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Communications

The Balkanization of Chatting 242

JThaddeus writes "Slashdot's own (or former) CmdrTaco has a posting on the Washington Post's website where he discusses how chat apps have overtaken SMS. Yeah, they are cheap. There's no telecom fee per message or for some number of messages per month. However 'The problem of course is that these systems are annoyingly incompatible with each other. My phone can buzz with chat notifications from 3 different apps at any moment. My desktop has even more scattered across browser tabs and standalone apps.' Ditto, nor do I want to hassle learning some app or trying to understand its who's-listening settings. I'll stick to email and to occasional SMS."
AT&T

Study: Limiting Bidding On Spectrum Could Cost Billions 140

itwbennett writes "According to a study (PDF) by the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, restricting the ability of Verizon Wireless and AT&T to bid in upcoming spectrum auctions would drive down the bidding during the auction, and could cost the U.S. treasury as much as $12 billion. Even a partial restriction of bids by Verizon and AT&T could have a significant impact on auction revenues, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a co-author of the Georgetown study. Matt Wood, policy director at digital rights group Free Press, fired back, saying 'No one is talking about completely barring AT&T and Verizon from the incentive auction. Sensible people are talking about making sure that more than two companies have a chance at obtaining spectrum. The fact that these duopolists hired economists to parrot the companies' own talking points isn't really that newsworthy.'"
Government

SOPA Creator Now In Charge of NSF Grants 307

sl4shd0rk writes "Remember SOPA? If not, perhaps the name Lamar Smith will ring a bell. The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chose Smith to Chair as an overseer for the National Science Foundation's funding process. Smith is preparing a bill (PDF) which will require that every grant must benefit 'national defense,' be of 'utmost importance to society,' and not be 'duplicative of other research.' Duplicating research seems reasonable until you consider that this could also mean the NSF will not provide funding for research once someone has already provided results — manufactured or otherwise. A strange target since there is a process in place which makes an effort to limit duplicate funding already. The first and second requirements, even when read in context, still miss the point of basic research. If we were absolutely without-a-doubt-certain of the results, there would be little point in doing the research in the first place."
DRM

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM? 684

centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"
Crime

NYC Police Comm'r: Privacy Is 'Off the Table' After Boston Bombs 508

An anonymous reader writes "New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks that now is a great time to install even more surveillance cameras hither and yon around the Big Apple. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaev brothers were famously captured on security camera footage and thereby identified. That just may soften up Americans to the idea of the all-seeing glass eye. 'I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table,' Kelly gloats."
Microsoft

Paul Thurrot Predicts November Debut, $500 Tag For Xbox 720 232

New submitter inkribbon writes that Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott has now predicted that Microsoft's Xbox 720 console will actually hit the market this November. Thurrott offers a mix of what he considers cold, known facts and "clearly identified conjecture" about the upcoming device. Important to users is this confidently offered claim about the price: "Microsoft will initially offer two pricing models for the console: a standalone version for $499 and a $299 version that requires a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment at an expected price of $10 per month."
Government

The Amazon Rainforest Wants Its TLD Back From Amazon.com 186

terrancem writes "The Seattle-based Amazon.com has applied for its brand to be a generic top-level domain name (.amazon), but South American governments argue this would prevent the use of this internet address for environmental protection, the promotion of indigenous rights and other public interest uses. Along with dozens of other disputed claims to names including ".patagonia" and ".shangrila", the issue cuts to the heart of debates about the purpose and governance of the internet."
DRM

The Dark Side of Amazon's New Pilots 312

I've been really, really excited about digital video distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital Restrictions Management.

Submission + - Humans Have a Tender Spot for Robots (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: New research out of Germany suggests that humans look at robots as being more than just soulless pieces of hardware. In one study, nearly all the 40 (human) participants who watched a violent video of a robotic dinosaur being tortured reacted with distress. In the second study, which employed functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants were shown videos of both robots and humans being treated affectionately and then cruelly. Study subjects had virtually identical neural activation patterns in the limbic brain when robots were treated with affection as when the humans were. They also responded with similar levels of distress to the abuse videos Ultimately, this type of research can teach scientists how to build robots that we can more fully identify with and even deeply trust with tasks such as preparing our food and teaching our children.

Submission + - Amazon Debuts Mixed Bag of Original Comedy Pilots (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: Amazon sent out a press release over the weekend announcing that the pilots for their original shows 'held 8 spots on the list of 10 most streamed Amazon VOD episodes.' So blogger and entertainment junkie Peter Smith decided to spend a couple of hours seeing if they were worth watching. He managed to sit through 4 of the 8 comedy shows and found a mixed bag — one a clear miss, two meh, and one he'd like to see turned into a series. Have you watched any of the pilots? What did you think?

Submission + - AMD preparing for ARM processor line launch (engadget.com)

felipou writes: AMD is releasing the updated version of its G-Series of processors (which includes the Playstation 4 "Jaguar" processor), and with it comes the promise of ARM processors embedded with Radeon graphics chips and with power consumption as low as 3W.
Television

Futurama Cancelled (Again) 390

eldavojohn writes "Bad news everybody. According to Entertainment Weekly, Futurama has been cancelled (again). The renewal of Futurama back onto television was met with great fanfare but sadly it appears that Futurama's luck has run out for a second time. The second half of season 7 will air from June 19th to September 4th and that will be it."

Comment Bottom up governance (Score 1) 694

I looked at your party's site, and I see one glaring thing missing for you to have my support. I'd like to see a focus on true grass roots, distributed, bottom up government be a concentrated goal. A move toward direct democracy, participatory politics and proportional representation. Obviously this is a big, complex topic that would probably take many decades to transition to, but any progress toward it would be good IMO. Power should flow up from the people, not down from the White House.

Secondly, I think it would also fit in well with the rest of your agenda to make a concentrated effort in promoting mutualist organizations like cooperatives and other employee/member owned business models. Put in place incentives that push for them to replace the capitalist corporatism we have today. For true freedom we need democracy in the work place, not just the goverment.

Until then, I'll stick with the Green Party.

Comment Re:Netflix is one of the places where DRM makes se (Score 1) 394

God damn it...this is why I haven't commented on Slashdot for the past 5 years >_<
Fine...let's play your game...

What is the middle ground? Either you have DRM or you don't. How is it anything other than binary? I guess you could have exceptionally obnoxious forms (like the recent Sims game), but it is pretty much binary.

So, now you've made it clear you either did not even read my original post or most certainly did not comprehend it. The whole point is this: DRM on things you have purchased = Bad. DRM on things you rent = perfectly fine and reasonable.

Yes in that a conclusion reached by a series of arguments backed up with personal experience is extremism. I happen to agree with RMS because I have previously purchased encumbered things and I can no longer use them despite paying good money for a completely legal copy. This has now happened a number of times to me, with various sorts of different DRM. At this point I'd feel that throwing good money after bad is a form of madness (inability to learn from experience) than anything else.

Once again, we're NOT talking about things you have purchased! That IS bad...but that's not what we're frakking talking about here >_<

You are basically advocating the polar opposite: so by your definition that is also extremism.

No, if I was advocating the polar opposite, I'd be advocating that any and all things should have DRM! Because it's just awesome! (that was sarcasm, since apparently you need everything spelled out for you)

Well, if anything you have at least done the service for me today in remembering how pathetic this community is for when you actually want to have a discussion rather than iconoclasts spouting off the same repetitive bullshit. Slashdot comments might as well be a thread on 4chan it still seems. Thanks...

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