Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:We are better off without such charitable peopl (Score 1) 569

Obscure Music Finds An Outlet On The Web -- an NPR story about people on the Internet playing and/or distributing old, obscure content. In it, a music industry executive rails against it, because those folks aren't going through the right sources, tracking down the people who own the "publishing rights" so they can get their money.

You're right that this is the exception to the rule, but I had to mention this because it immediately came to mind when I read your comment.

Comment Re:Insurrance (Score 1) 548

And thanks to "mandatory discounts" that insurance companies require doctors to provide people on their plans, you'll be paying double or triple what those with insurance do for the same treatments.

Your plan would work great if you could find doctors that don't take insurance out of principle, and therefore don't have to jack up rates for uninsured patients in order to make any sort of profit off the insured ones. I remember hearing a story on NPR about a group of doctors who do just that, but can't remember their name right now.

Comment Re:Depends on how much money you have to put down. (Score 1) 548

The answer here is extremely simple, and, thus, will NEVER happen. The only law they should pass is to make it a crime for an employer to offer health care as a benefit. They should force employers to give you the money they were paying on your behalf for health insurance premiums as part of your compensation, and let you go get the insurance you want.

This, right here, is where your plan falls apart, because unless you're perfectly healthy, you will not be able to get insurance as an individual. The insurance company is only going to take you as a customer if they think they're going to make money off of you, so if you have any sort of condition that could pose a potential risk, you'll be rejected. And if, by some miracle, you aren't rejected, you'll be dropped the instant you require a service that costs them a significant amount of money (e.g. more than they expect to recoup via your premiums). Or they'll increase your premiums by a few thousand percent. Don't like it? Just try to find a different provider with your medical history.

Now, if insurance companies were forbidden from forcing doctors to offer discounts to people on their plans (thus driving up costs for the uninsured), and if it were made illegal for them to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions or drop people / raise rates astronomically if they develop a condition, something like that might work. But as it stands, all that will result is an upper class of perfectly healthy insured people and a lower class of those deemed "flawed" and thus unworthy of receiving proper care.

Comment Re:Modded down to zero (Score 1) 325

Interesting that this gets modded down to zero, and the many, many specious rationalizations of theft get modded up to 4 or 5 "Interesting" or "Insightful."

Slashdot is jumping the shark.

Or perhaps you don't hold the hallowed moral high ground you believe you do.

But nah, everybody else must be wrong. That's far more likely.

Comment Re:Oh children, children... (Score 1) 325

First off, I totally disagree with your interpretation of Piaget's concrete operational stage. The very page you linked describes it as "The child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgements(sic) about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand." Phenomena does not necessarily mean physical objects; it also means observable actions -- such as the act of copying data from one place to another. Somebody stuck in the concrete operational stage would, in fact, see each copy of the data as a distinct "object" with intrinsic value, whereas somebody who has progressed to the abstract operational stage can see that the data is simply a particular binary pattern, and that it is the act of creating the pattern, rather than the pattern itself, that truly holds the value.

I concede that this is basically the academic way of saying "I know you are, but what am I?"

Since piracy of easily copyable items like digital media only involves not paying for the labor that went into producing the good

I should also point out that if we are actually paying for the labor that went into producing a digital good, rather than the good itself, then there should be a point at which the costs of the labor involved have been entirely recouped, and all further copies of the media should be totally free. This, of course, is not the case.

Comment Re:Oh children, children... (Score 1) 325

The moral and economic landscape are not changed in the least. By your reasoning, anything that is abundant and can be reproduced at zero cost can be taken from its producer without compensation.


That the good required a expenditures of labor and resources somehow vanishes from the equation.

Incorrect. The expenditure of labor and resources should be proportionally paid for once.

This negates the viability of business models that depend on the sales of digital goods.


Producers of such must, by your reasoning, not only accept that anyone can make free copies of their goods, but that it is morally acceptable to do so.

Also correct.

You don't explain why this is, you merely assert it. Repeating the "abundant and can be reproduced at zero cost" argument doesn't make it true, even if you heard it from the wise old professor in Econ 101.

You don't explain why it is morally unacceptable to do so, you merely assert it as well. Repeating the "each digital copy of a work has intrinsic value" argument also doesn't make it true.

And regardless of how accepted Piaget's stages of cognitive development are in psychology, it is still an insult to categorically state that anybody with ideas of morality that differ from your own are somehow stuck in the concrete operational stage and lack the ability to think abstractly. (At least, that is what I assume from your calling everybody "children".) On the contrary, I would say that your inability to conceive of moral systems or beliefs that differ from your own would place you quite firmly in the concrete stage.

Not to mention the fact that Piaget's stages are covered in any decent Psych 100 class, since you were so keen to make the "Econ 101 professor" quip.

Comment Re:Oh children, children... (Score 1) 325

How about people who like the work of artists they support pay a "micro-subscription" to those artists -- something as small as a buck a month, maybe more if they're a big fan. Those who want stuff for free won't pay a dime, and nothing short of police-state enforcement will stop them; there's no use in denying this. But those who realize "hey, I like what this person does and want to support him or her" will contribute. Maybe those who do pay for subscriptions could get perks like direct downloads of new material, or even tickets to live shows.

Sound familiar? It's the public television / public radio model, and it usually works quite well for them. If there were an easy way to support the music, movies, and television I like in this manner, I'd be all over it.

Comment Re:Oh children, children... (Score 1) 325

You are destroying the notion of selling digital goods. That "no extra effort" is caused is not the point. The point is that the artist was not compensated for a digital good that changed hands. Copying a digital good causes the transfer of information. Music, video, games, etc. are digital information that required a great deal of labor to create. Copying it without compensation or in violation of the artist's chosen license does indeed transfer a good from the artist to the thief. The thief previously did not possess it, now he does. That it is an easy to make copy does not justify the theft.

"No extra effort" is exactly the point. Since the supply of the "good" is infinite, the intrinsic value of the "good" is zero. The only thing with actual value is the time, effort, and talent used to create the good: you organized all of those 0's and 1's into a form that is useful or aesthetically pleasing or whatever. But those 0's and 1's have no actual value. The pattern they are in has no actual value. Only the work exerted actually has value, and that's what you should get compensated for.

Comment Re:I still don't like IPv6 (Score 1) 281

What it's supposed to mean is that every computer can have a public address. So if you sign up with one of the dynamic DNS providers (which will probably be integrated with your OS fairly soon) you should be able to share pictures and things from your own computer without having to upload them to somewhere, or be able to log in remotely to look at some file (private) you forgot to bring with you, or any number of other things (fewer firewall errors on p2p networks? true p2p voip, without needing to sign up with a service that lets you punch holes in NAT?). This would also work without the dynamic DNS provider, but the URL would look uglier.

Most likely, this would also lead to relaxing the typical rule ISPs tend to have against running servers on home connections. They can't really forbid something that gets built into the OS like these sorts of features probably will.

Sure they can! There is absolutely no way Comcast will give users more control over what they can do with their Internet connection. All the big ISPs have tried for years to exert more and more control over what we can do with our connections -- first via social means, then via technical ones. Get everybody using Webmail. Have everybody post videos on Youtube and photos on Flickr. Use pre-made blogging sites, don't host your own.

I'm not saying these are bad sites -- hell, I use them regularly. But they all lead to what the ISPs would love: let people communicate via port 80, period, no listening whatsoever.

I predict IPv6 will lead to Comcast forbidding routers on their network, charging for each additional IPv6 address they hand out, and blocking all listening ports.

But if I don't like it, I can always find another ISP... oh wait, I can't, because they're the only game in town, and they've purchased laws to make sure they stay that way.

Comment IPv6 = no NAT? Not if Comcast has its way. (Score 1) 281

When Comcast switches to IPv6, do you really think they'll give you more than one IP address? You better believe they'll charge you more for each additional one. Maybe they'll give you two or three for free, but I doubt it.

So unless you want to pay per computer you have connected, you'll still need to NAT them through a router. Nothing will change.

Comment Re:Interesting but... (Score 2, Insightful) 254

I'll take your argument one step further. The real fact is that the product, once created, is totally worthless. It has no value. It is raw data. It can be duplicated perfectly ad infinitum at practically zero cost, therefore supply is infinite, therefore value is zero. The only thing that actually has value is the act of creating the product. The time put into the creation, the time the artist spent honing his or her talents, this is where the value truly lies.

We don't know how to deal with this concept, so we try to prop up old models of compensation with artificial legal constructs like "intellectual property". But we're just fooling ourselves, because as you said, some people just want stuff for free. I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, just that it is reality. So instead of trying to fight this segment of the population (which, barring police-state-level enforcement, will always be a losing battle), we ignore them and focus on the people who want to reward those who are actually creating the art.

Maybe products that can be infinitely, perfectly duplicated will have to be supported via some sort of commission system, the way operas and paintings used to be commissioned. You like what an artist does? Support him or her with a small monthly subscription to that person -- maybe a buck, maybe five. Think that person has gone off in a direction you don't like, or hasn't produced anything of value recently? Discontinue your subscription.

It is, admittedly, a totally pie-in-the-sky, borderline socialist idea, but I'd be happy to support something like that. It would be a sort of micropayment patronage system for artwork. I don't know if it would scale well, and there would certainly be areas ripe for abuse -- you'd need some way to make sure you didn't end up with the very rich dictating our culture by virtue of being able to contribute the most money to artists. But it's a thought.

Comment Two, but one works. (Score 1) 503

I chose one because I have a laptop with a bad backlight, forcing me to use an external monitor and essentially turning the thing into a fancy luggable.

I would prefer an unbroken row of screens extending in a U-shape around my desk, with Synergy tying all of them into a single keyboard and mouse which would be attached to my swivel chair. Then I could feel like the Operator in The Matrix.

Comment Re:A real hippie-love-in-styled product (Score 1) 119

The fact that you have seen it on Usenet, intentionally or not, means you downloaded a copy, meaning you are guilty of possession of child pornography and an obvious child predator.

What, you deleted it? Okay, now you're also guilty of destroying evidence. You just don't know when to quit, do you, punk?

Comment Sure, RIGHT. (Score 3, Insightful) 250

You know, Slashdot could've gone the way of Wikipedia, which has a bunch of crazy entries on the front page which are actually truthful in some way (albeit usually misleading in a humorous way). Instead we get the usual "HUR HUR MICROSOFT RELEASES CP/M 9.2" bullshit.

Oh, wait, what? This one is serious? Nah, can't be. I mean, you've cried wolf how often?

Slashdot Top Deals

Did you know that for the price of a 280-Z you can buy two Z-80's? -- P.J. Plauger