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Comment Unexpected methods to promote freedom? (Score 2) 573

Mr. Stallman, thank you for all the hard work you have done to promote computing freedom. I know that many people consider your views to be excessively dogmatic, but more often than not, your ideas and predictions turn out to be correct. Thank you for steadfastly holding to your principles while most people opt for convenience, as you have made the world a better place.

It appears to me that Apple, of all companies, has ironically played the biggest role in ending the use of DRM in the music download industry. As I see it, the music companies were so afraid of Apple's rise in market share that they decided to sell everything DRM-free rather than let Apple control the distribution channel with its FairPlay scheme. As a result, it is now the norm that music tracks purchased online are unencrypted and carry at most a watermark.

I acknowledge that Apple is horribly hostile to computing freedom in so many ways. It's therefore ironic that their dominance with the iTunes Music Store has led to the end of DRM in the music download industry, purely through capitalistic means and without preaching or legislation. My question, then, is this: Could it be possible to promote computing freedom by gaming the market (playing companies off each other) rather than preaching on a soapbox?

Comment Re:Apple needs to stop the thin on the desktop (Score 1) 487

The original iMac was the first popular computer to ditch the floppy drive, SCSI, ADB, and expansion card slots. The newest iMac just continues that tradition.

I agree, though, that neglecting the Mac Pro for so long is sending the wrong signal to the professional power user market. Apple must not care any more, now that their main profits are coming from iOS.

Comment Two parties don't offer enough choice (Score 2) 698

In Canada, you essentially vote for a party. Due to strong party discipline and the indirect way the Prime Minister is selected, it doesn't matter much who you actually send to Parliament, but rather which party he/she represents. In the US, the candidates actually matter a little.

Also, two parties are not sufficient for a healthy democracy. Suppose a politician of your preferred party does something corrupt while in office. When election time comes, do you vote for him/her anyway? Or will you vote for the opponent, whose values are the opposite of yours, just to toss the bum out? Politicians know that in a two-party system, they can get away with a lot of crap and still get re-elected.

Comment Sticking with Windows 7 (Score 2) 489

The world moves on. You can't live in your sheltered world forever. One day, you'll buy a computer that comes with Windows 8, and Windows 7 drivers aren't available for it. Then software comes out that requires Windows 8 or later. You would have a hard time living with Windows 2000 today. The same thing will happen with Windows 7 in a few years.

Comment My conclusion: No to financial transaction tax! (Score 5, Interesting) 443

From this, I would draw the opposite conclusion: we should oppose proposals for a financial transaction tax at all costs! If high-frequency trading is the disease, then a tax on transactions is not the cure. It would make government addicted to the new revenue and therefore dependent on the high-frequency traders, thus ensuring that those leaches will never go away.

A better solution, I think, would be to require stock exchanges to operate on a once-per-second clock. Any trade orders that arrive within each timeslice would be executed in a random order, so as to defeat any advantage the high-frequency traders would get by being fast.

Submission + - Google's Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo CEO (

D H NG writes: Marissa Mayer, Google's employee #20 and Vice President of Local, was appointed CEO of Yahoo. She was Google's public face for years, famously being responsible for the look and feel of Google’s most popular products: the famously unadorned white search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. Mayer resigned from Google Monday afternoon and will begin her new job on Tuesday.

Submission + - Canadian Supreme Court Entrenches Technological Neutrality Within Copyright Law (

An anonymous reader writes: Last week, Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules.

Comment Chinese math (Score 1) 679

The Chinese term for 13 is "ten three" (the word for "ten", followed by the word for "three"). Furthermore, every digit is one syllable. It really does make learning easier for children. The ease of learning is even more apparent when learning multiplication, since there is a certain rhythm when you recite the multiplication table.

Gladwell actually does address the concept of cumulative advantage, as applied to sports. Kids with January birthdays are more likely to do well in children's sports leagues, and the slight advantage they have at every stage in their sports training leads to a preponderance of professional athletes with January birthdays. Likewise, Chinese children learn to count earlier, start learning multiplication around first grade, and can move on to more advanced topics. This is not to say that all Chinese people are good at math, though. There still exist analytical and artistic students, and generally Chinese school systems allow students to specialize in math/science or the arts after elementary school.

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