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Lord of the Rings

Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the things-you'll-pay-for-even-though-you-know-you'll-hate dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The final chapter to Peter Jackson's series of films based on The Hobbit debuted last week, and the reviews haven't been kind. Ars Technica just posted theirs, and it highlights all the problems with Battle of the Five Armies, a two-hour and twenty-four minute film based on only 72 pages of the book. Quoting: "The battles in Battle of the Five Armies are deadly boring, bereft of suspense, excessively padded, and predictable to the point of being contemptuous of the audience. Suspense is attempted mostly by a series of last-minute saves and switches. ... There are other problems. Everyone in this movie takes themselves way too seriously, which makes them even harder to sympathize with. Peter Jackson leans way too hard on voice modulation to make characters seem menacing or powerful. The movie's tone is still way out of step with the book's tone. ... There's one big thing that doomed these movies from the outset — the fiscally smart but artistically bankrupt decision to make a single, shortish children's novel into three feature-length prequel films." Other review titles: "Peter Jackson Must Be Stopped," "The Phantom Menace of Middle Earth," and "Lots of Fighting, Not Much Hobbit."

Comment: Re: 503 (Score 1) 394

by peppepz (#48623611) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites
Google has a dominant position (among other places) in the browser market so site owners can't disregard their imposition. Saying that you can install other browsers would have been just like saying "you can install another OS" when Microsoft played leverage games with their near monopoly on the desktop back in the times. Plus, Chrome tends to end up installed on the PCs of many unexperienced users because of their policy of aggressive bundling. So one can expect that a relevant portion of his site's visitors will be using Chrome in the foreseeable future no matter what.
Open Source

OpenMotics Offers Open Source (and Open Hardware) Home Automation 36

Posted by timothy
from the here-are-your-diagrams dept.
Home automation is a recurring topic around here; we've had stories about X-10-based home-brewed systems, a protocol designed for automation, and more than a few Ask Slashdots. Now, an anonymous reader writes OpenMotics is an open source home automation hardware and software system that offers features like switching lights and outputs, multi-zone heating and cooling, power measurements, and automated actions. The system encompasses both open source software and hardware. For interoperability with other systems, the OpenMotics Gateway provides an API through which various actions can be executed. The project was open sourced 2 years ago and was started about 10 years. The choice to open source the project was very conscious: we want to offer a system where users are in full control over their home automation system.

Comment: Re: Standard FBI followup (Score 1) 388

by peppepz (#48550973) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier
That's because the law doesn't say "you can own guns full stop", it will say something like "you can own guns as specified by law", so lower-level laws can be passed to regulate the ownership of guns without violating the constitution. But no person or government agency can decide that you can't own a gun without having a law that backs their decision.

You are right in the fact that most constitutions, and probably that of the USA too, comprise some kind of exceptional procedures allowing the government to override the rule of law in the case of an emergency. I think that they're required in order to deal with those cases such as angry people with pitchforks burning down cities etc, something that still happened once in a while in the past century, but I don't expect those procedures to have been applied often nowadays.

Comment: Re: Standard FBI followup (Score 1) 388

by peppepz (#48550863) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier
You can't waive your right to state provided legal counsel: you can decline to accept one when you're offered, but you can't sign a piece of paper saying that from that moment on you won't be offered any if you get into a trial.

And I don't think people have the *right* to lie: having a right to something doesn't mean having the permission to do that thing, it means that there's some law stating explicitly that that something must be given to those who haven't got it.

Anyway, I was wrong in my post above: there appears to be no explicit law against entrapment, if I understand correctly it's just a matter of interpretation by the courts, which has oscillated over the course of years.

Comment: Re: Standard FBI followup (Score 3, Insightful) 388

by peppepz (#48541859) Attached to: Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier
In countries under the rule of law, rights can not be given up. Just like a law cannot override the constitution, any piece of paper you might sign or be forced to sign cannot override the law. Not even in the case of the most obvious scum of mankind. That's because once you set up the principle that the government can selectively take away your rights, then the citizens can by the same principle selectively ignore the laws they don't like. Including those that define and give authority to the government.

The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought 528

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-looking-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes with today's installment of Sony hack news. "It's time to take a moment of silence for Sony Pictures, because more startling revelations about leaked information just came out and employees are starting to panic. BuzzFeed raked through some 40 gigabytes of data and found everything from medical records to unreleased scripts. This is probably the worst corporate hack in history. Meanwhile, Fusion's Kevin Roose is reporting on what exactly happened at Sony Pictures when the hack went down. The hack was evidently so extensive that even the company gym had to shut down. And once the hackers started releasing the data, people started 'freaking out,' one employee said. That saddest part about all of this is that the very worst is probably still to come. Hackers say they stole 100 terabytes of data in total. If only 40 gigabytes contained all of this damning information, just imagine what 100 terabytes contains."

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 1) 652

by peppepz (#48465005) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change
The cost of building *everything* in China is at least 1/3, with well-known results, such as extreme pollution.

That the trade union of nuclear professionals advocates for nuclear power is unsurprising, grant me this consideration.

The wikipedia link that you pointed me to says that China has intentions to bring nuclear power usage to 6% in 2020 up from its current 2% whereas the regulated US were at 19% last year, and the hyper-regulated France was at 75%.

Conclusion: nuclear blossoms in social-democratic countries with a strong central government that invests large amounts of taxpayers' money as subsidies to the industry (or owns it directly).

And thorium reactors are nice, except that they have problems too, the biggest one being of course that they currently do not exist in a profitable form, while nuclear power fundamentalists regularly mention them as the obvious, current solution for every woe of nuclear power.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a nuclear power proponent myself, especially after I've seen the damages done by supposedly green energy sources and their governmental subsidy policies. I just don't like echo chambers.

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 1) 652

by peppepz (#48460713) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

The high costs of nuclear are driven by non technical issues.

If that were true, we'd be seeing nuclear power plants flowering under authoritarian regimes, whose leaders need not worry about public opinion. Or, we'd see them abund in turbo-capitalist countries, where rich people, or associations thereof, can buy legislation and will do so on every occasion when there's money to be made.

If the effective cost of nuclear power isn't limited to the bill of materials of the power plant and the cost of the finished, ready to employ fuel, it's because of reality, not because of tree-huggers.


What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered? 523

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-going dept.
StartsWithABang writes After successfully landing on a comet with all 10 instruments intact, but failing to deploy its thrusters and harpoons to anchor onto the surface, Philae bounced, coming to rest in an area with woefully insufficient sunlight to keep it alive. After exhausting its primary battery, it went into hibernation, most likely never to wake again. We'll always be left to wonder what might have been if it had functioned optimally, and given us years of data rather than just 60 hours worth. The thing is, it wouldn't have needed to function optimally to give us years of data, if only it were better designed in one particular aspect: powered by Plutonium-238 instead of by solar panels.

Comment: Re:Timely (Score 2) 103

True, but what about mid-complexity applications, such as office productivity or file management? I'm not convinced that modern (and Modern) UIs really make the "getting to know how to use it" part any faster for them. Why, when I use Office, I often find myself asking the web search engine from a Microsoft competitor about where the designers have hidden some function. For instance, in Access 2007 they hid document-relative actions amid the program-relative options inside what old-schoolers would call a "menu hierarchy" which was visually attached to a pulsating globe in a corner of the screen. In Windows 8, they went a step further and hid fundamental actions, such as "turn off the pc", or "put away everything that I'm working on and switch to the last Modern-style application that I have used", behind esoteric mouse gestures that give the user no visual clue about how to trigger them before he has actually performed them, and very little clue about what's going on aftern he's performed them (possibly by mistake).

Of course, it's also possible that I'm getting old.


Visual Studio 2015 Supports CLANG and Android (Emulator Included) 192

Posted by timothy
from the exigent-realities dept.
Billly Gates (198444) writes "What would be unthinkable a decade ago is Visual Studio supporting W3C HTML and CSS and now apps on other platforms. Visual Studio 2015 preview is available for download which includes support for LLVM/Clang, Android development, and even Linux development with Mono using Xamarin. A little more detail is here. A tester also found support for Java, ANT, SQL LITE, and WebSocket4web. We see IE improving in terms of more standards and Visual Studio Online even supports IOS and MacOSX development. Is this a new Microsoft emerging? In any case it is nice to have an alternative to Google tools for Android development."
The Military

Alleged Satellite Photo Says Ukraine Shootdown of MH17 340

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-glove-won't-fit dept.
theshowmecanuck (703852) writes A group calling itself the Russian Union of Engineers has published a photograph, picked up by many news organizations (just picked one, Google it yourself to find more), claiming to show that MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter plane. The interesting thing is the very quick ad hoc crowd sourced debunking of the photograph using tools from Google maps, online photos/data, to their own domain knowledge backed up with the previous information. It would be interesting to understand who the "Russian Union of Engineers" are and why they in particular were chosen to release this information.

Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform 525

Posted by Soulskill
from the april-fools-headlines-from-10-years-ago dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today announced plans to open source .NET, the company's software framework that primarily runs on Windows, and release it on GitHub. Furthermore, Microsoft also unveiled plans to take .NET cross-platform by targeting both Mac OS X and Linux. In the next release, Microsoft plans to open source the entire .NET server stack, from ASP.NET 5 down to the Common Language Runtime and Base Class Libraries. The company will let developers build .NET cloud applications on multiple platforms; it is promising future support of the .NET Core server runtime and framework for Mac and Linux. Microsoft is also making Visual Studio free for small teams.

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." --Matt Groening