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Comment Re: Just repeal it (Score 1) 91

The people who "got" health insurance from the ACA, if they're not dirt poor, DID NOT GET HEALTH INSURANCE. They got miserably high premiums they can barely afford, and are left with so little cash each month that they can no longer afford to go see the doctor. And no, the insurance they're now paying a fortune for doesn't help with that, because a small family has a deductible pushing $20,000. So they are legally required to spend a couple thousand dollars a month on insurance they can't use, and have no cash left with which to buy the services of a doctor. Meanwhile, people who don't pay for anything "got insurance" and are being subsidized by the middle class people who effectively had their ability to see a doctor taken away.

The ACA is a terrible piece of law, and was meant by the Democrats to be just that from the beginning. And it's now imploding. I'm glad yesterday's vote got pulled. The current disaster remains under the ownership of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 181

Sadly they won the biggest battle, except for open source 99.999% of all software is licensed through an EULA not copies sold like a book so you don't have any property rights to begin with.

Guess what: shrink-wrap EULAs have NOT ever been upheld as valid by any precedent-setting court. (There are some cases that address somewhat similar-issues, but not any that address an EULA presented after-the-fact in the context of a retail sale.) The idea that EULAs are anything but meaningless contracts of adhesion that offer no consideration to the buyer and are therefore invalid is propaganda that, sadly, you've fallen for.

Comment Re:Using Javascript (Score 1) 83

obj.message = "I <3 Javascript";

My condolences. Personally I loathe code that messes with variables in far-away objects, if it's a huge program you should call obj.setMessage( "I <3 Javascript" ); I don't know how much time I've wasted trying to track down WTF just did something compared to just setting a breakpoint on or printing a debug line in "setMessage()" to see what's happening from where. Yes, setters and getters are annoying copy-pasta code but it's a wonder for sanity. Same with stored procedures and databases, if something is done from many different places route it through one procedure. Even if it's done wrong, then at least it's done consistently wrong.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 2) 95

Hmmm - prison = food, clothing, shelter, in some cases a good gym membership and now your own tablet with internet and skype and probably easy access to porn. What's the deterrent to crime then?

The conditions in prison are rarely effective as a deterrent anyway, either people think they'll get away with it (typically theft, burglary, mugging, robbery, trafficking illegal goods, fraud, embezzlement and related crimes) or crimes of passion (rage, lust, envy mostly, often combined with being drunk or high - most violent crime, rape and murder) where they're not thinking rationally of consequences. While there are certainly repeat offenders there's also many first-time offenders that have no real concept of what doing time is like or small time criminals that confuse being off the streets for a few weeks on minimum security with being locked up for years.

And most criminals don't return or not return to prison because of how the conditions are on the inside. They return because they don't really see any alternatives to the life they have on the outside. No money, no job, no CV or work history, so it's back to stealing or peddling drugs on the street corner. Or they have impulse control or substance abuse issues that don't just disappear with time. And if prison is some horrible hellhole then you have these "nothing to lose", "never going back" people who will do anything to get away with it and fight the police until they die in a rain of bullets from a SWAT team. They need to see that there is another way, in prison and after prison. Not everyone will want to change, but you can't whip them into changing.

Getting proper apples-to-apples numbers on the effect of treating prisoners humanely is very difficult, but it generally varies from "it helps" to "it doesn't hurt", there's really very little to suggest it makes things worse. It's mostly a matter of whether it's money worth spending. Here in Norway we created what the international press called "the world's most humane maximum security prison" but mainly it's that it is built like a normal living quarters like a dorm room or hotel room. No escapes, very low tension even though it's murderers and rapists. Even gangs keep the peace inside the prison, it's like everybody is on time-out. And quite many find they like it better than the life they had.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 181

If you wanted to really restore the consumer-manufacturer balance the first thing you should do is create a "Digital Sales Act" that basically says if it walks, talks and quacks like a duck it's a duck. Once you start invalidating most shrinkwrap and clickwrap licenses then you can start talking consumer rights.

Microsoft is showing us what that future looks like, though, and it involves ads in your apps whether you paid for them or not. And if you don't own the software, then guess what? You're going to lose any and all rights to modify it. In fact, it might even become a crime to block those advertisements.

Then there's just one small step away to force everyone to use these adware/spyware systems: declare that only approved operating systems will be permitted to connect to the internet for "security" reasons. At first that will include numerous Linux and *BSD distributions, but it's easy enough to manufacture a crisis or simply pass legislation with no basis in reality and plug that hole later.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 181

But if printers were designed to be maintainable, with modular heads that could be snapped out and replaced, this wouldn't be a problem....

They used to be available. I'm blanking on the PN... but one of my housemates used to have a tabloid-format HP deskjet which had ink cartridges which snapped into a head cartridge which snapped into a carrier. It had a little bit of banding so it wasn't exactly spectacular, but it did have a separately replaceable head. You could buy a fully-loaded head package, the head alone, a full ink package, or any ink tank alone.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 181

What printer company sells me a printer and OFFERS me cartridges instead of doing the printer equivalent of a dealer doing his "first one is free" pitch?

Unless things have changed recently, that's Canon. They not only have long been the easiest to refill, but actually are known for working well with third party ink. Continuous inking systems are not very expensive either, and make it trivial to dump in as much third-party ink as you like.

I don't print color, though, so I have an old HP laser, a LJ2300DN with some DIMM upgrades and an additional tray. It has toner cart DRM, but I have a stick-on PCB which you attach with double-sided tape to make a home-refilled toner cart work again. The fix was two bucks. Ethernet, Duplex, feeds 500 sheets before it needs attention. There's even a 500 sheet tray for it which improves that by half again, but I ordered one and they sent me a 250 tray instead so I got that for free and called it good.

Comment Re:If I had my way... (Score 1) 181

Laws got made because of that, and now auto companies must allow those manufactures to make parts right away.

That is a great benefit, but the fight there is not yet over. What's needed now is to make illegal any agreements that the suppliers who actually make these parts won't be able to sell them to consumers directly right away. It's not until that happens that it really becomes affordable to maintain a vehicle, and so there's a period in between the end of the warranty and the time when the suppliers start selling their parts into the non-dealer channels where it's prohibitively expensive to maintain vehicles.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 181

And that is the real issue here: with the DMCA, and now with patents, these fuckers are trying to create some sort of bizarro-world where Imaginary Property is not only no longer imaginary, but somehow actually superior to the right to own actual property!

You say that as if this is something entirely new. Welcome to 1873:

Unlike the analogous first-sale doctrine in copyright, the patent exhaustion doctrine has not been codified into the patent statute, and is thus still a common law doctrine. It was first explicitly recognized by the Supreme Court in 1873 in Adams v. Burke. In that case, the patentee Adams assigned to another the right to make, use, and sell patented coffin lids only within a ten-mile radius of Boston. Burke (an undertaker), a customer of the assignee, bought the coffin lids from the manufacturer-assignee within the ten-mile radius, but later used (and effectively resold) the patented coffin lids outside of the ten-mile radius, in his trade in the course of burying a person.

Here's copyright in 1908:

The [first sale] doctrine was first recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1908 (...). In the Bobbs-Merrill case, the publisher, Bobbs-Merrill, had inserted a notice in its books that any retail sale at a price under $1.00 would constitute an infringement of its copyright.

Sadly they won the biggest battle, except for open source 99.999% of all software is licensed through an EULA not copies sold like a book so you don't have any property rights to begin with. If you wanted to really restore the consumer-manufacturer balance the first thing you should do is create a "Digital Sales Act" that basically says if it walks, talks and quacks like a duck it's a duck. Once you start invalidating most shrinkwrap and clickwrap licenses then you can start talking consumer rights.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 181

Well, they are an IBM company.

Yes. I used to work for the MIS department of the Health and Human Services agency at Emeline St. in Santa Cruz, back in the day when it was all PS/2s on star-wired token ring, and we had HPLJ2s and HPLJ3s, and whatever printer was their contemporary from Lexmark. And the Lexmark printers even then caused ten times more problems.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 4, Interesting) 181

Their argument is based on the premise that the long-standing "First Sale" doctrine doesn't apply, and that their patent rights extend to any subsequent use of their patented product

...which is fucking absurd on its face! After all, do people have the fundamental right to own property or not?

And that is the real issue here: with the DMCA, and now with patents, these fuckers are trying to create some sort of bizarro-world where Imaginary Property is not only no longer imaginary, but somehow actually superior to the right to own actual property! They want to enslave us into perpetually renting everything we use, which is no less a tyranny than being paid in scrip and being forced to buy from the company store, or being a serf indentured to the land. It is nothing less than digital Feudalism, and must be stopped at all costs!

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 4, Interesting) 181

Is the author high, or trying to sneak in support for an invalid patent, or just plain confused? Patents affect who can make a product. Not the sale or use of the item after the initial manufactures sale.

35 U.S. Code 271 - Infringement of patent

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.

Use is in general covered. The court has in 1992 upheld this:

The plaintiff in the case owned a patent on a medical device, which it sold to hospitals with a "single use only" notice label. The defendant purchased the used devices from hospitals, refurbished them, and resold them to hospitals. The Federal Circuit held that the single-use restriction was enforceable in accordance with the 1926 General Electric case,

But now it's not so clear:

The 2008 Supreme Court decision in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., arguably leaves unclear the extent to which patentees can avoid the exhaustion doctrine by means of so-called limited licenses (...) At least two district courts have concluded that Mallinckrodt is no longer good law after Quanta.

Can you avoid patent exhaustion by only giving a limited patent license? There is no clear answer in law, it's a common law doctrine. If they go back to the 1992 decision and say we meant that, the Quanta case was different then single use cartridges will be legal. The Quanta case was more if the product embodies all the essentials of the patent, the right is exhausted. In which case the sticker doesn't bind anyone else from reusing the cartridge.

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