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Comment Re:What am I missing here??? (Score 1) 168

IANAL. I think the murky issue is the licensing. If Capitol Records put the mp3s on some site and said, "Come get free mp3s" and didn't have any terms or conditions, what's a reasonable assumption? Those mp3s are downloadable and distributable by everyone and anyone? Or that only consumers are permitted to download them? Without a license or terms of use/download, it's unclear to me.

Comment The patent (Score 1) 261

On Google Patent Search: 7,181,690.

IANAL. I think I can summarize the patent like this: a system which displays the player's avatar and a limited number of other players' avatar based on virtual presence, plus the server software which tells the client what to display.

I would think that depending on the interpretation of "display", this patent could be invalidated by any text-based MUD. I could easily display the location of other players avatars, and I'm sure there's a MUD out there which could render the character's image in ASCII text.

Comment Re:Premise guarantees failure (Score 4, Interesting) 154

Exactly. The consumer will direct the market based on the availability of competing, cheaper services.

The $200 billion that the telecoms got in the 1990s to wire America was squandered, and very little was actually done with it (arguably kept prices for existing services at the same level instead of having them go up, but not more than that).

This is where municipal government--boroughs, villages, city sections--could play a hand in essentially buying groups--"aggregate individual choices"-- for broadband service, but still allow residents to choose their own provider.

Comment Dear ACM, STOP. (Score 5, Insightful) 474

Dear ACM and Computer Science Teachers Association, both of which I am a professional member,

STOP.

Please.

I know constitutional matters fairly well. I've got degrees in computer science and K-12 education. I see things from a younger yet informed, educated standpoint (I am in the first generation to be tested under the PA tests which satisfy No Child Left Behind).

Stop campaigning the federal government for educational things. The federal government has NOT been granted the right to deal with education in any way. Its current educational meddling in state-run schools should serve as evidence of this, and should be unconstitutional. Continued federal campaigning will only increase the amount of influence the federal government thinks it has and tries to have on public schools, an influence which is detrimental to the individual needs of students and the societal needs of their communities.

Instead, my dear ACM, please spend your time and money asking state departments of education, which move far, far quicker than the federal department of education, to include CS in curriculum. The federal department of education moves as a brontosaurus would, but the state department of education moves like a triceratops--still slow, but certainly quicker and more aware of its surroundings than a brontosaurus would be.

More effectively would be a grassroots campaign among ACM members to try to convince local school districts that CS needs to be included more in curriculum, especially in city and suburban districts where programming jobs are more available.

Asking the federal government to intervene is asking for something which will simply worsen the situation, and something which cannot be undone.

Comment Listreadygo. (Score 1) 517

Comment Books on Android development (Score 1) 366

Hello Android is the only one of these which isn't out yet. Hell, if you order one tomorrow, one-day shipping will get it there before Christmas!

Comment Materials on Watergate (Score 4, Informative) 126

If you don't know much about Watergate, I suggest hitting up Watergate on Wikipedia, then considering acquiring a copy of Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men. Those two reporters were the ones two interacted with Deep Throat, named for a 70s porn.

The 1976 Redford/Hoffman movie version of the book All the President's Men is the definitive story in video format.

Emery's Watergate is another arguably excellent book on the matter.

Avoid the new "Frost/Nixon" film--it's history ambiguous and largely inaccurate; it's a Hollywood version of the story with excellent acting. Instead, watch the original interviews.

Comment Total control (Score 1) 1117

Remember, physical access is total access. Most of the kids won't go outside the rules. However, as soon as the geeky kid figures out how to get past all your artificial security measures and tells another kid, you have lost all of your security.

The punishment could be to take away the laptop, but then the kid couldn't get work done because you've essentially taken away his books and notepad. Most kids are indifferent about detention and suspension these days.

I guess you could implement some way to force the OS to connect to the school via VPN and use the school's internet connection all of the time, but then the school has to have the necessary bandwidth for several hundred laptops connecting every night and weekend.

Honestly, the best policies are social policies. "If we catch you looking at porn or playing games, we tell everyone in the school and probably give you some kind of irrelevant punishment." Guilty consciences, laughing mouths, and pointing fingers are far more deterrent than NetNanny.

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