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Comment On the other hand... (Score 4, Insightful) 194

...I wonder how many billions of dollars excessive copyright terms have cost the U.S. citizenry directly. Half the Beatles are dead, for crying out loud, and it's been almost 50 years since their last album was released. There's no way copyright can encourage them to record another album.

Comment Re:Oh yeah (Score 1) 109

It'd take a team, not only of software developers, but also mechanical engineers and others that would represent the target audience. Part of the problem with so much open-source stuff is that it often doesn't address the needs of many of its potential users, in large part because either those users' feedback is not solicited, or is dismissed out of hand. A package you write might scratch your particular itch, but it also has to scratch the itch of a lot of other people if it's to be widely successful. Software devs are often notoriously susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect and unwilling to accept constructive criticism.

Add technical writers to that team too - a professional's time usually has a substantial dollar value attached to it, and a package isn't going to see a lot of use if the lack of documentation ends up costing more time for them than using a well-documented commercial product of at least equal functionality. This also extends to making the package easy to install/remove - it may be trivial for a lot of us, but a lot more of the professional types aren't going to do well with a "configure/make/make install" process.

Comment Re:damages calculated? (Score 1) 104

im curious why they owe $20 million on a product which is given away for free?

Because damages are calculated using lost profits or at the very least a reasonable royalty for the use of the patent. Patents cover "making, using, or selling", so the patented invention doesn't have to be sold for there to be infringement and damages owed. Given the number of Chrome downloads, $20 million really isn't a lot of money. I'm not saying I agree that the patents in question should be held valid, just pointing out that no money has to change hands for there to be an infringement.

Comment Re:I thought not all US carriers use LTE (Score 2) 105

Them's weasel words - it's not covering where the customers are, it's also covering where they aren't, like on a rural highway.

For sure, and it doesn't even have to be a rural highway. I have T-Mo, and I call my wife every day on the way home from work along U.S. 1 on the east coast of Florida, one of the busiest highways in the state. I get calls dropped 100% of the time - always at least once in a particular location, and often 2-3 times.

Comment Re:Today Marks 50th Anniversary of Fatal Apollo 1 (Score 5, Informative) 87

Continuing this sad tale, we saw the loss of a launch because of faulty O-ring design caused by small, but significant, warpage from the weight of the vehicle resting on its side during the O-ring installation.

That's not what caused the O-ring failure, and the vehicle was attached vertically in the VAB, well after the SRBs were fully assembled and mated to the tank. The temperature at launch was below freezing, and about 25 degrees lower than any previous launch. The O-rings lost most of their flexibility due to the cold and failed to seal the joint as a result.

And then, there was the loss during re-entry from another vehicle because of icing issues - even though NASA had a waiver to continue using freon for de-icing which would have eliminated this problem, but changed to a different, less effective, but MORE Politically Correct compound. Granted, the actual icing issue didn't cause the loss, but the ice build-up and the impact of the ice-chunk DID result in another senseless, tragic loss.

The Columbia accident wasn't caused by ice either - it was a block of insulating foam that broke off from the tank and struck the orbiter. Very little ice ever formed on the external tank due to the insulation.

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