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For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

Peter Simpson Re:Look at *why* people are pirating (141 comments)

Exactly. I offer Netflix only as a legitimate source of "all you can watch for $20/mo". The fact that they carry only a very limited selection of movies (not even the old B&W ones from the 40s) leads me to consider using other, less legitimate means, to obtain the films I want to watch. I'd be happy to watch them on Netflix (considering that I'm paying for it), but, for whatever reason, they choose not to offer them. And we're not talking about current films, either. There's really only one alternative: $60/yr for a Hide-My-Ass VPN and torrents.

2 days ago

For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

Peter Simpson Look at *why* people are pirating (141 comments)

It's because there's no convenient way (other than pirating) to get the media you want to watch/listen to, when you want to watch/listen to it. If the media companies would make *everything* available under a subscription model (like Netflix), there would be no need to go to Pirate Bay to get it. I suspect much of what is pirated is watched once. Figure $60/yr for a VPN, or $20/mo for Netflix (which, sadly, doesn't have a tenth what's available by torrent), and the media companies could do pretty well...if they would only do it.

2 days ago

Brazil Nut Effect Explains Mystery of the Boulder-Strewn Surfaces of Asteroids

Peter Simpson Re:That's how I clean my cat's litter box. (58 comments)

I shake 'er up. The big pieces float to the top. I scoop them out. Brazil nut effect. Asteroid problem solved. It took an international team to sort this out? Come on! :D

It's the same in an organization -- shake it up -- the management rises to the top.

Any similarity to a litter box is purely coincidental

about two weeks ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Peter Simpson Re:Not me... (752 comments)

As someone who has had a recent issue with a certain major bank(they closed the account and sent cashiers checks to me for the balance. Waiting 2-3 days without money wasn't pleasant)...I will never go cashless. Relying on these financial institutions for every transaction is something I will not trust. I won't get into the whole NSA/FBI/etc. potential tracking of all my purchases.

Nor me.

Cash is anonymous.
No fees to use cash (yet, I guess)

about two weeks ago

Asteroid Mining Bill Introduced In Congress To Protect Private Property Rights

Peter Simpson Having solved all other earthly problems... (181 comments)

Words fail me. Almost. I realize that Congress needs to do appear to be doing something, while avoiding all possible controversy, but this seems like a press release that should never have gone out. Perhaps if they concerned themselves less with asteroid mining and more with the immigration issue, pollution, healthcare, and any number of more important issues, Americans might have a smidgin more respect for their elected officials. This seems like an issue that could wait...or maybe they could let the interns handle it.

about two weeks ago

Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

Peter Simpson Drone position log? (310 comments)

Do these drones keep a log or recording of their flight path? That would be interesting to present at the trial.

about two weeks ago

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Peter Simpson Re:A win for freedom (1330 comments)

Further, Hobby Lobby still provides coverage for more than a dozen kinds of birth control. Just not the ones that can induce abortion of an already fertilized fetus.

Do they alow gay people to work for them? Just as religion should have no place in government (hah!), it has no place in the commercial world, either.

about three weeks ago

EDSAC Diagrams Rediscovered

Peter Simpson Donate them (37 comments)

Either to the National Museum of Computing (UK) or the Computer History Museum (US), and scan them so they can be put online.

about three weeks ago

The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code

Peter Simpson XYZZY (178 comments)

It may be a bit dark, but I don't think I'm likely to be eaten by a grue

"Nothing happens here."

about a month ago

Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Peter Simpson History (519 comments)

"And the history teachers never bothered to mention the Germans and Italians that were in American concentration camps alongside the Japanese."

Yeah? My mother had an italian surname and she joined the Navy. The Japanese-Americans were shamefully interned, but I'd like a reference to support your claim of internment of German and Italian Americans. If you're referring to POW camps, the German and Italian POWs were, by their own accounts, well treated, well fed, and given the option to remain in the US at the end of the war.

Tenure in elementary and secondary schools makes good sense. Otherwise, the school administration. ever eager to save a buck, would lay off the older, higher-paid teachers, and hire new ones at lower wages. Tenure isn't what it used to be anyway, with teacher annual competency reviews and three-year recertification programs. Fail any of these and you're out. Tenure, correctly managed, retains older, experienced teachers, even though they cost more.

about a month and a half ago

America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Peter Simpson Re:SHeriff Michael Gayer (875 comments)

needs to go to a war zone for a few months.

Violence has been trending down for decades. This dumb ass just get a hard on with driving around in the military vehicle.

Plus he is in Johnson county doing Sheriff duties. Not anything close to a war zone. Using a few stories from the news to claim America is a war zone is so fucking stupid this guy should be fired.

Wait until he gets the fuel bill for the first month. Then, the first maintenance bill. The MRAAP is a white elephant.

about a month and a half ago

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Buys the LA Clippers For $2 Billion

Peter Simpson Re:Instead of a new TV I guess (270 comments)

I like how one of the worst CEO's of all time still makes enough money to go on a $2 billion shopping spree. At my job, I only get a bonus when I perform above expectations...

A former boss once said it best: (At the C level) It's a club, and the rule is "F*ck up, and move up!"

about 2 months ago

The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

Peter Simpson Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (264 comments)

The Office Ribbon UI was created because the Office UI needed a reset.

A "reset"? I was doing just fine with the old menus. I have no problem with a "reset" if that's what you want. But I'm more efficient when I use the UI I'm used to. So at least, give me the option of keeping the old UI. You can even make the new UI the default. Just leave me a way to use the one I'm used to.

The UI needed to change. It did. Most people who don't have an automatic rejection of any change prefer the new UI.

I have yet to meet one person who prefers the ribbon over the old menu system. Maybe they exist, but I haven't met them yet. If you want to talk about UIs that need to change, I present: Visio. Purchased by Microsoft from Visio and, to this date, the UI is quirky and out of step with the other Office products. And that's putting it kindly.

Office has had 20 years of adding features since then. Features that few could use because they couldn't find them, buried in menus and tool strips and everywhere else

I'm sorry -- is this a plus or a minus, or just a clear indication that Microsoft's Office development team has been badly in need of a competent UI designer for over 20 years?

Most office documents are now editable on the web and on the phone. That's kind of a Big Deal.

Maybe for you. I edit my documents on a wide screen laptop. I'll grant you that being able to share documents is a big deal, but you will never convince me that being able to edit documents on your phone is a major leap forward in anything but frustration and eyestrain.

about 2 months ago

Do Embedded Systems Need a Time To Die?

Peter Simpson No. No. and No. (187 comments)

Our shop, up until a few years ago, included some n/c milling machines with very old PC-based controllers. They worked. It was sometimes challenging to find replacement hardware when a power supply or IDE hard drive failed, but once you replaced the failed part, the DOS-based controller software did what it was supposed to do, and did it reliably and repeatedly.

If the electronics had decided it was time to die, we would have had to replace the machine it controlled, as nobody made electronics and sensors for these old machines.

about 2 months ago

Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java

Peter Simpson Re:That's some crazy shenanigians right there. (303 comments)

IIRC, one of the permitted exceptions to copyright is interfaces. You need to be able to copy interfaces to produce code that's compatible with existing code, and that's why interfaces can't be copyrighted.

This is what happens when you have non-technical lawyers and judges trying to rule on technical matters.

about 2 months ago

The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

Peter Simpson Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (264 comments)

And with Microsoft deciding to change their UI every few years now...,

You've hit on what I consider to be Microsoft's biggest problem: they are no longer making basic functional improvements to their products. Instead, they are adding bells and whistles, and changing file formats to force upgrades (if your clients have ver XYZ+1, then you need it to read the default format of the files they send you).

To me, this indicates a change in attitude. No longer are they striving to put out the best software, they're churning revs to keep revenue up. It's a sign of desperation and it has been going on for several years, now.

about 2 months ago

Mozilla Offers FCC a Net Neutrality Plan With a Twist

Peter Simpson Re:Even easier solution (123 comments)

I voted for Obama. Let's get that out of the way first.

That being said, I have been very disappointed with his relationship with Big Media (and corporations, in general). I predict he will always come down on their side, and against the consumer.
The other issue I have with him is his support of the security services over the rights of Americans to be left alone. I would have expected him to have called for the total repeal of the PATRIOT Act long ago. So,on these two issues, I will join in the chorus of "Thanks, Obama".

about 3 months ago

Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

Peter Simpson Linus's real contribution (141 comments)

IMHO, his major contribution was the use of email and the NNTP newsgroup to organize and delegate tasks to open source programmers around the world. Linux is the product of many hands, and Torvalds should get the credit for building a framework that allows these hands to contribute in an organized way to a final product which is greater than the sum of its parts.

Linux, evan early in its life, was head and shoulders above the other commonly available OS for the Intel platform (DOS). Its competitors were Xenix (from Microsoft) and SCO's Unix. Both were hugely expensive and not necessarily better or more reliable than Linux (they also seemed mired in corporate molasses as far as new features were concerned). I remember installing early versions of Linux from floppy images downloaded from FTP servers. Not only did it work, but it was fast and more stable than Windows 3.1. Its only drawback was the lack of an office suite. There was no word processor and no spreadsheet to compete with Word and Excel. Linus's stated goal was a Unix clone that would run on a PC, to be used by hackers and students. By using the "power of the internet" to identify and organize like minded developers, he succeeded. *That* is in my opinion, his true accomplishment.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

Peter Simpson "IT Security Alert" (84 comments)

First, I would title them IT Security Alerts, rather than Security Alerts. One has to do with your computer, the other has to do with thrreats to your personal safety. You don't want people overreacting.

about 3 months ago


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