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Comment Refurbs... (Score 1) 508

In Minnesota, we have a great program called Minnesota Computers for Schools. Businesses donate their old hardware to the program. The program wipes or shreds the HDs. After that they are sent to a correctional facility for the rest of the refurb and imaging work (teaching inmates valuable IT skills for when they get out). These computers are then put up for sale to schools and other educational institutions on the cheap. I'm talking $300 for an i5/i7 laptop with 4GB and reasonable HD, more than enough for an average high schooler. They have cheaper options as well, down in the Chromebook price range.

Check around and see if your area offers such programs. Heck, even see if you can arrange for a business to donate some old kit. They get a tax break and lots of goodwill in the process, and their savings on recycle fees help make up for their IT person's time in reimaging the laptops.

Submission + - "Happy Birthday" Public Domain after all? (

jazzdude00021 writes: No song has had as contentious of copyright history as "Happy Birthday." The song is nearly ubiquitous at birthday parties in the USA, and even has several translations with the same tune. Due to copyrights held by Warner Music, public performances have historically commanded royalty fees. However, a new lawsuit has been brought to prove that "Happy Birthday" is, and always has been in the public domain.The discovery phase for this lawsuit ended on July, 11 2014, yet this past week new evidence surfaced from Warner Music that may substantiate the claim that the lyrics were in the public domain long before the copyright laws changed in 1927. From the source:

And, here's the real kicker: they discovered this bit of evidence after two questionable things happened. (1) Warner/Chappell Music (who claims to hold the copyright for the publishing, if it exists) suddenly "found" a bunch of relevant documents that it was supposed to hand over in discovery last year, but didn't until just a few weeks ago, and (2) a rather important bit of information in one of those new documents was somewhat bizarrely "blurred out." This led the plaintiffs go searching for the original, and discover that it undermines Warner Music's arguments, to the point of showing that the company was almost certainly misleading the court. Furthermore, it definitively shows that the work was and is in the public domain.

Comment Re: Will anyone exploit it? (Score 3, Insightful) 82

If I had mod points, you'd have em. Institutional policy is the prime reason that AV exists for Macs. AV companies saw Macs coming into the workplace at greater rates due to the proliferation of iDevices and the frustration of using Windows 8 and decided a Mac version of their software might be profitable. No other reason than that. The primary marketing tactic from those companies was to protect your inbox so you didn't accidentally forward a PC virus along. In 8 years of Mac ownership, my AV (yes, I'm a Mac owner with AV on my system) has detected one PUP in an attachment auto-downloaded thru my mail client, and the exploit was for Win32. Job done. AV works and serves its purpose.

Now, before the torches come out and the chants of "Fanboy!" start, I am sure someone out there somewhere has a Mac virus that could spread and wreak havoc. The darker parts of the Internet know about security exploits long before most /.-ers will. That said, I don't think this exploit will turn into a pandemic precisely because of the fact that >10% of computers are Macs. Hacking is a business, granted it is a criminal business, but business economics still apply, and writing an exploit for 10% is far less profitable than writing for 90% of users. Even if that 10% are totally security unaware.

Comment MIDI is alive and well and hiding in plain sight. (Score 1) 106

Yes, I've read the comments that say "MIDI, what is this 1980-something?" But as a Music Teacher/ Musician that also does theater sound and lights MIDI still has many currently used applications. Sure, MIDI began as a way to listen to music on a computer, back when a few KB was a lot of memory. However, MIDI also has the ability to clock-sync devices for synchronous playback. So if you are at your favorite band's show and the music and the lights just seem to time out perfectly, they probably do because somewhere a MIDI device (or long chain thereof) is keeping the lights and sound in synch. And this is a complex example. Even cheap DJ equipment can use MIDI singals to control lighting.

The second major area MIDI is used is in Sheet Music Creation and Playback Software. MIDI provides a background framework for playback of files in software like Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, etc. MIDI defines the duration, volume and pitch of a note and the software uses high quality sound samples for playback. Furthermore, in the educational sphere, a teacher can write out an exercise for the student to play. The software records the student playing and sends it back to the teacher. But if the student wants to listen to the exercise played by the software, it's going to need a MIDI capable audio system to do so.

tl;dr: MIDI was once used for consumer audio distribution, however the protocol evolved in several important ways making it the backbone of virtually all comupter audio creation systems in use today. The cheesy synth sounds are (mostly) gone, but the protocol lives on behind the scenes. If you've ever been to a live musical event where computers were used in some way, odds are MIDI was the protocol keeping it together.

Comment Re:To the surprise of no one (Score 1) 357

Allow me to clarify: A movie ticket allows you to see it once. Recording that is quite plainly a violation of copyright. Your ticket gives you a one-time schedule viewing of a piece of content. The end.

Buying a copy of a movie (hypothetically) allows you to enjoy it an unlimited number of views for an infinite amount of time. Because the MPAA are afraid of those people who would exploit these copies by illicitly sharing and/or selling their own reproductions to others, they hinder the ability of all users to enjoy their product on whatever device they choose to view it on. The DMCA (awful as it is) allows for Fair Use, a clause that the MPAA (in my non-lawyer opinion) leaves lying bloodied and beat up in a dumpster, helpless, but still doesn't outright break.

So to borrow your turn of phrase: In a theater you're on their terms, therefore they're not being ***hats. In my home where I own a collection of devices that, due to their restrictions, may not all play my legally purchased content, they are being ***hats. Just because they generally seem to be a bunch of **hats who try to screw over everyone doesn't mean everything they do is ***hat-ery.

Comment To the surprise of no one (Score 1) 357

The MPAA took the most restrictive course possible on keeping their movies from being reproduced without them getting a share. And in this case, they're well within their right. You bought a ticket to see the movie once. That does not give you a right to record it yourself. If you don't like their terms, don't buy the ticket.

Now, if I buy a copy of a movie for me to legally enjoy in the privacy of my home, but they impose technological restrictions that prevent me from doing so, then I'll bother to get upset. And yes, I dislike the MPAA for doing that. But that's not happening here. not news...not even for nerds...and it really doesn't matter. Story voted (-1) Flamebait.

Comment When all you know how to use is a (ban) hammer.... (Score 2) 429

....every problem tends to look like a nail.

If you read poster's GitHub page, he even admits there are better ways to do this than using his program. This program is not an elegant solution. It is the equivalent of using duct tape and plastic wrap to replace a broken car window. Sure, it solves the problem, but it's not a good longterm solution. Best usage case: solve the problem of BitTorrent users hogging the connection until proper QoS is set up.

Comment Re:Not from what I've seen (Score 1) 248

He didn't want to spend the money, and so just complains occasionally about the speed.

For whatever reason, there are more than a few people who will just use old, failing, technology and bitch about it rather than fix the issue.

What do you mean I have to upgrade my Windows XP??? I like my windows the way it is thank you! But hey, can you come fix it for me because it's a little slow???

Comment Re:Bad media coverage (Score 2) 1330

Wow, like leaving out details much?

Just for reference, the problem isn't that Dan Cathy expressed an unpopular opinion. The problem is that Chik-fil-A's "charity" organization, the WinShape Foundation, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT hate groups. Did Barack or Hillary do that?

No, the problem was that Dan Cathy expressed an unpopular opinion and THEN (and only then) his charity organization came under fire. The liberal-biased media played their part by vilifying him, while the conservative-biased media praised him, and people swore allegiance to one side or the other. Chick-fil-a has no well-known history of corporate bigotry. WinShape may donate to organizations that the liberal-biased media dislike and thus they get branded perpetrators of "hate speech."

The issue here (Hobby Lobby) is similar. One side is trying to accuse Hobby Lobby of being misogynistic etc. in order to vilify them in the court of public opinion. In reality, Hobby Lobby's owners are saying that the Government is mandating they pay for services for themselves and their employees that violate their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court agreed this was wrong and provided a very narrow exemption for them.

In both cases CEO's of major companies are trying to live their religious beliefs in every aspect of their lives including how their corporation acts. In both cases the media tried to vilify them by projecting the worst possible construction on their motives (misogyny, bigotry, hate speech etc.) In both cases the Government acted appropriately by choosing to not dictate their actions or force them to go against their religious beliefs. The result is that everyone from Dan Cathy to Barak Obama are free to use their money in accordance with their personal beliefs without fear of Government intervention. Just because YOU don't like their choice in how they spend it does not justify labeling it as "hate speech." The beauty of this country is that we're allowed to have this debate without fear of Government (or theocratic) censorship.

Comment Re:People are willing to trust some random softwar (Score 1) 251

then we really can't trust anything except burning brands and pitchforks as tools of political change.

But what if the NSA has bugged the pitchforks in some vast conspiracy with the pitchfork industry? I also heard from [source of dubious credibility] that they were putting a backdoor kill-switch in burning brands. And don't get me started on the homemade devices crowd, they're just [NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.] front men.... wake up sheeple! end sarcasm

Seriously. Either you have to believe that the government secretly runs everything or else you have to admit that something might just be genuinely homegrown and therefore not a government plant. I can't say I know everything about the inner workings of the NSA etc. I can say that if they are as organized and efficient as your average DMV (who are also a government organization with access to massive amounts of computer technology), we're all gunna be just fine.

But hey, that's just my opinion as dictated to me by the chem-trails I inhaled this morning. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to cash my check from the [insert name of your favorite world-controlling organization here].

Comment If you think this is long.... (Score 1) 162

...try a 4 year degree in education. As a second-year teacher with just BS Ed. (no Masters work yet) this exact problem (optimizing presented information so it is useful and effective to the majority of your audience) is a daily struggle. I like where this is going, but to anyone who thinks this is long, teachers learn this in college and then spend their careers perfecting the methodology - at least those that don't get burned out along the way...

Oh, and he's only dealing with people who WANT the information. Imagine the same scenario but 30/50 want to be anywhere else but hearing the presented information...

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long