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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: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 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 Determinism is consistent, but not supportable (Score 1) 610

This is the best summary I could tease out of the follow up paper:
Although, as we show in [1], determinism may formally be shown to be consistent, there is no longer any evidence that supports it, in view of the fact that classical physics has been superseded by quantum mechanics, a non-deterministic theory. The import of the free will theorem is that it is not only current quantum theory, but the world itself that is non-deterministic, so that no future theory can return us to a clockwork universe.

See it? At a certain level, future events are inherently unpredictable. These small uncertainties bubble all the way up to our level. So, while we can predict with confidence that the sun will rise tomorrow, certain other smaller events are inherently unpredictable. That's a a circular way of saying that subatomic particles and big things like people have free will, because at least some of their actions cannot be determined by past events and circumstances.

They do this with a proof that first assumes such a model of events exists, and then go on to prove such a model is mathematically impossible. There are no hidden variables or forces, because quantum mechanics won't allow any. The world is non-deterministic, and it's no longer possible to prove that it is deterministic.

Comment MS, you forgot to round to the nearest tenth (Score 1) 532

Differences of less than a tenth of a second aren't generally noticeable to users, so it makes no sense to measure down to the nearest 0.01 seconds. If all of the numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth of a second, then 4 sites are a dead heat, and Chrome is the overall winner.

Single winners (>0.1 seconds difference):
Chrome: 7
FF: 1
IE: 6

2 winners (=0.1 seconds difference):
FF, IE: 2
Chrome, IE: 2
Chrome, FF: 2

Dead heat: 4 (=0.1 seconds difference)

Comment Re:Like Android, don't like the G1 (Score 1) 546

The phone is tied to one, and only one, Google account. That account is the only one the phone can use for GMail, GCal, Google Docs, personalized Google Maps, Picasa, etc. The only way to switch to another Google account is to reset the device to factory defaults. Even if you do get the account without providing any information, if you actually use your Google account, eventually it will have far more important personal information fed into through the phone. You'll be de facto tied to that anonymous GMail account.

XBox (Games)

Submission + - DVD size limiting Unreal Tournament 3 on Xbox 360 (gamepro.com)

powerlord writes: DVD's size may be starting to show its limits. Mark Rein, President of Epic (creators of "Gears of War"), was quoted as saying, "We'll compress some things. But you know, we may have fewer maps on the 360 version... Blu-Ray has definitely given us a lot of legroom," while speaking at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival.
Operating Systems

Submission + - XenSource releases product, gets bought by Citrix (networkworld.com) 1

billstewart writes: XenSource has been in the news twice this week — Monday they release a product, then Tuesday they get bought for $500m by Citrix. Here's Network World's take on the buyout and on the product. It looks like the product is packaging new releases of several of their components — there's a 64-bit hypervisor version 3.1 that uses the Intel and AMD hardware tricks, APIs, management tools, and XenMotion, which lets you move running virtual machines around. According to Xen's product page, the free-beer XenExpress version gets the hypervisor, APIs, and some of the management tools, but not the fancier management or XenMotion, and it's somewhat crippled in terms of capacity (max 4 VMs, 2 CPUs, 4GB RAM, while the commercial versions support 128GB total RAM, larger VMs, and unlimited VMs and CPUs.)

(But will it run Linux?) It will run Linux — one of the data sheets implies that Linux only runs in 32-bit mode, while Windows can run 64-bit. Perhaps there's more documentation that provides more details.

The Internet

Submission + - Bandwidth crunch looms for cable companies (arstechnica.com)

coax4life writes: While Verizon and AT&T lay fiber, cable companies are looking at a huge bandwidth crunch according to a new report. Increased demand for high-def programming on the TV side and faster download speeds on the ISP side of the business will leave cable companies in a rough spot — after spending over $100 billion in the last decade on infrastructure improvements. Jumping on the fiber bandwagon may help. 'Upgrading to a fiber infrastructure is a much more expensive proposition, and one more likely to occur in areas where the cable companies are facing more competition. It can happen, though — several years ago, Comcast's predecessor on the northwest side of Chicago laid fiber on top of its existing coaxial installation. The payoff is good for both cable companies and users, as it can result in more programming choices and faster Internet access.' Moving to switched digital video solutions will also help.

Feed Science Daily: Cat Disease Linked To Flame Retardants In Furniture And To Pet Food (sciencedaily.com)

A mysterious epidemic of thyroid disease among pet cats in the United States may be linked to exposure to dust shed from flame retardants in household carpeting, furniture, fabrics and pet food, scientists are reporting. They report evidence linking the disease to exposure to environmental contaminants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which the researchers found to be elevated in blood samples of hyperthyroid cats.
Editorial

Journal Journal: Employee and customer problems come up, some of us are both?

I am an employee for one of the largest banks in the country, recently when calling as a customer I had a chance to butt heads with customer service. When I returned to work the next day my manager and unit manager had received details about the conversation, and a screen shot of my account details. Most of us support our companies by using the service we help to provide, but what do you all do when those situations come into conflict. I am moving my accounts away but what legal options are t

The Courts

Submission + - The 63,000,000,000 billion dollar lawsuit (foxnews.com) 1

Crazy Taco writes: This has to be the most ridiculous lawsuit ever filed in the history of the United States court system. Apparently a South Carolina inmate wants to sue Michael Vick for 63,000,000,000 billion dollars (and I don't believe the amount is a typo). He claims Michael Vick stole two white mixed pit bull dogs from his home in Holiday, Fla., used them for dogfighting operations in Richmond, Va., and then "used the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government." His complaint alleges Vick would need the missiles because he pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in February of this year. The complaint goes on to state that "Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes" and requests that the money, "backed by gold and silver," be delivered to the front gates of the Williamsburg Federal Correctional facility in South Carolina.

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