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Comment Re:Better idea, not (Score 3, Insightful) 341

Legally-enforced prohibition never solved anything. Look what it has done for alcohol, narcotics, and traitors. They've been reduced, but haven't gone away. If you want to eliminate something then you need to destroy its habitat, and the natural habitat of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex predator is the unchecked flow of money that drives the current political process. As Scott alludes, Campaign Finance Reform ( is the single most important political issue in this country for any party, persuasion, or constituency. Our current system is built on the premise that money is equivalent to "speech", and that since speech cannot be restricted (1st Amendment), neither can financial support of campaigns. This is no more true than the idea that a corporation is a "person". Unlike money, speech is effective for its quality, not its quantity.


Bill Gates Remembers 1979 310

Hugh Pickens writes "Last week Gizmodo had a special celebration of 1979, the last year before a digital tsunami hit, that put Bill Gates in a nostalgic mood this week. Bill chimed in with his own memories of that seminal year when everything changed. 'In 1979, Microsoft had 13 employees, most of whom appear in that famous picture that provides indisputable proof that your average computer geek from the late 1970s was not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion,' wrote Gates. 'By the end of the year we'd doubled in size to 28 employees. Even though we were doing pretty well, I was still kind of terrified by the rapid pace of hiring and worried that the bottom could fall out at any time.' What made Gates feel a little more confident was that he began to sense that BASIC was on the verge of becoming the standard language for microcomputers. 'By the middle of 1979, BASIC was running on more than 200,000 Z-80 and 8080 machines and we were just releasing a new version for the 8086 16-bit microprocessor. As the numbers grew, we were starting to think beyond programming languages, too, and about the possibility of creating applications that would have real mass appeal to consumers.' Gates remembers that in 1979 there were only 100 different software products that had more than $100 M in annual sales and all of them were for mainframes. 'In April, the 8080 version of BASIC became the first software product built to run on microprocessors to win an ICP Million Dollar Award. Today, I would be surprised if the number of million-dollar applications isn't in the millions itself' writes Gates. 'More important, of course, is the fact that more than a billion people around the world use computers and digital technology as an integral part of their day-to-day lives. That's something that really started to take shape in 1979.'"

Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy Screenshot-sm 1376

An anonymous reader writes "Another European country clamps down on free speech. From the article: 'It does seem bizarre that, in 2009, a modern European nation would seek to shield religious belief from criticism — yet that is what is happening in Ireland right now. In repealing the 1961 Defamation Act, the Irish government sought to expunge the worst excesses of Ireland's draconian laws restricting free speech, but in the process it has ended up making offending religious belief a criminal offence. Aside from a 25,000 fine (reduced from the 100,000 originally sought by the government), the new Defamation Act gives the authorities the power to stage raids on publishers: the courts may now issue a warrant authorising the police to enter, using "reasonable force," premises where they have grounds for believing there are copies of "blasphemous statements."'"

Beware the Airport Wireless 120

schwit1 writes to tell us that a recent study by a Silicon Valley-based security company shows that black-hats have been ramping up their use of tempting free or unsecured wireless access points in high travel areas like airports and hotels. "According to their study, even the 'secure' networks weren't all too safe. Eighty percent of the private Wi-Fi networks at airports surveyed by Airtight were secured by the aging Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol, which was cracked back in 2001. Almost as many — 77 percent — of the networks they surveyed were actually private, peer-to-peer networks, meaning they weren't official hotspots. Instead, they were running off someone else's computer."

Comment Re:What about MySpace TOS? (Score 1) 339

By ["posting"] any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to a limited license to use, [...] and distribute such Content solely on and through the MySpace Services.

(above emphasis is mine) While the young lady retains her copyright to the content, it would seem that the newspaper may have violated MySpace's exclusive license to "use" that content. She might have a much more effective defense by siccing MySpace's layers on the paper than in attempting to defend her ownership rights to material she published.

The Courts

Tennesee Man Charged In "Virtual Pornography" Case 639

mcgrew writes "CNN reports that 'A Tennessee man is facing charges of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor for what authorities say are three pictures — none of them featuring an actual child's body. Instead, according to testimony presented at Michael Wayne Campbell's preliminary hearing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Wednesday, the photos feature the faces of three young girls placed on the nude bodies of adult females, CNN affiliate WDEF reported.'"

Comment Re:DRM (Score 1) 417

Now, if you do have problems with piracy, might I suggest this alternative: by the Blu-ray disc, thus paying the content creator for their work, and then download a pirated copy. At least then you can still avail yourself of the rights (such as format shifting) that they're trying to take away from you.

How about this: I make a payment directly to the artist via an open-standards-based micropayment system, and then is doesn't matter where I get the content from or in what format, but preferably in the highest fidelity version I choose to pay for (including as little as bandwidth-only) from from first-hand or authorized second-hand distributors. Now get out there and write it.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...