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Comment Re:Hi density (Score 1) 375

Pretty much this. I got given one (attached to the laptop) for my first programming gig. I think it was an accident and they handed me an "executive" class laptop, but I just hemmed and hawed about having so many tools set up on it that it would probably cost them more in terms of time to take it back. Which was true anyway.

Since then, all the screens I've worked on have had fewer vertical pixels, which to me has been like progress in reverse.

Comment Re:Prices of goods (Score 5, Interesting) 419

And that's a BAD thing?

One of the few facts I've seen with almost universal agreement on Slashdot is that HFCS soda tastes worse than sucrose soda. The only reason sucrose is more expensive in the USA is the trade blockade designed to favour the Florida sugar growers.

Other countries manage to survive on foods that are not packed full of HFCS. The corn lobby has given rise to an unnatural spiral of growth in its use in the USA.

What you will notice the most is the increased price of meat. 70% of corn grown in the USA goes to be feed for livestock, and you need 10 times the weight of corn for one weight of meat.

Comment Re:MS is right, it *is* creepy (Score 1) 513

Yes, it's creepy. But I guarantee that Microsoft are parsing your Hotmail - if only to spam filter it.

And Google explicitly admit they are doing it - have always told you they are doing it, since the early days of GMail. And I've always been OK with it because my mail isn't exactly thrilling.

What's even creepier is that email is no more secure than a postcode - and you don't even know who your mailmen are. Anyone can read it, at any of the SMTP relays it passes through. Google have made inroads into this by making encrypted connections to their server the default - so at least if you email another GMail account, you can be sure that ONLY Google and it's intended recipient are reading it.

You want privacy, you use encryption. Email is not private - it never has been. If people are getting creeped out by that - good, maybe they'll take some responsibility. But blaming Google for this isn't productive, getting off your butt and downloading Enigmail is.

Comment Re:Always on = !on (Score 1) 592

It used to be that publishers were enlightened enough to realise that playing with your friends increased the fun, and made it more likely that your friend might want to buy the game for the single-player campaign.

I remember several PC games that allowed you to make "slave" copies of the game that were ONLY good for playing multiplayer ; this was in the days of disk-based DRM. Some of them needed you to lend one of your disks to that friend (on multi-disk games), some of them would just only allow as many "slaves" in a game as there were "masters". But these were in the days when internet play was a heady pipe-dream and most games were played over LAN or null-modem cables.

Comment Re:Always on = !on (Score 2) 592

The three of those have different value propositions though.

A vacuum cleaner or a car retain their utility after a single use.

For many people, a book or a game loses it's utility after one run through. If you read a book that you were lent and fall into this group, you are unlikely to buy yourself another copy just because you thought it was so good the author / publisher deserved an extra chunk of money. In short, the act of lending may have prevented a sale.

Whether you think this is right or wrong, it's different to lending a car or a vacuum cleaner.

Comment Re:A Portal movie?!?!? (Score 1) 208

It was entertaining, mostly because you were keenly anticipating the moment that Liam Neeson kicks Taylor Kitsch so hard in the balls that they form a coherent plasma burst that destroys the alien invasion.

"Total Complete Douche Saves the World" is probably a reasonable summary of the plot.

Comment Re:Been saying that...Wrong, Simply Wrong. (Score 4, Insightful) 376

It's a different operating space ; pharma patents the molecule. Medicines only have a few components. Patents are narrow - a molecule is a molecule and can't be interpreted as anything else.

Software has a multiplicity of components, it's virtually impossible to write any new software without infringing existing patents, since the ones we have are ridiculously broad. The scenario you describe is easy to encounter in the software world.

The best way to avoid this issue, as far as I can tell, is base your company value on brand and service rather than patented technology. As you say - a big patent holder can almost certainly torpedo any new software project if they want to. But they can't torpedo your brand or reputation in the same way. Which is probably one of the reasons for the whole Software As A Service fad - if you hide it behind a firewall and don't show the innards off, you're less likely to get sued for patented tech in those innards.

Better still, stop granting software patents. What constitutes "obvious to an ordinary practitioner" changes with such rapidity that the 20 year lifespan is just mental.

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