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Comment Re:Wow, that got... (Score 3, Funny) 354

True but I think his point is that the identity of the victim can have a huge impact on motive, good and bad, and motive does have impact on the punishment of the crime.

i.e. In retrospect, killing Hitler would be considered a good thing by many and the motive justifiable.

It's an extreme, yes, but just because someone mentions Hitler it doesn't mean it's automatically reductio ad Hitlerum.

Comment Re:Slipperly Slope (Score 1) 390

You can look at a home with an IR camera and figure out other stuff -- like if they have any strange heat sources that suggest illegal grow operations

And how would you be able to determine whether or not what they were growing was illegal? I've seriously thought of growing tomatos in my basement because the ones you buy at the grocery taste like cardboard, but fear of the War On (some) Drugs keeps me from doing it.

We grow orchids in our basement under high pressure sodium lights, and have never been bothered by the police. None of the other members of our orchid society have encountered problems, either.

Exercise your rights! If you live in constant fear of the police state, they've already won.

Comment Re:Combatting Piracy (Score 1) 279

I agree with your opening statement, but ...

And, more specifically, the best way to combat piracy is to realize you're not going to succeed and instead find a new business model that works. You'll notice that the bands who are highly profitable have figured something very important out - CD sales are not the road to riches - concert tours are where you make truck loads of money. The _experience_ of music is something people are willing to spend a LOT of money on. Listening to music just entices them to spend $200 a ticket to see the live performance on stage. Once more music people figure this out - once more music people figure out that the old way of becoming rich in the industry is dead - the better off everyone will be.

This will last until people can record binocular video and binaural surround audio of their surroundings using body mounted nano- cameras and microphones that aren't easily detectable (or until "personal experience capture for digital life archiving" is protected by law so 'life recording equipment' doesn't have to be hidden), and social crowdsourcing sites allow people to combine a montage of different perspectives from everyone in attendance so equipped into a nicely edited concert video. The latter hitting torrent sites will spell the end of "live concerts" as the scarcity-du-jour guaranteed to make truck loads of money. I guess "business model technology hopscotch" is a good short term strategy, but ultimately I'd like to just see business models develop that are based on an equitable and fair exchange rather than depend on artificial scarcity. Give people a good reason to pay and give them value when they do. This may not always translate into 'truckloads of money', but it might be a way to enable more people overall to make a good sustainable living creating music, art or whatever.

Comment Re:I'm off-duty (Score 1) 945

You don't buy a computer because of its culture...

Well of course I don't, and I'd assume you don't. That doesn't change the fact that millions of people do. Unless of course you're seriously going to tell me that you think all those damn hipsters at my coffee shop really sat down and did some comparative analysis and decided that a Mac would "serve their purposes better."

Comment Re:An invitation to defraud (Score 1) 613

Well, that's not how it works in e.g. the United Kingdom (where income tax is deducted at source for employees). Those items you mention are very rarely claimable expenses (you certainly can't claim your daily commute against tax), except for certain specialised trades. The truth is that the majority of people do not need to even submit a tax return each year, chiefly those that do are people who a) are self employed, b) are directors of a company, or c) earn significantly over the median wage so as to be liable for the highest rate of tax.

Some statistics: In the tax year 2008/2009 there were 30.9 million tax payers in the UK. By the deadline for submission, 7.84 million people submitted a tax return on time, and typically 10% of people missed the deadline (I CBA to find the actual data). That extrapolates to 8.8 million people, or 28% of the tax-paying population.

Comment Re:HTML5 Video (Score 1) 675

On my Core 2 Duo Mac, QuickTime uses around 5-10% of my CPU, flash uses 40-50%. It's less important on that machine, but on the older machine QuickTime can play 720p quite happily, while Flash can only handle normal quality YouTube stuff without dropping frames if nothing else is using the CPU. On my 1.2GHz Celeron laptop, Flash can't handle YouTube videos without dropping frames, but VLC can play them back using under 50% of my CPU.

Comment To tell a story quickly..... (Score 1) 371

"The main point of these fake movie UIs is different than that of real UIs: to tell a story very quickly, not to reveal and enable function."

This sentence is quite telling and ultimately the main reason behind the flash of (or lack of flash) in comupter UI's in motion pictures. They are used to drive the plot. Everyone here has surely noticed the cool looking way people "hack" computers in the movies. How about the slowing ticking progress bar and flashing data presented when people are illegally downloading files to a usb drive. In some movies the UI is so 3d and gesture advance as to make the user "dance" to interact with it. This is to present the virtuosity of the user at his craft. In other movies retro monochrome looking console UI's are used to give things an analog grittiness. I find the whole thing quite fascinating. Its a dream job if there ever was one.

The coolness of fictional media UI's does make it hard to design regular UI's for real products. The user expectation is pretty high. I always chuckle a little when I start up my PS3. The main nav is just a menu tree. The eye candy floating in the back has no function use whatsoever but most of the processing during the navigation phase is consumed by presenting the cool liquid effect in the background.

I've been watching "The 1st 48" (US reality show about solving murder cases) for a while. I love how all of the UIs are basically just MS Windows and maybe a web based perp search application because is what cops actually use. I compare this show to CSI all the time and "CSI fan" friends hate me for it.

Comment Re:Exactly what material does this new law cover? (Score 1) 779

That is because it /isn't/ a new law (yet). The UK Government has announced plans to introduce such a law, but this is the start of a quite long process that needs to see it:

1. Written
2. Approved by the House of Commons
3. Approved by the House of Lords
4. Given Royal assent
5. ???
6. Profit

Slashdot, quality journalism at its very best. The Sun would be proud of this calibre of news reporting.

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