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Comment Re:Obvious - best seller before it is printed - du (Score 1) 110

It is pretty obvious that a printer cannot know that a book will be on a best seller list before it is printed and there is no way to print covers retroactively.

[citation needed], please. I assume that you can actually show some real examples of first-edition hardcovers with preprinted "bestseller" covers, right?

A common formulation I see on covers is "By the bestselling author..." or "By the bestselling author of Foo...", both of which can be true before the book is printed.

Another option is to print a "bestseller" dust jacket for the second print run. (In principle, the dust jackets on the original first editions could even be replaced with the "bestseller" jackets, but I doubt that anyone goes to the trouble.)

Another variation is to affix a "bestseller" sticker to the cover of the first edition, after the book makes the bestseller list.

Yet another possibility is that the hardcover made its bestseller list, allowing the first print run of the trade paperback or mass-market paperback editions to bear the "bestseller" tag.

Comment Re:Letterbox drop: 'how to secure your wireless' (Score 1) 884

Consider writing up a simple letter (starting with: Just a note from a neighbor), detail that someone in the area has been breaking into wireless networks and may be pirating stuff/doing illegal things which could lead to difficulties for the actual owner of the OP. Then, provide a basic summary of what to do to avoid it (e.g. disable WPS, etc etc) and maybe even provide URLs for the major router manufacturers.

This is a cute idea, but I suspect it would be doomed to failure unless one is living in, say, a dorm at MIT or Caltech. Such a letter is going to at best confuse, and at worst scare the hell out of, any of your older, less technology-savvy, or limited-English-speaking neighbors.

And honestly, one wonders how many poorly-secured access points there really are in the neighborhood, if the criminal is willing to go to so much effort to steal wifi from the Slashdot poster posing this question.

Comment Ship-of-Theseus/Repairing-a-Fiat solution (Score 5, Interesting) 464

The obvious answer is the Ship of Theseus solution.

In Adam Turner's article (on which the blog post linked in the Slashdot summary is based) Microsoft declares that " If the customer has a system crash, they are allowed to reinstall Office on that same computer..." but with the caveat, "No, the customer cannot transfer the license from one PC to another PC." Sounds like I'm allowed to upgrade my computer, and I'm allowed to replace broken parts...I just can't "transfer" the license between PCs.

Who knows the way to fix an old Fiat?

Step 1: Raise hood.
Step 2: Turn the radiator cap counterclockwise until fully loosed.
Step 3: Lift radiator cap straight up, at least six inches.
Step 4: Remove old Fiat from under radiator cap. Replace with new Fiat.
Step 5: Screw radiator cap back in place.
Step 6: Close hood.

Clearly, the solution in this situation is similar. Disconnect your mouse. Replace the computer underneath. Plug in a new computer. The license, obviously, transferred with the Theseus-mouse.

Comment Credit where it is due (Score 5, Informative) 464

It looks like the real legwork for this story was done by Adam Turner, from The Age. See "Does your copy of Office 2013 die with your computer?", from 11 Feb 2013.

The story linked from the Slashdot article mostly just summarizes Turner's already-concise (but still more-detailed) article, and wraps it in a different set of ads.

Comment Re:Almost right..... (Score 1) 172

To let someone completely modify it and not even attribute it back to them is near professional suicide

Almost almost right... In the article at the top of this discussion, the least restrictive (that is, the most permissive) license choice given was CC-BY. It - and indeed, all three licenses listed - require that attribution be preserved as a condition of reuse. That said, I'm on board with most of the rest of your comment. If we look at how most scientists expect and hope their published papers to be used, then even the no-derivative-works, non-commercial-only CC-BY-NC-ND license works just fine.

The need for appropriate attribution of others' work and ideas is already very deeply rooted in the sciences. In writing a paper for publication, one very seldom needs or wants to directly copy more than a few words from another author's work. Such limited, clearly-attributed, de minimus copying is already considered permissible, desirable fair use even when drawn from entirely non-free works.

Further, copyright doesn't cover ideas, but only their specific form of expresssion, so paraphrasing of descriptive material in non-free works is generally non-infringing of copyright--but still requires proper attribution for the purposes of academic publishing. Similarly, copyright doesn't protect simple facts (the mass of the proton was measured as such-and-such) but again academic publishers will expect such claims to be properly attributed.

A professor giving a lecture, or a scientist giving a talk at a conference, may lift figures wholesale from other authors' non-free work, as long as appropriate attribution is given; this sort of 'remixing' into a derivative work is taken to be fair use in an educational setting. (About the only place this bumps up against copyright issues is where this sort of material gets bundled into courseware packs that are sold by a university or other publisher.)

The writer of a review article may occasionally seek permission from another author to reprint a figure, but generally such material is included by reference to the original work, rather than by direct copying. Partly this is for the prosaic and increasingly-less-relevant purpose of limiting the length of printed papers, and partly this is for the entirely noble and worthy purpose of encouraging a reader to review a figure in its full context.

In truth, the expectations of the academic and scientific publishing communities regarding proper attribution and avoiding plagiarism already impose more stringent (but still generally reasonable) restrictions on most reuse of published papers than any license. For the purposes of disseminating and reusing scientific knowledge, it is far more constructive for papers to be gratis than libre.

Comment Re:walled gardens don't work (Score 1) 217

When they spend all that money on a TV, they expect it to do cool stuff, out of the box. If you tell them they need to buy something else, they're going to think you're trying to screw them over.

That's right. That's why televisions with integrated cable boxes, VHS, DVD, and CD players have always been such big sellers. Wait...

Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 5, Insightful) 909

After all, Imperial (in the US flavor) is better for computing than metric since it's at least partially base 2.

Which would, potentially, be helpful and useful if the humans who program, enter data into, and use information from, those computers were also in the habit of working in base 2.

And I'm sorry, as long as there are 5280 feet in a mile - that's 2^5 * 3 * 5 * 11(!?) - I'm going to call bullshit on the computing usefulness of a "partially" base 2 system.

Comment Re:Ask him (Score 1) 219

The simple solution here is to have the senior manager in the room WHILE he's interviewing the candidate if that was the case.

I don't see why you've jumped to the conclusion that a senior manager won't be in the room for some or even all of the process, or why you continue to suspect that senior management wouldn't make or be involved in the hiring decision. I get the impression that you haven't been involved in a lot of hiring or interviewing at this level.

That said, there are a lot of reasons why a senior manager wouldn't necessarily want or need to sit in on the entire interview. Depending on the size of the company and the responsibilities of the people involved, a senior manager might not have time to sit through an extended, specialized discussion. Some companies have an interview process that extends over several hours, and may even be spread over multiple rounds on separate days. Management may also want to get a sense of how the candidate performs in one-on-one situations, instead of when faced with an interrogation by the senior manager, the senior manager's assistant, the HR rep, and the technical subordinate all at once. For that matter, the senior manager may not want to make the subordinate nervous.

Comment Re:Ask him (Score 1) 219

Let's think about this, if you're good enough to hire your own boss, you're good enough to be that guy, well betas excluded.

Let's think about this. The original question didn't say anything about hiring, just about interviewing.

I strongly suspect that the final hiring decision will come from a senior manager higher up the chain, based ultimately on that senior manager's own judgement. That decision will, however, be informed - in part - by the input he receives from the underlings who participated in the interview process.

And that's a Good Thing, for everyone involved. Senior management needs to know if prospective management candidates will be able to interact effectively with their technical and non-technical subordinates. One of the ways to assess this is to put them in a room together.

It's also possible that senior management recognizes their own limitations, and want to have someone who is able to assess or test the candidate's claims about his own technical abilities. It's not unusual for a company, when hiring, to carry out several rounds of interviews testing (explicitly or not) different aspects of the candidate's skills and knowledge, and introducing them to different parts of the company's structure and personnel, with each.

Comment Re:Mathematician? (Score 4, Insightful) 203

Isn't making the elevator go faster a job for an engineer? Does one really need to be a mathematician to know that a faster elevator moves people faster?

I suspect that the problem here is a failure on the part of the article writer. The author was probably just looking for any sort of answer to 'What's the most famous building you've ever done any work for?', rather than 'what's the most mathematically-interesting part of your job?'

It's also possible that there's a little bit of complexity being glossed over here. For the Empire State Building, visitors take up to three consecutive elevator rides to get to the observation decks: one to get up to the 80th floor, another from 80 to 86 and the main observation deck (though the hearty can take the stairs), and an optional, extra-charge trip from 86 up to the topmost observation area on 102. Visitors form queues for tickets, security, and each elevator ride (both up and down).

While speeding up any of the elevators might seem like a good thing, it runs the risk of causing crowding and bunching of passengers waiting for the now-overloaded next stage. Making one set of elevators faster could increase wear and tear on those elevators (and increase both energy use and passenger discomfort) without improving overall throughput; I can see how there might be some serious mathematical optimization going on there. As well, it's possible that our mathematician was involved in optimizing all of the building's elevator speeds and timings, and not just the elevators dedicated to observation deck service: a much more difficult optimization problem.

Comment Re:Stop annulling these trades. (Score 2) 136

The way to prevent this kind of mistaken (or even malicious) trade is to stop protecting the trader by canceling the trade as soon as the mistake is realized. If you issue a trade order, you should be liable for paying for it. If you can't, normal bankruptcy laws should apply.

First of all, it's not clear exactly what the trade order even meant. At worst, an offer to buy -6 futures should have been interpreted as an offer to sell 6 futures at the stated price--not as an (underflow-generated) bid for 4 billion futures. Who, exactly, do you hold liable for failing to sanity-check their inputs--the trader, his company, the exchange, their various software subcontractors who themselves may have been bought, sold, and restructured long since...?

Second, insisting that the trade happened and then forcing the trader into bankruptcy (and associated bankruptcy protection) is likely to punish the 'innocent' participants in the market more than anyone else.

Comment Re:Who IS a lawyer here? (Score 2) 208

If you had read the motion (or even the summary) you would know the answers to your first question.

Apple argues...that Samsung waived its juror bias argument by failing to make it sooner, but Samsung could not reasonably have ascertained Mr. Hogan’s dishonesty before the jury’s verdicts. As Samsung has made clear and Apple cannot dispute, Mr. Hogan made public statements after the verdicts that so clearly favored Apple that the press speculated about their possible financial ties.... Only by chance did Samsung discover the suit by Seagate against Mr. Hogan while it was investigating these other potential bias issues reported post-verdict; and because the court file no longer exists, it was even later that Samsung discovered Mr. Hogan’s lawsuit against Seagate when Mr. Hogan himself disclosed it in an interview....
Nevertheless, Apple insists that Samsung waived because it “could have” and “should have” discovered the dishonesty before it actually did so by ordering Mr. Hogan’s 1993 bankruptcy file during voir dire.... Even apart from the impracticality of this suggestion (it took a week to receive the file after it was ordered post-verdict[...]), the Court should reject Apple’s untenable suggestion that trial counsel should engage, upon pain of waiver, in scorched-earth, extrajudicial investigations into a sitting juror’s life, absent any reason to believe that they lied on voir dire or otherwise warranted such an intrusion upon their privacy. See Dyer, 151 F.3d at 978 (“While trial is ongoing, lawyers may not conduct the kind of aggressive investigation of jurors they would of other witnesses.”); 6/29/12 Hearing Tr. 63:18-64:13 (Dkt. 1166) (“THE COURT: I’m not going to give you the jury questionnaires that have been filled out long enough in advance for you all to research all these folks.”). The Court asked Mr. Hogan about his prior lawsuits; Samsung was entitled to rely on the truthfulness of his answers.

Samsung argues that when asked, the juror deliberately withheld key information about his own legal history.

It is no answer, as Apple suggests..., that Mr. Hogan revealed another, unrelated lawsuit involving a former employee. To the contrary, a juror is presumptively biased where “she told the part truth that was useless, and held back the other part that had significance and value.” Clark, 289 U.S. at 10-11 (juror “counted off a few [past jobs] and checked herself at the very point where the count, if completed, would be likely to bar her from the box”); see Dyer, 151 F.3d at 983.

Comment Re:my guess (Score 1) 87

My guess is, that despite the cut in GDP, and the long, painful period of high unemployment, the economy hasn't actually been that bad. And that most of us have not had to change our habits much to cope.

My guess is, that despite there being links to both the full journal article and to a lay summary right in the Slashdot blurb, you didn't bother to read either one. And that you instead preferred to offer us all your enlightened wisdom derived from your gut feelings instead of, you know, talking about real data.

I know, I know. This is Slashdot; reading articles is for newbs....

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As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"