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Comment: Re:What were they thinking? (Score 5, Insightful) 177 177

There's good reason to be skeptical of rules. Too often, rules are not honest. The usual tactic is to not give any explanation. When that won't fly, safety is the #1 excuse for a rule. But so often, it turns out that someone profits from a rule, and that is the real reason for it. Even when there are genuine safety concerns, there is often also a profit motive. That seems highly likely with this particular Disney rule. Why couldn't people use electronic devices or carry nail clippers on planes? Why did so many cities try red light cameras? Why can't people bring their own food and drink to the movie theaters? Why can't we play movies on our computers' DVD drives?

Yeah. Don't blindly trust The Rules.

Comment: Re:not interested...unless. (Score 1, Insightful) 280 280

To say nothing of all the other crap they do, MS is still pushing DRM. Windows 10 is no change of direction on that point. If they want my business, they must rip out all the DRM. No more activation keys like they started in Windows 95, no more phoning home like they started in XP, and definitely no more policing of 3rd party media like they tried in Vista. No more Windows Genuine Advantage, OOXML and J++ and ActiveX and other deliberate attempts to sabotage standards, and file format and other lock ins. No more legal debacles like the stunt they tried with SCO.

Let MS admit they were wrong to go along with the sophistry of Big Media concerning piracy, and start behaving like a tech leader again. They tell Big Media how to handle tech, not the other way around. What a weak move that was, following those greedy fools of Big Media, and showing the tech savvy that they don't deserve any respect, don't have any sense of technology, which is supposed to be their core competence. RMS criticizes Torvalds for being just an engineer. That goes double for MS, in their efforts to be just an engineering company and agreeing to implement DRM. But they went further than that, really seemed to believe they could make DRM work for themselves, and when they at last got into politics, pushed for stronger intellectual property laws, not better ones. They're not even a decent engineering shop, they're little more than an abusive monopolist desperately clinging to a broken business model.

Comment: Re:The mafia state (Score 1) 219 219

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson

We would like to be perfectly safe, and not have to worry about being murdered for exposing corruption. But that ideal may be impossible. Instead, there will always be a need for patriots willing to risk everything. Oppressors must be constantly reminded that threats, even of death, cannot silence everyone. Journalists have to be willing to risk torture and death.

This particular oppressor and his lackeys were real stupid and cruel, to resort to such a spectacularly and gruesomely barbaric method of silencing a critic. Did they think the extremity of their punishment would cow everyone? Instead, it went viral and backfired on them big time. Or perhaps they were the kind of sick souls who wanted to see someone suffer horribly, who enjoy torture, and used this as an excuse. I hope they spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Comment: aside from the HD, the same (Score 1) 558 558

AMD Phenom II X4 945, 8G RAM, Radeon HD 5450, with HP branding. It's a Pavilion Elite HPE 210F if I recall correctly. It's about 6 years old now. Only thing I have replaced is the hard drive, twice. Original drive was a WD Caviar Green, and it failed in just 9 months. Next hard drive was a WD Caviar Black, and it failed in 4 years. I've had enough of WD, and the current drive is a Toshiba. There's some funny BIOS problem connected with the hard drives. Occasionally, the computer fails to detect any drives at all and waits on "press F10 to enter setup". More often it detects the drive but fails to boot, and Linux will drop me to an initramfs prompt. Most of the time, it boots as it should. Maybe this intermittent BIOS problem could have led to the early demise of my hard drives?

Anyway, yeah, I see no need for more power. I've become more interested in the other direction, very low power computers. I don't think I want to downgrade all the way to a Raspberry PI, but laptops are a pretty good balance. Have had good luck with a Giada i53, a mini desktop based on a laptop platform. Takes 30W max, and that only when running a game that requires intense 3D accelerated graphics, which its Intel HD Graphics 4000 is actually able to handle, does a little better than the Radeon HD 5450. When just editing text, it takes only 10W. Maybe I'll go for the Giada i57b, or maybe not. Main problem with these Giadas is that they are basically laptops without screens, keyboards, or mice, at higher prices than actual laptops that do have all that.

Comment: Re:Hey! I still *run* a P4 3.8GHz (Score 1) 77 77

Pshaw, I still have a 350MHz Pentium II desktop, and a 133 MHz Pentium MMX (Oooo!) laptop with the maximum 96M RAM it can have. Okay, I don't run them as my main boxes, but I do still use them occasionally. The laptop needs 30 seconds to bring up Firefox 3.5, Stellarium is unusably slow, taking 5 minutes to come up. You might think a 133 MHz processor should be able to do better than that, but actually MHz is much less important than capabilities and, at that level, RAM. Below 256M, every megabyte counts. For instance, the Pentium II has a Riva TNT, the very oldest Nvidia graphics card that the Nouveau driver supports, and it smokes a 1GHz Pentium III with Intel integrated graphics (845G if I remember right).

Wait... I still have a working Apple ][+ and Commodore 64 in the closet! At least, they worked the last time I booted them up. Which might have been a decade ago?

Comment: Re:And the Firefox bloat continues to swell (Score 1) 91 91

Trimming the code bloat was one of the major reasons to fork Mozilla into Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox, Thunderbird, and Seamonkey back in the day. They decided a browser should not also be an email client, HTML editor, news client, and IRC chat client. Seamonkey kept all that butwas rebranded as an "Internet suite".

Comment: failure on the social level (Score 1) 116 116

Forbidding portable media didn't work well in the days of the floppy disk, and doesn't work now. Much better to talk to people, make sure no one has a justifiable grievance against an immediate supervisor. If someone sees something to blow a whistle about, give them a way to do so that isn't so damaging and doesn't have a bunch of organization men conflating treason to the nation with refusal to look the other way when they lie and cheat. We should be grateful to whistleblowers, not treat them with suspicion.

The first line of defense is not to make enemies in the first place. That goes for other nations as well as insiders.

Comment: Re:rack, not dryer (Score 1) 557 557

Humidity is a problem, but it still worked in New York City.. There are old pictures of full clothes lines between high rise tenements there. Those lines were also useful for transporting small goods, such as a cup of sugar for the neighbor, or food for the infirm to save themselves a lot of stair climbing.

Comment: Re:Yes, but because (Score 1) 189 189

I don't think it's wrong to implement copyright. It does have a purpose: to enable artists to be properly compensated for their work

I appreciate what you're saying, but on this point I disagree. Yes, I think artists deserve compensation. But I think artists can be properly compensated through crowdfunding, patronage, and advertising, and that therefore copyright is unnecessary. On balance, I believe copyright does more harm than good, and therefore should be abolished. I realize it always hurts to lose something, particularly a means of income. It's partly a psychological problem. People cling to what they have and know, and resist loss. Some cling so hard they go into denial and insist they still have it when it has been lost for years.

Having said that, a form of copyright could still be viable. Piracy cannot be stopped. But what may still be possible is charging for performances to the public. Many restaurants do that when they play music for their customers. Such public activities are not invisible by their nature, so it is possible to track and regulate it. However, I would like to see this called something other than copyright. And I'm not convinced it's a good idea.

Crowdfunding is still in its infancy. It needs a lot of work, and I think the sooner we get busy on it, the better for everyone. I especially would rather not rely on private corporations to provide the forums and facilities for crowdfunding. But it's workable so long as there is competition. I hear that Kickstarter keeps a whopping 30% of the funds? Wouldn't 5% be more fair? And maybe they would lower their take if they had more competition. If ever any one corporation gets close to monopoly power in such a vital market, the government should step in, and if they don't because the regulators have been captured, the people must step up and demand action.

Comment: rack, not dryer (Score 1) 557 557

Why even have a powered dryer? Just amazes me how people are really sold on the things. Uses a lot of energy to speed up clothes drying, as if those who can afford a dryer can't afford enough clothes to give the wash time to dry on a rack. It's less wear and tear on clothes to hang them to dry, rather than tumble them some more. Now, some people complain that the clothes aren't all nice and soft and fluffy when dried that way. The powered dryer alone can't get the clothes soft either, have to use fabric softener. A lot of those fabric softener sheets use dangerous chemicals, such as phthalates. And there are fabric softeners that are meant to be added to the washer rather than the dryer.

I'd like to see a closet especially made for hanging wet clothes up to dry as well as clothes storage. I thought perhaps this closet could run the length of the house so that the ends could be opened to the outdoors to create a breezeway. Use screens of course, to keep bugs out. Put it on one side of the house, the side next to all the bedrooms. It would be a labor saver too. Instead of moving clothes from washing machine to dryer and then to storage, this system would have the user moving clothes just once, from washer to storage. Could put the laundry room at one end of the closet, or right in the middle. Since the closet is on an exterior wall, could make the entire outside wall open to outdoor air, for faster drying.

Comment: Re:Seriously Nice Desktop UI (Score 1) 155 155

That's great. A stable, intuitive, responsive desktop is sorely needed. Linux desktop environments lack polish. Always missing features, configuration settings are confusing, and the file manager is too easy to crash. Why for instance is it such a pain to set colors in LXDE? Themes are icons and colors together, makes it difficult to have one without the other. In Openbox, I don't want the scroll wheel to flip between desktops, or "shade" and "unshade" windows if on the titlebar, and that's the first thing I turn off in that environment. Have to find and edit a text file to do that too. Too many times I'm scrolling a window and the mouse wanders off the page, and then suddenly I'm spinning through desktops or shading several open windows the next time I scroll.

As to responsiveness, where's Wayland?

Comment: Re:Yes, but because (Score 4, Insightful) 189 189

It's fine that you realize that copying is inevitable and unstoppable, but you are still talking as if copying is immoral. It is copyright that is immoral. Copying is a natural right, and the way that the universe works. A radio broadcast or a concert or even just singing in the shower creates countless echoes of information. A shining light on a painting or written page bounces photons into the eyes of anyone looking that direction. Copyright is an entirely artificial restriction on these wholly natural processes. And for what purpose? To encourage the creation of more art. That is hardly the only way to encourage artistic endeavor. As to complaints that artists will starve without copyright, no, they won't. To support art, there is patronage, crowdfunding, performance, and endorsements, to name several other ways.

For copyright to really work, we are supposed to ignore all these echoes. See the movie at the theater, then buy it on DVD (or pirate it of course) if you want to see it again and your memory of it isn't satisfactory. The day may come when we all have inexpensive devices that augment our memory, allowing us to perfectly recall anything we see or hear and copy any of that we wish to another person or data repository, and then what of copyright? Copying has become so much easier to do over the past 40 years that copyright is already absurd now. With technology like that, copyright will be ridiculously archaic and worse than useless, it will be a major hindrance to the ability of its followers, if any, to function in society. For now, copyright blocks and slows the coming of the digital public library, a huge, huge improvement over the traditional library full of bound papers. The private bookstore is dying, and good riddance. Accepting copyright is like accepting a proposition that we should all use only one arm until the holders of the rights to use our other arms grant us permission, and each time we want to use our other arm, we have to ask for said permission and pay a fee. The industry has done an effective job of pushing the propaganda that copying is stealing, and hurts artists and is therefore unfair and immoral. They've confused the public with the seductive simplification that property is property and there is no difference between the physical and the intellectual variety. It's a simple, easy way to view the matter, but it is wrong, and the secret is out now. More and more people are seeing through their propaganda, ironically helped by the industry's clumsy, extreme, and harsh enforcement tactics that earned them the moniker "MAFIAA". For yet more reason why the industry is parasitic, a broad and extensive propaganda campaign, plus a terror campaign to scare the people who weren't fooled or who don't care, is just the sort of thing one could expect from parasites.

It's not just the future in which copyright doesn't work. It never has worked well, ever. Civilization would not have advanced to where it is today had ancient civilizations been able to lock down all information. No matter how much an ancient civilization wished to keep a new battle tactic or weapon secret, once used, their enemies would see it, and the survivors would not find it hard to understand and duplicate, or perhaps counter, or even improve.

Comment: Re:To those who never could run any business ... (Score 2) 422 422

No sir, I did not ridicule anyone. I pointed out that the parent seemed to put business people in a class apart and above, deserving of extra help and protections to compensate them for the risks they take and the work they do.

To say such a thing in our current climate is turning a blind eye to recent history. Who got bailed out in 2008? Not the homeowners. Who was so arrogant they said they didn't need policing? Wall Street. At the same time, who is denying there is a Climate Change problem and constantly accusing scientists of needing more policing? Big Oil for one. Businesses already get a lot of help. There is a problem with big businesses obtaining unfair advantage over small businesses. But I have not heard any complaining about that. Perhaps Big Media isn't reporting that, just like they don't report all kinds of other things. But it could also be that businesses close ranks and lobby as one on many issues, particularly when it comes to beating down pay and shrinking the middle class. If anything, we engage in too much corporate welfare. We have a lot of corruption, nepotism, greed, and crony capitalism. The Great Recession exposed only some of it.

Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 1, Troll) 422 422

So? You think running a successful business takes some kind of extra special skill set? Higher levels of skill, talent, and perseverance than earning a PhD, and/or making a discovery, advancing science? More than it take to create and play a hit song or write a best selling book? But it seems more and more that the most important things successful businesspeople have are connections, and the skills and willingness to finesse the legal system to bribe the powerful and cheat the most vulnerable.

Lots of things are tough. Doing the right thing is one of the them.

Comment: Re:Exodus (Score 1) 692 692

we would need to double the number of suitable planets every 50 years with the current rate. I don't see that as viable.

It isn't viable. The amount of space anyone can reach even at light speed grows by a polynomial amount, n^3. Population can grow at exponential rates (c^n for c>1). Exponential growth always passes up polynomial growth. Unless we discover some kind of travel that allows us to reach exponentially growing amounts of space or larger, something like instant teleportation via hyperspace, or a method of acceleration that can double an object's speed indefinitely and is not limited by light speed, we will always be constrained. Growth has always been limited by this fundamental fact. Life on Earth has had to make adaptations, "voluntarily" limit growth through a variety of strategies, as the alternative is mass starvation when resources are exhausted, which can be very destructive. I think life's strategies for detecting and responding to lack of further room and resources are not well appreciated, and so we've had Malthusian fearmongering. The Mote in God's Eye is an excellent example of that.

Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.

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