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Comment: Re:The day the music died (and was reborn?) (Score 1) 386

Marvin Gaye might disagree about what his kids deserve. It could even be that he left the works to his kids with the express instructions to do exactly this: Remember that the music industry has had a long history of ripping off black artists from Marvin Gaye's generation. There is definitely a lot of residual resentment.

And before you think this is a tragedy: The flip side of that is that the music industry might get more interested in supporting artists who actually are capable of creating original material. Given that it's easier to sell copies of something popular than something new, I won't be holding my breath for anything to change, but that is one possible outcome.

Comment: Re:It's all in the cow bell - only the beats are s (Score 1) 386

The news played a clip where they cross-faded between the two songs and I couldn't hear where the cross-fade happened. I also couldn't hear any difference at all between the two clips in that isolated context (which is all the matters for copyright infringement). One could certainly argue that the ability to edit songs with a computer makes it easier to demonstrate things like this. I've also heard this done where completely different songs are fit together in very clever ways (sorry, I don't remember where); so, part of this might be that the courts haven't caught up with computers.

But I think the over-riding issue here is that the admitted they copied from it, by calling what they did a tribute. Most of the time when someone does a tribute to another artists work, they cover the songs with different arrangements and pay royalties to the other artist. The "tribute" thing has happened before with ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker (La Grange vs Boogie Chillin', I think). It was much more overt in that case - I believe it never went to court. But that sets an industry precedent for using the term "tribute" in this manner as a face saving maneuver when somebody knows they got caught.

Comment: Re:Law of Small Numbers (Score 1) 163

by herbierobinson (#49245257) Attached to: On the Dangers and Potential Abuses of DNA Familial Searching

Right on. I have used the Ancestry Y chromosome database and had a hit where ALL the alleles matched. I emailed the guy and we can't figure out how were are related: It's definitely way more than the number of generations Ancestry suggested was likely. So if one allele doesn't match you could be talking a common ancestor many generations back. That's not exactly a close relative.

Ancestry's predictions for how close a match were not very accurate for the Y chromosome database. In fact, they aren't using the Y database any more. They are using something that uses data from all chromosomes and in every case where I could check it from the database, it has been accurate as to how far back the common ancestor was.

Comment: Why goto is sometimes OK (Score 1) 677

By and large goto is OK when used as an exit path from a nested context (as others here have shown in examples). Some languages provide explicit constructs for this (like variants or exit and continue that allow one to specify which nested context is being exited). C doesn't have these; so, one has to make do.

BTW, if you want to know what's bad about gotos, track down some Fortran programs that were written in the 60s and you will see where Dijkstra was coming from :-)

Comment: Nothing New (Score 1) 120

by herbierobinson (#48949359) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

I've had problems every time I upgrade my laptop with the WEP key stored in the key chain getting messed up somehow. Took a huge amount of poking around to figure out what was going on, because the error handling was atrocious (Unix programmers take note). It didn't report anywhere that it couldn't retrieve the WEP key, it just failed to make a connection with no clue as to why. Of course, because there was no problem indication from the software and no official information from Apple on the problem (probably because they had no clue along with everybody else), there were literally hundreds of incorrect theories out there on the Internet as to what might fix it. And, of course, these dominate the Google search making it take days to find somebody who actually know what they were talking about.

In this case, the fix is trivial: Delete the WEP key with the keychain tools and let it ask again.

Comment: Naively Rediculous (Score 1) 176

Depending on who you talk to, nuclear waste must be sequestered from 200,000 to more than a million years before it becomes safe.

It is completely absurd to claim that we have any sort of technology to do that. Remember that Engineering (as opposed to a lab experiment) is based on merging mathematics and physics with practical experience in getting real world results. The basic cycle is build, analyze, then factor the results back into the design process. A real world example is integrated circuits. We started out in the 60s with a couple dozens transistors on a chip and iteratively improved the design until now there are any millions of transistors on a chip. In terms of building long lived structures, some of the oldest lived man made structures on the planet are the pyramids: In round numbers, they are 5000 years old and failed at their intended purpose in prehistoric times (not to mention that the design data for them is long gone). Designing a waste storage facility to last a million years is like starting from scratch in 1960 with a chunk of silicon and immediately trying to design a 12 core, server class, CPU in the first design iteration. We are so inexperienced in the long term nuclear storage space we don't even know what the problems are!

The only way to get rid of the Nuclear waste is to recycle it (not reprocess, really recycle into something safe). AFIK, nobody has a clue how to do it or is even looking into the problem.

Comment: Re:No thanks (Score 1) 242

by herbierobinson (#48768957) Attached to: Little-Known Programming Languages That Actually Pay

There is still a lot of commercial software written in COBOL -- and as you say, almost everyone who knows it is retiring any time now.

Even back before the Y2K crisis at the turn of the century there was a shortage of COBOL programmers. Consultants were getting 2-3x the normal rates for fixing COBOL programs.

The same is also true of Fortran; although, it's close enough to other languages that most good programmers can things done if they have to.

Comment: Unique Legal Interpretations about Smart Phones (Score 1) 303

They might actually be right... It is basically a radio transmission.

If you care, encrypt...

On another note. Smart phones are computers that are connected to the Internet; so, wouldn't the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act apply to them (and the use of a stringray to access them)?

Comment: My Experience (Score 1) 464

by herbierobinson (#48725795) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

I have several comments:

1. If you have side to side problems, there is something wrong with the lens. There isn't supposed to be any difference side to side. If your vendor can't fix it, go someplace else.

2. I find that my progressives are OK to use with LCDs for a while, but not with analog monitors. If you are still using analog monitors, get rid of them.

3. For long term use, I have some fixed glasses that are just for the computer distance (which is not the same as the reading distance). I keep a pair at work and a pair at home. At least for me, the computer prescription doesn't change much; so, the frames actually wear out before the lenses need changing.

4. If you need progressives, it is probably unreasonable to expect a bargain basement chain supplier to supply decent lenses. There is definitely a quality difference in lenses.

Comment: Re:Recordinternational of spammer (Score 1) 246

The first time, I asked which IP address the DOS was coming from. They gave me a 192.168.x.x address (which is, of course impossible), but I pretended to be looking it up in the router for 5 minutes to keep them on the line. Of course, I told him there was no computer with that address here. After wasting 5 minutes of his time, I told him there weren't any PCs here. That actually didn't stop him, he switched to a Mac script. Then I asked if the DOS was IP or TCP and he said neither. So I said that proved he didn't know what he was talking about; so, he put on his supervisor. After yanking the supervisor around with technical questions he couldn't answer (but tried to), I revealed that I knew it was a scam and was intentionally trying to waste his time. I also mentioned that he was an idiot who didn't know what he was talking about (with the other scammer listening in, no doubt). Who knew that Indians know so many English swear words (which actually might mean they aren't really in India).

That does get one put on their do not call list :-)

Comment: Won't Last Long (Score 1) 124

by herbierobinson (#48177565) Attached to: Federal Government Removes 7 Americans From No-Fly List

The actual announcement has this phrase in it: "... the following individuals are not currently on the No Fly List as of the date of this letter". They explicitly go on to state that "we make no other representations with respect to past or future travel". In other words, as soon as the court case is over, they go right back on the list...

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