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Comments

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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Theaetetus Re:Belief (379 comments)

I was a block away from the Beersheva preschool hit in Dec 2008 which first taught me about what rocket attacks were like. It sounded like a suitcase dropping on the ground... Here's a picture from Wiki of that Qassam hit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P......

You must have a much heavier suitcase than I do.

about a week ago
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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Theaetetus Re:Subject bait (379 comments)

Hamas fires inaccurate artillery rockets, unlikely to actually hit anything

Huh? What are you smoking? They're 100% gaurunteed to hit something as what goes up must come down.

"That's not my department." - W. von Braun

about a week ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Double edge sword. (73 comments)

TinyTower and DreamHeights are very different than Theme Hotel and SimTower. Two of these "games" (aka psychological manipulators) are designed to get you to buy inapp purchases, the other two are actual games.

Oh, come on, that's a distinction without any teeth. I'd say the bigger difference is that the first two are one unit per level, while the latter two allow horizontal expansion. The fact that two have microtransactions and the other two don't is mostly irrelevant.

about three weeks ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Clear Cut Collusion (73 comments)

This is a clear cut instance of collusion. They should be forced to continue to defend their patents or to release the patents to everyone on the same terms. Patent groups, from this shit to MPEG to BluRay to whatever, destroy innovation more than any individual patents do.

Collusion isn't bad, in and of itself. Say you hire someone to paint your house - you're technically "colluding". The issue is when it becomes an anti-trust violation. And the DoJ has looked at patent pools and determined that they're not always automatically anti-trust violations. They certainly can be, but the mere fact that the participants are "colluding" doesn't make it any worse than any other contract. Instead, there has to be things like illegal patent extension or unfair licensing based on market share or some other feature.

about three weeks ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Double edge sword. (73 comments)

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped.

First, since when is double-dipping an issue? A design can be protected by both trade dress and design patents. A copyrighted character can also be a trademark (see, e.g., Mr. M. Mouse). The two protections are not coextensive, so what's wrong with having both?

Second, why are you arguing for copyright - with a lifetime+90 year term - as opposed to patents - with a 20 year from filing term? Copyright tends to be much more abusive in that way.

And third, software isn't well protected by copyright. Copyright is useful when that specific article is the one you want: you want Picasso's Guernica, not Billy Bob's Smear of Paint on a Wall; you want "The Avengers" movie, not the Mockbuster "The Revengers"; you want to read about Harry Potter and his Half-assed Plot or whatever Rowling has cranked out, not Larry Kotter and the Temple of Doom. It's why the RIAA/MPAA love copyright so much. And it works for operating systems, since you do want Mac OS or Windows as opposed to Marc OS or Winbows.
But it doesn't work very well for, say, TinyTower- er, DreamHeights- er, SimTower- er, Theme Hotel. Or, say, any one of these 78 games like Minecraft. Copyright doesn't protect against any rebuilding of the same game, provided different sprites and textures are used and the code is original, even if nearly identical. It doesn't prevent reverse engineering, and doesn't prevent the kind of copying Zynga specializes in.

about three weeks ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Time to abolish patents (73 comments)

I could also counter with the converse argument - consider I had an idea that could yield me a couple of thousand dollars a month but I can't due to a patent issue then ....

You patent your improvement on the existing patent, and then cross-license with the other patent owner. Or you go ahead with your idea, and pay a couple hundred a month to the patent owner. Either way, net win for you.

about three weeks ago
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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

Theaetetus Re:Time to abolish patents (73 comments)

... benefit via first-to-market and the marketing power of their reputation.

Tell that to Nimblebit and everyone else Zynga has run over while being second-to-market.

about three weeks ago
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A Brief History of Patenting the Wheel: What Goes Around Comes Around

Theaetetus Re:Australian Wheel Patent (36 comments)

On closer inspection the Australian patent that was granted is less absurd than it seems, as it was more of a quasi-patent:

Innovation patents last for a maximum of 8 years, whereas standard patents last for maximum of 20 years

... which is why the article quote "I discovered today that the Australian patent office has — quietly — revoked the patent it granted, in the year 2001, for the wheel" is even more absurd. It expired in 2009. This was "revoked" in the same way that the moldy cheese in the back of your fridge with a best-by date in January has been "quietly revoked".

about three weeks ago
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Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Theaetetus Re:Pretty sure this won't work (311 comments)

As I and other have already pointed out, we are not blaming her for becoming a victim.

There's an entire thread titled "Why yes, we should blame the victim here", with the root post rated +5 Insightful. Yeah, people are blaming her.

Oh, well, and since we all know that a name is always 100% accurate and tells us everything...

Did you actually read the thread, or just the headline and thought "oh, that must support my position?" Because I read it, and some of them make a very good point regarding the context of this particular situation.

So, you're endorsing the following?

Don't want your nudes to end up in public? Don't take nudes that you wouldn't want the public to see. Then you can be a true victim. The whole concept of "revenge porn," insofar as it applies to nudes and porn freely made and disseminated, is ever so much "I want my freedom.... but I don't want my choices to have consequences of which I don't approve."

We have a term for that behavior. It's called behaving like a child.

Is this one of those "very good points"? Because it sure as hell looks like blaming her for becoming a victim, something you claimed wasn't happening.

about three weeks ago
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Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Theaetetus Re:Pretty sure this won't work (311 comments)

As I and other have already pointed out, we are not blaming her for becoming a victim.

There's an entire thread titled "Why yes, we should blame the victim here", with the root post rated +5 Insightful. Yeah, people are blaming her.

But quick, respond with a No True Slashdotter about how those are fringe elements and marginal and don't represent the views of a large portion of Slashdot.

about three weeks ago
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Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Theaetetus Re:Pretty sure this won't work (311 comments)

It is the same crap people pull on rape victims all the time, finding some way to socially punish them for trying to bring consequences for their attacker's actions.

You know, as a close relative of a victim of violent sexual assault, I take offense to your supposition that what my family member went through is exactly the same as what this woman is doing to herself. Don't bandy about the term "rape" for everything you disagree with, as it desensitizes people from the severity of that particular crime.

GP poster wasn't "bandy[ing] about the term 'rape' for everything they disagree with" nor were they offering a "supposition that what [your] family member went through is exactly the same as what this woman is doing to herself." The comparison was not "rape" vs. "privacy intrusion on a revenge porn site"; rather, it was victim blaming, which occurs both to rape victims and here, to this woman. GP poster was entirely correct, and you were the one who tried to shut down the conversation by saying that GP can't talk about victim blaming because, if you only read every third word or something, it may somehow, in some straw-grabbing sense, "desensitize people". You're concern trolling.

about three weeks ago
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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

Theaetetus Re:Recent allegations... (210 comments)

Going by what modders are pulling out of the game it does appear that it is true.

Those modders are praising the wonderful graphics they get with the enabled settings, while admitting that they get stuttering and frame rates below 30 fps. Doesn't sound like Ubisoft "handicapped" the graphics to me, so much as fixed the performance issues.

about three weeks ago
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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

Theaetetus Re:Recent allegations... (210 comments)

I'm just saying. Everything we know points to it being deliberately handicapped. The game actually runs better when you enable the settings that made it look gorgeous at E3. It runs better with better graphical fidelity.

... if you never leave a small area, so that everything is full cached. Otherwise, you get significant stuttering. Look at any of the threads on the "mod" that enabled the settings - even as people praise it, they acknowledge that frame rates drop to 30 fps maximum with bursts of less than that vs. 60 fps without the "mod".

about three weeks ago
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Watch Dogs Graphics and Gameplay: PC Vs. Xbox One, With Surprising Results

Theaetetus Recent allegations... (210 comments)

This comparison should be viewed in light of the recent allegations that the PC version's graphics were deliberately handicapped.

Were the allegations true?

Well, no... But...

... uh...

This comparison should be viewed in light of the recent allegations that the name Watch Dogs infringes on numerous trademarks by Swatch!

... are those allegations true?

Again, no... But...

... uh...

This comparison should be viewed in light of the recent allegations that Ubisoft's developers are child molesters!

... are any of those allegations true?

Well...

... um...

This comparison should be viewed in light of the recent shut up!

Hey, Slashdot? How about reporting News for Nerds, not Unsubstantiated Opinions for Nerds? We already have Fox News for that.

about three weeks ago
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Intelligent Thimble Could Replace the Mouse In 3D Virtual Reality Worlds

Theaetetus Re:Done, and done well already. (65 comments)

In short, this is a wheel that's already been invented. I don't see anything "novel" or even better than what we have had already.

Then, with all due respect, you don't know what the word "novel" means. Something is novel when it is new or different from what has been done before. This is a thimble that sits on the user's index finger, allowing them to make 3D gestures in space. That's certainly novel compared to the 3DConexion interface, which is a knob with 6 degrees of freedom. They're clearly different devices, and accordingly, this one is novel compared to the Space Navigator.

Now, maybe what you really meant was that this isn't an improvement on the 3DConexion stuff. That, although new and different, it doesn't provide any advantages over the Space Navigator. But there, you'd be wrong, too - the Navigator requires the user to use two separate pointing devices, as well as shifting between Navigator and keyboard. The thimble, however, allows the user to make those gestures, plus dragging across a surface (which the Navigator can't do), as well as allowing the user to return to the keyboard and type without removing the device. Maybe those aren't features you'd appreciate or prefer, but they're certainly different features that the Navigator simply can't do.

about three weeks ago
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

Theaetetus Re:No reception... (128 comments)

...at 36,000ft. That's why I never use mine... After about 7,000ft I get 0 bars. I'm not going to pay $18 to use WiFi for longer than an hour so I'll just use the time to drink and relax.

I've got a dozen games, about two hundred books, and a handful of tv shows and movies on my iPad. I use it every flight, and it's annoying being stuck reading the in-flight magazine during takeoff and landing.

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Theaetetus Re:Better question... (228 comments)

You want to talk about preconceived bias? From you comment history, you claim to be a patent attorney. You're aggressive in defending patent trolls in general and this one in particular.

At no point did I defend patent trolls, and in fact, you even replied to my comment saying "Hate him for his IP policies if you want, but that doesn't mean you have to hate his cooking." That's not a defense of patent trolling - it's a defense of cooking.

It doesn't take a lot to connect the dots.

The dots being that you are so outraged over patents that if someone has anything to do with patents whatsoever, then everything they do must be the most evilest thing in the world. Have a patent? You must eat kittens. Work for the USPTO? Probably torture babies for fun on the weekends. Founded a patent troll company? Clearly, your grill must burn the souls of the damned instead of propane.

Pro-tip - learn to compartmentalize. People have many different aspects to their lives. Hating everything someone does because of one thing they do only makes you insane. It certainly doesn't help your credibility.

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Theaetetus Re:Better question... (228 comments)

What's your point? Are you implying that in order to criticize someone for taking an undue portion of the credit for other people's work, that I have to do a amount of work comparable to what the person I'm criticizing is claiming in the exact same field?

You haven't shown that it's an "undue" portion, and you certainly can't speak from experience as to what's "due". How much of your anger is simply preconceived bias?

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Theaetetus Re:Better question... (228 comments)

Because, IV and patent trolling aside, he's also the author of Modernist Cuisine and an award-winning BBQ chef. Hate him for his IP policies if you want, but that doesn't mean you have to hate his cooking.

And how the fuck am I supposed to evaluate his cooking if I have to worry about being sued for infringing his recipe by making dinner for guests?

What's a reasonable royalty for your dinner for your guests? Is it $0? What if he collected treble damages - why, that would be 3 times $0!

... I don't think you have anything to worry about.

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Theaetetus Re:Better question... (228 comments)

*Co-author* of Modernist Cuisine, along with two other co-authors, 50 staff, 36 researchers and14 outside experts. He may have financed the project, but its not as if he wrote the bulk of the material himself.

I see... And which cookbook did you co-author?

[crickets]

about a month ago

Submissions

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Supreme Court unanimous: replanting patented seeds is patent infringement

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about a year ago

Theaetetus (590071) writes "Farmer Vernon Bowman used Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybean seeds for his first planting of the season, but had a bright idea for his second planting: he bought commodity seeds from a grain elevator knowing that most of his neighbor farmers also used Roundup Ready seeds. Bowman planted those seeds and used Roundup herbicide to kill off all of the non-resistant seeds, leaving him with only Roundup Ready seeds, which he then replanted. When Monsanto found out, they sued for patent infringement.

Bowman argued that the doctrine of patent exhaustion applies: similar to the copyright "first sale" doctrine, once a patented article is first sold, the patent owner loses further rights with respect to that item. According to Bowman, since the beans were sold to the grain elevator, he can purchase and replant them freely, right?

Not so, says a unanimous Supreme Court: "Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals. Monsanto, although the patent holder, would have no business interfering in those uses of Roundup Ready beans. But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission (either express or implied).""

Link to Original Source
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Illustrated Guide to Apple-HTC Patents

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Theaetetus writes "Gizmodo has a illustrated guide to the patents Apple is asserting in the pending Apple v. HTC infringement suit. Readers should bear in mind that what is shown, however, is the title, abstract, and representative figure from each patent; the claims, which define the invention, are not shown, so immediate claims of obviousness based on the titles should be taken with a grain of salt."
Link to Original Source
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5th Amendment and PGP: are passwords testimony?

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a ruling in favor of privacy advocates, a federal Magistrate has quashed a subpoena that would have forced a defendant in a child pornography case to reveal his PGP password. "If [the defendant] does know the password, he would be faced with the forbidden trilemma: incriminate himself, lie under oath, or find himself in contempt of court," the judge said. Under prior case law, courts have distinguished between requiring a defendant to produce a key to a safe, which is constitutional, and requiring a defendant to reveal a safe combination, which is "testimonial" evidence covered by the 5th Amendment. More here and here."
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DNA co-discoverer claims blacks less intelligent

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In a move that will surely raise angry debate, James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, has claimed that "black people are less intelligent than white people and the idea that 'equal powers of reason' were shared across racial groups was a delusion." Criticism has been widespread, with some anti-racism groups calling for Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. Watson has previously found controversy with pronouncements that sex drive is linked to skin color, that "stupidity" could one day be cured through selective breeding, and that exposure to sunlight could make women slutty."
Link to Original Source
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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Theaetetus writes "In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is "no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." He then added that it had less space than a Nomad and was lame."

Journals

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Submitted: Sci-Fi channel pulls Arnold movies

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 10 years ago From a story in the BBC, the Sci-Fi channel has cancelled an All-Arnold Schwarzenegger day that was planned prior to the announcement of his candidacy. Spokeswoman Kat Stein said "we're pulling our Arnold marathon in deference to the electoral process," citing rules that say that all candidates must be given equal airtime.

Instead of the All-Arnold day, viewers will see a day of California disaster films.

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Apple iPod AIFF playback issue (which Apple won't admit to)

Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  about 11 years ago Just in case this story isn't accepted by the editors...

I've recently been involved in a round of returns/repairs with Apple for a 20 GB iPod centering around an issue that is common to all models, including the new ones... but an issue that Apple has conveniently avoided mentioning, and instead taken misleading approaches when dealing with it.

This is a problem that not many people will encounter, but can be very annoying to those who do. When playing an uncompressed audio track (WAV or AIFF) from an iPod, it will stop every 2 minutes and 17 seconds for a few seconds, then continue playback... For another 2:17.
WAV and AIFF playback is supposedly supported: Audio formats supported: - Mac: AAC (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF, Audible (Mac only) - Windows: MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV [from Apple's iPod spec sheet] so what's the deal here?

The explanation: 2:17 of stereo 44.1kHz, 16-bit audio (what's encoded on a regular CD) is nearly exactly 24 MB... It seems that this is the size of the RAM cache in the iPod (it's actually 32 MB, but the other 8 are used for the system and temporary data, such as volume and EQ settings).
Apparently, what happens in the iPod is that it reads 24 MB at a time off the hard drive into the RAM cache, and then shuts down the hard drive (to prevent skips and save battery). Understandable and reasonable. However, here's the clincher - it only spins up the hard drive and refills the RAM cache AFTER it's emptied.
Rather than doing a refill at say 23 MB or so, giving you a seamless playback, they wait until the buffer is completely used, and then they dump it and do a full refill.

Most people won't notice this issue, since at 160 kbps MP3, you've got 25 minutes before the RAM buffer needs refilling, and a two second skip every 25 minutes is not noticed by most people (particularly since most people will skip to a new song at some point in there, thus resetting the buffer).

However, we've got a couple of misleading things here: Apple never actually lists what the RAM cache is. Instead, they list 'up to 25 minutes of skip protection', without mentioning what the rate used for that is - it could be much more, if you're using mono 32kbps.
Second misleading point is calling it 'skip protection' at all. The other place that term is encountered is in portable CD players - which read-while-writing to the RAM buffer, and have ever since the beginning (back when the RAM buffer was only 5 seconds or so).
Third misleading point is the statement that the iPod supports AIFF and WAV playback... when they should specify that that's only if your files are under 2 minutes in length.

The iPod is still a good piece of hardware, but this cuts down its usefulness as a high-quality playback device, and should be noted by anyone interested in purchasing one for professional playback. Incidentally, none of this is mentioned yet anywhere on Apple's knowledge base.

-----------

UPDATE: Reportedly, this is fixed in Gen 3 iPods. I'm going to buy one and see.

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Theaetetus Theaetetus writes  |  more than 11 years ago I guess I should introduce myself, really quick, just in case anyone ever reads this.

I'm a 24 year-old audio engineer currently working in the broadcast industry, with 11 years of professional experience within the audio industry (including studio recording and sound reinforcement). I'm the assistant chief engineer of a decent-sized radio group that serves as the NPR outlet for two major market cities. My work is mainly repair/maintenance of electronics, audio gear, and transmitters.
It's the most low-stress job I've ever had.

Aside from the fact that they're a rich non-profit and they pay well, they also appreciate me and my skills as a talented problem solver who can rush in and put out fires before they grow too large. Every day, I get to point to something (or several somethings) and say "I fixed that. It is better for my having been here." While the money is nice, that sense of accomplishment and respect (both self- and from other people) is highly valuable.

If you have any questions regarding audio, electrical engineering, RF, radio/television/film, production, or music, feel free to ask. If you have any opinions regarding politics, religion, or philosophy, feel free to debate.

Thanks,
-T

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