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Comment: Re:for artists? (Score 1) 713

by mckinnsb (#40380821) Attached to: David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

Why take exception to the first part of that statement when you can take exception to the second?

Sure, you can decide how to monetize your own work however you want. You can decide your own copyright terms. But if you decide on copyright terms that do not fit into a business model which operates within the market, you have shot yourself in the foot, plain and simple. Go ahead, for all I care.

I too, create copyrighted works ( as a developer ). In the end, I realize that the vast majority of the time, I better benefit myself by giving the majority of it away for free ( useful libraries and such get my name out there ), and then charge for premium services ( such as consulting, contracted projects, and keeping me on retainer - otherwise known as a 'job' ). There are many other companies who have realized this. Several of the "big corporate bad guys" that Mr. Lowery lambasts have provided - free of charge - libraries such as Google's v8 that have the potential to kickstart entire fucking companies - like Nodejitsu. I suppose this is somewhat analogous to a big-name band giving a lesser known band a shot, but more importantly, this is the "new model" in the software industry, which long ago - before the music industry - realized that it could not sell boxes of physical objects and expect a profit in the 21st century marketplace. Even old companies, like Microsoft and Apple, are moving far away from this.

The only difference I can see between myself and an artist - other than our audience - is that there are fewer opportunities for an artist to actually be kept on retainer. But that's the nature of the market with relation to being an artist, not the nature of being a creator of copyrighted works.

Cloud

Meebo Discontinuing All Services Except for Meebo Bar 121

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the and-you-thought-microsoft-was-fast dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of Meebo's fate, a mere six days after being acquired by Google. From the article: "Meebo, which began in 2005 as a browser based instant messaging program, will now cease most of its services by next month. The IM service supported various IM platforms such as Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, CafeMom and others." Their cash cow, the Meebo bar, will "...continue to be available to site publishers and will see continued improvements and new features in the weeks and months ahead." With Meebo killing off their messenger, are there any good Android chat alternatives that aren't tied to Google Talk?

Comment: Re:It's not a tax, it's an improvement (Score 1) 842

by mckinnsb (#40260663) Attached to: California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes
In New York City, which is now considering imposing a Soda Ban, the price of a pack of cigarettes is 13 bucks at most stores. A six-pack of beer costs less here. That, and the facts that you can no longer smoke: in bars; 5 feet from publicly trafficked entrances; in parks; or in many of the homes that are available to rent, has dramatically slowed down the rate at which my friends and I smoked after moving here ( to the point where I and others simply quit, albiet not all at the same time ). The evidence is anecdotal for sure, but I've heard enough people tell me the same story that I believe it when people say that it really has had a huge impact.

Now, I think its fair to say that the education campaigns and restrictions on advertising were also crucial, but more on the side of "preventative care". It pushed enough people away from it, mostly the mild mannered kids who would have never tried pot in high school but would have had beer at a house party, that it suddenly became uncool because not that many people were doing it. However, the taxes and space bans are on the other side - "remedy care". Honestly, you shell out 13 bucks and then walk out into the January weather to smoke a cigarette when its raining and 42 degrees outside because thats your only option, and yeah, you start to rethink your habits.

A similar thing could happen with these sugary drinks. The fact of the matter here in New York City is that there are a disproportionate number of people with diabetes who are in the lower socio-economic sectors. It's not just the soda that doesn't help this situation - food is another problem - but these sodas are the cheapest thing you can get at a bodega in terms of beverage choice. Want some juice? Two bucks. A soda? 75 cents. To the poor, who might have a disposable income of five dollars a day, the choice is pretty clear. As an aside, I think most "rich" folk would be absolutely stunned at the variety of these drinks available in lower economic areas. I have never seen so many soda varieties in my life before I moved to the "hood". It's pretty clear that its a very big market for the manufacturers. Making these drinks more expensive, I believe, will influence some decision making. Making that 75 cent drink a 1.07 drink , however, may not really be enough. There definitely needs to be more education to push that consumer towards the juice, and not the soda.

And please, for the love of god, Slashdot, stop throwing around correlation is not causation. Yes, its a logical fallacy. Yes, we should all keep that in our minds. But dropping it at the end of every disagreement you have with someone else doesn't eradicate the fact that somewhere, someone may have actually worked out the causal link and it is simply the case that it is not stated here, for brevity's sake.

Comment: Smart choice - it's accessible, and the future. (Score 4, Insightful) 355

by mckinnsb (#39211667) Attached to: Khan Academy Chooses JavaScript As Intro Language

It's a great way to introduce kids to the basics of programming languages without miring them in the ( necessary as they grow more proficient ) details of memory management and computer science fundamentals such as data design and system architecture. It also falls into a very interesting class of languages - a class by its own really - which exposes kids to some of the concepts of procedural languages and some of the concepts of imperative languages.

But more importantly, Javascript - whether or not more traditional computer scientists like I would like to accept it - is likely a gigantic component of the computing future. Its the language that runs on the most platforms, and is used for nearly everything. Right now, many of us are familiar with how Javascript handles interactivity on webpages, but did you know that Javascript is actually used to route the majority of phone calls placed through cell networks? Did you know that most SmartTV manufacturers ( GoogleTV, Samsung )are producing SDK's and API's to produce "Apps" on their televisions written 100% in javascript (instead of the "window" host object you have "volume"...etc)? Did you know that it's being used in factories ( along with python ) to control the movements of industrial robots? With the advent of server-side event-based asynchronous web programming in javascript like Node.js as well, and the beastly v8 engine being BSD licensed, its importance will only increase over time as people find more ways to embed it as the primary interface scripting layer.

It's good thing to expose people to, for sure.

Iphone

Siri To Power Mercedes-Benz Car Systems 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the siri-flip-that-guy-the-bird dept.
redletterdave writes "Mercedes-Benz unveiled plans on Monday to use Siri, Apple's AI personal assistant exclusive to the iPhone 4S, to power its electronics system called 'Drive Kit Plus,' which will essentially let drivers access their iPhone apps while driving using voice commands. With Siri, Mercedes drivers will have a hands-free solution to listen to music, change channels on the radio, send texts, or make calls. 'Drive Kit Plus' will also come pre-installed with a number of social networks, so drivers will even be able to update their Twitter accounts and post messages to Facebook. Siri will also be integrated with Garmin's GPS system, so drivers can navigate and get directions with simple voice commands. With this move, Mercedes-Benz earns the distinction of being the first carmaker to integrate Apple technology into its vehicles' in-car systems."
Space

Electric Rockets Set To Transform Space Flight 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the flying-to-the-future-at-full-impulse dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article at Txchnologist: "The spectacle of a booster rocket lifting off a launch pad atop a mass of brilliant flames and billowing smoke is an iconic image of the Space Age. Such powerful chemical rockets are needed to break the bonds of Earth's gravity and send spacecraft into orbit. But once a vehicle has progressed beyond low-earth orbit chemical rockets are not necessarily the best way to get around outer space. That's because chemical propulsion systems require such large quantities of fuel to generate high speeds, there is little room for payload. As a result rocket scientists are increasingly turning to electric rockets, which accelerate propellants out the back end using solar-powered electromagnetic fields rather than chemical reactions. The electric rockets use so much less propellant that the entire spacecraft can be much more compact, which enables them to scale down the original launch boosters."
Science

Study: Online Dating Makes People "Picky" and "Unrealistic" 630

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the i-really-love-computers-like-really-really-like dept.
New submitter garthsundem writes with this tale of digital love: "A newly published meta-analysis of over 400 studies of online dating (PDF) shows both its popularity (second only to meeting through friends) and its impact. More online daters report seeking a 'soulmate' online, and do so by searching through the wealth of available profiles. Unfortunately soul-searchers focus on faults, both in viewing profiles and then also once dating in person, leading to quick exits when relationships inevitably get complicated."
Privacy

Supreme Court Rules Warrants Needed for GPS Monitoring 354

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-paperwork-in-order dept.
gambit3 writes "The Supreme Court has issued its ruling in the case of Washington, D.C. nightclub owner Antoine Jones, saying police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects. A federal appeals court in Washington overturned his drug conspiracy conviction because police did not have a warrant when they installed a GPS device on his vehicle and then tracked his movements for a month."
Google

OpenStreetMap Reports Data Vandalism From Google-Owned IPs 178

Posted by timothy
from the yes-but-where-are-the-perps dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following reports of misconduct by Google employees in Kenya and India, It has been found that Google IP addresses have been responsible for deliberate vandalism of OpenStreetMap data. While it is unlikely that this was a deliberate or coordinated attack by Google HQ on the competition, multiple such reports does raise the question of whether or not Google has become too big to effectively enforce its 'Don't be evil' philosophy across its massive organization."
Google

Google Caught Misbehaving By Kenyan Startup 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the hand-in-cookie-jar dept.
An anonymous reader sends in an interesting story from Mocality, a company that painstakingly built a business directory in Kenya. When they discovered that somebody was systematically harvesting the contact information they'd collected (and after a few very odd phone calls from confused Kenyan business owners), they set up a sting to see what was really going on. They swapped out the phone numbers listed for a few businesses with phone numbers in their own call centers, and then waited to see who called. Mocality was shocked to discover it was Google Kenya, who falsely claimed a business collaboration with Mocality, and then lied about Mocality's business practices.
IT

How To Get Developers To Document Code 545

Posted by samzenpus
from the use-your-words dept.
snydeq writes "Poorly documented code? Chances are the problem lies not in your programmers, but in your process, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. 'Unfortunately, too few developers seem to do a good job of documenting their code. Encouraging them to start can be a difficult challenge — but not an impossible one,' McAllister writes, adding that to establish a culture of documentation managers should favor the carrot before the stick. 'Like most people, programmers respond better to incentives than to mandates. Simple praise can go a long way, but managers may find other ways to reward developers. Are your developers occasionally on-call for weekend support duties or late-night update deployments? Consider giving them a break if they volunteer to pick up some extra documentation burden. Of course, financial incentives work, too.'"
The Courts

Bloggers Not Journalists, Federal Judge Rules 353

Posted by timothy
from the occupation-foole dept.
New submitter squideatingdough writes "On InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely covers a recent case of a blogger accused of libel and defamation. The federal judge ruled that journalists warrant more protection from libel suits than bloggers, but it is obvious from the article that bloggers' rights can vary by state, depending on the 'shield laws' in force." Reader blindseer adds a link to this AP article on the case, and asks "If the government can define who is part of the press, and therefore gets First Amendment protections, then where does that place the freedom of the press?" The slippery slope is a steep one; even some relatively open societies require licensure for journalists (visiting ones included) with predictable results. (And the Labour Party would like to see a similar system in the UK.)
Censorship

Iran Shuts Down US Virtual Embassy 451

Posted by samzenpus
from the close-it-down dept.
bonch writes "Less than 12 hours after the U.S. launched a virtual embassy for Iran, the Iranian government blocked access to the website, directing visitors to a government page proclaiming the site illegal. The White House condemned the move, calling Iran's internet policies 'an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people.'"

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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