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Comment Eh (Score 2) 866

I'm 40 now and I can't think of a single thing from chemistry I've ever used. I can't even remember anything from the class.

Then again as a counterpoint I've never really used electronics, which I had 4 years of in high school, but I swear I think back to that class frequently when problem solving, from "split-halving" a problem to logic gates to make flowcharts and so on. Probably more than any class I had, electronics really taught me how to break down a problem and put together a solution.

I get the idea of a "core curriculum" to expose students to things, but I remain unsure as to whether things are currently makes much sense. I took chemistry, which went fairly into depth, but at the cost of not taking physics (chemistry satisfied the requirement). I'd rather have had a class which touched on each of these subjects for perhaps a quarter to half a year, spread out over two years, than a full year of chemistry, with the option to take a more in-depth science course for years three and four.

But I have to say, nothing I learned in chemistry stuck or was useful like electronics was.

I love history but I think it is taught poorly -- that's an area ripe for consolidation and studies and English in general.

Comment Re:It was "net mail" prior to 1978, but e-mail sti (Score 1) 288

Mail from USC-ISI rcvd at 8-APR-76 1202-PST
Date: 8 APR 1976 1110-PST
Subject: MSGGROUP# 314 Welcome Richard Stallman (RMS@MIT-AI)
To: [ISI]Mailing.List:

Please add RMS@MIT-AI (Richard Stallman) to your MsgGroup mailing
list, or obtain a new copy form [ISI]Mailing.List;56.

Richard and Ken Harrenstien (KLH@MIT-AI) have been perusing the
MsgGroup Proceedings and have raised a number of issues that I
think are well worth discussion.

So, Welcome to MsgGroup. Enjoy. See you in the discussions,

Begin forwarded message

Comment It was "net mail" prior to 1978, but e-mail still. (Score 1) 288

Mail-from: BBN-TENEXA rcvd at 22-JUL-75 0617-PDT
Date: 22 JUL 1975 0904-EDT
Subject: MSGGROUP# 099 The Attention Subfield in The MAILSYS Address Fields.
To: [ISI]Mailing.List:
Reference: Kirstein "The Attention Field", Msggroup #82.

Discussion of Kirstein's message of July 7.

The problem is that one MAILBOX sometimes serves a group of users
or projects. How can the messages, as they arrive, be brought to
the attention of different users? And how can they be sorted out
at a later date?

There are three ways that the current MAILSYS system can handle

(1) Use the KEYWORDS field to store the appropriate keywords,
names, names of projects, or whatever.

The KEYWORDS field takes a text string as its argument. The idea
is that it will usually consist of words, separated by commas,
but this is not at all required.


The KEYWORDS field can be displayed in a long-form SURVEY with
the command

          >>KEYWORDS (CR)

If you wish to search the KEYWORDS field with a READ or SURVEY
command, you can first set up a FILTER:

          >FILTER (CR)

Then you can perform the sort and store the selected messages in
a file with

          >>FILTER (CR)
          >>OUTPUT (CR)

The commands can be typed in the abbreviated mode, of course.

(2) Use the "Attention Subfield" of the MAILSYS address fields
(TO, CC, and BCC).

As currently implemented, the MAILSYS address field has the form

          = , , ...


            = @ ()

which is displayed as

          Name at Host (Attn: Text String)

          Ex: Mooers at BBNA (Attn: WHATZIT)

Until now, the documentation of showed the form

  = @ (, , ... )

and the idea was (and is) that in future versions of MAILSYS,
  could be the primary user assigned to a multi-user
MAILBOX, and the names in the parentheses could be secondary
users authorized to use the MAILBOX. Whether the secondary users
should be assigned identities in the system so that MAILSYS can
parse and check them in -- at least in the local directory -- is
an interesting point for debate.

At present, the attention subfield is available for any kind of
flag. It has the advantage of being in the TO, CC, and BCC
fields, where you would normally look for an addressee, and the
disadvantage that MAILSYS can't sort on it.

In the address fields, MAILSYS will FILTER only for address lists
and will not touch the stuff inside the parentheses, whether it
consists of duly authorized names or not.

Future versions of MAILSYS will certainly have to filter and sort
on the Attention Subfields of messages.

(3) It is also possible to put the attention flag at the
beginning of the SUBJECT field, e.g.,

          Ex: SUBJECT: WHATZIT: More thoughts on the Attention Problem.

Then you can search for WHATZIT with a FILTER.

This has the advantage that the attention flag shows up on a
normal short-form SURVEY, and the disavantage that the subject
field is, perhaps, not a very logical place for an attention

I hope this clarifies matters. I have changed the on-line
documentation to reflect the system as it is now.


Comment What is a "cable?" (Score 1) 209

Can someone tell me what a "cable" is? I am looking at the link in the story, and it looks like the kind of thing you'd see slowly printing off of a teletype machine in a 1970s political thriller.

What is the purpose of sending cables rather than encrypted e-mails?

Who maintains the "cable" system and what standard does it run on? Is it like old-school TTY or is it like fax or what? Do these get delivered over regular phone lines or some other network? What kind of "cables" are involved in transmitting "cables?"

I am genuinely curious.

Comment Keep it laughable, guys. (Score 1) 144

Back in 1985 or so, I remember reading all of the anti-piracy stuff that was being put out by software companies, all of which essentially amounted to this argument:

If people pirate stuff, there won't be any monetary incentive to create, and:

* The video game industry will dry up and no one will make any more video games.

* The business software industry will dry up and no one will make any business software.

* The record industry will die and no one will make any music.

In 2011, is there any more appropriate reply than "LOL"?

At bare minimum, they need to stop making stupid arguments. "We are losing revenue which we could rightfully pocket if piracy were stopped" is far more honest here, however anyone else feels about piracy. Or "sharing." Or whatever people call it.

People need to drag out the "Don't Copy That Floppy!" stuff from the early days, and rather than laugh at how dated the pitch looks, use it as an example of how fucking stupid the argument is, as it has no basis whatsoever in reality. I seriously wonder who the affected industries think they're impressing with the "OMG piracy - the pump don't work 'cos the vandals took the handle! SOFTWARE FAMINE ICE AGE WASTELAND COMING!" argument, because this is such a laughably shit argument.

Comment The government is not our father. (Score 5, Insightful) 629

The First Amendment issues are obvious here, but I have to say, we relegare ourselves to a pack of dumb animals if we make the point that watching something or reading something or playing violent video games means we're going to freak out and imitate or otherwise follow the directions of anything contained within.

We are not three year olds. We can watch hateful, obscene, or otherwise nasty crap and we can make the decision not to be a bunch of zombies about it. Unless and until we insist that people think for themselves and be responsible for their actions, (and law should mandate it - meaning, you can't use "I watched a bunch of nasty stuff and it influenced me therefore the crime I committed isn't my fault" argument) we condemn ourselves to a kind of tyranny where government is the adult who steps in and treats us like impressionable toddlers. Freedom is contingent upon critical thinking and personal responsibility, and I am not willing to accept shackles because there are a smattering of idiots among us who are incapable of it.

The logic that we have to stop thoughtcrime because it might spread or influence people is chilling.

The United States needs to ignore the UK's demand, and the UK, if it insists, can certainly petition google to take action on this.

But unless we rely on the idea that free people in a free society can think critically, why not just invite the government into our lives completely? Why even have a free society, if we're really just animals, a few videos away from going on some kind of horrible killing spree? Why go through the pretense of insisting that human beings are capable, through independent thought and taking responsibility for their actions, of liberty?

The "categorically not allowed in the UK" bit could not, as an American, concern me less -- and should the United States attempt the same kind of argument with the UK in the future, the UK can and should ignore the United States's demands to infringe the right of people to say and read/watch what they like.

The alternative, where the government makes this decision that there's just stuff we can't watch, is scary.


8-Year Fan-Made Game Project Shut Down By Activision 265

An anonymous reader writes "Activision, after acquiring Vivendi, became the new copyright holder of the classic King's Quest series of adventure game. They have now issued a cease and desist order to a team which has worked for eight years on a fan-made project initially dubbed a sequel to the last official installment, King's Quest 8. This stands against the fact that Vivendi granted a non-commercial license to the team, subject to Vivendi's approval of the game after submission. After the acquisition, key team members had indicated on the game's forums (now stripped of their original content by order of Activision) that Activision had given the indication that it intended to keep its current fan-game licenses, but was not interested in issuing new ones."

Comment People who do apparently nothing on the net (Score 1) 210

Maybe what we should do is start a "Psst, do you REALLY need that Internet connection?" campaign veiled as a frugality-during-the-recession thing for all of these assholes who apparently use 5 gig a month on their Internet plans.

Just start cold calling people.

Be all up in shawtys grill like,

"Sup boo, says here y'all only use like 5 gigs of data a month."

"Well I just sometimes like to e-mail my grandson."

"Do you think that the expense of an Internet connection for a responsible senior on a fixed income is justifiable during these troubled times? Go to the library yo."

And so on.

Then we can shut these fucking companies up already about how their average customer apparently uses the Internet to write "LOL cupcakes" on Twitter every 4 days, and that represents the average Internet user.

Increasingly, I think if you found these "average Internet users," they'd be the same people who have recalibrated the taste buds of people in this country so that you can't actually get *hot* as in *spicy* food anywhere. I just picture those assholes sitting there twittering "omg this salsa is hot 8P" while scarfing down corn chips with Old El Paso "MEDIUM" salsa.

I hate those assholes. They're ruining it for everyone.

Comment Re:So, what is the new business model? (Score 1) 1870

I think it'd be an interesting thing if music players had a way of kicking micropayments to the artists in question, especially considering how pliable I am (and probably other music fans are) during something like the guitar solo in Pink Floyd's "Time." Or pick whatever moves you.

On portable players, which will probably at some point all be connected to the Internet somehow, these micropayments could be queued, to dump when next plugged into a networked computer. Desktop players could do it directly. Each could potentially draw out of a Paypal account. You could imagine a button on the players specifically for this purpose. A "love" button.

What's interesting to me about this is it would link the music and the musician directly to the fan through the musical experience itself, while cutting out the increasingly unncessary industry entirely. I don't know of many music fans who are opposed to paying artists - it's paying the cigar chompers that they tend to object to.

As "piracy" of electronic data cannot be controlled whatever anyone thinks of the morality of it, I also like the bounty idea, which I've brought up in other places. An artist records an album and holds it up until an account is filled with a pre-determined amount of his choosing, say $250,000, at which time the music is released, universally. This would allow hardcore fans to pull campaigns together to compensate artists while unleashing *their* favorite music upon the world as a kind of gift. Artists could determine exactly how much they needed to make in advance. If fans of things will camp out for tickets days in advance, you could even picture them holding bake sales to raise ransom money for new albums.

It would encourage artists to make use of pre-existing social media like facebook and even (double shudder) myspace, mailing lists, and so on, and stay connected to fans. It would further alleviate the stress of seeing ones works spread across the Internet, because that would be the expected result once the bounty was paid. It would contribute to a massive worldwide cultural database. It would involve fans in promoting and being a giant online "street team" for music they love.

Music fans would become patrons of their favorite artists. The two ideas above in combination would allow a bulk sum to be paid on delivery, plus "residuals" as people are all enraptured at 3am dancing around spastically to "Transmission" who want to kick the surviving members of Joy Division a little love.

There are of course issues with this which would need to be worked out. It would probably involve most artists going independent (though I can see some kind of artistic co-operative, or co-operatives forming to make promotion and online distribution - that is to say hosting mp3 - no, flac or something like it - files online - easy to do).

The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Identity theft nets fraudster 16 years in prison

coondoggie writes: "A United States District sentenced Isaac Allen this week to a 16 ½ years in the slammer for identity theft and bank fraud. According to court documents, Allen and Pasco, along with other members of their ring, defrauded a series of banks in Florida, including Fifth Third Bank, BB&T, Bank of America and other financial institutions, by stealing names, social security numbers and other personal identifying information of individuals and then posing as these persons to obtain credit cards and credit lines from these financial institutions, the DOJ stated. Pasco and Allen then used the credit cards, drew down the credit lines and absconded when payment was due. They stole more than $150,000 through this scheme. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Dvorak gets it...

kristjansson writes: Dvorak rants about the latest bits of outrage from the RIAA and the trend towards making any sort of copying illegal.

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