old.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 617

by Sarten-X (#47508463) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

That said, All world wars have started in Europe. So Europe is a good example that we just aren't there yet.

Two data points is not a statistically meaningful sample size.

The argument could also be made that it was the United States leading the persecution of Germany after WWI, directly causing the nationalism that triggered WWII.

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 353

by Sarten-X (#47508439) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I wouldn't live in a place with inadequate bandwidth for a simple video stream.

Wow. You're quite picky.

I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in my city, with good neighbors, great schools, and near one of the best fine arts districts in the world. My house is a three-story colonial, with a finished basement, which costs me around $900/month.

Now, the house is old enough that the phone company's disconnect is in the middle of that finished basement, so replacing the wiring to support a faster connection isn't really an option, there's no cable service on the little side street, and the state forest next to me interferes with satellite service.

I guess I should just give up my otherwise-perfect home and move, because I can't get that all-important bandwidth.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 2, Insightful) 617

by Sarten-X (#47506375) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

If you looked at libertarian socialist societies them you'd likely find they are less likely to cheat thanks to a high degree of social trust. Also, in a capitalist society, you'll find that the rich are more likely to cheat.

[citation needed]

I'd more easily believe that the libertarians would cheat more, because they assume the rules don't prevent it, and that rich capitalists would actually cheat less, but they'd exploit every nuance of the rules to their advantage.

Life is difficult because it is non-linear.