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Comment: Re:Lets say yes so they put an FM radio on my phon (Score 5, Interesting) 261

While I don't think the lack is a safety risk - and I do think the headline is just the usual sort of attention-whoring we expect from the media these days - having an FM radio is very useful if there is a regional emergency. And since most people are usually carrying a phone anyway, locking out that ability does them a disservice.

Personal anecdote time: back in the big blackout of 2003 that shutdown the Northeastern US, nobody's phones were working because the networks were jammed by millions of people suddenly calling each other, everyone trying to figure out what was going on. Nobody knew anything except that the lights were off and there was an increasingly nervous tension; as this was only a couple years after 9/11, the word "terrorists" was on everybody's lips. I happened to have an MP3 player with FM functionality on me, and that made me very popular, because I could relay news to everyone around me. The temper changed from twitchy nervousness to reassured cooperation, from a fearful me-first attitude to one where informed people worked together to get through the disaster.

I don't think having that radio made me any safer, but it made me - and those around me - happier because we were not cut off from the rest of the world. I still carry that little MP3 player with me, solely for its radio functions even though my phone is one of the rare devices that does have FM functionality (the phone needs a charge every day, but the mp3 player, which is only the size of a thumb-drive, runs seemingly forever on an easily-replaced AA battery).

Comment: Re:Humans are the gross, worst spieces ever (Score 4, Insightful) 88

[Humans are] the worst disgusting and gross, leave their trash everywhere. They think all history was made in order for their own creation. They pollute everywhere they figure out how to get to.

Do not mistake the ineffectiveness of other animals to be "care" for their environment. A beaver will happily defoliate acres of land. Cats can depopulate entire species of birds, given the chance. Rabbits will breed far beyond the capacity of their environment to support their numbers. All of them will "pollute" as readily as man, leaving their waste wherever it may drop and not taking particular care to "clean up" after themselves when they are done using a burrow or nest. Certainly, they show no evidence of caring about other species; other animals are prey to be fed upon, or predator to be fled from, or other to be ignored but never a concern beyond that.

Humans aren't perfect, to be sure, but our problems are largely due to own success. Though we would believe ourselves somehow superior to the "lesser animals" with which we share the world, we are still moved by the same base impulses of our distant cousins. However, our cleverness with tools and our extreme adaptability means that we are more resistant to environmental repercussions with which the system uses to self-correct the actions of its more boisterous inhabitants. A wolf-pack that eats all the deer in its territory is likely to starve next winter, but Men will just move to a new territory or import food from its neighbors, and thus the genes of the "over-eaters" are preserved rather than culled. Alas, now that our territory encompasses the entire world it may require a worldwide disaster to rehabilitate Man.

But then again, maybe not. Because we are learning - however slowly it may seem - that not only are our resources not unlimited, but also that the Earth is a vast and interlocked system which we share with all the other species on the planet. This very concept of environmentalism is fairly new - a few hundred years at most and truly popular only for the last two or three generations - and prior to this Men took little concern to their depredations because they always thought there would be an endless supply so long as they moved to the next horizon. Now, we are reconsidering our actions - acting against the very instructions of our genetic make-up - working to preserve what we have. While it is not entirely without self-interest, nor is it entirely selfish; we preserve other species for no other reason than a belief that they have as much a right to exist on this planet as we do. That is more than any other species on Earth has done.

Our impact on this planet has been devastating, matched perhaps only by the impact of micro-organisms or the insect kingdom. But these mistakes are only because we follow our genetic predisposition to breed to capacity and do not believe for a moment that any other species on this planet would do any different. Certainly we should use our intellects to curb our innate predilections but neither should we entirely condemn ourselves.

Comment: Here's how to disable "Heartbeat feedback" (Score 1) 156

by Somebody Is Using My (#49382487) Attached to: Firefox 37 Released

1. Open about:config in the browser

2. Change browser.selfsupport.url to “”

3. Go to https://input.mozilla.org/en-U... and tell Mozilla to stop wasting our time with bullshit like the "heartbeat feedback" and gratuitous GUI changes and focus on more important things like fixing the damn bugs.

Comment: Re:It makes sense (Score 2) 193

Even better, the policy is offensive to the (supposedly) egalitarian notions of the country, as it suggests that only a special few can buy the product. With any other product, you can just walk in the store, lay down your money and walk out with your new toy. But with the Apple Watch, only a few (admittedly self-selected) people get that privilege. Suddenly there is a division of the "haves" and "have-nots" in the Apple customer base, and (even though anyone can become a "have" by making a reservation), this split unconsciously strikes people as unfair. This gets them talking about the policy and keeps the product in the news and in people's minds. It is a manufactured controversy designed to raise the awareness of the product. Even more, it makes the *purchase* of the product for those who do get a reservation all the more memorable, even though the actual product is itself unexceptional.

Its is brilliant marketing for a product that would otherwise be unable to compete on its own merits.

Comment: Re:Sim City (Score 2) 226

by Somebody Is Using My (#49369789) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space

Which makes it a nifty dual-purpose device; it provides power to your cities during peace, and fries your enemies during wartime. It's win-win!

Get enough of 'em up there, and you can start using the satellites as solar shades too, blocking sunlight - in a very Burnsian fashion - from whomever does not pay.

Too bad the inefficiencies of microwave transmission make the whole thing a pipe-dream. Might work when we have a space-elevator that can double as an extra-long extension cord but I'm not holding my breath.

Comment: Re:Universal wants me to use YouTube more (Score 1) 117

Spotify etc are at best like the radio of old.

Spotify etc. are /better/ than the radio of old. With Spotify, the publishers can get paid - even if a miniscule amount - everytime anyone listens to a song. With Spotify etc., a truckload of accurate information is gathered about what songs are popular (most listened to) and which songs are not, allowing them to better gauge what sorts of new music would bring in the big bucks. With Spotify etc., they get all sorts of information about who their listeners are; their age, income, likes, dislikes, and more.

Radio offered none of this. The publishers put songs on the air and hoped they were hits, never really sure what "clicked" with the listeners and what didn't, who the listeners really were, and they got paid a fixed amount regardless of whether only 1 person was listening or 10,000 (and more often than not, paid for the privilege).

Plus it's generally easier to record songs off the radio than it is off Spotify (not that the latter is that difficult either, but with radio it's even easier).

So why does the music industry hate streaming music so much when radio is in every way an inferior distribution / advertising method?

Comment: Re:Valve isn't the savior people thought they were (Score 2) 215

If Microsoft can do that and provide some nice social tools to boot, then I will give them my money. Or GOG, or Humble, or anybody else. (thought the irony is with GOG/Humble is that they are usually Steam activated).

Minor correction:

HumbleBundle games often offer titles through the Steam platform, which requires you to activate their titles online first, which can be a surprise for someone who buys a game through HumbleBundle not expecting that sort of inquisition.

GOG.com never does; their chief claim to fame is that that their titles are DRM-free and are not tied down to any sort of online activation. Yes, offering products that are DRM-free as well as providing access to otherwise abandoned titles.

Erm, their two claims to fame are no DRM, great old games... and low prices. Three! Their three claims to fame are no DRM, great games, low prices... and getting those older titles to work on newer hardware. Four, no... amongst their chief claims are, erm, such elements as no DRM, great games...

Look, I'll just come in again, shall I?

Comment: Re:screw the system (Score 4, Insightful) 284

Prison is also supposed to be for punishment.

Actually, there's a difference of opinion on that matter.

There are those who believe the purpose of prison is to reform the convicted, that prisons need to be reformatories. Their argument is that just sticking a criminal into a holding cell for a few years does nothing to change his behavior; in fact, it more likely reinforces the behavior by fostering a "me against them" attitude between the criminal and civilization while at the same time exposing him to like-minded people. Reformatories try to teach the criminal new habits and skills so that - when he is released - he can find a new path through life. The most extreme example of this is Sweden, although many nations in Western Europe follow this path to some degree or another. It appears to work for them but it is arguable whether or not their methods would have the same results in other countries.

The US, on the other hand, largely follows a philosophy of punishment (in concept if not enshrined in law); the idea is that the fear of prison as a punishment will keep people out of mischief. That is, if you go to a penitentiary you should expect to be stripped of all rights, beaten by the jailers, raped by the other inmates and probably lose the ability to ever find decent work once you get out, therefore it is better not to break the law. Whether this philosophy works or not I'll leave up to others to argue; on the one hand, violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the country, but on the other hand, there are high recidivism rates and the US has the largest population of inmates in the world.

Then there is simple detention, a concept where there is no innate intent to penalize (or reform) the criminal; rather, the goal is to simply isolate the wrong-doer to protect society from his evil ways. These differ from penitentiaries in that they aren't used as a threat to convince people not to do crimes, nor is there any goal to reform the convicted. Detention centers are not necessarily unpleasant places (but due to budgeting issues usually are) Most often used for the irredeemable (repeat offenders, murderers, etc) when it is felt it would be too dangerous to let them go, or for people who are temporarily incarcerated before being banished from the jailing society (e.g., illegal immigrants).

Personally, I lean towards the first example as how prisons are best used, but in truth best results would be from a mix of all three. Unfortunately - at least in the US - too many people refuse to even consider that prisons should be anything but the most dire of dungeons, an attitude encouraged by a legal and penal system which benefits monetarily from ever-increasing criminalization and incarceration.

So prison doesn't have to be about punishment; we in America just chose to make it so.

Comment: Re:Radio (Score 5, Informative) 305

For that matter, how much do artists get paid each time I listen to a track on a CD?

Hmmm, let's see: Artists get about 10% of retail
A CD costs $10, and say there are ten tracks on the CD.
Thus, each track costs $1, and the artists earns ten cents per track.
Most of my CDs were purchased at least ten years ago. I have no doubt I have listened to many of those tracks at least 100 times (those that were purchased more recently obviously don't have the same number of "listens", but - barring sudden death or deafness - I expect they will in time).
So the artist gets about $0.001 (1/10th of a cent) every time I listen to a track.

That's slightly less than Pandora pays and 6 times less than Spotify. Even assuming they get slightly better rates and I listen to the tracks far less frequently, the artists are still earning about as much money each time I listen to a track on CD (well, okay, ripped to MP3 but you know what I mean).

You could argue that the percent the artist is earning is far too low - that the middlemen are siphoning off too much into their own pockets - but that's a different issue. As it stands, it seems to me that online streaming services are paying them about the same (if not more) than they might get from more traditional sales, at least if you calculate based on the number of times a song is heard.

Maybe measuring "per listen" (stream) isn't the optimal way of calculating revenue.

Comment: Re:Only option for big tvs (Score 1) 370

by Somebody Is Using My (#49028701) Attached to: Samsung Smart TVs Injected Ads Into Streamed Video

Unfortunately above a certain screen size it's basically impossible to get a non-"smart" TV..... Personally all I want is a huge screen with excellent picture and sound features and lots of input ports. Basically just a big monitor. Good luck getting that in 60+ inch screen size though...

Couldn't you just not connect to the Internet? Sure you wouldn't get the "smart" aspects of your smartTV, but you have indicated you are not interested in those features anyway.

Or are these new TVs completely useless without an internet connection?

Somewhat interested in the answer as I too am eventually considering a new, larger TV.

Comment: Re:Hard To Imagine... (Score 2) 191

by Somebody Is Using My (#49019013) Attached to: Microsoft Trademarks "Windows 365"

Well if Windows becomes a rental system, then wouldn't that spell the immediate removal of the MS tax, and that the base OS can't essentially be pirated any longer? Meaning All hardware companies can freely put any OS or none on there without fear of reproach?

I don't think it would.

Instead of getting Windows for "free" from the OEMs, they will give you "one year for free". The OEMs will still have to pay Microsoft but - as ever - the OEMs will get a discounted rate for that "free year". I'm sure it will also work in a manner similar to the way it is arranged now: the more Windows PCs you sell, the steeper the discount. This will continue to discourage OEMs from pushing Linux because doing so might potentially increase the cost of production of the Windows machines.

If anything, this change might /increase/ the likelihood of OEMS installing Windows, if Win365 is significantly cheaper than the non-subscription version. If it only costs the OEM $25 to use Windows365, they will be able undercut their competitors who use Windows10.

Comment: Re:Bad comparaison (Score 1) 135

by Somebody Is Using My (#48927437) Attached to: The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

Regardless of whether the "App-economy" alone is larger than the "Movie-economy", I think this is indicative of how strong and important the "software-economy" is in comparison to the MPAA-dominated industries. But it makes you wonder why - given the strength of the former - why are software publishers and hardware manufacturers still allowing the MPAA to dominate them with demands for ever-stronger DRM? My optical drive shouldn't have firmware made to obey the regional-restrictions of the movie industry, and my video-hardware shouldn't have to downgrade the signal if all the attached hardware hasn't been blessed by the MPAA. TFA is proof that the software industry can well survive without kowtowing to Hollywood's demands; I'm not sure the movie industry, on the other hand, would do so well if Microsoft or Apple told them to ditch the DRM requirements or take a hike.

Of course, the big difference is that all the major Hollywood players have united their voice under one banner (the MPAA) while the software industry remains fragmented. This gives the former an appearance of strength that the software industry doesn't - and may not even be aware they - have.

Comment: Hidden Implications (Score 1) 139

by Somebody Is Using My (#48886335) Attached to: Scientists Slow the Speed of Light

I don't think you are seeing the hidden implications of this report.

They are tracking individual photons, implying they know the location of those particles.

But at the same time, they are also keeping tabs on the SPEED of those photons at the same time.

Now the Uncertainty Principle argues against that ever happening, except that's what the researchers* claim. Obviously these guys have invented the Heisenberg Compensator which - as we all know - is a key component to Star Trek teleportation devices. It's just a matter of time now until we will be able to teleport to Alpha Centauri.

* well, that's what the summary of a science news article claims, anyway. I'm so sure it is 100% accurate I didn't even bother to RTFA.

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