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Comment Re:"Currently deciding" = "Haven't decided" (Score 2) 202

The present-day SCOTUS is little more than a rubber stamp for the President and Congress. And even when they do make the rare controversial ruling, it's for some conservative political end (like the Citizen's United case), not in some noble defense of citizens' Constitutional rights. I would frankly be surprised if anyone in that chamber has even *glanced* at the U.S. Constitution since they took a required class on it once in law school.

Indeed, you can clearly see that in such rulings as Boumediene v. Bush (Guantanamo prisoners have the right of habeus corpus), Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (violent video games are protected by the First Amendment), and Bullcoming v. New Mexico (the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to confront the actual accuser, another person that is employed in the same role is not sufficient).

The current Court is certainly conservative, but it's hardly a rubber stamp on the government. The Justices clearly consider each case on its own merits, and they might disagree with you on what the right answer is, but it's not because they haven't thoroughly considered the case.

The fact that Barack Obama can all but abolish habeas corpus and due process with the stroke of a pen without them so much as raising an eyebrow should let you know where those nine stooges stand on the U.S. Constitution.

Supreme Court justices rarely say anything about a law until a case is presented to them, and they're barred by the Constitution from issuing a ruling on a law until an actual case arising under that law is presented to them. Congress can pass whatever unconstitutional laws it likes, the Supreme Court isn't involved until the laws are invoked in some manner.

Comment Re:True for tablets, not computers (Score 4, Insightful) 407

Also there is no need to follow the specs exactly.

Sure there is, if you're saying that buying a computer from Apple is more expensive than buying the equivalent computer from someone else or building it yourself. Nobody disputes that you can buy a computer with worse parts than a Mac for much cheaper than a Mac. Similarly, nobody disputes that the high quality parts are superfluous for some (possibly large) segment of the population, so you can make some substitutions of worse parts without affecting the value to that consumer. The question is whether a computer with the same specs built by Apple is more expensive than one obtained some other way.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 3, Insightful) 179

Keep in mind that every print subscriber gets a free top-of-the-line digital subscription. Its actually cheaper to get the paper edition and recycle it then it is to just get the online, in fact, which is annoyingly stupid.

Stupid, but economically sensible given the environment. Print advertising rates are set based on circulation, so simply sending a paper to someone earns money for the Times, whether they read it or not. If you assume that (advertising income per paper subscriber) - (cost of printing a paper) > (web subscription cost) - (paper subscription cost), the Times makes more money when you sign up for the cheaper paper edition than when you sign up for online only.

Comment Re:I don't see the appeal of clouds (Score 1) 375

Am I out of touch or am I, by default, wise? I look at these services and think "why would I want that? I have an ftp site of my own anyway."

The main advantage to iCloud over your own server appears to be that they'll upsample your music for you, as long as it's something they sell on iTunes. If you only have a crappy copy (that's what you could find for download, you ripped it from CD in a low bitrate, whatever), your copy on your FTP server won't be any better, but the copy in iCloud will be 256kbps AAC. Whether that's worth the price is up to you, but it's at least one clear advantage over running your own server.

Comment Re:Yes, the EPA (Score 1) 303

Either the plaintiffs didn't read that law and it clearly states that anyone is exempt from being sued as long as they follow EPA regs, or the Supreme Court inferred that anyone who follows EPA regs is indemnified but it doesn't actually say that in the law.

It's a little more complicated than that. The suit was based in common law, which is basically laws that are created by judges to handle cases that clearly are wrong but there isn't a law about. In this case, the power companies were sued for "nuisance", which is pretty much just the act of screwing up someone else's property.

One of the rules of the US legal system is that actual laws displace common law in that area, because common laws aren't written down and the Supreme Court doesn't really like to rely on them. In this case, they said that since the Clean Air Act exists and addresses the particular behavior in question (even if it ultimately allows the behavior), the unwritten common law no longer applies. The major question was whether or not the state of having the act (and the previous Supreme Court ruling that said that it applies to carbon dioxide) but not having any regulations was enough to displace the common law, and the Court ruled that it was.

Comment Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (Score 3, Interesting) 356

However besides swapping out a stylus for a mouse, MS has put in very little thought or development about optimizing the UI for tablets. There is no sliding. Clicking and dragging on the stylus is the same as with a mouse; however, with a stylus, it's not very as comfortable or elegant.

One of the very interesting things that was pointed out to me is that scrolling with a mouse wheel and scrolling with a finger both work the way you expect them to, but they work in opposite directions. With a mouse wheel, moving your finger up moves the document up; on touchscreen devices, moving your finger up moves the document down. That's the kind of thing that makes just putting a desktop OS onto a touchscreen device a losing proposition: you need to change fundamental input interactions in order to make it work the way people think it should work.

Comment Re:Sounds to me... (Score 1) 1067

It's really amazing how an excellent UI is so valuable to quite a lot of people that they'll pay much higher prices, and blow off the overreaching fine print that infringes on our rights.

I don't really find that amazing at all. The point of a computer for most people isn't anything to do with the computer, it's just a tool for doing something they care about, and an excellent UI makes doing that thing easier. If the restrictions on freedom are less of a hindrance to doing that thing than the design is a benefit, then they'll buy that product.

For most people, this isn't about philosophy, it's just about the most efficient way to do what they care about.

Comment Re:Hey, (Score 1) 215

3. This is the same company that produced this choice quote: "Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said Internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide."

This has been kind of overblown. The answer was actually "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.", and he was speaking in the context of court orders. It's just a statement of reality: if Google is holding some of your information and the US Government comes along and wants it, they have to hand it over. So if you're worried about that happening, you probably shouldn't upload it to Google (or anyone) in the first place.

Comment Re:HTML5 Video (Score 1) 675

Only if people insist on using it. I can't see that it would be in YouTube's interest to use H.264 exclusively.

The YouTube guys have said that they don't want to spend the hard drive space to hold three different formats on disk (and considering 20 hours of video of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, I can't blame them), and that the bandwidth requirements for the same level of quality are significantly higher for Theora than for H.264. So basically, YouTube uses H.264 because it's cheaper than any alternative, presumably even after factoring in licensing costs (which I think are capped at like a few million dollars for each licensee, and thus are probably noise to YouTube).

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