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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

Jason Levine Re:Screw them (212 comments)

Does North Korea even have anything worthy of hacking?

yesterday
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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

Jason Levine Re:Screw them (212 comments)

They won't because they aren't releasing it now, but likely will wait for the threats to die down before quietly releasing it in theaters. Then, they'll release it on DVD/Blu-Ray hoping everyone will want to buy the movie that North Korea threatened death if we watched. From the reports, the movie was horrible and so probably wouldn't have brought in much anyway, but releasing on BitTorrent for free means they make nothing. Holding for possible future means possible future income. Movie companies will always choose possible future money over no money now any day.

yesterday
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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

Jason Levine Re:Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (212 comments)

I wish the First Amendment was just protecting a guy burning a flag. Most times, it seems like it's protecting the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest (and make themselves look like idiots). I hate those people (and given that I'm Jewish, support gay marriage, love science, and am fairly liberal, the feeling's probably mutual), but as much as I'd love to see them silenced for good, I know the slippery slope that would start.

yesterday
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Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

Jason Levine Re:Huh? (212 comments)

Anytime you are afraid, the terrorists win.

The politicians too. ("Vote for me because my opponent will cave to the terrorists and DESTROY AMERICA!!!")

Also some manufacturers. ("Senator X, deploy our Ultra-Cool-Sounding-But-Ultimately-Ineffective at all TSA check points. It'll give billions to us, the illusion of security to America, and a cushy job for you once you retire from the Senate.")

And the power hungry segments of law enforcement organizations. ("We need to be able to raid homes without warrants because TERRORISM!!!")

The public are the big losers when we get afraid thanks to terrorist threats (real or imagined in order to scare us into submission).

yesterday
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Jason Levine Re:Land of the free (570 comments)

Guns are inherently dangerous because they were designed to kill/injure. This doesn't mean we need to fear all guns or ban them. Just treat guns carefully and with respect. I don't personally use guns (for various reasons), but if I did, I'd want to take all available precautions - not treat the gun like a "fun toy." (Which, sadly, some gun owners seem to regard it as. Not most gun owners, but some.) I do the same if I'm handling a sharp kitchen knife. I don't go swinging the knife around everywhere. I don't leave the knife where small children could get it. I only "point" the knife at things I don't mind the knife going into (vegetables, potatoes, etc). Were I to leave knives around my house with small children nearby, swing them around, and pretend to stab people with them, I'd be an irresponsible knife owner.

yesterday
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Jason Levine Re:Land of the free (570 comments)

They write it off against a highly successful movie causing the actors/directors/crew of that movie to get less money than they would really be owed? (See: Hollywood Accounting)

2 days ago
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Jason Levine Re:Land of the free (570 comments)

I don't think of guns as inherently evil, but they are inherently dangerous. I don't have a problem with lawful gun owners who take proper precautions with their firearms. I have a big problem with the people who think that their gun is a cool toy to play with or teach their kids that it's fun to wave a gun around. I'm not willing to say that a majority of gun owners are like this, but there's a vocal group like this and these people scare me (and should scare responsible gun owners as well). People should treat guns with respect and always assume 1) that they are loaded (even if you JUST took all of the bullets out) and 2) that the gun is about to fire at whatever it is pointed at.

2 days ago
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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Jason Levine Re: These idiots remain idiotic (378 comments)

At this point, I don't even think it's about the money - though that's a strong secondary reason. It's control. The MPAA sees people watching movies online as a loss of control that they have with the theater-cable TV-DVD/Blu-Ray model. They can dictate what theaters their movies play in. If they don't like a theater's policies, they can refuse to allow that theater to play the latest movie. The same goes for cable TV. They can decide what channels play the movie. If they don't like the channel, it won't get the movie. Then comes the disc-formats that only approved devices can play. If a DVD/Blu-Ray manufacturer steps out of line, the MPAA can send them out of business.

But releasing a video on the Internet in a standard format means that people can pretty much do whatever they want with it whenever they want. If I want to watch it now but immediately skip over chunks, I can. Without sitting through the FBI warning and trailers for "new movies" (that were released a year after this 5 year old DVD was released).

Losing this level of control scares them to no end and they'll wield all the power they can to retain control for as long as possible.

2 days ago
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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Jason Levine Re: These idiots remain idiotic (378 comments)

Yes, offline viewing and no DRM would be nice. However, merely giving Netflix (and their competitors... we don't want to form a Netflix-monopoly) access to all back catalog entries more than a year old would go a long way towards combating piracy. Yes, you would still get people pirating HOT_NEW_MOVIE that just came out in theatres, but many more people would just wait for it to appear in their Netflix queues. Would this mean a DVD/Blu-Ray sales drop? Possibly, but the movie-on-disc format is probably going to go away at some point anyway.

Would Netflix's prices have to rise? Likely, but imagine Netflix with an online streaming catalog consisting of everything ever released up to December 2013. I'd gladly pay more money for that. Actually, the losers in a scenario like this would be the cable companies. Apart from sports, why would you need to pay for cable TV if you had Everything-Up-To-A-Year-Ago Netflix?

2 days ago
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

Jason Levine Re:Man, am I old ... (172 comments)

I remember buying my first computer. It had a 40 megabyte hard drive and I thought: "This is HUGE! There is no way I'll EVER fill this up." Now, can put thousands of times that amount on a microSD card the size of my fingernail. I just bought a 3TB external hard drive because our old 1TB models were filling up.

3 days ago
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Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Jason Levine Re: These idiots remain idiotic (378 comments)

If the MPAA really was serious about fighting piracy, they would work with NetFlix and other online video providers to get their movies online for a reasonable price. How many would stop pirating if everything they wanted was a Netflix subscription away? Instead they treat Netflix like a big threat and try to deny them as much video content as possible.

3 days ago
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Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Jason Levine Re:does not compute (82 comments)

To be fair, the Slashdot summary does say "bodies of water":

The bodies of water appear to be made mostly of methane, and not mostly ethane as previously thought.

(Emphasis mine.)

3 days ago
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NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

Jason Levine Re:This is why (198 comments)

NASA isn't the only agency to be forced to spend their money on horrible projects. The military has many instances of getting things they don't want because Senator X wants pork for his district or trying to close down an unneeded facility only to be informed that Representative Y is forcing it to stay open because that facility means jobs which means votes for Representative Y.

4 days ago
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NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

Jason Levine Re:Contralual capture? (198 comments)

Part of it might have been that. Part of it might have been that it could have been more expensive to tear down and scrap what was built than to complete it and hope you could put it to some use. A big part, however, was the Republican senators from Mississippi who insisted that it be completed because it's such an important rocket testing center. (Read: This pork flows to our area and so it is important. The pork that flows elsewhere is the evil stuff that needs to be cut.)

In other words, Congress/the President make NASA cancel a rocket program for going over-budget. NASA says "Ok, then we'll stop building this testing facility that was related to this program." Congress says "No, you need to complete and maintain that" so NASA does so. Then NASA is lambasted for doing this because it reeks of wasteful spending. NASA isn't the one wasting money here. (Not saying they are perfect, of course, but this instance the blame doesn't rest on their shoulders.)

4 days ago
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The Pirate Bay Responds To Raid

Jason Levine Re:The Pirate Bay (302 comments)

Copyright is an exchange. The government protects content, for a limited time, in exchange for the "owner" releasing it into the public domain.

This leads to the biggest problem with Copyright today: The length. When copyright was a 14 year term followed by an optional, one-time 14 year renewal, it was a sane trade-off. You get a monopoly on this book you wrote and in exchange, the public gets full access to do whatever they want with it in 14 or 28 years. If you grew up loving a story, you could write a new story using that character when you got older.

Nowadays, though, copyright length is too long. If my younger son (age 7) reads something published today that he likes, he'd need to wait around 95 years (depending on the situation and assuming no more extensions of copyright - which is a big assumption) before it landed in the public domain. Since it is unlikely that my 7 year old will live to 102, his children or grandchildren might benefit from that work going into the public domain.

This whole system was supposed to encourage authors to produce more works, but if I (at age 39) publish something today, how does it encourage me to make more works when my work is still under copyright and I'm 125 (or would have been had I still been alive)? Is an Isaac Asimov story published in 1950 really encouraging Isaac to write more because it remains copyrighted until 2045? (I can see it now. Zombie Asimov rises from the grave and, after a light brains snack, locates some typewriters and begins work on five new novels.)

4 days ago
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Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Jason Levine Re:oh boy... (250 comments)

There's a very real possibility that Sony is doing this for legal reasons. When their employees eventually sue over their data being leaked Sony can make the defense that they did their best to minimize the damage.

It's fun to make fun of Sony and all but let's not act like they aren't being advised by a legal team.

Your honor, we did our best. Once the horses had left the barn, we politely asked the people taking pictures of the horses to instead put said horses back in the barn and close the doors. What else could we do? It's not like we could install locks on the doors before the horses got out in the first place.

4 days ago
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Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents

Jason Levine Re: First amendment? (250 comments)

Sadly, I think most "news companies" (using that term loosely) would be more likely to report "Leaked Documents Show Sony Executive Called RISING_STAR_NUMBER_17 Some Bad Names" rather than "Leaked Documents Show One In Every Hundred Sony Batteries Might Explode In A Month Or So."

4 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Jason Levine Re:freedom 2 b a moron (1050 comments)

Sadly, parents considering this "choice" hear scary news stories about Autism (whose incidence is rising only because of better detection techniques). As far as polio, measles, whooping cough, etc, they hear very few factual news stories and a lot of hogwash from "natural medicine experts" who insist that all you need to do to be immune to these diseases is wash your hands and take these supplements that the "experts" conveniently sell (while screaming DOWN WITH BIG PHARMA). The "experts" also downplay how dangerous the diseases are. Measles? You just get spots for a week and then you're all better. Whooping cough? Just a bad cough for a few days and you'll be on the mend. Without actual first hand knowledge of the horrors of these diseases, misinformation about the diseases/how to prevent them, and scary stories about Autism, it's no wonder that some parents avoid vaccines.

5 days ago
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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain

Jason Levine Re:Unclear to me depends on google action (191 comments)

I wonder if this means that posting a link to a Spanish news organization in Slashdot's comments means that Slashdot has to pay or if it means I have to pay. If the former, I could see a revenue generation opportunity:

1) Pay someone (preferably someone in a third world country who will work cheap) to post links to your news website on various comment boards.
2) Threaten these people unless they pay*.
3) Profit!

* Sure, they might remove the link, but this just means you need to get your lawmakers to pass a law making removing links illegal.

5 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Jason Levine Re:Vaccines are totally safe (1050 comments)

You have anti-vaccination folks like Meryl Dorey who actively spout such nonsense as "nobody dies from Whooping Cough." Then, when someone dies of Whooping Cough, they brand the family of that person liars unless they give Meryl the person's complete medical history so she can verify that it the death was actually due to Whooping Cough. Apparently, she's more of an expert than all of the health care workers that treated the person. This happened with Dana McCaffery who died of Whooping Cough at 4 weeks old. Meryl called her parents liars and demanded they give her all of Dana's medical records. They refused, but of course had they I have no doubt that Meryl would have found the "real reason" that Dana died - especially if Meryl could somehow tie the death to a vaccination no matter how tenuous the link.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Back Up Photos With Amazon's Unlimited Photos Cloud Drive?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I currently use external hard drives as my backup method. While not as foolproof as automated online backup, it has proved less expensive for me considering that my backups are pushing 1 TB. Around 600GB of that amount are photos or videos. Today, Amazon announced that they are making Cloud Drive storage for photos unlimited for Amazon Prime members. Assuming you kept a local backup as well and that you were already an Amazon Prime member (which I am), would you trust Amazon Cloud Drive to backup 600GB of photos?"
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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 5 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  |  more than 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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