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+ - Lucas film sold to Disney for $4bn; Star Wars Episode 7 expected in 2015->

Submitted by smashr
smashr (307484) writes "George Lucas is finally relinquishing control of the Star Wars franchise! In an unexpected deal, Lucas, who is the sole shareholder of the company, has sold Lucasfilm to Disney for approximately $4bn USD split between cash and stock. New feature films in the franchise (Episode 7 and onward) are expected starting in 2015!"
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Privacy

+ - Supreme Court Rules Warrantless GPS Tracking Uncon->

Submitted by smashr
smashr (307484) writes "Today the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in United States v. Jones, finding that the government was not permitted to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without a warrant. While the opinion was unanimous, the justices disagreed as to the reasoning. The majority opinion created a new test for 4th amendment violations — the tespassory test and focused only on the actual installation of the device. A separate, minority opinion, advocated going much further and ruling that such tracking itself was an unreasonable search, regardless of the device. Additional recap at Ars Technica."
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Comment: Re:Anyone else... (Score 1) 445

by smashr (#38425442) Attached to: Hard Drive Makers Slash Warranties

Remember back oh 12-13 years ago when drive manufactures did this? All drive warranties dropped from 5 years to 1 year. This went on for about a year, then got hit with a massive collusion suit. It drove Fujitsu right out of the market. I get the suspicion that this is the same thing, I do not think this has anything to do with debugging the lines, or anything else.

I really expect the same thing to happen, it smells and feels exactly the same.

Yes! This is not the first time this has happened. I don't believe it was a full 12-13 years ago, but this is absolutely not the first time we've seen this dance.

The warranties slowly crept back up as drive makers started marketing premium offerings and soon it became rare to see a one year warranty any where. I certainly hope this trend repeats itself, but I worry that the less competition at the moment might prevent that.

Comment: Re:And now after the press release (Score 1) 190

by smashr (#37858720) Attached to: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes First Passenger Flight

I cannot do that, because as United proves "economy plus" means 2 inches more leg room on a plane too old to have any in flight entertainment, worse than average food and flights that never take off on time.

It used to mean 5. I think they made up for it by shrinking the regular seats by 3 inches.

From http://www.seatguru.com/ :

American Airlines: 31" seat pitch is standard
US Airways: 30-32" seat pitch
Virgin Atlantic: 31-32" seat pitch is standard (just to preempt the 'omg non-US airlines are better')
Southwest: 32-33" seat pitch
United: 31" standard, 34-36" for economy+. The vast majority of the mainline fleet is 36" pitch in E+, with the notable exception of the 747 which is 34".

Thus most of the time, you are in fact getting 4-5" extra legroom in Economy Plus, and no the 'Economy Minus' seats are no worse than other legacy (and international) carriers. Yes, if you go Southwest, you can get 1-2" over legacy carriers, but no where near the gain of Economy Plus. (Also note that Southwest ONLY has 17" wide seats -- about 50% of United's fleet is 18" wide seats).

3-5" extra inches of legroom combined with a company who will only pay for coach worldwide, is why this 6'4" traveler is usually on United. (Also note that Delta just announced they are copying this concept fleet-wide)

Comment: Re:Hyperbole (Score 1) 355

by smashr (#37106950) Attached to: China Praises UK Internet Censorship Plan

The truth is, I'm going to feed a retarded troll. Every state that has a carry permit requires you to take a class: "training". You're an idiot.

Would you care to cite any facts?

12 states permit unlicensed open carry of firearms as a _right_ of competant adults. An additional 16 states permit some unlicensed open carry, albeit with some restrictions. So in over half the states, no, training is not required to exercise this right, no more than training is required for freedom of expression.

See: http://opencarry.org/opencarry.html

Now, of course being familiar with and practicing with your firearm is a really good idea. But that familiarity and practice could come from any number of sources. Perhaps someone has been taught by a parent, friend or family member, is ex-military, etc. Just because being famliar with your firearm is a good idea doesn't mean the government should mandate X as a precondition for exercising such a right.

To the GP's point, modern handguns ARE rediculously simple, and they do more effectively level the playing field when dealing with an attacker.

Comment: Re:and we should also... (Score 3, Insightful) 515

by smashr (#34638542) Attached to: Recording the Police

What is especially curious is that this sort of praise for the police and military seems to come from the same people who keep telling us that the government can't ever do anything right. They don't seem to be aware that the police and military are pretty much all government employees, working from some of the biggest government bureaucracies that exist.

I respect those who voluneteer for our armed forces, follow our duly elected civilian leaders, and protect our country. Even if that means they are deployed in cases which they may not agree with, or even are unjust/unwarranted. I respect them because it takes courage to volunteer for dangerous, low pay jobs in support of your country. I respect them even if I disagree with the politicians who sent them to war.

I consider myself conservative/libertarian, and despite my respect for the milatary, and in some capacities law enforcement, I absolutely believe that neither group is above the law.

1. There is absolutely no circumstance that comes to mind where it should be illegal for a civilian to record his/her own interaction with the police. If the police question/talk/harass/interrogate me, and I have the ability to record it, it should absolutely be protected 100%. If you are a member of law enforcement, you simply have no right to privacy with respect to the people you are interacting with. Furthermore, if you are properly enforcing the law, you have nothing to fear!

2. It should additionally be absolutely protected for third parties to record police interactions, as long as it occurs in a public forum -- streets, parks, building lobbies, open resturants, etc. A law enforcement official enforcing the law in a public forum has no expectation of privacy whatsoever, period.

Unfortunately, I see no long term path that can take us effectively towards this goal. Our best hope is a number of hard-fought battles in a federal court.

Comment: Re:Monopoly pricing... (Score 3, Insightful) 314

by smashr (#34332544) Attached to: Verizon Speeds Up FiOS To 150Mbps

$195/month is the sort a price that only a monopoly can get away with demanding. Too bad nobody bothers to enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act these days.

Take a look at the areas where FIOS competes with the cable companies. I live in such an area, and you will find that prices are down and features are up. Both Verizon and the cable companies try to one-up each other with internet speeds, tv packages and discounts.

While far from perfect competition, FIOS vs Cable really works out in the consumer's favor. In non-FIOS areas, the cable companies have far less of a motivation to compete.

Comment: Re:Metal detector (Score 2, Informative) 1135

by smashr (#34257478) Attached to: TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old

she refused to go calmly through the metal detector, setting it off twice

Does she have some kind of mutant superpower where emotional distress causes her to manifest lumps of metal inside her body?

As for the rest of this, yeah, this shit is sick. Pat-downs were invasive even before, and now they've turned them into non-consensual erotic massages.

If you touch the side of the detector, it goes off, and you have to walk through again. I suspect this is what happened.

Comment: Re:It's still better (Score 1) 476

by smashr (#32520370) Attached to: iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged

It's all just marketing speak anyway. It IS a higher-resolution display, but giving it a name like "retina" to a display is just the marketing guys trying to make you think that you won't notice any pixelation.

To be fair, think of the alternative. Apple could have simply branded the screen "HD", the moniker-du-jour for the past couple years, even though it has no relation to HDTV or any other standard whatsoever.

At least they were mildly creative, unlike HD Radio, iPad "HD" apps, HTC HD, etc.

Comment: Re:From someone who does Genetic Testing (Score 1) 268

by smashr (#31034644) Attached to: Routine DNA Tests For Newborns Mean Looming Privacy Problems

My son was born with a thyroid problem, without the required state testing he probably wouldn't have been diagnosed until after he started having developmental issues. Because of the screening he was immediately put on Synthroid and leads a normal healthy life.

Let's be clear: Genetic testing is not the problem here -- on the contrary, I am sure there are many positive examples like yours where genetic testing has helped people. It's even okay for the government to mandate testing -- yes, there is a compelling public health interest.

The problem arises with the disclosure of the substance (dna itself) and results of this testing. The government has no claim to either beyond basic statistics of 'X cases of Y in Z area'. As a soon-to-be parent, I am outraged that the government will attempt to obtain personally identifiable DNA samples and testing results from my child without my consent or due process of law.

Comment: Re:Digital traps in an analog world (Score 1) 898

by smashr (#26202161) Attached to: Using Speed Cameras To Send Tickets To Your Enemies

In any case, not to get distracted from the subject at hand, I refute that speeding, as defined by going faster than a posted limit, is needlessly endangering lives. Those limits are decided by engineers who have NOT decided on the best speed. They've applied some rules of thumb, some rules of law, and some rules of common sense to arrive at a nice round number that is more correct than not. However, with cameras you're no longer talking more or less. You're talking exactly, atomically, right or wrong.

You see, I could agree with your argument regarding the validity of speed limits if these limits were always decided by engineers. There are sound civil engineering practices which determine the ideal speed limit for a given road. If engineers need people to slow down, they change the design of the road. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#85th_percentile_rule).

However, more often than not, the speed limits are set an arbitrary amount _below_ the ideal number. Multiple studies have shown that raising or lowering the speed limit by a significant amount on a given road does not affect the overall flow of traffic. Artificially low speed limits set by politicians simply criminilize the vast majority of the population and breed disrespect for the law.

Set the speed limits by sound engineering practices so that only the people who are truely going faster than a safe speed are in violation, and then come back to me and talk about stricter enforcement.

Sony

+ - PS3 Price Cut Not Permanent

Submitted by smashr
smashr (307484) writes "Engadget and GamesIndustry.biz are reporting that the recently announced PS3 'price-cut' is not permanent. As soon as the 60gb model is sold out at the $499 price point (expected to be the end of the moneth), Sony will be discontinuing the model. All that leaves is the upgraded $599 80gb model (sans backwards compatibility)."

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