Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:and in the us the same book will be $200-$400 u (Score 1) 289

The worst part isn't that publishers produce "updated" editions that really haven't changed. The worst part is that professors are not allowed to use old editions of textbooks because of the accreditation bodies, no matter what the subject is. How many times has calculus or physics changed in the last 50 years anyway? Doesn't matter, everybody has to pretend that 12th edition physics is more up-to-date than 11th edition physics.

Submission + - NeuroGaming Conference Profiles The Rise Of Brain-Computer Interfaces (singularityhub.com)

kkleiner writes: The first NeuroGaming Conference and Expo took place at the beginning of May to showcase the convergent technologies that are paving the way toward gaming with your mind. Tech news has been dominated with stories about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift, which was on display for attendees to test out. Other technologies that utilize EEG are opening up possibilities of a controller-free gaming experience into virtual realities with unlimited potential.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 116

I'm not an economist, but somehow I doubt that if the incentives for drug research went away all those people would work on preventive medicine instead. Anyway, at least patents have sane expirations so after the patent is up then the drug costs $30/mo instead of $1000/mo. I'd rather have that than the drug not existing at all.

Comment Re:Without explicitly saying it... (Score 2) 268

What's to say that Netflix wont choose an encryption scheme that has a Microsoft Windows only CDM?

The W3C is giving Netflix the opportunity to choose a cross-platform CDM where before they could only support platforms that Microsoft had "blessed" with Silverlight. Why would they did pick a Windows-only scheme if there's no advantage to that over Silverlight? Worst case, things stay the same. Big whoop.

Comment Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (Score 0) 268

Betteridge's law does not apply in every situation. It applies to headlines questioning whether a factual statement is true or false, i.e. "Is Obama really a Muslim?" (obviously not, or else the headline would be "Obama is Really a Muslim"). It does not apply to headlines questioning values like "Obama's Faith - Does it Really Matter?" (if the headline answered that question, why would anyone read the article?)

Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 1) 268

The W3C is not concerned with free software. It's concerned with standardizing browser features so that the same web page will work the same in IE as it does in Firefox as it does in Chrome as it does in whatever other browser somebody made that conforms to the standard. The W3C would like to see that everything done on the internet is implemented in the web browser, including any proprietary code necessary to render a web site (such as minified JavaScript). The W3C specifically opposes the kind of Internet we had when lots of web sites used Microsoft-owned patent-encumbered ActiveX in IE5 because it had all the features they needed.

Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 3, Informative) 268

Except with W3C standardization, you can make 1 plugin for all browsers instead of having to navigate the interfaces for IE, Mozilla, and Webkit, and probably just completely ignore all of the less popular browsers like Opera and Konqueror (don't think that everybody using Linux is willing to forego closed-source device drivers and software packages for ideological reasons and just not get decent graphics performance or Flash videos).

Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 1) 268

Neither can be used on a free platform, so what's the difference? How are platform specific encryption modules any better than platform specific native apps?

The point is that it's not any worse. Platform-specific decryption modules may not be any better than native apps if you want everything you use to be open-source, but they have the practical advantage that if you don't need Flash or Silverlight to decrypt it anymore, you can just use a web browser. The interface is consistent and cheaper to build than having to make a native app for every platform instead of just recompiling the decryption module.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 116

...but without any patents, why would people invest money in inventing something that can be easily copied? Evilness aside, drug companies are really the best example for why patents must exist. It takes millions of dollars in research to discover and test a new drug, but the manufacturing cost is usually quite tiny. If a generic drug could come out immediately once you've proved the compound is useful and safe, what financial incentive do you have to spend money on that research in the first place? The original purpose of patents was also to promote public disclosure. Without patent protection, early computers would likely not have been sold but their computations would have been leased out so nobody could disassemble and recreate them. With patent protection, those computers could be sold off without losing the monopoly, and the invention is publicly described for other people to improve upon.

Clearly there needs to be room for the "weekend builders" and if they need to use something still patented (or are improving upon the design), that's when FRAND is supposed to come in. The real problem is that patents have become too broad and non-specific, and often patents are granted for inventions that were already patented by someone else. In these cases it definitely has become legal business more than anything else, but just because there are several hundred patents on the Internet and another several hundred for every single little online thing that was actually invented in the 80's (as well as "doing X, but on the internet") doesn't mean the whole system is invalid.

Comment Not really about software patents (Score 5, Interesting) 116

It looks to me like the judges are finally deciding not against software patents in general, but patents of the type "doing X, but on a computer" or "doing X, but on a smartphone". The judgement is basically that you cannot patent something that's already patented, or is a natural law, or is an abstract concept not specific to any particular application, just because you describe it in an unusual way or put it in a new context, i.e. "turning a page, but on a touchscreen instead of an actual page" or in this particular case, "hedging risk, but by a computer algorithm instead of by bankers". Also not allowed would be "the browning of grain-based spongy material through local application of heat", also known as "making toast".

Comment Re:It's hard to believe (Score 1) 719

It's certainly true that the Libertarian ideology is in some part socially liberal, because it advocates that the government should get out of social issues. A pure Libertarian would say that government has no business outlawing gay sex or liquor sales on Sundays (abortion is slightly different because if you believe it's equivalent to murder, Libertarians usually still support outlawing murder). A pure Libertarian would also want to abolish welfare as well as every government service that works to reduce the impact of poverty. For that matter, a pure Libertarian would also want to shrink the military to 19th century levels and get the hell out of world politics. I think Ron Paul is the closest to pure Libertarian that I've ever seen, and he's actually too libertarian for most tea partiers.

As I understand it, the Tea Party is more of an ultraconservative response (by the anti-elite everyman Republicans, as opposed to the evil businessman Republicans) to the frankly corrupt and exploitative ideology of "neo-conservatism". Bush pays for a huge unnecessary war (Iraq) with catastrophic debt and expands the role of government in our daily lives (TSA et al) and as soon as the "mainstream media" ends its love affair with Karl Rove those Republicans are left scratching their heads thinking, "This is not what I thought I voted for..."

Slashdot Top Deals

"Inquiry is fatal to certainty." -- Will Durant