Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:It's been awhile since astro classes, but... (Score 1) 121

by Siener (#36471394) Attached to: China Building World's Biggest Radio Telescope

Photons? For a RADIO telescope?? Yes, quite a while since your astro classes.

Ummm... ALL electromagnetic radiation propagates as photons, not just visible light. What we call light is just a specific range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. In essence it is no different than radio waves, microwaves, X-rays, gamma rays etc.

Quite a while since your physics classes.

Comment: Re:Hell, even in developed countries (Score 1) 361

by Siener (#36105594) Attached to: BSA 2010 Piracy Report: $58.8 Billion

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

I'm not saying that copying doesn't result in some lost revenue. I'm quite sure that there are sales that would be made if copying was impossible, but aren't because it is. However it is not 100% of copied software, not even close.

Not only is that not a lost sale, that is extremely good marketing that they're getting for free. People who get to know and like software that they pirate will probably buy that software when they can afford to or when they start using that software for business.

I still buy and use development tools that I got to know from pirating them while I was a student. Another example: As a kid I played pirated games and only pirated games. My parents would not buy them and I couldn't afford them. That made me a lifelong gamer and in the years since I started working I've spent thousands of dollars on games, consoles, etc.

Comment: Re:Again? (Score 1) 465

by Siener (#35866762) Attached to: Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Phones and Tablets

This is about aesthetics though, not functionality.

The fact one can have patents on aesthetics just shows you how broken the system really is

I'm happy your phone does all that stuff that I've never needed on my iPhone

You've never had the need to browse to a website that requires Flash? You've never wanted to have a bit more storage space? You've never forgotten or lost your USB cable? You've never wanted to copy music from your iPhone?

I don't recall ever paying anything for XCode

Well I guess you won't be upgrading to version 4, which is not free.

Comment: Re:Again? (Score 2) 465

by Siener (#35866348) Attached to: Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Phones and Tablets

I own a Samsung Galaxy S and it's NOTHING like an iPhone
1. It has expandable storage via microSD
2. Its battery is replaceable
3. It it can connect to any computer through a standard (and cheap) micro USB cable
4. I can copy music to AND FROM my phone with any software that supports USB storage or MTP
5. When I switched it on for the first time I didn't need a computer or special software and I wasn't forced to sign up for an iTunes store account
6. Within 5 minutes my phone had all my gmail, Facebook and twitter contacts on it, again without needing a computer
7. I can copy and paste just about everywhere
8. It runs Flash
9. Out of the box it supports tethering via USB or Bluetooth and it can even act like a Wi-Fi hotspot
10. I can decide what software I run on it rather than having a dictator with arbitrary rules telling me what I'm allowed to do
11. I can (and did) download SDK's and development tools for free to write my own software for it
12. It can send an receive MMS's (like every phone I've had for the last 6+ years)

I can go on, but I'm sure you get the idea

Comment: Re:Quick, get that man a cane! (Score 1) 336

by Siener (#35780892) Attached to: Old Media Says Google Will Destroy Film & Music

... We used to make a lot of money. Now we're not and don't know how to deal with things. It's XXX's fault.

Industries that became technologically obsolete have been making this same argument for years..

Here's the comment I left on the article:

Record companies have exploited a technological and legal window to make insane amounts of money from other people's creativity. Consumers and the majority of artists suffered because of this.

A few big artists (the U2's of the world) got to live like kings, but the majority of artists ended up being slaves to media conglomerates.

The technological window is closing rapidly. Recording, distribution and marketing once required resources that could only be supplied by big companies. In those times record companies contributed something.

Those barriers no longer exist, but the old music industry refuse to accept that they have no more use. They're trying to hold on to their old monopoly by lobbying for ridiculously draconian copyright laws e.g. the RIAA's $75 trillion lawsuit against Limewire.

Like many industries before them (e.g. sawyers after the invention of the saw mill) they'll be kept alive by government action, but ultimately they'll go extinct like the dinosaurs they are.

Comment: Re:Market cap? (Score 1) 485

by Siener (#34752628) Attached to: Apple Passes $300B Market Cap, 2nd In the World

I've always been a bit puzzled by why the owners of a company are so utterly sheltered from damage cause by or crimes committed by that company.

I think Ambrose Bierce put it best in his 1911 Devil's Dictionary:

CORPORATION, n.
        An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

Comment: South Africa still has the advantage (Score 2, Interesting) 60

by Siener (#32374410) Attached to: New Zealand Joins Aussie Bid For Vast Radio Telescope Array

I've been following the bid process for SKA for quite a few years. As far as I can tell South Africa (together with its other Southern African partners) have a clear advantage over Australia (now together with NZ)

There are a few reasons for this:

1. The passing of the South Africa's Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act in 2007 declares almost the whole of the Northern Cape province (an area about 1.5 times that of the UK) into an astronomy advantage area. Amongst other things it means that light pollution will be limited and that the whole area will eventually be turned into a radio quiet zone.

2. Much of the technology used in South Africa's pilot program (MeerKAT) will be directly useable in SKA. By comparison, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder project has much less tech that will be useable in SKA without major redesign and modification.

3. Price. From the start keeping the price down was a very high priority goal for the SA bid. E.g. they developed a new process to manufacture the dishes that is much cheaper than conventional methods. Now, after the credit crunch where many scientific budgets are getting cut, this strategy is paying off.

Disclaimer 1: I am a South African and therefore far from neutral
Disclaimer 2: The last time I read extensively on this is more than six months ago, so if there were significant developments recently then I might not be aware of them

Windows

FSF Attacks Windows 7's "Sins" In New Campaign 926

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-long-way-to-absolution dept.
CWmike writes "The Free Software Foundation today launched a campaign against Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming Windows 7 operating system, calling it 'treacherous computing' that stealthily takes away rights from users. At the Web site Windows7Sins.org, the Boston-based FSF lists the seven 'sins' that proprietary software such as Windows 7 commits against computer users. They include: Poisoning education, locking in users, abusing standards such as OpenDocument Format (ODF), leveraging monopolistic behavior, threatening user security, enforcing Digital Rights Management (DRM) at the request of entertainment companies concerned about movie and music piracy, and invading privacy. 'Windows, for some time now, has really been a DRM platform, restricting you from making copies of digital files,' said executive director Peter Brown. And if Microsoft's Trusted Computing technology were fully implemented the way the company would like, the vendor would have 'malicious and really complete control over your computer.'"
Books

Jeff Bezos Offers Apology For Erasing 1984 437

Posted by timothy
from the always-been-sorry-about-erasing-1984 dept.
levicivita writes "From the down-but-not-out NYT comes an article (warning: login may be required) about user backlash against Kindle's embedded DRM: 'Last week, Jeffrey P. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, offered an apparently heartfelt and anguished mea culpa to customers whose digital editions of George Orwell's "1984" were remotely deleted from their Kindle reading devices. Though copies of the books were sold by a bookseller that did not have legal rights to the novel, Mr. Bezos wrote on a company forum that Amazon's "'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles."' Bezos's post is here."
Music

RIAA Spokesman Says DRM Is Dead 154

Posted by kdawson
from the joined-the-choir-invisible dept.
TorrentFreak is reporting an on-the-record remark by the main RIAA spokesman acknowledging what has been obvious to the rest of the world for some time now. Let's see whether their actions going forward align with the words. "Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA[,] declared DRM dead, when he was asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article. "DRM is dead, isn't it?" Lamy said, referring to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online outfits that now offer music without restrictions." Update: 07/21 01:16 GMT by KD : InformationWeek is now reporting that Jonathan Lamy says he never said "dead." TorrentFreak, which originally reported Lamy's remark, has also backtracked.
GNOME

Shuttleworth's Take On GNOME 3.0, Coordination with Debian 320

Posted by timothy
from the why-can't-numbers-jump-like-this-at-my-credit-union dept.
suka writes "In a fresh interview with derStandard.at, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth talks about GNOME 3.0 — its strengths, but also about what he thinks is missing. He also mentions ongoing talks for a common meta-release-cycle with Debian which could delay the next LTS."
Mars

Spirit Stuck In Soft Soil On Mars 160

Posted by timothy
from the it's-covered-in-jam dept.
cheros writes "NASA reports that the Spirit Mars lander is presently stuck in soft soil. The lander's wheels are halfway sunk into the soil and they are planning simulation tests to see if they can get it out again. I hope they can get it out of there because it's picking up enough new energy to operate; however, it only has 5 wheels left to get around on — one of the wheels hasn't been working for years. Fingers crossed."

Hold on to the root.

Working...