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Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 59

I understand what copyright is intended to do, but I see little evidence that a 90+ year term and other onerous terms are means to this goal.

I'd be the first to agree that the current implementation of copyright is deeply flawed in several ways, including the steady creep up to the current absurd durations you mentioned. I am in no way supporting that side of the copyright system, as you can tell by many other posts I've made including to this very discussion.

However, most use of copyrighted work both by creators and by pirates still happens in the first few years, and in practice shortening the duration to something much more reasonable seems unlikely to affect the behaviour of either side very much. The basic principle is still that copyright establishes similar market incentives to create information-based products to the incentives established by respecting physical private property when it comes to creating physical products.

And of course, as Google points out, the search index could not have occurred under such a regime. I shouldn't have to sell you on the usefulness of internet search on society[...]

I'm something of a skeptic in that regard. My personal suspicion is that if we didn't have the likes of Google indexing everything, we'd just have evolved some other sort of directory/index system, along with including more explicit links in our Web content and probably making more use of bookmarks for starting points relevant to our personal interests. There were already plenty of moves in these directions in parallel with early search engine development, some much more promising than others, and the natural connectedness of the Web would lend itself just fine to scaling up these sorts of alternatives.

Maybe that would even have become a better system than what we have today. By its nature, an automated search engine will always be vulnerable to gaming whatever system it implements. Today's arrangement also locates an awful lot of power centrally with the big search engines, even though they are ultimately only useful because of any good content created by others that they help a visitor to find. When sites that would be of interest to visitors can rise and fall almost entirely by a change in the ranking algorithm at a search engine, over which the site has no control and for which the search engine has no accountability, I'm not sure everything is really working as wonderfully as we sometimes assume.

Automation has so far proven to be a questionable benefit over curation, and while it's certainly true that today's search engines are often better for finding interesting or useful information than the portals and web rings of the 1990s, that's not really a fair comparison. It's called web browsing for a reason, and I truly think we've lost something that had great potential there with the rise of the search engines.

Comment Re:Only? (Score 0) 140

Japan's problem is their inability to let the failures go down in flames and fail for the good of the rest of the economy and of the society.

Japan is the place were you go to when you want to get funny money for trading/shorting, that's the place you go to borrow Yen to do all this insane trading. Japan is the place of the suicide economic policy, the kamikaze of policies (the one that USA is also following), the policy destroying the currency for the purpose of bailing out horrible failures just to keep them going due to political expediency and not due to any form of sound economics at all.

This in turn leads to economic stagnation, falling birth rates, depression, etc. All the good stuff that the central bankers together with the government love to give its people.

Comment Re:You do not get to define innovation for anyone (Score 1) 59

When Google first launched their search engine, they didn't have ads in the way they and many other free-to-use online services do today. They were one of the pioneers of the modern online world where everything is expected to be "free", privacy is invaded routinely, advertising of questionable value to almost everyone other than the ad networks dominates, and web pages are so full of tracking and advertising junk that an entire ecosystem of tools had to be invented just to make the web not suck more than it did 20 years ago. Whatever benefits any of Google's services might have offered relative to the alternatives we had before, I'm still not sure it was worth the trade-off.

Comment Re:Not that expensive (Score 2) 229

The thing is, unless you have seen everything you would possibly want to see in older movies available for $10, why would you pay $50 for the same home experience? Unless it's a movie you really want to see NOW it will make more sense to just get an older movie for now and wait for the price to come down.

For most movies, I'm content to wait for the DVD from Netflix. But for about 1 movie a year, I want to see it soon. I don't like the theater when it's busy, so I usually wait a couple weeks anyway. I'd definitely prefer my home theater to the cinema.

Comment Re:Just Remember, Folks. (Score 1) 135

if you accidentally crack the screen, or if its backlight goes out or something, you wont be able to get a replacement for any money because they stopped making them 10 years ago, and without that screen you can't control anything in the car.

Heh, that was a (potential) problem with my 2003 Infinity, where the HVAC and entertainment system were on the same board. Very few of these cars were made, so it was $2k to get a replacement. But there's always a replacement somewhere.

but I'd also keep a good ol supercharged V8 around for weekends

Does anyone even make them any more? Superchargers seem to have fallen by the wayside as the engineering on turbos got better for low-RPM power. All the fun sports cars are V6s or heavily-boosted 4-bangers anyhow. It's the high RPMs that make the drama, far more than actual power.

Comment To What End, This Automation? (Score 1) 332

The continuing push to automate all areas of the workforce will eventually, in the theory, eliminate the need for a workforce.

I don't recall reading anything about what people will be doing after that in terms of self fulfillment and societal structures. The paradigm of go to school, get a good job, raise a family, save for retirement, will be blown up. To be replaced by what?

And don't start with the pie in the sky bullshit. Policy is what will determine the outcome. Is anyone thinking about that?

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