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Comment Re:Non-removable apps (Score 3, Insightful) 151

If I pay for a phone, I *expect* to have the ability to remove any single program on it, and that is what crow was writing about. Phone manufacturers have choices, but it reeks of strong arming when wanting to include the largest Android app store results in a requirement that the manufacturer include a number of other apps *and* prohibits users from removing them. And yes, like it or not, while there are other choices, Android is in the same dominant position on the phone/tablet market as Windows is on the desktop market, and lack of access to Google Play is a deal breaker for many looking for a new phone.

Comment Re:OK, what's with this ridiculous meme? (Score 1) 146

Some 20-30 years back when wind turbines were being set up near the village where my father lives, the company approached the locals who were none too happy and suggested that a few percent of the proceeds from the wind turbines were given to the local community for local activities, e.g. playgrounds, community halls and so on. It silenced a lot of the dissent, and it is my impression that the villagers are very happy with the wind turbines.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 5, Insightful) 307

I see advertising as a campaign of propaganda directed against us, for most of us that campaign started before we were old enough to think.

I agree, and have felt the same for quite a while. It is also interesting to see the moralizing campaign against ad blockers: YOU are a thief for enjoying our content and taking the bread out of our mouths. The mass scale manipulation is viewed and accepted as the norm without question and new techniques for manipulation are being developed while advertising is filling almost every part of the public and private sphere (except, possibly, our dreams). Is ad blockers a first step in pushing back, or just a reaction to overtly intrusive and annoying advertising that is technically easy?

Comment Re:Worse yet... (Score 1) 275

However, interstellar travel is likely extremely expensive, time consuming (...)

For the crew of an hypothetical alien ship traveling close to the speed of light, the journey would not be time consuming at all [refer to Time Dilation]

I was thinking in terms of interstellar trade to generate revenue for the expense of interstellar flight. Even assuming that it would be possible to reach 100% of the speed of light (and that is in itself a huge if), goods from Proxima Centauri would be in transit for 4.2 years from the point of view of the producers and consumers. Assuming physical goods, a more reasonable estimate of 10% of the speed of light as the top speed would result in a 42 year journey. Extrapolating that to even more distant star systems, interstellar trade is on a timescale of centuries, way beyond human life expectancy. My point is that it is very unlikely that it will be profitable compared to local production, which removes an essential reason to explore the option in the first place. Science Fiction writers Ken MacLeod and Charles Stross have explored this issue, from different vantage points.

Comment Re:Worse yet... (Score 1) 275

I'm not saying that's the answer to the Fermi paradox but civilisations of any sort might simply have a far smaller footprint on a galactic level than anyone imagined, and while explorers could have passed by a hundred thousand years ago, five hundred thousand years ago or ten million years ago and found little of interest, there's no reason to believe they might stop by exactly right now and ask to be taken to our leader.

Well ... Earth has supported life for 3.6 billion years, and complex life for 600 million years. So, if ET have been investigating the solar system, they would have noticed life and could feasibly have left a probe behind, relaying information to where ever their local hub is. However, interstellar travel is likely extremely expensive, time consuming and yields little more than satisfaction of scientific curiosity, so it is unlikely that advanced ET civilizations would want to commit the expense. Even if we humans manage to avoid a catastrophic collapse of our civilizations over the next 1000 years, I doubt that we will even manage to build a self-sufficient colony outside of Earth.

Comment Re:Geeks aren't Profitable (Score 1) 167

The last 15 years of superhero comic book adaptions has proved otherwise. Back in the 90s and before most adaptions were somewhere between passable and excruciatingly bad, typically low budget. Now this staple of geek culture has become main stream and immensely popular, due to a number of very good movie adaptions.

Comment Re:Gaming movies suck. Get over it. (Score 1) 167

They don't have to suck. Dead Gentlemen Productions and Zombie Orpheus made the Gamers series where the tabletop RPG fused with the action in the game. Sure, they are cheap indie productions, poking good hearted fun at ourselves, and unlikely to become smash its, but ... they are quite a lot of fun. If you are into foreign movies, Astrópía is pretty good, and could, feasibly be interesting to a wider audience.

Comment Re:You can't (Score 1) 167

Depends on what you actually mean. If by making a D&D movie, you mean an interactive experience with friends, you are right. Movies are not interactive.

If you mean making a movie that captures how you and your friends act when playing, Zombie Orpheus and Dead Gentlemen Productions have made a number of awesome comedies in the Gamers series.

If you mean making a movie that features a party of adventurers having adventures ... there are a lot of those. Most Hollywood movies of that type follow the hero and his sidekicks (Lord of the Rings being one exception), but the indie scene is a lot more interesting. Some of them are actually okay. In the comedy arena, JourneyQuest is quite a lot of fun. Mythica is more serious, but definitely also worth watching.

Can Hollywood make a good D&D movie? Can TSR or Wizards of the Coast? Going by past experiences, the answer is no. On the other hand ... the new Captain America movies are quite good, whereas the old ones from the 80s were utter crap, so maybe?

Comment Re:I agree with Microsoft here. (Score 1) 195

No, but they *do* have the right to ask the Irish government to get an Irish company to hand over data on an Irish server. Depending on the validity of the US request, the Irish courts may or may not issue a court order for the data. There is no legal mess here. Just the US government trying to claim jurisdiction over a sovereign nation.

Comment Re:Please teach us how to protect ourselves (Score 2) 51

Can anyone here please share with us in what way we can protect ourselves from being infected with those malwares/ransomwares?

The summary notes that the criminals use a Flash exploit and target Internet Explorer. So, a good guess would be to uninstall Flash and stop using Internet Explorer. If that is too grand a step, you could go for a Flash block addon for your browser, so you get to choose if Flash is allowed to run.

Comment Re:Why not (Score 1) 112

How, realistically, are we going to stop them from spying?

That is a good question. I very much doubt that we can argue with them to get them to stop. The leadership of the spy organizations are both very certain that they are right, and it is to their personal advantage to continue down the current road. Political leaders tend to either agree, not care or be open for manipulation (with terrorism and pedos giving the spies leverage). Agreement comes from that insidious group of political leaders who want to control their own population. Technology can give some protection against spying, but the large governments have huge budgets, and can apply pressure to get back doors. The only alternative left (as I see it) is to create pressure on the political system from the outside, however, that requires getting a lot of people to care enough to get off their asses and demand change. Alas, it does not look like that is happening.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"