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Comment Re:A global remote kill switch in our computers (Score 1) 399

The only useful scenario I could possibly imagine is that you use hard-disk encryption and your laptop is stolen while it's on, so the key is in memory. If you can shut it down the disk becomes useless.

But this is science finction (and there are known
attacks for this scenario anyway). The kill switch idea sounds at best stupid, at worst goverment sponsored.

Comment Re:The question is about priorities (Score 1) 458

I am a slashdot regular for years now and I can generally identify (oh crap) with the average slashdot user. Yet, I am completely shocked by this poll and comments.

First, all these arguments about backups are ridiculous, of course that's not the point.

But even more important: the idea of comparing beloved people to possessions and data is just outrageous! Possessions? Really? Like what, a car, a painting, jewelery? Or data? Do you mean the only copy of Shakespeare's complete work or your porn collection?

Try to name something specific instead of "possessions" or "data" and you'll understand immediately how crazy this is. I lost my father a year ago and I would happily give all my possessions and data to bring him back. Without a second thought.

To the 15% who didn't put loved ones first: either you are alone in life (at least I can understand that) or there's something seriously fucked up about your priorities.

Comment Re:Does the Bear poop in the woods ? (Score 1) 378

Same thing happens with corporations. Behaving purely "selfishly" (i.e. do everything to maximize profits) can have the opposite effect. (i.e. you have to pay a lot higher saleries if you want to hire the best and brightest, you lose customers because they think you are evil, etc)

Your argument is simply that if you try to maximize profits in a "bad way" you mind end up not actually maximizing them. So the company should stop behaving in that way. This only strengthens the view that the ultimate goal is maximizing the profits. You fail to provide an example where a company would knowingly choose an action that decreases their profit, based on a goal that is unrelated to profit (such as the benefit of society in general).

A large company will always act in a way that maximizes its profit. Every single time. The only positive thing, on which capitalism is based, is that the action that maximizes the company's profit _might coincidentally_ be the same that offers a benefit to society in general. Unfortunately this coincidence is often inexistent.

Comment Re:So obvious question... (Score 3, Insightful) 388

They will look at Oracle and say they didn't get the code (because libreOffice is quickly taking that) and they didn't get the people (because they all split) so what did they get for all that money? Office furniture? I predict in less than 3 years the ONLY ones you'll see buying FOSS companies are patent trolls hoping to milk the IP.

I agree with your argument. But seeing the same argument from a positive perspective, a prospective buyer will understand that all they're getting is office furniture unless they're willing to respect the product they bought and the community behind it, and use it to their advantage. So I predict that in 3 years the only ones buying FOSS are companies who understand FOSS, which is great.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 313

Lets face it, its nice to know when the reign of King George III started, but unless that is your field of expertise, you should simply know the skills needed to Google the question.

Memorization by itself is indeed useless, but in education it is the means not the goal (at least it should be). And especially for history it does a reasonably good job.

We need to make clear what is the purpose of education. On the one side there are things we learn that have a practical use, in the sense of being directly applicable to our life (as you say, "in the real world"). On the other hand, a big part of education (arguably the biggest) is about cultivating human beings, raising people that are not barbarians. It's about how we think, behave and react in general, and not about dealing with practical problems.

Now think about the King George example, or to make the point stronger think about World War II. It's clear that you cannot be called a civilized human if you don't know anything about the existence of WWII. The important thing here of course is not the ability to recall information, the important thing is to have read and thought about WWII. Reading and thinking about it changes your mind even if you barely remember the basic stuff afterwards.

So if the goal was to retrieve information, a history course could be summarized as "google: WWII". But the goal is to make students read and think about it, and asking to memorize it is a reasonable goal to achieve this.

Of course in other areas the goal is different, and I completely agree with you that memorizing is useless.

Comment Re:"Great leap forward" (Score 1) 344

InnoDB, OTOH, locks *the entire table* to update an auto increment field.

This is fixed in MySQL 5.1, just use innodb_autoinc_lock_mode=2

As far as I can tell there aren't a lot of good reasons to actively choose MySQL.

Tell that to facebook and google, cause they think otherwise.

I totally agree that MySQL lacks lots of features. But it's a pretty solid db that is successfully used by lots of people in production environments.

Comment Re:"Do No Evil" (Score 1) 501

Please mod parent up.

Of course all corporations act based on their interest, but there's still a lot of room for corporate culture. So:

  - Apple locks every 3rd party _compiler_ out of their phone because it's in their interest.

  - Google open sources a high quality codec because it's in their interest.

IMHO, at least Google tries to respect consumers together with their interest.

Comment Re:They want devs to choose (Score 1) 711

How many times do you hear gamers complain that a game is a crappy port because it is not properly written for the platform it is on, but instead tries squeeze in the functionality of some other platform? That is the exact thing he doesn't want on his platform.

You can't possibly compare games to iphone apps. A game is a really complicated piece of software that needs a lot of tweaking to achieve good quality in a new platform. Most mobile apps are small utilities that achieve a simple useful (or funny) task. You don't need low level C code for that, you could perfectly do it in flash.

The "quality" arguments are just BS. It's all about control.

Comment Re:Oh, come on. (Score 1) 1634

You miss the point. It's not a general-purpose computer only because it's locked and not marketed as a general-purpose computer. Not really because of any technical limitations (as you could claim for a phone).

If Apple created a MacBook with the same restrictions as the iPad, you would say it's not a general-purpose computer. On the other hand if the iPad ran OSX then it would be perfectly general-purpose, just slow (something like a netbook).

At the same time the iPad can do so many things that it can really replace a general-purpose computer for the 90% of people who use them only to surf the web, watch movies, music, etc.

So here comes the FSF's argument: don't fall into the trap of using locked devices, freedom of computing is really important. I think it's a pretty valid point. If this "app store" trend continues, and in combination with cloud computing (see Chrome OS), it's possible that devices where you can run your own code become a small niche pretty soon.

Comment Re:They need to (Score 4, Insightful) 390

The cost of enforcement is pretty high, so actual damages might have to include those.

This is totally absurd. If I steal a bread and the bakery develops their own hitech satellite surveillance system to catch me, they couldn't possible claim that they lost a billion dollars because I stole a bread.

If the cost of enforcement is more that the actual damages, it's a stupid business decision and clearly their problem that they chose to do it.

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