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Comment Scratch an Itch (Score 1) 356

All the great FOSS projects so far have come from someone "scratching an itch"; Linux was made because Linus didn't like the networking and terminal emulation on MINIX, gcc was created because Richard Stallman needed a Free compiler. Take that thing that always bothered you, but that you never got around to solving, and solve it.
With a database.

A few examples might be:
-a database management system that actually works (for your own definition of "works")
-an interpreter for the programming language you always wanted to build but never got around to (the standard library for this language comes with a database API)
-port the concept of a database to a platform which has never seen one, eg.: write one in PDP-1 asm, or build a database program for the ENIAC (extra credit if you build your own ENIAC emulator)

Comment Re:MLK and friends went to jail as well (Score 2) 243

If you're saying it shouldn't illegal for me to break into a school's wiring cabinet and hook up my laptop to get access to things, you're a moron.

There are perfectly valid laws against burglary and breaking and entering. If Aaron Swartz were persecuted for that, no one would complain. The problem is that he was not; he was being persecuted for computer fraud and he was facing a longer prison sentence than someone who assists a terrorist group in building a nuke (20 years max), while his "computer crime" was totally victimless.
Bradley Manning did commit a nonvictimless crime. He stole secret documents, but in doing this he uncovered some far more horrible crimes of the American army. He might be a criminal, but he does not deserve a 10-year prison sentence.

Comment Re:I didn't know him... but this is beyond words. (Score 1) 589

A man who fought for my freedom has died.
The Three Bills which he defied,
Not stop the power of the world,
Led by this great modern sage,
Who died at a far too young age,
We fought, we struggled and we won,
Aaron Schwartz was the internet's son.

Oh, Creator of Reddit and RSS,
Was it fear of the feds?
We shall never know.
We can hypothesize though,
We can talk, comment forlorn,
But Aaron Schwartz is forever gone.

Slashdot, BoingBoing, Reddit, and 4chan,
BBC and Reuters all mourn this man.

Thank you Aaron Schwartz,
I wish you would have stayed a bit longer.

Submission + - Aaron Swartz, suicide. (

Ralph Spoilsport writes: Aaron Swartz committed suicide. As a teenager, he helped create an early version of RSS and later played a key role in stopping a controversial online piracy bill in Congress. He also downloaded zillions of articles from JSTOR. JSTOR declined to press charges. MIT, where it happened, gave less of a clear signal, so the Feds went after him. They wanted him bad for his efforts re: RECAP, a system that gave Americans access to their own (public domain) case-law. He was arrested and charged with felonies. He committed suicide two years to the day of his arrest. Lessig gives his testimonial here and Cory Doctorow gives tribute to this young tragic genius here. This is an enormous tragedy and blow to Access To Knowledge activists the world over.

Submission + - China Demands All New Homes Install Fiber Optic Networks (

redletterdave writes: "Only a small number of US cities can boast fiber optic connections, but in China, it’s either fiber or bust. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has now ordered all newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county “where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.” The new standards will take effect starting on April 1, 2013, and residents will be able to choose their own ISP with equal connections to services. The Chinese government reportedly hopes to have 40 million families connected to fiber networks by 2015, which is nearly one-third of the country's entire population."

Submission + - Watch R`ha a short about a robot uprising (

An anonymous reader writes: It`s only 6 minutes long, but it is really good. Sci-Fi at it`s finest, not going to spoil anything but it`s basically about a robot uprising on an alien world. Great work by it`s 22 year old creator Kaleb Lechowski.

Submission + - Scientists Discover Universe's Largest Structure (

astroengine writes: "What’s the biggest thing in the universe? That would be a cluster of quasars so large it would take a vehicle traveling at the speed of light 4 billion years to cross. The structure, known as a Large Quasar Group, or LQG, is so massive scientists say it may challenge a fundamental principle of cosmology, laid out by Albert Einstein, which states that when viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers."

Comment Re:You need to work on communications skills (Score 2) 232

"I find networking technology absolutely trivial"

A physicist's "trivial" means something more like "it won't take me more than a year to work out the general theory, and then I might be able to provide a full description somewhere in the next two years, but it isn't TOO hard.".
In other words, he groks networking technology.

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"Would I turn on the gas if my pal Mugsy were in there?" "You might, rabbit, you might!" -- Looney Tunes, Bugs and Thugs (1954, Friz Freleng)