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Comment: Re:Too desperate to get published (Score 5, Informative) 259

by wuerz (#45622013) Attached to: Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

Publish or perish. As an academic your worth is measured (among other things) by the number of publications. In an effort to keep up the stream of publications out of one's lab, people agree to anything the publishers demand.

Of course one could also negotiate less onerous terms, but that is hard when the publisher prints my paper with absolutely no (publishing-related) cost to me.

Comment: Re:Locked Down (Score 4, Insightful) 331

by JustinOpinion (#32208370) Attached to: Shall We Call It "Curated Computing?"

It's a false dichotomy to discuss "streamlined user experience" versus "user freedom" as if one is completely at odds with the other. To provide a streamlined experience simply requires good design and sensible defaults. You don't have to lock-out the user from changing those defaults, accessing the full capabilities of the device, or repurposing the device entirely.

Of course it makes sense that vendors of locked-down solutions would spread this misunderstanding. They want to enforce consumer lock-in to their product/services stack. By convincing customers that the lock-in is actually to their benefit, they now have people effectively begging to give up their user freedoms. What bothers me is that media outlets seem not to have generally caught on to this lie. Instead they repeat the false dichotomy, as if it were a fact of nature. I guess it is because computers are still fairly misunderstood by the public at large. (By comparison, most people would not buy it if they hired an electrician who installed locks on their fusebox, telling them that they'll have to call/pay him when the fuses blow... because only then can he guarantee a proper "electrical user experience"...)

Comment: Re:Need some Libertarian clarification (Score 1) 799

by careysub (#32208332) Attached to: Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario

... Without that juicy legislation by Congress, they would have been damn sure their stuff was safe, because they would be on the hook for the entire damages otherwise...

Right. BP's corporate misfeasance is Congresses fault, because we know corporation always act in an optimal way to preserve their long-term self-interest and would never cut corners otherwise to risk horribly expensive disasters.

Let's look at something that BP was responsible for less than four years ago: the Alaska oil pipeline shutdown (

Set aside the environmental aspects of the spill entirely and just focus on how BP managed that pipeline which delivered 8% of U.S. oil consumption and $30 million of revenue a day. Obviously in possession of such a cash cow, BP's enlightened self-interest ensured that they would keep that pipeline in good condition so that that billion-dollar-a-month gusher would never dry up. But did they? Nooo... they cut corners on maintenance and suffered an entirely avoidable shutdown.

The Libertarian notion, taken up by many non-Libertarian right wingers also -- that regulation is unnecessary since the discipline of the marketplace guarantees good corporate behavior and citizenship (And maximizes economic performance in the short and long terms! Really, no downside at all it seems!) -- is a quaint bit of Nineteenth Century economic utopianism.

Although pointing in a different direction, this "perfect free market" notion is strikingly similar to the character of Marxist thought - another bit of economic fantasy literature harkening back to the 1800s. Both are elegant theoretical structures, so pleasing to its adherents, that the naked evidence of its disastrous failures (and thus the falsity of their premises) in the real world go entirely unacknowledged.

Comment: Re:Come on guys... (Score 1) 495

by nstlgc (#32156074) Attached to: A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight
I would rather have to code in Objective-C than wait for and have to buy a new version of Adobe Flash, just to get the capabilities made available by Apple's Xcode.
Which is why you can code on Obj-C and not depend on Flash. Now, what about the people who don't care about using the latest (but world-changing, no doubt) feature and who don't want to learn Obj-C?

Nobody ever died from having too much choices (I think).

Comment: Re:Doesn't just affect Flash (Score 1) 495

by HBI (#32155806) Attached to: A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight

I'm sorry to hear that. I use FPC for my 'amusement' coding quite a bit, having been a huge TP fan back in the 80s and early 90s. FPC is some fun stuff.

Incidentally, the whole C++ library name hashing issue (that was my understanding of the issue), that prevented use of things like wxWidgets with FPC appears to have been conquered at some level. Or am I interpreting the Obj-C interface wrong?

Comment: Re:Silly Brits (Score 1) 568

by markhb (#32155628) Attached to: UK Election Arcana, Explained By Software

If several of the larger states in America had proportional voting with the electoral college, America would also have to be worrying about coalition governments or in that case a coalition president taking over the White House.

How so? As you allude to later in your post, anything short of an Electoral College majority throws the election of President to the House (with the vote to be taken by states), and the election of Vice-President to the Senate. But, once elected, the President isn't subject to Congress (impeachment excepted) any more than the Congress is subject to the President. So, I am unclear as to what your "coalition" idea would mean.

Comment: Re:Perspective from a Juror on this Case (Score 1) 982

by tungwaiyip (#32035232) Attached to: Terry Childs Found Guilty

One more question I hope you can clarify. I believe there is a lot of misinformation about this case in the media. But the most critical issue goes like this (quoted from sfgate):

Newsom testified that the city had been "in peril" because officials were blocked from access to police records, payroll data and other information.

The idea is he has brought down the city network and cut off certain department from access. But a conflicting account from more technical source is that the city network is fully functional, only that IT is unable to administer the network. Which one is a more true picture?

This probably won't change the verdict. But the public (and the mayor) should get a clearer picture on the actual extent of the problem before making their judgement.

Comment: Re:Apple also owns h264 patents (Score 1) 944

by Sandbags (#32035210) Attached to: Steve Jobs Publishes Some "Thoughts On Flash"

which, btw, until 2016, is essentially FREE except for large media companies that already pay for that for general video encoding (not hosting, think TV studios), and for companies with over 25,000 paying subscribers.

Applegets no kickbacks from people using H.264 other than they don't have to cross-code support for other formats into quicktime (which they chose not to do for 15 years, so why would that change anyway).

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.