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The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

Somebody Is Using My Re:Bad comparaison (135 comments)

Regardless of whether the "App-economy" alone is larger than the "Movie-economy", I think this is indicative of how strong and important the "software-economy" is in comparison to the MPAA-dominated industries. But it makes you wonder why - given the strength of the former - why are software publishers and hardware manufacturers still allowing the MPAA to dominate them with demands for ever-stronger DRM? My optical drive shouldn't have firmware made to obey the regional-restrictions of the movie industry, and my video-hardware shouldn't have to downgrade the signal if all the attached hardware hasn't been blessed by the MPAA. TFA is proof that the software industry can well survive without kowtowing to Hollywood's demands; I'm not sure the movie industry, on the other hand, would do so well if Microsoft or Apple told them to ditch the DRM requirements or take a hike.

Of course, the big difference is that all the major Hollywood players have united their voice under one banner (the MPAA) while the software industry remains fragmented. This gives the former an appearance of strength that the software industry doesn't - and may not even be aware they - have.

2 days ago

Scientists Slow the Speed of Light

Somebody Is Using My Hidden Implications (139 comments)

I don't think you are seeing the hidden implications of this report.

They are tracking individual photons, implying they know the location of those particles.

But at the same time, they are also keeping tabs on the SPEED of those photons at the same time.

Now the Uncertainty Principle argues against that ever happening, except that's what the researchers* claim. Obviously these guys have invented the Heisenberg Compensator which - as we all know - is a key component to Star Trek teleportation devices. It's just a matter of time now until we will be able to teleport to Alpha Centauri.

* well, that's what the summary of a science news article claims, anyway. I'm so sure it is 100% accurate I didn't even bother to RTFA.

about a week ago

How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Somebody Is Using My Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

I rejected the Windows 8 app store because it required me to invest in Microsoft's online ecosystem; I would have to sign up for a Microsoft Live account, and then use that to log into Windows.

Had they made it so I could browse and download apps without requiring a log-in (only requiring an account for paid applications so it could be tied to one subscription) I would have been much more open to Microsoft's implementation. As it was, I just searched the web directly for the applications I was interested in and bypassed the entire Windows 8 app infrastructure.

about two weeks ago

US Central Command's Twitter Account Hacked, Filled With Pro-ISIS Messages

Somebody Is Using My Re:Before this gets even more overblown... (128 comments)

I'm not sure the physical security is that much of a deterrent (there was another article that I couldn't find which listed a host of similar issues, including allowing pizza delivery guys to the silo). The job of being a silo-jockey is not considered particularly prestigious in the USAF and we aren't getting the best of the best to guard our most powerful weapons.

On the other hand, finding a floppy disk these days to launch the damn things might be a bit harder to manage.

about three weeks ago

Canada's Copyright Notice Fiasco: Why the Government Bears Responsibility

Somebody Is Using My Re:Poor policy, as usual ... (73 comments)

That seems to be the price of democracy; that politicians spend much of their time considering their re-election.

Arguably, in a representative democracy that might be all they SHOULD be doing.

After all, the whole idea in that sort of government is that the politicians represent the will of their constituents. Rather than have a small group of men making up the laws themselves (an oligarchy), the representatives are - supposedly - little more than conduits we use to enact the laws we want. These political agents vie for the job by proving how able they are in representing our goals. In other words, we don't send 'em to the capital to make laws for us, but to pass the laws we want.

Of course where it all breaks down is that this requires an informed and involved constituency. For a variety of reasons most democracies do not - and are not encouraged - to have this. This is not due only to voter apathy, but because the politicians have made the system so complex and difficult that most people have neither the time, the training nor the desire to become involved. We-the-people are not giving our agents the explicit instructions they require; at best, we manage a collective moan about how certain things may not be to our liking.

At the same time, large organizations (corporations) - who /do/ have the time and interest to engage in the political process - are able to more easily transmit their needs to those same representatives (usually in the form of legislature conveniently written up and passed to government to pass into law). So politicians remain conduits (just to the wrong people) but due to the electoral system still need to spend most of their time proving their worth.

Ultimately, the goal should be to be make it easier for individuals to become involved in their own governance. Smaller government, simpler laws and more local authority are all ideas that may work. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to the problem and certainly those in power - who benefit from the current way things are - see no advantage in changing things.

about three weeks ago

The Open Bay Helps Launch 372 'Copies' of the Pirate Bay In a Week

Somebody Is Using My Re:Distributed DNS (63 comments)

While a distributed DNS setup would be a point of failure, would it be one that is legally vulnerable? A distributed DNS setup would just be pointing to websites pointing to torrents pointing to servers offering maybe copyright-infringing.

How deep does that rabbit hole have to go before it can't be cited for violating copyright? If there are multiple DNS servers and a website has a bunch of links to them, is that site culpable? What if there are multiple such DNS aggregators, and Google points to those pages? Where is the line drawn?

Because the further down you drill, the more likely it becomes that merely talking about the issue can be ruled illegal, and that should never be permitted.

about a month ago

Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day

Somebody Is Using My Re:Rubbish (336 comments)

More to the point, you can't just hack /any/ data. Stealing customer's personal information, credit card numbers, or similar doesn't phase the corporations either; sure it causes them a bit of bad PR, but ultimately the cost of the hack is paid by their customers, not by the corporation itself. In fact, seeing as how common the "we stole your entire customer database" sort of hacks are becoming, even the negative PR is becoming minimized; after all, as /everybody/ is seemingly getting hacked in that way, so why get upset with any one particular company?

No, if the hacker groups really want to make companies improve their security, then they need to grab proprietary information, like the GOP did to Sony. Emails and accounting information are particularly damning, since they often reveal poor practices and corporate malfeasance that might get the companies into legal hot-water. If you start showing corporation how easy those doors are to open, you can be sure they'll hire a proper locksmith PDQ.

So these Christmas DDOS's aren't going to provoke the affected companies into doing a damn thing (except maybe sic the legal system on the ones behind it). All it did was piss off a bunch of kids on Christmas morning. Way to go, grinches!

about a month ago

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

Somebody Is Using My Brought it on ourselves (229 comments)

Maybe if our police forces hasn't been so overbearing in their surveillance methods they wouldn't have had this problem.

It isn't so much that people are upset that police have the ability to listen in to phone calls or track us. Rather, they are upset that increasingly these powers are being used on everyone all the time, usually without needing a warrant or having any oversight. These powers have been, are and will continued to be abused by the authorities. The citizens - including whistle-blowers like Snowden - are making a fuss because they don't want everyone to be treated like a crook. Had the police and security apparat contented themselves with appropriate measures, there would have been much less impetus for Snowden and Assange to make the great revelations they did.

But no, we have cameras on every corner, our communications are bugged, our every movement and behavior tracked and analyzed. Don't try to shift the blame onto the people who helped make us aware of your overreach. Stop labeling everyone a criminal, stop depending on gadgets to do your work for you, and stop misusing the tools and powers we-the-people already gave you (and then demanding even more). Only then can you talk about how the bad whistle-blowers are making your job more difficult.

about a month ago

Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

Somebody Is Using My Re:Fire all the officers? (515 comments)

Considering your comments, would you too side with the cops who run people over in their cars while texting on their personal cell phones and then blame the victim for throwing themselves in front of their cars, all the while perjuring themselves as has also happened recently?

It's getting a bit off topic but examples of the above have actually happened.

Well, okay, not the blaming the victim bit, but "immediately before the incident, the Albemarle officer, Gregory C. Davis, was involved in "excessive texting." Furthermore, according to the document, Officer Davis may, under oath, have intentionally downplayed his texting."

Then there is this story. The officer in question was criminally charged this time, but still got away with a mere 30 months probation (and two years suspended from the job, with pay). The two girls he slammed into, on the other hand, got to remain dead. Anyone else who had committed the same crime would have lost their job (with no pay) and ended up in jail for a long time.

And this

Compared to the above, the fact that police illegally delete video from a phone without any repercussions is in no way surprising.

about a month and a half ago

Microsoft's Age-Old Image Library 'Clip Art' Is No More

Somebody Is Using My Coming Soon! (110 comments)

Microsoft ClipArt365, a subscription-based online product where you can the entirety of MS's ClipArt library anywhere in the world*. Never worry about not having the right piece of ClipArt at your fingertips; just use our quick ClipSearch** feature and you'll have the right art at your fingerprints in moments! Then simply insert the art into your Word(tm) document, Excel(tm) spreadsheet or Powerpoint(tm) presentation with a single-click!***. All this for $12/mo or $120/year!

* Internet connection required.
** Internet Explorer 12.1 or higher required
*** Requires Office365 or higher. Art cannot be inserted into other documents. Internet connection required to view document with clipart.

about 2 months ago

Assassin's Creed: Unity Launch Debacle Pulls Spotlight Onto Game Review Embargos

Somebody Is Using My Re:Don’t really get it (474 comments)

Especially since day-one reviews are notoriously untrustworthy. The reviewers either play the game in haste to make the release date (sometimes not even finishing the game) or in some cases the games are played under ideal conditions (sometimes actually in the developer's studios) not is not representative of the customer's experience. In either case, the accuracy - if not honesty - of the review is in doubt.

I'm far more trusting of a review that comes out a week or two after the game's release than any review released simultaneously with the game; at least it gives the reviewer time to properly play the game. Day-one reviews have no real advantage to the consumer; they are all about increasing sales for the game's developer (by increasing market awareness of their product) and the website/magazine's publisher (by attaching themselves to a popular product). Any consumer who is that eager for a day-one review of a game is probably going to buy the game regardless of what the review says anyway.

So in addition to waiting a week or so before buying the game, wait a week before seeing what other people think as well. You'll get more honest opinions less manipulated by pre-release hype, and will be better able to judge whether or not to spend your money on the product.

about 3 months ago

US Weather System and Satellite Network Hacked

Somebody Is Using My Obligatory XKCD (76 comments)

XKCD did it first
(Seriously, is there a geek-topic that guy hasn't written a cartoon about?)

about 3 months ago

Mozilla Updates Firefox With Forget Button, DuckDuckGo Search, and Ads

Somebody Is Using My Re:Fork it. (327 comments)

I like Palemoon too, but new users should be aware that the switch will probably cause problems because - despite some claims to the contrary - it isn't 100% compatible with Firefox add-ons. Admittedly, this is more often the fault of the add-on developers, but since the add-ons are usually the primary thing keeping people on Firefox, some extra consideration should be given before switching to its competitor. Especially since it has problems with so many big-name add-ons

Some examples: AdBlock Plus & AdBlock Edged (no menu or toolbar icon, so can't easily change options or disable), HTTPS Everywhere (does not function), Self-Destructing Cookies (does not function), Greasemonkey & Scriptish (do not function), Google Privacy (does not function), DOM Inspector (does not work), Privacy Badger (nope, not this one either), TabMixPlus (partly functional), AutoPager (nope) and dozens more.

(see Known Incompatible Add-Ons for the complete list).

I use Palemoon myself, but this lack of complete compatibility is actually making me reconsider going back to Firefox (at least with Firefox I can correct more egregious mistakes made by Mozilla through more add-ons). I hope that Palemoon figures out a way to improve compatibility but unfortunately the above list just seems to be getting longer and never shorter. New users should definitely look over the incompatibility list before they make the switch.

about 3 months ago

France Investigating Mysterious Drone Activity Over 7 Nuclear Power Plant Sites

Somebody Is Using My Re:Unless the plant is surrounded in a glass dome. (128 comments)

An access port? Perhaps an exhaust vent might be more believable. Stick it at the end of some sort of culvert or ravine, possibly with a few watch towers along side to make it appear a more likely target. You could even "lose" some blueprints showing this vulnerability that these rebellious terrorists could smuggle out to their hidden base. The only way to destroy the reactor would be to fly the drones down the gully and loose their payloads against the vent, setting up a chain-reaction that (they believe) would cause a cataclysmic explosion. But of course, it will all be a trap, the attempt would fail and the government would be able to successfully capture all the plotters without any real harm being done. It's a foolproof plan.

Unless, of course, the son of the guy who manages the reactor is involved in the attack. Then things might turn out differently. Gotta watch out for those familial relations.

about 2 months ago

PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

Somebody Is Using My Re:PETA Won't be Happy (367 comments)

Because most house cats are actually unable to live that well in the wild. Though they have the hunting instincts natural to their species, it actually requires some experience (usually learned during kittenhood and young adulthood) to put those instincts to best use; most cats cannot hunt well enough to sustain them long enough to gain the necessary skills.

Obviously cats which have lived outdoors - farmcats or free-roaming pets - have a better chance at survival than indoor-only house-cats, but even free-roaming pets fare poorly compared to feral animals that have lived their lives entirely on their own wits.

Cats also aren't safe from predation; owls and hawks won't pass them by when they are young and even after they achieve full size, coyotes and foxes are known to go after them. Housecats also have a poorer chance at finding good shelter in bad weather, and usually have to fight feral cats for territory, which further hampers their chances.

Putting a pampered house cat into the wild and expecting it to survive because "it's a cat" is thoughtless; it will likely live a very short life before dying miserably in a ditch somewhere.

Whether that option is better than euthanizing the animal is debatable and probably dependent on the beliefs of the owner. The proper option is to spend the time and money to get the animal properly placed, but dumping the feline is cruel and shouldn't even be a consideration.

Sad caveat: the ferals and strays in my town are very well cared for by well-meaning locals; many are fed daily, and have had their shots and been neutered. Unfortunately, this care just encourages more people to dump the animals in our neighborhood.

about 4 months ago

Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Somebody Is Using My Let me save you some time (547 comments)

Here are the dead and dying languages

1) Perl - because it's a "piecemeal" language with features pile atop one another
2) Ruby - because its difficult to learn if you know C
3) Visual Basic.Net - because C#
4) Adobe Flash & AIR - because iPhone
5) Delphi Object Pascal - because it isn't well-supported

Now you don't need to read the article

about 4 months ago

MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

Somebody Is Using My Re:Practice colony in Antarctica first? (269 comments)

If the goal were to simulate and test the feasibility of a long-term Martian outpost, that shouldn't be too hard to replicate. Mars has the necessary elements, just not as easily accessible as on Earth.

Create an isolated, pressurized base where the only source of oxygen comes from internal systems, not outside. Place a "factory" by the outpost that pulls in water from the environment at the same rate as it would on Mars (obviously it would discard most of it); crack some of the water to get the necessary oxygen. You are now limited to surviving from canned air, just like Martian explorers.

The bonus is that if there is a catastrophic failure of the systems during the test, everyone doesn't immediately die; they can just open the windows.

Harder to test would be the problems caused by low gravity, lower atmospheric pressure and increased radiation. Well, for the latter I guess we could just open the ozone hole for them again ;-)

about 4 months ago

Killer Whales Caught On Tape Speaking Dolphin

Somebody Is Using My Re:Humans are not only not the only intelligence (152 comments)

The humans are dumb nonsense comes from the fact that animals are smart enough to achieve equilibrium with their environment while humans pave a path of destruction anymore they go.

Says anyone who doesn't have beavers on their property.

Animals do not have any innate instinct towards living in equilibrium with their environment. If they did, imported species wouldn't overrun their new homes (ask Australians how well cane toads and rabbits are finding a "natural balance"). All animals will do what is necessary to breed to the maximum their environment will allow, even if it is catastrophic to that environment. Humanity is unusual only in the sense of our extreme adaptability to differing climatic regions and the fact that - with the use of tools - were have no natural predators to keep our numbers in check.

If anything, humanity is the most environmentally-friendly of creatures, because we alone consider (albeit not often enough) the consequences of our actions upon the rest of the world and sometimes work against our own immediate interests for the betterment of the world at large.

Which is not to excuse our rapine habits, of course; we as a species are a danger to the current natural balance. But let's not kid ourselves; no other animal would be any better.

about 4 months ago

US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Somebody Is Using My Re:So what they are saying... (335 comments)

I came to say exactly this.

A core precept of US law is that "all people" have certain unalienable rights, be they citizen or not, at home or abroad. The government does not bestow these rights upon us; the US Constitution merely lists the situation in which those rights may be abrogated for the good of a better society. This fundamental belief is also part of the reasoning for US interventionism abroad. While we cannot in all situations ensure those rights to all people, the reasoning (if not actual cause) is that the US should do what it can to prevent those unalienable rights from trampling regardless of whether or not they are US citizens.

However, this reasoning has an important caveat that is increasingly being ignored (though it's not new): the US must act as if those non-citizens have the same rights and protections as US citizens. While it may be impossible to ensure that every foreign national has free-speech, speedy trial or any of the other rights Americans take for granted, still the US government should not and cannot act against those rights. So the idea that foreigners should not be protected by the need for a warrant is blatantly opposed to the core concepts behind the founding of this country.

One of the reasons for this shift in policy is not some malign conspiracy of foreigner-hating tyrants but a critical misunderstanding of the relationship between people and the government by its own citizens (including those who work for the government). Too often that relationship is seen as patriarchal: the government dispenses the rights, and therefore it has the right to suspend them, either in whole or in part, affecting some or all of those under its influence, as per its own whim. This is incorrect; not only is it that "We-the-People" voluntarily allow ourselves to be restricted, but as a "people" those restrictions must apply fairly to everyone, not just citizens. Doing otherwise merely creates divisions that can be too easily exploited against ourselves later on.

It's worth reminding people of the difference.

about 4 months ago

Brits Must Trade Digital Freedoms For Safety, Says Crime Agency Boss

Somebody Is Using My Re:Trading Freedom for Security? (264 comments)

The end goal is simple; they want to make things easier and safer for themselves.

Government is made up of people, and those people have the same wants and desires as ourselves. In particular, they want their jobs to be less difficult and they want security of employment. These laws help enable these desires. Catching criminals is tough work, but it is easier if you have the ability to watch everyone all the time. Certainly it would be better for them to have these powers written into law so they are all above-board; that way there is no risk to their jobs when they are caught spying.

But like any other person, they are too focused on the immediate goal, unaware of how the accumulating powers of government might be misused in the future (or downplaying the risk because the immediate advantages are so obvious). It is only when the power is misused that they may regret the decision. Unfortunately, history has shown that accumulated power will inevitably be used, which is why these mistakes are all the more tragic.

It's not a conspiracy of the powerful working against us; it's an accumulation of human short-sightedness that puts the wrong tools into the hands of the corrupt.

about 4 months ago


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