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Comments

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Google Changes 'To Fight Piracy' By Highlighting Legal Sites

Jason Levine Re:Yeah, Good Luck with That (TM) (137 comments)

At the time, there was a very good reason for Copyright. I'd argue that the same reason still exists. If we didn't have copyright, what would stop someone from taking some big content item (be it a movie, book, song, etc), repackaging it (ripping the song and burning it to DVD, scanning the book and reprinting it, etc) and selling it without giving the creator any money? Creators could find that their hard work yields someone else getting rich while their copies don't sell.

The big problem with copyright isn't that it exists, but the length. When copyright was 14 years plus a one-time, optional 14 year renewal, it was fine. Under that system, an item released in 2014 would enter Public Domain in 2042 (assuming renewal took place). Under the current system, that same item would enter Public Domain in 2134 (assuming the author doesn't die before 2039 and that copyright terms aren't lengthened more). The former system means that I could enjoy something and live to see it enter Public Domain. The latter system ensures I won't live to see this happen. This effectively kills Public Domain and destroys the balance that we had with copyright: Limited monopoly granted over the work in return for giving it back to the Public Domain when the copyright expired.

If we put copyrights back to a 14 year + 14 year one-time renewal system, many of the problems with Copyright would go away.

7 hours ago
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Google Changes 'To Fight Piracy' By Highlighting Legal Sites

Jason Levine Re:google is a search engine (137 comments)

Is it really so terrible that Google itself should be outright asked to prefer search results that are "better for society"?

Who gets to decide what is "better for society"? Also, do these decisions happen on a country-by-country basis without affecting other countries? Because I'm sure China would love to censor search results world-wide for "the good of society." I'm also sure that the RIAA would love to make sure that their member organizations get more Google ranking than Indie labels for "the better of society."

7 hours ago
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Google Changes 'To Fight Piracy' By Highlighting Legal Sites

Jason Levine Re:Is Google Losing It? (137 comments)

What if China decided that if Google wanted a Chinese presence they had to filter all results for all users globally?

China really wants to be able to do this. Whenever you see UN statements about taking control of the Internet away from the US and putting it in the hands of a UN committee, what they really mean is "We want China, North Korea, Syria, Iran, etc to be able to say 'This website violates our laws so it must be removed from The Internet even though it is located outside our borders."

This isn't to say that US control is a great thing, but when you get into a "lesser of two evils" choice of US or UN (i.e. China/Iran/etc) control, I'll pick US control every time.

7 hours ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

Jason Levine Re:Because studies show ... (246 comments)

Boomer Esiason. The player was Daniel Murphy and Boomer suggested that Daniel should have had his wife get a C-Section before opening day so that he wouldn't miss any games. Because having your wife have invasive surgery is a valid response to missing a game or two. http://www.today.com/parents/radio-host-rips-mlb-player-paternity-leave-suggests-c-section-2D79476676

Co-host Craig Carton also implied that Daniel should have just left his wife and newborn son after 24 hours and "get your ass back to your team and you play baseball." Because, apparently, that's all these sportscasters think dads are good for: Earning money for their families. Actually helping out in other ways is not a dad's job in their minds. (I'm sure my wife is glad that I disagree with them and took as much time as I could.)

12 hours ago
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

Jason Levine Re:Because studies show ... (246 comments)

I'd add that, as a man, I'd like to see paternity time increased. When my first child was born, I was lucky enough to be able to take a week off of work to help. My wife had just given birth and while I can't ever completely know how hard that is, I knew enough to know that she would be exhausted so I took care of our new baby as much as I could - giving her time to rest up. Had I been able to take longer than a week, I would have.

When our second child was born, I took a couple of days off, but wasn't able to take the week-long stretch that I took the first time.

Many new fathers are looked down upon if they try to take time off to look after the new baby. There was one baseball player who was recently castigated by a sports announcer for daring to miss the first game of the season because his wife gave birth. He decided that helping his wife and new baby were more important than a baseball game. The sports announcer literally thought that the ball player's first priority should be to the game and not his family.

Better paternity leave will also help women in the workplace because then the burden on taking care of the baby post-birth can be split evenly instead of just being tossed on the woman. (And then having people say "If we hire women they might leave to take care of their babies.")

5 days ago
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If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Jason Levine Re:Local Backups (150 comments)

I'd be very interested in what sites offer 1TB (or more) of space for $50 - $60 per year. I just priced it out again in case the prices or storage changed since the last time I looked. Both DropBox and Google Drive are $9.99 a month for 1TB, Amazon Cloud Drive is $500 a year.

Carbonite is $60 a year, but that's per computer. Right now, we back up both of our laptops to an external hard drive (and then copy that to a second external hard drive). If I wanted external hard drive backups, I'd need to spend $100 per year per computer.

While doing searching, I also found Backblaze which claims unlimited backups for $5 a month and CrashPlan which offers unlimited backups for as low as $3.96 a month. I don't know too much about the reliability of these services, though, and whether they would back up an external hard drive connected to a computer via the network. (I have my USB hard drive plugged into my router and shared across my network.)

5 days ago
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Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Jason Levine Re:Just tell me (463 comments)

Virus mutations aren't my specialty but from what I've read Ebola mutating to become airborne isn't a high probability. "Airborne Ebola" stories seem to crop up on conspiracy theory sites (e.g. "The CDC is lying to us and Ebola really spreads via air... WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!") and media outlets that want to scare their viewers/readers ("Next up: Celebrity Doctor X tells us how Ebola becoming airborne will make it THE WORST PLAGUE MANKIND HAS EVER SEEN!!!").

Caution is certainly warranted. If you are a health care worker and someone who recently was in Liberia comes in with a fever, contain them ASAP. Assume they have Ebola and take appropriate precautions. If they turn out not to have Ebola, fine. If they do, your quick actions could save your life as the lives of everyone around the infected person. However, if you are Random Joe Citizen walking down the street, don't panic that the person who just bumped into you has given you the Ebola.

5 days ago
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Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Jason Levine Re:Just tell me (463 comments)

What is your chance of catching Ebola versus your chance of catching the flu? As it stands now, unless you were in that Texas hospital around the same time as the Ebola patient was, you have a much higher chance of catching the flu tomorrow than you have of catching Ebola. Media scare reports aside, I don't think Ebola is at the panic level yet. Cautiously aware, yes, but not panic.

5 days ago
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Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Jason Levine Re:Just tell me (463 comments)

So far we have a small handful of US infections - mostly related to one guy who brought it in the country and the healthcare workers who didn't follow appropriate protocols while working with him. (Some of that blame might lie on the CDC and the hospital's management - not all of it on the nurses.)

Contrast this with the 5% - 20% of people in the US who get the flu every year and the 200,000 who are hospitalized with flu-related complications. (Source) If you are panicked about Ebola then you should be running down the street screaming about the flu. (Hopefully running down the street to get your flu shot.)

This isn't to say that Ebola isn't serious. Anyone who has traveled to the countries affected and gets a fever should be treated with extreme care. Anyone who was around someone like this should be suspected of having contracted Ebola and should watch for the symptoms. Be wary if you are in these situations, but otherwise it isn't panic-time despite the continuous "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE"-style reporting the media is giving Ebola.

5 days ago
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If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Jason Levine Re:Local Backups (150 comments)

I have two hard drives that I keep synced up. Right now I'm pushing my space constraints on the 1TB hard drives and need to invest in some 3TB drives. Were I doing this via the cloud, I'd be paying $120 a year for the space I need. Instead, I'll pay a one time ~$120 cost (if not less) for each hard drive and use them for years.

5 days ago
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If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Jason Levine Local Backups (150 comments)

I find that local backups are better than cloud backups. I have a 1TB external hard drive that's nearly filled up. This drive cost me around $100 a few years ago. To get 1TB of backup from Google, for example, I would need to pay $9.99 a month. So I can either pay $120 yearly for 1TB of storage space or I can buy a new hard drive every year with increasing disk space. (Currently, $120 will get me a 3TB external hard drive.) With two of the drives, I can have one located somewhere "off-site" in case something happens to the location of my primary hard drive (fire, theft, etc).

Don't get me wrong, cloud backups can be useful. I can have my phone auto-backup photos and videos to the cloud which is helpful in case something happens to my phone. It also means I don't need to worry about backing up my phone as often. Still, for the most part, I've found local backups to be easier to manage and less expensive than cloud backups.

5 days ago
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Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Jason Levine Re:That's not the reason you're being ignored. (404 comments)

So could a book. Are we going to ban all books on airplanes because the plane has a tiny chance of crashing and there is a tiny chance within that tiny chance of a crash that the book could become a projectile and injure someone?

about a week ago
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Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

Jason Levine Re:That's not the reason you're being ignored. (404 comments)

The captain getting on the intercom to say "Brace for impact" is even more rare. How many commercial airplanes crash every year? I just searched and found a list of 13 crashes in 2013. And that's internationally. How many planes take off and land safely across the entire world every year? Why should we ban use of devices because of a minuscule chance that the airplane will experience difficulty?

On a side note: If you ban devices so that people pay attention to the safety instructions, will you ban books and magazines also? People could just as easily open one of those and tune out the flight attendants.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Jason Levine German Ancestry (323 comments)

I did some ancestry work on my wife's family awhile back. The family story was that they came from Russia. I was surprised to find that one of her direct ancestors was listed as coming from Germany in one census and then Russia in another census. Now, it could have been a mistake (census takers were never perfect) or it could have been a German ancestor lying and saying he was Russian to escape anti-German sentiment. It would have been right around this time as well.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Jason Levine Re:German illegal? (323 comments)

The history of the US is filled with great moments, but also with horrible moments. There's also the Japanese internment during WW2 and the Ludlow Massacre where striking workers and their families were killed by company militia and National Guard troops.

about a week ago
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Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

Jason Levine Re:For everything there is a season (228 comments)

The point isn't someone trying to take a train from Africa to the US. The point is someone going from Africa to Europe and then to the US. Do we know every country that every person landing in a US airport has been in for the past 21 days? Stopping all flights from the Ebola stricken areas might stop the direct passage of the disease, but it won't stop the spread entirely.

If we're willing to stop all travel and quarantine people for 21 days due to rare Ebola infections, what will we do for the much more common flu infections?

about a week ago
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Netflix To Charge More For 4K Video

Jason Levine Re: Thats Fair (158 comments)

This is exactly why I think Netflix is the content owners' best weapon against piracy. Imagine if the content owners opened their vaults to Netflix. Even if the material was from 2 years ago on, you would have tons of content to watch on Netflix. You could have a progression: Movie in theater/show on TV, DVD release, Netflix release. Each step making the show/movie more available. Would people still pirate? Sure. Some people would pirate even if you gave them official DRM-less movie downloads for 10 cents each. Most people, however, would give up piracy and subscribe to Netflix.

Don't want to give Netflix all that power? Support competition to Netflix (e.g. Amazon Prime) as well. Give them the same library access to help them build their subscriber base.

Would all this content mean raised Netflix prices? Probably. But I'd gladly pay $20 a month for a version of Netflix that could stream everything 2 years old and older.

about a week ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Jason Levine Re:as the birds go (608 comments)

Turbines kill an insignificant number of birds by comparison with Windows .

We need to get rid of Windows . Who knew?

If Windows does that to birds, just think of what it's doing to the children!!!!! Microsoft should be tared and feathered for this!

Luckily, we have lots of feathers from the birds that the Windows have killed.

about a week ago
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Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

Jason Levine Re:For everything there is a season (228 comments)

So your proposal is that anyone who travels out of the country and tries to return is quarantined for 21 days? And anyone from another country who tries to vacation in the US gets quarantined for 21 days?

There were 69.8million international arrivals in the US in 2013. (Source) So far we have a tiny number of Ebola cases from inbound travel. (I wouldn't count the two people specifically flown back to the US for treatment.) Imposing 21 day quarantines on 70 million people is nearly impossible, a gross overreaction to the actual threat, and would shatter the travel industry. Given that 1 in 9 US jobs depend on travel/tourism (same source as above), this could lead to high unemployment. Would you travel to a country on a vacation if it meant being shut in for 3 weeks? Chances are your vacation would be over before you were even allowed out of quarantine.

about a week ago
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Federal Government Removes 7 Americans From No-Fly List

Jason Levine Re:They removed ANYONE? (124 comments)

They removed seven people - after lengthy court battles. How many people did they add during that time, though? And what is the guarantee that these people won't "mysteriously" get re-added to the list six months from now? This list is compiled in secret using methods that are secret. It's contents are secret and there is no official method for getting off the list or even confirming that you are on the list.

It's almost like some people in power decided that the only way to prevent the terrorists from destroying our freedom was for them to destroy it first.

about a week ago

Submissions

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What To Do With Old Domains

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about a year ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "While looking to buy a new domain for a website idea I had, I realized that over the years I've purchased quite a few domain names. I'm not a domain hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but 14 domains isn't a small number either. Of those domains, only 6 are actively being used. Many of the others were used for web projects that died out or that never launched. I could let the domains expire or possibly sell them (some might actually take in some cash), but I'm afraid of the domains being grabbed by spammers or other nefarious individuals. Holding onto them is an option, but increasingly I'm wondering why I'm paying annual fees for domain names that I'm not using and likely will never use again.

How do you handle old domain names in your possession that you no longer need?"
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Best Science Fiction/Fantasy for 8 Year Olds

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in Science Fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults.

Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot". He liked these but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head.

Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8 year old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
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Teaching Your Children Computer Skills At Home

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son's school district, like many across the country, is facing budget issues. Already, art and music are being cut and two elementary schools are likely to be shut down. (One of which my son currently attends.) My wife recently found out that our school doesn't even have a computer teacher. Nobody's teaching the kids how to use word processing programs, how to browse the Internet, etc. They have "computer time" in which someone watches over them while the kids are allowed to visit PBSKids.org and similar websites.

My son is very bright and computer savvy for a first grader, but obviously I want him to know how to do more than simply load up a website. We've discussed home schooling with varying degrees of seriousness. Even if we don't home school, we might want to supplement what he's learning in school with computer lessons at home. My wife is a teacher and has access to various resources, but I was wondering what resources the Slashdot community might recommend.

How do you teach your children about computers and how to use them? Do you know of any websites or programs that would be appropriate for my first grade son to use? (I've already introduced him to TuxPaint, TuxMath and TuxTyping.)"
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Theft of Services Claim with Honor System Paywall

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Towards the end of the day yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone claiming that my company's employees had been stealing his services. I always take claims like this seriously, so I read on. Apparently, his website is called the North Country Gazette. It appears to be a "news" site, but structured like a blog. Each article contains the text: "Free access to The North Country Gazette is limited to one visit, one article, no exceptions. After your free trial, a subscription is needed and without same, your access will be denied. To sign up, see subscription ad on this page. If you have questions, contact us at news@northcountrygazette.org"

The e-mail claimed theft of services because an employee visited two articles without paying. I thought it might be a scam (the threatening tone of the e-mail didn't help) so I visited the site to make sure it was legit. Soon after my one article view, I received a second e-mail calling me "obstinate", telling me to "do your job instead of surfing the internet" and threatening legal action if we visited his site again.

The thing is, though, he doesn't seem to have any kind of paywall in place. No mechanism to detect if a user has viewed an article and stop them from viewing more like other paywalls I've encountered. Just a system to detect when his honor system isn't honored. How seriously should I take his threats? Can someone really sue over theft of services due to three page views (four if you count me accessing his home page)? Can some small text on a website (which doesn't even contain a "pay here" link) really bind you into paying for a subscription? I will definitely be informing my company's legal counsel, but I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot has heard of anything like this?"
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Killer Sue Wikipedia To Remove Their Names

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber killed a German actor in 1990. Now that they are out of prison, German law states that they can't be referred to by name in relation to the killings. Therefore, they have sued to get Wikipedia to remove their names from the Wikipedia article about the killings. The German edition of Wikipedia has already complied, but the English edition is citing US freedom of speech and a lack of presence in Germany as reasons why they don't need to remove the name. In a bit of irony, their lawyer e-mailed the NY Times: “In the spirit of this discussion, I trust that you will not mention my clients’ names in your article.""
Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensively Streaming Media?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about 5 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I recently won a Roku box and my family and I have been enjoying watching Netflix movies/TV shows via it. So much so, in fact, that we are considering canceling our cable service. Canceling cable would save us $65 a month. Of course, this would mean the loss of a big entertainment source for my children (age 6 and 2), my wife and me. We have a decent DVD collection, but it tends to be hard to find the right DVD and play it for the boys. (The DVDs are in stacks and tend to get disorganized.) I'd rather rip them to my upstairs computer and stream the video, but I need some help.

First of all, we don't have a large budget to work with. Yes, we'd be saving per month without the cable bill, but my wife won't let me spend thousands on equipment so that we can save $800 a year. That said, our requirements are low. We don't have any HD televisions in the house and don't have plans to upgrade our existing sets anytime soon. So while it might be nice if the solutions can handle HD, there's no need to spend more money on an HD-compatible product.

Secondly, running ethernet cable is out of the question. My wife refuses to let me drill holes in the walls/floor and to be honest, I don't blame her. My wireless network (current router a Netgear WGR614 v5) tends to cut out at times. Powerline networking intrigues me, but the wiring in the house is old and I'm afraid that it won't be a stable connection. Another option I found was ethernet-over-coax. Would I be better off upgrading my wireless network (replacing the router and/or adding an access point somewhere) or going with a powerline or coax solution?

Third, ditching cable would mean we would lose our cable-provided DVR. While most shows we watch would be viewable via Hulu, we would like to still be able to record shows (especially kids shows on PBS) and play them later. What kind of DVR system would you recommend?

Lastly, my desktop computer isn't exactly the newest system in the world. It is 6 years old and, while not underpowered, might not be up to handling some tasks. Would I be better off building or buying a DVR/Media Center box? If so, how much would I wind up paying for this?

Thanks for any advice you can give."
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Wii outsells 360, PS3, PS2, PSP combined in April

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Jason Levine writes "Ars Technica is reporting that, during the month of April, the Nintendo Wii outsold not only the XBox 360 and the Sony PS3, but the 360, PS3, PS2, and PSP combined. The Nintendo Wii sold 714,200 units. Microsoft's XBox 360 sold 188,000 units and Sony's PS3 sold 187,100 units. The PSP moved 192,700 units and the PS2 moved 124,400 units. In addition, six of the top 10 games sold in April were Nintendo Wii games."
Link to Original Source

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