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Comment Not just games (Score 2, Insightful) 228

This is like a modern cartoon. American children's cartoons tend to be the worst offenders. Backgrounds are usually static while only the foreground is animated. The background might even be drawn with different penmanship or a different style altogether (e.g. a watercolor background). Sometimes the effect works, as it does in some video games, but in particular if a character has to interact with an element of the background, then things start to look very out of place.

My personal favorite example was from a cartoon showing a series of fences. They were mostly soft, pretty detailed. Except every fence had a few panels in a line that were drawn with heavier lines and flatter colors. It was easy to predict that the scene included a character breaking through those panels.

Comment Re:Who reads the manual? (Score 2, Insightful) 457

This isn't some kind of EULA situation where a provision in the contract will be thrown out: the cameras are stated to be for non-commercial use because no one paid for a commercial license. Suing would be quick and dirty, and the user would be at fault.

No. There is no provision in the contract to buy a camera stating that it is for personal use only, unless it's clearly marked on the packaging. This means the license could only bind the user if the patents are valid. If they are found to be invalid, there is no consideration and so the license cannot bind the user to anything. If the patents are valid, the user might still be found not to be subject to the license (since they would have to agree to it, and most users aren't even aware of the license's existence - they could still be found to agree without knowledge if there was significant notices attached to the camera that most people would notice stating it could only be used if you agree to the license, but to my knowledge no camera is like that), but then they would be at fault for patent infringement, which generally does not require intent.

Comment Re:patent trolling (Score 1) 89

Would be tough... Patents are a property right. We don't normally take peoples' property away if they're not using it in ways that we'd like, but maybe you could make an argument under Kelo v. City of New London that it's an eminent domain taking. Plus, it wouldn't be invalidating the patent - it would be assigning it to the government, who then releases it free into the public domain.

Some patent laws provide provisions by which a patent holder can be seen to be abusing their patent and have conditions forced upon them, but these seem to get rarely used (Here's Canada's Patent Act as an example).

Comment Losing Appeal (Score 1) 310

The great thing about Gmail is that it is^H^Hwas a very usable email service that didn't try to tie you into a bajillion other parts of a website and other features you aren't really going to use. The more stuff they add, the more likely I am to complain loudly about the death of Unix. If they go far enough (and they're close) I'll do something about it by switching to a more Unixy mail provider, like postfix. The loss of flexibility (nice easy access from anywhere; easy to set up filtering) will be repaid in my sanity.

Comment Not a New Concept (Score 3, Interesting) 538

This is not a new concept, and it's certainly not fatal to the book:
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica costs $70/a for an online subscription. It costs $1300 for a paper copy. People still buy the paper copy.
  • A hardcover book costs 2-4 times as much as the paperback. People still buy the hardcover.
  • Public libraries exist. People still buy books.

Comment Re:Pay Now or Pay Later (Score 1) 194

I seem to have heard this argument before. The Apollo fire. The loss of the Challenger. Repairs to the Hubble.

The difference here is that they know what the current safe maximum is, so they'll operate it for a while, tear the thing down and replace them with interconnects with higher safe maximums, and start it up again. They are aware that the lower safety factor must also mean a lower-power experiement (not that putting 7 TeV of energy into a single proton is normally considered low power).

Comment Re:1:1 (Score 1) 582

Divide both sides by 0: (0/0)/0 = (1/1)/0 *** By associativity of division across the reals: 0/(0/0) = (1/1)/0

Uh, problem. Division isn't associative:
(1/2)/3 = 1/6
1/(2/3) = 3/2

Also, in the reals (which is your stated field), x/0 is taken to be undefined, meaning that your division of both sides by 0 isn't valid unless you define that too (which can be done, but you didn't do it).


China Faces Piracy Suit Over Censorship Software 113

angry tapir writes "Web software filtering vendor CyberSitter has filed a $2.2B lawsuit against the Chinese government, two Chinese software makers, and seven major computer manufacturers for their distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort, a controversial Web filtering package the Chinese government had mandated to be installed on computers sold there. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Green Dam copied code from CyberSitter."

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."

Submission + - EA shuts down video game servers prematurely (

Spacezilla writes: EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles surprising, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?

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