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Comment The problem is with the studios, not the theaters (Score 1) 342

Although I've been a programmer for 30 years, I [relatively] recently (2012) got my degree in Cinema Studies, which is the formal analysis of film as a text. (It's not just saying whether a film is good or bad, but examining themes, set design, sound, etc.) Part of my studies involved looking at the whole process, from pitching a film through global distribution. We all complain about the high costs of movie tickets and snacks at theaters, the frequently lousy chairs and so forth, but the movie studios are not innocent in those costs. While I don't have exact figures to give, out of a $12 movie ticket, the theater may only be getting about $1.50 of the revenue, maybe even less, as the studios are charging them exorbitant licensing and leasing fees for each movie. In addition, they sometimes force theaters to take films that they know are or will be crappy as part of a package deal in order to get the big films. Ever hear the term blockbuster? That's from studios leasing a block of films to theaters, most of which will not be good, in order to get one or two films that everyone is going to want to see. The first blockbusters were films that they sold outside of those blocks because they wanted to make sure that they maximized their potential income.

The only place theaters, including both the small boutique theaters and big chains, make money on are the snacks and food they serve in the theater. As the movie studios continue to raise the costs of leasing the films, the theaters are forced to increase their food costs to keep up while trying to strike a balance with the actual ticket costs. (Lets face it, none of us would likely pay $20 to see Twilight. Hell, I wouldn't take money to see it...)

And then, there's Hollywood's push towards digital distribution, which I admit makes the movie-going experience more pleasant all around. (I've been in a theater when the celluloid film strip melted on the projector, not to mention the graininess that's sometimes there.) A theater quality digital film projector system costs over $75,000, you can probably pile at least another $20k or more on top of that for theater quality THX and/or Dolby speakers, $5-10k for a good projection screen, and God knows how much for seats, maintenance, etc. for each individual theater room at a multiplex. Some of the movie studios have helped with the transition from celluloid to digital projection, it was in their best interests after all, and in the past helped with the hifi to stereo transition, but on the whole, the studios' only goal is to squeeze money out of the theaters. And don't get me started on why they keep making formulaic sequels and remaking/rebooting films... That's got absolutely nothing to do with them being out of ideas, in case you're thinking that...

So, bottom line, Hastings is only partially right. The theaters are the easy target for his blame, but then he's not trying to put films in theaters. It's the movie studios that are really to blame for the sad state of film though.

Comment Re:(URGENT REQUIREMENT IN DETROIT!!!!!, etc) (Score 3, Interesting) 227

I wouldn't go as far as to say the OP is an idiot; he could've used any random city or even a fictional one. Detroit was just an easy target and the OP probably didn't think he'd offend (even mildly) anyone, but you're absolutely right, most metropolitan areas are simply referred to by the major city's name, so he inadvertently inferred the entire Metro Detroit area.

Comment (URGENT REQUIREMENT IN DETROIT!!!!!, etc) (Score 5, Interesting) 227

Really? It's an example and all, but as developer born and raised in Detroit (the city proper) and a current resident of the city, is it necessary to kick the place even more? Any way, recruiter spam is a constant pest for me as well; one recent one was trying to get me interested in a "Live Chat Customer Service"' opportunity somewhere... I think I'll be taking a peek at .

Comment Giving Iran some benefit of the doubt... (Score 1) 260

I'm going to give them some benefit of the doubt, just to be diplomatic. I'm going to assume that it is indeed a real airplane and that it was indeed flying in the video. (Global Security disagrees with this assumption at but I just want to state my two cents on the plane as an enthusiast.) That said, just because they say it's a stealth fighter doesn't make it a stealth fighter. In the footage provided there's no documentation of its stealthiness, nor even a general discussion on what makes it stealthy such as vaguely stating "radar absorbent materials", "carefully calculated angles", or "continuous curvature" like you get in History/Discovery/Military channel overviews of the U.S.'s stealth and stealthy aircraft. It's just "we have a stealth fighter." Even the roll-outs of the F-117A and B-2 contained more information about their stealth designs than was discussed in that video.

Lets give them another benefit of the doubt, that they were too intelligent to discuss those facts for strategic purposes.

I'm no expert on stealth, but I have fundamental problems with the aircraft's design in terms of stealth. The down pointing wingtips are sufficiently disjunctive with the rest of the flow of the aircraft that I can't help imagine that they'll generate a larger radar cross-section as a result. It has a forward wing-canard which helps with maneuverability (at least when paired with thrust vectoring), but I imagine that the tips (as seen at||| ) would also trigger a larger cross-section from some angles. Hell, this image,||| , to me screams that there's no way in the world this wouldn't reflect radar signals back to the source...

Global Security does point out that the air in-takes are too small for any reasonable modern fighter jet, but perhaps the Iranians couldn't make it stealthy with any significant jet engine. They also point out that the nose cone is too small to hold a radar system, but that might be explained by a very involved ground control team; it hasn't been unheard of for officers on the ground to order fighters to certain locations and engage certain enemies. This was a Russian and Chinese strategy though I don't know if they still hold to that. Not including a radar system in an aircraft would make the pilot dependent on its ground control, less capable of independent action, and less likely to be detected by an enemy's threat detection system. They wouldn't be locking on to a target with their own radar, so missiles fired from them would be fed telemetry from a remote location, which means it couldn't give away the aircraft's position (specific or broad) prior to firing. Of course, that's speculation; it's possible that it has a small radar system that is comparatively weak by the standards we use in the West. Global Security quotes David Cenciotti who noted "It looks like this pilot is in a miniature plane" and it appeared "nothing more than a large mock-up model" but then, so does an F-16 up close. The F-16 looks like a toy next to the F-15 or F-22.

Nonetheless, I don't imagine the DoD is losing any sleep over this announcement... Even if the plane is real and really does have some stealthy features, I'd wager that it would still be a large enough radar target for AWACS to pick it up at a distance, and relay lock data to a squadron of F-15s that are well outside of visual range. I think that its possible stealthy features are ruined by its design. If any thing, I think it's more hot air coming out of Tehran to forestall any potential talk of an attack out of the West to stop their nuclear program.

And for the record, I think the plane looks like it was inspired by Firefox combined with bits from Stealth and actual fighters like the F-22. I'm more concerned about China's stealth fighter(s) which seem to be more legitimate ripoffs of known stealth and stealthy planes.

Comment Re:Waaay past the original projection (Score 1) 403

They weren't exactly building new B-52s in 90. They were committed to supporting the existing aircraft that they were allowed to keep in service (a treaty signed with the Soviets actually had us destroy a large number of the aircraft). The Air Force *knew* they were keeping the plane in service long after they planned to retire the B-1 and B-2 bombers. This wasn't just speculation, or idle planning, they have a vested desire to keep the '52 flying until then.

Submission + - Judge orders defendant to decrypt laptop (

rcrodgers writes: I noticed this Wired article on CNN indicating that a judge has ordered a woman in Colorado to decrypt her hard drive for prosecutors to examine it for evidence to use against her. The judge claims that this does not constitute a violation of her fifth amendment rights...

Submission + - Is Apple's Dismal iBooks Author Software License E (

An anonymous reader writes: The iBooks Author EULA plainly tries to create an exclusive license for Apple to be the sole distributor of any worked created with it, but under the Copyright Act an exclusive license is a “transfer of copyright ownership,” and under 17 U.S.C. 204 such a transfer “is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed.” When authors rebel and take their work elsewhere, Apple has, at most, a claim for breach-of-EULA — but their damages are the failure to pay $0 for the program.

Submission + - Bill in Georgia would prohibit local governments f ( 2

McGruber writes: The Associated Press ( has the news that Georgia State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers is sponsoring a bill that "would prevent public broadband providers from paying for communication networks with tax or government revenue".

Senator Rogers claims that "The private sector is handling this exceptionally well". Local government officials disagree.

Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson says "When cities were getting involved in broadband, it was because private industry would not come there. Without that technology, they were economically disadvantaged. We feel like it is an option cities should have."


Submission + - Mozilla releases Rust 0.1 (

MrSeb writes: "After more than five years in the pipeline, Mozilla Labs and the Rust community have released the first alpha of the Rust programming language compiler. The Rust language emphasizes concurrency and memory safety, and — if everything goes to plan — is ultimately being groomed to replace C++ as Mozilla’s compiled language of choice, with Firefox (or parts of it) eventually being re-written in Rust."

Comment Re:Web-specific suggestion(s) (Score 1) 333

These days, in my opinion, sessions are done better and more securely with cookies; a cookie, for example, can be set to require a secure transmission vector (usually SSL in an HTTPS request), and aren't bookmarked as part of a URL. Yes it is more difficult to see what cookies are stored in your browser than in a URL, but most browsers will allow you to view and/or clear cookies easily enough. In addition, cookies can be set to expire automatically a set time on the client so they're only valid for a specified period of time, which can be completely separate from the server side. For instance, you could create a session that would live for 5 hours, and regularly change the session ID (say every fifth request if you like); the session cookie would get updated each time, but the overall session would live only for that 5 hour window. While the same could be done with a session ID in a URL, that session ID could still end up in a bookmark; in the very unlikely event of the session ID being reused, that bookmark could represent an inadvertent attack vector.

In addition, cookies are passed with both GET and POST requests; not every page has to be a POST request to use cookies to pass session IDs, and as I explained already, a session ID in a URL can be bookmarked. GET and POST have two different purposes, and I think everyone designing web pages could stand to read through the HTTP RFC . Logins should be done exclusively with POST in my opinion, and normal data retrieval once logged in should be done with GET. There's no reason that any search engine should ever be given a session, let alone a session ID; if a search engine needs access to otherwise secured information, there are options to accomplish that, but I can't see the logic in locking up data then making it publicly available in a search engine.

Comment GPGPU Cold War finally ending? (Score 1) 89

Does this mean that AMD/ATI and nVidia are finally recognizing that the only people really losing out in their cold war are their users? I'm traditionally an AMD/ATI customer but have been leaning towards getting an nVidia card for the CUDA support in Adobe's Creative Suite, but if this means that at some point in the future the Radeon HD 7000 series will support CUDA and will potentially accelerate CS, then I'll stick with it...

Comment Re:Anyone else not surprised? (Score 1) 612

Definitely true, though I'm sure there are people at the various military contractors that knew better all along. There's no excuse for being lax about security when national security, defense, and military equipment and personnel are involved.

Yes, a video signal is different from the control signal, but any intelligence intercepted by an enemy is still a security risk. More often than not, intelligence from those drones is relayed by radio to ground units rather than being directly received by those units. (Some degree of analysis usually needs to be done.) The video signal needs to be encrypted just as much as the control signals.

My point with regards to the malware infection was more that this should have triggered a re-evaluation of the security involved in the maintenance and usage of our drones.

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