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Comment Re:Google suckered everyone (Score 1) 245

The FAQ on the website says this:

Does Google own the intellectual property created during the competition?

No. Google is not requiring any IP or licenses be granted except a non-exclusive license to be used only for the purpose of testing the inverter and publicizing the prize. We want entrants to benefit themselves through the advancements they make in order to help grow an advanced power electronics ecosystem.

It also links to the detailed terms and conditions, which I've not read.

Comment Re:Open Spec (Score 1) 245

From the FAQ:

Does Google own the intellectual property created during the competition?

No. Google is not requiring any IP or licenses be granted except a non-exclusive license to be used only for the purpose of testing the inverter and publicizing the prize. We want entrants to benefit themselves through the advancements they make in order to help grow an advanced power electronics ecosystem.

Comment Re:Clemens and Copyright (Score 3, Interesting) 207

You got an extra zero in there, right? As in 7 years sounds about right?

I know some authors protest that seven years is too long, and the majority of income is made in the first three years and after five it would be advantageous to have the works available in the public domain (but the publishers don't want the competition from previously released works), but I think that varies from author to author, so doing a compromise of seven seems reasonable - we can experiment with shortening it further after having seen what happen when we cut it to seven.

Comment Re:Sure... (Score 4, Interesting) 399

Anwar al-Awlaki - intentionally executed without trial.
Samir Khan - unintentionally executed as part of the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki.
Jude Kenan Mohammad - intentionally executed. Had previously been convicted of terrorism conspiracy, but not to a sufficient degree to actually be imprisoned.
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki - 16 year old with no personal involvement in terrorism, but who had a father (Anwar al-Awlaki) who was involved. Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, stated that he "should have had a more responsible father." Unclear at what level the execution was a mistake.

Three of the four are arguably "bad guys" - but they should still have gotten a proper trial, so we could determine if they are. The last one doesn't even seem to be a bad guy, just somebody that happened to be born to an unfortunate father.

Comment Re:And I blame my parents (Score 2) 734

Now for a side rant. Suicide is a pussy way out.

That's a common meme for people that don't know the psychology of suicide. Suicide generally takes a fair bit of strength of character. The problem is not being "a pussy" or "taking a pussy way out" - it's an unfortunate evaluation, often from wrong premises. A common one is that a bunch of psychological or life situation issues are permanent/long term, while they are usually possible to change. Another is overestimating how much the person is a burden to other people in their lives, and wanting to lighten their load.

Comment Re:Fuck those companies (Score 4, Informative) 198

What have you and your countrymen done for the world? I'd seriously like to know what country you even come from. For all the stupid shit we americans do, have you ever looked at the amount of financial aid we give to countries that have absolutely no strategic value?

Yes, I have. It's embarrassingly low. A little less than what Greece gives, about half of what Germany gives, about 1/5th of what Sweden gives.

There's some stats over at

The US has a lot of good points. Foreign aid isn't one of them, and neither is consumption patterns.

(Oh, and I live in the US and am originally from Norway, if that makes a difference.)

Comment Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (Score 1) 232

The transaction costs for paying bitcoin are fairly high. I'd need to find somewhere to buy bitcoin (Mt Gox, I presume), find out how to pay with it, probably install some software, etc. So that's a hassle even though I know a bunch about Bitcoin, as I haven't used them before - and hassle is a major part of transaction costs.

If you're looking for more technical transaction costs, they're about $6.59 per transaction at the moment, paid by the entire network through expansion of the monetary base (using today's block payment of 25 bitcoins per block, the rate of one block every ten minutes, yesterday's transaction count of 51923, and this moment's cost of bitcoins of $95) . That transaction cost will drop if the hashing power compared to buying activity goes down.

Comment Re:So It's An Indirect Intangible Gamble? (Score 1) 232

Or the transaction costs of paying money is higher than the transaction costs of paying CPU time.

If I'm installing something, the transaction cost of letting it run a task on my machine is very close to zero. The transaction cost of having to get my credit card, key in the number, verify that the site I'm keying it into isn't too shady, keying in my address, and the risk of having my credit card hit one more site is significantly higher.

Comment Re:No shit (Score 1) 447

For 96% of the world's population, there is no access to "Amazon Instant".

And the comment here is that legal access would lead to less piracy. I believe that; I actually buy and rip DVDs or Blurays for everything I watch, but it is an utter pain and I am oh so tempted of going for the much easier route of just pointing my computer at the right torrent files and getting it pre-ripped and quicker. There's so much hassle put in the way of a good experience for those of us that want to stay legit.

Comment Re:Unix (Score 2) 207

That's a myth from the BSD community. Absolutely the LAMP stack wasn't the BAMP stack. Possibly you can argue that Linux was ahead in 1994 because of the lawsuit but what about the 18 years since then?

There were niches like embedded where BSD was well established that they lost to Linux. BSD lost to Linux because:

a) They didn't care much about appealing to Windows power users who became the base of Linux. They focused on recruiting from the smaller Unix community.
b) They didn't have the GPL so they never got the industrial cooperation from hardware players that Linux got, contrary to their theories about licensing.
c) Their product is too damn hard to use, even today twenty years later.

That like your opinion, man.

There's a million different ways to argue this, from "Stallman poisioned the well by using propaganda techniques to make people into GPL zealots" to "The Linux community had a structure that was better able to scale development and evangelization". The truth is that there were many different causes, and we'll almost certainly never know how important each was, and how much of this was basically random chance.

I can counterfact some of your hypotheses above, in case you're interested in having a clearer picture, though:

For the "because of the lawsuit" argument, you seem to be arguing against a straw man. The argument was about being on a similar exponential curve, and Linux getting ahead, and the idea of network effects has always been included - ie, Linux got bigger, and because Linux got bigger it got a bunch of advantages that is just because of it being bigger, leading to extra growth for Linux and less growth for BSD. (I think this is a very partial truth, myself, and that there are structural differences that are much more important.)

There was very little focus on recruiting in the BSD community - there was a "put it out there and let them use it if they want to" and recruiting developers from the existing set of BSD users. There was no focus on recruiting from the Unix community - it just happened to that kind of people that discovered BSD.

Your GPL view may be biased by what side you've been following - you may well have seen companies that would contribute to GPLed projects because they would "get protection" - I've been on the opposite side of the fence, and seen a lot of contributions that were from companies that did this because they could have the freedom to do whatever they wanted, and would contribute the parts they wanted to contribute, and would have used a proprietary codebase to work from if they hadn't been able to use BSD licensed code. Overall, it is very hard to estimate which of these effects is larger - what I personally have seen (from watching the BSD community from the inside and the Linux community from the outside) would make me estimate the positive effect of freedom on company contributions to be much larger than the positive effect of restrictions, but people on the opposite side tend to consistently make the opposite estimation.

As for user friendliness: I switched from Linux to BSD back in 1996 because I found BSD easier to use than Linux, almost immediately after install. For many definitions of "ease of use", Linux has now beat BSD - but back then, BSD seemed at least to me to be much easier to deal with.

Comment Re:Compensation (Score 1) 146

If I understand the article correctly, the problem isn't that Apple has an overall minimum - it's that Apple is setting a minimum per carrier and using that to force market share, somewhat similar to the per-CPU licensing that Microsoft did in the 90s.

Assuming I understand the implications of the article correctly (and it doesn't spell this out), the Apple trick works somewhat like this:

Carrier X has 100,000 customers, 10,000 of which are super-Apple-fanboys as customers. If they don't get their iPhone, they'll go elsewhere.
There's also another 5,000 customers that will buy the iPhone if Carrier X does a hard sell, but where carrier X would be better served by selling these customers something else (e.g, because the customers would be happier with something else, and that's good advertising.)

Apple will run their numbers and say "Carrier X has 15,000 customers it can make buy the numbers, we will offer them a minimum buy of 15,000 units". If carrier X says no to buying 15,000 units, they're losing 10,000 customers. If carrier X says yes to buying 15,000 units and don't do a hard sell of the iPhone to the 5,000 (e.g, leading them to buy a phone that they'll be more happy with), carrier X is out the cost of 5,000 phones. The only reasonable option for carrier X is to buy the 15,000 units and do hard sell for 5,000 - leading to a worse outcome for those customers (or for the carrier, depending on why the carrier wanting to sell another phone.)

If the number of Apple fanboys was really small, then this wouldn't be an issue - the carrier would just take the loss of those customers. However, if the number is relatively large - and supposedly is - then this is using their (state granted) monopoly on the iPhone directly to extend into a larger market share, which may be against anti-trust laws. Or at least that seems to be the hypothesis. (This is not legal advice, I'm not a lawyer, and even if I was a lawyer I would not be your lawyer.)

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