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Comment: Re:Reality vs idealism (Score 3, Insightful) 290

by Agelmar (#42870459) Attached to: W3C Declares DRM In-Scope For HTML

The reality of DRM is that, absent having a TPM that enforces some sort of software integrity that reasonably ensures that the player is sending the video to a trusted display (TPM validating OS validating player software validating HDCP connection), you're going to be stuck with some security-by-obscurity closed source components, or "plugins". It's unfortunate but I can't honestly see a way around that without much larger changes (like trusted computing, but in a slightly less evil implementation hopefully). The "better alternative" to native apps then becomes allowing DRM to be done in the browser in the least intrusive manner possible -- that is, use as much of the browser's code as possible and have the plugin footprint be as small as possible. Today Flash and Silverlight are used not just for DRM but for the entire player application, ideally the player application could be mostly in HTML and using the browser's stack as much as possible, calling out to the DRM module only for either decryption or saying "Please composite this decrypted stream into that div".

Comment: Reality vs idealism (Score 4, Interesting) 290

by Agelmar (#42870231) Attached to: W3C Declares DRM In-Scope For HTML

It's so tempting to just sit in the corner and say "DRM is evil, we don't want to taint the web with it" but unfortunately, as is often the case in the real world, we don't get to make decisions in isolation of their consequences. DRM on the web is already a reality, largely using Flash or Silverlight (see e.g. Hulu, Netflix). However, both of these platforms face problems -- Silverlight in particular seems to have a rather uncertain future, Flash availability on tablets and mobile in general is largely non-existant. The poster asks us to "please use other applications when necessary" - is this really a good answer? That is going to lead to even less interoperability, and I would argue it hurts the web at a time when it's already fighting a serious battle against native apps that generally offer developers better control (of UI, no random GC pauses, actual threading models, etc). It's easy to say "DRM will harm the web", it's a bit harder to foresee what the eventualities of telling people "please go away and use native apps" are.

I expect this is likely not going to be a popular response, but in short please realize that this is not as simple as saying "DRM is bad". Yes, DRM sucks but I'd argue that in the long run, having a hobbled web platform losing out to native apps (see e.g. iOS) is going to suck more.

Comment: Re:Get the CS degree (Score 1) 347

by Agelmar (#42861679) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Alternative To the Canonical Computer Science Degree?

I respectfully disagree. I think the career experiences you gain after university can take you in many different directions, and with CS especially you have options in many different fields (far more opportunity to move around from CS to something else than from Aero to CS). Straight out of college, the Aero or MechE degree isn't going to get you a job as a software engineer at Google or Facebook. It may get you a job "programming" somewhere obscure, but you're going to be hard pressed to find a top-tier employer hiring a software engineer these days with a person who is a recent graduate and who didn't do CS. (I also believe there's a difference between computer science, software engineering, and programming, but that's probably a long enough rant for a different post.) The computer scientist could easily get a job at Northrop or Boeing working on embedded control systems for aeronautical / space systems. If they build the systems that model these components and work closely enough in the field, perhaps that bleeds over into an actual aero design job, but to be frank I'd say the chance of that happening is about the same as someone with an aero or MechE background landing a job as a software engineer at a top-tier company. However, the CS person has a much wider swath of potential employers and industries than the Aero person.


South Park Creators Given Signed Photo of Saddam Hussein 1297

Posted by samzenpus
from the respect-my-authority dept.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park, were given a very special gift by US marines: a signed photo of Saddam Hussein. During his captivity, the marines forced Saddam to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as the boyfriend of Satan. Stone said, "We're very proud of our signed Saddam picture and what it means. It's one of our biggest highlights."

Warner Bros. Acquires The Pirate Bay 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-can't-beat-'em dept.
mlingojones writes "TorrentFreak breaks the news of The Pirate Bay's acquisition by Warner Bros: 'After years of hostility, lawsuits, police raids and heated invective between the two groups, the Pirate Bay has today announced they have settled their differences with US media conglomerate Warner Bros. The largest BitTorrent tracker has sold out to Hollywood and the two have agreed a deal.'"

If We Have Free Will, Then So Do Electrons 610

Posted by kdawson
from the hard-to-pin-down dept.
snahgle writes "Mathematicians John Conway (inventor of the Game of Life) and Simon Kochen of Princeton University have proven that if human experimenters demonstrate 'free will' in choosing what measurements to take on a particle, then the axioms of quantum mechanics require that the free will property be available to the particles measured, or to the universe as a whole. Conway is giving a series of lectures on the 'Free Will Theorem' and its ramifications over the next month at Princeton. A followup article strengthening the theory (PDF) was published last month in Notices of the AMS." Update: 03/19 14:20 GMT by KD : jamie points out that we discussed this theorem last year, before the paper had been published.

Battlestar Galactica Hosted At the UN 252

Posted by timothy
from the bizarro-world-doesn't-quite-begin dept.
TheDopp writes "The United Nations hosted the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica Tuesday evening in New York. Clips of the show were shown as discussion points during the event, touching on the morality of Suicide Bombers in war, Abortion and the use of torture on enemies of the state. At one point during the event an attendee mentions 'the "Old Man" launched into a passionate speech about casting off the idea of race as a cultural determinant, and said we were one race, the human race. His voice echoed throughout the chamber growing louder until — I kid you not — he was yelling, "So Say We All," and the crowd answered right back. Hell, even I yelled it, I was in the fraking United Nations with Adama, the gods themselves could not have stopped this moment.' The full video of the event is located on the UN website."

What Has Fox Got Against Its Own Sci-Fi Shows? 753

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-still-miss-you-firefly dept.
brumgrunt writes "Dollhouse. The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Fringe. Three science fiction shows that Fox commissioned, put on the air, and — in the case of at least one of them — has won rave reviews. But why does it seem that Fox is trying to kill some of its own shows with crazy scheduling decisions? How can Fringe survive after being pulled for two months, and what hope is there for Sarah Connor and Dollhouse on a Friday night?"

Cambridge, Mass. Moves To Nix Security Cameras 366

Posted by timothy
from the buncha-lefties dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Citing privacy concerns, the Cambridge, Mass. City Council has voted 9-0 to remove security cameras scattered throughout the city. 'Because of the slow erosion of our civil liberties since 9/11, it is important to raise questions regarding these cameras,' said Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge city councilor. Rather than citing privacy, WCBVTV is running the story under the headline 'City's Move To Nix Security Cams May Cost Thousands.'"
The Internet

Some Of Australia's Tubes Are About To Be Filtered 339

Posted by samzenpus
from the think-of-the-koala-children dept.
Slatterz writes "The first phase of Australia's controversial Internet filters were put in place today, with the Australian government announcing that six ISPs will take part in a six-week pilot. The plan reportedly includes a filter blocking a list of Government-blacklisted sites, and an optional adult content filter, and the government has said it hasn't ruled out the possibility of filtering BitTorrent traffic. The filters have been widely criticized by privacy groups and Internet users, and people have previously even taken to the streets to protest. While Christian groups support the plan, others say filters could slow down Internet speeds, that they don't work, and that the plan amounts to censorship of the Internet. At this stage the filters are only a pilot, and Australia's largest ISP, Telstra, is not taking part. But if the $125.8 million being spent by the Australian Government on cyber-safety is any indication, it's a sign of things to come."

Satellites Collide In Orbit 456

Posted by samzenpus
from the starpocalypse dept.
DrEnter writes "According to this story on Yahoo, two communications satellites collided in orbit, resulting in two large clouds of debris. The new threat from these debris clouds hasn't been fully determined yet. From the article, 'The collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 and believed to be nonfunctioning. Each satellite weighed well over 1,000 pounds.' This is the fifth spacecraft/satellite collision to occur in space, but the other four were all fairly minor by comparison."

New Success For Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm 81

Posted by timothy
from the less-impressive-than-vice-versa dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A number of amputees are now using a prosthetic arm that moves intuitively, when they think about moving their missing limb. Todd Kuiken and colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago surgically rearrange the nerves that normally connect to the lost limb and embed them in muscles in the chest. The muscles are then connected to sensors that translate muscle movements into movement in a robotic arm. The researchers first reported the technique in a single patient in 2007, and have now tested it in several more. The patients could all successfully move the arm in space, mimic hand motions, and pick up a variety of objects, including a water glass, a delicate cracker, and a checker rolling across a table. (Three patients are shown using the arm in the related video.) The findings are reported today in Journal of the American Medical Association."
The Courts

Texas Judge Orders Identification of Topix Trolls 344

Posted by timothy
from the who-the-hell-are-y'all? dept.
eldavojohn writes "Ars Technica has a story on a Texas judge who has ordered Topix.com to hand over the identifying details of 178 trolls that allegedly made 'perverted, sick, vile, inhumane accusations' about Mark & Rhonda Lesher. Mark Lesher was accused of sexually assaulting an unidentified former client (and subsequently found not guilty) which prompted the not so understanding discussions on Topix. Topix has until March 6 to give up the information. Let's hope the Leshers don't visit Slashdot!"

Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality 873

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wonder-what-the-payoff-was dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Register, Senator Diane Feinstein is attempting to put language into the stimulus bill that would kill net neutrality. The amendment that her provision was attached to was withdrawn, but lobbyists tell Public Knowledge that Feinstein hopes to put it back into the bill during the closed-door conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions." Bad Senator! No Cookie!

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.