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Comment Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (Score 1) 233

Do you have any evidence that DRM stops people from 'stealing'? Any at all? I have one data point that shows that it stops me from buying games, but I don't think I've ever met someone who bought a game because it had DRM. Generally the pirated version has the DRM stripped long before it gets to the user, so the person downloading it never sees it.

Comment Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (Score 1) 233

I stopped buying games when they started adding this DRM crap. Steam was the last straw for me. In the last few weeks, I've bought a load of stuff from I've spent more on games from there over the past month than I did in total in the previous 5 years. They're DRM free, easy to install, and I can redownload them if I want. Best of all, most of them run happily in WINE / DOSBox / ScummVM.

Comment Re:Ahhh, the good ole days... (Score 1) 163

My first XT-clone had a 30MB RLL drive

Mine had a 40MB drive. It was an Amstrad PC1640-HD20, but the stock 20MB hard disk had been replaced with a 40MB one. It had 640KB of RAM, which DOS used quite nicely, but DOS 3.3 was still limited to FAT-12, meaning partitions could not be bigger than 32MB, so I had an 8MB C: for booting and a 32MB D: for everything else. It ran Windows 3.0 reasonably, although running more than one application at once generally popped up some kind of resource-exhausted dialog (memory, GDI handles, whatever).

The first SSD I bought was for my Psion Series 3. It was 128KB and cost £30. It was a single cell, so every write used up some of the capacity and you could only get it back by formatting the disk (erasing everything). Deleting files just marked them in the filesystem as invisible and overwriting a portion of a file just appended the data and updated the file metadata, so you could fill up the drive just by compulsively saving the current document periodically.

Comment Re:Murtazin is not a "trusted insider" (Score 5, Informative) 302

What can Apple's connector do that micro USB can't?

A great many things. The dock connector has pins for:

  • RS-232 serial (great for very simple peripherals - there was a separate RS-232 port as well on older iPods, but I think it's gone now).
  • Composite analogue video output.
  • YUV analogue video output.
  • Stereo audio output.
  • FireWire data.
  • USB data.
  • Power (3.3V, 5V and 12V DC, up to 45W).

In contrast, micro USB has pins for:

  • USB data.
  • Power (5V DC, up to 7.5W).

You can, for example, use an iPod dock to directly drive a TV (useful for presentations - Keynote will export for the iPod so you can give presentations without needing to take anything bigger than an iPod with you). The second audio output in the dock means that you don't need to unplug the headphones when you drop the device in the dock. I don't think the FireWire pins are connected anymore, which is a shame because that allowed simple device-to-device connectivity (and, for example, plugging in an external hard drive directly to the device without needing a computer - iPod Linux let you do this and so did some other third-party firmware).

Comment Re:US (Score 1) 302

The main reason why cellphone manufacturers switch to connectors that are 0.05mm smaller than the previous version, is to sell more spare adapters

Who does this? I've only owned phones from Siemens, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, but they've all been compatible with chargers from the previous generation. The only exception is Nokia, but they included an adaptor with each phone that let you use it with the older charger for several years after moving to the newer form factor.

Comment Re:US (Score 1) 302

Your argument would make sense if it weren't for the fact that it's been possible to buy cheaper third-party chargers for all of the major phone brands for at least a decade. A more likely observation is that it encourages a form of lock in. I have a Nokia phone, and Nokia chargers are standard across their line and you can buy third party ones for under £5, so I have a few lying around. If I buy a new Nokia phone, I already have a load of spare chargers for it. If I buy a {someone else} phone, I need to buy spare chargers on top of the phone. Given two phones at the same price, the Nokia one is cheaper in total.

That said, I really wish more manufacturers would adopt the charging system from the Palm Pre - I love the idea of just popping the phone down on a flat surface and having it start charging. I've had enough flimsy phone charger connections snap to not really trust any physical connection that needs plugging in and unplugging repeatedly.

Comment Re:seems simple (Score 1) 1219

I am not a lawyer or an American, so take this with a pinch or two of salt:

DUI is a state offence, and each state sets its drink driving limits differently[1], so you need a state judge to approve a warrant for performing a blood test to determine whether someone is guilty. In contrast, HIPAA and the fourth amendment constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure are both Federal laws, meaning that a violation will be tried by a Federal judge. A state with state judges in its pocket can still find itself in trouble for violating federal law.

[1] Although a certain pressure group (Mothers Against Canada or something) has made is to that the state doesn't receive any federal funding for roads if they don't meet certain requirements.

Comment Re:I don't care... (Score 3, Insightful) 75

Not true. The government will typically need a warrant to wiretap at the provider. At the very least, they will leave a paper trail. In contrast, they can tap into unsecured communications without any kind of warrant, and if they can do it with $10 of equipment then there is nothing that will require a paper trail.

Comment Re:Patenting the ability to advertise in ________ (Score 1) 64

If you notify Google of people violating their patent, and they do nothing and you record the fact, then their patent can be thrown out in court

New rule: people who comment on stories involving patents have to learn the difference between patents and trademarks.

All that latches means (in the USA - lots of places don't even have this rule for patents) is that you can't claim any damages that occur between becoming aware of the violation and sending the cease and desist. You can still wait for 5 years for a competitor to become large, send the C&D, and then sue them for any violations that occur afterwards.

Comment Re:Good advice - Always use your ISP for DNS (Score 1) 348

Fedora came with a package for BIND preconfigured to run as a DNS cache - I presume it still does. Windows NT used to come with one preinstalled that you could just start by clicking in the services system. I've also configured BIND as an authoritative DNS server, and I agree that it was not the easiest program to configure, but as a DNS cache it was trivial.

Comment Re:Ship Source? (Score 1) 198

GPLv2 says they have an obligation to provide source to ANY third party

Not true. They may have such an obligation, but only if they did not provide the source along with the binary. Actually, they never quite have that obligation. According to clause 3b of GPLv2, they have to provide a written offer good for three years to provide the source to any third party, but after three years they don't have to provide the source, and they don't have to provide the source to anyone who did not receive this written offer (either from them, or as a result of someone else satisfying clause 3c).

is that really so difficult to understand?

Apparently so.

Comment Re:Ship Source? (Score 3, Informative) 198

Some insist anything linked against the kernel libraries (making calls to the kernel) must be make source code available. But I do not believe this is the general consensus.

It's more complex than that. Drivers do not have to be GPL'd, unless they are a derived work of the kernel. If they are not (e.g. the nVidia blob drivers), then they may be distributed under any license that you wish.

The kernel, however, requires that anything linked to it be distributed under a GPL-compatible license. Any Linux kernel that links against things under a license that the GPL is incompatible with, is in violation of the GPL. The GPL, however, makes it clear that you do not require any license to use the code, so end users may download the Linux kernel and the nVidia drivers, link them together, and still be allowed to use the code.

What they can't do is distribute the result. If you distribute the Linux kernel along with a GPL-incompatible driver, then you are in violation of the GPL. This means that you have no valid license to distribute the Linux kernel (unless you acquire one from all of the Linux copyright holders), and so every time you copy the kernel you are committing copyright infringement. Shipping a device with binary-only drivers and a Linux kernel is almost certainly wilful infringement, and carries a statutory penalty of up to $150K in the USA. It's probably cheaper to use FreeBSD...

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