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Comment Underlying structure versus pretty pictures. (Score 5, Insightful) 320

I suffered through the VRML list back in the day when people first wanted to make 3D cyberspace.

There's a conflict: you either model 3D functional worlds, or the underlying structure, or you create a language which can draw things in 3D.

The problem with the latter is that it's not stand alone, but requires people to come up with an intersection of code, resources and aesthetics.

What people actually need is the former, which is the ability to create functional 3D models and describe them in a language like HTML, and have the browser itself create an interactive world from that.

Comment It's a big assumption that mobile will take off. (Score 4, Insightful) 108

There are many things in Net 2.0 that are very popular, but that do not necessarily have utility or profitability.

For example, just about everyone and their dog (on the internet, no one can tell you're a werewolf) uses Facebook, and before it MySpace, Friendster, Digg, Reddit, etc. But do these services have a working business model? It seems they all flounder at that point.

It seems to me that most Net 2.0 firms have an unsustainable business model, which is:

1. Get really popular.
2. ???
3. Sell company -> Profit!

In the same way, we know we've got a lot of people who like using their phones to tweet, click, troll, sext, etc. But is this actually useful? And other than the cell phone providers, is anyone making money off this with a sustainable model?

Comment Don't enter real information on commercial sites. (Score 1) 85

If you're buying something, be very careful but it's acceptable.

However, on freebie sites like Facebook it makes no sense to let them see into your life.

It's amazing how many people will rail against "corporations" and then put their entire life history, home address, pictures of friends and family, etc. into Facebook.

Comment Gentle reminder about security (Score 5, Insightful) 235

I think these gentle reminders about security are great and are part of the spirit of hacking.

Which would the USA rather have: (a) goofball hackers create a zombie panic, or (b) our next enemy uses a coordinated attack to create actual panic?

Reminds me of the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast by Orson Welles.

Comment Part of free markets is brand protection (Score 1) 611

I can see Ron Paul's side of things.

He needs to control his brand, and to own it outright. Thus, he benefits not only from having ownership, but having his legal right made clear.

When we first look at this story, it's like "LOL irony afoot. Free market, bitches!"

But after some sober contemplation, one can see the wisdom of the Ron Paul team's position.

I still think that, were Ron Paul to adopt the foreign policy outlook of his son Rand, he would be electable overnight.

Comment Aim for "low cost" instead of "free" (Score 1) 60

Used to live in a city with "free wifi". It was horrendously slow because everybody used it and most still paid a normal provider.

If you make a public resource, you have what economists call a "free rider" problem: most people aren't obligated to pay in to it, so they simply take advantage of it without paying in.

This causes the quality of service to decline. It is related to the "Tragedy of the Commons" where overconsumption of a public resource results in its depletion.

A better option to "free" internet might be aiming to lower costs and improve performance, and then allow local residents to use additional bandwidth to provide free local hotspots.


Submission + - Six months without Adobe Flash, and I feel fine (

hessian writes: "As documented on /., six months ago I de-installed the Adobe FlashTM player on all my browsers.

This provoked some shock and incredulity from others. After all, Flash has been an essential content interpreter for over a decade. It filled the gap between an underdeveloped JavaScript and the need for media content like animation, video and so on."

Comment Insight into Google's legislative future. (Score 2, Interesting) 183

Here's a hypothesis:

Google beat the last challenge from the antitrust attorneys from Texas, but it can't count on the future.

Specifically, other states or federal entities could attack it, and then there's all of the EU, which traditionally takes a harder line on privacy violation and monopoly.

Schmidt is no dummy and so he's divesting a reasonable amount (less than half) of his stock to hedge against a potential catastrophic future decline.

Remember what happened to Microsoft. They basically floundered hard after an assault by the department of justice. If the same happens to Google, they'll have to put most of their plans on hold for a decade as well.

Comment It may be a win for the corporate world. (Score 1) 109

For Apple, and the rest of the corporate world, it's bad news, because it seems it's getting harder and harder to use patents as weapons.

I think this could have a positive effect including for the corporate world. The end of patents-as-weapons will make it easier to introduce new products without getting sued, and mean companies spending less time in expensive courtroom battles.

If I want to introduce the next iPod or Xbox 360 or just about anything, someone out there has a patent that covers something on it, from simple stuff like "the power button flashes twice when the power goes on" to the inner workings. Having less patent power could be a good thing.

Then again, I'm not sure that's what this case is about. The patents themselves were found to be improperly constructed at trial. Thus, this case deals with those patents alone, although I like your spin on it :)

Comment Let the USPS run itself as a business (Score 2) 564

Whenever the USPS has money, the Congress puts more rules on it. The most recent was the rule about having to pay forward its health care expenses:

The pensions, union rules and other government regulations are strangling this once-great postal service, and it can't keep up. Removing these rules would allow it to be competitive again.

Comment Three cheers for Firefox (Score 1) 167

If you're using Firefox, one problem is that they've been very tardy with H.264 support, for ideological reasons.

I understand some of their reasoning and am not critical of it.

If anything, I think every FireFox user should try it without Flash. There just are not crashes. It's inspiring.

Comment People are not equal (Score 1) 214

People will still write, will still sing, and will still make movies.

Yes, but will we get the same quality of work?

Ernest Hemingway was able to devote his life to his writing because it not only paid the bills, but paid comparable to work as an attorney or doctor.

If writing pays nothing, he'll take those other jobs instead, and not have the time to write the masterpieces he would do otherwise.

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