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Obama To Sign 'America Invents Act of 2011' Today

Meneguzzi Is this retroactive? (244 comments)

How ironic is that, because if it is, it would undermine one of the greatest achievements that Americans like to attribute to their country. Will this act from Obama cause Americans to rewrite their history books about who invented the Airplane, since the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont filed first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santos-Dumont_14-bis ?
Before Americans start to bash me, I would suggest them read this article: http://www.airshowfan.com/first-airplane.htm

more than 3 years ago
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NASA Taps 7 Commercial Firms For Suborbital Flights

Meneguzzi Re:Interesting approach (27 comments)

More importantly, as you pointed out before, smaller companies have the ability to reduce costs, particularly administrative costs. The thing that makes bigger companies inefficient is the administrative bloat. People like to deride NASA about cost bloats (with some reason), but private is not necessarily leaner. If one has ever worked for a large company like HP, Dell or IBM (I only have experience with computer companies, but I think this apply to other giants), the admin bloat is just as bad.

more than 3 years ago
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Peter Adekeye Freed, Judge Outraged At Cisco's Involvement

Meneguzzi Re:extradition cases (271 comments)

Besides the embarrassment to the government, which might be something most Americans will not care, one bad consequence for the general American public is that this undermines the credibility of American extradition requests, providing reasons for other countries to deny extradition requests, even in cases where the extradition might have been a fair one, e.g. a divorcee parent kidnapping a child to another country, white collar criminals escaping prosecution (assuming those are even prosecuted :-D), common criminals abroad, etc.

more than 2 years ago
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In Censorship Move, Iran Plans Its Own Internet

Meneguzzi Quoting bender (almost) (206 comments)

I'm gonna build my own Internet, with Blackjack and Hookers. In fact, forget the Internet.

more than 3 years ago
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RMS Cancels Lectures In Israel

Meneguzzi Re:Politics aside ... (609 comments)

I feel really sorry for you if you have made this interpretation about my comment, despite all my explanations to ignore the politics of the matter. At no point in my comment did I make a judgement of value on Israel, nor did I state anything that was not factually true. I did not make a value judgement on the Israeli position to withhold tax money from the PA, but I did state that a logical consequence of this decision is that Palestinian Universities would likely be affected by their government collecting less money.
Of course it is hard to separate politics from everything else in this region, but my argument was that there seems to be purely economical reasons for this decision, and that other institutions in countries with a similar disparity in wealth (regardless of an ongoing ethno-religious conflict) could have reacted in a similar way.

If it was not clear, let me clarify further. If you replaced Israel and Palestine for, say, Brazil and Paraguay, which are two countries that border each other, and where there is some dependency between the two of them (since Paraguay is landlocked, it depends on its neighbour for many shipping routes), and both of them have very different living standards and investment in academia. If the poorest country invites somebody to come give a lecture and pay for the flight for a guy coming from across the globe to come, and the richer neighbour decides to take advantage of this trip to invite the same lecturer to come to their country right after without offering to help with the trip costs, would it not feel unfair from a purely economical point of view?

more than 3 years ago
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RMS Cancels Lectures In Israel

Meneguzzi Politics aside ... (609 comments)

Well, opinions about the right or wrongness of Israel aside, it is a well known fact that Israeli universities are pretty well funded and staffed (especially if compared to Palestinian ones).
They already have top class academics working for them and plenty of funding to bring other academics to visit them pretty regularly. I have had the privilege to meet many famous Israeli academics, but I am yet to meet a Palestinian one.
If we just ignore the politics for a little while, I can see why an underfunded Palestinian university might feel cheated if they are paying for a guy to come from across the world to give a lecture, and the guys across the border who have lots more funding and better staff than they have tried to amortize Israeli costs of bringing a foreign academic by using Palestinian money. After all, they could have offered to split the bill or something.
On top of that, I'm not sure about the situation right now, but until very recently, Israel (which controls Palestinian borders and tax collection) was withholding tax money from the Palestinian Authority because they were in reconciliation talks with Hamas. Again, ignoring politics, but looking at a very real cashflow issue that their universities might be having, I can see why they might resent this move.

more than 3 years ago
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Convicted Terrorist Relied On Single-Letter Cipher

Meneguzzi Re:Definition (254 comments)

Profiling is only wrong (or at very least politically incorrect) if you do it on the basis of attributes over which the profiled people have no obvious control, like ethnicity and nationality. Law enforcement agencies have a long history of psychological profiling (which is, arguably, also not under somebody's control) that has been accepted by most people as effective, though I myself have no knowledge to ascertain that indeed is effective.

more than 3 years ago
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Convicted Terrorist Relied On Single-Letter Cipher

Meneguzzi Definition (254 comments)

What gives me solace regarding the danger posed by extremists (religious or otherwise) is that almost by definition these people are not terribly smart. If you induce yourself to believe some fairy tale about the afterlife, to the point that you are willing to kill people, you cannot be that rational. Of course the government needs to be watching out for these people (since they are dangerous), but I do not believe it takes all the powers that have been given to the government to keep track and arrest these loonies.

more than 3 years ago
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Paul Allen Rips Bill Gates In Autobiography

Meneguzzi Re:Does it surprise anyone... (249 comments)

You do know that this $1 a year is just a tax scam, right? The amount of money they use personally through the company to pay for anything from a private jet to mansions and other perks is far more than their salary would be, however. Not only do they not pay what they should in personal income tax, they also screw the American tax payer by using all sorts of loopholes in where the company declares its earnings.

more than 3 years ago
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun Call For Worldwide Game Release Dates

Meneguzzi Re:Latin American is not part of the world, clearl (161 comments)

My bad about Asia, but in my defence at least in Japan and to some extent even China they are the gaming Mecca, they have games that will never see the light of day in the west. Many of my friends that are even more into gaming than I am have learned Japanese partly to be able to play some of those imports. And about English skill, most people who game have at least a cursory grasp of English, and in fact use games as an important tool to learn the language. I am myself a native speaker of Portuguese, and aside from very specific games where the localization was interesting (and I can only think of the Tropico games here), I would never buy a game localised to Portuguese. To me, it just feels weird. On a side note, thanks to Lucasarts for making the games that taught me a significant portion of my English vocabulary, and Amazon for shipping games to Brazil when I was growing up.

more than 3 years ago
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun Call For Worldwide Game Release Dates

Meneguzzi Latin American is not part of the world, clearly (161 comments)

I think it's rather interesting that the OP is outraged that the game is taking so long to reach Europe and Australia, all righteous mentioning worldwide distribution, but he completely failed to mention Latin America, which is known to have (both in and out of Slashdot) gamers just as keen to obtain these new releases, and for which the piracy argument is hammered with a lot more gusto. On that same vein, shall I mention Africa as well? Last time I checked South Africa, for one, has a rather decent market size, and I'm not even mentioning other Commonwealth nations.

more than 3 years ago
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Cutting Prices Is the Only Way To Stop Piracy

Meneguzzi Re:Repost (620 comments)

I grew up in southern Brazil, and what you say about Paraguay strikes a cord on me very much so. I bought my SNES there :-D like a month after the American version was released. But this whole free trade thing was not exactly a free ride for Brazil, you were not supposed to bring that much stuff back into Brazil. Still, where you could only buy things at 400% percent price as you say, even with the fines it was worth it. Back in the late 80s, some of these things were not even available legally in Brazil because of what they called "market reservation".

Still, even if things go through Miami, shipping from south east asia to north west America and then back south should be a major component in the price. And in Brazil, what skews things significantly is that one pays taxes over taxes. Last time I had the heart to calculate, you had 100% import tax, calculated over the price of the product including shipping (so not the value of the product itself), plus a federal 15% tax over industrialized products (even if they were not made in Brazil, on top of the price with the import tax), plus a 20% sales tax (on the price with both previous taxes), plus the margins for the person selling it.

By this time, the product is probably already out of reach for most people (at least in Brazil), and then of course, given what you said in your previous post, the rationale that this is a luxury item kicks in, and the people who went through the trouble of sorting out all the red tape in customs decides to ramp up the price of things. If you want to compare how this works, just go to the Apple Store in the US and in Brazil (since it's the same company, pricing policies should be consistent). A Mac costs almost 3 times more in Brazil than in the US.

more than 3 years ago
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Cutting Prices Is the Only Way To Stop Piracy

Meneguzzi Re:Repost (620 comments)

In neighbouring Brazil, the price hike can be half attributed to taxes. But one thing that I noticed about many electronics companies that sell there is that they seem to ship stuff from the US (as a consequence of their physical presence in the country to be an extension of the North American office), even if they manufacture pretty much everything in China. That might be one of the reasons for the price hike (dumb logistics). I'm not sure if this is the case for Argentina, though.

more than 3 years ago
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Quad Core, Thunderbolt In New MacBook Pros

Meneguzzi Re:The 15 inch quad core price is very disappointi (495 comments)

I have to agree with you, I actually think the opposite of the original poster (that Mac Laptops are a waste of money). I think that the savings you can get (versus the reliability of the resulting computer) are much greater on a desktop, which you can build using high quality parts, and then conceivably make a hackintosh at home. Their laptops are quite expensive, but if you compare them with other high-specced laptops, they are not that much more expensive, while the useful life of a MacBook tends to be much longer than an equivalent computer from Dell (Alienware), HP and other big manufacturers.
I switched to a Mac Book Pro in late 2008, and I have had no issue with the computer to this day (I am only considering buying a new Mac out of vanity now), whereas the Fujitsu laptop I had before was dying on me, both processor and battery. That particular laptop had the same spec as an Alienware computer of the time, the chassis was the same, motherboard and video card was the same, with the only difference being the display (without a webcam and of lower resolution). My brother bought an Alienware computer around the same time as I bought my current MBP, and his computer did not last more than a year and a half (with the video card dying and needing the "baking trick" to get back to life). He is now in his second Alienware. I have been using my Mac for pretty much everything from work to entertainment, keeping it on and working for at least 12 hours a day.

So, in my experience, if you intend to use the computer heavily and keep it for a long time, I think the investment is worth it (it's much cheaper than two Alienware computers with the same spec). Of course, I have my misgivings about Apple's attitude to overarching control of everything, from content distribution to the use of their hardware, and this might eventually turn me off their products. But then I can install Windows on the computer :-D.

more than 3 years ago
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Thieves in South Africa Hit Traffic Lights For SIM Cards

Meneguzzi Re:That Important? (181 comments)

The problem with developing countries is that many of the things you take for granted as dirt cheap in consumer societies are much more expensive in these countries (for various factors including government red-tape, lacking infrastructure, etc), and you have lots of people who have an extremely low income.
In these countries, you have gangs of people specializing in stealing copper wire from the power/phone lines, which would seem even less rational for somebody from an industrialized country.

more than 3 years ago
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Mac OS X 10.6.6 Introduces App Store

Meneguzzi Re:What about Country Specific Apple Stores? (408 comments)

I'm not sure that is so, I've been using Steam for a while now, and I have never had issues buying, downloading, playing and updating any of the games I bought with them. I also know for a fact that Steam works flawlessly in countries like Brazil (where my brother lives) which are notorious for having multiple barriers to the importation of computer stuff (and heavy taxation, e.g. a Mac there costs 2.5 times what it costs in the US), to the point that most of his friends no longer buy boxed PC games anymore.
So presumably, if local legislation was the barrier in the iTunes store, then Steam would also necessarily be affected.

more than 3 years ago
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Mac OS X 10.6.6 Introduces App Store

Meneguzzi What about Country Specific Apple Stores? (408 comments)

One thing that concerns me regarding the App Store is whether they will continue with artificial national boundaries for their content. I am quite mobile regarding country, having lived in the UK and now in the US, and one thing that really pissed me off regarding my purchases for my iPod touch is that when I moved here and moved my account to the US, I can no longer get updates for most of the apps I bought in the UK. Moreover, the couple of books I bought while in the UK are not accessible to me while my account information says I am in the US. The main advantage of the previous Mac Software was that if you bought the DVD at the store, you could move country and reinstall your app. Does anybody know if there is any restriction about country for this App store then?

more than 3 years ago
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Tide of International Science Moving Against US, EU

Meneguzzi Re:Who in their right mind would choose science? (302 comments)

I wish I had mod points to give you. Your comment is spot on! I personally believe that what is keeping Brazil from breaking into the real tech players is the red tape involved with any company and the lack of investment into research and innovation. Companies in Brazil truly think that R&D is a huge waste of money, and I feel bad that in the US, the country that has (or had) the greatest innovators in computer science when I was growing up is now spending less and less money on R&D.

more than 4 years ago
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Finding a Research Mentor?

Meneguzzi Re:Choose a great supervisor, not great research (162 comments)

Please mod this guy up, if I had the mod points I'd do it, this is the most insightful piece of advice one can write. The research should be easy for you to grasp (if not, you are not going to the right area), but in finding a good supervisor lies the "art" of a successful PhD.

more than 4 years ago
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Poor Vision? There's an App For That

Meneguzzi Re:There... Fixed that for you... (146 comments)

I don't want to be an argument killer, but if you had read the article and saw the names and descriptions of the group members, you'd have seen that the main developers of this project are two Indians and two Brazilians, so my guess is that they have been to a lot more than a single village in the middle of the African jungle (well, maybe not in Africa, but in India and Brazil), and that they do have a, shall we say, decent grip on the resource limitations of the developing world.
But then again I might be wrong, but last time I checked, India and Brazil were still considered developing world, weren't they?

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Bluetooth versus Wireless Mice

Meneguzzi Meneguzzi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Meneguzzi writes "Having stuck with wired mice for years, I have recently been impressed by a couple of cordless mice I've used on other people's computers so much that I now want to buy one to use with my Mac Book Pro. However, while shopping around for the perfect cordless laptop mouse I was stuck with the question of whether to go for a bluetooth mouse or one of the many proprietary cordless mice with tiny USB receivers. To my surprise, there seems to be little literature systematically comparing these two options for attributes like precision, battery life (both for the mouse and the laptop), RF interference, and whatnot. As a Mac user, bluetooth has the advantage that it won't take up a USB port, and (in theory), would consume less battery than a USB port, but I wonder if this is actually true in practice.
On top of that, I noticed that there are far fewer (and less fancy) options for Bluetooth mice than there are for proprietary cordless ones. Logitech, for instance, has a very basic Bluetooth Mouse, while its proprietary options are much fancier. So I was wondering what are the experiences from Slashdotters on this particular type of hardware, and any recommendations."

Journals

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Subversion hosting

Meneguzzi Meneguzzi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I have always maintained a server at home with, among other things, some sort of version control system, first CVS, and later SVN. But after I left my home country for a postgrad degree, and became increasingly mobile, I have seriously considered, and eventually found, online providers of these services either for free or not costing an arm and a leg for the service (as at first these services were mostly for the corporate world). In the past couple of years, the number of subversion hosting services seems to have exploded, with even a website devoted solely for comparing many SVN hosting services, and more recently, a more focused review of these services.

Now many people in this forum would just suggest me to use an open source provider such as Sourceforge, or Google Code, but things are not that simple for me, since these sites do not accept just any project, and injecting unrelated stuff into the repository of my own projects would probably violate their terms of use. Besides that, I version pretty much all the documents I write, particularly my research papers, and I do not want the sources to these papers open to the public before I publish them, for obvious reasons. I have now moved my own repositories to a service called XP-Dev, which was initially awesome for giving away 1.5GB of space for free, with SSL encryption and the ability to share repositories with multiple users, but now the guy went back on his promise to keep the service entirely free, introducing a fee to get all the storage (which he says he wants to increase) and wants to remove SSL from free users.

Even though it seems that the prices are not as high as I have seen elsewhere, I was wondering if other Slashdotters have other providers among the myriad ones out there to suggest.

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