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Comment: Re:So it has come to this (Score 5, Insightful) 531

by ajs (#44768963) Attached to: NRA Joins ACLU Lawsuit Against NSA

Are you asking for evidence of donation or of the ACLU doing far more good than the NRA? Both seem to be odd questions.

The NRA claims that protecting gun ownership protects civil rights by empowering the individual to defend themselves against the government (we'll ignore, for a moment that nothing could be further from the truth, and everyone in this nation, armed or not is a heartbeat away from a smart bomb at their breakfast table, or that you can be financially and socially ruined without ever having the opportunity to shoot back). Let's take the NRA's claim at face value and assume that they are 100% correct.

They still only defend the status quo. Having a gun doesn't undo the erosion of rights due to the corrosive influence of the re-election cycle in Washington. The ACLU seeks to actively move the line of civil rights back to where it started, and hopefully even a bit further through the courts and activism.

Now, the ACLU and the NRA happen to disagree over the interpretation of the 2nd amendment (FWIW, I think that was the stupidest call the ACLU ever made) but even when they disagree they're still nominally working toward the same goal (the ACLU isn't trying to prop up the gun industry, but I'm talking about implied goals, here), so it's pretty easy to judge which of them objectively makes the most progress...

Comment: Re:It's the same for Blizzard. (Score 1) 386

by ajs (#42735519) Attached to: Feedback On Simcity Gets User Banned From EA Forums

Steam might play in offline mode. More often than not this is not the case

I've never had a problem, but then I have been using Steam heavily only for the last few months.

What I can say is that Steam isn't DRM anymore. Yes, that's one function that they serve, but Google isn't search anymore either. Successful businesses build on what they start with and go far beyond it. Steam is doing just that (well, Valve).

Just being able to install games on every platform that they support, not just the one that I bought is a huge win, but add to that the universal access to saved games (in games that support it, of course) and the upcoming Linux-based console... they're no more a DRM company than any other gaming platform. They're a gaming service provider.

Comment: Re:Fond Memories (Score 4, Informative) 464

by ajs (#42262539) Attached to: Linux Nukes 386 Support

I never knew anyone who regularly made the distinction between "line printer" and "dot matrix printer" when talking about "line printer ASCII art". Sure, line printers were their own thing, but when used as an adjective, it was always synonymous with DMP. Now get off my lawn, or I'll rant about how ttys are actual teletype machines, and not just a damned serial port!

Comment: Suggested solution (Score 1) 314

by ajs (#38130200) Attached to: Copyright Isn't Working, Says EU Technology Chief Neelie Kroes

A long time ago, I proposed a solution, but no one listens to me. My take is that there are three problems: 1) copyright term is so long that the intended benefit to the commons is rendered moot 2) different types of work (such as software and books) and even different works within a single medium have radically different periods over which they reap the rewards for their creators 3) copyright holders aren't artists and artists are largely screwed over by the copyright holders.

Any plan that solves for those three problems will bring a world of benefit.

Comment: What you don't understand (Score 1) 250

by ajs (#38125326) Attached to: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google Chase 'Got Milk?' Patents

Most lay-people don't understand that the requirements for new patents have changed. It used to be that patents had to be innovative. Not so, any longer. They now need to abuse the patent system in innovative ways. Also, you are required to cite prior art in the form of a haiku, making citing specific patent numbers quite difficult.

Comment: Re:I wonder... (Score 1) 298

by ajs (#38070312) Attached to: Scientists Develop Super-Slippery Material

The marketing department needs to get on that. For right now, unstickyable object vs. sticks-to-anything tape just doesn't have the cachet that unmovable object vs. the unstoppable force does, but with the proper market penetration, we think we can capture a good chunk of mindshare within 8-10 years.

It's "slick vs. stick." It'll be what every kid wants for Christmas.

Comment: Re:Let this be a lesson (Score 1) 312

by ajs (#38050574) Attached to: Diaspora Co-founder Dies At 22

Mostly because it's being used in the same way as "think of the starving children in Africa". Of course there are people that are much, much worse off than us but if any comparison should always be towards the lowest possible bar then you'll lose every time. Particularly if you throw in history on how growing up today is much better than most children through history, probably including your own parents and grandparents. After all, most people - certainly kids and other young people you identify with - do have their health.

Also it's sometimes used as a poor man's equalizer, it doesn't matter that you're Steve Jobs you can still die a long drawn out death of cancer. In that yes your health is important and your health can't really be bought for money, but just because there's a variable you can't control doesn't mean poor and (good|bad) health beats rich and (good|bad) health. It's a just a way to mentally put a few people in the (rich, bad health) below you (poor, good health) in the feelgood hierarchy.

If this is intended to make you feel good about making poor choices, then carry on.

However, I'll tell you now that most people under 30 are typically living in a dream world. "Poor health" is a concept to most such "youngsters." When I was that age I'd been ill and I'd been injured, and I thought I understood. But, now, with the mild aches and pains of age creeping up on me slowly, I realize how big that gun is that I'm looking down the barrel of. Poor health isn't about being hit by a taxi-cab at 9 and getting my skull fractured. It's not about getting walking pneumonia at 19 and having to walk a mile to the hospital for treatment. It's about being in pain (or even just discomfort) and knowing that you're going to feel that way for a very, very long time, if not the rest of your life.

Not that I'm that bad off. I have a few minor aches and pains that are the sign that my body has stopped being forgiving about trivial injury. But it does put some things in perspective.

Comment: Re:T800 (Score 2) 70

by ajs (#37899420) Attached to: Boston Dynamics' PETMAN Humanoid On Video

Yeah, the "Respiration, sweating," etc. threw me off too. My guess, based on the rest of the article is that the requirement isn't that it sweat and breathe, but that it not produce more moisture or heat than a human under the same exertion. That would allow it to use equipment that was tested with humans such as weaponry, testing equipment for dangerous environments or bomb-defusing tools. For example, if it threw off lots of heat when walking, it might not be something you want to use for bomb disposal...

Comment: Re:Not this time: (Score 1) 261

by ajs (#37859240) Attached to: Hackers Briefly Controlled US Government Satellites

Sigh. I guess you've never been to Paris, huh? What is the name of that place, ahh yes, Place Charles de Gaulle, there's a big monument there. They call it the arch something. The arch of surrender I think. It symbolizes all the times the French have run away, and all the battles they have lost, around the entire globe, right? Why do they still speak French from the Caribbean, across Africa, to Indo-China, I wonder?

Still, it can't help that they're cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Get over it. It's a Simpsons reference. I promise not to jump all over you when you claim you can create a time machine by sticking a fork in a toaster.

Comment: Re:Smile! NO DUCK!!!!! (Score 1) 140

by ajs (#37722938) Attached to: Throwable 36-Camera Ball Takes Spherical Panoramas

You're missing the point. This was a tech demonstration, not an end-user finished product, you can see that in the end credits (VTFV replaces RTFA, I guess). Yes, the stitching is hackish, but that doesn't matter. The proof of concept is brilliant, and I could easily see this kind of thing taking off. Even without stitching, it gives you the ability to take pictures of the surrounding area from a reasonable height, anywhere. I could see this being really useful at concerts and events where you want a picture over the heads of the crowd. You could just stitch together the forward-facing three views to get a nice, standard-looking panorama without having to orient the device to "face" in that direction.

Comment: Re:Gee no bias here. (Score 1) 699

by ajs (#37332404) Attached to: TSA Groper Files Suit Against Blogger

"supposedly sullying the otherwise good name of a checkpoint smurf."".

Really? You read that far? I suspected bias when I read "TSA groper". :P

It's not something Slashdot invented. Google gives 2,450,000 hits on the terms "TSA smurf".

But let me say one thing that I'm sure some people will be unhappy with: bias doesn't matter in reporting.

I don't watch Fox News because their reporting sucks, not because they're biased. I don't watch most left-leaning shows for the same reason. Back in the day, before he decided that shock was better publicity than reporting, I watched Rush Limbaugh's TV show (yeah, I'm that old) because he occasionally did some excellent investigative journalism. It would have to be fact-checked, and you had to ignore the invective, but at its core were stories I wasn't seeing elsewhere, and which, on further investigation, proved to be valid and useful (sometimes leading me to conclusions that Rush would not have been pleased with).

So, bias doesn't matter. Is this story informative? Is it sensationalized beyond the point of having any value? Yes and close, but not quite is my take. The fact of the matter is that there's no evidence either way. The woman in question could have gone to an ER and requested a rape kit. There would be some evidence of the invasion. If she didn't, then she might well be lying, but that's not for us to decide. The important issue isn't the woman vs. the man, it's the fact that the TSA is in a position that elicits such concerns (and the rest is for a court to decide).

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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