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Comment Re:I happily block ads, and will continue to do so (Score 1) 978

Yes, exactly. If some site wants to bar me from using their site because I block their ads, or only allow session cookies, or lobotomize JavaScript -- or whatever -- they're free to do that. I have no problem with that.

For example, I refuse to read NYT articles that require me to create an account. I feel not only is the NYT overrated, but the overzealous way they track users means I'd rather not use their "service". Ditto for Facebook, once aptly described as a surveillance service disguised as a "fun" social network.

More and more people are going to have to decide whether they're sheep being led to the slaughter, sacrificing their privacy, attention (in the case of ads), and forced to do this or that because some "service" wants this, or whether they're actual customers or consumers with real rights and the ability to make decisions. IMO since the Internet was privatized/corporatized after the 1990s telecomm act, the pendulum has swung way too far towards users being considered sheep for exploitation.

As Andrew Lewis bluntly put it: "If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold."

Comment I happily block ads, and will continue to do so... (Score 2) 978

There are several reasons I block ads: I don't want to be tracked. And I don't want to be conned, gamed, decieved and/or lied to (and for most ads, this is their goal). But most of all, to me it goes back to a fundamental concept of computing: This is my computer, I'm paying for the network link, and I get to choose what enters my computer and how I use/display that data/info.

Sadly, advertising permeates our society and is forced down people's throats everywhere. Back in college when they had ideals, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google said, "We expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers." They were right. The same concept applies to other advertising.

Does this mean that Destructoid or other sites might disappear because people like me don't want advertising? Yup, it might. But that's not my problem -- it's an "adapt or die" mindset. If they choose a less deceptive way of funding themselves -- straight subscription, crowd sourcing, whatever -- I'll decide whether their value is worth me paying what they ask.

Then I'll decide whether to allow their text, data, pics and videos, etc., into my computer, and I then I'll decide how I want to use/display that content.

There's an old saying in business: The customer is always right. If the customer doesn't like your advertising or business model, the business has a problem, not the customer.

Comment Nice from a tech point of view, *BUT*... (Score 2, Insightful) 226

But considering the fact of global warming/climate change and the topic of greenhouse gases, isn't our core problem that we are simply burning too much stuff? With that in mind, is this really going to help?

Shouldn't our focus be on creating forms of energy that produce energy without burning things?

Comment Why constantly reinvent things? (Score 1) 1040

Airplanes today have basically the same controls on them -- joystick, foot pedals, etc -- that they did when the Wright Brothers invented the airplane early in the 20th century -- they haven't changed the UI in that amount of time.

Cars haven't basically changed since they removed the manual lever throttle and went with the gas pedal -- many decades of a standard UI.

Why can't we do that with computers? Stop reinventing the wheel!

Do normal people really care about KDE versus GNOME? Don't they just want a UI that works and isn't constantly changing things?

Look at Windows. What are the UI changes between Win95, Win2K, XP, etc. etc. Aren't they just cosmetic BS to make people say, "Gee whiz, they changed X, Y and Z -- isn't that cool?!" Were people really demanding that Microsoft keep rearranging the Control Panel?

What was wrong with the UI standard that every program will have a pull down menu, and on that menu will be a File menu, and in that File menu will be a Close/Exit option, and on every pull down menu will have a Help menu, etc, etc.

The problem with our UIs isn't the UI, it's a lack of standards and a bunch of clueless coders that keep reinventing the wheel and confusing the hell out of 90% of people for no good reason.

Comment Re:How does he sleep at night? (Score 3, Insightful) 109

First, piracy is a copyright violation; piracy is NOT theft.

But to a address your point:

I'm not sure how busting people for making counterfeit hardcopy and selling them for money qualifies as a "corrupt scheme/racket".

The corrupt scheme is the inflating of the value of the so-called piracy by counting every blank disc as a pirated copy and lying like this for political purposes. This is the same immoral/sleazy tactic used by police to inflate the "street value" of seized marijuana plants. The corrupt cops count seeds, seedlings, leaves, stems, root balls, etc. when they know that only the bud of the pot plant gets sold and has real value. They lie this way to make the "crime" seem bigger.

This is the same reason the corrupt PI lies about the value of pirated material. But in this case, they're also doing it to influence corrupt, corporate-funded politicians to pass harsher laws.

The Courts

SCOTUS Nominee Kagan On Free Speech Issues 664

DesScorp submitted one of a few stories I've seen about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, whose confirmation hearings are supposed to start today (despite being a formality, given that she has the votes pretty much locked up). "SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan hasn't left much of a paper trail during her legal career, which may make gauging her ideas and opinions somewhat difficult. But there are some positions she has made clear statements on, among them, pornography and 'hate speech.' In a 1993 University of Chicago seminar on the subject, Kagan argued that the government wasn't doing enough about the spread of porn or hate speech. She argued that new approaches were needed to fight their spread, as well as taking a fresh look at old approaches, such as obscenity laws. Kagan included herself among 'those of us who favor some form of pornography and hate speech regulation,' and told participants that 'a great deal can be done very usefully' to crack down on such evils."
Censorship

ACTA Is Backta, New Round of Talks Start Today 73

An anonymous reader writes "Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume today in Lucerne, Switzerland, with the ninth round of talks. The Toronto Star highlights the mounting opposition to the deal from developing world countries such as India and China, while Michael Geist has posted a video of a recent lecture that provides background on the agreement and where things currently stand."
Education

Khan Academy Delivers 100,000 Lectures Daily 213

eldavojohn writes "Working from the comfort of his home, Salman Khan has made available more than 1,500 mini-lectures to educate the world. Subjects range from math and physics to finance, biology, and current economics. Kahn Academy amounts to little more than a YouTube channel and one very devoted man. He is trying to provide education in the way he wished he had been taught. With more than 100,000 video views a day, the man is making a difference for many students. In his FAQ he explains how he knows he is being effective. What will probably ensure his popularity (and provide a legacy surpassing that of most highly paid educators) is that everything is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. He only needs his time, a $200 Camtasia Recorder, an $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet, and a free copy of SmoothDraw3. While the lecturing may not be quite up to the Feynman level, it's a great augmenter for advanced learners, and a lifeline for those without much access to learning resources."
Cellphones

Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."
Software

IT Infrastructure As a House of Cards 216

snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia takes up a topic many IT pros face: 'When you've attached enough Band-Aids to the corpus that it's more bandage than not, isn't it time to start over?' The constant need to apply temporary fixes that end up becoming permanent are fast pushing many IT infrastructures beyond repair. Much of the blame falls on the products IT has to deal with. 'As processors have become faster and RAM cheaper, the software vendors have opted to dress up new versions in eye candy and limited-use features rather than concentrate on the foundation of the application. To their credit, code that was written to run on a Pentium-II 300MHz CPU will fly on modern hardware, but that code was also written to interact with a completely different set of OS dependencies, problems, and libraries. Yes, it might function on modern hardware, but not without more than a few Band-Aids to attach it to modern operating systems,' Venezia writes. And yet breaking this 'vicious cycle of bad ideas and worse implementations' by wiping the slate clean is no easy task. Especially when the need for kludges isn't apparent until the software is in the process of being implemented. 'Generally it's too late to change course at that point.'"
Communications

Microsoft Blocks Messenger In Five Embargoed Countries 194

Spooky McSpookster writes "Microsoft has turned off its Windows Live Messenger service for five countries: Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. Users in these countries trying to log in get the following error: '810003c1: We were unable to sign you in to the .NET Messenger Service.' Why now, since this flies in the face of the Obama administration's softening stance on Cuba? This isn't the first time the US trade embargo has had questionable outcomes. US-based Syrian political activist George Ajjan created a web site promoting democracy in Syria, only to find GoDaddy blocked anyone inside Syria from seeing it. The article argues, 'Messenger is a medium for communication, and the citizens of these countries should not be punished from such a basic tool because the US has problems with their governments' policies.' What does this say for the wisdom of non-US citizens relying on US companies for their business or communication?"

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