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For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

91degrees Re:Illigal or not? (35 comments)

Being sued in Britain is less of a worry than the US though. They would have to actually prove damages rather than just prove infringement. Unless they somehow manage to argue that a person is responsible for any and all copies and descendents of the original, this will be a fairly modest amount.

If someone ended up having to pay £200 or so for illegally distributing a £10 movie to 20 people I'm not going to have a lot of sympathy for them.

about half an hour ago

"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

91degrees Re:lost the human touch? (102 comments)

You're right. There's absolutely no need for humans at the baggage drop, except perhaps one person offering assistance if people have problems.

Flew from Gatwick to Tromsà with Norweigian in December. It was fantastic! Self check-in machine printed off a sticker for my luggage. Placed it in an automated bag drop, and the only queueing I had to do was at the security theatre.

KLM has something similar. BA at Heathrow still has manned desks but the kiosks print out the sticker so it is just a case of dropping the bags/


Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

91degrees That's exactly what I do. (278 comments)

For most websites, I really don't care. Here I use a dictionary word. If someone logs into my /. account the limit to the damage they can do is to pretend to be me. Hell, with this one they don't even get a valid email address.

My bank accounts and email address each have their own password based on out of date information that inexplicably stays in my memory.

I actually use a different password for facebook, nit because I'm particularly concerned about someone haking into that. More because I don't trust facebook with the password Iuse for everything else.

5 days ago

Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

91degrees Re:I'm not an anti sharing nazi... (214 comments)

I think it's more common for it to be for shows that are nominated for awards. A full time movie reviewer is able to fit going to a cinema and watching a movie into his schedule, but the judges for the awards tend to have other jobs.

about a week ago

Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

91degrees Re:Rather far north. (151 comments)

Well, you do suffer from a disproportionate part of your population wnting the Bible to be a science book. Sorry. It's kinda hard to remember that a lot of you guys are perfeectly reasonable when your national idiots make so much damn noise.

about a week ago

Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

91degrees Mr Splashy Pants? (127 comments)

Last time I remember the public being involved in a name, we ended up calling a whale Mr. Splashy Pants.

So, perhaps we'll end up with a name like Gassyball of Frolics or something, but I'm sure the combined might of B3ta and 4chan will manage better.

about a week ago

Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

91degrees Re:Rather far north. (151 comments)

It will be mostly for suborbital flights and non-equatorial orbits though, so the earth's spin is of limited use.

about a week ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

91degrees I'm sure that 66% isn't evenly spread (750 comments)

I bet department stores and gas stations do much more than that portion of their business by plastic. I bet sweetshops and toyshops deal with a lot of cash, because a large chunk of their customer base doesn't have plastic. Also greeting card shops, newspaper kiosks, and other institutions that deal with a lot of small transactions, because cash is more convenient for small purchases.

about a week ago

Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

91degrees Re:galactic hyper-hearse (238 comments)

What does an Islington estate agent have to do with this?

about a week ago

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

91degrees Re:How many questions can YOU beg in one definitio (285 comments)

Yes you're right. I didn't read that properly.

Although I think the summary oversimplifies things a lot. Skimming the actual paper, it looks like the Lovelace test is not a test in itself but a means to critique tests for AI. It could apply to a chatbot or a story writer or anything else.

So if I ask a chatbot "How many legs does a horse have", it would fail if it just looks up the answer in a database that contains "legs", "horse" and knows to give the answer "4" (because can trivially explain that), but if it has learned from earlier conversation what a horse is and what a leg is and comes up with a correct answer, it would pass, because I have no way of knowing the exact inputs it used. Something like that anyway.

about two weeks ago

Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

91degrees Re:Good news (94 comments)

What else, within the purview of the EU, does need to be solved and isn't being actively addressed?

about two weeks ago

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

91degrees Re:How many questions can YOU beg in one definitio (285 comments)

What's a "program" ("anything")?

A deterministic sequence of instructions that could be converted to work on a universal Turing machine. I don;t htink this is really a valid criticism.

What does it mean to be "engineered to produce" one?

Presumably we're talking about a specific condition and expectation that is part of the specification. Although since a lot of specs are informal this does need to be clarified.

What's a "hardware fluke"?

Not sure on this one. My initial thought was that this was just a requirement that it not produce pure randomness and get a valid result statistically.

What constitutes "explanation" of how it was done?

I think this one is the main problem. It's very subjective what an explanation is. It's also somewhat dependent on the programmer.

about two weeks ago

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

91degrees Re:Computer Chess (285 comments)

I think game playing is a better illustration of AI than chatbots. Good systems need to plan ahead and estimate probabilities on limited data, which have obvious parallels to human cognition.

about two weeks ago

Radical Dual Tilting Blade Helicopter Design Targets Speeds of Over 270mph

91degrees Re:redundant aircraft (103 comments)

The point is that we need a new untested aircraft with its own unique maintenence issues.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

91degrees Re:Standard of integration (174 comments)

Who's talking about a PC here? I'm talking about consoles.

XBox Live is a single service that integrates the entire online functionality of an XBox. Online gaming, chat, high scores, and all the rest.

would it need to have shipped as part of what was then the monopoly PC operating system, or would third party matchmaking frameworks count as well?

I have no idea what it would need to do. Tell you what; solve that problem and then I'll agree you're innovative as well.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

91degrees Re:Online gaming prior to Xbox Live (also Macs) (174 comments)

That word is subjective, and people will spend days arguing over subjective definitions. Could you give a more objective criterion?

No. Can you can give an objective criterion for "innovation"?

And you needed an Xbox Live subscription and a copy of each game for each console to play Xbox Live.

You needed a single XBox live subscription. it worked for all games for all publishers. Did anyone else offer this? Was it integrated with the rest of the system?

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

91degrees Re:Online gaming prior to Xbox Live (also Macs) (174 comments)

Xbox Live came out in the fourth quarter of 2002. By that time, EverQuest had already been out for three and a half years. So I must be misunderstanding what you mean by "serious thing".

Everquest was niche. You need an Everquest subscription to play it. Ultima online needed another subscription. XBox Live simplified everything established and made it acccessible to casual gamers.

If you call At Ease "new".

Windows 8 looks just like At Ease. Can't tell the difference.

Nope, that was Kerry Clendinning in 1992. In System 7, Apple made each "desk accessory" run in its own process and stored them in separate files within the Apple Menu items folder instead of resources in the System file. By doing this, Apple turned the Mac's Apple menu into a rudimentary quick launch menu.

I can see how it similar, but you yourself say it's rudimentary. MS made the Star Menu part of the actual user experience.

Honestly, what company *does* innovate?

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

91degrees Re:I Use Streets and Trips on RV Trips (174 comments)

I think the problem is that they can't compete with the dedicated units. Garmins and Tomtoms are fairly cheap and fit nicely on the dashboard, and even they're losing market share (or redirecting their business) to built-in systems.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Kills Off MapPoint and Streets and Trips In Favor of Bing Maps

91degrees Re:Microsoft can't innovate (174 comments)

Well, they came up with the XBox, and established online gaming as a serious thing. The Zune HD was apparently really good, but nobody bought it. MS came up with a completely new UI. Everyone complained and bitched because they removed the "start" menu (which incidentally was another MS innovation).

So they do innovate, but slashdotters ignore it or hate them for it.

about two weeks ago


91degrees hasn't submitted any stories.



Of course it's a troll

91degrees 91degrees writes  |  more than 10 years ago Well, probably, but there's usually a germ of truth in what I say.

Either that or I'm not trolling, but felt like ranting. Or making a joke.


Why computers need driving licences

91degrees 91degrees writes  |  more than 12 years ago I was recently sent an email by a friend about stupid computer users. One of these people had broken his CD-ROM drive trying to use it as a cup holder. One of them had tried to use the mouse (The plastic device that you use to move the pointer around the screen) as a foot pedal.

My friend seemed to find this funny. I found it disturbing. We have people spending several thousand dollars on a piece of sophisticated equipment, that they have no idea how to use. It's not just this though. The shear volume of unmitigated dross on the Interent is screaming for us to regulate it, if only to make it possible to find something useful.

I think people should have to take a driving test for their computers.

This may seem like a strange suggestion, but this is simply because you aren't used to the idea. When the driving licence was first proposed for cars, people were horrified at the prospect. Now, if you even consider suggesting the abolision of the driving test, people with react with equal or greater horror.

A computer can after all be every bit as dangerous as a car. Used incorrectly, it can be used to attack commercial and government websites that are essential to the running of the free nations of the world. Even those who don't have any illegal intentions could unwillingly be allowing criminals to hack into their machines, and the evil hackers could use them as a springboard to get into other computers, making the owner of the computer an unwitting acomplace to a criminal act.

It is illegal to export powerful computers to over 100 countries. Yet these same countries do have low power computers. These can be used to hack into more powerful computers, that can be used to hack into the powerful computers that we have in the democratic world, and these can be used to hack into the extremely powerful servers that run our nation. People need to be taught to prevent this sort of attack from happening. We should not allow people to put these at risk simply because they don't know how to secure their computers.

We should expand this into restrictions of the types of computers that should be used on the internet. Now, many people here believe that Microsoft Windows should be the only operating system that people shuld use, but I feel that as long as they could ensure basic security was implemented, other operating systems should also be considered. Obviosuly we should make sure that these are rigourously tested, and at a cost to the manufdacturers. We insist on basic crash tests for cars after all. Once again, I'm sinmply suggesting that we apply the same rigourous standards to computers

This would have several benefits.

Old operating systyems such as the MS-DOS found on the early pre-Pentium machines can be decertified after they reach a certain age. This will keep the slower machines off the net, speeding up the internet for the rest of us.

After all, surely people should not be entitled to modify their computers in dangerous ways. Some people have REMOVED the Windows operating system that came with their PC, and replaced it with a free operating system in order to avoid having to pay for their software. I'm surpirised that this is still allowed. Nobody allows us to put spikes on the front of our cars, or replace the wheels with sawblades. Why should we be allowed to do the same to our computers?

Finally it will reduce the cost of our computers. Part of the cost is the cost of technical support. If they didn't have to train qualified people to answer so many questions, the cost of Windows would plummet.

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