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Comment Re:He crazy but necessary (Score 4, Insightful) 529

Well, that's your point of view.
What I see is that the GPL is one of the most used software licenses in the world, and it represents exacly his idea.
RMS has had great, awesome partial successes. His philosophy is shared by a lot of people, in practice, and his work has been key to us having real, viable, modern, free software platforms today. Without his work particularly and him been so "political", I don't think we could have gone this far.

Microsoft

Are Windows XP/7 Users Smarter Than a 3-Year-Old? 537

theodp writes "Those sounding the alarm about the difficulty in making the transition to Windows 8, especially on traditional computers, should check out Adam Desrosiers' son Julian, a 3-year-old kid who uses Windows 8 like a champ. 'I read these tech pundits and journalists discussing how hard it's gonna be for the general public to learn the new UI of Windows 8,' says Desrosiers. 'Nonsense. The long and short of it is: If my 3 years old son can learn Windows 8 through very moderate usage, anybody with half a brain can do so too.' Bill Gates has already successfully made the transition to what he calls an 'unbelievably great' Microsoft Surface. On Friday, we'll start finding out if current Windows XP and Windows 7 users are also smarter than the average 3-year-old!"
Math

Randomly Generated Math Article Accepted By 'Open-Access' Journal 197

call -151 writes "Many years ago, a human-generated intentionally nonsense paper was accepted by the (prominent) literary culture journal Social Text. In August, a randomly-generated nonsense mathematics paper was accepted by one of the many low-tier 'open-access' research mathematics journals. The software Mathgen, which generated the accepted submission, takes as inputs author names (or those can be randomly selected also) and generates nicely TeX'd and impressive-sounding sentences which are grammatically correct but mathematically disconnected nonsense. This was reviewed by a human, (quickly, for math, in 12 days) and the reviewers' comments mention superficial problems with the submission (PDF). The references are also randomly-generated and rather hilarious. For those with concerns about submitting to lower-tier journals in an effort to promote open access, this is not a good sign!"

Comment Re:God bless the free market! (Score 1) 386

I believe there is a false dichotomy here. You are making my point.
My point was that, for this case, markets _could_ solve it. Remember, the first option was: buy locally.
What I wanted to say was that markets do work, but some times you don't want the people to get exactly what they ask for, or what they pay for, you want to force them to choose the Right Thing (TM).
If you leave it to the markets, people will buy stuff with shit if it's cheaper, that is their choice, so they will force retailers to sell it. Traceability is possible, you can put an RFID in a living cow, and trace their whole lives, until they are BBQed, but markets won't pay for that. People will buy the cheapest, no matter what. I see that as markets working to give people what they want.

Comment Re:God bless the free market! (Score 1) 386

Consumers do have a way of knowing.
The can buy locally, and see whether fish are fed shit. Or they could only use brands that are well known for not feeding their fish shit. Even without a brand police, it could be done with badges that are difficult to reproduce, for example, like RFID.
Of course, that would be more expensive than buying whatever Walmart sells, and just hope there is no shit in it.
In the end, what I believe is that people prefer to buy cheaper and easier, even if there is a possibility of shit in their food.

Comment Re:God bless the free market! (Score 1) 386

Free markets are not designed, they just are.
Most of the time, free markets are not possible, and you get highly regulated markets, oligopolies or monopolies.
But in the cases where there is a somewhat free market, it works.

In this case, it's a free market.
If enough people stop buying this kind of fish, sellers will have to come up with a "shit free" badge, so they start buying again. If they do not stop buying, it's because shit does not taste that bad.
About hearing about it, it's the same thing. Papers will inform about shit in fish, only if enough people care about that kind of information.
In this case, markets are working.

IOS

Ask Slashdot: Best Approach To Reenergize an Old Programmer? 360

StonyCreekBare writes "I started out programming in Z80 assembler in the 1970s. Then I programmed in Pascal. Then x86 Assembler in the early '90s. Over time I did a smattering of C, Basic, Visual C++, Visual Basic, and even played at Smalltalk. Most recently I settled on Perl, and Perl/Tk as the favorite 'Swiss army Chainsaw' tool set, and modestly consider myself reasonably competent with that. But suddenly, in this tight financial environment I need to find a way to get paid for programming, and perl seems so 'yesterday.' The two hot areas I see are iOS programming and Python, perhaps to a lesser extent, Java. I need to modernize my skill-set and make myself attractive to employers. I recently started the CS193P Stanford course on iTunesU to learn iPad programming, but am finding it tough going. I think I can crack it, but it will take some time, and I need a paycheck sooner rather than later. What does the Slashdot crowd see as the best path to fame, wealth and full employment for gray-haired old coots who love to program?"

Comment Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (Score 2, Informative) 1199

You are right. They let them keep their logos, the only prohibition on brands is that they can't have "modifiers" like a Light version and stuff, they need to sell each version with a new brand name. Of course, they can't advertise on tv, on the streets, and inside the shops all signs also have the ugly images.

They were talking on tv last week about a decrease of more than half of teenage smokers. When al this started I thought it was nonsense, but it's funny how it works. Smokers tend to hide their boxes, because they are unpleasant, and they don't keep them in sight of kids. They even tend to smoke more privately. It should come naturally, without the offensive images, but they seem to work.

Comment Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (Score 3, Interesting) 1199

Here in Uruguay, we've had that for a couple of years, I think. A quick google images search of "uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos" will show you what that will look like (only the ones in Spanish are Uruguayan: www.google.com/search?q=uruguay paquetes de cigarrillos&tbm=isch).

They say that, in conjunction with a broad prohibition of smoking everywhere inside, it's working very well, esp. with young people

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Does Open-Source "Donationware" work?

An anonymous reader writes: We've been developing an algorithm for 3 years that could be useful to a lot of different people working in a variety of fields. Our attempts to commercialize it, however haven't been successful. No corporate entity that we have contacted to date has agreed to invest in it, or to participate in commercializing it. We are sitting on something really useful, but industry doesn't seem to understand its usage potential fully. Now we are thinking "How about if we Open Source the algorithm?". We would put our source code online for anybody to use, and place a "Please Donate Money if this is useful to you" link on the website. Has anybody does this in the past? Do people donate to you if you give them something useful for free? Or are most people natural-born "Free Riders", who use your software with gusto, but clam up when it comes to donating some Dollars in return for that? We have spent over 140,000 Dollars developing this algorithm, so if no money comes our way, we'd have to pick up the financial tab for that. Any help or advice on this from Slashdotters would be most welcome!
The Military

F-Secure Report: Another SCADA Attack in Iran — This Time With AC/DC 253

An anonymous reader writes "F-Secure antivirus company of Finland has reported receiving e-mails from an Iranian nuclear scientist, who says Persian uranium-235 isotope refining efforts have just been hit with yet another cyber strike. (Stuxnet, Duqu and Flamer-Skywiper being the previous iterations of the same Operation Project Olympic attack plan.) Last month, President Obama's staff has admitted to the New York Times that there is a joint Israel-U.S. cybermilitary operation was behind the mishaps Iranians have recently been suffering with their UF6 gas refining centrifuge systems in the Natanz and Fordo plants. This time, the unverified e-mail claims, a new Metasploit-based malware owns Iranian VPNs, causes fault in the nuclear plants' Siemens-based industrial control systems, and randomly starts to play AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' aloud via the infected computers' speakers."
The Internet

Trolling Al Qaeda... For Peace? 207

The Mister Purple writes "There is a small initiative underway to combat Islamic militant recruiting on the Internet... by trolling them. Quoting the article: 'The program, called Viral Peace, seeks to occupy the virtual space that extremists fill, one thread or Twitter exchange at a time. Shahed Amanullah, a senior technology adviser to the State Department and Viral Peace's creator, tells Danger Room he wants to use "logic, humor, satire, [and] religious arguments, not just to confront [extremists], but to undermine and demoralize them." Think of it as strategic trolling, in pursuit of geopolitical pwnage.' So, does this mean that I'm promoting peace when I post YouTube comments?"

Comment Re:Inertia (Score 1) 557

It's like I say about GUIs - rather than trying to force everyone into a menu model or a ribbon model, include both. The people who like menus can use the menus, the people who like the ribbon can use the ribbon, and if a menu-user sits at a ribbon-user's computer (or vice versa), a single configuration option should let you switch between the two. We should be adapting computers to match the way we (as individuals) like to work, not expecting individuals to adapt how they work to match one monolithic way all computers work.

Interesting, but wrong. One way is better than the other. Choose the better way and stick with it.
If the transition from the worse election to the better one is too hard, stick with the old. If there is a new, better way to do things, it needs to come in a new package, a new product. that's not a problem, we change devices very often.
Configurability works for less than 5% of people. Regular people like to use whatever is the default, all efforts should be focused on good defaults.

Comment Re:It's from Microsoft and this is Slashdot... (Score 2) 1027

Good post. But just to clarify: you can't "steal IP".
First, there is no IP, there are copyrights, patents, trademarks and secret stuff.
You might screw people with those things, but none of them is similar to "stealing", with involves taking something from someone, with the result of them not having it in the end.

Comment Re:Yeah, yeah, racist rants, again ! (Score 2) 329

Damn!
They copied a European village! Shame on them!

This is a good example why "Intellectual Property" has nothing to do with actual property.

Europeans stole tombs, temples, villages, cities, and even a couple hundred meters of a mountains height (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potosí ) from Africa, América, Asia. That _is_ theft, but it's called "civilization".

Then, the Chinese copy the looks of a city, steal nothing tangible, and they are "pirates".

That's the difference between "Intellectual property" and real property. Depending on whether you detent the dominant culture, one can be a great thing, and the other shameful.

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