Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment So, let me get this straight... (Score 5, Insightful) 158

AT&T can determine where you are, and who you are talking to, and all sorts of super-spy stuff like that. But they can't figure out where robocalls are coming from and stop those? AT&T can find me, but they can't find fucking Rachel from Card Member Services?

Make it make sense to me, AT&T. I challenge you.

Comment Re:Might as well break the ice (Score 1) 342

For me, a lot of it comes down to time. If I decide I want to watch a movie, I don't really want to plan it out as an activity. I want to sit on my couch in something comfortable with a snack and take it in. What I don't want to do is: figure out when / where there is a showing that fits into my schedule; clothe myself appropriately for going out in public; transport myself to that location / find somewhere to park; stand in a line to be herded into a theatre; watch a half-hour worth of commercials (or try to show up after all the ads but risk not getting a good seat). As a side note, theatres should consider doing away with the front three or four rows: it's impossible to see the whole screen, it's uncomfortable to crane your neck in a manner that lets you even try to take in the whole thing, and forget about reading subtitles from that range. They'll happily take the same money from you as they would for any other ticked to sell you this horribly sub-standard "experience".

Comment The importance of the release date (Score 4, Insightful) 342

Well if you really want to see a movie on its release date there are not many legal options.

First off, you're exactly right. If you want to see something the minute it's released, that's the only way to go.

So I'd like to offer another thought. What's so great about that?

Seriously. What's so great about having something the minute it's available? We put a lot of importance on that for some reason. The 2017 Chevys are out early, the latest Star Wars film was just released, Apple just made a phone that is 2% faster than their last one.

Why do we care?

Perhaps that's the thing we should be examining. The theater isn't a barrier to seeing a movie, they're a barrier to seeing a just released movie. That movie you want to see will be the exact same movie a week or a month or a year from now. And you have plenty of legal avenues (and far cheaper ones, and far more pleasant ones) than going to a theater.

Maybe the real problem is instant gratification, and our dependence on it.

Comment Ok, let me get this straight... (Score 1) 310

"YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3's users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3's servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones,"

So, because something can be used to commit a crime, that is sufficient reason to assume that it is?

Guns can be used to commit a crime too. A lot of crime involves a gun. But we don't ban those, right?

Comment Why not both? (Score 1) 235

I'm all for safe nuclear. Pebble bed reactors for the win.

But when you say algae biodiesel isn't available today, I think we're discussing two different things. You're saying you can't buy it today, and that's true. I'm saying we have the technology to make it if we wanted, which is also true.

As for startup cost, yeah. That will happen. But remember the first transistor was about the size of a baseball and took Bell Labs years to make. Now look what we can do. It'll be the same with algae if we choose to do it. Read that paper I posted. We already have had trial ponds and the numbers that paper uses come from those trial runs. What I'm saying is that we don't have to wait for some breakthrough like we would need to make hydrogen viable. We have everything we need right now. Land, sun, water, algae, and petrochemical infrastructure. All the pieces are already in place, just waiting for the word "go".

Here, read this. It's exciting! We could be doing this today.

If we wanted home grown diesel/gasoline, we could have it. We could stop pulling oil out of the ground and simply grow what we want. Easily and simply. By all means we should pursue nuclear and wind farms and the rest, but we should be doing this too.

Comment Re: An excellent paper on that subject (Score 1) 235

Oh sure, it's not a sexy solution at all. I'd like to see a future with a Tesla in every garage and fusion plants dotting the landscape. And I do think we'll get there someday. But this approach does have the merit of being available today. It uses the petroleum infrastructure we already have in place, so no spin-up costs there. And it's 100% carbon neutral, which will become increasingly important in the next few decades.

Millions of years of evolution has already given us a pretty darn efficient solar energy battery in algae. Even in a future with wind farms everywhere or fusion or whatever, hydrocarbons are a hard to beat storage meduim in terms of energy density. A carbon neutral hydrocarbon solution would still have a place.

Comment An excellent paper on that subject (Score 3, Insightful) 235

I take this article to be good news. Renewable energy is finally contributing to the grid well enough to where emissions will drop below the carbon emitted from transportation. This is excellent progress and excellent news.

Now, here's how you fix the transportation part. A wonderful article you can only find on the Wayback Machine, from 2004. UNH Biodiesel Group, Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae, Michael Briggs, University of New Hampshire, Physics Department.

It's my favorite paper on the topic and I'll take any opportunity to post it.

TL;DR - if we really wanted to, we (meaning the USA) could utilize biodiesel entirely for our current transportation needs. It would be 100% renewable, carbon neutral, and all the money spent would stay inside our own borders. And any other country could easily do the same. There is absolutely NO need to haul oil out of the ground anymore.

Check the math in the paper. We really could do this.

Comment Look at it from this perspective then (Score 2) 219

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do. I'd just like the question to be explored a bit more.

Morally it's quite clear, you simply don't consume the content. Justifying theft because of (supposed) shady business practices is not remotely moral.

Well, what if you don't think of it as theft? What if the movie is an advertisement, and the actual product is the merchandise? That's basically how it is, at least from the point of view of the creators of the content.

Let's say you love Star Wars. A safe assumption. And you want to reward George Lucas for putting something in your life that you love. Which makes more sense to do:

A) Buy the latest remastered blu ray. It'll set you back maybe $15, and George will see maybe a nickle of that. Corrupt Hollywood middlemen will see the other $14.95. They didn't have jack to do with the movie, they have just paid lawyers and positioned themselves in the middle as a barrier that must be crossed to get to the stuff you love.

B) Pirate it online, then buy a Jar Jar Binks figure. It'll set you back maybe $5, but George will see a dollar of that, and the corrupt assholes in the middle get bupkis.

Again, I'm not saying what you should do. Pirating movies is illegal and can get you in some serious hot water. I'm just asking people to think about the actual dynamics of the situation.

Comment Well, let's discuss ethics then (Score 5, Insightful) 219

So you have no ethical issues pirating content? Please no BS about sticking it to the media corporations--that is just rationalizing the fact you are just a cheap jerk with no morals.

Is it ethical to give your money to an organization that will do this sort of skullduggery with it?

I'm being serious.

It's theft if you download content and view it for free, sure, but you're not exactly morally in the clear if you do pay. Your money is lining the pockets of famously and spectacularly corrupt middle men, with only pennies on the dollar going to the artists you love.

The correct thing to do isn't as clear as you might suppose. Morally, it may be more correct to pirate their content then buy a t-shirt or something from them, because they'll see most of that money. Most notably George Lucas is wealthy because of merchandise, not movies.

I'm not saying what to do, what not to do, or what I do - I just want you to think about it a bit before tossing out moral absolutes.

Slashdot Top Deals

So... did you ever wonder, do garbagemen take showers before they go to work?