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Comment Contradicts the definition of copyright infringeme (Score 2) 81

The entire reason Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $222,000 was because she purportedly uploaded 24 songs to thousands of people. She was distributing the songs without a license from the copyright holder - something Copyright law expressly prohibits. In other words, by using copyright law crafted to stop wholesale copyright infringement, Capitol Records cast Ms. Thomas-Rasset as the mastermind of a bootleg music business and won a judgement of $222,000 against her. That judgment effectively indemnifies people who downloaded music from her uploads. She paid for the crime, not her "customers". When you shut down a counterfeit CD ring, you do not then go after the people who bought the illegitimate CDs.

If you throw all that out the window and instead argue that it's the act of downloading a song which is infringement (which current copyright law does not support), then this becomes really easy. Each downloader becomes liable for a single copy (the one they downloaded). And an appropriate fine would be, say, 3x or 5x the cost of buying the song from a legitimate source. So about $3-$5 per song. Frankly I think that's a much more sensible approach to copyright enforcement than ruining people's lives and depriving them of Internet service because they shared some music files.

But I suspect the *AA is going to want their cake and eat it too, and want to assess hundred-thousand dollar judgments against downloaders as well. This is a slimy and illogical (should be illegal) tactic of turning n crimes into n^2 crimes. If 10 people share a file and each copyright violation costs $100, then there are a total of 9 illegal copies made, and the total damages should be $900. But by the *AA's nonsensical reasoning, each person is responsible for 9 counts of copyright violation, so each person should pay $900, resulting in $10,000 in damages awarded. The math simply doesn't add up - they'd be getting $10,000 in court awards when the law has determined that they've only suffered $900 in damages.

You can't have it both ways. Either one person is liable for all the copyright infringement and you can ruin them financially. Or each person is responsible for a single copyright infringement (the file they downloaded) and you can only fine them a few times what it would've cost to buy the file legitimately.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 854

The hippie solution doesn't work because even if you can convince 99.99% of people to be peaceful, that remaining 0.01% can still send the world into nuclear winter.

You need some sort of hybrid approach, where you convince easiest 99% of people to be peaceful, but retain enough military capability to dissuade the remaining stubborn 1% from doing anything nuts. Which is more or less what we're doing today. Except some of those pursuing the hippie part of this hybrid approach have deluded themselves into thinking their approach will work on the entirety of the remaining 1% just because it worked on the first 99%.

That's what hippies don't seem to understand. Even if you temporarily achieved 100% indoctrination into a peaceful, cooperative society and completely disarmed. It just takes one person to be born who thinks differently and builds his own devices and following in secret, and spreads chaos and ruin upon that idyllic and disarmed utopia. You must have some sort of defense against this in reserve. Always. I don't particularly blame hippies for making this mistake - people tend to think that others will act as they themselves do. So if it's beyond their conception as to why someone would want to kill and destroy in order to have power over (parts of) the world, then it will literally be inconceivable to them that someone would ever want to do this. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a bad assumption.

Comment Re:Laying cable (Score 1) 187

I'm running into the same problem trying to get cable modem service to my business. The building currently doesn't have cable service.. The nearest location the cable company can extend service from to wire up our building is only about 1000 ft away, but they're estimating it'll cost them $14.5k. Most of that cost is in drawing up the plans and submitting it to the city so they can get permits to dig up the street to lay down new cable. You don't incur these costs when maintaining existing lines. They estimate the cost of sending a crew out to actually dig up the road, lay down the cable, and patch up the road will only be a few thousand.

Comment Re:I own one... (Score 1) 110

Most everything you're complaining about is on the government, not VW. Basically the situation you're describing is like buying something from a store and paying sales tax, finding out it's defective, returning it for a refund, and the government refuses to reimburse you for sales tax initially paid, and then tries to tax you when use the refund to buy a replacement product.

They shouldn't be able to have it both ways - either tax the initial purchase or the replacement purchase, but not both. But logic goes out the window when it comes to government and taxes. I'm even reading that some states will try to charge income tax on the buyback amount. Basically making you pay income tax on a refund.

Comment Weird times (Score 1) 493

As somebody who actually uses ESC in the way it was defined on most GUIs from the 1990-2010, namely "stop this input without commiting the change", I find that sad.

However I came to recognize that the current UI designers seems to like "forwards" and "backwards" pre-defined sequences of things to endure by the user. And so they killed the meanding of the ESC Key in the same way as they already started to make UIs which do not use system/framework element just to look a little better (supposedly) and drop the meaning of the PGUP and PGDOWN key.


Comment Re:Forbid flatrates on DSL lines (Score 1) 344

Thats the good thing: I did not state that i would define malicious traffic. Then the use has to decide. He/She pays for everything. It's like a car - the gas station does not care if your car uses to much gas due to you driving fast, the car having a problem due to bad service, or the manufacturer lying to you. They bill you for what you use, and it is in your interest to make the best use of it.

If gas would be "free" (a flatrate), people would probably leave the car running 24/7 so that they don't have to wait a few minutes until the AC has cooled it down. They also would not care if that would be the solution proposed by the manufacturer.

Comment Re:Companies keeping records... (Score 1) 156

The way it should work: Bob wants to buy something from Frank. To facilitate this, he gives Frank his personal cell phone number. Mary wants to contact Bob. She finds out Frank has his cell phone number, so asks Frank for it. Frank calls Bob, says Mary wants his cell phone number, and asks for his permission to give it to her.

The way it currently works: Bob wants to buy something from Frank. To facilitate this, he gives Frank his personal cell phone number. Mary wants to contact Bob. She finds out Frank has his cell phone number, so asks Frank for it. Frank says he'll give it to her for $x. Bob has no say in this.

We need something like patient confidentiality rules for business transactions. If you need personal info about me like my name, age, phone number, address, SS number, location, where I went to college, what I like to buy, whatever,. so that we can conduct business, that does not give you a blanket license to sell said information to someone else without my authorization.

Comment They weren't late, they just completely blew it (Score 1) 237

The failure of windows phone had nothing to do with 'developer engagement'. Simply put they were far too late to market to compete with the already established iphone & Android.

A lot of us had PDAs back in the 1990s. A lot of us also had cell phones. It didn't take a genius to figure out that having one device which worked as both a cell phone and PDA would be really nice, if for nothing but to reduce the amount of clanking going on in your pocket. So it was pretty obvious by the mid-1990s that cell phones and PDAs were going to converge. The only question was if PDAs would get phone capability added on, or if cell phones would get PDA (computing) capability added on.

The late 1990s is when this convergence began. Nokia (a phone manufacturer) was first out of the blocks, which cemented their dominance of the early smartphone market. Palm came out with the Kyocera 6035 and Treo in 2001/2002. The smartphone-ish Blackberry didn't show up until 2003.

Microsoft was right in the thick of this. Since 1996, They'd been competing with PalmOS with WinCE (which became Pocket PC which became Windows Mobile which became Windows Phone). They had enough foresight to add software hooks for phone support to Pocket PC 2000, but never put much effort into the hardware side. For some reason they never took this PDA-phone convergence seriously. Apparently they were too busy thinking up with new names for their mobile OS than to work on phone hardware integration. I remember when the Jornada 928 came to market just in time to compete with the Palm Treo in 2002, reviews panned it calling the phone functionality buggy and unreliable. For all the evils of the old Bell Telephone monopoly, one thing they got right was "It Just Works". Your electricity could be out after a storm, but your landline phone would still work. That's what people were used to and expected. An unreliable phone was dead before it even hit the market.

So Microsoft wasn't late to the market. They were right there at the beginning of the smartphone market and had ample opportunity to dominate it. They just blew it. I suspect someone high up in their management chain, maybe even Gates himself, didn't believe this phone-PDA convergence was going to happen.

Comment Re:Told ya (Score 1) 325

I actually thought Apple would have had the better success with a smart watch than most other vendors, as in if any technology company could get the jewelry status symbol angle right, it would be them.
And I suppose looked at relatively that could be argued is the case, as their watch sales are a bit higher than the others lacking that angle.

But the problems with the current crop of smart watches run much deeper than just Apple, and spans pretty much every vendor making general purpose smart watches.

The only real successes are the devices primarily targeted at primary purpose. Think along the lines of the FitBit.
But at least from the point of view of companies like Apple or Google, those target markets are way too small for their tastes, and even without that the expectations of such companies are significantly higher.

As far as the iPhone went, I could see the potential of such a device made well even as far back as the first gen.
My first iPhone however was still the second (or maybe third?) gen, with the 3gs model, and after the application model was in existence for a time. The concept of nothing but webapps just wasn't the right way to go before that point.

Even so there was a window of time when it was clear the iPhone was going in the right directions that Windows CE and Blackberry just wasn't willing to go yet desperately needed to somehow.

A handheld general purpose computer with a phone built in to it was a great concept to start with, but what was desperately needed was a user interface designed around the limitations such hardware inevitably had to have.
I may not have agreed with all their choices, such as an on-screen keyboard which have all traditionally sucked so bad as to be useless (which even now is only a partially overcome problem), and choices such as locking the system down so much as to no longer be fairly called a general purpose computer (which I still very much disagree with.)

A jailbroken iPhone 3 or 4 however was practically my dream come true for such a device.
But sadly when Apple chose to fight against all of the advantages brought about by jailbreaking instead of embarrassing the concept and providing a better way to give us the same features, the writing was already on the wall, and things have only gotten much worse ever since.
Between Apples lockdown of their platform and fighting back against the user doing with their property as they wish, and Googles UI being so ugly clunky and bad to work with, I've no idea what I will be doing for a phone in the future once my iPhone 4s dies completely. If anything :/

Comment Re:Told ya (Score 1) 325

To be fair I wasn't (or didn't intend to imply) the problem lies with developers, but specifically with the problems brought upon by the vendors themselves.

I would certainly agree the entry fee and sometimes inconsistent approval rules are a problem though, and at least in Apple and Googles cases, brought upon fully by themselves.

Be it cost to publish apps, or the input data an app can have available to it, the devs can only work within the limits of the hardware and the stupidity of the app stores provided for them to use.

Only the vendors could change that, and they don't seem to be wanting to do all that much to fix such things.

Comment Re:Role Reversal (Score 2) 39

Somewhere along the lines, these roles were reversed.

I think it happened right after the end of the Cold War. During the Cold War, we had a bogeyman - trumped up but still a bogeyman. We would point to things that happened in the Soviet Union like excessive government intrusion into people's private lives, and proudly proclaim that that sort of thing could never happen here. Anyone in our government who even breathed a suggestion of it would be branded a commie and instantly torpedo their career.

The Cold War ends, the poster child for an authoritative government run amok disappears, and suddenly everyone in our government who always those authoritarian powers but were too scared to try to ask for them come crawling out from the shadows.

Comment Re:That's a lot of water to generate in a day (Score 1) 156

2000 liters/day is a lot. About how much a U.S. family of 4 uses. You can make do with a lot less. India is around 130 liters/person-day. So I suspect this is more a one per 100-300 people concept, meant to provide potable water (drinking and cooking) so existing water sources can be used for things like bathing and laundry. That would help avoid things like the arsenic poisoning fiasco caused by relief agencies drilling fresh water wells in Bangladesh.

Comment Re:Please use 'bokeh' in a more useful way (Score 1) 50

The technical term is a point spread function. A lens with good bokeh will have a PSF which falls off smoothly the further you get from the center (like a bell curve). Bad bokeh is produced by a rapid falloff (or even increases) at the edges (looking sort of like Gibbs phenomenon).

Note however that due to geometry, the PSF in front of and behind the focal plane are conjugates. If the PSF concentrates rays towards the center behind the focal plane for a pleasing bell-curve like falloff, then those center-skewed rays must deviate further from the center when in front of the focal plane thus generating harsh edges. So good bokeh behind the subject means bad bokeh in front, and vice versa. I'm not a big fan of computer-generated bokeh, but this is one advantage it has over real-world lenses.

Comment Told ya (Score 2) 325

Remember how smartwatches were supposed to be the next big thing?

But do you remember how we told you they were just an early adapter fad, and would remain so until a killer app came along, or at least some more useful functionality than as shipped?

About that...


The market intelligence firm IDC reported on Monday that smartwatch shipments are down 51.6 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016. This is bad news for all smartwatch vendors

Well as we all mentioned back then, perhaps the vendors should now be working on coming up with new features and functionality so the watches would be even more useful, and perhaps spend a bit more effort searching out for those killer apps that still don't seem to exist.

Then they can make those available to the current early adapters that already bought the things, so when asked "How do you like the watch?" they could rant and rave about the awesome things they are doing with it, instead of just replying "meh"

That just might spur more people to buy the things.

Comment Re:Strangest argument (Score 1) 112

There are actually three stances here, not the two you're implying.
  • Can't ban something because it generates a lot of money.
  • Ban something regardless of how much money it generates.
  • Some things that make a lot of money are worth banning, some things shouldn't be banned regardless of making a lot of money.

As for the money-making activities you've cited, those are banned because their productivity generation is a net negative. The money the sex trafficker or cocaine dealer or ransomware author makes is less than the cost paid by the other party (sex slave loses freedom, drug addict suffers degraded productivity, ransomware victim should never have had to pay ransom). One party is making money at the expense of the other.

Legitimate business activities like, say, drone manufacturing are a net positive. The revenue the drone manufacturer gets from selling the drone is more than their cost in parts and labor. And the money the drone purchaser makes from the utility or enjoyment of using the drone exceeds the purchase price. Both parties benefit from the transaction. Until some government floozy decides because some screwdrivers can be used to help pick locks, that all screwdrivers should be banned. Except for very rare cases, bans should be on activities, not on tools which can be misused.

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