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Comments

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Spacecraft Sends First Image From Mercury's Orbit

Troll-Under-D'Bridge The "color" images look gray (97 comments)

Lame indeed. I just took a look at Messenger's supposed First Color Image of Mercury from Orbit. I thought I'd gone color blind. It looked so gray. Trying to reproduce the subtle shades in a color printer would be a terrible waste of ink or toner, as you'd be forced to go Cyan-Magenta-Yellow (CMY) to print out something not quite Black (K) or gray.

The mission may yet turn up some astounding scientific discovery, but Mercury isn't a very photogenic planet, as far as celestial bodies go.

more than 3 years ago
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MySql.com Hacked With Sql Injection

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:That's Not Ironic (288 comments)

That's why I said "expect". However, I'd still expect a dentist to have good teeth, even in a two- or one- dentist town. I expect a dentist to know all the tricks of having good teeth, like flossing, brushing after every meal, etc. If he sees a nasty cavity that could lead to bad teeth, I expect him to go and visit (even to the point of going out of town) another dentist who's just as good or a just a wee bit worse than him. Unless he's a self-schooled dentist who doesn't belong to any medical association, you'd expect him to have some contacts. Barbers probably are different since it's not the sort of profession where you have to pass an exam to get licensed, "high-end" hair "stylists" excepted.

Similarly I'd "expect" the MySql site to be free from, at the very least, exploitable security holes in their "star" product, even if that can never be true in practice. Image counts for a lot.

more than 3 years ago
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MySql.com Hacked With Sql Injection

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:That's Not Ironic (288 comments)

Unlike the reserved words of a computer program, words in a natural language have a wide latitude of uses, from the strict to the colloquial. Here, I see the "irony" in how a site designed to promote some type of "SQL" turns out to suffer from an SQL flaw, in effect negating the product's virtues in the eyes of those who like to skim through IT news headlines. It's similar to the way you expect a dentist to have good teeth.

Ironic is when one's words say one thing and one's actions another that contradict it.

I think you're thinking of another word: hypocrisy, e.g., a politician who claims to stand for morality but goes out with a hooker.

more than 3 years ago
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Turning Your E-Reader Into a Cheap Tablet

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:No, this isn't going to become mainstream (193 comments)

That's essentially illegal in most of the world. There's all sorts of bureaucratic stuff you have to go through if you want to drive on public roads. Not to mention the hassle of getting the thing licensed and probably emission tested as well.

Sadly, in most of the (3rd) world, most manufacturers only pay lip service (or a small bribe) to get the environmental license or whatnot they need to get their product out into the street.

more than 3 years ago
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Turning Your E-Reader Into a Cheap Tablet

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:No, this isn't going to become mainstream (193 comments)

You can also find books and websites about how to build your own car, but hardly anybody does that, statistically speaking.

Well, there's a big price difference between a car and a Nook, so I won't be surprised that fewer people are into car building vs. Nook modding. In the First World, that is.

In the developing world, all sorts of "car-like" vehicles get "built" out of used car parts imported or sneaked in through a country's ports. A good example would be the "jeepney" of the Philippines or the songthaew of Thailand. There are also variants of three-wheeled vehicles (tricycles) that adapt the motorcycle into the equivalent of a taxicab or, incredible as that might seem to Westerners, a mini-bus!

In those countries, assembling a vehicle might just be a bit more expensive than buying then modding an eBook reader but way more profitable since the product can be used for business and not just to stoke the hardware hacker's ego.

more than 3 years ago
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An App That Turns Any Drawing Into a Dress

Troll-Under-D'Bridge What, ma, no pants? (63 comments)

TFA shows only a model dressed in, well, a dress that looks little different from a bed sheet draped on by an actress in a PG-rated love scene. I mean, this is the sort of fashion that you can do with a little skill but lots of chutzpah. I'm sure a teen-aged girl with plenty of time but short on her mommy money can do a much, much better job.

I'd be more impressed if the app can do pants and a proper shirt that, even if it won't make the pages of GQ, I at least won't be ashamed to wear to work.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Names Winners For Summer of Code 2011

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:Ubuntu (84 comments)

I doubt Ubuntu would be competing with Debian on the same things since Ubuntu's focus is user-friendliness with projects like the Unity desktop interface while Debian's focus is on building a stable system on more different architectures than any other free software distribution (other than NetBSD).

more than 3 years ago
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Linus Says Android License Claim Is 'Bogus'

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:Can't issue a copyright claim if not the owner (116 comments)

To be pedantic, not necessarily. IANAL but there's a good chance that the contributor of a kernel patch submitted it as part of his/her job. So there's a slim chance that the (GPL'ed) copyright belongs to the Company not the contributor as a person. There's also the matter of copyright assignment, but I've read that Linus (or the Linux Foundation) isn't as strict about that, as, say the GNU Project.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Names Winners For Summer of Code 2011

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Ubuntu (84 comments)

Not trying to start a troll war but is there any particular reason why Ubuntu was omitted. There seems to be far too many slots open (not that it's a bad thing), why can't they have squeezed in one more?

Daniel Holbach's blog post doesn't say much. To be sure, all my favorite apps (!store) are represented, including Blender, Abiword, Scribus, GnuCash, and VLC (as Videolan). Aside from Fedora, other distros represented include Debian, OpenSuSa, Gentoo, FreeBSD, and NetBSD (but not OpenBSD unless my eyes have deceived me).

more than 3 years ago
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New Film 'Zenith' Now Available For Free BitTorrent Download

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:But is it really good? (123 comments)

Besides the fact that few movies are still actually being made in Hollywood (California), the recorded entertainment market (to group all things that can be squished into optical media, and subsequently streamed, broadcast or file-shared) has expanded greatly since the turn of the millenium. So now you can get hit movies whose only or main connection to the large US entertainment companies is the distribution rights. And, hey, there are also large markets in other territories like India and Pacific Asia (Japan, Korea, etc), where actors, writers, and directors live, get rich, famous, laid, and die without having once had a successful US production.

more than 3 years ago
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New Film 'Zenith' Now Available For Free BitTorrent Download

Troll-Under-D'Bridge But is it really good? (123 comments)

surprisingly well-made

Sounds like a synonym for mediocre but hey it's free. I have yet to watch TFE (the fine episode) because my torrent download rate is surprisingly slow. But reading through the comments at the VODO download page, assuming they aren't anonymous astroturfers, I get the feeling that it's actually good enough for broadcast TV. They'd probably be right if by such quality you mean either Paranormal Activity or the Blair Witch Project, a threshold you can easily reach with a well-written script, a good director and a dedicated cast.

Sadly the better free beer movies I've watched appear to be fan-made movies (or movies produced without explicit permission from materials copyrighted by other people), e.g. The Hunt for Gollum.

more than 3 years ago
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Open-Source Bach; Copyright-Free Goldbergs

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Mutopia (106 comments)

Also try the Mutopia Project, which has user-contributed sheet music in Lilypond format. Ready-to-print PDF output, as well as computer-generated MIDI format previews of the music, are also available on the site. (The last time I tried to mirror its music files resulted in a 1.4 GB file dump. It had some Bach, although I'm not sure if the Goldberg Variations was among them.)

more than 3 years ago
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Open-Source Bach; Copyright-Free Goldbergs

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:Innovate! (106 comments)

All this while open source projects would be the perfect place to really shine with innovation and with something new. Why just copy, why not create something new?

First of all, I don't think few things are really new in terms of technological development. Most technology, if not all, is built upon a layer of old technology. The wheel was probably an evolution of the rolling log, a technology that nature invented. Famous computing technology examples: the Macintosh, which "innovated" on top of technologies developed at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, and Windows, which ... (you get the point).

But if by "new", you mean fairly new, then it's easy to trace the apparent lack of innovation to the shortage or more often absence of designers in open source projects. (This is something Canonical has been trying to address with projects like Unity with I'm not sure what level of success.) Designers are a necessity when dealing with graphical programs which are spatial, as against the more sequential nature of programming.

You can find lots of innovation on the console, which includes software like emacs (an innovation against the line editors of the time), the object-oriented scripting language Python, and even Unix itself. These are "old" examples of innovation, which I mention only because they are pretty well known.

On top of that the shooter games are all based on ID's engines that are many years old.

Not all open-source games are based on the ID engine. Here's one that isn't.

more than 2 years ago
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Graphics-Enabled CPUs To Take Off In 2011

Troll-Under-D'Bridge IGP's are sufficient for most games (172 comments)

IGP's are sufficient for most games. Yes, you read that right. IGP's with good drivers are sufficient for playing the games that most people play. These include Flash games (Farmville) and the "demo" games that come with a typical OS installation (Solitaire).

I hate how supposed "gamers" dominate any discussion that remotely has anything to do with computer graphics. Not everybody wants to play Crysis (and I don't even know what that is, without a quick peek at Wikipedia).

more than 3 years ago
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MESSENGER Enters Orbit Around Mercury

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Most boring planet? (108 comments)

No, not really. All of the planets are interesting in their own right, including the one under your feet. However, I'd nominate Mercury as the most boring of the bunch. It has no thick atmosphere to hide what's underneath (Venus), isn't Earth-like enough to be humanity's putative second home (Mars), a mini-solar system (Jupiter, Saturn and the other gas giants), nor a former double planet (Pluto and Charon).

more than 3 years ago
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Is the Business Card Dead?

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Not for the Japanese (370 comments)

The Japanese seem to have this reverential attitude toward business cards. Typically, a Japanese businessman will hand his card to you with both hands, as if it were a plaque or a ceremonial sword. I remember this well because of a massive faux pax I committed years ago. I made the error of scribbling my phone number on a slip of paper, after I received the business card of a Japanese guest to a semi-formal social function (yes, I sometimes attend one of those). He was quite polite, even smiling as he slipped the slip of paper into his wallet, but to my horror, I would see later how other people did their self-introduction properly, bowing slightly while holding out their own business cards with both hands.

Well, who knows, maybe now they'll be exchanging e-cards by holding out their cellphones at arm's length like two samurai warriors about to do battle.

more than 3 years ago
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UN Backs Action Against Colonel Gaddafi

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:3.2.1... (501 comments)

My bet's on a couple of UAV missions. But, yes, expect this to be a long-range, remote-controlled war on the part of the Western powers that have signed up for the no-fly-zone.

more than 3 years ago
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UN Backs Action Against Colonel Gaddafi

Troll-Under-D'Bridge More intervention not more revolution (501 comments)

I hate to be pessimistic about the no-fly-zone. But it seems to me that the Arab governments that backed calls for the UN to impose a no-fly-zone will simply use any foreign military action in Libya as justification for their own plans to intervene in the affairs of other states.

Witness the way Saudi Arabia sent its troops to Bahrain, presumably at the invitation of Bahrain's royal family. The governments in power in those two countries belong to a branch of Islam (Sunni) different from those that dominate the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain and some parts of Saudi Arabia (Shia Muslims). So here we see foreign military intervention being used in support of an unpopular regime as against the possibility of foreign military intervention in Libya being used to support the removal of an unpopular regime.

more than 3 years ago
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Potentially Great Sci-fi Films Still Due In 2011

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Re:Lets face it (342 comments)

Sci-fi is very, very difficult to translate to the screen.

You could probably say the same thing of every novel or short story. The story must be pruned to what can fit within the two hours or less attention-span of the typical movie-goer. Conversely, short stories must be expanded. Most of the characters' thoughts can't be revealed, except as occasional voice-over narration.

There is, however, nothing special (or specially difficult) about sci-fi novels or stories, especially now that we have CGI. (Before the '70s, showing a rocket in flight or a herd of dinosaurs would have been a big problem.) The question is knowing when to use CGI, and when not. Too much, and you eliminate all suspense or expectation on the viewers' part. Do you show the alien predator in all its horrific glory or do you show only its shadow until the climax?

more than 3 years ago
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How has your opinion on the safety of nuclear power changed after the events in Japan?

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Worst case scenario (1148 comments)

Sure, most of us can ignore the threat of being killed in a massive meteorite strike, but the threat is there and, if you average the threat over thousands of years, much greater than the possible death toll from any act of terrorism.

Now what if we compute the dangers and environmental damage posed by nuclear power as against those of other types of power generation in a similar worst case fashion? What is the worst that can happen when, say, a fossil-fuel power station blows up (or is blown up)? People would get killed, but any damage and pollution would be confined to the immediate vicinity of the plant.

Probably this isn't an argument against nuclear power itself, but an argument against building big. Besides its potential for being a single point of failure, a monster dam designed to provide power for an entire state or region poses a greater risk than a smaller-size dam built for the energy and water needs of a city.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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UK scientists create three-person Franken-embryo

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Troll-Under-D'Bridge writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) writes "The BBC reports that British scientists have manufactured embryos containing genetic material from a man and two women. Under the procedure developed by scientists from Newcastle University, the nuclei from a father's sperm and a mother's egg are transferred into a second woman's egg "from which the nucleus had been removed, but which retained its mitochondria". The research, which may "help mothers with rare genetic disorders have healthy children", used embryos left over from IVF treatment."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Copy privileges

Troll-Under-D'Bridge Troll-Under-D'Bridge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I was within minutes of claiming first post honors in a Slashdot story today (or tomorrow, depending on your time zone). Unfortunately, my crappy Internet connection relegated me to fourth. And that spot isn't even obvious by now, buried as it is by the number of replies to the first post.

But what surprised me was the similarity between the titles of the first three posts:

NFC

NFC = Near Field Communication

NFC = Not F*cking Clear

If you need proof of the existence of a hive mind, this is it. Three different people, possibly on different countries and even continents, were thinking of the same thing. What the f*k is NFC? And it appears we even consulted the same reference source, the Church of the Almighty Jimmy.

What this, aside from giving me the creeps, tells me is that ideas have a way of converging when people are confronted by the same situation, scenario or problem. Think of it as the parallel evolution of ideas. Much as a fish, an ichthyosaur, and a dolphin evolved a similar body plan in response to the problem of aquatic propulsion, so did at least a trio of Slashdot posters have a similar knee-jerk (or should I say, "elbow-jerk") reaction to an initialism that didn't have the currency of USB, SATA, or RTFA.

Now what does this say about so-called "copyrights" when three or more people can come up with the same brainwave? Oh sure, one might argue that copyright only concerns copying substantial parts of a work. But what constitutes substantial? If I write a story or produce a movie about blue-skinned, cat-like giants, would I be violating the copyrights of the Avatar film partners? What if I do a story/movie merely about blue giants living in an extrasolar planet? To be sure, it's likely I wouldn't get sued to death unless I start making millions off my amateur media project. But that, I believe, is a valid question with regard the scope of copyrights.

Despite what some free software and free culture advocates say, at some point copyrights do start to resemble patents. In the future I suspect there would be a convergence between the two. What happens when molecular printing becomes a reality? People can get sued for having similar-looking designer cars.

It may well be time to rethink the basic social premises underlying the legal idea of "copyright" as a right. What if we consider copyright not as a right in itself, but a privilege, a copy privilege.

My idea of a right is that of an abstract entity that you can take away, either figuratively or literally, from someone. We might talk of a person's right to something by taking that thing away from him or her. Put a man in jail, and you take away his liberty, his ability to move around and go W(here)TF he wants. Seize his home, and you take away his ability to sit in front of his TV and enjoy his TV dinner. Steal a woman's iPhone, and she loses her ability to chat and update her Facebook profile, until she gets that new Android 2.x dual core/camera/SIM/and-everything-else-comes-in-twos highly-recommended smarter-than-her-b/gfphone.

But when you download an MP3 or an AVI file off a BitTorrent Swarm or some file-sharing site, what precisely are you depriving whom? The copy of the (original?) copy is still there. So it must be something else. In what way do we disable or handicap the copy "right" owner by our unlicensed downloads?

When defenders of copyright argue about its necessity, they quite often conveniently forget the social clause that lies at the foundation of copyright, that copyright isn't a good in itself, but a means toward an end, being "to promote progress" in the fields under its coverage. But what if copyright no longer promotes but obstructs progress? What if the "network effect" can produce innovation at a faster rate than a s(ee/ue)-you-in-court "chilling effects" regime? Isn't it time to uproot the legal jungle that grew up on the quaint idea that copyright is as obvious a right as the right not be thrown into a dungeon or beheaded for a crime you didn't commit?

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