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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

CopaceticOpus Re:To Kill a Mockingbird (394 comments)

To get that "banned book" feeling with To Kill a Mockingbird, try reading an illegally downloaded copy. Don't do it because you're cheap, do it because applying copyright to a book written over 50 years ago is just as egregious as banning it for content.

This post sums it up pretty well.

3 days ago
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Security Collapse In the HTTPS Market

CopaceticOpus Re:locks, doors, ... (185 comments)

Physical locks still need to be broken manually, one door at a time.

When it comes to https, all locks can potentially be opened at once, remotely, with the click of a button, and with no sign of intrusion. It's hardly the same.

3 days ago
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Amazon Purchases .buy TLD For $4.6 Million

CopaceticOpus Re:ICANN sell to the highest bidder (67 comments)

I hope you are right! I haven't seen that stated anywhere else.

If you are right, then you should really complain about the original submission, which states that Amazon "now has exclusive rights" to the domain and that there is "no word yet on Amazon's plans for the new domain suffix." That certainly reads like they're getting it all to themselves.

about two weeks ago
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Amazon Purchases .buy TLD For $4.6 Million

CopaceticOpus ICANN sell to the highest bidder (67 comments)

Wikipedia states:

ICANN's primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

This auction is a blatant contradiction of these principles. An auction does promote a narrow sort of competition, technically, but anyone who didn't have millions of dollars to spare had no opportunity to participate. Now that Amazon has won, the competition is over, and the global Internet community can go broadly fuck themselves.

We should expect much better from the non-profit organization in charge of the world's domain names.

about two weeks ago
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Intel Putting 3D Scanners In Consumer Tablets Next Year, Phones To Follow

CopaceticOpus Uses? (75 comments)

It's telling that the article doesn't mention one practical application. Intel's next step for 2016: Attempt to create demand for 3D scanners in consumer tablets.

Perhaps a "Measure My Cat" app?

about two weeks ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

CopaceticOpus Re:Is Apple going downhill? (358 comments)

Apple was in the right place at the right time to introduce iPod and other devices. But today, the market for pocket-sized electronic rectangles is pretty well saturated, and Apple's competitors have caught up in terms of design quality.

They aren't going downhill, but they are desperately searching for a new hill where they can be king again for a while.

about two weeks ago
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The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

CopaceticOpus Re:Never been a fan of multiplayer. (292 comments)

I did have first-person shooters in mind, since that's the type of game I always seem to encounter others playing. I've only had a couple of opportunities to play co-op multiplayer games, and those were far more enjoyable.

about two weeks ago
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The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

CopaceticOpus Re:Never been a fan of multiplayer. (292 comments)

I've always enjoyed single player games as a sort of kinetic puzzle. Even if the action involves racing away from the cops or jumping across platforms, a single player game rewards the ability to learn patterns and find weaknesses in the enemies and rules of a closed system. It's both relaxing and rewarding to master the mechanics of the game.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, is a spastic experience which seems to be dominated by obsessive players with endless time to practice. The reward for the average player is not mastery, but rather learning to die a little less often.

about two weeks ago
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WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

CopaceticOpus Re:SSDs will outpace platter drives (296 comments)

I've been watching storage price trends for the past five years.

Cost per 10TB of storage:

  • Jul 2009: Platter = $750, SSD = $28,125
  • Jun 2012: Platter = $567, Flash = $8,200
  • Nov 2013: Platter = $450, Flash = $5,417
  • Today: Platter = $373, SSD = $3,750

SSD progress has been amazing. The price for SSD storage is now 10x that of platters, compared to 37.5x in 2009. The cost for a platter drive today per TB is 50% of what it was five years ago, but for an SSD it is only 13%! Does it look like SSDs are about to take over? Not so fast. The rate of advancement has been slowing every year, and meanwhile platter drives are adopting major new technology this year.

Using a simple historical price model, I don't expect we would see price equivalence by 2020. However, by the end of that year SSD's may only cost 2x that of platter drives, and platter manufacturers will be very nervous.

Cost predictions per 10TB of storage:

  • Dec 2016: Platter = $275, SSD = $1560
  • Dec 2020: Platter = $160, SSD = $328
  • Oct 2023: Equivalence. $109 for either technology.
  • 2035: 10TB costs under $1 and is included in Happy Meals.

about three weeks ago
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Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

CopaceticOpus From the preface (70 comments)

I was reading about the project to put these lectures online. It's amazing how well these lectures have held up over time.

This excerpt from History of Errata is quite enjoyable:

It is remarkable that among the 1165 errata corrected under my auspices, only several do I regard as true errors in physics. An example is Volume II, page 5-9, which now says “no static distribution of charges inside a closed grounded conductor can produce any [electric] fields outside” (the word grounded was omitted in previous editions). This error was pointed out to Feynman by a number of readers, including Beulah Elizabeth Cox, a student at The College of William and Mary, who had relied on Feynman's erroneous passage in an exam. To Ms. Cox, Feynman wrote in 1975,3 “Your instructor was right not to give you any points, for your answer was wrong, as he demonstrated using Gauss's law. You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities. You also read the book correctly and understood it. I made a mistake, so the book is wrong. I probably was thinking of a grounded conducting sphere, or else of the fact that moving the charges around in different places inside does not affect things on the outside. I am not sure how I did it, but I goofed. And you goofed, too, for believing me.”

about a month ago
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Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

CopaceticOpus Re:misleading (70 comments)

I found a simple but terrific site, richard-feynman.net, which has compiled links to Richard Feynman videos. This includes the series "The Character of Physical Law."

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

CopaceticOpus How about your employer? (635 comments)

Tangential question: What old technologies can't your employer give up?

I work for a large technology company which is currently undergoing a heroic effort to erase tech debt. Despite this, there are certain technologies that have a tenacious grip. The two that bug me the most are some of the most well known, IRC and email. Email especially is a giant time sink, with 5% of the messages essential and the other 95% filling up a time-sucking slop bucket. Email becomes the go-to solution for every sort of discussion and notification, blasted out to wide audiences.

Only one thing is more infuriating than that: New technologies that throw out everything we've learned and take giant steps backwards in terms of usability. Who the heck builds a web based application in the 2010's which doesn't use bookmark-able URLs?

about 1 month ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

CopaceticOpus Re:Simple (635 comments)

This reads like a letter to the editor in the Onion, if the Onion cared about vi. I honestly can't tell if you're being ironically pro-vi, or if you're just a simple Pico-loving soul.

about 1 month ago
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New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

CopaceticOpus Disco Stu Likes Barbecue (100 comments)

'For example, the coin my disco singer friend created and gave me at my barbeque might be what gets me past the rope at the club,' Anderson says.

The fact that he thinks this is a good example says a lot about his relationship to reality.

about 2 months ago
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'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets

CopaceticOpus The end (323 comments)

I can just see it. A billion years from now, on a planet a trillion miles away, the last remaining message from the human race will be displayed in black pixelated letters on a small rectangular display: PC LOAD LETTER.

about 4 months ago
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ICE License-Plate Tracking Plan Withdrawn Amid Outcry About Privacy

CopaceticOpus Can we stop and ask why? (152 comments)

As if the privacy implications and police overreach weren't bad enough, I have been feeling more and more frustrated over the financial aspect of programs like these. Who decided that this program was good or desirable in the first place? We've been getting along fine for a long time now without a national database of license-plate scans.

The same can be said for many other surveillance and technology initiatives by police and government agencies. These programs cost vast amounts of money which could be used for cancer research, or schools, or bridge repairs, or space exploration, or countless other positive things. Alternatively, just give the money back to the taxpayers and let them put it to good use. I'm pretty sure that only a tiny percentage of people would volunteer to fund programs like these out of their own pockets.

about 7 months ago
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Google Tells Glass Users Not To Be 'Creepy Or Rude'

CopaceticOpus Glassholio (341 comments)

It's very smart of Google to recognize that "Glasshole" is an inevitable slang term to be applied to some (most?) Glass users. They're trying to get ahead of the term and define it to apply to only the worst kinds of users.

Still, they face an uphill battle if they hope to create a positive public image for Glass. If only 1 in 10,000 Glass users behaves in a socially unacceptable way, that one person will be the focus of endless sensationalist news coverage.

about 7 months ago
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Animal Drug Investigation Reveals Pet Medication Often Doesn't Work

CopaceticOpus Re:"supplements" don't work (279 comments)

Did you read the article, by chance? It doesn't say that "pet medications don't work." It says that sometimes they don't work because they're prescribed even though they're not supported by evidence.

You also said that people need to do their research... which is the same conclusion written in the article! Gah.

The surprising thing is that it is often vets making these poor recommendations. I expect many average folks without veterinary degrees to make these mistakes. Vets should be held to a higher standard.

about 8 months ago
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Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

CopaceticOpus Divided Opinions (197 comments)

Critics of this federal investigation have claimed that it has the potential to trample free speech, create an atmosphere of fear, and could lead to the wrongful imprisonment of those that the government deems troublemakers.

However, unnamed sources within the government have taken a more positive outlook, stating that this investigation has the potential to trample free speech, create an atmosphere of fear, and could lead to the wrongful imprisonment of those that they deem troublemakers.

about 8 months ago

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