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Comment Re:Must be an American thing (Score 1) 876

Actually, I can understand someone referring to it as "the CPU." In the old mainframe world, you actually have a box which contains the CPU(s) and core memory (RAM). Peripherals such as disk drives (DASD anyone?) and tape drives all were in separate cabinets. I remember 256M platters the size of a cake container, complete with a clear plastic cover. Systems are smaller now, any many minicomputers have multiple components in one box, but you haven't lived until you have had an old mainframe programmer request more core or DASD for his PC.

Comment Re:Betamax Redux (Score 4, Insightful) 164

But for the wisdom of a few Supremes back in the 1980's, the VCR could have been made illegal. Fortunately, fair use prevailed that time.

This is so stupid, it is time for the Entertainment Industry to grow up and accept that people want equipment like this. Make Real's implementation illegal, and the "illegal" versions will get that much more popular. They already are easier to use and have more (and better) functionality. The MPAA (and RIAA) want total control, but end up losing more control every time they win one of these cases.

Comment Re:So, what is the new business model? (Score 1) 1870

I think that the RIAA made a BIG mistake when it shut down Napster. That was the beginning of the whole mess that we have today. Now imagine an alternate future, where the industry actually used the brains that God gave them. Instead of shutting down Napster, they buy out Shawn Fanning, take over the web site, improve it, and charge $5/month to use it. I think that most people would have ponied up $5 per month for all of the MP3s that they could want. There would most likely still be piracy, but it would be a small subset of users that the industry could either fight or even just ignore. Remember, at this time, the RIAA didn't have the stigma it does now, so it would have been a lot easier to marginalize a small pirate community when you have a large legal Napster community to support you.

Fast forward to today, In the 8 years since Napster was shutdown, we have added movies and TV shows to the mix, and now have had 40 Gig+ MP3 players for years. In a sane world, the industry could have responded by upgrading and changing the Napster platform to accommodate those changes. New pricing structures could have been developed to match. They could have rolled out various packages -- anything from a basic MP3 only package to a deluxe "get it all, fast" package. Bit torrent could have been added to the infrastructure to make things more efficient. You still would have DVDs, Blue Ray, and CDs for those who want physical media (don't underestimate the bandwidth of a Netflix subscription). The industry could have also licensed other stores such as iTunes or Amazon store if they wanted.

It would have been a win-win situation. Customers would be able to legally fill up the 40 Gig iPods for a reasonable price ($10,000 to fill an iPod at $0.99 per song, assuming the average song is 4 MB, is NOT reasonable). CD sales would have still dropped, but with a steady, predictable monthly cash flow, the industry would have had money and time to lessen or eliminate the impact. They movie industry would also have that predictable cash flow (remember, our mythical Napster was updated over the years as technology grew), plus they would still have income from Movie theatres and DVD sales, just as they do now. I'm sure there would still be piracy, but it would be a small fringe group that wouldn't seriously impact the way that the RIAA and the MPAA do business.

Unfortunately for everyone, the RIAA and the MPAA decided to go the route they did, and now they (and we) are paying for their stupidity. The industry has spent the last 8 to 10 years paddling upstream and wondering why they aren't getting anywhere, and it looks like they aren't going to stop any time soon.

Comment Re:Hmmmmm. (Score 4, Insightful) 461

I'd expect it's like how bongs and other drug paraphernalia is legal in most areas while any logical use for the items is not. Running a business centered around providing your customers with all the tools necessary to break the law (even when it's obvious that this is your intention) isn't illegal so long as you yourself are not breaking any law.

Tell that to Tommy Chong. He may disagree with you on that one...

Not that I agree with what happened to him (I think it is despicable), but that's the U.S. Government for you.

Hopefully TPB will be okay because the VPN can be used to bypass censorship on the net (or least can be advertised as being as such) -- if you happen to have your Torrents running through it, oh well, shit happens...also they are not in the USA...

Comment Re:One word - ads (Score 1) 576

Some of it may be "magical accounting", but not all. The TV ad itself doesn't cost you anything at the time you see it, but most every item you buy is more expensive (some more expensive than others) because the TV ad along with any other advertising and promotions must be paid for.

That means every bottle of beer, every Coke (and even "house brand" colas -- those Supermarket ads have to be paid somehow), every new car, costs more because of advertising. Commercial TV costs money, and in the end we end up paying for it. We can attempt to minimize the amount we pay as much as possible, but everyone pays for advertising.

Comment Re:Oh gosh. (Score 1, Offtopic) 823

It's not so much that we are addicted to cars, its just (at least in the U.S.) we have built an infrastructure that depends on cars, trucks, and cheap(er) gasoline and diesel. In Europe, one can travel most anywhere without needing a car. I have a former coworker who likes to travel to Germany, and he goes most anywhere he wants to go by bus or train -- no car needed.

Unless you live in a major city here in the U.S., you almost always need a car to get around. Louisville, KY, where I live now, has a decent bus system, but if you live outside Jefferson County, you need to drive in to town. When I lived in near Cleveland, Ohio, back in the '90s, we could drive up to Warrensville, park for free, and take the Rapid (light rail) all the way downtown, then walk over to Jacob's Field from Tower City to see the Tribe play.

The only way to reduce our dependence on petrol driven cars is to either redesign the transportation system to make public transportation more accessible to those outside the cities, or design vehicles that use alternate energy sources. We have spent the last century developing our current system here in the U.S., so it will take time (or a massive project) to replace it.

Comment Re:If only... (Score 1) 520

There are differences between a 2-way radio and a cell phone. First of all, the radio is set to a single frequency or channel, so the operator doesn't have to take his/her eyes off of the road while talking. Secondly, the conversion on a radio is one way at a time, meaning you have to talk, then listen. Also, most conversations for cops, taxis, and other professional services are quick and to the point. Granted, Hams and CBers may like to rag-chew on the radio, but again the mike can be used without taking ones eyes off of the road, and no dialing is involved (assuming the operator is staying on the same frequency).

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