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Businesses

Sale Or License? Sister Sledge Sues Over ITunes 257

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hollywood Reporter reports that members of the iconic disco-era musical group Sister Sledge have filed a major class action lawsuit against Warner Music Group claiming that the music giant's method for calculating digital music purchases as 'sales' rather than 'licenses' has cheated them out of millions of dollars from digital music sales. Songwriters typically make much less money when an album is 'sold' than they do when their music is 'licensed' (the rationale derives from the costs that used to be associated with the physical production of records) but record labels have taken the position that music sold via such digital stores as iTunes should be counted as 'sales' rather than licenses. The difference in revenue can be significant as Sister Sledge claim their record deal promises 25 percent of revenue from licenses but only 5-1/2% to 6-1/2% of net from sales. Eminem's publisher brought a nearly identical claim against Universal Music Group and won an important decision at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010 when the 9th Circuit ruled that iTunes' contract unambiguously provided that the music was licensed. The lawsuit argued that record companies' arrangements with digital retailers resembled a license more than it did a sale of a CD or record because, among other reasons, the labels furnished the seller with a single master recording that it then duplicated for customers. 'Unlike physical sales, where the record company manufactures each disc and has incremental costs, when they license to iTunes, all they do is turn over one master,' says attorney Richard S. Busch. 'It's only fair that the artist should receive 50 percent of the receipts.'"
The Military

Laser Weapon Shoots Down Airplanes In Test 627

airshowfan writes "Boeing's directed-energy weapons (a.k.a. frickin' laser beams) have been getting some attention lately. The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is a C-130 that famously burned a hole through a car's hood, and the YAL-1 AirBorne Laser is a 747 that shoots a laser from its nose that is powerful enough to bring down an ICBM. But even cooler is the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), a laser that is mounted on a truck (which probably costs less than a 747, but who knows) and that can shoot down small aircraft, as shown in the picture on this article. (The Laser Avenger supposedly also has this capability). We live in the future!"

Comment Re:I must be young at heart (Score 2, Informative) 383

It's not that RSVP is out of the lexicon, it's that its out of the mindset. As one entering freshman year of college a mere 7 years ago...kids THESE days almost never respond to invitations to social events, and on the rare occasions they solidify their plans by texting back "lulz i will c u thar", they skip out anyway when a perceived "better" opportunity with a hotter guy comes along. I'm not bitter.

Comment a n00b's FPGA advice (Score 3, Informative) 185

As many have stated, both Xilinx are Altera can be good routes. Note that while they Altera tools support Linux, their freebie Web edition does not, and the full kit is more than you'd want to spend. Any Xilinx starter kit should be fine for tooling around. I'm not sure your experience level, so I'll go with the basics...

I'm a young n00b in the FPGA world (two years design experience out of college now), so my experiences are pretty recent. I've got an EE degree, and would say first of all, get a firm grasp of logic design. Do you know what a flip flop actually is? Are you familiar with things like setup and hold time? If not, start out with a lot of reading. Horowitz and Hill's "The Art of Electronics" is a good standard...there's a lot of analog stuff that's "less relevant" to you, but there's a good section on digital design that's a great start.

One of my young programmer colleagues was looking over some of my code, and seemed to think it was pretty easy...the syntax seemed pretty straightforward, he liked the idea of combinatorial logic being so easy to implement, etc. He started tinkering himself, and VERY quickly realized that it was much more complex than he thought when issues of timing were thrown in. A fundamental knowledge of how signals are propagating through the device is key. It's not just PROGRAMMING, you're programming the actual hardware (or making fancy lookup tables, whatever. Get off my back!).

As designs get more complicated, you'll need to learn how to use some tools to analyze timings. Altera has Timequest, not sure what Xilinx uses. In college, I managed to get away with the bare minimum of analysis, but I consider this to be a flaw in my education...to do things right, you should do proper timing analysis.

I have an Altera starter kit I dink around with myself when I'm not at work, and it's definitely worth the time to learn the basics if you're an eternal tinkerer. Finally, the best advice I can give you...don't forget to use VIM as your editor, or you're just setting yourself up for failure.

Do you suffer painful elimination? -- Don Knuth, "Structured Programming with Gotos"

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