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Comment Re:Contrived issue centering around Netflix (Score 1) 268

Netflix wants to switch not because they're looking for DRM. They want to switch because they're looking for a better platform that also supports adequate DRM. Sure, no matter what they come up with, somebody's going to find a way to circumvent it. But the majority of people aren't going to put that amount of effort into it.

Besides, from all signs, not even Microsoft takes Silverlight seriously anymore. ( http://www.infoworld.com/t/microsoft-windows/microsoft-shuns-its-own-silverlight-while-embracing-flash-214335 )

Switching to HTML5 will allow them to build a user interface that will work on any system that'll run a modern web browser and stream video content as long as a supported DRM module is available.THAT is the reason that, as of now, the only way to stream content from Netflix on linux involves using WINE. They climbed into bed with Microsoft and moved their platform to be 100% Silverlight, and Microsoft absolutely refuses to allow their DRM interface to be ported to Mono, which means that any system that isn't Windows or MacOS is SOL.

DRM support in HTML5 allows Netflix to be in control of which platforms are going to be able to play their content.

Comment Re:Developer? (Score 1) 220

It's not all sadism, although a little of that certainly helps.

As is pointed out in some books, part of the "Hacker Mindset" involves identifying and questioning assumptions. ( eg: http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/networking/security/9781593273422 )

Screwing around with the UI and diving the code to figure out where the assumptions are, whether or not they're valid, how the assumptions can be invalidated, and what unexpected things happen when the unexpected occurs -- For some people, that's the very definition of "a good time."

Comment Re:Time (Score 1) 284

I'm kinda okay with that. Normally, when I go to bed is when I plug my phone in.... If I remember to plug my phone in. I've got an extended battery installed so I don't absolutely HAVE to charge my phone every night. If they get things set so every device uses the same charging standard and you can have one mat charge all your devices simultaneously, that would be killer for convenience. Get the XXL-sized charging mat and put it on the floor next to the bed. Get undressed, drop your pants on the mat, and when you wake up the next day, your phone (and any other digital device in your pants) is fully charged.

Comment Re:Which meaning of "free"? (Score 1) 112

It is a patentable subject, but overcoming prior art is usually quite difficult.

Maybe in a country with a sane patent system, but in the US, an estimated 30% of granted patents are duplicates.

Source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

While I thought the program was extremely interesting and a good listen, if that sort of thing isn't for you, you can read the transcript. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/sites/default/files/TAL441_transcript.pdf -- the statistic is near the top of page 10.

Comment Re:Which meaning of "free"? (Score 1) 112

Recipes aren't copyrightable. Any recipe you can find is "free as in freedom".

Not quite. Recipes are sets of instructions on how to combine and process ingredients into a finished product.

That makes a recipe a description of a description of a METHOD, which is patentable in the United States.

Comment Re:Killer app, Driving you home from a bar! (Score 1) 295

Buying a $40,000 vehicle to save on $50 taxi rides doesn't seem to offer a good ROI.

Say you're right, that the self-driving car was $40k. According to Toyota's website, **BASE** price for a Prius is $24k. So, if you were even contemplating a new car purchase, you'd only really have to justify the extra $16k for the self-driving option.

$16k at $50/taxi ride is 320 rides that you'd have to eliminate for the feature to pay for itself. If you only use the self-drive feature when you're going out drinking, and go drinking one night per week, the feature pays for itself in 320 weeks. That's 6.15 years. (6 years, 8 weeks) -- Certainly not an unreasonable expectation of the car's useful lifetime. Last several cars I've had lasted > 10 years before they either died or were replaced for other reasons.

Comment Re:People torrent on their mobile phones? (Score 1) 36

Wouldn't it just point to their mobile phone instead, which is contracted to a real name and credit card / money?

Not directly. And in many cases, not at all.

A smartphone that has been connected to a WiFi network will default to sending ALL internet traffic over WiFi instead of the cellular network. So, it'll be just like your netbook.

So, if the RIAA/MPAA wanted to file a "John Doe" lawsuit based on torrent tracker records, they'd see that the public IP used on the connection was on the network owned by, say, AT&T. They serve AT&T with a subpoena, and find out that, at the time in question, that IP was assigned to "Mom & Pop Coffee Shop".

At this point, they either name the owner of "Mom & Pop Coffee Shop" directy in their lawsuit and call it good, or they contact them and demand records on who that IP was assigned to.... Records which probably don't exist. In which case, they'll probably say "fuck it" and name the coffee shop in the suit anyway.

The larger chains that contract to third-parties to manage their customer-pointing WiFi (like Starbucks) may actually retain those MAC address records (and email addresses, if their capture page collects them)

Comment Donate your old cellphones to charity. (Score 1) 89

US law requires that cellphone network carriers accept emergency calls, even from non-active cellphones. So if you turn the thing on and it can see a tower, you can use it to make a 911 call. No account, no contract, no cost.

Some charity organizations, like domestic abuse shelters, are giving out donated inactivated cellphones to people who don't have one of their own so that no matter where they are, if they get into trouble, they can at least dial 911.

A little quality time with your search engine of choice should turn up any number of places that you can take your old phones (preferably WITH chargers) to be donated. Hell, you carrier's local storefront probably has a dropbox. -- Just make sure you ask first whether they donate the working phones or just send the whole shebang out to the scrappers.

Comment Re:I don't know... (Score 1) 379

Having a built-in recovery routine in the bootloader can at least avoid a nasty trip for repair

The recovery environment doesn't have to be built into the bootloader. You just have to be able to bootstrap it via the bootloader. This is, after all, how Android phones work. (At least, on my HTC EVO)

Comment Re:whoa! that looks expensive (Score 1) 241

If you go to the company's website and actually look at the board and the better photos on the starter kit entry, you'll note that the cables are all standard 10-pin ribbons. In other words, the same kind of cables that are used for connecting serial ports to motherboards, but without removing one of the wires from the ribbon.

If something more Arduino-like is what you want, look at their Fez Panda-II. It's $39.95 and has Arduino-compatible headers.

Both boards are built around a 72 MHz ARM7 that just happens to have Microsoft's .Net runtime preinstalled. Don't want to use .Net? Rather develop for the bare metal? That's what the JTAG port is for.

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