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Comment: X-Ray glasses (Score 2, Insightful) 257

by bit9 (#33416990) Attached to: Library of Congress Opens Records of Anti-Comic Book Shrink
The only juvenile delinquency that comic books ever made me want to delve into was with the X-Ray glasses they always advertised on the back page of the comics. For a little boy, I apparently had quite the dirty mind. The thought of being able to see through girls' clothes held more awe and wonder for me than any amazing stunt Superman or Batman could ever pull off.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 461

by bit9 (#33358792) Attached to: Windows 95 Turns 15

Did you ever use Windows 3.11?

Yes, and Windows 3.0 before that. And yes, when Windows 95 came out, I (eventually) upgraded. However, pre-emptive multitasking or not, Windows 95 hardly qualifies as an important computing milestone in my book. More to the point, even if it was an important milestone, it would still be, IMO, completely pointless and vapid to have a news story about it turning 15.

Comment: Who cares? (Score 0) 461

by bit9 (#33354510) Attached to: Windows 95 Turns 15

I'm really not trying to flame/troll/etc, but these "X turns N years old" stories are among the stupidest, most worthless non-story, non-news items ever posted on Slashdot.

I mean, really, WHO CARES??? No, seriously, I'm not just trolling. I really want to know, who among you actually thinks this story is newsworthy and/or prescient, and more importantly, why?

Comment: That's an ambitious goal. (Score 1) 346

by bit9 (#33091350) Attached to: How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming?

Most programmers (at least the ones I know, including myself) didn't start with such lofty goals. We also started very young - I started in middle school writing tiny little BASIC programs on a TRS-80. It took me several years, and lots of tiny, simple programs, before I even realized I had any sort of actual talent for it, much less the desire to do it for a living. Then I went to college and spent several more years learning programming at a purely academic level - again, lots of relatively small, simple programs that did not solve any difficult real-world problems.

Truth be told, it takes at least a year or two just to learn the fundamentals of computer science - which you should do, if you ever want to be any good at programming.

I'm not saying that it isn't worth your time to merely dabble in programming, and that you shouldn't do it unless you're willing to go at it hard core. What I am saying is that you should have realistic expectations, and lots of patience. Don't expect to pick up a copy of "Teach Yourself Web Programming in 7 Days" and expect to be cranking out professional looking (and more importantly, functioning) websites in a week or even a month or a year.

There is a lot of accumulated knowledge and hard experience that goes into being a successful professional programmer.

So my advice to you is to start with whatever kind of programming you have a real interest in. Be prepared to spend countless hours hacking away at your code before it even comes close to working the way you envisioned it. The more non-trivial the task, the more time you should expect to struggle with it. And remember that the learning process will be non-linear at first, because every answer will raise several more questions.

Most importantly, don't give up! Learning a difficult technical subject like programming involves lots of tears, sweat, and frustration. You will get to a point where it's 2:30AM and you've been staring at your code for hours trying to figure out why it's getting a "Segmentation Fault" or some such thing. In fact, there will be many such points. You just have to be willing to push beyond those barriers, and not give up. Of course, having a programmer friend that you can ask (hopefully someone with lots of patience) for help goes a long way.

My writing tends to be overly verbose and rambling, so let me just reiterate the main points:

  • Start with an area of programming you're truly interested in. Your interest in the topic will help you overcome all the many hurdles.
  • Be prepared to make agonizingly slow progress
  • Don't expect to be able to accomplish non-trivial tasks any time soon. Otherwise you'll just get frustrated and quit.
  • Be adventurous. Don't forget to try new things, and don't fall prey to the old saying "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Comment: Re:My first response as well (Score 1) 146

by bit9 (#33079202) Attached to: DMCA Exemptions Don't Matter

The entire point of your post was that the 1984 ruling represented a high point of sorts from which we have declined.

You're almost right, but not quite. If you re-read everything I've posted here, you will see that at no point did I claim 1984 was some sort of local maxima, only that we have declined significantly since then.

My point is that there has never been a high point in copyright law as far as citizens are concerned, only a long decline since the concept was first introduced.

I would mostly agree with that, but I do think there has probably been at least some degree of ebb and flow. Whether or not SCOTUS intended to score any points on behalf of consumers, their 1984 ruling did exactly that. Just because Sony happened to also benefit doesn't mean that it was bad for consumers. If anything, the decline you've mentioned has been in favor of content producers, and the 1984 decision was a definite blow to content producers - a group which Sony was not a member in 1984.

Comment: Re:My first response as well (Score 1) 146

by bit9 (#33071092) Attached to: DMCA Exemptions Don't Matter

My point isn't that the case wasn't that clear cut.

No, your point was this:

If you think a ruling in a case between two major multinational corporations in any way represented a high point in fair use doctrine, you'd want to start thinking again.

But this is something I already acknowledged by saying this:

Well, seemingly, anyway - I'm sure if I went back and looked closer, I would probably find that things weren't quite as clear cut in 1984 as it felt like they were.

by which I clearly meant that the balance of copyright law in 1984 was not tipped completely in favor of the consumer, but that it merely seems like it was compared to the fucked up situation we find ourselves in now.

If your point is just that copyright law is there to protect corporations and not consumers, you could have just said that instead of beating on a strawman about how 1984 was not a high point of copyright law.

Comment: Re:Tonight in COPS! (Score 1) 390

by bit9 (#33061290) Attached to: If You Don't Want Your Car Stolen, Make It Pink
Troll strategy #501:

Step 1. Find a comment modded "Funny".
Step 2. Find a reply that appears to be serious.
Step 3. ASSume this means that respondent did not get the joke. Doesn't matter how stinkingly obvious the joke was, as long as respondent can be interpreted as having not gotten the joke.
Step 4. Use the magic troll word: "Whoosh" (practically guaranteed to garner a mod point or two).
Step 5. ????
Step 6. Profit!

Comment: Re:My first response as well (Score 5, Interesting) 146

by bit9 (#33057294) Attached to: DMCA Exemptions Don't Matter
When I look at the current state of IP law, the one thing that always strikes me is how far we've fallen since the Sony vs. Universal case in 1984. That wasn't that long ago, and yet in that relatively short amount of time, IP law has done a complete 180-degree turn. Well, seemingly, anyway - I'm sure if I went back and looked closer, I would probably find that things weren't quite as clear cut in 1984 as it felt like they were. Nonetheless, to go from having SCOTUS declare that timeshifting == fair use to having a federal law that criminalizes fair use (which is essentially what DMCA does, since you have to circumvent CSS et all these days in order to exercise your fair use rights) in such a short time is something I find difficult to wrap my mind around.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_

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