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Comment: Re:The word 'Geek' is gender neutral (Score 1) 296

by bob.appleyard (#28302891) Attached to: Linux To Be First OS To Support USB 3.0

Somewhere along the line, political correctness and feminism got mixed up and decided that the male term would henceforth be used for both. So instead of the awards 'Best Actor' and 'Best Actress' we have abominably bloated misuse of the language with 'Best Male Actor' and 'Best Female Actor'. If the sanitization of the language were truly to treat women equal with men there would be no need for positive discrimination in having a separate award for an actress - i.e. Women would compete with men for the same trophy.

Blowing hot and cold!

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 394

by bob.appleyard (#28021645) Attached to: Microsoft Patents the Crippling of Operating Systems

No codes in Doom, nor Quake as I recall. Quake 2 had something, I think, but that was for the whole game.

What Doom did have was an admonition to "freeloaders:"

If you haven't paid for DOOM, you are playing illegally. That means you owe us money. Of course, a guy like you probably owes a lot of people money--your friends, maybe even your parents. Stop being a freeloader and register DOOM.

Comment: Habeas, not Habeus (Score 1) 206

by bob.appleyard (#27918067) Attached to: The Electronic Police State
One minor complaint, it's habeas (a 2nd person verb, "you (shall) have"), not habeus (which could be a 2nd declension noun in the nominative, or a 4th declension in several cases). Habeas corpus (corpus is a 4th declension noun, here in the accusative) means "you have the body." It should be pretty clear what it's about in that case -- it was traditionally used when someone felt they were being falsely imprisoned.

Comment: Re:Fair beats Free (Score 1) 242

by bob.appleyard (#27917941) Attached to: The "Dangers" of Free

This is certainly an issue. The problem with newspapers is that it doesn't really matter what you or I think of the rights and wrongs, they're probably going the way of the Dodo. Newspapers have been stuttering for ages, but the WWW is really doing them in. Many of them are openly panicking, and publish fretful pieces regarding their downfall (some of which are wildly off-base, such as the attacks on Google News). The year-on-year profit declines of some of the biggest players are pretty frightening.

One can have an argument about what might replace them, but suffice to say that's all up in the air right now. Big changes are coming, but nobody knows what they might be exactly, because this WWW thing is all so new.

People on slashdot talk about 'free' as a new business model as though its just an evolution of normal technology. It is *not*.

It's impossible to deny the effects a technology has on society, though. A society with a printing press is a different kind of society from one without. A society with cars is a different kind of society from one without. A society with the Internet and the WWW is a different kind of society from one without.

One of the properties of the Internet as it exists now is that everyone pays for the infrastructure, not the actual transmission of data. This is an entirely different way of distributing information than one based on a printing press or broadcasting equipment, where most of the costs are on a central entity doing the distributing. It's not exactly free to communicate over the Internet, just as it's not exactly free to watch commercial television (less so, in fact). The costing just works out differently.

You do get freetards on Slashdot, and I agree that demanding people work without renumeration is not a reasonable proposition. However, the Internet does pose a question as to what will and will not make money with it. Many fashionable websites (naming no names) have yet to come up with a business model, let alone test it. Outside mail-order, tourism and some financial services, few proven moneymaking schemes exist, and the old stalwart "we'll pay with advertising" is looking ever less appetising as the years progress.

As your initial query posed: what about investigative journalism?

This is particularly vexing, as people really do need someone to dig into the issues and find answers, without having to take official sources at face value. There aren't enough journalists who are allowed to do this kind of thing as it is, and one of the more worrisome aspects of the decline of newspaper budgets is that this sort of journalism has been cut back in most organisations. The writers are often overworked and under-resourced, and commonly resort to official press releases, or the Internet, as sources of news and information. This can result in the unnerving experience of reading two different newspapers and many of the stories reading almost word-for-word, because they were both cribbed from the same press release.

I don't have any answers, I don't think anyone does. Blogs are certainly not it. Some of them are excellent in their own way, but none have the resources to really dig into a story beyond what's already been published, in the general case. I also doubt the inclination is there to change. The next few decades are going to be filled with doubts like these about a wide range of issues connected to the Internet.

Remember the good old days, when CPU was singular?

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