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Comments

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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat

alienw Re:$20 is too much (388 comments)

If it's really sub-par music that's not even worth the $10 that an album costs, why are you stealing it? Obviously, it's not worth listening to. Last I checked, nobody ever got sued by the RIAA for pirating non-RIAA music. Also, how is it a rip-off? Last I checked, the RIAA was not holding anybody at gunpoint and forcing them to buy Soulja Boy CDs. If you don't like to buy these allegedly sub-par albums, you can always tape it off the radio, buy a single track from iTunes or Amazon, or just not listen to it at all.

more than 4 years ago
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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat

alienw Re:I think it should have gone to trial (388 comments)

It takes some nerve to claim that the defense is incompetent, and then suggest completely moronic theories. Even if you took a basic intellectual property law class, you would know that everything you are saying is completely wrong, and would get you laughed out of the courtroom.

First, copyright law specifically does not require proof of harm, or anything like that. You can always ask for statutory damages, even if the other side can prove your losses were zero. Statutory damages are about $150k/infringement.

Second, I fail to see the relevance of Media Sentry not being licensed as an investigator, especially since they were not investigating anything. Are you saying they can't testify as witnesses? That would be pretty ridiculous. What if I observe someone selling pirated CDs on the street? Are you saying I have to be licensed as a private investigator before I can testify in court? That's a pretty ridiculous argument.

Seriously, courts do not like people getting off on technicalities. It sometimes happens, but if you actually committed $1M worth of infringements and got sued for it, it's not really a good idea to go to trial with that. Regardless of what you think of the justice system, it's remarkably good at upholding the law.

more than 4 years ago
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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat

alienw Re:I have a question (388 comments)

What? The court wasn't there to decide questions of law. The whole point of having a jury and a hearing is to decide questions of fact. Liability is something that a judge can determine in about 5 minutes given the facts; there is no need for a court hearing for that.
The court was there ONLY to determine if the guy downloaded the songs. His only viable defense was to somehow convince the court that he wasn't the one who did it. By admitting to doing it, he pretty much sealed the deal.

more than 4 years ago
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Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat

alienw Re:I have a question (388 comments)

Well, the statutory penalty is something like $150k per infringement. So they really only had to prove that he shared one or two tracks. Also, in civil procedure, the standard is much lower -- you only need to prove that it is more likely than not that he shared the songs.

more than 4 years ago
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Ivan Krstić Says Negroponte's Wrong About Sugar and OLPC

alienw Re:OLPC is a success (137 comments)

Hell, the only reason costs go down is because we keep moving more and more production to third-world countries. Silicon used to be made in the US, now it's mostly made in Taiwan. Hardware that used to be manufactured in Taiwan, Singapore, and Eastern Europe is now manufactured in PRC, including things like hard drives. DRAM is extremely cheap because the Korean government invested trillions in the DRAM industry and it has extreme overcapacity. The hardware isn't becoming any easier to make, we are just paying the workers less. Obviously, this has very little to do with Moore's law.

about 5 years ago
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Ivan Krstić Says Negroponte's Wrong About Sugar and OLPC

alienw Re:A lot of things combined to kill the XO (137 comments)

ARM Processors consume ALOT less power than X86. With ARM you are talking milliwatts of power used to run the laptop, not watts.

Haha, no way. There are some low-power ARM chips, but they are rather low-performance compared to a modern Intel chip like the Atom (although the OLPC uses a very old and very shitty AMD processor). And the difference in power is like 10%, not two orders of magnitude. If you want reasonable performance, you really can't beat Intel. Their processes are about a year ahead of everyone else, which more than makes up for a slightly suboptimal processor architecture (which isn't even that bad, especially with the 64-bit extensions).

about 5 years ago
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Ivan Krstić Says Negroponte's Wrong About Sugar and OLPC

alienw Re:sugar wasn't the problem (137 comments)

They would have become more successful if they didn't try to do their own software stack. The countries they were selling them to never wanted third-world solutions; they wanted normal computers that could run normal software. A lot of these efforts fail because people think that third-world countries want to be beta testers. In reality, nobody wants to spend millions of dollars on an unproven, half-baked product with no track record, and that's exactly what the OLPC was. They had a lot of ideas, but no ability to execute, no deployment strategy, no quality control, no product support strategy, and no experience developing hardware.

about 5 years ago
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Ivan Krstić Says Negroponte's Wrong About Sugar and OLPC

alienw Re:Feature creep killed the XO (137 comments)

It was never intended as just a replacement for textbooks. There is no point in replacing textbooks. Unless you insist on 4-color printing on thick, glossy paper, textbooks cost pennies to print. Textbooks are expensive because publishers charge a lot of money for the content, and an electronic device does nothing to fix that. For the price of one OLPC computer, you could probably buy 100 textbooks if you didn't have to pay royalties.

about 5 years ago
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Polaroid Lovers Try To Revive Its Instant Film

alienw Re:Serious artistic interest (443 comments)

Polaroid only tanked because it was managed by incompetents, not because of failures of their technology.

Well, apart from the fact that their market shrunk from hundreds of millions of units to tens of thousands. It's very easy for a company to grow, but it's almost impossible for it to shrink. A factory that is efficient at producing millions of something might be extremely inefficient and cost-prohibitive if you only need to produce a few thousand. I'm sure the entrepreneurs behind this venture will learn about this soon enough.

more than 5 years ago
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Alienware Refusing Customers As Thieves

alienw Re:Um, so? (665 comments)

Yes, but the laptop in question has had its serial numbers removed, which only supports the original premise that it was stolen.

more than 5 years ago
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Alienware Refusing Customers As Thieves

alienw Re:More careful is good. (665 comments)

The guy SPECIFICALLY said the serial number and all identifying marks were removed by the previous seller. Coupled with the fact that it was purchased on ebay, I would be 99.9% sure it's stolen. Why else would the seller remove the serial number?

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:Power factor compensators (859 comments)

Is that why my local utility is spending tons of money subsidizing and promoting CFLs? Utilities are the biggest proponents of energy efficiency. New power plants and transmission lines cost tons of money, reduced consumption doesn't.

more than 5 years ago
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Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing

alienw Re:Missing the point. (458 comments)

No, they aren't benefiting from it. In fact, you can directly argue that every top 100 download on TPB is a lost sale. What the statistics are basically saying is that the major labels' marketing is working very well, but instead of creating more sales, it's creating more downloads. The labels don't care about how popular their artists are, they care about how many records they sell. I don't think you can honestly argue that their record sales are going to increase as the result of piracy. In fact, I think that their business model is going to be completely gone in another 10 years. Maybe they can reinvent themselves as something else (say, making money by licensing music for commercial use), but it will get harder and harder to sell records to consumers as digital piracy increases.

more than 5 years ago
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Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing

alienw Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (458 comments)

Probably. But I think the fundamental reason small labels and independent artists are struggling is because they are not publishing music that appeals to a broad range of consumers. The big labels are pretty good about picking out stuff that sells, and artists tend to gravitate towards larger labels. As a result, the smaller independent labels mainly get music that was not accepted by any of the big labels. This is a very narrow niche market that appeals to a very small number of people. All the statistics are saying is that the big labels are doing an extremely good job of picking and promoting music with broad appeal. Of course, that renders such music rather bland, but that's the price of having broad appeal.

I'm not sure how pirates figure into this. If anything, piracy hurts big labels much more than small ones. Small artists typically have more devout fans that would probably be much more likely to support the artists by buying their records. They also don't have a pre-existing business model that's based on selling a small number of hits in extremely large volumes.

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:Economic Implications to the Grid (859 comments)

Um, those are distribution transformers. They step down from 5 kV distribution voltage to 220V going to individual houses. Generally, power factor is not a significant issue with residential users. It's much more of an issue when you have a factory with tens of megawatts consumed by induction motors (which have a power factor of something like 0.3).

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:That pretty bad (859 comments)

Even if you throw the bulbs in the trash, the environmental impact is mostly positive. The amount of mercury they contain is absolutely trivial, as has been pointed out in other comments.

I don't know why you are paying $15 for CFLs. They cost about a dollar these days. Maybe 3 or 4 for specialty lamps.

If your CFLs are lasting 3 months and giving you poor white balance, you are either buying very cheap bulbs or are using them incorrectly. Good CFLs are practically indistinguishable from incandescent lamps. One reason they might be dying so quickly is dimmers. If you have any type of electronic switch or dimmer on a lamp, you should not use regular CFLs in it. You will damage either the switch or the lamp. I've certainly seen defective lamps, but the average lifetime that I've been getting is on the order of 3-6 years.

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:Economic Implications to the Grid (859 comments)

It's critical to remember that reactive power + real power = total output of the facility. When reactive power production goes up, real power production decreases. So the idea that these lightbulbs are eating more than their share of reactive power has significant economic implications.

That's a silly argument. If everyone replaces incandescents with CFLs, you will need 2x less apparent power and 4x less real power. And "generating" reactive power doesn't require burning fossil fuels or running generators, it just requires additional equipment (capacitor/inductor banks or active PFC systems). So even in the worst case, the utility still frees up half the capacity used for lighting.

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:So they are still more efficient (859 comments)

LED lights have exactly the same problem. Any switching power supply has that problem -- computers, cellphone chargers, wall warts, and even dimmer switches. Large fluorescent installations use more expensive ballasts that have power factor correction, so they don't have the problem. The problem is that making a PFC circuit costs money, and CFLs are supposed to be cheap.

Besides, it's really not much of an issue. If utilities didn't see the benefit of CFLs, they would not be encouraging everyone to install them.

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:Speaking of conscience... (859 comments)

The initial power surge to kick off the light will eat into your usage and savings -- very minutely, but still not the benefit you think you're getting.

There is no initial power surge to turn on a light. Where the hell are people getting this retarded idea? It does not take more power to turn on a fluorescent lamp. Any type of fluorescent lamp. The real issue is that some types of old magnetic-ballast fluorescent lamps would wear out after a relatively short number of cycles. This is not an issue with modern fluorescent fixtures.

The only problem with using a CFL for this application is that most take 30 seconds or so to reach full brightness. However, there are several types of CFLs now that reach full brightness almost instantly. Check Consumer Reports, they have a good table.

more than 5 years ago
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CFLs Causing Utility Woes

alienw Re:Power factor compensators (859 comments)

No, that would be an urban legend. Electric meters don't care about power factor, they measure real power. Also, keep in mind that modern electronic meters have a lot of features to detect tampering. So if you try to play games with the meter, the utility will know about it.

The real problem with CFLs is waveform distortion. They use rectifiers, which draw power at the peak of the cycle. This creates nonlinear currents, which cannot be fixed simply by adding inductors. If the lamps had a purely capacitive power factor, the utilities would love them, since that would help balance out the loads from various motors (which are very inductive). Also, this problem isn't unique to CFLs. Light dimmers cause exactly the same problem with incandescents, too.

more than 5 years ago

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