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Comment: Slashdot will hate me for saying this. (Score 2, Interesting) 202

The world is much more terrifying than you realize. The men and women at NSA, CIA, and DOD are protecting you against monsters. You sleep at night, content and happy, because good people are protecting you. This isn't a fascist plot - I've stood literally a meter a way from a man who would have no compunction murdering your entire family. And we actually did shoot him. This is life, this is the world. And please don't delude yourselves.

You Americans - you sit in safety without understanding what's happening around you. The world is full of horror, and there are people who are trying to protect you, and they do care about the Constitution. The darkness is around you, and you're oblivious to it. This is history. You have no fucking idea what the world is actually like. This is not a game. So please try to understand what the NSA is doing for you.

Comment: Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by bstarrfield (#45760783) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Working With Others, As a Schizophrenic Developer?

Dang, forgot to add something. As a more senior manager who has hired folks with various mental maladies, I can state unequivocally that the ADA provides far less protection than you'd first assume. Try very hard not to make your illness a discussion matter when you're in the hiring process, at least not until an offer is present. Companies will look for any reason not to higher someone, and unfortunately the stigma of mental illness can make the hiring process difficult.

Mental Health issues are just - unfair. It's ridiculous, it's unjust, it's reality that people with mental illness are often treated like crap. I wish I could change that, and when I hire folks I try to look past those issues. if someone is recovering from cancer, they're a hero. Someone with mental illness does not get that benefit. You must be smart, so try to play the game as it's presented to you, and understand that people are trying to improve the situation.

Final thing - some firms will be much more understanding of mental illness issues than others. Stay way from anything related to defense, national security, and finance. Look to firms like Apple, Redhat, and other companies that will value you as an individual, not just a cog in a vast machine.

Comment: Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by bstarrfield (#45760729) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Working With Others, As a Schizophrenic Developer?

First, I really understand what you're saying. This is a tough situation, but I'm certain you can make it through.

You're being really wise not to isolate yourself. Spending time with people will make a very substantial difference in both how you feel and your general recovery. Isolation, even with caring family will hurt you. Please keep on trying to interact with people.

In terms of mental health... what you're describing sounds more like bipolar and less like schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can be medicated, if you're serious about it, carefully monitored, and have a good support system. Bipolar is a bit rougher, and you'll have to recognize what's happening to you yourself, and with the help of family and friends. Be very careful when you're manic - I know it can feel awesome, but the code you produce can be pretty damn awful. Depressed code is less of an issue as you'll likely not write that much.

You'll find that folks in CS tend to be very understanding of mental health issues. Very, very understanding. We're in an industry filled with intelligent and generally caring people, and you'll find support. Just be honest with your colleagues about how you're doing, and most importantly, make sure your first priority is taking care of yourself.

Comment: They're taking it at the exchange rate. (Score 2) 65

by bstarrfield (#45755911) Attached to: Belgian Telecom Becomes First To Accept Bitcoin

I.E. They're accepting BitCoins as a commodity, not a currency via real time exchange rate, and I wonder who pays the transaction costs for the currency exchange.

BitCoin's wild fluctuations - a result of little to no liquidity, and half of all BitCoins in circulation being owned by less than a 1,000 people - make it impractical or downright foolish to post fixed prices.

Comment: Nokia's getting what it deserved. (Score 4, Insightful) 226

by bstarrfield (#45657001) Attached to: Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

You want cheap labor?

You want little environmental regulation?

You want to hide from taxes in your home country?

Then build in the developing world. But don't cry when the developing world's lack of rules and regulations bite you in the ass with sudden "fees", "taxes", and other sundry costs. You chose to leave your home country to enhance shareholder profits. Surprise, the rest of the world doesn't have to operate according to your shareholder's profit motive.

Comment: This is irrelevant. The are no Bitcoin patents. (Score 1) 292

by bstarrfield (#45656691) Attached to: JPMorgan Files Patent Application On 'Bitcoin Killer'

There are no BitCoin patents. BitCoin's authors have explicitly chosen to be anonymous. Satoshi isn't going to come out of hiding to claim a patent, and no one else would have the standing to do so.

You want to hide in the shadows (perhaps for good reasons, perhaps for bad), then accept that you're in the shadows and you cannot protect some of your legal rights. Suppose someone did want to patent BitCoin's modus operandi - slightly modified of course - what could Nakamoto do? He (she, they) could get the patent, but then would be called in front of governments across the globe. BitCoin would then cease to be the mysterious, mighty crypto currency and would become just another payment system with a few really cool embellishments.

Of course, I've always had the nagging suspicion that BitCoin's authors recognized that this would be a brilliant pyramid scheme. They had access to mining far earlier than most anyone else, so the "effort" in their mining work was much easier, requiring less costly capital investments. They're now able to take advantage of the BitCoin hype and cash out with tremendous benefits. Tremendous benefits that would be taxed if their home government knew who they were. Don't expect a BitCoin patent anytime soon.

Comment: Then I went to office and redefined productivity.. (Score 1) 293

by bstarrfield (#45544479) Attached to: Microsoft May Finally Put Windows RT Out To Pasture

Julie Larson-Green enhanced productivity? Through the bloody, accursed, and pretty much universally despised Ribbon. Yes, she certainly defined productivity. Millions of office workers totally lost with one of the most convoluted UIs imagined. We're supposed to consider her opinion sacrosanct?

Comment: And the torment of her family and loved ones? (Score 5, Insightful) 289

by bstarrfield (#44312713) Attached to: Gore Site Operator Arrested For Posting Video of Murder

There are some things simply beyond the pale in any decent society. Entertaining people through showing a grisly, cruel murder can do nothing but harm the family, friends, and love ones of the victim. It has absolutely no political, educational, moral effect, nor any deterrent to any crime. It has no value whatsoever to shock and delight those deranged enough to view a heinous act.

The Framers had clear reasons for promoting freedom of speech, primarily to serve the political health of the nation by fostering free debate. And yes, they came from a society that still had public executions, some of which were (in England at least) just as brutal as this crime as more. But they did not create freedom of speech to promote sheer depravity. Laws exist in the context of their society, even what we consider natural law, and there are some things that a society has every damn right to ban - child pornography, and yes, showing a murder for fun.

What must be going through the minds of this poor woman's parents? Is that pain worth a shock to an increasingly cynical population? This was beyond the pale, and does corrupt public morals by desensitizing people to murder. The owner of the site deserves these charges.

Comment: Let's continue the lack of dignity for IT (Score 5, Insightful) 260

by bstarrfield (#43654217) Attached to: Are Contests the Best Way To Find Programmers?

Programmers and related IT folk are the absolute bottom of the corporate barrel - below custodians, below security guards, below the cafeteria staff. Only programmers / analysts / sysadmins / etc. are expected to take 6 month "contract-to-hire" positions. Only IT professionals can work in a job hierarchy with very few, if any, opportunities to advance to senior management. Mainly only IT professionals are told to take salary cuts, work extra hours, and train their successors due to outsourcing.

And now you want a contest to decide who to hire? Do accountants, operations staff, finance staff, and marketing have contests to see who will be hired? Even in sales you're hired for a position - you need to meet your quota, but there's none of this patently demeaning treatment of IT professionals as mere expendable cogs in the machine.

So what if you win the contest? Are you expected to perform at that amped up level every day of your work career? Are you supposed to quit when some new young buck / buckette does better in the contest next year? Is your education, prior experience, ability to work with others totally irrelevant? And damnit, do you have any sense of dignity in your job?

I've worked in IT for 15 years. During that time I've seen friends from undergraduate days and graduate school days move steadily up the ladder while nearly every person I've worked with in programming are stuck in the same ruck - everyone's a "Senior Engineer" or "Architect." And now we can look forward to job duels? Coding against each other endlessly in a competition to stay gainfully employed.

Don't accept this garbage. Being a productive employee is far more than just the ability to spew some excellent code in a contest. We have to make our field a profession, not a joke.

Comment: You have no idea of the misery (Score 2) 402

by bstarrfield (#40220627) Attached to: The Link Between Genius and Insanity

Hello, Slashdot, I've posted for years. And being insane is more misery than you can know.

I clearly have to give credentials: Duke undergrad, evil Michigan MBA. And earning both of those degrees were hell. Not because of the work, but because I was hospitalized so many fucking times. I could - and can - do absolutely brilliant work, but having a clinically recognized illness screws things up.

In a very concrete sense, I don't perceive things as you do. I'm always lost in the details, lost in the shadows. Don't think I don't know that. I can't be in a normal classroom setting; I can't work in a normal job. I can't talk to you in a normal sense, you don't see what I see, and I can't see what you see.

I've been able to write very, very, serious papers with no problem, but I can't take a normal quiz. I don't know how to express this, but I actually know I'm insane. And before you scoff, suicide attempts should count. And to the posters above - I'm not doing anything for my pride, I'm not doing anything to make life easier on me. I've lost my family, I've lost my job, and I still dwell in the math of the economy. I can't escape, I cannot leave. But the math endures.

So before you become a righteous bastard, try to understand how much it hurts. I can't relate to you, except through writing on the Internet. I'm supposed to have an IQ over 160, but I cannot relate to anyone. You have no idea how that feels - the isolation, the isolation, the cold and constant fear. There's nothing I can do, as I an who I an. No sleep, no rest, no comfort. That's what insanity actually is. So you can make fun of me, but the pain is real.

Comment: The US should provide no protection (Score 4, Insightful) 332

by bstarrfield (#39926795) Attached to: Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat

None. The "Tech Love Boat" exists solely as a tax and immigration dodge, and its founders are proud of it. May real pirates raid this libertarian haven; may real storms smash its bow. Let me hazard a guess that they'll incorporate in Antigua, and pay no taxes, and that they'll import slave labor from India to work in the bowels of the ship.

Blueseed wants the benefits of proximity with Silicon Valley, and none of the costs. Why should we give a damn about them?

I'd also like to know who these "entrepreneurs" are. Let them live in their cabins and bar them from the shore. They don't want to pay for civilization, due to their brilliant and stunning gifts. They choose to leave civilization to live in their Brave New Race to the Bottom, _stay there_.

When a crime occurs on the "Love Boat", who will settle that crime? Blueseed? So they'll be a government, too. Hmm, maybe an invasion sounds good..

DRM

With Cinavia DRM, Is Blu-ray On a Path To Self-Destruction? 429

Posted by Soulskill
from the push-play-watch-film dept.
suraj.sun tips an article at AnandTech about a Blu-ray DRM scheme called Cinavia. The author makes the case that software like Cinavia is hastening the death of a Blu-ray industry already struggling to compete with online media streaming. Quoting: "In our opinion, it is the studios and the Blu-ray system manufacturers who have had the say in deciding upon the suitability of a particular DRM scheme. Consumers have had to put up with whatever has been thrust upon them. The rise in popularity of streaming services (such as Netflix and Vudu) which provide instant gratification should make the Blu-ray industry realize its follies. The only reason that streaming services haven't completely phased out Blu-rays is the fact that a majority of the consumers don't have a fast and reliable Internet connection. Once such connections become ubiquitous, most of the titles owned by consumers would probably end up being stored in the cloud. ... The addition of new licensing requirements such as Cinavia are preventing the natural downward price progression of Blu-ray related technology. Instead of spending time, money and effort on new DRM measures that get circumvented within a few days of release, the industry would do well to lower the launch price of Blu-rays. There is really no justification for the current media pricing."

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