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Comment Re:It figures (Score 1) 48

Ah, so the problem that bothers you is piggybacking, so to speak. Using other's work to bring attention to ads and products that generate income.

On piggybacking, I feel our "mother may I" system is a serious drag. I don't like the idea that artists should have control over how their works are used. The artists should receive money somehow, but they shouldn't be able to dictate usage on some far fetched notion that lack of control might somehow negatively impact potential profits. I believe that's the rationale commonly used to justify such control. For an example of the trouble such control causes, consider the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's album cover. They had to ask permission of each and every one of the hundred or so people they wanted on the cover, an expensive and time consuming project. For that reason, works like that album cover are quite rare.

It would be better if no permission was required, and artists whose work was used could simply apply for money from a publicly funded trust. Maybe don't even need to apply, perhaps the trust could actively work to discover such usages. Would have to be careful exactly how such a system was set up, as the potential for cheating is huge. I think it could be done and could work better than copyright.

Copying is in the hands of the masses now. The Internet is even more revolutionary than the Gutenberg printing press, which was perhaps the most revolutionary and life changing invention in the past 1000 years.

Comment Re:It figures (Score 1) 48

Understandable, as there is a lot of confusion on this subject. Took me a long time to work out answers I find satisfying.

Firstly, it's a mistake to equate copying with stealing. Copying is not stealing, copying is copying. Vandalism is not stealing. Littering is not stealing, Nor are speeding, trespassing, slander, forgery, creating a parody, taking photos in public spaces, insulting politicians, and a whole bunch of other activities in any way stealing. Nor is buying from Burger King stealing from McDonalds. When you say "stealing others' works" to mean copying, you fall for publisher propaganda that does want the public to accept that copying is in fact stealing, to stir public anger, slandering sharers as "thieves". They're trying to push our buttons.

To really steal someone else's work, you'd have to take credit for it. We have a name for that: plagiarism. You added "selling them as their own" to "stealing others' works", so what did you mean exactly? Were you talking about distributing others' works, or plagiarism? It's a big, important difference.

"they are undeniably causing harm by siphoning money away" Certainly it is harmful to McDonalds for a Burger King restaurant to open up nearby. Now publishers are being challenged by competition that they have never faced before, the Internet. We're 25 years into the rise of the Internet and the Age of Information, and they're still struggling to get it, meanwhile whining how unfair the whole thing is that their old business model that relied on media being a scarce resource doesn't work any more. They want the Internet and computers to be hamstrung so badly they work no better at moving information around than distribution via CD/DVD. That is asking far too much of us all. Just turn the clock back to the 1980s, rip up the Internet, uninvent the CD/DVD burner and hard drives bigger than 40M? They claim that artists will starve, seem to take it as a given that copyright is the glue that makes art possible. They're wrong. There are other ways to earn a living, such as crowdfunding. And it's not a new idea. Classical music was and still is mostly supported by patronage, not copyright.

The harm to us all is huge. Our public libraries should be a lot more digital than they are. Think of it: no more late returns, lost books, waiting for a copy to be returned because they're all checked out at the moment, and most of all, a much, much larger collection and searchability. If you've ever used a card catalog, one with actual little rectangles of cardboard with typing on them, you can see how much computer search surpasses that. Further, our education system relies far too much on private, for-profit printers. We should have a huge choice of excellent, open, online works available and used for basic education, We have some things. Wikipedia completely outstrips print encyclopedias, just no comparison between the two. We should have more, and we would if not for the evil known as extreme copyright,

Comment Re: I could only get warranty work at approved rep (Score 1) 491

That's what I did. Got a new spider from them. Then I took it to a business that does protective powder coatings. Replaced the broken corroded spider with the new coated spider myself. Even with the money I spent on the coating, it was way cheaper, if you don't count my time as particularly valuable. They wanted so much money for repairs that it made more sense to buy a new washer and throw the old one away than go through them.

LG's warranty is a joke. They're only trying to make it sound like they stand behind their products. They sure don't want to spend any of their own money actually repairing their shoddy engineering decisions.

Comment revolution (Score 1) 84

Oh, I think reform will happen, one way or another. Either we get busy bringing sanity back to our laws, or watch helplessly as the ever increasing corruption pushes us into doing a reboot. Revolutions clear away all kinds of bought laws.

So far, there isn't any political entity that hasn't eventually fallen. Their elites always push too far and beggar everyone else or push their state into overreach, or they get stuck in a rut, or they hold too dearly profoundly wrong or inferior ideas. Time and time again belligerents have lost despite numerical superiority, when the other side employed superior weapons they refused to accept, or sometimes only superior tactics, or merely didn't make the incredibly stupid military move of calling for a massive assault on a well fortified and defended position while the losing side did. Sometimes the internal corruption wasn't too bad, but it was enough to bring about a collapse in the face of a big problem such as a long drought or severe plague. The Byzantine Empire was so notorious their name is now a byword for corruption and graft covered up with excessive complexity. The Ottoman Empire that conquered the Byzantines itself succumbed to corruption.

There's more than mere technical problems to overcome before we'll ever be capable of colonizing other star systems. A generational colony ship needs a society that can remain more than stable for millenia, that society has to really clamp down on violence, can't have so much as one gunfight between two individuals lest the ship and everyone on it become collateral damage.

Comment Re:Return it as defective. (Score 1) 491

I've had that experience with so-called warranties. Have an LG front loading washing machine with a lifetime warranty on the stainless steel drum that holds the clothes, and a 10 year warranty on the motor. But the "spider", the piece that connects the motor to the drum, was not covered, and it broke because it was made of some sort of cheap aluminum alloy that corroded rapidly. All they had to do was add a protective coating during manufacture, but no, that costs more money. I tried to argue that the spider was part of the motor, but it was no good. Even had the spider been covered, it wouldn't have been worth the cost. I could only get warranty work at approved repair centers, and the cost of labor wasn't included in the coverage. Had that been something like a part of the axle of a car, they would have been in lots of trouble and would have had to do a recall. Btu washing machines are much less visible than cars.

I pretty much told them to fuck off

Wish more people would do that! The much vaunted Power of the Market can't stop lock down and all the other crap vendors pull if buyers passively accept it, then grumble but keep buying while sellers control, monopolize, and gouge them. BestBuy went too far even for the sheep, what with that aggressive pushing of extended warranties by holding people up at the checkout.

Comment Re:People, this is how the system works. (Score 4, Interesting) 527

I've been wondering if Capitalism is fatally flawed. We've seen reckless, foolish greed destroy lives time and time again. It seems capitalism elevates psychopathic individuals to positions of great power and responsibility. Of course people of that sort abuse their power. Strip resources from everything within reach, leaving behind waste and destruction.

We moved from monarchy to democracy because the former just doesn't work for long. Monarchy works okay until an idiot gets elevated to the kingship, solely because he's the oldest son of the previous leader, and not because he has any qualifications whatsoever. It's a horrible way to choose leaders. Even when a talented, vigorous, enlightened king comes to the throne, he's still just one man. If a monarchy has instilled passivity in the people, only the monarch himself can inspire action. These days, nations are far too large for that to work well no matter how talented the monarch is. Our nation is a democracy, yet many of our private corporations operate as feudal domains. And it shows in these incredibly short-sighted, anti-social moves they make.

What Big Sugar has done is bad, but it's just another greedy corporate action that we, with our low expectations of corporate behavior, hardly notice. The one that will change that blase attitude is Big Oil, when all our coasts drown.

Comment Re:Countdown traffic lights (Score 1) 203

Yes! Improve the traffic lights.

Traffic lights are stupidly brainless. Nearly every trip I take, I end up getting stuck at a red light for nothing. There were no cars on the cross street, but the light turned red anyway.

Often, there are also underhanded politics at work. Such as, the lights on the free "service road" (a parallel road to the main, limited access highway), are purposefully neglected because the main road is toll, and badly timed traffic lights on the service road are a way to harass people for trying to avoid the tolls. Of course, private operators of red light cameras have been caught numerous times screwing up the traffic lights. And then there's things like Bridgegate. I've noticed that traffic lights for access roads to major shopping malls push it, holding up as much through traffic as they can get away with without a public outcry. Merchants think that the longer people are stuck in front of their stores, the more business they get.

Comment Re:Telecommuting FTW (Score 4, Interesting) 163

I love telecommuting, saves a lot of time and hassle fighting rush hour traffic and maintain a car. Not to mention that it can be far away so one doesn't have to move, a very expensive and life disruptive process. I'm willing to accept quite a bit less pay for a telecommuting position. But it is against most employers' religion, even progressive seeming technology employers such as Google.

Many cling hard to the mindset that workers are lazy slackers who have to be closely monitored to ensure they're working instead of goofing off. Instead of leading and inspiring workers, they use the slave driver approach and push and prod workers. Much harder to push telecommuters, so they simply don't allow it. No doubt many workers would abuse the situation. But it wouldn't last. If the telecommuter doesn't do any work, this is going to be noticed pretty fast. Telecommuters can't get away with much more slacking than office workers, often even less because of the necessity to counter the higher levels of suspicion by working harder.

Then there are the managers who believe a work environment and the close communication it enables is necessary to be highly productive. And, yes there are environments, home environments especially, where doing any work is very difficult thanks to loud, needy family members. But it's hardly an insurmountable problem.

Comment Re:Loyalty to people not companies (Score 1) 765

Businesses will be businesses, huh? Poisonous snakes will be poisonous snakes, too. Employers do pay a high price for treating employees like cogs. That kills moral. Word does get around. It's been so pervasive that rather than a few companies getting bad reputations, the entire corporate world has a bad reputation. The company that treats employees fairly and well is the exception, not the rule.

There are reasons why people don't deal with each other the way companies do. Mostly, it does not work. Bad actors are quickly ostracized. In recent times, employers have been able to get away with treating employees like dirt is the huge imbalance in power. The job market has been an employer's market since before the Great Recession. Before the Dot Com crash is the last time employees had some leverage.

Comment multiple levels of stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 224

The pushy upgrade was a stupid idea for more than one reason, and this was well known before Microsoft did it. There's the old saw "don't fix it if it ain't broke". Some hardware would quit working. The upgrades were most cavalierly programmed to happen without regard to the customer's needs, able to take a computer out of service for hours, and that could be just when the owner had scheduled some important work. And of course for those with limited, expensive bandwidth, it's damned rude of Microsoft to pig out on such a precious resource without asking. That's stooping to the level of online advertisers, who deserve to be blocked because they just can't lay off the obnoxious loud, flashing animated video advertising that eats gobs of bandwidth and CPU time. Not that Microsoft was ever much above that level.

Speaking from my experience as a system administrator, doing a major upgrade on production systems for the heck of it was a major no-no. We only upgraded if we had to, for some crucial new functionality, and we'd spend at least a week preparing for it with tests on identical equipment if available, dry runs, and the like. We'd document how long it was going to take, and if too long we might set up a temporary system. We were not going to risk taking down the website of our company. Uptime is critically important. Stunts like this pushy, opt out upgrade assure that Windows will stay permanently banned from the server room.

That Microsoft apparently can't grasp any of this or just doesn't care shows, again, how stupid their leadership is. Meh, they've been unbelievably stupid for 15 years now. Getting in bed with the MAFIAA of all people, and deferring to those idiots on technical matters around DRM, wow, just wow. MS doesn't deserve to be regarded as a tech company, not while they're willing to defer to tech morons on the areas they're supposed to be the experts on.

Comment Re:Let me get this straight... (Score 1) 304

Let me amend what I said. Actually, I am impressed by what smart TVs could do. But I am disgusted at the intentional crippling. No, I don't think Vizio is alone, I think the whole smart TV market is corporate Internet. Alternatives? Since the market isn't for whatever reason finding it profitable to give consumers more, only real alternative at this time is to use a computer. Include a video card with a TV tuner, and hardware to receive signals from universal remote controls. I know there are some nice programs that basically turn a PC with such equipment into a TV and a DVR, though I can't name any offhand.

That said, a remote with a full keyboard would be nice. But if that's too many buttons, why not at least employ the numeric keypad? Could type 2 digits for each letter, 01 for 'a', 20 for 't', and so on.

Comment Re:Let me get this straight... (Score 1) 304

I'm not that impressed with the small Vizio smart TV I got a couple of years ago. (24 inch, the smallest, cheapest model they offered.) It's got a lot of capabilities, but it could have a lot more if it wasn't intentionally crippled with corporate style restrictions. There's no reason whatsoever it can't surf to any web site on the Internet, but they omitted such capability. You can only access a very small set of approved sites: Youtube, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and about a dozen others. Use it for Youtube, and it subjects you to ads, because it doesn't do ad blocking of course. The interface is miserably slow, have to use arrow buttons on the remote to walk a cursor over an alphabet to type in words. Would it really be so hard to put an alphabetic keyboard on the remote control?. Compared to an old PC, the smart TV stinks at accessing the Internet.

I'm guessing other brands of so called smart TVs are no better. Meh, I very rarely watch TV anyway.

Comment Re:There nothing YouTube can do about this... (Score 1) 321

I would like to see this crap end, and it be established once and for all that copying is a natural right. Freedom to Copy ought to rank right up there with Freedom of Speech and Religion, and the Freedom to Assemble.

Copying is a far more intimate part of our lives and existence than people realize. Copying is inherent in nature, with any action broadcasting echoes in all directions. That is the ability public speakers, radio stations, lighthouses, and all manner of broadcasting depends upon. The copyright propagandists have people mostly convinced that copying certain kinds of data, in certain ways, is somehow morally wrong and equivalent to stealing, and that copyright is the fairest, best, and only way to compensate the poor starving artists and scientists. Think of the starving artists! But that's not so. Our entire education system is a massive copying of centuries of accumulated knowledge to the next generation. We don't and shouldn't have to pay a very few who are trying very hard to elevate themselves to the position of gatekeepers of all knowledge, calling themselves "publishers", for permission to teach our children. Libraries have existed for thousands of years, the Gutenberg press for 500 years, and now, we have the Internet and digital storage on a scale orders of magnitude greater than anything in history. The entire contents of a small branch library can be stored on a few hard drives. There may be good reasons to be cautious, but the enrichment of a few slimy publishers isn't one.

Comment Re:If not now... (Score 1) 1023

It doesn't have to be painful. It could be the opposite, a great freeing of nearly everyone from wage slavery. We'll all have much more time to devote to leisure, community, and self-improvement.

The big question is of course distributing the wealth from these robotic advances. It won't be good so long as a few people manage to convince the rest of us that it's only fair that they should reap all the gains from the massive savings on costs. Competition will see to it that savings are passed on to customers, unless these restaurants successfully employ some of the many means to block competition. In which case, the restaurant owners get it all, while the inventors and designers of the robots get paid a tiny fixed amount on a "work for hire" basis, and the rest of us see no price drop?

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