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Comment Re:J. K. Rowling (Score 1) 1130

Elron was a grand jester who invented scientology just to show how it could be done - no matter how stupid or ridiculous the premise. ...And he was right, there are plenty of dumb people to jump on the bandwagon. He'd laugh about it if he could. He was also a very passable sf author and later shenanigans do not detract from the value of Battlefield Earth - a book just praying for a good movie treatment

Comment Re:So...don't sell there. (Score 1) 190

Quote: 'Anybody know what the sales number is for iPads in mainland China?' - Anecdotal? Yes! - I live in Suzhou and teach in a local university. I see a zillion iPads a day, there are close to 50 million people within a radius of 50 miles of here and an awful lot of them have iPads - many more (per capita) than I saw travelling around Australia last month...Never kid yourself that China has a consumer market whose value can be discounted... these are the guys about to rule the world - with a lot more potential buyers than Europe and the US combined.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 190

Quote: "Typically when you buy worldwide rights, it applies to the entire world, no?" Unquote... Definitely NO. The Apple name belonged to the Beatles and it always was an uneasy truce between them... the 'Hilton Hotel' name does not legally belong to the Hilton Hotel chain around the world - if you don't believe me, have a drink at the unassuming pub called the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide South Australia - not far away from the 'real' Hilton which has been forced to change its name by court order... McDonald's restaurants has multiple name owners in multiple jurisdictions. World wide rights don't really exist - since there is no super global authority to buy them from... Woolworths US and UK were two entirely separate entities - even I-pad has its rival owners. It is probably not a stretch to say 'world wide rights' are more a sign of belligerent bullshit than ownership...

Comment Re:Lax attitudes toward child pornography (Score 1) 722

Nice attempt at character assassination, but shows little knowledge of real context. Stallman is not a pedophile, he is a freedom fighter, and fear of the 'pedophilia menace' in western society is akin to the fear of terrorism... both are false positives. This was summed up for me nicely when my 5 year old daughter went missing in a crowded Chinese shopping center. A local man saw my panic and was bemused. "What's the worst thing that can happen?" he said, "An adult will find and look after your daughter until you get her back" He was right of course... Pedophiles are a rare breed, we have just been conditioned to believe pedophiles and terrorists lurk everywhere. 18 year old boys and 17 old girls does not mean pedophilia - it means situation normal...

Comment Self-abasement rules... (Score 1) 291

I haven't bought a locked phone since the '90s (the SUPREME IS will forgive my capitulation in contributing to the never-to-be-sufficiently-ridiculed purchase of my daughters I-phones... I hope...) The truth is, we are all complicit in our greedy acceptance of the benefits of 'locked' whether it be SIM, DRM, or other... We all need (to put it mildly) to wake the fuck up - and understand the big picture. Until that happens - it sucks to be a consumer! STOP buying locked phones. STOP buying DRM'ed media, STOP believing good = cheap... and watch the world change!

Comment So many lame comments on passwords... (Score 1) 339

Whatever happened to imagination? There are unlimited easily remembered algorithms no one is ever going to guess, mine are not necessarily easily remembered by you - but you get the idea...: 1) Add your birth weight in kilos to your age at the millennium in months, ignore the decimal points - insert the first 8 digits after the first 8 letters of the name of your hero... or dog, or spouse, or favorite spaghetti sauce... 2) Allocate the numbers 1-10 to the first 10 words of your favorite quotation. Take the sum of each group of 5 words, add your Gregorian birthday in day/month/year format, and add together to get single digits which themselves represent a word, insert the digits in the words they represent (1st 2nd or 3rd position etc...) for extra security translate the words into French/Hungarian etc.... 3) Take the telephone number of the apartment your first lover lived in - mix it with registration number of your first car, birthday of your second wife, and the number of tiles on your bathroom wall.... 4) Take the number of electrical outlets in your house/apartment - multiply by your age in leap years, take the first 4 digits of the resulting number to represent the first four paragraphs of your favorite book - then take the first (or 2nd 3rd etc) word as your pass phrase, but include the digits after every 1st or second letter... 5) Google some random trivia and bookmark it - use the use the fibonacci sequence to generate a pass phrase from the 2nd (3rd etc) para of the bookmark... I could go on like this all night - nobody needs a password keeper or generator - if you give a shit (and mostly I don't) use a a set of personal significant numbers and words in combination with some favorite easy algorithm (even rot13 is fine if the the foundations are inscrutable) And remember that your passwords are safe only insofar as you convince powerful folks they are not worth cracking...

Comment Archiving - the best way (Score 1) 397

Forgive my jaded perspective - respondents to this query are almost without exception fan boys of particular techie solutions. The real solution is far more commonsensical. I have every file I ever created from my 486 SX25 (circa 1990) onwards through a wealth of "blindingly fast' iterations of Pentium machines - my data, insofar as I ever wanted to keep it - is complete and has survived hard drive crashes, laptop and desktop thefts, floods, fire, misguided backup solutions involving CD and DVD, and the most malignant viruses the world felt able to bless me with. I have never had a raid array, a tape backup system - and I hasten to add - I spit in the general direction of your cloud solutions. Clouds are soft, vaporous and wholly subject to evaporation into nothingness. And I have never lost a file I wanted... The painfully obvious answer is - backup your hard drives - keep two copies (at least) of everything (preferably in different locations - I use family member backup and it has never failed) currently I have about 6TB of personal data - all backed up locally plus in at least one external location - this can be done with a handful of drives for an outlay of just a few hundred dollars - add a hot-swappable 3.5 inch drive dock or two and all your data is independent of all your computers. Just remember the rules: 1) The data on your computer is all temporary storage - never rely on it in the longer term - you should be able to reformat at the drop of a hat if you are doing it right 2) One copy is your interim (I don't care if I lose it) position 3) A 'cloud' copy is your 'this is convenient - but lets not pretend this is long term' solution for when you are traveling or using multiple computers in different locations 4) Two copies on site (on separate external drives) is your provisionally safe position (better still - keep one at the office) 4) Three copies with at least one in a remote location means you actually own your data - it is going nowhere without your say so and you will be able to bequeath your digital estate to those who are deserving (they in turn will be able to retain it - but only if they follow the rules above...) There! That's not so hard is it?

Comment On: bunches of pussies... (Score 1) 409

Nobody needs air conditioning - or fast food. Air conditioned tents for combat personnel? No way! These are only for visiting VIPs, the sick... and for pussies. Sorry, its true. Only US citizens afflicted with consumption mania are likely to fall for this one. Other nationalities will chuckle, shake their heads and move on... A US (or any other nationality) trained soldier is (if successfully conditioned) a highly trained sociopath with a callous disregard for human life and a predilection for stress disorders, rape and suicide... Keeping them cool alone costs 20bn and, as the submitter has pointed out, there are a multitude of better uses for the money. ....Still - its all worthwhile if oil is a few cents cheaper is it not? hint: set your sarcasm detectors to high (despair at the human condition registers somewhat lower)

Comment Cheap labor - powerful v. ignorant bastard (Score 2) 422

China will rule the world - make no mistake, this will happen a lot sooner than you think. But, the industrial cycle of gimme cheap, cheap, cheap is driven by mostly US values which praise Walmart above all and export US/European/Australian jobs offshore so that a few corporate powerful bastards can get rich at the expense of the mass of gullible ignorant bastards. You reap what you sow... US citizens never understand that pollution in China is attributable to US companies operating there.... that slave labor wages in Chinese factories are pretty well dictated by US corporate need - and that - when it all goes belly up, The US and other western countries can either choose to support their countrymen and pay what things really cost (while re-importing jobs) OR - pay the next lot of powerful bastards who will move their operations to some other peasant oriented society for another generation of sweat shop exploitation... The cycle is historically clear - your sweatshop subjects are going to kick your ass in about 20 years from now... but the powerful bastards don't care - they are already on their yachts....
Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons 95

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

Comment Clouds - because they are so substantial... (Score 1) 142

The characteristics of a cloud are not ideally suited to reliable data storage. Clouds are well known to be ephemeral and to change their size, shape and density according to the dictates of the local climate. Furthermore, clouds are much less substantial than they appear and can be blown away by the winds which spring up apparently at random - a whiff of senator's breath/wind can blow away a cloud. Clouds can evaporate and leave one defenseless in the glare of whatever it was that just zapped your cloud... Clouds are out of your control... Clouds do not have long life spans... Clouds become distorted and sometimes appear as fog.... We all know the fates of those with their heads in the clouds... So, don't say you were not warned!

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If the aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it. -- Stanley Garn