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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 769

Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.

Maybe because I like my coffee extra strong, and my wife likes a more mild coffee experience.

My wife got me an espresso machine several years ago for Christmas. I loved it. I used to buy the whole beans and grind them myself, and make my own espresso, but it -WAS- messy and time consuming. She couldn't do the straight-up espresso, so I had to steam milk for her too. More mess to clean up, and it needs to be done right away. The Keurig allows both of us to have coffee made exactly the way we want it, with minimum mess, all for a decent price.

Comment Re:How will they deal with... (Score 1) 409

Does it have to be music I ripped from a CD in iTunes then? Why would iTunes care?

All I know is I can't join any songs I've downloaded from iTunes, which makes it really annoying when one song segues into another, especially intro or outro music. Few things more annoying than hearing a 30 or 45 second intro to a song, then having it abruptly cut to a song from a different band when you're expecting the song the intro is a part of.

Comment Re:People actually use RS for warez? (Score 1) 227

Explanation: it's because when you use P2P, there is a good 50% chance that you are tracked when you download a recent movie.
With Rapidshare/Megaupload, there is no such apparent tracking.

About uploading files, there are several multi-upload sites that allow to do that securely.

And, in my case, these hosting sites are much faster than BitTorrent, since I have a very slow connection.
Note also that there is a cool program to download queued files from most of the hosting sites, that bypasses the captchas and automatically downloads the files.

Comment Re:Can someone make sense of this story? (Score 2, Informative) 82

The pending patents are for hardware, not software. They cannot apply to a box of software people purchase.

Okay, everyone seems to be very ignorant here, and the article isn't explaining this, so I guess I have to give a damn history lesson:

The US government requires that you put notification of patent use on things you sell. (Either your own patent, or something you've licensed from someone else.)

That is fine for issued patents, but what about pending patents? Remember, you can use something for up to a year before filing a patent on it, and you do have some amount of protection when patents are pending.

Ergo, you should have to put pending patent notifications, so people can look those up, too, and not waste their time building something that's going to be in violation of a patent in two months.

Well, the problem then arose. You see, actual patents are easy to look up. Patent lawyers could have copies of the entire set, you could go to a law courthouse in state capital, etc.

Pending patents, OTOH, are real bitch to find. Only the patent office has those. So some enterprising people who couldn't, or didn't bother, to get patents, just went around putting 'patent pending' on everything, resulting in other people unable to figure out what, exactly, was patented. Or they could keep resubmitted a rejected patent, and it remain 'pending'.

Hence, at some point, falsely claiming to have patents pending, or actually having one pending, but unrelated to what you put it on, was made criminal and you can be fined for it.

Those laws don't really make any sense anymore, but are still there.

Comment WOW! (Score 2, Interesting) 77

TFA isn't particularly enlightning, but the news is indeed slashdot worthy but raises many questions.

While not currently aimed at solar panel technology

Why not?

their research has uncovered a way to turn optical radiation into electrical current that could lead to self-powering molecular circuits

Battery-free gizmos? It doesn't say, but it seems like the photons wouldn't have to be optical wavelengths. However, how much current does this tech produce? "we could conceivably manufacture a 1A, 1V sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long"

WOW, that's a lot of power from a tinty surface. 1 amp at one volt is one watt; a device using this tech the size of a phone battery could run an air conditioner if there were any way to keep the thing from melting.

At the end of TFA it links the study.

Comment Re:documenting H.264 on (Score 1) 260

Back then DMCA was not in existence and ATCA was something the RIAA and MPAA would dream about and forget the next morning. Once ACTA comes to life, They will find a way to kill VLC and anyone who dares to slowdown their cash flow.

The DMCA has nothing to do with patents. It's the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Furthermore, decoding H.264 has nothing to do with circumventing DRM, so the DMCA wouldn't apply anyway.

As for ACTA, well, because of the secret nature of the negotations we don't know what exactly will come of it, but from what we do know it doesn't seem to have much to do with patents either. For example, a lot of ACTA has to do with international cooperation on the prosecution of criminal intellectual property rights infringement. But patent infringement is not a crime anywhere in the world that I know of (certainly not the US or Europe).

The parts of the draft dealing with civil liability do not significantly alter the existing law of patents. Furthermore, comments on the leaked draft from Australia, Singapore, and Canada suggest that different areas of IP should be treated differently, with Singapore and Canada explicitly calling for limiting the scope of ACTA to copyrights and trademarks. And since most of the text explicitly refers to 'pirated or counterfeit' goods, it's unlikely that patents will be substantially affected by the final version of the treaty.

Comment Re:glad to see it (Score 1) 107

What the hell are you talking about? First of all, all currency is fake. Microsoft has never forced you to buy anything. If you don't want to waste money, don't buy DLC (or in most cases, games). Legal tender is the clause that makes says that any viable currency be accepted in payment of debt. In other words, if Microsoft deals in microsoft points, they cannot say that you can no longer use points so long as you have them already; ie, if Microsoft wanted to close down microsoft points, they would have to give you the opportunity to spend them first, or reimburse every microsoft points holder for the cash value of those points (as the points are a debt that Microsoft owes to the purchaser). None of this is fraudulent, all information regarding the point system is readily available whether or not you choose to purchase points. On the other hand, on the basis of invitation to bargain, no other store is required to accept Microsoft points as legal tender, as they have no debt for such.

Microsoft, believe it or not, has a fantastic business model. Of course, Microsoft does not depend on the profits of X-box DLC sales; rather it is a small part of a much larger business. You go ahead and keep not investing in Microsoft, I'll keep collecting dividend checks and watching the stock price hover around 30 for a while, at least until it goes higher. Microsoft is most certainly creating profit from value; the company invested in R&D (an immediate expense), came up with an innovative solution, and was able to capitalize the software side to the point that ROI is not quite high enough to claim that they are selling nothing for something.

While I already pointed this out, Microsoft cannot terminate the points program at any time.

Clearly you have no concept of intenational trade. DLC is DLC, but when you sell it to multiple countries that operate in multiple currencies, you have exchange rate risk that must be alleviated. Microsoft could do this by either installing phone home software to make sure that when you register your X-box in (cheapest selling currency country flavor of the day) and later claim you moved to (country who just became cheaper) right when you want to buy more content that you actually moved to (wherever); or they could create a functional currency such that prices could be adjusted for individual markets. It would be irresponsible for Microsoft to allow you to pay in the currency of your choice at any given time, because you could wait to buy DLC when your currency was cheaper, even though Microsoft would be holding all of the exchange rate risk. Instead, if you buy points today, they are just as good as the points you buy 5 years from now.

Microsoft does tie DLC to userIDs, and doesn't let user ID's be logged in from more than one location at a time or a certain total number of consoles. They handle it really well, they just don't do it for free. Get over it.

Comment Re:Your analogy fails (Score 1) 253

Having worked for a desktop/laptop repair contractor for Best Buy, I do not take even warranty service seriously (though I'm not bashing my former employer, we all were competent people who did the best we could even though people often had no resources or idea what was going on ;)

Go into a BB store and look at their "no lemons" policy. If a new item has to be returned four times you get credit or a new computer. An item should have to be returned no more than once!

...And you never know when a popular chip maker will ship a bad batch out the door leaving the computer vendor's Indian or Filipino tech support to lie about it and try to blame it on the customer (ahem, HP). Meanwhile, my ancient Dell Latitude D600 still chugs along nicely after all these years, even after having been dropped, left in direct sunlight, and splashed poolside. I haven't even had to blow air through it yet.

It's a sad state of consumer affairs when older electronics outlast newer ones.

2 pints = 1 Cavort