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Comment Re:WTF? (Score 4, Insightful) 233

What can we do? Nothing. Nothing except watch Slashdot die. And given this kind of bullshit, I'm going to be chuckling and nodded my head in satisfaction.

It is exactly this kind of idiocy that has fucked up the US economy beyond repair: Let's never look beyond next quarter's financial statements. That seems like an awesome strategy to people who can't be bothered to give two shits about whether the property exists the quarter after; who only care if their wallet is slightly fatter and they can justify moving on to destroying the next property.

Tell me, oh great Slashdot editors: How do those financial statements look when nobody is left to consume your bullshit?

My search for a replacement begins today.

Comment Re:Why so hung up on a race? (Score 1) 1005

I would say that following somebody around and confronting them (what, do you think Trayvon Martin stopped walking and yanked him out of his car or something?), solely because they are walking in "your" neighborhood, would fit the definition of "start[ing] the fight." Particularly if you do so with a firearm.

Much as he might like to believe otherwise, this man is not a police officer. He has no right to stop anybody for anything, and in choosing to do so he took the danger upon himself. That's exactly why the dispatcher told him he didn't need to follow the kid: Because doing so could be dangerous, either to the kid or to Zimmerman himself. Turns out it was.

If Martin was armed, then I might be able to believe some kind of self defense claim. He wasn't, and Zimmerman has made no kind of "ZOMG I thought your Skittles were a gun!" claim of a mistaken impression. For that matter, Martin was shot in the back. Precisely what kind of imminent danger are you in from somebody who is not even facing you (and who may have been on the ground at the time depending on how the stories unfolded)?

While we're at it, yeah, we have to address the race question. Have you noticed how every day, Zimmerman's father comes out and yaps to the police about how innocent his son is how many black friends he has with all sorts of details he's either inventing out of thin air or, more likely, he got from his son? If you've followed the case it's hard to miss. So with all this information Zimmerman is essentially leaking, why have we not heard a single word about the whole basis for the confrontation and the catalyst for the reaction thereafter? Why have we not heard a single word about how walking with an iced tea makes you suspicious at all, much less suspicious enough to call the police about and then stalk? It's what everyone on the planet most wants to know about this case and the only thing he doesn't have an answer for. I find that highly suspicious.

Zimmerman is a wanna-be cop tough guy who had a seventeen year old kid show him exactly how fast he craps his pants when confronted with "danger." He deserves what he got and more -- like, say, a nice prison sentence.

Comment Re:If any Sony Executives Are Reading (Score 1) 371

I've been fairly friendly to Sony, at least in terms of the Playstation, even through all of their various nonsense (which I am sure does not need to be recounted in this crowd). I owned a Playstation, Playstation 2 and Playstation 3. With no details I would probably be inclined to buy a Playstation 4.

To be honest, even the DRM thing doesn't bother me that much -- I don't like it, but I don't buy a lot of used games so I don't feel a huge effect. It's one of those things I would probably grit my teeth about but push through.

But lack of backwards compatibility is an absolute dealbreaker. I'm not throwing away my previous investments in PS1/PS2/PS3 titles, nor am I keeping multiple consoles to avoid doing so. If that's what they are going to force me to do, I might as well get an Xbox or some other system--expand the games available to me and avoid incentivizing that kind of customer-hostile behavior at the same time.

I'm not some great crusader, but everybody has their limits and this would push past mine.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 2) 273

Reaction time is also cut considerably, as is the time it takes to physically perform whatever act is deemed the best course of action. If "slam on the breaks" is the action, the car doesn't have to lift its foot off the pedal and move it over to slam the brake -- the car's already braking.

A child running in front of a car is a recipe for disaster either way, but the kid is probably safer with the driverless.

Comment Re:Lies! (Score 1) 164

You are only correct if none of the computer-ignorant people the OP has come across were ever successful. If they were both ignorant about computers and successful, then success clearly does not require you not to be ignorant about computers.

Quite frankly I think the lot of you should "get more training" in choosing the right words for the situation. We all know success is difficult to define much less factor, so why are we pretending that computer skills or gregariousness or connections or what-have-you are "requirements?" All of those things can be--and have been--circumvented by extremely successful people.

Some things make success more attainable. Computer skills may or may not be in that category at this point in our society. That does not make them required.

In your case, I would highly suggest skipping the snarkiness if your own argument is not going to be perfect in turn.

Comment Re:Does fine print supercede large print? (Score 1) 193

I've often wondered why we tolerate fine print that contradicts, in any way, the actual statements made. Whenever I see a commercial with some claim and an asterisk, my mind usually fills in the bottom portion (which typically shoots off the screen too fast for me to actually read) as "* not really."

In a way it's kind of fun. I think it gives a strange insight into how advertisers perceive us.

I suppose the problem is it's hard to come up with a hard-and-fast definition for a contradiction. Take some diet program for example. "Lose up to 5 pounds per week!" is actually a true statement because the "up to" saves them from the case where people don't lose anything close to five pounds, but if they wanted to add something like "with an exercise routine" to the fine print, is that a contradiction? It could be argued fairly easily that it's not the diet that's helping you lose weight, but the exercise, so did it contradict?

Comment Re:This is Sony (Score 4, Interesting) 293

Not that I am defending their actions, but I do wonder if there is something cultural going on. Is there something in particular about Japanese culture that encourages that degree of control (or perhaps "order")?

The extents to which they are willing to go seem extreme, even compared to other companies who are charter members aboard the DRM bandwagon. Is there something more to it than just "Sony = teh sux?"

Comment Re:You don't say... (Score 5, Insightful) 311

Does it bother anybody else that the source in question is as bad as it is?

I looked at the source for the claim that the US has engaged in industrial espionage, which points to a 194 page report from a European commission and which the person who made the claim is clearly hoping was too long for anybody to read.

The only point relevant to the claim is this:

The United States readily admits that some of its intelligence service's activities also concern industry. This includes, for example, monitoring of the observance of economic sanctions, compliance with rules on the supply of weapons and dual use goods, developments on commodities markets and events on the international financial markets. The rapporteur's findings are that the US services are not alone in their involvement in these spheres, nor is there any serious criticism of this.

In other words, the industrial espionage they know about is something they aren't even willing to criticize.

Further along, under a big heading "Is ECHELON suitable for industrial espionage?" they go on to explain that if it finds any, it was an accident.

The strategic monitoring of international telecommunications, can produce useful information for industrial espionage purposes, but only by chance. In fact, sensitive industrial information is primarily to be found in the firms themselves, which means that industrial espionage is carried out primarily by attempting to obtain the information via employees

(their emphasis)

In other words, they took two paragraphs and three bullet points to say "no, they wouldn't bother using ECHELON for this."

It is followed by a chart of cases of industrial espionage (with no explanation as to how they arrived at any of the entries), and the only entry that may relate to ECHELON (rather than using an agent or taking photographs) is a 1994 NSA action where they intercepted calls and faxes related to how Airbus was bribing Saudi Arabian officials to win a contract. Those dastardly Americans! It's so rude to use spy on the competition when they're just trying to bribe somebody. Gosh! And yet still, I'm just supposing this entry is in any way related to ECHELON since it makes no such claim.

I am not claiming the US does not engage in this kind of behavior; they probably do, and for all I know they've been caught red-handed at it too. But this report is not proof of that, even if we were to take Wikipedia as a great source of anything to begin with.

Comment Re:A Less Cynical Possiblity (Score 1) 119

That was my instinct as well. They also own YouTube, which opens up some possibilities: Obviously, great video searching options but also automatic video transcripts and things like that. Once they have a transcript they can run their other algorithms over it and relate it more strongly to other sources, both video and non-video sources. If there's a G+ account to tie into, you also have all of that information.

Better search. Better recommendations. Better profiles. Better advertising placement. It's a big win for Google, and it's not like audio/video postings are going anywhere anytime soon. Now that so many people have a smartphone in their pocket, those video recordings are only getting more common.

Comment Re:Wait, wait, let me get this right (Score 2, Insightful) 270

I agree that the idea is kind of silly, mostly because it's just too much damn work to attack a gay person when there are significantly easier avenues available, but it's not as simple as you make it out to be.

If your profile is wide open to the world, then yeah, it's precisely that silly. If it's restricted to friends and family, it's still available to targeted advertising and that advertising can "leak" data. Or at least that's his premise.

Public safety issue? Not really. If you want to attack some gays, just find a gay bar or a gay dating site or something. Paying money to target advertising to leak private data so you can track them down to attack is, well, an awful lot of effort. Then again I don't understand the whole homophobia thing, so I guess the entire concept is lost on me.

Comment Re:His argument is overreaching (Score 1) 414

You know, I actually agree with you -- both about how silly the policy in general is and how ridiculous the article's reasoning for keeping it was.

But the idea that there are people who call forcing you to turn your iPad off for 15 minutes an "abusive government ban" is precisely what he's talking about. We've gone 'round the bend from any kind of well-adjusted relationship with our electronics. It has become downright obsessive.

It doesn't justify the ban itself, but his point is not completely without merit.

Comment Re:Snakes on a Plane (Score 3, Interesting) 106

Maybe, but it's certainly not clear.

Serenity, for example, did not even break even based on worldwide box office receipts. (It was very, very close -- but still under.) It went into the black with the DVD sales, but that is still a lackluster performance.

Assuming that the TV series performed similarly--hovering around the break even mark--it's a pretty easy decision to cancel it. Ordinarily I am fine with things breaking even: For a business, as an example, breaking even means you paid all your vendors, all your employees and all your expenses; it's dangerous territory in that there is no room for expansion or regression, but a lot of good can be done by "only" breaking even.

But it's not quite the same with a TV show, because it's not just about the show itself. Rather, one has to factor in the opportunity cost of taking up the extremely finite set of (valuable) time slots that the show takes. Making $10MM on a show sounds good unless you're told you could be making $30MM by airing some other show instead.

Would it have done better? Yes. Would it have done better enough to avoid cancellation? It's an open question, certainly not "pretty obvious" one way or another. $39MM at the box office is a poor showing.

Before anybody has a fit, I actually liked Firefly and Serenity, I simply realize that my liking something doesn't mean large numbers of other people like it. In my fact liking a show typically serves as a death knell. (Sorry folks.)

Comment Re:500,000 subscribers (Score 1) 178

500,000 subscribers would also rank them #8 in the country among print newspapers. #7, actually, if you remove the print edition of the NYT. That's not insignificant. If you add them together I believe they end up #2 or #3.

they know they will die if they don't get more subscription readers

Well, yes. When you have employees who enjoy getting a paycheck, equipment costs, hosting fees, delivery fees, printing costs, advertising costs, processing costs and more -- yeah, from time to time you need to actually bring in money. If you consistently fail to bring in more than you spend, your company will die. That you seem somehow smug or surprised by this is quite simply baffling.

Online advertising may or may not cover it. If you paid a journalist $40,000/year (which isn't unreasonable in the grand scheme of things but is not high at all), assumed no extra costs or support staff whatsoever and that he wrote 365 articles a year he would still need to make just shy of $110/article in ad revenue just to break even. Multiply that out by all the writers (and then throw in those pesky editors on top) and I think you can see where the potential problem comes from.

"Herp derp I like free stuff" is well and good; I like free stuff too. Assuming that the bills magically get paid that way is unrealistic. Maybe they're delaying the inevitable; I guess we'll find out. But I don't think them trying to find a way to survive is worthy of derision. Journalists serve an important societal function and we will all be worse off without them.

Comment Re:Real smart. (Score 1) 109

He won't. That's the beauty of his "ballsy" statement.

He's starting a brand new business. I'm sure he's incorporating it, both because he has to incorporate it in some format and because of the legal insulation it provides. He'll pick the state that is most unfriendly to the concept of piercing the corporate veil (since courts are required to use the laws of the state the business incorporates in). He doesn't care one whit about the business or its would-be customers; he's starting it just as a slight at Microsoft and an attempt to get himself sued. He's guaranteed to capitalize it only as much as absolutely necessary to avoid accusations that he deliberately under-capitalized it.

So if he gets his wish and 1024 lawyers come pounding on the door, he goes to court. He probably loses, at which point he folds the business he never cared about and goes "oh well!"

It's not a non-zero risk, but it's about as close as one can get. He'll lose the seed money, but he's probably made the capitalization money back in free publicity from the articles anyway.

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