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To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Registered Coward v2 Re:Well, we really should be at that stage by now. (485 comments)

We should have been working hard at improving nuclear power, and solving its problems, to the point that this would, by now, be a no-brainer.

The US Navy has been all-in with Nuclear power. R&D has been non-stop. If they haven't "solved its problems", it's unlikely throwing even more money at it, would do so.

the real challenge to commercial nuclear shipping is the operations and maintenance costs; on the nuclear as well as secondary side. The Navy spares no expense in maintaining their fleet, training crews, and keeping large crews to oversee operations; all of which would add tremendously to the cost of a commercial nuke vessel and likely make it noncompetitive with traditional ones. Now, if you could have upscale how power is produced for space probes an run a nuclear-electric ship with a simple nuke side you might have a winner, at least form a technology and cost perspective.

about a week ago
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China's Island Factory

Registered Coward v2 Re:Might want to tighten the bolts on those sabers (199 comments)

International law on these issues is anything but clear, and are subject to a great deal of argument, which is why there are always contested areas.

As for the UK, it's a natural island that has been inhabited by the same peoples for centuries (at the least - you can argue about 1066). Now that's clear.

International law, as put in practice for centuries, is pretty clear: as long as I can beat the crap out of you I can sail wherever I want.

about a week ago
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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

Registered Coward v2 Re:Checks (160 comments)

I gladly accept Nigerian checks on CL. This way the scammers are out of FedEx/UPS fee and I add another fake check to my office collection.

Not a good idea. You are dealing with crooks who may or may not have accomplices near you and you are giving them a real address. Check out 419eater.com for safe ways to do that if you want to bait scammers.

about a week ago
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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

Registered Coward v2 Re:One way to avoid (160 comments)

This isn't your usual 419 scam. They're not offering millions of dollars to suckers.

What they're doing is buying stuff from Craigslist sellers with bogus checks that look awfully real. There's another step where they send a too-large check and ask for a partial refund. The checks are so good that they clear, and the fraud isn't discovered until weeks later, at which time your bank yanks the money back.

There's still hints of the usual 419 stuff in there, but you don't have to be either gullible or greedy. You simply have to misunderstand the idiotic system under which checks are processed, which is most of us. The idea that a certified check could fail, a month after you deposited it, is baffling to the majority of people who think of a certified check as practically good as cash.

The checking system is so screwed up that most sellers need to treat all checks with suspicion. But credit cards are expensive to process, and Paypal... is Paypal.

True, and that is what scam artists depend on to run their con. Banks in the US have to make the funds available after a set period even though the check has not cleared; i.e. the issuing bank has not yet accepted the check and verified that it was a valid check and the funds are available in the account. Most people think that because the bank has deposited the funds in their account that the check is good; a not unreasonable expectation because most checks do not bounce and thus they never realize the bank may not have actually cleared the check before the funds were made available. The law was designed to prevent banks from putting excessive holds on checks but a side effect was to give scammers a new way to cheat people.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

I think I get the distinction he is trying to formulate. Red Hat focuses their products around their GNU/Linux distribution, that is without GNU/Linux they would not have a product. Rackspace on the other hand have a product that would exists even without OpenStack. Their primary gains in reduction of development costs, since other individuals and companies are contributing to the effort.

Basically these are the two vectors commercial companies have with free software. Either they provide ancillary services to existing software, that is they are basically consultants; or they copyleft some piece of software that is not their in business model and as a result reduce costs.

Good point. I can see where they would be considered two distinct models.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

Nothing in Stallman's philosophy precludes profit-driven development - on the contrary, he actively encourages it ! He precludes a certain METHOD of profit generation, not the idea of profit.

Your response is like saying "We can't have pollution standards because saying you can't make profit by dumping strychnine in my drinking water is the same saying you can't make profit at all".

There is absolutely no free software problem with profit.

Of course, and nothing I said is anything remote to your drinking water example. I did point out that profit drives much free software development; if only because it is difficult to maintain enthusiasm for development by volunteers over time or to get bugs fixed that are not of interest to the volunteers.

There is a freedom problem with software that are sold in one PARTICULAR bad way because the harms that it causes to the public far outweigh the profit earned by the seller.

The only thing Stallman has ever done is point out the age-old lesson that if you don't force the medicine seller to tell you what's in his medicine most of it ends up being snake-oil.

However, free open source software is not the only way to do that. The assumption that non-free software is bad and harmful and by extension free software is good and beneficial is incorrect on particle as well ideological terms. Stallman has a very narrow view of what software development should look like and even what constitutes "free." I simply disagree with the idea that his viewpoint is the correct one.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

Contract law

But the source is free to the public, there's no terms and conditions I have to agree to. Indeed, it would no longer be Free Software, or at least it wouldn't be Open Source Software according to the Open Source Definition.

There are, as is pointed out in the link you provided, terms and conditions attached to the use of the software; which do not make it any less free. in fact they keep it free.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

Again, the AGPL is a license that you must accept to use the software. You focus on the output which is not the issue; the issue is how you may use the software under the license and your obligation as a result of using the software.

Please name the legal requirement that I accept the AGPL in order to use the software. In the US, there is:

* Copyright law * Patent law

Patents aren't the issue here, and copyright law is not being invoked by merely making the software available on the network (and in fact, this use is explicitly defined as non-infringing).

Contract law

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

We agree on the definition of the the ancillary services and I agree RedHat makes their money that way. I'd say the dominate class would be things like Rackspace which develops (with RedHat) OpenStack but is primarily selling CPU, electricity, network and renting hardware. The management system they use is just an expense. Microsoft / Azure, Amazon / AWS, Verizon's cloud... would all be in the same boat. Or another example would be HP's work which makes its money selling hardware or enterprise packages to run on top of open source OSes.

It sounds like we are in agreement here. I'd consider Rackspace, Red Hat, et al similar OSS business models.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

which in this case requires making source available; just as the venue has to pay a fee when someone plays a copyrighted song.

This is incorrect. Songs are described differently than literary works in the copyright statute, software programs being literary works.

A performance of a song, as I listed, requires a license (and copyright law specifically singles out songs). However, the output of a software program is not copyrightable, and therefore no license is necessary.

Copyright law makes no distinction between using over the network and on your local monitor, and such usage is explicitly defined in US statute as non-infringing. How would you like it, or the FSF for that matter, if copyright law could be used to dictate that you sitting at your computer could be a copyright infringer by merely opening up the wrong application sitting at your desk? I suspect not very much.

Again, the AGPL is a license that you must accept to use the software. You focus on the output which is not the issue; the issue is how you may use the software under the license and your obligation as a result of using the software.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

I don't need to accept the AGPL to legally download an AGPL'd program, put it on my server, and let the general public use it.

Not correct. You use it under the terms of a license and must comply with the license as a term of use; which in this case requires making source available; just as the venue has to pay a fee when someone plays a copyrighted song.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

Actually no. Most of the successful open source business models are not ones in which the open source product is, for the entity writing the code, just an expense not a revenue source and broad participation help reduce that expense. The assumption had been that ancillary services would be the primary, and certainly there are plenty of those but that has not been the dominant class.

I guess we should star by getting agreement on terms. I consider red hat, for example, makes money selling ancillary services a as predominant model, where those services are everything from installations and updates to added features beyond the base GPL version. Does that agree with your definition? What do you consider the dominate class?

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

Except copyright law defines what distribution is, not the license. And the output of a software program is not copyrightable (by itself).

The AGPL may as well offer everyone a pony; if it's not being distributed (as defined by copyright law), the AGPL doesn't apply. Period.

You are confusing copyright with licensing. A copyright allows control over who may use the work and the terms under which they use it. If I own the copyright I can license the works under the condition if you modify it and run it on network you need to make the source available, which the AGPL does. Distribution, as defined by copyright law, has no relevance to this licensing requirement.

The output of the software is irrelevant to this discussion beyond invoking the AGPL if you have users other than you.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

If you're not distributing the software then the AGPL isn't going to help you.

Licenses only grant permission to distribute software; they're irrelevant if you're not distributing the software to begin with.

The AGPL is designed for network software so that if you modify the source and run it on a network you are required to make the source available to your users. It gets around the distribution requirements of the GPL by specifically adding the requirement to "offer all users interacting with it remotely through a computer network" a copy of the modified source code.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

Its been 20 years. We've seen lots of successful open source business models by this point. Mostly people don't contribute when they get nothing in return rather:

B takes code written by A whom could care less about advancing B's purpose and as a result of the license ends up contributing to C for a purpose B could care less about.

Most of the successful open source business models have been around creating a business where selling support and ancillary services brings in the revenue and justifies ongoing development effort. OSS happened to provide a good foundation to build on but the underlying motive is profit driven; it just happens that others benefit as well. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact it helps strengthen support for OSS; it however belies the notion that if you make it free the community will create this wonderful product.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Free SaaSS can exist (326 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought it was possible to deploy "service as a software substitute" in a manner consistent with free software philosophy. Make the server software's source code available to the service's subscribers and let the subscriber download backups of his account. AGPL was designed for applications intended for use in free SaaSS, and though Google isn't free, it does offer Takeout for the second point.

Actually, since you are not distributing the software there would be no need, under the GPL, to share the underlying code; which is why there is AGPL. However, if software was licensed under the GPL at some point there is nothing to prevent someone from using the last GPL only version and ignoring the AGPL.

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:how I prepare a presentation (326 comments)

I started doing presentations back in the days of 35-mm slides. I didn't have to prepare them myself—I sent the text to the corporate slide presentation department, and they sent me back the slides.

I prepared my presentation by first writing out what I wanted to say, word for word. I then distilled that document into a few topic lines, which I had made into slides, generally about three topics to a slide. At this point I discarded the original manuscript. When I gave the presentation I glanced at each slide to remind me of what I wanted to say, then spoke extemporaniously.

Today I prepare the slides myself using LibreOffice Impress, the free equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint, but I use the same method.

I have a similar background, except we had an editor who approved all slides. She was a ruthless, heartless person who lacked a soul while wielding a red pen like calvaryman's saber as she edited. In other words, the perfect editor. To this date, I cringe at a presentation withe text less than 16 pt and more than 20 words on a slide. When I see a sentence with a period on a slide I remember her admonition "Women have periods, slides don't."

about a week ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

Registered Coward v2 Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

There's a big difference between physical things that have limits (land, food, water, etc) and 'intellectual property' which can be copied any number of times at virtually no cost. Until physical items are limitless or there is overwhelming cost to reproduce ideas, GPL and communism will be incomparable.

Actually, a fundamental core philosophy is very similar; the idea that people will contribute willingly based on their abilities independent of what they get in return.The challenge is to get people to contribute beyond that needed to meet their needs. For exam,e, someone might be quite capable of fixing many bugs but will only fix those that impact their ability to us etch software and leave the rest to others. There is nothing wrong with free software and I actually use it; the challenge is how do you get people to continually invest time, money and other resources for which they will get nothing in return?

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Registered Coward v2 Re:my solution is the gym (811 comments)

Anyhow, if you want a few extra inches of legroom and don't care about reclining seats, check in early and get the emergency exit row seats. Because they're an egress route they need a lot of space between the seats to allow passengers to file out quickly, and the seats can't recline. Airlines generally can't pre-book those because they have to see you in person to verify that you're able to open the emergency exit seat (about 40-50 lbs). A few of them have started policies where frequent fliers (who've been allowed to use those seats before) can pre-book them.

I've found unless I book a couple of weeks in advance the exit rows are gone. If I book one the questions come up and as long as I answer correctly I get one. I've never gotten one at the airport but YMMV. The best exit is the wind ones were there is no seat in front (a 2 -3 configuration) so you have a ton of legroom. Next best is one were there is a bulkhead in front of the exit; but then the window one is usually worse then the aisle.

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Registered Coward v2 Re:Anthropometrics (811 comments)

Since they have apparently reached the limit of human tolerance, one answer is to offer wider seat spacing for a little extra price on some flights. The remaining "dense pack" passengers then have no reason to complain: "If you needed more space, why didn't you choose our XL flight?"

They already do. For example, Delta offers "economy comfort" for an added fee unless you are a high enough status flyer in which case it is free. They've brought back the old 3 tier first, business, economy model under a different name.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Get off my lawn

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about a year ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Identifying a nerd was easier years ago — calculator on the belt and a box of Hollerith cards. Part computer program, part note card, and part bookmark, they were a readily available source of nerd badges at any campus. As with many tech icons, they have drifted into oblivion.

So what do you do if:

you got a new computer, or maybe a software upgrade, only to find — error message! — that some of your old files are incompatible.

and the files you have are valuable historical data needed for current research? How about finding a USB compatible Hollerith card reader?"

Link to Original Source
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Supreme Court to hear First Sale Doctrine case

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about 2 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "SCOTUS is set to hear a case to determine how copyright law and the doctrine of first sale applies to copyrighted works bought overseas, imported to the US and then sold. The case involves a foreign student who imported textbooks from Asia and the resold them in the US to help fund his education. He was sued by the publisher, lost and was ordered to pay $600k in damages. Now SCOTUS gets to weigh in on the issue."
Link to Original Source
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iPads as overhead projectors

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "A University of Michigan professor has combined iPads with a set of software tools to create an effective replacement for projected Powerpoint, clickers, and the like to allow students to interact and annotate the lecture notes on iPads, iPhones, and computers. As he puts it, he has used these tools to create " show your slides + ask questions of students (multiple-choice, true-false, rearrange lists, image-based and free response — take THAT clickers!) and display the results in real-time + collect and answer student questions + have access to analytical data on student participation + DRAW ON THE SLIDES LIKE WITH AN OVERHEAD!"

Even better — a roller equipped overhead."

Link to Original Source
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Apple Time Capsules Dying

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Reports are surfacing of dying power supplies in Apple's Time Capsule drives, leaving users with vey nicely designed 9and expensive) paper weights. The problem appears to be failure of the internal power supply, making it impossible to power up the device. One website logged 260 reports of dead Apple Time capsules since going live last weekend. Apple has not yet responded to reports of this problem."
Link to Original Source
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It's football, not a funeral

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about 5 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "From a Notre Dame University press release: In an effort to encourage appropriate behavior, fans will be able to utilize a new text messaging system to report any instances of unruly or disruptive behavior in conjunction with home games, including inside Notre Dame Stadium. The system will be in place beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Fans can simply text 41513 and type into the message the word "Irish" followed by a space, followed by a brief description of the issue and its location. Ushers, public safety personnel and/or University officials will respond as needed.

Interesting use of technology; but even with ND's performance on the field it's still a football game. I guess they expect people to sit quietly and occasionally utter a "nice play" and clap politely. At least you now have a way to complain about cold hotdogs and dirty toilets."
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Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Best Buy has been caught using an intranet to limit price matching of their own web site. http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-watchdog0302, 0,5198012.column?coll=hc-utility-local Apparently, according to a company spokesman, their employees find it difficult to distinguish between accessing an internal site and their own external ones. Of course, they have no problem distinguishing between a higher and lower price nor charging the higher one."

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