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Comment Re:Arms wide open (Score 2) 174

They arrested a bootlegger. Pirates sail the high sees looking for booty to plunder. Infringing on copyrights involves downloading or sharing copyrighted work with others. Bootlegging involves copyright infringement in order to make copies for sale for profit. Piracy is a criminal offense as it often involves rape and murder. Copyright infringement is a civil offense that the MAFIAA somehow managed to convince the US government to treat like a criminal offense, even though it's definitely not. Bootlegging is a criminal offense as it involves copyright infringement for profit, which is the key distinction from simply downloading a movie to watch or a kid downloading PS because he could never hope to afford a license for himself.

Comment I wonder... (Score 3, Interesting) 465

Is there any data on e-reader habits based on age? As with most technological sea changes, there's resistance in the older generations that gradually evaporates. With e-readers, I'd very much expect a bit of a downswing in sales right after the initial surge. The less tech-friendly are convinced that easy-to-use e-readers are worth having by those young folk who know what they're talking about, but then decide that maybe they're not so keen on it after all. Meanwhile, the younger generations are adopting it at a steady pace that's only visible when you look at sales in specific demographics. I don't know if my hypothesis holds water or not, but from personal experience, this is not a new phenomenon.

Comment Re:Ban them! (Score 5, Insightful) 209

The code and algorithms are already copyrighted. Every creative work in the US is automatically copyrighted, so that concern is moot.

Secondly, algorithms can't be patented. The law explicitly forbids the patenting of math. You can only patent an implementation of the math.

Strictly speaking, software should be unpatentable. Software is, at its most fundamental level, pure math. However, much like gene patents, the US courts have decided to conveniently ignore the law where it states that Nature can't be patented (math and genes fall under Nature) in order to allow industry to prosper. Unfortunately, by granting individuals temporary monopolies, the USPTO has insured that those industries have become legal minefields that are stagnating out of fear of litigation.

Comment Re:The countdown begins... (Score 1) 298

I could see this going two ways. Valve could lock down the box because they're selling it at a loss, anticipating that game sales will offset the cost of the hardware. Alternatively, Valve could sell it unlocked like the PS3 was originally so that people can homebrew their systems. Locking it down makes sense in the traditional console market, but Valve hasn't been very traditional in their operations. There's a heavy emphasis on the players, so they very well could sell it unlocked, even if they're taking a loss on the hardware, because of the goodwill it will generate.

I'm also assuming that the hardware in the box will be good, but nowhere near top of the line. I'd imagine Valve would instead optimize the hardware drivers to make up some of the difference in addition to using economy of scale to get better than average hardware at a good price so as to minimize the loss at sale.


Computer Games and Traditional CS Courses 173

drroman22 writes "Schools are working to put real-world relevance into computer science education by integrating video game development into traditional CS courses. Quoting: 'Many CS educators recognized and took advantage of younger generations' familiarity and interests for computer video games and integrate related contents into their introductory programming courses. Because these are the first courses students encounter, they build excitement and enthusiasm for our discipline. ... Much of this work reported resounding successes with drastically increased enrollments and student successes. Based on these results, it is well recognized that integrating computer gaming into CS1 and CS2 (CS1/2) courses, the first programming courses students encounter, is a promising strategy for recruiting and retaining potential students." While a focus on games may help stir interest, it seems as though game development studios are as yet unimpressed by most game-related college courses. To those who have taken such courses or considered hiring those who have: what has your experience been?

Comment Re:Sousa was right. (Score 1) 280

Who can afford the licensing fees to sit around and play music for friends? And if you didn't pay the fees, well, you're stealing from the artist-that's-long-dead's-children-that-continue-to-profit-from-work-they-never-performed! Think of the children!

Comment Re:Competition is good, baby! (Score 1) 1089

That will be a very good question. On the other hand, is it really anti-competitive when the product being sold is the hardware with that specific browser? The OS has traditionally been the platform from which everything else was launched. With Chrome OS, they're essentially turning the browser into the platform and the OS is secondary in importance. I think they've got a pretty good argument that the browser is more important than the OS on the hardware, which is very different from the MS IE bundling.

Comment Planned Obsolescence (Score 1) 569

You'd think they'd have accidentally stumbled across more efficient means of making incandescent bulbs while researching methods planned obsolescence in their bulbs. Edison's bulb is still working, but the ones sold in stores burn out within a year? Call me cynical, but the tech to lake long-lasting bulbs has been around for over a century.

The market was willing to except cheap, crappy little bulbs because they burn out infrequently enough that no one realizes just how much they spend on them over the years, but frequently enough that you spend more on those crappy cheapo bulbs than if the manufacturers actually sold more expensive, quality long-lasting bulbs.

If it weren't for the emergence of a competing technology, we'd still be suffering through the annoyance of those dinky bulbs and there'd be no calls for further innovation. Makes you wonder what other household items are crap due to technological complacency.

Comment Small Office With EMR (Score 1) 294

I'm currently working in an office that primarily serves elderly Hispanic patients. There's one doctor and the support staff. The doctor happens to be a technophile and converted the office to an EMR back in Nov. of 2007. There were a LOT of bumps along the way, but 18 months later, we have other doctors tour our office to see the way we've successfully integrated the EMR into the office workflow.

I started working here a year after the conversion, but I was the first IT-competent person hired since then (I wasn't even hired for IT purposes). As such, I've been able to significantly streamline office practices to the point where lab results are directly inserted into progress notes from Quest, the doctor gets real-time indications of patient insurance drug coverage while prescribing, ePrescribe capabilities which allow the doctor to send the Rx to the pharmacy while noting the medication in the progress note, fax records and progress notes directly from patient charts, etc. Pretty much any piece of paper that passes through the office (billing aside) gets scanned into the patient's chart. We do this both for ease of reference (easier to just pull up the high-quality TIFF than typing in a summary of a consult or diagnostic image) and for legal purposes. The doctor, contrary to some of the other comments, feels much safer legally having everything scanned, titled, timestamped and easily accessible. Oh, not to mention how much time is saved when we're subpoenaed for records and it takes the better part of 30 seconds to do a multi-doc fax.

The only real complaint I have with our EMR is its lack of ability to share records. We still have to fax records (certainly not snailmail!) and burn through reams of paper receiving records from other offices. I would love to see a connectivity standard between EMRs. That may be putting the buggy before the horse, though, with the lack of adoption we've been seeing in our area. Medicare's office a lot of incentive bonuses for using the EMR and ePrescribe, which are a lot more beneficial for early adopters, but still doctors seem to be dragging their feet. Maybe that'll change when they start seeing a 2% penalty tacked onto their Medicare payments in 2014?

Comment Re:Legalize it? (Score 1) 572

Actually, you can thank the other textile industries back in the early 1900s for outlawing hemp. They (rightly) saw that hemp would prove serious competition to them, so they pushed hard to have marijuana, which also happened to have a non-psychotropic variety known as hemp, outlawed because it caused people to go insane! The whole irrational hatred of marijuana is a direct result of cotton farmers and textile manufacturers not wanting to compete with hemp. And you thought the RIAA and MPAA were evil?

Comment Re:She made it easy for them (Score 1) 793

Hrm... Woman with nothing to lose and a colossal mountain of debt? She should become a hired assassin. I hear that pays well (untaxed!) and she can work up that $2m in no time, assuming she's good enough not to get caught.

The another alternative is to commit some petty crimes and live off the largess of the state for the rest of her live while flicking off the RIAA.

Or maybe find an unpaid position with housing/healthcare/allowance benefits as compensation? I suspect if she's really intent on telling the RIAA to go eff itself, she could come up with something.

And then there's the obvious Somali pirate option... She'll fit right in!

Comment Re:An Ethical Quandry without an easy answer (Score 1) 847

While you're more than welcome to have a hand at that particular crap shoot, I think I'd rather not risk the myriad assortment of genetic handicaps humans can potentially pass to their offspring. We have no problem breeding pigs, horses, cows, dogs, etc., to be super-fit specimen of their species, so why would we hesitate to do the same to improve the genetic quality of our own species?

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943