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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

Crispy Critters Re:Publishers are Dinosaurs. (405 comments)

Many authors would rather write than worry about finding and paying for editing, proof reading, cover art, advertising, promotional travel, etc. They are capable of it, but would rather spend their time doing what they do best, which is write. Also, they would rather work under contract with some guaranteed income rather than shoulder all the risk themselves.

about 3 months ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

Crispy Critters Re:Pretty stupid reasoning (405 comments)

People who are not involved in the publishing industry think it would be great for authors to self publish. Interestingly, authors seem to think almost uniformly that it is a terrible idea. The authors, who have a very good idea just what publishers can add to the book, mostly really really like what publishers do for them.

The authors also don't think that they will make more money by self publishing either, because they know how much less they will be writing because of the time spent on other tasks currently handled by the publisher.

about 3 months ago
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Author Charles Stross: Is Amazon a Malignant Monopoly, Or Just Plain Evil?

Crispy Critters Re:Do we really need new books? (405 comments)

The flaw in your argument is clear in that you are pirating books to read. The argument should work the same if you limit it to works on Project Gutenberg, which are available legally. There are more books written before 1900 than I will ever read. But I want to read books written after that, because the world has changed. You do want to read recent books by pirating them. But if there are no new books, then in some number of years all the books will be about a distant and foreign world without the same relevance to us.

about 3 months ago
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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Experts Unable To Replicate Inmarsat Analysis

Crispy Critters Re:Not so.... (245 comments)

Sigh. Posting erase moderation b/c I accidentally moderated you down instead of up.

about 3 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

Crispy Critters Re:tabs (688 comments)

Indeed. I never figured out why everyone dumped Mozilla for Phoenix in the first place. (The memory usage and speed were identical for me on Linux.)

And a firefox is a freaking PANDA, not a fox, so change the stupid logo. Yes, I DO get insanely annoyed over pointless things, thank you for asking.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Crispy Critters Re:Paper for me too (170 comments)

"On the computer side, a folder with the name of the project/task/whatever to dump digital stuff related to it."

I also always use filenames like 20140420.txt. Graphics get names like 20140420.jpeg. Search with grep, back up with rsync, remote access via ssh. This works for me because (1) most of my notes are text and (2) keeping the material readable for 10 years or longer is a requirement. Take notes by hand in meetings and transcribe later, which means I rewrite them into English while I still remember what happened.

about 3 months ago
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Bill Gates Patents Detecting, Responding To "Glassholes"

Crispy Critters Re:The difference... (140 comments)

"The problem is that people get irritated when people are casually pointing cameras at them the whole time."

Good theory, but does it match the data? Are the people being assaulted for wearing google glasses being assaulted when they have been pointing the glasses at someone for an extended period of time in an environment when they expect to not be recorded? Or have the attacks occurred in public places which are likely already under video surveillance and full of people snapping photos of friends and bystanders?

Alternative theory: People like hating on overt geekiness. Hypothesis: If hovercars were invented and were sold for ten million dollars each, people would love them, but if only geeky hobbyists had them, people would smash them in the street.

about 4 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Crispy Critters Re:Doppler seems wierd (491 comments)

I don't follow your comment.

The question is what if anything breaks the symmetry between north and south. The answer appears to be (from the comment you linked to) that the satellite has a significant motion with respect to the Earth's surface, even though it is in geosynchronous orbit.

There are still two possible paths, a north and south one. But because of the motion of the satellite, one path will be straight at a reasonable speed, and the other will be curved and too fast or too slow to be realistic.

about 5 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

Crispy Critters Re:Doppler seems wierd (491 comments)

It doesn't seem that anyone has an answer to this question. There is some other source of information or another assumption that is not being shared with the public. The claim is that all the data is from the single Inmarsat, so there is no other data to add in to triangulate. The satellite is in geosync, so we can ignore relative motions. Unless somehow the wobble of the orbit is large enough to have some effect over 8 hours. There could be some assumption about the route--for example like assuming the plane will fly flat and level at a constant relative air speed and then adding in prevailing air currents. Or some other reason to believe the plane would not be flying straight relative to the ground.

about 5 months ago
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Malware Attack Infected 25,000 Linux/UNIX Servers

Crispy Critters Re:Well, I'm clean AND I'M INFECTED?! (220 comments)

Other posters explained (so this is redundant -1). ssh is supposed to claim -G is illegal or unknown depending on the version. The backdoored version DOESN'T complain, which is the indication. But "-g" is a legitimate option, so there is no complaint from either the safe or hacked version.

about 5 months ago
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Malware Attack Infected 25,000 Linux/UNIX Servers

Crispy Critters Re:The big problem with Linux security. (220 comments)

My impression was ACLs were old when I started using an account on a vax in 1991. Personally, I saw more vax than unix back then, so I would call it common, but YMMV.

about 5 months ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

Crispy Critters Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (406 comments)

"My question is quite simply what type of protection should a company be provided to prevent effectively wholesale copying of their product."

A question that deserves a serious answer. One approach is that described in the Constitution (but not followed). The justification for giving this kind of monopoly ownership to creators is to not merely to reward them or some sense of fairness but to encourage the act of creation.

Apple made an immense amount of money off the Iphone despite any copying of their refinements and style. No additional money is needed to further encourage them. Would society benefit from giving Apple stronger property rights in its designs? If not, then don't.

about 5 months ago
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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

Crispy Critters Re:Practicalities (136 comments)

"You're wrong. It is perfectly clear what needs to be published openly: whatever is necessary for someone to confirm that the total analysis is valid."

This is not what is under discussion. To confirm the total analysis, you need access to all the raw bits, all the calibration data underlying the analysis, all the computer codes used, copies of any written information in logs and lab books, and all the laboratory equipment as it was at the time the data was collected. Plus, you need to have all the knowledge that is in the researcher's head. And all of this tells you absolutely nothing about the validity of the research--the real question is whether the technique applied is a correct way to measure the phenomena.

"That is the fundamental principle required for scientific progress."

No it isn't. The fundamental principles are that results can be reproduced and that results can be used to make predictions.

If you demand all this, the question is whether governments are going to increase their research budgets by a factor of 10 or simply eliminate all publicly-funded research.

about 6 months ago
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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

Crispy Critters Re:HIPAA (136 comments)

Unfortunately, it has been shown already that the few details relevant to medical studies can often be used to uniquely identify individuals even after name and address are removed. "Yaniv Erlich shows how research participants can be identified from 'anonymous' DNA" http://www.nature.com/news/pri...

Same will be true for various kinds of employment data and census data.

about 6 months ago
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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

Crispy Critters Re:Bad news for ecologists--new license needed (136 comments)

"There are plenty of scientists out there who poach free online data sets and mine them for additional findings."

Right. This leads to a two-class system where the scientists that collect the data (and understand the techniques and limitations) are treated as technicians while those that perform high-level analysis of others' results get the publications. This can lead to unsound, unproductive science in may cases. Those who understand the details are not motivated, and the superficial understanding of those that write the publications leads to errors.

about 6 months ago
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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

Crispy Critters Re:Practicalities (136 comments)

"petabytes of extremely complex, hard to understand data"

The point seems to be missed by a lot of people. RAW DATA IS USELESS. You can make available a thousand traces of voltage vs. time on your detector pins, but that is of no value whatsoever to anyone. The interpretation of these depends on the exact parameters describing the experimental equipment and procedure. How much information would someone require to replicate CERN from scratch?

Some (maybe most, but not all) published research results can be thought of as a layering of interpretations. Something like detector output is converted to light intensity which is converted to frequency spectra and the integrated amplitudes of the peaks are calculated and are fit to a model and the parameters fit giving you a result that the amplitude of a certain emission scales with temperature squared. Which of these layers is of any value to anyone? Should the sequence of 2-byte values that comes out of the digitizer be made public?

It is not possible to make a general statement about which layer of interpretation is the right one to be made public. Higher levels, closer to the final results, are more likely to be reusable by other researchers. However, higher levels of interpretation provide the least information for someone attempting to confirm that the total analysis is valid.

about 6 months ago
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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev

Crispy Critters Re:As usual, the rich win. (125 comments)

If you sit in a jury and the plaintiff claims that the defendant is a witch...

Claims by the plaintiff are not evidence. They are not the same as factual evidence presented by the plaintiff or expert testimony. The defendant needs to rebut evidence presented by the other side, but not unsupported assertions.

about 7 months ago
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Canonical Moving Away From GNOME Control Center

Crispy Critters Re:NIH (208 comments)

Just because we don't know the identity of the poster doesn't mean /.'s servers don't contain enough information to identify him.

about 8 months ago
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Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports It Nationally

Crispy Critters Re:For the record (165 comments)

I think you are saying that if states, counties, and cities all rewrote their tax laws to be easier to enforce, then they wouldn't get much opposition from internet retailers. Eminently true.

about 10 months ago

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