the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2011-Apr-04 today archive

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

GameStop Buys Impulse From Stardock

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Daetrin writes "It was announced Thursday that Stardock has sold Impulse, the digital game store, to GameStop. Stardock founder Brad Wardell gave an interview to Joystiq talking about the sale and the reasons behind it. GameStop also announced their acquisition of SpawnLabs, a game streaming company. It seems that GameStop is looking to challenge Steam, or at least avoid being cut out of the digital distribution business entirely."

Re:Might Save Impulse

By Daetrin • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Impulse kind of suffers from being halfway between Steam and Good Old Games.

On average Impulse doesn't have base prices as cheap as Good Old Games.
On average Impulse doesn't have sales discounts as large as Steam
Impulse has more DRM than GOG.
Impulse doesn't have as many really old games as GOG.
Impulse doesn't have as many big new games as Steam.
Impulse doesn't have achievements or community features like the Steam client does.
But Impulse does force you to use a client, unlike GOG.

I like Impulse, and i have bought a number of games from them, but they're certainly not the ones that i've bought the most games from. For just about any single category of comparison either Steam or GOG outperforms it. If it was just a competition between Impulse and _one_ of the other two they'd probably be doing pretty well for themselves, but as things stand...

Guess you could say...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It was an Impulse buy!

Re:And They'll fail

By Lord_of_the_nerf • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

People like steam because it's NOT gamestop. Steam evolved as a response to everything that was wrong with gamestop. Buying a new storefront isn't going to change the problems with gamestop, it's only going to ruin the storefront.

GameStop doesn't have the same worldwide recognition as Steam either. Where I am, Steam is a positively recognised brand and GameStop is virtually unknown. Unless GameStop/Impulse are planning a massive marketing push, I don't see them as having the visibility of Steam internationally.

Re:This really pisses me off.

By LatenightWithJB • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Hi Sarusa. This is Jeff, Fences' developer :) We will be making standalone-installers available for all future versions of Fences Pro (and our other desktop apps), so don't worry about the dependency on Impulse. That said, Impulse is under great direction at GameStop so I wouldn't let that damage your opinion of it; they're operating with the same mission of quality that we always were. Thanks again for your purchase and I hope you enjoy Fences!

Great. I look forward to the future.

By HalAtWork • Score: 3 • Thread
I look forward to the future when I have 36 different online storefront applications on my PC. Each one sending me emails, billing information, sales updates, and advertising in my face. When I turn on my computer there will be 36 different splash screens and I'll be greeted by 36 friends lists and 36 different updates will download and then I will see 36 different changelogs asking me to agree to the 36 new EULAs and I will have to click 36 different checkboxes and press 36 different OK buttons. I will enjoy looking for the best prices across 36 different apps and backing up my games and savegames in 36 different ways. In the far (but bright) future, I might even have to pay 36 different monthly fees. I will also have 36 different usernames/passwords to remember, and 36 different sets of rules for account/computer activation/deactivation, as well as how many times I can download and install my games. I will also get to pay for this in 36 different ways (Credit/PayPal/Cyclos/Ploids). Brilliant, I can't wait.

Creating the Software Art In Tron Legacy

Posted by Soulskill in Entertainment • View on SlashDotShareable Link
hownottowrite writes "A software artist has posted an overview of the coding behind the tools used to create Tron Legacy's special effects. 'In Tron, the hacker was not supposed to be snooping around on a network; he was supposed to kill a process. So we went with posix kill and also had him pipe ps into grep. I also ended up using emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t. The team was delighted to see my emacs performance — splitting the editor into nested panes and running different modes. I was tickled that I got emacs into a block buster movie.' Ok, it's mostly a lot of awesome images, but there's a nifty reveal about an homage to Bit."

Real men edit with vi

By GodfatherofSoul • Score: 3 • Thread

I spit on your keyboard, noov ctrl-x ctrl-x ctrl-i b ctrl-dd...awe, damnit...

Barely on topic: pkill/pgrep

By bipbop • Score: 3 • Thread
ps | grep? I've been happy since pgrep was added (to Solaris first, but then reimplemented on Linux and FreeBSD/NetBSD). I thought I'd mention it here in case some people reading haven't run into it yet, 'cause even though it's a pretty minor thing, it's neat :-)

Interesting Tie-In

By Mister Transistor • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Since there is nothing to see here I've got an interesting Tron story. I must have watched the original at least 25-30 times through the years, I own a 12" laserdisc and DVD's of it, and never really noticed before, but after re-watching it on TV the other day due to sheer boredom, I finally noticed a name at the end credits I never recognized before - Peter Jurasik. It suddenly dawned on me that was the actor who played Londo Molari on Babylon 5 - you know, the Centauri ambassador with the Peacock / Bozo hair. I tried to think of who it was in the movie, and realized it's the accounting /actuarial program that gets imprisoned at the beginning along with ROM? CROM?. He says of the MCP - "Who does he calculate he is, anyway?". That's him! Just thought I'd share that bit of trivia with everyone.

Anyone catch the output of uname?

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Well, now everyone will copy and paste the output from the DVD, but I saw it in the theatre.

And I saw Flynn key in "uname -a" and I tried to parse the listing for interesthing things.

Alas, all I caught as the OS was named "SolarOS" and the arch was "sun4m". A tribute to ye olde SunOS, I guess (SunOS/sparc).

Though, I'd love that nice popup history window...

Re:Processing community?

By Haven • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Processing is a set of libraries that I think use Java to do "creative coding"

lots of generative art is made with "Processing"

I do a lot of work with openframeworks, which was also used along with cinder and houdini.

check out my work @

The Biggest Legal Danger For Open Source?

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
itwbennett writes "Brian Proffitt is blogging about the undercurrent of legal issues troubling the open source world these days and offers up this question: Are patents or copyright a bigger threat to the open source community? Patents are the obvious choice, with inflicting fear being the 'obvious intention of those who have instigated the various legal troubles on open source practitioners.' But the issue of copyright and copyright assignments is no less troublesome, argues Proffitt. And copyright assignment can be confusingly Machievllian, even in open source land."


By ozmanjusri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

end of discussion. No more comments are needed.

Not quite.

Malevolent organisations which don't respect community commons are the threat. Patents are just one of their tools.

Until those organisations are reigned in, they will continue inventing ways to diminish the value of projects which threaten their income.


By geminidomino • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Patents do not cover "an idea". They cover a specific solution, which for software is a specific algorithm

Reality doesn't mesh with your statement.

One-click, anyone?


By nitehawk214 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

nor have they stopped contributing to culture.

Me thinks you have never seen an episode of Hannah Montana.

Contributing to the demise, is still contributing.

*DRM* and patents, not copyright and patents

By ciaran_o_riordan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

DRM and signed hardware is the biggest legal threat beside patents.

If we liberate the PC, only to find that people are doing their computing on handheld computers (such as phones) and games consoles which won't boot if the software's not approved, then we'll be shafted.

The answer is (as it always was) that we have to educate people about what sovereignty/liberty/independence means for computing, and that having freedom is valuable. That takes years (ask RMS), but it's the only way to win successive battles. There's no point in defeating some current problem if the same attack will succeed later under a different guise.

After DRM and patents, the big problem is centralised social networking, where people do their computing on remote servers which they have no control over.

Copyrights are not as big a deal as patents.

By bmo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

With copyrights, you can write around the infringing part et voila, you no longer infringe. You can do this a lot easier than writing around a patented algorithm which may lay at the core of your software.

SCO brought up many busted hypotheses why Linux infringed on SCO IP, up to and including "negative knowledge" - i.e., "don't do it that way". None of it stuck. "Similarity" is not enough. Header files are not enough. Some evidence of word-for-word copying in the source code must be there for the accusation of copyright infringement to stick at all. And even then, it's proportional to the amount of infringement. And *even then* courts want you to hammer it out privately before ever going to trial. Courts frown upon plaintiffs going to court without letting the defendant try to mitigate what might be wrong.

And to this day, they have still not shown any copied code from Unix in Linux, on their path to their "utter destruction" as Darl McBride so succinctly put it. And Linux has come out only stronger because of the ordeal while SCO's entire market cap is 2.1 million on the pink sheets.

Apple sued Microsoft over UI for "copyright" and lost - just because it looks similar doesn't mean it's the *same*.

Patents are more difficult to defend against. Because these days, patents cover ideas and general mock-ups (design patents) with no regard for prior art or obviousness in the eyes of someone skilled in the art. That last bit has especially been removed from the "obviousness" test. It seems like patent examiners lowered the bar to "Dumb and Dumberer" for obviousness.


Texas Instruments Buys National Semiconductor For $6.5B

Posted by Soulskill in Hardware • View on SlashDotShareable Link
CWmike writes "Texas Instruments on Monday announced it has agreed to acquire semiconductor company National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion in an all-cash transaction. TI, which makes low-power chips, said it would combine its 30,000 analog products and advanced manufacturing capabilities with the offerings of National Semiconductor, which makes analog integrated circuits. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in six to nine months, the companies said in a joint statement. Look out, [chip maker name here]?"

Re:"All cash"?

By MightyYar • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Corporate tax laws should be changed so they're taxed for wealth as well as income.

Because it would be better if they paid all the rich owners a dividend?

Ask the bank who is holding their $6.5 billion why they won't loan you any of that money, and the answers to THAT are why our economy is in the shitter.

Horatio Says :

By Rollgunner • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Looks like the folks at National Semiconductor... (puts on sunglasses)... cashed in their chips.


Re:Still shocked!

By jimmyswimmy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You shouldn't be. You can't do digital without analog, despite what every pointy-headed manager puts in his powerpoint slides. Power is analog and that's a sizeable fraction of your computer budget. Motor control (hard drives), sensors (you name it), a lot of user interface, are all analog. Even signal transmission is analog, although if you set your thresholds just right you can pretend it's digital. In fact this is where a lot of semi companies make their money, by encapsulating the messy analog into the chip so all you have to do is put down two capacitors and hook up the digital interface, because people are escared of analog.

Can you tell I'm an analog guy? I sure hope so.


By jimmyswimmy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well, at least when I got out of the semi business a few years ago you could still do a lot with old 5" and 6" wafers. There's a lot to be said for having your own process line, despite the fabless trend, especially in the analog world. An in-house analog process enables a semi manufacturer to build unique parts that a competitor can't as easily replicate. If you can get a higher voltage or current in a similar sized driver IC you can outsell on features, or you can shrink the die and match features and outsell on price. But if you're both buying the same process from the foundry, what advantage do you have that the competition can't get by offering your engineers more money?

Re:Still shocked!

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
There's very little that is truly done digitally. Even switch mode powersupplies, switch means digital right? As in turning on and off right?, no these are analogue components with oscillators and complex feedback loops. Not to mention precision electronics often based on linear regulators with highly accurate temperature controlled references. Then there's power conversion and line matching too. The output of your serial port may be digital to you, but to me it's a charge pump converting digital logic levels to +/-15V. Data conversion, sensors, and even digitally sounding and looking things like hall effect sensors in fans which produce a pulse when the fan turns actually have a large analogue component.

Without analogue our digital wouldn't work. Analogue circuitry does everything from providing power, to providing time references for digital pulses.

California Library's Plan: Get Rid of Books

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
HansonMB writes "Facing the likelihood of state budget cuts that would eliminate $15 million for library and reading programs – and, apparently, create a future in which people no longer read things on paper – the city of Newport Beach is considering turning its first library into a community center that would host all the same amenities – except for the books." The library has been inundated with hate-mail as people around the country have learned of their idea, and they hastened to clarify that no final decision has been made; carting books in as needed from other locations was always part of the plan. Whether or not they go through with it, efforts are underway elsewhere to create a massive, public digital library, spurred in part by the recent ruling against Google Books.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If I only had mod points - being married to a librarian, I can only say this: librarians are civil servants who look to better our society by helping people obtain and use information. If the rest of us should only be so luck to find ourselves doing something half as laudable.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'...

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The public doesn't want to pay taxes to fund 6-figure public sector salaries and pensions

I know. It's those greedy, bottom-feeding librarians, and schoolteachers and cops and firemen and garbage collectors who have brought this great nation to its knees.

We've got to stop those people before they wipe out the good common folk, who work for a living and pay their taxes, like the hedge fund managers and investment bankers.

the all-consuming pension costs

Public employee pensions make up an average 2-3% of state budgets nationwide.

Since it's clear that your anger at having to trim the tree on your own goddamn property, along with your greed and stupidity, lgw, have so corrupted your thinking that you're unable to accept the fact that the average public employee makes about $65k and the average employee nationwide about $43k. But see, private employees tend to skew much more to the blue collar. You've got to average in all those people working at Wal-Mart and McDonalds for minimum wage, whereas most public employees are the educated, blue collar variety.

When you figure in level of education, there really isn't a discrepancy between public and private employees. It's been fabricated to make people like you, who lack the analytic ability to understand why you should be worrying about why your company has screwed you out of a pension instead of why someone else has managed to keep their pension (hint: unions are good for workers), get all pissed off and shake your fist at the teevee and completely miss the reason why your income and benefits and working conditions continue to deteriorate to the point that if you had a wife she's probably wishing she married that nice guy who became a lawyer with a nice practice (and who was a much better lay). And most important, you'll forget who you really ought to be blaming in this whole mess.

People like you, who get played like violins by the people who are screwing you right into the ground and end up blaming everyone who has got something that you don't, disgust me. The only thing that attenuates my disgust is the knowledge that you have to live with your impotent anger like bad case of the piles.

Just don't fuck up our country any more. OK? I don't want my kid to have to grow up in a third-world shithole because people like you were pissed off that some college professor (yes, they're counted as "public employees") gets a six figure salary.

Re:Keep them stupid

By slick7 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
– Joseph Stalin

Re:With PDF and EPubs, it makes sense

By slick7 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Real books don't die after 36 loans

...or when the power goes out.

Re:starting no doubt with 'rainbows end'...

By MaskedSlacker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You might want to cite anything let alone California. In California the average correctional officer's salary is $66,720 []. This may be more than the national average but hardly the fat cat 6 figure salaries that keep being espoused.

That's salary. It does not count overtime. It does not count being paid for not taking vacation time. They get full medical care with zero premiums. They get 90% of their base pay their last year for the rest of their life gauranteed. When you add up the total amount of money that they are either paid by the state, or would have had to pay had the state not done so for them, it's over $100,000 per year, on average. More if you lump the gauranteed pensions which they contribute to at much lower rates than private sector workers for much higher payouts (public union payouts are gauranteed by law--if my 401k tanks, too bad for me. If their pension investment tanks, too bad for ME because I still have to pay it to them). That's where the six-figure number comes from.

Pandora Subpoenaed In Probe of Mobile-App Privacy

Posted by Soulskill in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
ideaz writes "Pandora Media Inc., the largest Internet radio company, said it's been asked for information as part of a federal grand-jury probe into the way smartphone software developers handle personal data. Pandora isn't a specific target of the investigation and similar subpoenas have been issued to other publishers of apps that run on Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system, the company said in a securities filing today."

Probably their login method

By Culture20 • Score: 3 • Thread
Their login method is "what's the iPhone's UUID?" Found that one out the hard way when I purchased a friends' (wiped by me) old iPhone. They're probably an example of doing it wrong.

Not Surprised Pandora Got Called Out on This

By Maltheus • Score: 3 • Thread

I uninstalled Pandora from my phone the second they wanted permissions to access my calendar. I don't care so much that they know who my contacts are, but the details of my personal appointments are much more sensitive. Still, I knew the price and was free not to pay it. It's not like Android doesn't warn you when the permissions change.

Re:Probably their login method

By ArcCoyote • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yep, and that's how I found iPhones that are returned as defective to the Apple Store make it back to the public.

I exchanged a 3GS that was spontaneously rebooting and syncing slowly or not at all, even after a DFU Restore (which is why I honestly believe jailbreaking can damage your flash, especially after I had it happen to TWO jailbroken 3GS's... but that's another story.)

Anyway, I had Pandora on it. I didn't reinstall Pandora right away on my replacement phone, but when I finally did (months later) and logged into my Pandora account, my stations had been replaced with a bunch of stuff I would never listen to. So explain to me how that happened, other than someone using the phone that was supposedly returned to Apple?

Do Violent Games Hinder Development of Empathy?

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View on SlashDotShareable Link
donniebaseball23 writes "Although there's yet to be a study that conclusively proves a direct causal relationship between video game violence and real-life violence, psychologists are continuing to examine the effect violent media can have on children. A new study in the Journal of Children and Media notes that violent video game exposure can actually hinder a child's moral development. 'Certainly not every child who continues to play violent video games is going to go out and perpetrate a violent act, but the research suggests that children — particularly boys — who are frequently exposed to these violent games are absorbing a sanitized message of "no consequences for violence" from this play behavior,' said Professor Edward T. Vieira Jr."

The sponsor is always right

By Lead Butthead • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Every sponsor of the study has its own angle on the issue, as such the result of the study is already predestine to prove the sponsor right. It's largely irrelevant what the result is as the result is pegged long before any data is collected or interpreted.

Studies that disproved their sponsors' views have ways of disappearing into unfunded abyss.

Re:"No consequences for violence"

By dave562 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The imagination is a powerful thing. I've seen kids come out of the movie theater after watching Kung Fu Panda, and they were trying to kung fu fight each other. That was after what... 90 minutes of animated animals fighting each other. I remember when Power Rangers was popular. Kids all over the place were "playing" Power Rangers, punching and hitting and kicking at each other.

Violence is an innate inclination in human beings. Part of becoming cultured and civilized is learning to find other solutions to inter-personal problems that do not involve the quick and dirty inclination to just simply remove the problem.

On one level the issue is the cultural acceptance of certain behaviors. Look at a game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that portrays the gang life style. Sure, there are gangsters in any city of any reasonable size. Yet to glorify that behavior to the point where you are allowing children to live it sends the wrong messages. It delivers the message that such behavior is okay. Perhaps it is funny. Dangerous? Nope, it's a video game. You die and come back to life.

During play time, children try on roles. Every second they spend "playing" a socially destructive role is a second wasted where their mind is not focused on making positive contributions to their environment.

Re:"No consequences for violence"

By cheekyjohnson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And how many children actually become violent in real life because of this? Based on statistical evidence that I've seen, not many at all. The most some studies have been able to do is correlate temporary aggressive thoughts with violent entertainment. But, as far as I know, that was it.

Every second they spend "playing" a socially destructive role is a second wasted where their mind is not focused on making positive contributions to their environment.

The same could be said about just about every hobby.

"It's only a game," they said.

By meta-monkey • Score: 3 • Thread
I type this from a federal penitentiary. When I was 12 my parents bought me a game for my Sega Genesis called "Mortal Kombat." "It's only a game," right? If only that "game" had done a better job of explaining the consequences of one's actions, I wouldn't be doing 30 consecutive life sentences for ripping the heads off two dozen of my classmates (spines attached) and then tearing the skin off my face and proceeding to breath searing flames on my teachers, burning them alive until they were just charred skeletons.

Parents, talk to you kids about the REAL cost of a "Fatality!" Before it's too late.

Re:"No consequences for violence"

By Sponge Bath • Score: 4 • Thread

"Even adults can get dumb messages they believe from entertainment."

Fox and Roger Ailes depend on that fact.

Accidental Find May Lead To a Cure For Baldness

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
kkleiner writes "Science is full of stories in which great discoveries are made by accident: the discovery of radiation, the discovery of the universe's shape through x-ray detection, and now perhaps the cure for hair loss. At the time they returned to the cages to find that their bald mice had miraculously grown their hair back, the scientists at UCLA had no intention of curing baldness. Originally, theirs was in fact a study aimed at reducing the harmful affects of chronic stress. The unanticipated side effect of their treatment could prove a boon to balding men and women everywhere, not to mention to the drug company that delivers the cure to them."

body hair is not head hair

By geckoFeet • Score: 3 • Thread

Animal body hair human head hair. Animal body hair is analogous to human body hair, not human head hair. As we all know, when human males age, head hair tends to go, but body hair tends to sprout, especially out of the most repulsive places possible, such as the ears and the nose. There may be some kind of conservation of hair principle here. The obvious Darwinian explanation would be to prevent older men from breeding, although I'm not sure why.

On the whole, reptiles seems rather more sensible.

Re:Uh, don't we maybe NEED that hormone?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I hate the idea that its 100% socially acceptable to be a caffeine addict workaholic, but once we start talking about relaxation, downtime, stress, etc suddenly we're all so careful!

Caffeine addict workaholics make soft-drink manufacturers, Starbucks and CEO's very rich.

The only one that gets rich when you learn tai chi or some other stress reduction technique is you. And it's not the kind of "rich" that our society generally recognizes.

Won't someone think of the money, er animals!

By ackthpt • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

PETA will have a field day with this one, what with causing artificial stress in the mice to the point where they start losing hair? Think of their self esteem, think of premature heart attacks and strokes...

The trauma to female mice .. when they see these bald mice returning to the general population with great big pompadours and new-found confidence, "Hey, Baby, come over to my corner of the cage tonight and we'll split some cheese."

Re:Uh, don't we maybe NEED that hormone?

By Malc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Our predecessors had an average life expectancy approaching 80 years did they? That's right: if I keel over with a stress induced heart attack or stroke at 40 years old, I've still lived longer than the stress free peoples you're talking about. What's your point?

Re:Cosmetic cures no one really needs

By ChrisMaple • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I predict this will be massively funded and become a major hit among the gloriously over paid. Elsewhere people die from measles and AIDS everyday because they can't cough up enough green.

Your argument applies to anything a person buys beyond whatever he needs to keep alive.

I reject your morality that demands that I consider anyone else superior to my own life. I cordially invite you to drop dead.

AMD Bulldozer Will Bring Socket Shift To PCs

Posted by Soulskill in Hardware • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes "One of the most dreaded hurdles on the PC upgrade path is the CPU socket. If socket design changes then you'll almost certainly need a new motherboard when you do upgrade. This is an area where AMD has historically been much better than Intel. Intel tends to change sockets with each generation of CPU — currently there are three types out there, LGA 1155 for Sandy Bridge, LGA 1156 for first generation core and LGA 1366 for the performance Core i7 processors. AMD on the other hand has always tried to keep sockets across generations. When it releases its new Bulldozer core desktop processors later this year AMD is having to make a socket shift from the current AM3 socket to a new one called AM3+. This article discusses the change, issues like backwards compatibility and what the industry is doing to prepare for the socket shift."

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB

By vlm • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Are there really people out there who upgrade their CPU's so often that this is even an issue?

Since the early 90s my game plan has always been two step upgrades... buy the newest MB with the cheapest slowest CPU available (usually pretty good anyway). Then when the fastest CPU available is cheap (because its pseudo obsolete) I buy that chip and install it on the MB. Over the years I've had plenty of fun... Some boards need to have the BIOS flashed to support the most recent CPUs...

Looks like the price of AM3 CPUs will be collapsing in the next couple months, so I'll be upgrading the CPU.

In a couple years or so, lets say late 2012, I'll buy a fancy new "bulldoze" motherboard and the cheapest CPU available for it...

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB

By Pentium100 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The worst shift that I remember was AGP to PCIe - you have to buy new video card if you want a new motherboard (or better, buy a new CPU, replace MB, RAM and VGA just to be compatible) and gaming cards are not cheap. At least with ISA/PCI/AGP you could still use the old card while you save the money for a new one. While I have a few AGP video cards laying around, if my PCIe VGA failed, until I repair it or buy a new one, I'd have to use a PCI VGA made in 1995.

Not all it's cracked up to be

By MBGMorden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

AMD's socket's might carry the same numbers, but the sockets don't always work all that readily. Often seems to be the fault of the motherboard maker, but I've had plenty instances where I bought a new chip only to find out that my mobo, though having a socket that is support by the chip, doesn't support chips of that power draw, or made at a certainly transistor size, or just past a certain point in manufacturing.

In the end, it's less hassle to just replace the board when you replace the chip either way. In my groggy old age (only 29, but I feel pretty old in computer terms :)) I just don't care about overclocking and whatnot anymore, and if you just want a barebones "plug it in and work at stock settings" board you can usually get one for under $50.

That's why I keep buying AMD

By acid06 • Score: 3 • Thread
It may be silly but this is the sort of thing that makes me keep buying AMD. It shows they still respect their "power users".

I bought an Asus M2N-E motherboard several years ago for a single core Athlon 64 processor. Today, this same motherboard runs a Phenom X4 processor. And it will still hopefully serve other family members for some years when I finally switch it.

It may be silly, but I believe that all those "green aficionados" should be congratulating AMD. While Intel makes sure everyone needs to replace their MBs every year (and a lot of those go to the trash), AMD gives you another choice. Sure, most people just end up buying everything new again, but at least AMD gives you the choice.


By Tacvek • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The following table represents what is possible in theory. Actual support does differ based on board manufacturer.

. . . . .Type of CPU
. . . .AM3+ AM3. AM2+ AM2.
. AM3+ YES. YES. NO.. NO..
O AM3. YES. YES. NO.. NO..
K AM2+ ??.. YES. YES. YES.
T AM2. ??.. YES. YES. YES.

I suspect that the two I have marked with question marks will have a value of "NO", since doing that would allow AMD to drop support for DDR2 from the new processor designs.

NASA To Delay Endeavour By 10 Days

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
gabbo529 writes "NASA announced recently it will be delaying the upcoming launch of the space shuttle Endeavour — the final one for the well-traveled spacecraft. Endeavour was originally slated to launch April 19, but due to a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply vehicle, NASA is delaying it. Likely, NASA will delay it 10 days to April 29, but nothing is official yet."

Piracy Is a Market Failure — Not a Legal One

Posted by Soulskill in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Mr.Fork writes "Michael Geist, Canada's copyright law guru and law prof at the University of Ottawa, posted an interesting observation about the copyright issue of piracy. Canada's International Development Research Centre came to a conclusion that 'piracy is chiefly a product of a market failure, not a legal one' after a multi-year study of six relevant economies. 'Even in those jurisdictions where there are legal distribution channels, pricing renders many products unaffordable for the vast majority of the population. Foreign rights holders are often more concerned with preserving high prices in developed countries, rather than actively trying to engage the local population with reasonably-priced access. These strategies may maximize profits globally, but they also serve to facilitate pirate markets in many developed countries.'"

A short story...

By cyberfin • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Mr. Copyright Holder goes to see Mr. Lawyer that is protecting his rights.

- Mr. Copyright Holder: "How's the fight against piracy going Mr. Laywer?"

- Mr. Laywer: "Not good. People are committing more piracy than ever..."

- Mr. Copyright Holder: "Well you see, I've been doing some thinking about this; if we reduce our prices significantly and focus on the quality of our products and remind consumers that when they legally buy our product they also get legal warranty, we should be able in the long run to change the general culture of consumers towards a situation where piracy is met by the general population with disgust rather than with ambivalence. Also, that way we would not have to fork out so much money on litigation."

- Mr. Laywer: "That'll never work. Oh, and by the way; we need more money for litigation."

- roll credits -

Re:This is unlikely to be true/correct

By nblender • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I pirate my TV content. Here's why:

- many shows are not available in my country (Canada)...
- When the shows do appear in canada, they are 1 or more seasons after originally aired.
- I enjoy discussing certain shows online with my friends in other countries


- broadcast schedules are sporadic. ie: this season of BigBangTheory has not been regularly broadcast week after week after week. So I prefer to wait until the entire season has been broadcast and then watch the season as a whole.
- the broadcaster or local distributor often puts animated ads on the bottom of content, occasionally covering up subtitles or other text that is part of the content.
- my local cableco compresses the crap out of HD content so pirated content is of higher quality, less blotchy.
- pirated content has had the commercials removed.
- my cableco messes with the encoding so frequently that my capture methods aren't reliable. (firewire on DCT6200)
- a PVR from my cableco has limited disk space, can not accomodate additional disks added, and can not be backed up.
- I also don't have the flexibility to transfer recorded content from my cableco's PVR to my laptop so I can watch it on the plane.

HOWEVER, I pay my cableco monthly anyway. Most of the content I do pirate, is content that would have eventually recorded or at least have come into my home via coax on the cableco's network.. The rest of the content, (foreign content) is I guess truly being pirated but I probably can't buy the DVD's due to region code issues anyway so I'm not a lost sale there anyway.

Sure, it's a fairly weak justification but I feel morally 'ok' with my decisions.

Re:Here's an example of market failure

By internettoughguy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yeah, I'm also more than willing to buy that low-mileage BMW M3 I saw in the dealership parking lot. Problem is they wanted around 70K for it! Ridiculous! Who has that kind of money?

So the logical flow is leading me to use my matter replicator to duplicate my friends one.

That's not only cheaper, but more convenient too, compared to spending, what, like half a day signing some papers and making trips to the bank and stuff.


Re:Maximize profit

By hairyfeet • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're missing three VERY important concepts, and that is "impulse buy" and "laziness". I bought a good half a dozen games this week, could I have pirated them? yep, it would have been no problem I'm sure. But like most people I'm a sucker for a sale and frankly at cheap prices it quickly becomes too much of a hassle to pirate and THAT is the point.

The key as in TFA is to hit that "sweet spot" where most will simply consider it cheaper and easier to buy then pirate. the stick NEVER works, because frankly the pirates are smarter than the *.A.As and always will be. it is the classic "smart cow" problem, where all it takes is a single one to figure out how to get through the fence and the rest will follow.

So instead they should be following the Walmart approach, make it cheap, make it easy. For me if the game is under $20 or the movie is under $10 frankly going through the trouble of pirating it simply isn't worth my time. With Amazon, Steam, and GOG I can have a game instantly or at the max 3 days from the time I click to the time the movie or game is dropped at my door, I get all the extras like multiplayer and access to DLC, so why bother?

But the "lets crank the price til it hurts!" model frankly encourages piracy because nobody likes feeling screwed. $50+ for a four hour game? or $30+ for a movie I'd watch maybe once? I just skip them but I can see why a bunch of people would just download them as they simply aren't worth whats being charged and THAT, that right there, is the crux of the matter. Charging the absolute max the market can bear may be business school 101 crap but IRL it rarely makes for maximum profit. look at what Valve found out with L4D, when they found the sweet spot they sold 1100%! more than they did at release!

So in this case it is simply greed cutting off their nose to spite their face. By ignoring there is a sweet spot they are pricing themselves right out of many markets in both the first and third world, and yet again making piracy the better option. Stupid is as stupid does I suppose.

Re:Amen to that

By dcposch • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I certainly agree that cannabis should be legal and that its legal position relative to alcohol and tobacco is ridiculous. I also agree that the general lack of rationality and open-mindedness surrounding that debate is frustrating. However, I don't think it's fair to blame just the gov't. California had an election this November on legalizing pot, and it failed by a significant margin. This is partly due to popular stupidity, and partly, I suspect, because the puritan types show up to elections more reliably than people who care about marijuana. If even California, the hippy state, can't muster a majority on that issue, how can we expect the rest of the US to do better? We're a democracy, after all. The federal gov't keeps a hypocritical drug policy around in part because a majority of Americans still seem to want it that way.

Book Review: 15 Minutes Including Q&A

Posted by samzenpus in Book Reviews • View on SlashDotShareable Link
brothke writes "When I initially read 15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentations, I enjoyed it and thought it was a good book. It was only a few days later, sitting through yet another tedious vendor briefing, when I reread it and truly appreciated how awesome a book it really is." Read on to see what Ben has to say about this book.
15 Minutes Including Q and A: A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentation
author Joey Asher
pages 112
publisher Persuasive Speaker Press
rating 10/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 0978577620
summary Great book on how to make your presentation heard


By SoupGuru • Score: 3 • Thread
It's harder to write short, succint points. It's much easier to ramble, especially because a lot of people equate long and wordy points with being smart. Orwell ranted about the problem.

A woman's skirt.

By LoudMusic • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Anything presented to an audience should have the same characteristics as a woman's skirt.

Long enough to cover all the important details.
Short enough to keep our attention.

I actually heard that the first time from my apparently gay college english teacher. *shrug*

Don't forget Tufte..

By synthesizerpatel • Score: 3 • Thread

The Cognative Style of Powerpoint Essay


PowerPoint Does Rocket Science--and Better Techniques for Technical Reports

Stupid is when you start

By Hognoxious • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

A sentence in the title and carry on in the body, but for some reason capitalize the first word in the latter so the body looks like a sentence but isn't.

- Forrest Gump

Re:50 Words?

By element-o.p. • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Word count matters not.
Present yourself in haiku.
Concepts are retained.

Google Fights Back Against Android Fragmentation

Posted by Soulskill in Mobile • View on SlashDotShareable Link
bonch writes "Google is tightening its control over Android in an attempt to standardize the platform. Licensees must agree to a 'non-fragmentation clause' that gives Google final approval over operating system changes, allegedly sparking complaints to the Justice Department. This follows Google's recent decision to withhold the source to Honeycomb from non-privileged partners, a move that has drawn criticism from openness advocates. Google says that Honeycomb will be open sourced when it's ready for other devices."

Re:The ultimate irony

By ceoyoyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Google wants a kind of openness which is good for everyone, especially including Google."

Right. Google wants what is good for Google. That is, they want Android on lots of devices so they can sell lots of ads.

Google thought making Android open source would be the best way to accomplish that, and it's worked pretty well so far. Except for this little bobble with fragmentation. Google couldn't care less whether you can upgrade the OS on your phone, or customize it as you wish. Actually, they probably prefer you can't, because hardware upgrades keep the manufacturers happy (more of them will use Android, more ads for Google) and no end user modifications prevent you from blocking their ads.

Notice how Google ISN'T making an issue out of carriers and manufacturers locking down Android phones.

So... there is fragmentation after all.

By DerekLyons • Score: 3 • Thread

So, after all the statements from Google and comments here on Slashdot insisting there was no fragmentation - now Google wants to prevent what isn't happening from happening.

How 1984 of you Google.

Re:The ultimate irony

By GooberToo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Its a straw man because you're full of shit.

Android 3.0 is not closed source. Android 3.0+, just as with all previous versions of Android, is part of a closed development process. Those are two entirely different things. Google has made it clear once they finish with their targeted 3.x features, it will be released from their closed development model.

Closed development is in no way the same as closed source. To suggest they are one in the same is to validate one as either an idiot or a troll; whereby they are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

So yes, absolutely, your statement is a straw-man because your statement means ALL versions of Android are closed source and factually we know your assertion to be full of shit.

This is total bullshit

By DrJimbo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I smell Microsoft.

Go here to download the Android source code. Then read the license here:

The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0 ("Apache 2.0"), and the majority of the Android software is licensed with Apache 2.0. While the project will strive to adhere to the preferred license, there may be exceptions which will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For example, the Linux kernel patches are under the GPLv2 license with system exceptions, which can be found on

As others have already suggested, the FSF friendly way to "gain control of and final say over customization" is through the trademark, not the software license. There is no evidence in this article that this is not the path Google is taking, yet we got a plethora of posts saying "On noes! Google has become evil!".

You know the funny thing? This is yet another example when Google does something very good (standing against software patents in this case) and then gets slamed with make-believe charges that they are doing something evil. It is clear, to me at least, that is is just another foray in Microsoft's attacks on Google because they know they can't complete technically. It's like this decade's version of what was reported in the Halloween documents

Re:The Case for Google's Control: Atrix

By dafing • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
See, I remember all the Android arguments, "ITS FREEEEEEE!1!1!" when I mentioned having an iPhone. I love my phone, its slick, built like a piece of jewellery, very fast, takes gorgeous photos, it works great.

The supposed argument for "open" would be that "all the bad carriers will get kicked out, people will get fed up with their bullshit products, and go to another vendor. Consumer choice!"

Erm, no. The US market is already among the worlds worst for carriers, seriously, here in New Zealand - basically any other developed nation - I take my Micro SIM out, flip in a new one from any of the three major carriers, and it Just Works. I bought my phone outright, but even "on contract" phones are sold "unlocked" in NZ.

The reality is, "The Free Market" involves crooked deals among The Big Boys, ie Google giving out favours to Manufacturer X, so they get "The Best Phone", often with an exclusive new version of the OS, while the others - including other very big companies, some of which were the FORMER poster child - have to quietly whine, and wait for the new update, if it comes at all.

Think about the number of "Android device makers", how many are actually worth shit? I'd think about five, max! HTC, Motorola, perhaps Samsung (very high end tech in some ways, utterly crap quality in others).... hell, off the top of my head I only got three that I'd consider decent. The rest seem to be "clone phone" makers, the same crap, competing on price, "gotta make if five dollars cheaper than the other guy".

And they all come loaded with BS! Except for the "stock" phone, which is what I'd go for. Oh, but theres not currently a "stock" phone with the larger screen? With a dual core CPU? So, people might be lured away from The Righteous Path, into crapware oblivion.

The majority of people seem to put up with the awful ads, the programs you cannot delete (without superpowers), they take it as a given.

Its the new version of "intel inside", everyone wants their little medals to show up, to build brand recognition, to profit from the consumer.

I'd rather have a "free market with rules", with a Google who sets limits, ie no trial apps that work for 15 days, then ask you for ten dollars, that will otherwise remain on your phone undelete-able for eternity.

If you're an Android user, speak up about this! Send a polite complaint email to the manufacturer, I dont think they will care about "your phone is the sux coause the motorolas has the sweet as screen...", and lets get people INTERESTED about how their devices SHOULD work!

Requiring Algebra II In High School Gains Momentum

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
ChadHurley writes with this quote from the Washington Post: "Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success, according to research that has launched a growing national movement to require it of graduates. In recent years, 20 states and the District have moved to raise graduation requirements to include Algebra II, and its complexities are being demanded of more and more students. The effort has been led by Achieve, a group organized by governors and business leaders and funded by corporations and their foundations, to improve the skills of the workforce. Although US economic strength has been attributed in part to high levels of education, the workforce is lagging in the percentage of younger workers with college degrees, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development."

Re:It's already an elective forcing it would only

By Nethemas the Great • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If they lack the necessary intellectual prowess why "should" they be allowed into college? College used to be about actually learning something, not putting up with incompetents that slow the pace of learning and erode academic standards. College should be more than a piece of paper that permits a job interview. It shouldn't be necessary to waste time and money on an advanced degree simply because dumb asses were permitted entrance and allowed to waste everyone elses time as an undergrad. We have trade schools for a reason.

Re:Correlation is not causation

By russotto • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Is this catchphrase a restatement of the "Necessary vs Sufficient" principles? So Algebra might be Necessary (on a percentage scale) but it is not Sufficient.

Algebra II could be neither necessary nor sufficient, but still correlated with success. For instance, it could be that kids who are able and/or motivated to take Algebra II are likely to be successful.

Statistics and Financial Math

By Oxford_Comma_Lover • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For most people, it would be more useful to teach either statistics or financial math than calculus. We teach calculus because it's next in math or engineering education. But for ANY of the social sciences and several of the sciences statistics is more useful, and for life financial math is more useful.

Wait, what? Algebra in HIGH SCHOOL

By hackel • Score: 3 • Thread

Don't most people take Algebra II in Junior High? I skipped it entirely myself... What level of maths do most U.S. high schools require? If it's not even Algebra II then I would say that's yet another sign of how pathetic the U.S. education system has become. Personally, I found Calculus to be one of the most beneficial, eye-opening maths classes I had in high school and think every student should be required to complete it. It can be used in so many different scenarios and yet still most people graduate from high school thinking all but basic math is useless!

Alternative Suggestion

By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

To be frank, for most occupations Algebra II is simply not necessary, and most will forget it anyhow.

I suggest that Boolean logic, set theory, and basic statistics be required instead. Those are more applicable to the actual work world. As manufacturing drifts overseas and the US specializes in fads, marketing, and finance, "physical" math is less needed, while discrete and statistical math is replacing it as a need.

Epsilon Breach Affects JPMorgan Chase, Capital One

Posted by CmdrTaco in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Orome1 writes "The recent breach has been tied to the attack that its marketing communications firm Silverpop — a company that services over 105 customers, among whom are Walgreens and McDonalds — suffered last December. But the latest breach will likely have the biggest impact, because marketing services provider Epsilon — the largest one in the world — has notified its customers of a breach that likely compromised all of their mailing lists. Among Epsilon's customers are US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, TiVo, Capital One, the Home Shopping Network, LL Bean Visa Card, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Best Buy, Disney Destinations, Walgreens, and many more." How many apology emails have you got so far today?

Re:How does this happen?

By hedwards • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's not so much a matter of money as it is one of logistics. Maintaining an farm of mail servers for what is a relatively low volume of correspondence doesn't make much sense. You still have to keep them secured, track opt outs and all the other stuff, handing it over to a 3rd party generally makes more sense. Plus, there's no guarantee that they'll manage any better.

If anything this is just evidence that Epsilon screwed up and wasn't adequately separating the data. Without more information it's hard to say what they did, but chances are they were storing the various mailing lists on the same database servers.

Capitalone, spends a lot of money protecting its customers from fraud, I know that because they're regularly on the phone with me when their computers pick up suspicious activities, and typically the account is locked within a minute pending authorization from me. I have a hard time believing that they'd spend all that money on security in that area and then go with a cut cost fly by night vendor for managing their emails. It's possible, but strikes me as odd.

One from Robelt Half

By wiredog • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They have my email because they are tech headhunters, and I was unemployed a few years back.


Dear Valued Customer,

Today we were informed by Epsilon Interactive, our national email service provider, that your email address was exposed due to unauthorized access of their system. Robert Half uses Epsilon to send marketing and service emails on our behalf.

We deeply regret this has taken place and any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information. We were advised by Epsilon that the information that was obtained was limited to email addresses only.

Please note, it is possible you may receive spam email messages as a result. We want to urge you to be cautious when opening links or attachments from unknown third parties. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails.

As always, if you have any questions, or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Robert Half Customer Care

Re:what good is an apology...

By Ambiguous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Oh, come on now, let's be fair, they're all really quite sorry...

...sorry the public was made aware of the breach.

I wonder...

By jaymz666 • Score: 3 • Thread

Did they use Epsilon to send out the security alert warning emails?

>Received: from
> by

Looks like it.... Hmmm... what does that say about it?

Brave New Marketing Services

By AdamThor • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Arrrrg! Freaking Epsilons! Never send an Epsilon to do Alpha work, I guess.

Google Reaffirms Stance Against Software Patents

Posted by CmdrTaco in Technology • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes "Google has again publicly affirmed its stance against software patents during an announcement over a potential defensive acquisition. These days, when Microsoft, Apple, and others are abusing software patents, it's nice to see one large company calling them junk."

Any reward at all?

By Twinbee • Score: 3 • Thread

Okay, going against the flow a bit, I think that those people who take the time, effort, money and energy to create complicated software algorithms should be rewarded. Surely, the potential compensation is partially what motivated them to create it in the first place (as would be the case with in-house company research anyway).

Granted, really stupid, short patents should be given a miss entirely, though thankfully, often there's prior art to the rescue to invalidate those.

And it should also be a lot easier to use another company's patent easily and cheaply when appropriate. But they still deserve something, no matter how small.

The anonymous submitter is confused

By DavidinAla • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
When the anonymous submitter of this item refers to companies "abusing" software patents, what he really means is companies that use software patents in accordance with current law. If the idiot who wrote that submission would like to change the law, that's fine. He ought to work to get the law changed. But companies reasonably work within the framework of the law as its written. Google can make all the noises it wants to in order to try to make the open source fanboys happy, but Google has to work within the SAME framework. It's idiocy to pretend that companies don't have the right (and the responsibility to their shareholders) to protect their intellectual property in ways that are specified in the law.

pardon my rant

By swell • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Software patents?

Patent/copyright abuse goes way beyond that including the genes in your own body which may be the property of some corporation. And how can a corporation copyright a 400 year old music score and extort money from those who simply want a look? And when taxpayers fund a discovery made by university employees and students, why does a corporation get to take the patent and all the profit?

Patents and copyrights are critical to drive research and new ideas but there has to be a sensible limit. With software patents in particular and the outrageous lawsuits, patents are serving to stifle innovation. Only a very well funded corporation can afford to cope with the problems, and the small inventor/programmer is at the mercy of attorneys.

I defer to Don Lancaster, an early protester of patents who offers thought provoking ideas on the subject:
Thanks for your patience with this rant

Re:Learn who is patent troll and who is not

By Dishevel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I am not sure what you are smoking but not only is Microsoft suing android users, but they were financing SCOs fight against everyone using linux.
Microsoft is very much in the software patent offensive game.

Re:They can afford it

By JustinOpinion • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Yes, Google can comfortably decry software patents because their business model is not dependent on them. But that's the point, isn't it?

Google's point of view deserves to be heard because it informs the debate. They are an example of a big software company innovating and making money without relying on software patents. This weakens the argument for software patents being absolutely necessary for economic progress in this sector. Moreover Google can make a compelling case for how they could innovate/produce more if software patents were not standing in their way.

Of course just because Google has a business model that doesn't rely on software patents doesn't mean that all software companies will be in the same position. (Certainly not all software companies can become advertising companies!) But that's fine, too: we hear the opinions of those companies who "rely" on software patents to remain viable. But Google's opinion is not invalidated just because they don't need patents; that is the very crux of why their opinion is relevant!

Besides, let us not forget that the primary question in this debate shouldn't be "what makes companies the most money?" We should be asking about what kind of wealth we want to generate in our society (money? innovation? health? happiness?), and then optimizing laws to achieve said goals. No matter what laws we enact, there will be some losers and some winners. The idea is to find the balance where the overall social gains are maximized. If we got rid of software patents, there would be losers (e.g. Microsoft), but possibly more winners (Google, all the small-time businesses, open source, etc.). Even within a "loser" things might not be so bad: some parts of Microsoft's business would suffer, but others might flourish (e.g. there is certainly a cost for Microsoft to have to defend itself against other's patents).

RIAA/MPAA: the Greatest Threat To Tech Innovation

Posted by CmdrTaco in Entertainment • View on SlashDotShareable Link
TAGmclaren writes "The Harvard Business Review is running an article stating that it's not India or China that are the greatest threat to technological innovation happening in America. Rather, it's the 'big content' players, particularly the movie and music industry. From the article: 'the Big Content players do not understand technology, and never have. Rather than see it as an opportunity to reach new audiences, technology has always been a threat to them. Example after example abounds of this attitude; whether it was the VCR which was "to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone" as famed movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti put it at a congressional hearing, or MP3 technology, which they tried to sue out of existence.'"

Re:Simplistic view

By gravis777 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think the problem is more along the lines of ignorant politicians. The USA is not a truely democratic society - ie we do not vote on every law that comes down, but instead we are a representative democracy. You really cannot vote for someone on a certain issue of none of your candidates understands the issue. In the few cases where a political party emerges that does understand (like the Pirate Party or something), they normally only have strong convictions about technologies and copyright. While that is all important, a politician with no major party backing, who has no clear cut agendas on things such as the economy, healthcare, education, enviornment, or any of the other hot topics, is probably going to recieve little votes.

Sadly, in the way the US government is setup, about the only way that progress is going to be made is if Party leaders come out, set forth guidelines of where the party stands in matters of copyright, get current politicians behind them, and then see where the votes lead. A half-dozen Congressmen who understand copyright and technology issues are probably going to have a hard time pushing reform through Congress if the other 400 members don't even know what an iPod or an MP3 or bittorrent even is.

Re:Not big content---big everything.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Then we'd end up with "Big Moderation", and everything would go to hell.

Re:The VCR? No

By log0n • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Something tells me history isn't your strong suit. At it's inception, the printing press stood as a tool about as un-RIAA as was possible to be. Check out Johannes Gutenberg (of Project Gutenberg fame :) ).

Re:Simplistic view

By postbigbang • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The ostensible 'inaction' really has nothing to do with the core problem. The music industry has an evolved business ecosystem, and can blithely ignore whatever technology you want to throw at them.

They fund the band, they control the media and also who the 'stars' are going to be, they do the tour promotions, link to the ticket companies, edit the fan pages, and so on. This is an ecosystem. You have to kill most parts of it and re-do it to make indie music work. I have friends and relatives that are in the indie business. They compete with huge wads of cash and a set of walls at each turn of the road to riches. Their fans just want the music; they'd just like a little money to keep from starving.

In the motion picture industry (sounds old, doesn't it?) it's the same set of characteristics. Studios, producers, theaters, TV, syndication, stars stars hype stars. The indie film makers have their own festivals, but at the root of their desire is artistic expression and oh, gotta pay the bills. At each turn of the road, they, too, face an entrenched set of business ecosystems. To fight this, you have to replace the ecosystems, 'cause people have to eat and get paid. Lacking that, you're fighting windmills.

Re:The VCR? No

By Digital Vomit • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Check out Johannes Gutenberg (of Project Gutenberg fame

Yeah, his online archive of out-of-copyright books was a great idea, but what has he done lately?

Comodo Hack May Reshape Browser Security

Posted by CmdrTaco in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
suraj.sun writes "Major browser makers are beginning to revisit how they handle Web authentication after last month's breach that allowed a hacker to impersonate sites including Google, Yahoo, and Skype. Currently, everyone from the Tunisian government to a wireless carrier in the United Arab Emirates that implanted spyware on customers' BlackBerry devices and scores of German colleges are trusted to issue digital certificates for the largest and most popular sites on the Internet."

Implement DNSSEC and DNS based SSL keys

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

With DNSSEC and DNS based SSL keys, only the single trust chain from the root to the domain can sign the keys.

Maybe the browsers should hardcode the major certs

By Marrow • Score: 3 • Thread

Instead of trusting information from certificate authorities, the browsers should have the public key for the major size burned in and security hashed inside the browser itself. That way it can trust it is downloading a real update of itself from its real home. If you have already downloaded a hacked browser, then you are dead anyway. So along with a browser you should get burned in security for the major vendors. Security that does not rely on anyone that can lie to you.

Perhaps we need to validate the CAs?

By rickb928 • Score: 3 • Thread

SSL is dependent on certificates, and the certificate process is deeply flawed. Microsoft in particular seems to be willing to recognize almost any CA, and yet I have trouble with well-recognized root certificates from Verisign working corrrectly with our software, using OpenSSL. Now we hear that most any CA can mint most any certificate.

Perhaps there needs to be a true 'root' CA, and at least some domains subscribed to prevent any other CA from delivering certs?

Gee, this would also be nice in DNS, where 'very well known' domains, such as Google, Microsoft, banks, etc could pay to be put on a 'do not change' list and get a more formalized process for management.

The reality is that we are well past the 'family business' mode the Internet and ICANN et al relied upon to keep things working.

Jon Postel must have shed a tear. There is still a need for collaboration, but it's time some of the Internet infrastructure grew up. Please fix this before the governments do. You won't like their solutions.

How about a "degree of trust?"

By e9th • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Instead of the binary nature (it's signed by a CA or it's not) of current certs, how about assigning points to a cert based on how many, and what types of CAs concur as to its authenticity. For example, a cert for signed only by government agencies, or only by one CA, could be trusted less than one where has proven its identity to, say, Thawte, Verisign, and Comodo. The expense to smaller businesses might be a problem, though.


By jd • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

In the meantime, I'm using a plugin tha shows the AS of the network I'm connecting to. It certainly doesn't solve the problem, but for right now I can differentiate between a site in the US and a site in Iran that may be claiming to be the same machine. It's pretty weak, as AS numbers aren't enforceable, but unless someone sets up scam sites on different autonomous networks and ensures said networks match the US versions, it provides some basic protection. (Besides, 99.9% of the planet wouldn't know what an autonomous system number was and wouldn't care if they did, and any fake site will be set up for the greatest number of victims rather than the best camoflage.)

Chinese Scientists Make Cow Producing Human-Like Milk

Posted by samzenpusView on SlashDotShareable Link
hackingbear writes "Scientists from China Agricultural University have produced 17 healthy cloned cattle expressing recombinant human lysozyme using somatic cell nuclear transfer. Lysozyme, a bactericidal protein that protects human infants from microbial infections, is highly expressed in human milk but is found in only trace amounts in cow milk. The cloned cows produce milk with similar nutritional benefits as human milk, and the scientists hope their results will lead to new techniques that could be further refined for production of active human lysozyme on a large scale."


By MikeDirnt69 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Leave the breasts for the fathers!

This has to be a good thing

By Tigger's Pet • Score: 3 • Thread

if they can get it approved and produced in large-enough quantities. It has been known for a long time that breast milk is far better than any of the 'formula' milks alternatives out there. There are, sadly, many women who cannot breast-feed for one reason or another (it may not be a high percentage, but it is still a lot of women). For them, they want to see the best done for their child and if this is a way of keeping their child healthier than the alternative then I'm sure an awful lot of them would take it as an option. I know that my wife and I would have done when she couldn't breast-feed our 2nd born due to her suffering from post-natal depression.

human-like, not human

By spacefem • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is all well and good, but it would take some seriously exhaustive studies to prove that this should be given to babies. Formula manufacturers have been trying to replicate human milk for YEARS without success. Milk is more than chemicals. It's hormones, it's enzymes, it changes based on what illnesses the mother is currently making antibodies for, it even changes from morning to night. I didn't think I'd ever become a breastfeeding militant, but it's happened... breastfeeding worked out so much better for my daughter & I than anyone ever lead me to believe, yet people still look for ways out of the "inconvenience" of, say, having to see women nurse in public (gasp!).

I love science, but if we're really smart we'd put less energy into trying to duplicate human milk, and look for more ways to support, assist, & enable nursing mothers.


By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Or, you know, we could just breastfeed our kids.

Not every woman is able to breastfeed. Whether because they are taking medication for an illness, have had surgery or some medical condition that makes breastfeeding very unlikely if not downright impossible, or some other reason. These women are already being denied a major bonding experience between themselves and their baby(and this can be very traumatic for some women), why should their babies have to suffer by being given less healthy formula when it's possible for them to get something akin to human breast milk?

Multiple Sclerosis

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Formula manufacturers have been trying to replicate human milk for YEARS without success. Milk is more than chemicals. It's hormones, it's enzymes, it changes based on what illnesses the mother is currently making antibodies for, it even changes from morning to night. ...


Another issue with cow vs. human milk is risk of Multiple Sclerosis. Feeding cow milk to human infants drastically increases that risk.

MS is an autoimmune reaction against the myelin sheaths of nerves. Much of the avoidance of autoimmune reactions is done soon after birth, when the differentiated immune cells take a "grand tour" and those that recognize the body's own structures commit suicide. But myelin sheaths is one of a handfull of things not present until after this period. So it avoids attack later by having a "I'm special, don't attack me." sequence coded into the protein, next to its major antigenic region.

There's a protein in milk that has the same sequence. Unfortunately, the bovine version of the protein is slightly different in that region. So heavy exposure to cow's milk (perhaps in combination with other factors) occasionally leads to the immune system missing the signal, becoming sensitized to the myelin protein, and eventually attacking and destroying the nerve sheaths, creating one of the forms of MS.

To prevent this, some recombinant cattle have been created that express the human, rather than the bovine, version of the protein in question. Expected result, if this were to become the norm in dairy herds: No more risk of MS from drinking cow's milk than from drinking human milk.

At least for people. Calves might occasionally get MS as a result, unless the rest of the systems in question are also replaced with the human version.

Robots Find Wreckage of AF447

Posted by CmdrTaco in Hardware • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Last week we reported on an army of robots searching for Air France 447 over a nearly 4,000 sq mile patch of the Atlantic ocean. Today mriya3 noted that "BEA, the French air accident investigation office, reports that the wreckage of Air France flight 447 has been found. The plane, an Airbus A330, crashed June 1, 2009 while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Investigators hope to find the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. A press conference will be held today."

[citation needed]

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You might even wonder if the French were looking all that hard the first time. The buzz in the industry is that they really don't want to find the flight data recorder, since what it reveals might impact their sales. I can tell you one thing, you *do not* want to fly Airbus, for a variety of reasons.

Really? What "buzz"? My mom works in the pilot's office of a major US airline that flies both Boeing and Airbus, including the A330. She deals with pilots and the head pilot on a daily basis, and has contacts with both senior executives and people in the mechanical and operations departments that she speaks with regularly. I worked there myself for 6 years while going to college. Neither of us have ever heard of any complaints from crew or mechanics regarding the airworthiness or safety of Airbus versus Boeing. People "in the industry" like to talk and gossip a lot, and I have never heard of this anti-Airbus "buzz" you refer to.

And yes, I know anecdotes =/= data, but at least I can show my connection to airlines and the aviation industry and am not just some random guy off the street talking out of my ass.

Re:get ready for pictures of hagfish on a plane

By circletimessquare • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

'Hagfish have been seen as deep as 16,405 feet (5000 m)'

do not doubt cthulhu's minions

even worse:

'Looking closer, one might discover an alarming sight: Those dead organisms resting on the deep sea floor are actually pulsating! What could cause such movements? Usually, it's a passel of scavenging hagfish feeding on the carcasses from the inside out.'

I would spare relatives the idea that human bodies would be found pulsating from within as they are consumed by hagfish. hagfish are the fate of all bodies that go to the deep. i don't want to know the details

'The adjective which best describes the Myxini is "Lovecraftian".'

Re:Only a week

By cmdahler • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No they don't. They make junk. Compared to Boeing, their fly-by-wire (night) is completely flaky and has killed many people, and let's forget their flimsy carbon-fiber (plastic).. and the 380, right out of the box, after all that testing, and the engine still can't contain itself.... Read the damn accident reports yourself. I'm not doing your homework. Airbus should be grounded.

Because Boeing doesn't use carbon fiber on their airframes, right? (Hint, that Southwest Airlines 737 that just had its top peeled off didn't develop those cracks in carbon fiber.) Because Boeing doesn't use fly-by-wire systems, right? (Hint: only difference between Boeing and Airbus since the 1990s has been that Boeing kept a yoke in the cockpit and Airbus went with a sidestick, but it's all connected to wires these days, and can you provide even one example of an accident of either Boeing or Airbus that was directly tied to the fly-by-wire system failing on the airplane? Right, I thought not.) Because Boeing aircraft are never powered by Rolls Royce engines, right? (Hint: the A380 incident didn't have anything at all to do with Airbus, it was a problem with the engine that was manufactured by Rolls Royce.) There are so many fools who think they know what they're talking about. When I read this comment I pictured Cliff Claven from Cheers.

Re:will there be data?

By Skater • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The AP article indicates that they are confident they can still read the recorders.

Photos from a Brazilian news site

By pdcull • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The Brazilian Globo news site has photos which were taken yesterday:

Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

Posted by CmdrTaco in Apple • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Hugh Pickens writes "International Business Times reports that when manufacturers trotted out their Android tablet prototypes during the CES show two months ago, pundits were happy to toll the death knell for the Apple's iPad, but now manufacturers are discovering that simply making a good tablet does not guarantee that it will sell — much to the chagrin of Motorola and its Xoom product. Now it is plain for all to see that Apple's secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple stores worldwide where dedicated sales people are not only able to better explain its tablet to consumers but Apple also captures more margin than competitors who have to share margin with retail partners. Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market where the combined, price, savvy marketing, and modulated supply releases of the iPhone created so much aspirational demand in the market that buyers simply surged at the chance to buy what was perceived to be an equivalent product at lower prices. 'Motorola's Xoom is only the first to face these problems,' writes AA Defensor. 'Soon RIM's Playbook, and HP's TouchPad will hit the shelves and unless they can do something drastic over the short term, it might remain to be an iPad market. But not because they did not build a good product.'"

Re:Not exactly

By Americano • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's willfully ignorant to care more about the actual things you'd use a device for than you do about the "raw power" it has?

Pro tip for the people who failed their marketing classes: "Now you can video chat with your kid who's in college 2,000 miles away," is a FAR more powerful marketing message than "this device has 57,000 bieberhertzes (BHz), and a bajillion flippabits!" 57 kBHz sounds like a lot; so does a bajillion flippabits. But I don't know what that's going to let me *do* with the device, just that it has "a large number of fancy sounding things."

Most people don't select a car based on the horsepower and torque and braking distance. Gearheads care about horsepower and torque and compression ratios and optimal air intake rates, maximum RPMs and top speeds; the 99.5% of the rest of the car-buying market wants to know how many people the car will seat, what the gas mileage is, whether it looks nice, and if it comes in a color they like. Bonus points if it's got an entertainment system for the kids in the back.

It's my belief that this is the crucial difference in marketing, and the reason why Apple infuriates so many geeks: they refuse to cater to the small "gearhead" market with their devices, and instead focus on showing the much larger segment that doesn't understand all the jargony terms, "here's what you can do with this device, and we think you're really going to be impressed with what you see." In an industry that for years has marketed to people using the jargony terms that only the gearheads care about, it annoys a lot of little tin gods who, if they're really honest about how they feel, firmly believe that computers should only be used by people with advanced engineering or computer science degrees. Apple isn't interested in preserving somebody else's little fiefdom, and it rankles that they're so good at introducing devices like this to the mass market.

Not one Secret weapon. Many obvious ones.

By guidryp • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is no secret weapon. But a great many obvious ones.

First Mover advantage: You can argue tablet existed before, but until iPad, they didn't for the average consumer. Apple's iPad will be seen as the spark that started a new product niche, they will have mindshare advantage, competitors are left playing catch up and will be largely perceived as iPad knockoffs, that you get because you were too cheap, or unsavvy to get an iPad.

Mature OS vs Beta OS: You can argue about better notifications in Android or some other pet feature, but the reality is that Honeycomb is beta quality. It is unstable, apps are crashing all over the place. You certainly aren't going to win converts with this.

Apple consistently builds top quality HW: Again you quibble about some minor spec sheet improvement some competitor has, but Apple is pretty much a safe bet of deliver top quality HW. If you go with the competition, you will have to dissect spec sheets/reviews to make sure you aren't getting a crappy screen or low battery life, etc...

Ecosystem: 65000 tablet specific applications vs 100...

Unique Killer Apps: Apple is creating a suite of excellent apps that off a cut above anything available for Android Tablets. Garage Band, iMovie, Pages, Number etc..

Marketing: Apple is fairly good at marketing and they are clearly outspending all the competition on tablet marketing..

Mom Factor Think about which one you would get for your Mom? I tried to get my Senior Mom using a PC and it was hopeless, but I think an iPad could work for her and I do think it will be easier with an iPad than an Android tablet.

Against this, the main thing Android tablets seem to have going for them is: Nerd rage about walled gardens and Nerd spec sheet worship. That doesn't seem very relevant this time out. I honestly wouldn't have a clue how to compete against iPad and I doubt any of the competition does either, they are just trying to build comparable HW and hoping.

After some earlier waffling, I am planning to get an iPad as my first Apple product ever.

Re:Not exactly

By Just Some Guy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think you're ignoring the OP's main point: the cult-like dedication.

I'm ignoring it, too, because it's wrong. I'm not an Apple "fanboy" or "cultist", but I have an iPhone because I like it and it works well. My boss (who is no way, shape, or form an Apple "fanboy" or "cultist") has an iPad and uses it regularly because he likes it and it works well. When I was at PyCon, half the attendees had MacBooks. While I imagine that there were some Apple fanboys in the large crowd, the people I talked to were long-time developers who loved the tools available to them on OS X, and used MacBooks - wait for it!, wait for it! - because they like them and they work well.

I remember the cult-like followers back in the 90s. I worked with a few, and they were incredibly annoying. I think that meme needs to die, though, because it hasn't been valid in a long time. It's easy for people to dismiss Apple users as mindless sheep. It's harder to recognize that most of them are regular, un-fanatical people who just happen to find a product they like using.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight?

By sootman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> If making a good tablet isn't enough to sell a good tablet, that means that the
> demand for tablets is being driven by Apple rather than a need for tablets.

Or, it means the competition ISN'T ACTUALLY GOOD. Can you name me one tablet with a 10 inch screen, 10 hour battery life, and the weight and thinness of an iPad, at ANY price, let alone the same price or less? Read this Ars review of the Xoom and tell me if it's something you really want to own. I'm not saying it'll never be good, but it is absolutely not there yet.

Apple, believe it or not, is KILLING on price, and they've spent over YEARS* working on this device, whereas everyone else is playing catch-up. So there's a LOT of refinement in there that isn't always immediately apparent or easily quantifiable. 15 million people purchasing a $500+ device in the middle of a recession can not be entirely explained by a) braindead sheep easily swayed by marketing, b) fanbois, or c) OMGSHINY!

Face it, techheads, the iPad is FUCKING GOOD in ways that are important to normal people and possibly beyond your ability to comprehend. How many slots you have, how many MP or flashes your camera has, how many MHz or cores you have, IS NOT EVERYTHING.

Two quotes come to mind:
"No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame." - CmdrTaco on the original iPod
"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." - Louis Armstrong

NOT THAT ALL IS LOST. Face it--it took Android a couple of years to get to the point where it is a really viable competitor to the iPhone on most fronts. Give Android 3.0 another year of refinement, some better tablet apps, and some better hardware and it'll be truly comparable to the iPad. But two things: 1) No matter how good they get, they're competing against a juggernaut in this space, and I expect Apple to maintain 70-80% of the market, leaving the remainder to be split among many companies, and 2) Don't expect Apple to just sit still either. They'll keep improving the iPad roughly annually, and they're leading in this space, so the competition will be trying to hit a moving target.

* at the iPhone's launch in January 2007, Steve Jobs started by saying "I've been waiting two and a half years for this day." In post-iPad interviews he has said that they started on tablets first and then decided to release a phone first instead. So even if the two-and-a-half-year figure applies to when they started on tablets, that still puts us back to June 2004. Everyone else is saying "Wow, Apple is selling a lot of iPads, what can we make that's comparable?"

Re:Was Microsoft Riight?

By ePhil_One • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Almost everyone that I know that buys one spends very little time thinking about what they stuff might actually "do" and instead want an iPad because that's the new cool gadget.

Yes, some significant percentage of early fit this category, its a classic early adopter profile. Some others likely have a very specific task in mind, from "watching videos in [Airplanes|Ranger Stations|etc] to [Important business function that would justify spending 10x more than it costs]. Don't make the mistake of assuming "People you know" = "World of all iPad consumers"

Which any decent tablet will do, but the others all seem like iPad ripoffs (as I guess they are), so people aren't interested in them.

Or perhaps they already have an iPod/iTunes library and see value in not switching. Or they looked at the application environments and chose Apple's locked down model of reliability of Andriods model of openness at the cost of instability/risk.

I just think people are first interested in the product, THEN its usefulness

That will get you through the early adopter phase, but without some sort of "Killer App" that the tablet does better, it will be a niche product that dies out (again). The vast majority of folks don't have money to bun experimenting with toys, if they don't have a VERY compelling reason to chose tablets over competitors (iPod's, Kindle, Netbooks, desktops, etc). Keep in mind the 5% rule too, if it works for 95% of what you want better but can't do the last 5%, it may get tossed aside as unworkable. This is why so many rural residents drive trucks, a car would be better 95% of the time, but they can only afford 1 vehicle and need the truck that 5% of the time, so they buy a truck.

NYT Paywall Cost $40 Million: How?

Posted by timothy in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader submits this musing from Philip Greenspun's blog: "Aside from wondering who will pay more than the cost of a Wall Street Journal subscription in order to subscribe to the New York Times, my biggest question right now is how the NY Times spent a reported $40-50 million writing the code (Bloomberg; other sources are consistent). Google was financed with $25 million. The New York Times already had a credit card processing system for selling home delivery. It already had a database management system for keeping track of Web site registrants. What did they spend the $40-50 million on?" Maybe the folks behind CityTime were free on weekends.

Re:What did they spend the $40-50 million on?

By SharpFang • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The sad part is that there *are* good consultants out there. I'm one of them. I'm extremely skilled, knowledgeable, and I bring a lot to the table.

...but that's what they all say.

Re:Large organization doing something simple

By betterunixthanunix • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

And of course there's the classic Mythical Man Month ( which, of course, no one reads any more.

Funny, it was required reading in my software engineering course. Then again, perhaps it is not the developers who need to be reading it; more likely, it is management.

$20k is cheap for a hammer

By name_already_taken • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Supplier says "pay us $20k for a hammer and we'll throw in $15k of spare helicopter parts."

That's not how it works at all.

You want some helicopter parts thrown in? The military guys know to not even try that. That's not what happens at all. Everyone is covering their asses. If some military helicopter part fails, you can bet that the procurement chain will be examined. There has to be a paper trail for everything.

Supplier says "pay us $20k for your crazy over-spec'ed* hammer, and we'll jump through your stupid purchasing hoops, go through all kinds of extra work certifying things that have nothing to do with the performance of the item, fill out reams of unnecessary paperwork, send an employee to a special course so they can learn how to enter invoices in your arcane billing system (btw, commercial invoice ~1 page, government invoice ~30 pages), wait thirty days for our first billing to be rejected because of some minor issue (100% chance first billing is rejected, btw), submit corrected billing, wait 30 days for someone to tell us that the contract was shifted to another department and so it has to be resubmitted again (they knew 2 days after we billed them, but they're not required to respond until 30 days, so they don't), wait another 30 days to find that the billing was accepted, then wait 60 days for the payment to show up".

Many companies turn government business away, because the documentation requirements are onerous, the payment terms are ridiculous, and the project may be cancelled halfway through anyway.

*The requirements on military items would make your head spin. Making a tiny design change to a part to make it easier and cheaper to manufacture can trigger everything from having three government people sign off on the revised drawing all the way to having to run a live fire test at some proving ground where they strap your whatever it is to a tank and drive it around, attach it to whatever gun it's supposed to work with and fire 1000 rounds, or shoot at it, depending on what it is. All for a really minor change that was never going to affect how it worked in the first place.

You may think a $20k hammer is ridiculous, and it is, but once you see the paper and testing trail, it starts to look reasonable, assuming it's not an off-the-shelf-item (very few are). Now, if they're buying more than 10 hammers, that price had better come down, but for a one-off, $20k is a bargain. Heck, it'd probably win an award for cost savings.

Re:Large organization doing something simple

By steelfood • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What they lack is vision.

You can pull off a big project with a large group of people. Countless people in the past have shown us you can do it, Steve Jobs being the most visible currently. But you need to have vision. You need to have somebody at the top going, "This is what it needs to look like in the end. This is the part you need to work on. Now go do it."

Most management meetings are more about answering the question that a single, lone visionary would've answered in two minutes, than about actually getting there. Rule by committee isn't only inefficient, it's the perfect way to get nothing done (which is why there are heads of state even in democracies). Management meetings are a form of rule by committee. Is it no wonder then that everything crawls?

Re:A simpler way.

By _Sprocket_ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Follow the money.

Someone is getting paid. Find out who and what that person's connection to the person signing off on that expense is.

Sure. But don't expect to always find some nefarious link. The world of bureaucracy is bigger than just corruption. Although bureaucracies do make a breeding ground for corruption and they become more unwieldy the more the system is adapted to eliminate corruption.

I've had a lot of direct experience dealing with government bureaucracy at various levels and organizations (and some experience with corporate bureaucracy). I've seen relatively simple tasks turned in to months-long projects and couple months worth of thorough effort turned in to a multi-year outsourced contract. This isn't because someone was getting a pay-off. This is because The System, of which every good Bureaucrat serves and follows, demands levels of effort far beyond anything anyone not serving The System would think sane. So while the tasks themselves can be simple, performing the tasks within the bureaucracy requires many more additional steps that require many more man-hours to accomplish.

I should stress that corruption can still rear its ugly head. I haven't viewed it very often myself. But I've dealt with rules that have come in to place to close a loophole exposed by someone who had figured out how to game the system and got caught doing so. There will be people that are gaming the system according to these new rules and the process will repeat itself (as well as the occasional case of someone who thinks they won't get caught doing something others got caught doing).

US Government Domain Seizures Failing Miserably

Posted by timothy in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
ktetch-pirate writes "Operation In Our Sites, a US Government-led domain seizure action to deal with piracy, is pretty much a failure. TorrentFreak has examined a significant number of sites that have gone on pretty much unhindered, despite the seizures. Already some questions have been asked about the constitutionality of the seizures, and the evidence used as justification, but it seems the end results weren't as good as boasted either."


By Hazel Bergeron • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In summary, what this article seems to be saying is, "The lobbyists are not doing a good enough job of pushing for pan-governmental Internet control."

You should also check out just how free the states were 150 years ago from Federal control.

But this is Internet speed.

Give it 15 years.

By Cigarra • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Of course it's a failure. Everyone I know went from using to to watch soccer games online. Not a problem at all.

The war on drugs is a failure too... so?

By erroneus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The practice of seizure of land, cash and other assets based only on suspicion of connection with illegal drugs is still going on to this day. It is riddled with constitutional problems and yet here we are, decades later, the practice still going on.

The airport screening efforts, though more "formalized" only exposes the stupidity of the whole thing. By most definitions, a failure but it continues.

It's nice to identify things as not working, but it has to be admitted to be a failure by the people who made it happen and then stopped. It is not a failure as it represents to the public "we are doing the best we can" so that the question "why didn't you try something?" gets asked, they can point to this -- failure or not -- as an attempt to "do something."

New Dinosaur Species Found In China

Posted by timothy in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
jones_supa writes "A previously unknown dinosaur has been identified from fossils dug up in China and has been nicknamed as 'T-Rex's cousin.' The gigantic creature roamed North America and east Asia between about 65 million and 99 million years ago. Named in honour of Zhucheng as Zhuchentyrannus magnus, this animal was about 11 metres long, 4 metres tall and it weighed about 6 tonnes. The research team was led by Dr. David Hone, from University College Dublin school of biology and environmental science."

Assumptions as Facts

By Israfels • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

The gigantic creature roamed North America and east Asia between about 65 million and 99 million years ago.

If they know the region where it roamed, does that mean this isn't the first of it's species discovered? Is there other evidence of this specific species in other areas? Are they just assuming and then stating as fact? I read the article, and it suggests the later.

Re:How about..

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

We'll nickname him "The Zuck" and say China named it after the Facebook pioneer. Speaking of which, someone create a Zhuchentyrannus Magnus facebook account, stat.

Bad Name. Sould have been named the Carolosaurus

By lul_wat • Score: 3 • Thread
..because at 6 tons it resembled by ex-wife, Carol.

Re:April Fools

By Hazel Bergeron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You've clearly never read an economics journal.

Re:Assumptions as Facts

By dingen • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Since they found it in China, the researchers concluded it has to be a copy of something from the US.