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I trust Web apps like Google Docs ...

MinutiaeMan Re:Last option's clever, but not TOO clever (194 comments)

But even if I hosted my own server, I still wouldn't trust it as far as I could throw it... because the farther I throw it, the less I can trust it!

more than 4 years ago
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We Were Smarter About Copyright Law 100 Years Ago

MinutiaeMan Re:They don't even go back far enough. (152 comments)

But here's the problem: the very concept of "marginal cost of production" is nearly made obsolete by computers and the Internet. It used to be that the effort to produce the copies was proportional to the number of copies being made. Not any more. (Why else would we have spam?)

Maybe the real measure of value is the total cost of production. It used to be that total cost and marginal cost were pretty closely related. But in today's world, the amount of effort to create a work has stayed the same (apparent quality of said work should be ignored for the sake of this discussion), while the effort to duplicate or distribute said work has gone way down.

This is the same situation created by the printing press in the 1500s: it used to be that monks had to transcribe documents by hand in order to distribute them thus making scrolls and so on highly prized. Suddenly people could make many, many more copies quite easily. However, it still required individual effort to make each copy, so marginal cost of production still applied.

Radio and television upset the balance even further. Someone could broadcast a work just once, and it didn't matter how many people were watching or listening. But the market managed to twist a way to apply the idea of "marginal cost" by figuring out about how many people were tuning in, thus deriving an apparent value. Hence, advertising and the Nielsen ratings.

There's not going to be an easy answer to the problem.

more than 5 years ago
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On my spaceship, I'd like artificial gravity ....

MinutiaeMan Re:Variation (534 comments)

I don't think that's gravity fluctuating. I think that's gravity working as a constant while the ship itself gets bashed around, or at least the engines momentarily going out of alignment.

more than 5 years ago
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Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV

MinutiaeMan Re:Octopi are Awesome! (482 comments)

Then they become smarter than us and take over? I think I saw that movie.

more than 5 years ago
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How To Verify CD-R Data Retention Over Time?

MinutiaeMan Re:dvdisaster (303 comments)

Well first, consider that there's a cost of maintaining a server, or for paying to have space on one of the cloud services. Also, I can think of plenty of scenarios where having a hard copy (so to speak) of the file is better... for business situations, what if you leave your job? What if access to the server is constricted for some reason? What if you want to carry these files home, but the corporate firewall doesn't permit access to a remote server?

For home users, maybe you want to archive your photos in case of a hard drive failure. (The original post wasn't just talking about distribution, it was also talking about archiving/preserving the data.) Or maybe you want to save a lot of your files in a safe deposit box or something. And maybe you only want to save 5GB worth of data. What's the point in spending money on a giant hard drive that you're only going to use a fraction of? CDs and DVDs are still much smaller than hard drives, physically, for relatively small amounts of data.

I certainly agree that the ideal of having everything be server-based makes sense, but it's hardly the be-all and end-all of the answer. As with many things in the technology world, having alternatives is a Good Thing(TM).

more than 5 years ago
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How To Verify CD-R Data Retention Over Time?

MinutiaeMan Re:dvdisaster (303 comments)

Stupid question, but why is the poster still using CDs for data? Hard drives are down to 10 cents per gigabyte

Are you serious? CDs are a useful way to distribute a large group of files through a method other than e-mail (or "the cloud," though I kinda hate that term). It's especially helpful if the information needs to be available for a while... That is, rather than storing the files somewhere on a server where things can get lost or moved, sometimes having a physical CD is just a better option.

By your logic, if I wanted to send 400MB of files to, say, 50 people, you'd have me buy 50 hard drives? Or even 50 USB flash drives?

The Internet may be making medium-sized file transfers (in the 50MB-to-5GB range) a lot easier, but sometimes an indirect transfer by CD or DVD is still a better option. Sure, the Internet transfer method is only going to get easier over time, and CDs will eventually go the way of floppies. But that time is a lot farther away than you seem to think.

more than 5 years ago

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