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Hollywood's Secret War With Google

GuB-42 Re:These old farts are funny (176 comments)

Right, a few years ago, a musician told me : the real threat to the majors is not bittorrent, it's myspace.
i.e. indie artist getting known via social networks and self-publishing. Piracy may lower their profits, but if they lose control of promotion and distribution, they are dead.

about a week ago
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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

GuB-42 Re:I hate electronics consumer culture (269 comments)

The N1 isn't lousy, it's old, it has a tiny internal flash memory by todays standards and may have trouble running the latest apps but beside this, it should run perfectly fine. The crashes are not normal. Wipe, install a good, stable ROM, don't try to do more than the hardware is capable of and you should be OK, unless you have hardware problems of course.

And if people tell you to upgrade, it's not just because of the throw-away culture, it's because they see that you are not satisfied with your phone. Proof is : you are complaining.

about a week ago
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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

GuB-42 Re:I hate electronics consumer culture (269 comments)

Here we are not talking about keeping devices for many years, we are talking about people who buy outdated technology for inflated prices.
Keeping a N900 for 5 years = smart, buying a N900 in 2014 for $1000 = stupid
Buying an iPod third-hand for $30 = smart, buying the same iPod for $500 = stupid
There are exceptions of course, like when the old product has a niche feature you really need that isn't present in the newer models. Or in a professional setting, where the device is part of a system and you just want a replacement rather than a very costly upgrade.

about a week ago
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Study of Massive Preprint Archive Hints At the Geography of Plagiarism

GuB-42 Re:who cares about plagiarism (53 comments)

So you are saying that the only reason that people do anything is for recognition or money?

Are you?

It is not the only reason but for a large part : yes.
Yeah, some people genuinely love their jobs, and unfortunately, it looks like they are a minority. And even those who love their jobs wouldn't do it if they couldn't earn enough money from it.
And useful work that's done for neither recognition nor money... yes, it happens, in the same way that a coin can land on its edge. We may do small things out of pure generosity but science is no small thing. It requires time and skill and I believe it is normal for scientists to expect something in return.

about a week ago
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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

GuB-42 Re:cheer (190 comments)

Advertisements do not pay for the internet.
The net existed long before advertisers got a hold of it and ruined it. Advertisers are not sponsoring the net there just cashing in on its popularity. The article calls the bots "a criminal network." it should call them heroes of the fucking universe.

Ads do pay for part of the internet.
Yes, the net existed before ads, and it probably even had a greater proportion of quality content. But in term of quantity (of both good and bad content) and diversity, today's internet have much, much more to offer. Search technology have improved a lot too (and I'm not only talking about Google).
And while ads weren't the only thing that made the internet better, they certainly helped. You see, generosity only gets you so far and at some point, people have to get paid. And how do these people get paid ? Pay-per-view ? Do you want a price tag on every link ? Subscription ? Good for large news sites but how about people who publish irregularly. ISP or state sponsoring ? Too much abuse potential. "Global license" ? You run into many problems, like metering.
Ads work because it allows content makers to make money based on popularity, that there is no central authority and that you don't have to ask money to every viewer, it is a relatively fair system. Of course, it is not perfect but I can't think of an viable alternative "less bad" system.

As for the bot network, they are not heroes, they take money they don't deserve by gaming the system. And you don't want ads to devalue. You see, the goal of ads is to get your attention, which means that the more valuable ads are, the more valuable your attention is.
In fact, I believe it is the biggest problem we have with ads right now, they are not valuable enough, and as a result, we get more and more, further devaluing them.

about a week ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

GuB-42 Re:Relevant to what? (641 comments)

To mobile application market? Irrelevant.

Not totally irrelevant. Mobile has its share of high efficiency code written in C. Furthermore, Objective-C, the standard language for iOS apps, is a superset of C.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

GuB-42 Driving licence (317 comments)

Well, you probably have one. But if you don't, seriously, it's important even if you don't have a car.
The reasons :
- It's a good all-around test : smart enough to understand traffic laws, good enough motor skills, minimum amount of common sense, etc... Basically shows that you are not crippled.
- Your employer may ask you to drive someday (buiseness trip, rental car...)

about two weeks ago
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New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

GuB-42 Re:Simple USA fix (341 comments)

Just declare chimps as corporations, THEN they'll have rights.

But liquidation will be a bit messy...

about two weeks ago
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The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

GuB-42 Re:I call BS (238 comments)

2. are you sure in-network value-added services does not really mean cookies and tracking, etc.?

Cookies and tracking work perfectly in https. Conversely, a proxy that blocks cookies and tracking before they even reach your browser is an "in-network value-added service".

about two weeks ago
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Do you worry about the singularity?

GuB-42 Re:No, it's not even possible (181 comments)

Computers are simply adding machines.

So are neurons. We may not completely understand how the brain works as it is a huge mess of chemicals and electrical impulses going everywhere at different speeds but the basic block is still an adding machine.

Software is simply a tool.

So are human slaves. Hopefully, it is not the case anymore but it is how they were viewed in some civilizations.

The reason today’s AI cannot create like we do is :
- The human brain is quite a powerful machine to emulate
- The human brain "software" is less readable than Perl, it only works because of millions of years of ad-hoc patching and testing called "evolution". We need to start from scratch, and if possible more efficiently than evolution did.
- Building human-level AIs is not the end goal of most people working with computers. We want effective tools, not something that comes from the depths of the uncanny valley.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

GuB-42 I don't think so (167 comments)

News are short lived and should be delivered as fast as possible, it is not something that is refined over time like a Wikipedia article.
Moreover, news are very personal. Are you interested in sports ? what sport ? what team ? and fashion ? and video games ? It's nice to have a listing of what most "editors" think are important news but I don't necessarily have the same interests. There are systems that can help you getting the most relevant news for you but that's more a Google-like job than a Wikipedia-like job.
And it's not like community-based news sites are a new thing : digg, reddit and even the *chans... Except these look not at all like a wiki.

about two weeks ago
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UK Police To Publicly Shame Drunk Drivers On Twitter This Christmas

GuB-42 Re:Slander? (256 comments)

I believe that you can claim damage if you are wrongfully accused. And there are usually laws protecting people from being treated as criminals before they are declared guilty by a court of law.
How effective these mechanism are, I don't know, but they exist.

about three weeks ago
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In UK Study, Girls Best Boys At Making Computer Games

GuB-42 Doesn't surprise me but... (312 comments)

That girls end up better at game design won't surprise me. They typically have a better understanding of human psychology and I believe that as tools become better, it will become more important than technical skills. 1
But this study say nothing about what will happen when these kids reach adulthood, or even high school. Girls start puberty about 1 year earlier than boys, with all the associated physical and mental changes. At 12-13, the difference in maturity between boys and girls is huge. Boys start to catch up only at about 16 or so.

about three weeks ago
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How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

GuB-42 Re:What about long-term data integrity? (438 comments)

The write count is not a problem : write count exceeded, change drive, copy data, done. It's not like the drive will explode once the threshold is exceeded. And chances are that you will never encounter this problem unless you have a *very* intensive usage.

Perhaps more problematic is fading. Flash cells lose charge over time, and the more you write, the more "leaky" the cells become. That's why we say that the number of writes is limited, because past a certain point, the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the data will stay for more than X amount of time. FYI, X = 1 year for the Intel 520. Note that that's 1 year powered off. If the drive is on, the cells will be periodically refreshed, making the actual duration much longer.
But SSDs are not the only kind of storage medium that lose data over time. Magnetic storage is slowly erased by the earth magnetic field, reflective layers on CDs oxydize, etc... It means that the only way to ensure long-term data integrity is to actively maintain backups, or, if it not possible, use special archival grade storage media. Archival media can be of any kind : (EE)PROM, magnetic, optical, paper, ... but optimized for long-term storage at the expense of other things like storage density.

about three weeks ago
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The People Who Are Branding Vulnerabilities

GuB-42 Re:is Microsoft behind it? (64 comments)

- Linux has a greater market share in critical systems
- Linux is expected to be more secure than Windows
- Being a closed system, there isn't much you can do in Windows beside waiting the patch from MS. Linux is community based and more attention results in faster response.
- Vulnerabilities like heartbleed are not linux-specific. OpenSSL may be used on many OSes including Windows.

about three weeks ago
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Conglomerate Rock From Mars: (Much) More Precious Than Gold

GuB-42 $10000/gram is about... (65 comments)

- 2.5 times more expensive that weapon grade plutonium
- twice cheaper than Soliris (medical drug)
- 3 times cheaper than tritium

LSD and diamonds can also be in this price range but this is a bit more complicated to estimate.

about three weeks ago
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What Happens When Nobody Proofreads an Academic Paper

GuB-42 Re:Big woop (170 comments)

I think the point is that standards and professionalism are slipping, even in science.

No, the point is that standards and professionalism are low. To show that they are "slipping" would require showing that they were higher at some point in the past. Crappy, poorly edited papers are nothing new.

In this study, we have used (insert statistical method here) to show that the quality of papers was declining.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

GuB-42 Useless (698 comments)

First of all, school shootings are not that common but more importantly, as described, I am not sure this system will be able to save even a single kid.
This can make arrest easier but by the time the police arrive, even if it is ready and positioned right next to the school, the criminal would have already unloaded his weapon. Arresting criminals is a good thing but it won't get anyone back to life.
Perhaps, if this system helps getting faster medical assistance, it may save a few lives but it would cost a disproportionate amount of money. When we talk about safety, a human life is valued at about $7M in the US, it means that if deploying this system on a large scale costs $700M, it has to save at least 100 lives to be considered money well spent. Otherwise, there are better things to do with it, like improving road safety.

about a month ago
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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber

GuB-42 Re:Trying to wrap my head around this (389 comments)

They didn't "disclose" anything, they just followed the legal procedure which is :
- the "copyright holder" (FirstCrist, Copyright) sends a DMCA takedown notice to the provider (YouTube)
- the provider blocks the content and forwards the notice to the subscriber (Al Hayat TV)
- if the subscriber wants his content back, he sends back a counter-notice to the provider, this notice needs to mention the real name and address of the subscriber or of his agent
- the provider forwards the counter-notice to the "copyright holder"
- the "copyright holder" has 10 days to sue the subscriber, if he doesn't, the content is restored

Legally speaking I'm pretty sure that Google is totally clean, the only wrongdoers are the ones who filed the bogus claim. Ethically, it is more complicated.
Anyways, I think that the YouTuber should have used a attorney. It wouldn't have fixed the ethical issues but at least, he would have been safe.

about a month and a half ago
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Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again

GuB-42 Re:Can We Install Apps To The SD Card? (214 comments)

It was a PITA and very user unfriendly. I'm glad I don't have to mess with this like I did when I had a Nexus One (~256 MB total storage).
Problems are :
- SD cards are expected to be removable, and when you remove your card, apps are in a half-installed state : you can't use it and you can't uninstall it completely.
- SD cards are usually FAT32 formatted. And FAT32 lacks important features like users and mode bits (permissions).
- SD cards are often slower than internal memory
As a result, moveToSd features were often incomplete, mistake-prone, or both.

Also you can put a truckload of apps in 3GB. If you need more than that, you are a power user and probably have a phone with 16+GB of internal storage... or you know how to root.

about a month and a half ago

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