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Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 1) 67

by swb (#47514373) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

I own two Panasonic blu-ray players and they have all been terribly slow at everything, from loading discs to using the "smart" features like Amazon and Netflix. One of the Panasonics quite regularly requires me to cut the power to it and cold start it to either watch Internet content ("NO NETWORK") or to watch a movie (hang up with a "Loading.." graphic).

The Amazon interface on them also seems stuck in the stone age -- you can browse titles or search, but the 'modern' Amazon interface found in Sonys or the iOS apps isn't there so the Watch List isn't available.

HBO discs are the worst with these units due to their bloated menu/multimedia content. I just reflexively cold start my player before trying to watch an HBO disc.

Comment: Re:Breaking news (Score 1) 518

by swb (#47510349) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

"Ownership of the means of production" is just a high-falutin' Marxist way of saying property rights. If I'm some peasant in a feudal society, the "means of production" boils down to my hoe and the patch of dirt where I grow vegetables.

Property "rights" in feudal societies generally boils down me keeping what little I have mainly because its of so little value nobody has bothered expending any effort to take it from me, not because I manage to maintain physical possession of it. It stays in my possession not because of any rights I have, only because entropy has a tendency to keep objects at rest where they are.

The fact that my liege can take anything away from my anytime he wants to creates an uncertainty of possession and is a major disincentive to productivity -- why work beyond a subsistence level if you have no idea (or every idea) when it will be taken away from me.

Comment: I don't think Socialism is the controlling factor (Score 1) 518

...if it is, it's more a symptom than cause.
I believe it's societies in which the economically optimal behavior is cheating.

In Socialist East Germany as many have posted here anecdotally, the system was so broken that cheating - going outside the formal rules of the system - was the only way to get many basic and preferred needs met.

This is endemic to CORRUPT societies, not just socialist ones.

For cheating to be optimal, you have to have two elements:
- a system that gives people motivation to break the rules AND (importantly)
- an alternative - a black market, corrupt officials, etc - that is workable.

I'd argue that *any* overbureaucratic society will eventually reach this point.
Capitalism - insofar as it mitigates the issue - allows people to DIRECTLY follow their self-interest, without having to 'cheat' around the system.
I'd argue that the conflicted desire of the US populace for ever-greater safety-nets and protection by the government (and thus control) will likewise ever-more incentivize cheating in precisely the same way.

Comment: Re:Breaking news (Score 1) 518

by swb (#47506475) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Usually capitalism is associated with private property which implies property rights and rights implies some kind of constitutional government which implies government rule by consent of the governed which usually implies democracy.

I think most of this is academic theory because it fails to account for consumer market economies in places like China where there are no rights per se and property ownership seems to be at the whim of the government.

Comment: Re:This would actually be useful the other way aro (Score 1) 202

by Qzukk (#47501215) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

But just no, to the conversation mirror - most parents already don't keep their eyes on the road, we don't need to give them another excuse.

Ah, memories of my childhood. Things like my father flying down the freeway at 60 turning around in his seat and screaming "You look at me when I'm talking to you boy!" while everyone else screamed about oncoming traffic.

At the time I learned to drive, I considered my greatest achievement was being able to hold a conversation without looking at the person I'm speaking with.

Comment: Clever, but overly complex (Score 1) 51

by argStyopa (#47499511) Attached to: Researchers Create Origami Wheels That Can Change Size

First, the main factor in a wheel, above all, is durability. A wheel that fails cannot perform its basic function. I'm not convinced that this wheel structure - while certainly clever -

After all, couldn't you get the EXACT same effect with an even greater range of variation (as well as an inherently simpler, more fault-tolerant and easily repairable design, as well as a principle that scales up or down in sturdiness simply and intuitively?) from an umbrella mechanism?

Comment: Re:SCSI madness (Score 1) 181

by swb (#47499303) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

It was and it wasn't. One or two devices on a Mac SCSI bus was pretty PnP but beyond that, especially when adding non-disk devices like scanners, the Mac SCSI bus quickly could get into voodoo territory -- devices that disappeared from the chain, drives that wouldn't mount and general unreliability.

Usually over time you could get it stable, but that often meant "over time" -- re-ordering the chain physically, numerically and swapping expensive cables in and out to try to find a stable setup.

I often wonder if the 25 pin connector, which IIRC was non-standard, didn't contribute to the problem. SCSI seemed to work better on PCs which used the standard 50 pin connector.

Comment: Re:if you've voted R or D... (Score 1) 202

Nonsense. For example, if you voted for Ross Perot, you're directly responsible for the Republicans losing the White House.

That's silly - exit polls showed more Perot voters would have otherwise voted for Clinton than for Bush.

Either go back to your government as intended; that is to say, without political parties, or accept the fact that there are, in fact, political parties, and change your government setup to work with that.

That right there, though, is some good stuff.

Comment: Re:For those that don't know: (Score 2) 112

by bill_mcgonigle (#47495757) Attached to: Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN

ICANN always argued that regulation / enforcement / policing of the registrars was not their job in response to complaints about many registrar's activities

Even if the activities are illegal (statute or Common Law)? If not ICANN, than who else? This is one of the problems with giving ICANN a monopoly.

"60 day hold/no registrar transfer period" after you renew your domain or change the name of any of your WHOIS contacts

Is that not disclosed in their Terms of Service or is it more like, "big boobs on TV so I didn't bother to read the agreement"?

Not saying it's not scummy, but scummy and fraud are different. If it's not in their ToS but they do it anyway, it's probably illegal as unlawful holding of property (some courts in some jurisdictions have recognized domains as property). Regardless, experienced ski instructors usually advise you're gonna have a bad time if you register with GoDaddy.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]