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Submission + - Smashwords Caves to Censorship (

Synchis writes: "Smashwords, a popular portal for indy authors to self-publish their works, has been targetted by Paypal to remove certain objectionable content, "Or Else." Well, it looks like Smashwords has buckled under the pressure, and sent it's members a mass email letting them know that content described by Paypal to be objectionable will be removed. This is the worst kind of censorship."

Submission + - Interview: Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb (

Synchis writes: Fantasy Author Thomas A. Knight continues his 29-day blogfest today by posting a special interview with Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb. Jeff has been involved in projects ranging from the original D&D Unearthed Arcana and Monster Manual II, to more recent games such as Guild Wars Nightfall, and is also the author of various novels set in DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, Warcraft, StarCraft and the Guild Wars shared universes.

Submission + - Gaming History and the People Who Made It (

Synchis writes: "It's not very often that the world changes in a significant way. Often change is rejected, feared, and denied. That's just part of human nature. But some people throughout history defied this nature — innovators in an established industry, and pioneers of entirely new ones. Steve Jobs was one such visionary, whose contributions to the computing and entertainment industry were nothing short of monumental. Others have shared his place at this prestigious level of human accomplishment, though not all of them have been celebrated as widely as Jobs has.

So here is a list of six people who changed the gaming world. A celebration, if you will, of human accomplishment:"


Submission + - Ken Starks: The Unsung Hero (

Synchis writes: "Fantasy author Thomas A. Knight weighs in on one of Open Source's most modest heroes: 'Ken Starks is, by all standards, a normal guy. He lives in the Austin, Texas area, worked hard his entire life, raised a family, and has lived a mostly good life. Around 2005, Ken was pressure washing a building 38 feet in the air, when the lift failed. He came crashing to the ground, fracturing his spine at the neck. Thus ended one career, and began a new one.'"

Submission + - The Time Weaver - Where FOSS meets Fantasy (

Synchis writes: "Ken Starks of the Helios Project has a blog post up today about an author, Thomas A. Knight, who has pledged a generous percentage of every book sale to The Helios Initiative. Thomas has not only written a great book for Fantasy fans, he managed to do it using only FOSS tools to get it done."

Comment My question is... (Score 1) 421

Is this even legal?

I mean, since when can a credit corporation tell you what you can and can't spend your money on?

Where exactly do they draw the line? Who makes the decision as to what is ok and what is not okay?

I see this as a very slippery slope. Mastercard should be very careful with these heavy-handed decisions.

Comment Re:The stupidest thing is (Score 2) 775

The short answer to that is: Yes.

Copyright laws center around the right to create and *distribute* copyrighted works.

The idea behind the first-sale doctrine was that you could purchase a copy of a copyrighted work, and then do with it as you pleased as long as you did not make additional copies of it. I buy a book, I can now lend it, trade it, sell it, or even give it away. Without the first-sale doctrine, only the copyright holder can determine if that work can be distributed, even after its been sold.

Now, an interesting way around this decision would be this: Purchase the watch, and then in some way *remove* the logo from it. There would no longer be a copyright issue, and the watch could be freely sold.

Comment Re:Dvorak (Score 2, Informative) 425

Actually, this is not normally an issue. Once you train yourself to type in a certain way, your muscles remember how to do it, even if you, consciously, do not.

At the other end of this, is the fact that because of muscle memory, switching to dvorak to fix a querty typing issue often does not solve the problem. (I'm speaking from experience here, because this is what I did.) Most people don't actively think about how they are typing, they type from muscle memory.

Instead, I found the best way to train myself out of bad habits was actually thinking about where my fingers are going and making a conscious effort to stem the bad habits. Re-train your muscles to type properly. It took me a few months of actively working at it, but I have had a fair amount of success with it, and now type properly with all fingers, and look at the screen when I type instead of the keyboard, or constantly shifting from the keyboard to the screen. It has helped a lot with my headaches, as constantly refocusing my eyes was leading to a lot of eye strain.

Comment Re:$400,000 for what - one letter? (Score 1) 335

The $x,xxx per song that the RIAA has been winning are not punitive damages. They are Statutory damages.

Here's the difference:

Punitive damages are awarded when actual damages are not enough to punish the defendant for the act. A punitive damage award is *in addition to* actual damages, and serves as that punishment. Jail time is not an option in civil cases, and thus, punitive damages are used instead to deter future offenses.

Statutory damages are awarded when actual damages are difficult or impossible to calculate. They are awarded *instead of* actual damages. And there are times when punitive damages may be awarded *in addition to* statutory damages. Statutory damages are not meant as a deterrent for future offenses, which is one of the biggest issues people have with the massive damage awards the RIAA is getting in the Lindor and Tennenbaum cases. It's like they are using statutory damages as a punitive damage award because the law does not allow for a punitive damage award in those cases.

Comment Re:I foresee... (Score 1) 285

Oh yeah, we see news every day about Kodak suing the pants off everyone over a bunch of crap patents.


Kodak makes:

Digital Cameras (imagine that!)
Memory cards of all types
Video Cameras
Digital Picture Frames
Disposable Cameras
Batteries, Bags, Cables, Tripods, Docks, Lenses, Flashes, and many many more accessories.

Oh yeah... nothing but a patent troll here.

Gimme a break.

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 1, Insightful) 285

Kodak is not a company that is widely known for frivolous lawsuits. If I had to guess, I would say their lawyers likely know what they're doing.

Keep in mind:

Digital Cameras (including smartphones/cellphones) != Film Cameras.

Thus, no prior art.

Oh, and I love your example... a Polaroid camera... which just happens to be a Kodak product.

Comment I foresee... (Score 4, Insightful) 285

An out of court settlement with both companies.

The first thing I see amongst comments here is a bunch of stuff about invalid patents.

What the /. community needs to understand, is that not *every* patent is invalid just because its being used to sue.

Kodak is not a patent troll. They do real work, good work, and file patents on it to protect their inventions.

If there was ever a patent to assume is valid and in good standing, it would be a digital imaging patent, filed by a company that specializes in Imaging (and these days, Digital imaging).

Kodak is not evil. If these companies think they can implement functionality in their devices just because everyone else does, they need to think again. Everyone else is licensing the technology. If they are not, then they are infringing, and deserve to be sued.

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