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Comment Open != Free, but that's OK (Score 1) 433

Google never said Android was free software. Google does maintain that Android is open, and they'll release the source code when they think it's ready. Android does not have to meet the FSF's strict definition of free and open source software; it doesn't even use the same license. A reality check by Brian Proffitt:

Comment The future? Or already the past? (Score 5, Interesting) 308

I used to disdain all these vague futurists. in many cases, it's sure to happen in the far distant future, and after the fact a few act smart enough to have said it long before. And many times it doesn't happen close to the way that's predicted. I always tended toward the practical side of things, rather than the theoretical.

But one thing after another after another that was obvious and predictable just by applying Moore's law, still surprised almost everyone when they became reality. Things like lots of movies on a tiny chip.

I was a singlularity denier, for one thing. But I have to reverse myself and admit that I'm wrong. Oddly, it was Ray, presenting to an audience in Vienna, which convinced me otherwise. The only thing about being a singularity futurist is that you've predicted what's already happened. Try living without today's technology and internet and see how far you get. It's already unclear to what extent the creators (ourselves) or that which we have created (technology) is the master. We always thought that we could turn off unfriendly robots, but we can't really turn off the internet, which is the largest robot yet (and the one that replaces most human brains for getting the best answers to things).

Ray takes a lot of flak but he deserves respect, even when you think he's wrong.

Comment Second-hand markets support new product prices (Score 1) 547

digital downloads have the secondary effect of entirely cutting out the popular market for second-hand films and games — a plus for publishers, but a big negative for the consumer

It's a negative for publishers, too. Just as with cars and many other products, a healthy used market supports high prices for new products. Buyers are more willing to pay full price for new when they know they can trade it in or resell it for a substantial portion of the purchase price. Eliminating the secondary market reduces the overall demand for new products, reducing prices, unit sales, or both.

Comment Re:Ninja throwing stars! (Score 2, Insightful) 661

Actually, we never had a 9l11 in 50 years preceding it, despite the fact that it was just as easy. 9/11 was a lucky fluke, a super ambitious prank-style act of terrorism that took a lot of planning but took the top prize ever in such acts. We had no reason to expect it to happen in another 50 years, especially since it relied on surprise. I agree with this post that hightened security has not played a significant role in stopping another 9/11. Nor have any of the costly wars. But some people have to say the opposite in order to hide their own guilt of taking the side which wasted so much money on nothing (gained). These people scream that such actions do buy us security in order to save their own faces.

Comment Re:Lost sales? (Score 1) 350

I wonder about this, too. My suspicion is that pirated commercial software currently impacts the spread of FOSS, too. If commercial software really were locked down, much of the current base may instead turn to other free software options, including FOSS. If that change is sufficiently widespread, we might see a rapid adoption of FOSS as standard software, and commercial software as a lesser used alternative.

Comment Re:Get out of jail free? (Score 3, Insightful) 1204

Nothing indicated that they were trying to arrest Jason. They want info as to whom sold the found iPhone. That sounds more like a felony. Gizmodo was not trying to sell it or keep it. But is a source protected in such a case of a physical item being the 'leak'? My guess is that reporters are only protected from revealing sources of info where the original info is still in the hands of the owner.

Comment X-Ray backscatter blocking clothing (Score 1) 821

Back in 2002, Slashdot reported on Demron, a lightweight fabric that blocks radiation as well as lead. It's $600 for a medical apron that would effectively cover the torso, but worthwhile for some, perhaps. Such clothing might even become popular and reasonably priced if, say, it was designed to include a message or image viewable only on an X-Ray backscatter scanner.

Comment Re:Programming (Score 3, Informative) 799

It's less important the content (how to program, which language) than the motivation, having the student want to learn it. When a youngster wants to learn something, they will learn more than you ever could have taught them. It's too easy for experts to not be teachers and lose the youngsters early.

If the kid wants to learn and you have the time and patience, you can never fail, one-on-one.

I agree strongly with you step-by-step approach to reaching your destination.

Comment Re:Population and cancer (Score 1) 235

Many well intentioned people contribute millions of dollars to increase the rate of death from cancer. They donate to heart research. If you don't die of a cardiac problem, you're more likely to die from cancer. Or you can give money for cancer research and increase the rate of death from cardiac arrest. The total death rate is constant.

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Beware of the Turing Tar-pit in which everything is possible but nothing of interest is easy.