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Comment Re:Android (Score 1) 351

Are you a lawyer? I've been reading the promise Microsoft made, and it's all gibberish to me. And I doubt that even the original lawyer who drafted it would actually understand what he had written.

As far as legalese goes, Microsoft's Community Promise is actually pretty clear.

Basically, they grant you the right to use their patents to the extent of implementing the standards they've released under the promise. But in order to qualify, you have to implement the whole standard. (This is not a 'gotcha' clause so they can sue you if you have a bug, it's a clause to ensure that you can't take the patent grant and use it in a totally different context by saying you started from the standard specification and removed functionality until only the patented piece was left, then re-expanded it out to a totally different thing.)

Once you've implemented the whole standard, you can even continue and add additional functionality to your implementation, so long as the original standard remains implemented. (This is in key contrast to Java's grants, which only apply if you implement exactly what they specify and nothing more -- that "and nothing more" part is what got Microsoft in trouble when they extended the syntax of J++ to include anonymous closures.)

If you ever sue Microsoft over any patents involved in the specification you're implementing under the promise, the protection of the promise and its patent grants to you dissolve. It's "don't sue us, and we won't sue you", just scoped to a single standard -- in other words, you could sue Microsoft over other patents not related to the standard without losing your patent grant.

It's also irrevocable. They can't just decide one day to no longer honor the (legally binding) promise.

Compared to Java's grant, which even ends up involving things like field-of-use restrictions once you get the TCK license involved, it's incredibly permissive. Under the Community Promise, had Google used C# in the same way they used Java, they would be completely in line with the terms of the promise.

Comment Re:Macs don't get hacked (Score 3, Insightful) 429

You know that UAC thing people who use Windows like to complain about?

I have to laugh when I see self-proclaimed 'experts' disable UAC, solely because they're smart enough to know where the option to turn it off is; but apparently not smart enough to realize no matter how smart, competent, and safe of a user you think you are, it's never a good idea to run as root, even if you think you're Electronic Jesus who never makes mistakes. (There's considerable overlap between this group of 'experts' and the group of 'experts' who refuse to install MSE because they're 'too good' to need it.)

Microsoft can only go so far to protect its 'expert' users from themselves. At some point, the user's own stupidity is at fault. And a user's stupidity doesn't go away just because they're using a different OS.

Comment Re:New Approach (Score 1) 177

> This attitude from Microsoft isn't new, but I don't really see them being able to execute the "extinguish" part of their normal plan on GPL/BSD/MIT licensed software. Instead I can see them at grassroots level trying to make their platform relevant and make sure people can hook into it, but they get left on the sidelines.

Microsoft is turning into IBM. Once the dominant player, but technology moved on and they didn't move fast enough to follow it and stay on top. IBM was blindsided by the PC revolution, Microsoft was blindsided by the mobile revolution.

I think it's the ultimate fate of any tech behemoth. As an organization grows in size, it naturally gets slower and less capable of rapid adaption to change; and in an ironic twist of fate, it also means the organization has enough resources to invest into research and toy projects that they end up pioneering the very paradigm shift that results in their downfall when they turn out to be incapable of embracing it.

IBM commercialized the PC and it spun out of their control when other people took the idea and iterated it faster and made it better. Microsoft has been toying with mobile/embedded/tablet ideas for well over a decade and in doing so undoubtedly laid the conceptual groundwork for what would become the iPhone and iPad. And unless the pace of technology innovation slows along with the fading of Moore's Law, Google, Facebook, and Apple -- today's behemoths -- will all likely end up in the same situation.

Comment Similar Concepts (Score 1) 234

It's worth noting that Microsoft Research had the exact same idea back in 2007 with Volta, which was an implemention of the .NET CLR in Javascript so you could take the same .NET compiled assembly files that you run on your PC and run them without any plugins in a Javascript-capable browser.

They eventually ditched the idea in favor of a different approach with Script#, which is a C# compiler that compiles to Javascript instead of .NET bytecode; similar in concept to Google' GWT Java source to Javascript compiler.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 355

> You mean as opposed to when he had the DoJ stand down over DOMA and got DADT repealed or used a tremendous amount of political capital to get healthcare reform?

A nearly full term presidency and you can only name three things he's done well (only one of which was a legislative 'victory', and I put 'victory' in quotes because healthcare reform should have ended up a lot less compromised than it ended up being; whereas DOMA and DADT were both Executive imperatives that he hemmed and hawed about for years -- and you can damn well expect the next Republican in the White House will just perform a complete about-face on DOMA enforcement and defense). So... talk about damning with faint praise.

Obama's problem is that he's been so anxious to compromise with the right on *everything*, that he starts the conversation with a compromise plan, which just ends up getting pulled even further to the right when the inevitable cries of "no that's not enough!" come out from the Repubs in response to it.

He needs to grow a backbone.

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot 1521

After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don't have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.

NASA Discovers 7th Closest Star 137 says "Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body. Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. 'WISE scanned the entire sky for these and other objects, and was able to spot their feeble light with its highly sensitive infrared vision,' said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'They are 5,000 times brighter at the longer infrared wavelengths WISE observed from space than those observable from the ground.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers 351

dtmos wrote in to say that "This summer, StarCraft II has become the newest bar room spectator sport. Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches. As they root for their on-screen superstars, StarCraft enthusiasts can sow confusion among regular patrons... But for sports-bar owners, StarCraft viewers represent a key new source of revenue from a demographic—self-described geeks—they hadn't attracted before."

Researchers Report Spike In Boot Time Malware 132

wiredmikey writes "In their most recent intelligence report, Symantec researchers pointed out a massive increase in the amount of boot time malware striking users, noting there have already been as many new boot time malware threats detected in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years. Also known as MBR (master boot record) threats, the malware infect an area of the hard disk that makes them one of the first things to be read and executed when a computer is turned on. This enables the threats to effectively dodge many security defenses."

MakerBot Gets $10 Million Investment 160

First time accepted submitter chrisl456 writes "MakerBot Industries, makers (hah!) of 3D printers / personal fabrication devices, just got a big boost in the form of $10 million from an 'all-star lineup.' Replicators, here we come!"

Submission + - Facebook Data Collection Under Fire Again (

JohnBert writes: "A German privacy protection authority is calling on organizations there to close their Facebook fan pages and remove the social networking site's "Like" button from their websites, arguing that Facebook harvests data in violation of German and European Union law.

The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD), the privacy protection agency for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, issued a news release on Friday saying Facebook builds a broad, individualized profile for people who view Facebook content on third-party websites.

Data is sent back to Facebook's servers in the U.S., which the agency alleges violates the German Telemedia Act, the German Federal Data Protection Act and the Data Protection Act of Schleswig-Holstein. The agency alleges the data is held by Facebook for two years, and wants website owners in the state to remove links to Facebook by the end of next month or possibly face a fine."


Humanoid Robot Wakes In Space, Tweets 91

DeviceGuru writes to note that "Robonaut 2 (aka R2), the first humanoid robot to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station (ISS), was awakened from stasis this week after six months in orbit. R2s first words? 'Those electrons feel GOOD!' The success of R2's activation on the ISS paves the way for putting R2 through its first movements in orbit on Sept. 1, when R2 will be sent commands for moving its arms and hands. Assuming these and other tests proceed without a hitch, R2 will start assisting the ISS crew with simple tasks in 2012. Coffee? Tea? Cigarettes?"

Submission + - SD cards: the cheap way to boost laptop storage (

Barence writes: "Many modern laptops come with only a limited capacity SSD that cost hundreds of pounds to upgrade. PC Pro has investigated whether SD cards make a cheaper alternative to upgrading your SSD. The biggest problem is that SD cards have limited number of guaranteed write cycles before the card risks failing, so they’re best considered for storing files you don’t update often – a media collection, for example. Read and write speeds are also much slower than those available from SSDs. Nevertheless, "if you’re after only a quick boost in capacity for non-critical files, the sheer convenience of being able to leave an SD card in the laptop at all times makes it a great way to save money," PC Pro concludes."

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley