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Comment Uses of Image Search (Score 2) 109

I uploaded a photo of mine--not available on the net--and Google showed me six photos that are visually similar with differing subjects. I like it.

My hope for the future is that a photo I take of some unusual connector will return info on what it fits. Similarly I would like to identify other objects through their photos when they lack other info such as model numbers.


Submission + - Altair Designer Dies (nytimes.com)

khope writes: Ed Roberts, creator of the Altair (and mentor to Bill Gates and Paul Allen) died of pneumonia in Georgia. Gates and Allen had been in contact with Roberts during his illness.

Roberts became a millionaire when he sold Altair and subsequently became a Doctor in Georgia.

Gates & Allen went on to build a software empire.


Comment Re:A free _netbook_? (Score 1) 435

"If it had a cell modem in it, so much the better."

My vision would be one that incorporates wired and cell connections and functions as an element in a wi-fi mesh. Now the user has strong reasons to want this device because one gets connectivity in all the likely ways. And sharing the connectivity provides a reason to leave it on 24/7 when it's in a fixed location.

If the cell modem requires a paid service, one should be able to turn it off to control ones costs.

If this device could eliminate the cost of an ISP, it's value rises to the cost of an ISP. My ISP and Vonage cost $76/month. I'll happily pay a fraction of that to Google if I can dump the ISP, get connectivity everywhere, and use a VOIP phone (say magicjack). Throw in GPS and maps and they can have it all.

What's it worth to Google to have their own network?

Comment Re:Why reduce the DPI instead of using larger font (Score 1) 549

"Uh, that's exactly how it should be. Something that is 1cm on one screen should be 1cm on another screen, irrespective of the size of the screens."

I find this really a strange idea. When I move from a 13" TV to a theater movie screen, the image would have to grow in extent as it grew in size. Really, we mean to put all the image extent on the screen we use--as the screen grows smaller, the image grows smaller, but it's all still there.

Fixed system fonts seem to fit the mold you describe, but they do not match any expectation derived from my reality. Where else in life does vision scale in this way, with unchanging size? Or worse, with unchanging size for part of the image?

I am among those who want physically larger screens carrying the same amount of information as small screens. I wear gradient lenses of substantial power now. And I run my browser at 150 - 200% magnification to reduce eyestrain. For me, the system fonts at 640x480 are still comfortable. Higher resolutions reduce those system fonts to "invisible." And yes, I run old equipment, too.

Maybe we need a video driver that lets us split the screen into areas of differing resolution so we do not have to depend on applications to handle the system font issue properly.

Microsoft's magnifier acts like a magnifying glass one cannot look through and diminishes the screen size for context at the same time. I really dislike that solution. Like many people, I expect a cylindrical lens on the line of text, or a circular lens on the screen. That's from using lenses in real life.

Comment Re:The biggest point, in my opinion (Score 1) 206

"Food isn't free."


"Just because a few people produce something doesn't mean it's abundant."

Put that way, you're correct. As it happens, food is abundant. What's more, a small increase in workforce applied to food would produce a much larger increase in food production, so in this case the small number is important.

"All the usual market forces still apply,..."

All the recent ones. But things like frozen food technology did intervene over a longer time span.

"...and it is just as costly to eat well as it's always been."

Using the Hershey bar Index:


and measuring Worth to adjust dollar values:


In [1908] 9/16 oz.....2 cents and in [2008] 1.55 oz Hershey Bar purchased at Super FoodTown (regional grocery chain), East Hanover NJ...59 cents gives us the raw data. For 1908 its 0.035556 cents per ounce and for 2008 its 38.064516 cents per ounce.

Using the Purchasing power of the US dollar:

"$0.02 in the year 1908 has the same "purchase power" as $0.38064516 in the year 2008."

So the candy bar cost nearly twice as much per ounce in 1908 as in 2008.

But at:


we can see something else--a clue to the production cost. Look in the 3rd column and see that production costs as a fraction of retail prices dropped. Now look at column 1 and see how restaurant prices increased as a fraction of retail price. Look at that divergence.

Roam through the statistics as you will, the same story emerges for wheat and bread--bread prices soar, wheat doesn't. Similar stories show up in manufacturing.

So if its not cheaper to eat well--why not? Shouldn't it be?

Comment Re:The biggest point, in my opinion (Score 1) 206

"The biggest point, in my opinion, that Gladwell makes, is that you still need to find a way to make money."

You only need a way to be supported--an important difference.


"I think Anderson is kind of stumbling upon a point an MBA told me once, that given enough time, all new technology becomes a commodity. [snip]...(the MBA then went on to tell me a number of different techniques to 'lock in' customers to your product: trapping users with file format was one, there were many other more devious methods, and Microsoft uses many of them. I don't underestimate quality MBAs anymore)."

These methods amount to creating artificial scarcity to monetize.

"What Anderson is saying is that more and more, marketers will use freeness to suck users in. This is actually common knowledge among marketers, they've been playing with 'free' for years, and they are really excited about it, and talk about it amongst themselves, and to anyone else who will listen. Basically Anderson is right."

"What Gladwell is saying is that you still need a way to cover your costs. Basically he is right as well."

I agree, but note that each uses the economics of scarcity to provide the solution, as though only some things can be free.

"They are both right, and what's more, if you asked an MBA about this, they might wonder why you are arguing about such basic ideas. And if you ask nicely, they'll tell you tons more about things you never even thought of."

Yes, but they will not tell you about an economic theory of abundance because there does not seem to be one. Our economic theories depend on scarcity.

I believe such theories are in line to crash relatively soon.

In the early 1900s the US was primarily an agrarian nation, living on farms and producing food. Today a tiny fraction of our population produces all the food we need. We became an industrial nation, making things. Today less than 10% of our workforce is in manufacturing. And both groups are decreasing in size.

We are approaching a situation in which we do not need a large fraction of our available workforce to produce our basic needs. This has been and continues to be a relentless trend. Recent acceleration in unemployment has brought us to 30 million underused workers at the moment, about 18% of the workforce.

We have to grapple with the idea that "earning a living" may be an irrational goal--that life support needs a different basis than work > earn > eat. That is, as the stuff of life becomes abundant, it also must become free.

I do not know how it will work out. Until we have an economic theory of abundance, we lack tools to think with. I think Anderson, Gladwell, the MBAs, and the economists are just playing at the edges while the middle swiftly and silently erodes.

Comment Re:Unleash the hounds! (Score 1) 283

"Not according to the judge and the case the judge referenced in his opinion."

I'm not sure what you refer to. In my reading, I find:

Beginning at the bottom of page 6:

"MediaSentry conducted no activity in Minnesota relating to this case, and all of the information it received was sent by Defendant from her computer to MediaSentry7#8217;s computer in a state other than Minnesota. (Id.) Merely"

Continuing onto page 7:

"monitoring incoming internet traffic sent from a computer in another state is insufficient to constitute engaging in the business of private detective within the state of Minnesota."

Up to the (Id.) citation, this appears to be a declaration of someone else that the judge accepts. The judge then appears to conclude that MediaSentry did not act in Minnesota.

That conclusion, with which I stated my discomfort, does not judge whether the download would have been investigative behavior if it were done in Minnesota. Rather it asserts that MediaSentry did nothing in Minnesota.

So I need a more specific clue to understand your point.

Comment Re:Unleash the hounds! (Score 3, Informative) 283

"MediaSentry does not operate within Minnesota. (Connelly Decl. 3.) It has no employees in Minnesota and does not conduct any activities in Minnesota. (Id.) It pays no taxes in the state and has no agent for service of process here. (Id.) MediaSentry conducted no activity in Minnesota relating to this case, and all of the information it received was sent by Defendant from her computer to MediaSentry's computer in a state other than Minnesota. (Id.) Merely 7 monitoring incoming internet traffic sent from a computer in another state is insufficient to constitute engaging in the business of private detective within the state of Minnesota. "

I am uncomfortable with this because Mediasentry sent requests to Minnesota to instigate that sending to Mediasentry. Further, downloads began only after Mediasentry requested them.

It seems to me that such requests, which had to go to a specific IP address that plaintiffs allege to have been in Minnesota, constitute activities in Minnesota.

As support, I would look to the Amateur Action BBS case where the operator in CA was prosecuted in another state for delivering a pr0n file.

Comment Re:Lets see... (Score 1) 247

There are some nice points here.

I would like to have at least the following:

1) The individual right to own, keep, bear and use technology and technical devices shall not be infringed nor shall such infringements by makers or sellers be afforded any protection in law or through the courts.

2) Communication data streams and storage shall be entitled to the presumption of the expectation of privacy. No search, interception, or other breach of privacy shall be permitted absent a warrant and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized. Nor shall any data or information obtained by an unwarranted breach be admissible in any legal proceeding.

[I would also like to craft this so that evidence of unrelated crimes is excluded because I want narrow and warranted searches.]

3) The right of individuals to enhance memory by recordings of any interaction of which they are a part, whether witness or participant, shall not be infringed, nor shall any attempted infringement be enforceable at law.

4) No person shall be compelled to reveal passwords or cryptographic keys of any sort nor shall failure to reveal such passwords or keys be permitted in any proceeding to imply guilt.

In addition, I would like Internet access to be defined as symetric--I can run servers--not necessarily in terms of speed, but in terms of permissions.

Comment Re:How far we've come (Score 1) 933

"IN the mid 1970s, the first laws were passed that said it was illegal. First amendment concerns surfaced but those were beaten back with the argument that producing it required that a crime be committed by an adult against a child. You couldn't produce child porn without actually raping a child."

Before we could use the rape argument, we had to increase the age of consent to make sex with children rape.


and in Europe we still find ages of consent below 18:


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