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A Memory of Light To Be Released January 8, 2013

Random BedHead Ed Re:WoT - An ego booster for bad writers... (228 comments)

I read the first book, and it was the most horrible piece of shit that I have had the misfortune to read in years. The pacing was bad, the characters were forgettable, and the plot was meandering. ... am I missing something? Why are fans reading 8 or 10 books of this stuff, when it is this awful?

You were indeed missing something: specifically, the next six books, which are extremely good. I definitely felt the same as you did about book one, The Eye of the World. I hated the dream sequences, found the characters uninteresting, thought they argued too much, found the enemy somewhat lame, and so on.

But I was encouraged to keep reading by friends who loved the Wheel of Time, and who seemed like addicts trying to get me hooked on their drug of choice. So I read The Great Hunt (book two) and by the end I was an addict as well, and not out of mere habit, because the more Jordan builds his world in the early books, the better it gets, and the more you realize that he has a very thorough vision of how the world is put together. You start to trust that he knows the ending, knows every plot twist from now until the ending, and when it ends, it's going to be a bombshell. One of my favorite things to do after I got several books into the series was was to go back to read the prologue to Eye of the World, a sequence that made little sense when I first read it, but upon revisiting it, it fits right in. It reads like Jordan had already written the next seven books in his head when he started the first one.

Sadly, around book eight he becomes obsessed with forgettable minor characters, the interminable siege of Tar Valon, and other trivialities. When Jordan, amidst the most boring sequels ever, penned a prequel, I dropped out. So sad. It could have been wonderful if he'd stuck to the main story and ended it around book ten.

I am told by a few people who have more tenacity than me that the last Jordan book was a return to form, and the Sanderson sequels have been quite good.

more than 2 years ago
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How the GOP (and the Tea Party) Helped Kill SOPA

Random BedHead Ed Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (857 comments)

You assume that Gore would have been different from Bush. That is unlikely, especially given the degree to which Obama has been no different from Bush.

That is a very strange thing to say. No one can really know what a Gore presidency would have been like, and it surely might have sucked, but there can't be much doubt that it would have been very different from Bush's. For one thing, President Bush's 2000 platform involved tax cuts, which were one of the first things he did. Gore's platform did not involve any tax cuts. So one big difference is that public debt would be about $1.8 trillion dollars less than it is, unless Gore similarly passed policies that he was not willing to pay for (Democrats, though, have tended to include means of payment into their legislation).

Also, Gore would have had a White House staff made up of Clinton veterans and a handful of new people. This would have been very different from President Bush's staff of neoconservatives, who were the driving force behind the Iraq war, so even if September 11th had happened identically during a Gore presidency, it probably would not have resulted in a conflict with Iraq. On the downside, Saddam Hussein and the Baathists would still be in power there, though fewer Americans would have been killed and we'd be about ... $800 billion? $1 trillion? more? ... less in debt than we are now. Afghanistan might also have played out very differently without a second conflict running.

We have no idea what the housing crisis would have been like under Gore, and I suspect it would still have happened because the foundational problems of the banking and finance industries were introduced during the Clinton Administration. But it is interesting to speculate whether the SEC would have acted differently in its enforcement between 2001 and 2008 if it possessed a different, and larger, staff. It is that agency's job to call foul if, say, popular and lucrative securities are actually backed by risky mortgages and ratings agencies are giving those securities AAA thumbs-up for no discernable reason. President Bush had a very clear anti-regulatory stance. The SEC under his presidency was understaffed and full of people with similar opinions. Would a Gore SEC have caused the housing bubble to pop earlier? Magic 8-ball says ... murky. But quite possibly.

These are mainly speculations based upon what Bush did that Gore would not have done, based upon his platform. Trillions of dollars, an entire eight-year war, and regulatory oversight might not seem like big differences to you, but I think they count pretty highly.

Your comment about Obama is also very strange. He's further to the right than Gore, but he has very different policies on stem cell research, gays serving in the military, and health care. He's conducting the response to the recession much differently than I think Bush would have. In particular the Affordable Care Act is much more of an industry overhaul than Bush's Medicare Part D changes, and again, they pay for themselves rather than just add to debt.

more than 2 years ago
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How the GOP (and the Tea Party) Helped Kill SOPA

Random BedHead Ed Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (857 comments)

Wow, that wasn't Flamebait. Perhaps the kind person who rated your comment meant to click the "I disagree" rating.

more than 2 years ago
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SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby

Random BedHead Ed Re:Congress, our representatives? (302 comments)

If you believe governments register guns to help solve crime, you are sadly mistaken. That is the talking point, and some of your friendly government agents might even believe that. The point of gun registration is to subsequently remove guns from citizens' hands. History indicates this is often followed by those citizens losing far more of their rights, if not their lives.

It's kinda cute that you called someone else "brainwashed." (Or did the rest of us miss the mass gun registration, collection and previous-owner-killing event you refer to in "history?")

more than 2 years ago
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SOPA Hearings Stacked In Favor of Pro-SOPA Lobby

Random BedHead Ed Re:Congress, our representatives? (302 comments)

The NRA started as an advocacy organization, and one of the most successful in modern times. Unfortunately during their campaigns against (mostly Democrat-sponsored) gun control legislation, they lost track of the fact that they were supposed to be against gun control, not against Democrats generally.

They have still not returned to their original mission, so they're basically just partisan shills now.

more than 2 years ago
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Adobe Ends Development of Flash On Mobile Browsers

Random BedHead Ed Re:Shhh... Listen... (485 comments)

Well, yes, it did go to great lengths to (very reasonably) diss Flash, but my point is that Apple's judgment should have nothing to do with whether people can install Flash of their own volition. And saying you can use another product if you don't like it, while true, doesn't really make a case in favor of Apple.

more than 2 years ago
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Adobe Ends Development of Flash On Mobile Browsers

Random BedHead Ed Re:Except it's quite clear why Apple chose... (485 comments)

Ah, but Java on the desktop was not blocked by Microsoft, Apple and Linux distros. It was blocked by its own demerits. If Steve believed his own arguments he'd have allowed people to install Flash, expecting it to lose popularity of its own accord. Instead, Flash on the phone is failing because software developers cannot distribute their software directly to the user.

more than 2 years ago
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Adobe Ends Development of Flash On Mobile Browsers

Random BedHead Ed Re:Shhh... Listen... (485 comments)

Good riddance to Flash. But you know, since we're on this topic, to all the "Steve Jobs was right" fanboys: you do not understand logic. Sorry, but you don't. (Note: the following rant is not directed at parent, who makes a parallel argument to the one Steve Jobs made, and is surely correct.)

I think that letter from Steve, Thoughts on Flash, is a great way to test whether people understand logical arguments and are competent in keeping separate ideas straight in their heads. Those who see the letter as a definitive rebuttal against the use of Flash on the iPhone fail to do these things. I advise them to avoid both commenting, and voting.

To distill the logic of letter, it basically said the following: Flash sucks. You should therefore not be allowed to use it on your own phone.

Obviously it was more detailed than that, and went to great lengths to politely point out the many ways in which Flash sucks. Go ahead and read it - it's a great takedown of that wretched, ubiquitous plugin. Steve says that Flash goes against the idea of open standards on the web, that it's slow and a resource hog, that its development is way behind what market needs, and that it ran poorly on the iPhone when Apple evaluated it. All good points, and because I agree that Flash is a rotten piece of crap that should never have risen to prominence, I enjoyed reading them.

But none of this directly implies that you should not be allowed to install it on your own phone. Steve makes the case that Flash sucks, but at the end of the article a thinking person does not "better understand why [Apple] do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads." There is no logical connection to support that outcome, even if we emerge from the letter hating Flash more than ever. Again, his premises were spot-on, but his logic was broken, so he pulled a conclusion out of his butt and the masses lapped it up. And to those of you who ignore this sleight of hand and argue that Apple must do whatever it can to restore a sense of childlike wonder and superior design to humanity: shut up, you stupid fanboy zombies. Brains like yours are the reason we have the politicians we have.

more than 2 years ago
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House Votes To Overturn FCC On Net Neutrality

Random BedHead Ed Re:Merger of Corporations and the State (388 comments)

Dems are just as bad. Notice how the pro-IP people are controlling the President?

You're right that the copyright cartels have a lot of influence in both parties, particularly with the Dems, but having bad copyright and patent policies is not morally or ethically equivalent to having bad financial and healthcare policies. The former bad policymaking pollutes our culture and makes computing less fun, and as awful as that is, the latter policies cost lives and fortunes.

about 3 years ago
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FSF Suggests That Google Free Gmail Javascript

Random BedHead Ed Re:In other news.. (413 comments)

So what? Really... so what? Red Hat is stable and exists as it does perfectly fine. This bizarre notion we have in this country that all companies must always be earning more and more every year than before and always growing and profits must be more than any other company is unsustainable.

Maybe this is true in the long run, but it is the way corporations function. Corporations are designed to generate increased value for their investors, and are required to do so. It's not so much a rampant ideology as it is a deliberate design of the legal system surrounding limited liability companies.

about 3 years ago
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AT&T To Acquire T-Mobile From Deutsche Telekom

Random BedHead Ed Re:Gave up hope long ago (748 comments)

GSM is only great when you can buy an unlocked phone, choose a provider and pop in a SIM, then change on a whim while paying lower monthly prices due to the lack of a subsidy. This is one of the many benefits Europeans enjoy, along with good roaming agreements to ensure they can make a call even if their own provider doesn't cover the area well.

It's called "competition." It's one of the primary reasons we choose to have capitalism rather than communism, but for some reason a lot of people tend to forget this. Specifically, we forget that the opposite of communism is not unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism, since those two things amount to pretty much the same sort of stagnant plutocracies. The opposite of communism is regulated capitalism, since vibrant competition is the whole point of the arrangement. Sadly we keep running farther from it in the US.

more than 2 years ago
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BlackBerry Devices May Run Android Apps

Random BedHead Ed Re:Very, very stupid idea (158 comments)

Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?"

For the keyboard, the brand, the IT department support, and the Exchange integration. From a user's perspective Android support is a good thing, and a value add for BlackBerry. The real question is for developers: why produce software for BlackBerry when BB users can run Android apps? I think developers will ditch the native BB software if BBs run Android.

It's funny, I used to work for RIM and I remember chatting with another engineer over beers after Google first announced their plans for Android. We both said, "Maybe we should adopt Andoid and build BBConnect on top of that platform, since it's all available to us." RIM obviously didn't do this, and I'm not sure whether they even considered it, but it looks like they're moving toward the same outcome though the opposite strategy.

more than 3 years ago
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BlackBerry Devices May Run Android Apps

Random BedHead Ed Re:Consumer Victory (158 comments)

Every argument about the hardware being great for RIM can be summed up with 1) It takes a beating 2) it has a keyboard.

Correction: it has a really good keyboard that puts others to shame. It's difficult to overstate this: if you really want to thumb-type fast, there's no other keyboard like it.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Pulling Out of Texas Over $269 Million Tax Bill

Random BedHead Ed Re:Texas Budget Deficit (811 comments)

Pretty much all states have this tax. You have a physical presence in the state you pay sales tax. Dell does it. I have no clue why Amazon thought they could skirt it.

Because they think they can skirt any tax. It's why they do business where they do business - why they create separate companies to handle some of their shipping operations so they won't have a tax liability in that state. And they can threaten to close shop and move across state lines if states consider taxing them. Texas is calling their bluff, but they have no choice. Amazon uses the state-maintained roads to ship things to us; they would call the police or fire authorities in an emergency. Clearly they should pay the taxes that support these amenities.

more than 3 years ago
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Motorola's XOOM Tablet To Cost $799; Wi-Fi Requires 3G Activation?

Random BedHead Ed Re:So much for the supposed iPad killer (429 comments)

I really dont understand the push for every device to have 3g it almost seems like a conspiracy with the cell phone providers.

That is exactly what it is. Motorola wants a distributor, and that distributor will be a wireless carrier. And wireless carriers, like cable companies, make a living bundling one or two things you really want with a dozen overpriced things you don't. It's why your cable lineup includes QVC and Verizon can charge you extra to use your phone as a wifi hotspot.

more than 3 years ago
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Bombay High Court Rules Astrology To Be a Science

Random BedHead Ed Re:Mod parent down. (478 comments)

I actually like some of the editorializing. And I'm not even sure it counts as editorializing when it's a topic like this. Sure, if this article were about how much we should pay in taxes (if anything), or what popular computer platform or text editor is best, then I'd solidly agree that it's an open question and the poster should consider staying out of the fray in his summary. But if it's something like this, where the underlying matter is well established science, why not make a snarky comment? If the bozos in this story suggested the world might actually be flat, should Rob back off and say, "And who am I to suggest they may be wrong?" I don't think he should.

more than 3 years ago
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Bombay High Court Rules Astrology To Be a Science

Random BedHead Ed Re:In related news... (478 comments)

More witches!

more than 3 years ago
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App — the Most Abused Word In Tech?

Random BedHead Ed Re:"Cloud" is far more overused (353 comments)

My vote for most overused word in tech is definitely "cloud" - and Microsoft's ridiculous ad campaigns are not helping the situation. People use it in a very uninformed, buzzword manner in most circumstances.

At least they're not calling it ActiveCloud.NET 7 Series Enterprise Edition.

more than 3 years ago
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Bing Is Cheating, Copying Google Search Results

Random BedHead Ed Re:Close the loop? (693 comments)

It will become self aware, and set in motions events that end up with humans being used as batteries in vast farms.

Whoa.

more than 3 years ago
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Fedora 15 Changes Network Device Naming Scheme

Random BedHead Ed Re:Does this mean.... (132 comments)

Yes, it's all changing, but that's not such a bad thing given the rationale. Yet even though I read TFA I still have two questions:

  1. What about USB attached network devices?
  2. Has the Fedora team reached out to other distributors about this standard? It would be nice to see the Ubuntu people and others make similar changes.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Apple sues Wiki, Wiki sues back

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "When BlueWiki posted documents about reverse engineering the iTunesDB format used on iPods late last year, Apple demanded that the content be removed, citing the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing copy protection. BlueWiki removed the content, but yesterday they filed suit against Apple seeking a declaratory judgment that the discussions did not violate the DMCA. ZDNet quotes EFF's Fred von Lohmann, who says that this is an issue of censorship. "Wikis and other community sites are home to many vibrant discussions among hobbyists and tinkerers. It's legal to engage in reverse engineering in order to create a competing product, it's legal to talk about reverse engineering, and it's legal for a public wiki to host those discussions." More info on the EFF's website."
Link to Original Source
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Trolls vs. Tech in patent reform fight

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "ArsTechnica has a piece on the collision of patent holders and innovators in the battle to reshape patent law in the US, where the USPTO has a million-patent backlog and lawsuits by "Non-Practicing Entities" (read: patent trolls) abound. The article reports that earlier this week "a bipartisan group of legislators resurrected the Patent Reform Act .... The reforms have been widely welcomed by major tech and software firms and their trade associations--among them Google, Apple, Microsoft, Symantec, Intel, and the Business Software Alliance. But they face stiff opposition from biotech and pharmaceutical firms--not to mention patent trolls fearful of seeing their cash cow vanish." Not surprisingly, the means of calculating damages in patent suits is a major bone of contention."
Link to Original Source
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Google Chrome Released

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "After a premature announcement yesterday and a reaction from Mozilla today, I'm actually typing this in Google Chrome, which is really and truly available now. Features include the Webkit rendering engine, a new layout that maximizes page size by eliminating the title and status bars and keeping the address bar within tabs, profile importing for Firefox, and a bunch of other things you probably already know about by now."
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Yahoo! snubs Microsoft offer

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  about 6 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "Yahoo! has officially rejected Microsoft's $39.4 billion takeover bid, but stressed that they could negotiate with the Redmond giant if they raised the bid's value. The letter from chairman Roy Bostock states that Yahoo! is "open to all alternatives that maximize stockholder value ... and we will not allow you or anyone else to acquire the company for anything less than its full value." Yahoo!'s stock price has risen since Microsoft's original offer, and their letter may be a response to Redmond's threat to take the proposal directly to the shareholders this past weekend."
Link to Original Source
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Atheists 'sneak into' free ID movie showing

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Random BedHead Ed (602081) writes "Ben Stein's new film Expelled: No Intelligence allowed deals with the plight of Intelligent Design supporters in schools when the field of biology is dominated by scientists who believe in evolution. Thursday evening the film's producers held a free advance showing. Biologist and University of Minnesota professor PZ Meyers tried to attend the showing, but was ... er, expelled. Apparently the film's producers had given theater owners Meyers' photo and told them bar him from entering, despite Meyers having received an e-mail message stating that tickets were not required, and despite his appearing in the film itself. The funny twist? They didn't notice that prominent biologist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins was standing right next to him. Dawkins went unnoticed throughout the film, which ironically is about fighting censorship, and had a few things to say to the director at the film's conclusion."
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U.S. court upholds TiVo ruling against EchoStar

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a district court's ruling against Dish Networks (formerly EchoStar Communications), supporting a TiVo patent on DVR functionality that was originally upheld in a (wait for it ...) Texas jury. This reinstates a judgment that EchoStar must cease deploying its own DVRs. TiVo shares are up 31% as a result. (Slashdot covered the original suit and TiVo's victory, as well as the permanent injunction against EchoStar and its block by the court of appeals for the Federal Circuit, which decided this case.)"
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Norway mandates open formats for government

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "According to a few articles, the Kingdom of Norway has mandated the use of open formats for all government documents. The original press release is in Norwegian, but roughly translated (via The Inquirer via Groklaw):

"The government has decided that all information on governmental websites should be available in the open formats HTML, PDF or ODF. With this decision, the times when public documents were only available in Microsoft's Word format comes to an end."
The mandate also specifies that HTML should be use for general posting of information on the Web, PDF should be used when page layout must be preserved, and ODF should be used when providing forms for citizens to fill out."

Link to Original Source
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Futurama returns

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "Good news everyone. After a five year vanishing act the sci-fi spoof Futurama returned this week with a direct-to-DVD feature. Wired has an article about its return, including the story of the show's origins, a behind the scenes gallery, interviews with creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and some interesting trivia (Did you know the ship has an overbite like a Simpson's character? Or that the show's title is taken from an exhibition at the 1939 Worlds Fair?)."
Link to Original Source
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Doctorow: Your Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook

Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "Cory Doctorow has an interesting new article in Information Week about the downside of social networking, with a focus on Facebook. While it starts with some minor but insightful quibbles (like "the steady stream of emails you get from Facebook: 'So-and-so has sent you a message.' Yeah, what is it? Facebook isn't telling — you have to visit Facebook to find out"). But then it gets into a more social critique of social networking: 'Imagine how creepy it would be to wander into a co-worker's cubicle and discover the wall covered with tiny photos of everyone in the office, ranked by "friend" and "foe," with the top eight friends elevated to a small shrine decorated with Post-It roses and hearts.' Do you really want to add your boss and coworkers to your friends list? (And more to the point, do you really have a choice?)"
Link to Original Source
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Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "The Guardian this week has a call to arms, examining the ten steps to fascism and proposing that America is quietly taking virtually all of them. It's not as much of a partisan concern as you might think: many conservative groups have joined forces under a new organization called the American Freedom Agenda, which along with the ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights has been fighting to put pressure on the federal government to pull the country away from what they see as a slippery slope. From the article: "As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" — a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president — without US citizens realising it yet — the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.""
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Random BedHead Ed Random BedHead Ed writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Random BedHead Ed writes "Wired is running a thought-provoking article on Sony that suggests that not only is it important to the company that their upcoming console/media center/Blu-Ray vehicle be successful; it might easily make or break the company. Amid a nice summary of the company's technology strategies over the past few decades, from its pre-digital days to competing with Sega and Microsoft in the gaming world, the article claims that "having ceded to Apple the portable-music-player market, Sony desperately needs to stay on top in videogames. It's not just that Sony needs a win; PS3 is critical to its entire strategy.""

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