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Comment Patent filed in August of 2002 - prior art? (Score 1) 252

I'm being lazy here, but according to Wikipedia:

Techniques for the asynchronous loading of content date back to the mid 1990s. Java applets were introduced in the first version of the Java language in 1995. These allow compiled client-side code to load data asynchronously from the web server after a web page is loaded.[5] In 1996, Internet Explorer introduced the IFrame element to HTML, which also enables this to be achieved.[6] In 1999, Microsoft created the XMLHTTP ActiveX control in Internet Explorer 5, which is now supported by Mozilla, Safari and other browsers as the native XMLHttpRequest object.[6][7] However, this feature only became widely known after being used by Gmail (2004) and Google Maps (2005).[8]

IANAL, IAN even a legal hobbyist, but wouldn't this prior art insubstantiate the patent?

Comment Re:Amazon! (Score 3, Insightful) 241

If I got that right, that's 54 albums, so in cost that's $215 you've spent right there. I bet I could have the majority of that on a torrent in a day or two, for nothing.

What's the incentive for pirates to look at amazon?

Of course you could find all those via torrents -- with no guarantees that an album in a discography won't be incomplete, there won't be any pops, skips or warps in the song files and that your download won't stop at 98% for eternity. Part of the reason I quit pirating is because, just like getting anything else on the black market, the quality often left a lot to be desired.

Furthermore, Amazon has a massive catalog of great albums that aren't freely available as torrents. Some of them you'd be lucky even to find on Soulseek. And all of it downloads quickly; almost all the albums I've purchased from Amazon MP3 were in my music library less than 2 minutes after I bought them. It's 192k MP3, which isn't lossless, but it's not bad.

What was my incentive? Amazon eliminated my desire to pirate by offering me cheap music, the lack of which led me to pirate in the first place.

Comment Re:How can this be? (Score 1) 613

That's more or less what PowerShell was intended to do: scripting that batch files can't do and is too much of a headache to do in VBS. One of the nice things about PS is that it can interface directly and cleanly with stuff like Exchange and Active Directory. But yeah, it's not a *shell* shell in the traditional sense.

As for ZSH, I don't need to head over there because I've been using it for five years on my Debian box. But I'm glad you mentioned it because my .zshrc is getting a little cluttered and I need to clean it up. Thanks!

Comment Re:Where I'm confused is... (Score 1) 674

Like anything else that depends on what you're doing and how comfortable you are in each environment. Word is not the best tool for crafting a document containing complex mathematical or scientific formulas, or for setting a 400-page book with decorative initial letters, an extensive bibliography and charts with legends and captions. But it's a great program for almost any non-technical thesis or dissertation, particularly in the liberal arts disciplines, and I find it far easier for tasks like creating complicated tables with spanned cells and multiple headers. It's all in how you approach the document and how well you know your tool.

Comment Re:Where I'm confused is... (Score 1) 674

I'm not sure -- "average" business users tend to be quite good with Office products in my experience -- but it's apparently a very low percentage of /. readers. Nevertheless, the tools are there in Word if you want them. It's not for everything, but it does more than some people give it credit for.

Comment Where I'm confused is... (Score 2, Informative) 674

...why people think it's not possible to properly lay out a document in Word. If you have equations or some weird complex imagery, or you need to work from master sheets, then no, Word is not for you. But for professional-looking structured documents that don't require some sort of overly technical (use *TeX) or creative (use InDesign) bent, Word is absolutely fine -- provided you know what you're doing.

Having once learned TeX and subsequently discovering I had no practical use for it, I took the same concepts I learned from playing with TeX and applied them to the tool I knew, which was Word (and later OpenOffice). I discovered that by mentally separating content from presentation before I started and learning the finer details of Outline Mode, I could generate far more impressive-looking documents than I ever thought Word capable of. (It helped that I once had almost 2,000 mostly pro fonts to work with as well, but I digress.) TOCs, cross-references, many of the things that make a document "professional", I could do with ease and style, provided I applied and tweaked the formatting at the end instead of on the fly, which is what you're supposed to do anyway. Office 2007 made that task much easier.

TeX and InDesign have their place, but I'm seeing a lot of people bashing Word claiming it can't do some things that it most certainly can. It's not a pro layout program and it's not a typesetting program, but if you don't actually need either of those things then it does perfectly well in the right hands.

Comment Re:Extensions? No extensions? (Score 1) 613

This is why MS should have focused more on information people how to use their computer rather than changing the OS to be idiot friendly.

Thank you for your common sense and stating what should be ridiculously obvious to most people here but apparently isn't. While reading this thread all I could think of was my experience with the thousands of users I've dealt with, all of whom look up to "the IT guy" for information and, in a roundabout way, training. If "the IT guy" tells them something is bad, they'll listen, pay attention, maybe even take notes or ask questions. And they will remember.

Even a massively stupid user can be taught simple things. They may still continue to be a stupid user, but in most cases they wind up being a stupid user whose harm is limited to their own selves rather than everyone in their contacts list or the Internet at large (botnet node).

Extensions on by default, icons, metadata, executable flags, random new ideas -- none of that is a substitute for knowing the basics of how the hell the "infernal machine" works in the first place and how to defend against attacks, and It is my prerogative as a nerd (and I also consider it an obligation) to teach every "stupid user" I come in contact with how to recognize when something isn't right and how to avoid easily-avoidable malicious activity. Then again, it shouldn't be a surprise that the only "solutions" being bandied about here are technical rather than philosophical.

Comment Copyright goes way back. Way, WAY back. (Score 1) 1870

I find it interesting and a little disheartening reading the comments from folks here who think copyright is some Johnny-come-lately invention and inherently evil. The very first copyright case documented in history comes to us from Ireland in a case against Columba (later St. Columcille) -- almost 1500 years ago. While it may not have been an integral part of cultural structures since then the way it is now, copyright is far and away not a recently-crafted idea, certainly not an American invention. Copyright as *hard law*, maybe; copyright itself, absolutely not. I consider myself far more on the side of the pirates than the traders in this debate, but history is history.

Another point of contention against several posters: This idea of people simply throwing their works out into the public frame for love of the craft and making no money on it until copyright came along is complete nonsense. Classical composers earned livings off their music (well, some did). So did minstrels and troubadours. Artists all over the historical timeline earned commissions for their works. Contrary to the anarcho-communal worldview, music and art are not such lofty and untouchable deities that no one can or should profit from them. I believe such things should be shared, of course, but I'm also a realist and artists need to put food on the table.

On the other side of the coin, I have no sympathy for any musician whining about lost revenue from P2P filesharing. The money in music is now, has been and always will be by and large in the performance and the merchandise, not the recording. As an amateur musician with many professional musician friends, I say if you're not making money as a musician, then either your music is terrible, you're simply a bad musician or ur doin it rong.

All this said, I'm on TPB's side here and hope they come out free and clear in the end.

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