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Comment Re:Non-Internet issues (Score 1) 365

old fashioned paper ham radio magazines, etc

I am very happy with Zino for many of my magazine subscriptions. Most magazines are read once and then donate or recycle; having them electronic takes up much less space. With some magazines you also have access to back issues. For the ones that do not, a screenshot of an interesting article is usually enough to find it online elsewhere. For the magazines embracing more restrictive DRM, I find a replacement or continue to receive the physical version that can be scanned. If Zinio goes away, nothing of great value to me is lost -- same risk as a magazine going out of business.

There are still some magazines that have not or will not embrace the digital; for those, I am carefully evaluating whether I still need the information they contain. This also applies to magazines that are charging the same price for physical as electronic subscription, despite the savings in printing and mailing.

Yes, yes, a magazine or book does not crash or run out of battery; for most of the magazines I get, not having immediate access to it is not a deal-breaker.

Comment Re:Not new... but also inevitable. (Score 1) 673

Thinking back 25+ years ago, so please forgive any inaccuracies. Reasons to crack open a mid-80's Mac (128K or 512K Fat Mac) and void your warranty/AppleCare: 1) Replace the *#%$ flyback transformer 2) Aftermarket RAM upgrade (128K->512K) 3) Third party hard drive 4) Floppy disk 400K->800K upgrade 5) External video adapter 6) Other stuff lost in the corners of my mind. Didn't the SE/30 also require a case-cracking kit?

Yes, the original 128K, 512K, Mac Plus, Mac SE, and Mac SE/30 all required the case-cracking kit. Essentially it was a long handled Torx screwdriver, and a hinged piece of metal to assist in opening the firm-fitting back of the case from the front. Search for "macintosh torx" for some examples.

The biggest upgrades at the time was going from four 256K SIMM to four 1M SIMM for MultiFinder. So many programs, all running at once! I still have an SE/30 upgrade which installed a XT compatible board in the expansion slot. Several companies made external video cards for the SE and SE/30.

On topic, notice that almost every Mac after that was able to be user-upgradable fairly easily (Mac II family, Performa, Quadra, etc.) mainly because RAM and hard drive sizes were increasing so dramatically year to year. How fast is RAM and hard drive capacity increasing today?

Comment Re:Radio Shack Pocket Computer (Score 1) 231

The Pocket Computer 7, yes. Which is why I wrote all my programs down on paper. Hated when the battery needed to be replaced, it meant that I would soon be retyping in my programs. The PC-6 had a backup battery, a CR2016, so replacing the main batteries did not make it forget your programs or data. It also had a specialty printer port, so you could print data or programs.

Comment Re:why not adapt (Score 1) 61

Reading your proposal for having an FPGA hold a critical part of the encryption process, I was reminded of the many places we have seen this idea before: dongles (parallel port and USB), arcade games (slapstic from Atari, the CPS-2 "suicide batteries", and NAOMI to name a few), SmartCards, and others.

Instead of using FPGA, I would use a cheaper PIC or Atmel device -- the security is in the algorithm implemented in the device. Having a copy of the hardware in the hand of an attacker, whether cheap or expensive, nullifies the extra security it provides. Notice for the devices above, they were all compromised after diligent work over time.

For a out-of-band verification system, I can see this working pretty well -- for an individual user or server. Making sure that the device does the calculation and not holding a "shared secret" is the key. Having to carry around a physical device to decrypt your data would be inconvenient; having only one device that can authenticate users is ideal (and a spare device for Murphy).

I just find it curious that the wheel of progress is rotating back to using separate hardware to implement hashing or security instead of just relying on algorithm complexity.

Comment Re:If I buy a DVD (Score 1) 371

Actually, this has been tried. It was not accepted very well in the marketplace.

limited-use-dvd-technology self-destructing-dvds-coming-soon the-one-use-self-destructing-dvd-returns

Of course, there (the original) DiVX format, which used a phone-home DVD player and special DiVX discs from Circuit City. Also a miserable failure.

What I find funny is that most people who buy DVD movies only watch them a couple of times. Occasionally it was cheaper to buy it than to rent it (think of all the overstocked copies of a popular movie at the rental places), so I have a few movies myself that were watched once, and have been loaned out to others.

Which is the crazy thing about all this -- it is the removal of the ability to loan out or resell the physical copy that seems to be the goal. E-book readers, Steam cloud software, all of these replace first-sale with license-to-use.

Comment Re:Target audience (Score 1) 416

I still thought Opera had advertising in the interface, and had actively avoided using it. After your comment, I read their 1Q report -- apparently they're working on back ends to compress web data to send to their Opera mobile browsers (less bandwidth), along with a Google partnership for the desktop search (and other ventures).

I wondered how long it would take for streaming movies to get ads embedded within, or around the display frame. Combine this innovation with the picture recognition advertising technology, and preference targeting, and I'm afraid the synergy of the underlying revenue stream would be insurmountable.

Would Dish Network or DirecTV have prior art on some aspect of this? They both currently have integrated ads within the program guide. Or the TVGuide channel, with the incessant video ad at the top? Did someone think to include an ad frame on the new TVs that connect to the internet and show videos and web pages? How about Microsoft's and Dish Network's WebTV? Video games with a "pay to continue" timer?

Comment Re:One of the most un-American things I've ever re (Score 1) 618

We've set up a system in which the priority is short term quarterly gains, and that's what we get. If you want a viable society in the long term, you have to invest in basic research.

For now, quarterly results are great, because we're still coasting on all the innovation of previous years. There has been no disruptive technology to dislodge this mindset.

However, if one or two companies have a mindset of finding a competitive advantage by doing research for a couple of years, they could leapfrog existing companies with their newer processes. But, no guarantee of finding an advantage. It takes visionaries to look farther than the quarterly cash flow sheets.

Most companies will not do long-term research until necessary. The advantage of waiting for a new innovation to appear (from someone else's research) is that it's not near as expensive to clone the advantage for yourself.

So, our current model is that small companies spend lots of money looking for competitive advantages against larger companies, find one, and promptly get bought out or cloned.

Comment Re:PvP could be different - current designs are ba (Score 3, Informative) 178

Or perhaps having every guard in every town on the continent kill you on sight? You think people would randomly attack strangers? Ganking would vanish in a heartbeat. You'd probably end up with a feudal system very quickly, where everyone was in one of a few massive guilds that would issue kill on sight orders for anyone that harmed one of their own- this may not be what the designers/players want, but it would work. Make losing hurt and the ganking issue solves itself

What you are describing was implemented in Ultima Online. Kill a player, all the guards in cities mark you KoS (kill on sight). The solution was to not go to cities anymore. No banking, but there's plenty of killed player corpses to loot.

So, roving gangs of PKers hang out at the load points between areas, and kill your character while your computer is loading the next area's graphics. The solution for a while was the formation of anti PKers, who would descend in mass and swarm a PK group. But, now their characters were also flagged as PKers.

So yes, it ended up as a feudal system. Unfortunately, it was a world where the PK eventually won.

Comment Old Knowledge vs. New (Score 1) 599

At least I'm not the only one watching these programs -- Holmes on Homes may be the one you are referencing.

Ideally, an older contractor (or programmer) has to have a young mindset. Continuing to do what has worked in the past makes it harder for your work to interface with current methodologies. Writing database software using ODBC.DLL calls or not using Ditra under your new bathroom tile floors -- it means that your work will not mesh with current practices.

I would expect a specialist in their field to remain mostly up-to-date on their knowledge, or let me know they specialize in a particular older technology. Or, one would hope, they can do both.

Comment Re:MySQL & LDAP? (Score 2, Interesting) 345

We are talking about making the distro as lite as possible. Putting the entire games suite takes up another big chunk. I never understood the reasoning behind the "games suite" to begin with. Wouldn't it be better if people chose their own games?

For most Windows users, there are only four games -- Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Minesweeper, and (for some) the pinball game. When they see all of the games available from the live Ubuntu CD, they are interested in finding out more. As a selling point, seeing the list of games already installed has impact on end users. Showing them all of the games available for free via the package management system just seals the deal.
(Yes, XP has the Internet-enabled games as well. Meh.)


Reuse Code Or Code It Yourself? 429

eldavojohn writes "I began coding for a project that had simple requirements for my employer — Web services and a test application for them. But requirements have been creeping, as they always do. Initially I had decided to use the Spring Framework with Hibernate. And I re-used a lot of libraries that made things simple and quick for me. The new requests coming in involve capabilities beyond those of the frameworks. Now, I used to be told that good programmers write code and great programmers reuse code. It's starting to look like I would have saved myself a whole lot of time if I had written the database transaction using JDBC instead of Hibernate — now that I'm married to this object model framework, some of this stuff doesn't look doable. So what is better for the majority of software projects out there: reuse code, or code from scratch? What elements or characteristics of a problem point to one option over the other?"

Comment Re:Dialog boxes shut off critical thinking (Score 2, Interesting) 568

I think the solution is to make the buttons themselves say what they do, rather than clicking Ok or Cancel, have the button say "Exit crashed program", or "Install new program" or what have you. Always being OK or Cancel conditions people to just blindly click.

The Apple user interface guidelines have always stated that verbs should be used on command buttons. Inserting a blank disk under Mac OS pops up the "Format" or "Eject" dialog box. On Windows, the text says "To format the disk, click OK. To quit, click CANCEL" with "OK" or "Cancel" buttons.
Of course, if you put something other than OK or CANCEL in the dialog box, most Windows users freeze up. They don't know what to click.
Making users read the dialog box text helps. Just make sure the text is actually useful for making a decision.

The Courts

RIAA's $222k Verdict Is Likely To Be Set Aside 224

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Apparently the RIAA's 'big gun' didn't fare so well this morning in Duluth, when he tried to persuade the judge in Capitol v. Thomas that the part of the Copyright Act which says 'by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending', can be disregarded. According to an in-person account by Wired.com the Judge indicated that he is likely to grant a mistrial, setting aside the $222,000 jury verdict based upon his incorrect jury instruction, and that he will probably hand down his decision in September. Just yesterday some of the same lawyers got rebuffed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in their attempt to argue that Cablevision's online storage for its customers constitutes a copyright infringement, in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings. There, too, the content owners had argued that the wording of the Copyright Act did not mean what it said. There, too, the Court politely but firmly disagreed."
The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Identity theft nets fraudster 16 years in prison

coondoggie writes: "A United States District sentenced Isaac Allen this week to a 16 ½ years in the slammer for identity theft and bank fraud. According to court documents, Allen and Pasco, along with other members of their ring, defrauded a series of banks in Florida, including Fifth Third Bank, BB&T, Bank of America and other financial institutions, by stealing names, social security numbers and other personal identifying information of individuals and then posing as these persons to obtain credit cards and credit lines from these financial institutions, the DOJ stated. Pasco and Allen then used the credit cards, drew down the credit lines and absconded when payment was due. They stole more than $150,000 through this scheme. [spam URL stripped]"
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