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Comment Smart people do dumb things.... (Score 2) 58

Smart people do dumb things, especially when they think they know better than things like the law. I do think that John Carmack has done some really dumb things even though so many people are putting him on a pedestal and calling him a genius. Sure he knows code and he founded a successful business, but that doesn't automatically translate into him being smart at everything.

As I understand, Zenimax were originally going to sue Carmack for breach of his employment contract as part of the Oculus lawsuit, but this was left out. The Oculus lawsuit did establish a few key facts: Carmack did copy information before he left Zenimax, he did deliberately destroy evidence after Zeinmax filed the lawsuit, and he lied on an affidavit denying he wiped evidence.

While Zenimax weren't able to convince the jury of all their claims, it was established that something was taken by Carmack. Ultimately, Carmack wasn't directly on trial there, merely whether Oculus had clear benefit from his actions.

I have no doubt that Zenimax will counter-sue for breach of contract, theft of intellectual property and breach of NDA (among other things). Likely they will argue that Carmack's breach of employment contract is tied to his final contract payment and that damage from his actions equal or exceed the $22.5 million they would have owed him.

Carmack says that Zenimax's refusal to pay is based on 'sour grapes', but I think Carmack's lawsuit is being filed based on 'sour grapes' too. I do recall him making a rant about the independent forensics after Oculus lost the case. Now I believe that this latest lawsuit is another dumb thing being done by a smart person.

He is kicking a legal hornet's nest, especially when Zenimax's lawyers have plenty of information already gained from the Oculus lawsuit. They will know exactly what to go for when they file for discovery in this case.

Comment Sensible legal move. (Score 4, Interesting) 77

Regardless of how I feel about each of the parties, in the long run I believe that Facebook/Occulus have the resources to drag this case for years by which point either VR will be dead or the lawyer's fees will outweigh any potential wins either party would make. Zenimax should know this, so filing for an injunction is really a sensible legal move here.

On one hand this will allow Zenimax to effectively re-argue the IP portion section of their case to a Judge instead of to a Jury, especially since it was determined that there was an NDA breach and misappropriation of source code. There is a chance (albeit a very slim one), that this could even go in their favour.

But, on the other hand (and what I believe this is really about), is Zenimax showing Occulus that they won't back down in the face of Occulus's public claims to appeal the original case. This is about forcing Occulus to negotiate a settlement and bring and end the case now.

Of course it could be that Zenimax want to win this case at all costs, in which their chances if getting a quick and easy win are slim-to-none.

Comment Bait and switch? (Score 1) 295

So, as the article states, the Java SE downloadable comes with the JDK and JRE which are free to use "for general purpose computing", but the one of the key issues is that additional components such as Java SE Advanced Desktop, Java SE Advanced and Java SE Suite are also included in the same software package, but are not free to use without a license. While there is an EULA, there is nothing to warn users that installing those extra components is not free and there is no form of license checking to prevent user installation without a license. As a result there are many installations where the non-free components have been installed and it is this (in large part) Oracle are chasing money for. While Oracle may be able to point to the EULA, it may be possible this will fail the Reasonable Person test (ie. an average person downloading the package for free, and allowed to install the extra components unopposed, might reasonably believe that all the software in that package is free to use). It seems to be the software equivalent of a bait and switch. I wonder how long it will be before someone challenges Oracle on this tactic.

Comment Oracle just trying to save face (Score 4, Interesting) 357

Are we supposed to believe that Oracle really had the best interests of the Open Source community at heart? Are we really supposed to believe that this case was all about Oracle's altruistic intentions instead of a $9Billion payday??

Now that they have lost this particular legal battle, Oracle are just trying to save face in front of the Open Source community. This lawsuit has alienated a massive segment of the developer community. Arguably that alienation began the moment Oracle acquired Sun, and this lawsuit simply confirmed many people's worst fears. It is clear, from comments in the trial, that Oracle only acquired Sun to have total control over Java, and anything related to it. Now that this lawsuit has confirmed that Oracle don't have the control they thought they did, their only option is to try and sway public opinion with the developer community. I don't see how that will start to happen unless Oracle abandon any appeal and let this case rest.

Hurst said that the whole Open Source community is in jeopardy because this will allow anyone to ignore copyright on source code and claim 'fair use'. Sure, there may be a possibility that 'fair use' could be pose a risk to enforcing the GPL, but the precedent in this case is limited because it specifically involved APIs. That hardly means that the GPL is now worthless. What is certain is that all developers everywhere, including the Open Source community, would have been in far greater jeopardy had Oracle been victorius.

If Oracle had been victorius, then Annette Hurst would have been busy firing off dozens of other API copyright lawsuits instead of writing Op-ed pieces on ArsTechnica. (The only thing that surprises me about this article is that ArsTechnica were so willing to publish something from such a clearly biased source.) Given that this was published so quickly after the trial, I find it hard to believe that Hurst penned this in her spare time after the trial as her personal opinion instead of the opinion of her client. To me it just seems like a lame 'Plan B' approach to sway public opinion for her client while they work on an appeal.

To be clear, I don't for one second believe that Hurst and Oracle have the best interests of the Open Source community in mind. I also don't believe that this is just about making money out of Google (although that is the starting point). This is about Oracle trying to regain total control over Java and anything related to it. The are billions of devices and programs that use Java or make use Java APIs (and not just Android devices), so the potential licensing revenue stream would be massive for Oracle. This is about Oracle trying to put an Open Source genie back in the bottle, and represents a far greater threat to the GPL than fair use ever will.

Comment Modular, but no longer upgradeable (Score 1) 39

This article misses the critical point that the Project Ara phones will no longer be upgradeable.

From the Project Ara website: "The Ara frame contains the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display..."

The whole concept behind Phonebloks, which grew into Project Ara, was that everything was to be upgradeable. When a new CPU came out, you could just upgrade the module. If you wanted better gaming performance, you could drop in a better GPU module. If you needed a larger battery, or if the current battery performance was poor, you could swap it out. If you wanted a better display, you could just upgrade the module. The idea was to create an ecosystem when you didn't have to replace the whole phone if a new upgrade came out.

Yes, the new Project Ara is modular, but only to the point of secondary functions. Key functionality (ie. Display, CPU/GPU, battery and cellular) is not modular, and therefore not upgradeable. This goes completely against the original concept of Phonebloks and Project Ara.

Comment Why is Slashdot advertising for Arduino SRL? (Score 5, Informative) 67

This article completely brushes over the Trademark dispute, where if the facts were published it would become clear that ArduinoSRL (formerly Smart Projects) has been attempting to hijack the Arduino brand. ArduinoSRL/Smart Projects produced boards under license from In 2008 they sneakily registered the trademark in Italy just before pursued registering the trademark internationally. found out and tried to negotiate for the trademark that was rightfully theirs. Subsequently, Smart Projects stopped paying royalties to, changed their name to ArduinoSRL, and have declared themselves the real Arduino. Funny thing is that the code they distribute to run their hardware is still from

Comment This isn't a normal KVM solution (Score 1) 128

Are the point you want to separate displays between two machines, you deviate from what KVMs are designed for. It comes down to what you want to spend. I'd suggest you get an HDMI matrix with at least 5 inputs (PC1 1&2, PC2 1&2 and Laptop) and 2 outputs (screen 1 & 2), and then get a separate USB switch. Finally you need control to link them together (unless you really want to switch them manually). If you get IR controllable HDMI matrix and USB switch, something like a Logitech Harmony should easily control both. Then you just customise whatever modes you want.

Comment "Nobody wants a stylus..." - Steve Jobs (Score 0) 508

Well, I guess he was wrong. *gasp*

I feel a great disturbance in the Reality Distortion Field, as if millions of fanboys suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. They probably all want one now. But it isn't a stylus, its a pencil, right?

Seriously, I'm looking at the iPad Pro, and all I see is a slavish copy of what Microsoft are already doing with the Surface line.

Steve Jobs also said "if you see a stylus, they blew it" and "as soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead." Perhaps this is a sign that Apple have hit peak Apple, and are now on the decline.

Comment No microSD slot, no replaceable battery? NO SALE. (Score 4, Insightful) 77

I have enjoyed previous Galaxy Notes, but my current will probably be my last. The upgradeable storage and removable battery were (for me and many others) key points of difference over the iPhone, but Samsung have decided that they don't want to be different.

I don't want Cloud storage. Why would I waste my phone plan's data allowance when I should just have expandable local storage? Oh, I should pay for model with the largest capacity? No, not for the price per GB that they're selling.

Sure, I may be able to charge in 90 minutes (with Samsung's charger only, of course), but what happens when my battery gets end of life? Planned obsolescence sucks.

I also liked that the previous flip covers and smart covers, that clipped on instead of the battery cover, more or less became part of the phone. That was much more useful to me than a back plate of glass that will just be a crack magnet.

Yes, this release was the standard fare of a processor/RAM bump and screen resolution bump, but for me this release is far more notable for the features that have been removed....

Comment Re:Is a false DMCA claim an act of Perjury? (Score 1) 224

From Vimeo's website, amongst other things the notice must contain:

"A statement by you UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf."

Good faith shouldn't be had to disprove in this instance: as a company who specialises in anti-piracy they should know the law and should be held to a higher standard than a member of the general public. An automated search for anything containing the word 'Pixels' is going to contain a high number of false hits. Using those as a basis alone for a DMCA claim is negligent at the least. They have stated UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information is accurate, when they cannot reasonably believe that every claim is accurate. They should have had someone verify the automated claims, but instead they are relying on the DMCA system to do that for them. That is bad faith.

Comment Is a false DMCA claim an act of Perjury? (Score 5, Interesting) 224

I wonder if it is possible to bring a Class action lawsuit against Entura (and Columbia Pictures)? IANAL but there seems to be a class here. By filing DMCA claims, Entura have committed themselves to a legal document (even if that is an electronic document). Surely, if the claims in the document are clearly false, then Entura have committed multiple acts of perjury (as each claim is a legal statement invoking the DMCA). As Vimeo counts the DMCA claim against the user, even if that claim is proved invalid, then the users can show that they have suffered harm to their reputations.

Comment Interesting timing (Score 2) 66

This call for patents comes just after HEVC Advance announce a HEVC patent pool to compete with MPEG LA. DASH is a complimentary technology to HEVC (h.265), and MPEG LA know it. By offering both DASH and HEVC patent licensing portfolios, they probably believe they are making themselves more attractive to deal with than HEVC Advance.

Nevermind that this patent licensing competition is actually likely to impede the uptake of both technologies.

Comment Wait... this rhetoric sounds familiar (Score 1) 83

"...Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners..."

This sounds an awful lot like the scaremongering that was put out surrounding Iraq and its WMDs. We all know how that turned out.

Laser targeting and guidance systems have been about for decades. These days a simple laser pointer can be considered a laser targeting system. It is a massive technological leap to go from milliwatt laser pointers to 150kW directed energy weapons: a technical leap that Iran, and countries like it, simply are not capable of.

The Navy are clearly banking on the fact that Politicians simply will not know the difference and will just allocate more money to Defence Budgets out of misguided fear. Nevermind that the Navy's own Laser Weapon System's performance has actually been rather lacklustre.

Maybe the Directed Energy Weapons program is yet another area of US Military spending that is deemed 'too big to fail'... just like the F35.

Comment Re:Ask other retro communities (Score 1) 66

...replace them with modern power supplies before they fail.

That's fine if you just want to keep the machines functional, but this is a Museum and restoring this as close to original condition as possible is the goal.

I do not believe that modern power supplies are any more reliable in the longer term, given the number I have seen fail. These machines have lasted 30 years on the original PSUs. The goal is to keep them going another 30 years and beyond, not just get them up and running for now.

It sounds like they know at least some of the key problems. What they need is not necessarily someone who knows the 30 year old machines, but someone who is going to institute a regular maintenance schedule and replace the parts before they fail. I know what is inside them and any halfway decent electronics technician will have no problem working on them (no surface mount components in there).

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