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Comments

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Why Microsoft Killed the Windows Start Button

elsurexiste Re:stopped using it? (857 comments)

Who the hell is their focus group? I've not met a single person who doesn't use the start button.

Now, you do: I've clicked the Start button in Windows 7 only twice in my life: the first time was to see what else is installed and the second one was only to remove entries from the frequently used programs list.

I attribute this to pinning, shortcuts, and putting every application and/or file on the desktop.

about 2 years ago
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Immigrants Crucial To Innovation

elsurexiste Re:still... (463 comments)

Better yet: let's send them to fight in a civil war!

about 2 years ago
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Transplant Surgeon Called Dibs On Steve Jobs' Home

elsurexiste Re:This is why there should be a market for organs (291 comments)

Actually, adding a monetary incentive will drive away the altruistic element and may, in fact, reduce the supply. It's called the overjustification effect. You Are Not So Smart run a nice post on the subject here.

As for owning your own body... What's the matter with donation after brain death? Technically, you are dead and incapable of having property.

about 2 years ago
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Transplant Surgeon Called Dibs On Steve Jobs' Home

elsurexiste Re:This is why there should be a market for organs (291 comments)

There are a few reasons for a market prohibition. The first and foremost is that it coerces the poor. Imagine someone in extreme poverty: he'll no doubt sell one of his kidneys (IIRC, it's the most required organ), permanently impairing himself.

A more reasonable way is to make organ donation compulsory after death and/or live transplants only from family members older than, say, 35.

about 2 years ago
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Fires Sparked By Utah Target Shooters Prompt Evacuations

elsurexiste Re:General observation (709 comments)

I studied enough AI to know that, not only it's uncommon, but also doesn't have any sense.

more than 2 years ago
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A Universal Turing Machine In 100 Punchcards

elsurexiste Enough! (48 comments)

Can the word "Turing" be mentioned in a Slashdot submission without some random guy bringing up his sexual orientation?

Everyone knows the story, it has been denounced and publicly acknowledged and an official "I'm sorry" was told. I welcomed those events and moved on. The meme, alas, persists. Even Simon Wiesenthal said something like "We can't pretend there weren't deaths in the holocaust, but we can't think about it all the time".

Now, can we talk about what's relevant? Like TFA?

more than 2 years ago
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Belief In Hell Predicts a Country's Crime Rates Better Than Other Factors

elsurexiste Re:So religion is an evolutionary strategy (471 comments)

Religion, no. Hell, yes. If humans believe in both Heaven and Hell there will be no net effect on the crime rates.

Actually, no. FTA:

A growing program of research from across the social sciences now supports the long-held claim that religion positively affects normative behavior[1]

more than 2 years ago
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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

elsurexiste Re:In a world... (713 comments)

The only measure of artistic capability seems to be the popularity of the artistic productions. Why not tying livelihood to it, as charging for consumption/copy accomplishes to some extent?

You are essentially saying "artists should get a day job" while conceding that most great art and artists went unappreciated in their time. Doesn't that make your brain bleed?

more than 2 years ago
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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

elsurexiste Re:In a world... (713 comments)

Read this comment, then the one right up.

Conclusion: it doesn't matter who's right. Either way, society can't recognise good artists.

more than 2 years ago
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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

elsurexiste Re:False assumptions from gatekeepers (713 comments)

Nice, I got a mod down because you disagree with me but were too cowardly to respond.

So, you were trolling with grandiloquent phrases, got bitten by the mod system and complained about it? Cry me a river.

more than 2 years ago
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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

elsurexiste Re:False assumptions from gatekeepers (713 comments)

It's immoral to cheat on your spouse but we don't put adulterer's in prison (anymore).

Even if it isn't violent, there's still legal consequences, especially with a divorce. Instead, non-violent copyright infringement has no consequences whatsoever.

more than 2 years ago
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David Lowery On the Ethics of Music Piracy

elsurexiste Re:lame (713 comments)

The blog tackled that statement a while ago.

more than 2 years ago
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Romanian Prime Minister Accused of Plagiarism

elsurexiste Re:That's not the worst thing (64 comments)

They totally plagiarized the country name. They just took Rome and added -ania to it.

Also, this is the same country that has news like this

more than 2 years ago
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The Hobbit's Higher Frame Rate To Cost Theater Operators

elsurexiste Re:choices (710 comments)

Indeed, I've seen studies that showed very little difference in perceived quality between 30fps non-blurred frames and much higher framerates.

Really? Wow, I could definitely tell, especially on explosions or certain quick movements. It felt weird, "non-cinematic". While I didn't know that it was the difference in FPS, I knew "something wasn't right".

more than 2 years ago
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Hacked Companies Fight Back With Controversial Steps

elsurexiste Re:Worked out quite well (320 comments)

Not sure if you're an asshole...

...or a Winrar.

more than 2 years ago
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Diablo 3 Banhammer Dropped Just Before RMAH Goes Live

elsurexiste Re:That's *it* for me and Blizzard, man!! (540 comments)

Seconded, if you close Steam in "Online" mode, you can't start Steam again unless you have a connection. It's being a PitA lately for me.

more than 2 years ago
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Famous 'Uncanny Valley' Essay Translated, Published In Full

elsurexiste Re:I was creeped out by Final Fantasy movie (70 comments)

Really? I wasn't creeped out by Final Fantasy except when they kiss in space. In fact, when the bad guy pulls a gun against his head, I thought "Damn, what a scene!".

more than 2 years ago
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Honoring Alan Turing, "Father of Computer Science"

elsurexiste Exactly! (230 comments)

There are plenty of parents of "computer science". Alan Turing was more like the grandfather of modern computing, along with Ada and Babbage, and the father would be Von Neumann.

more than 2 years ago
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RMS Robbed of Passport and Other Belongings In Argentina

elsurexiste Re:Clarification, as I live here and study there. (386 comments)

+1 Insightful.

Most rankings have the same fifty names at the beginning and differ afterwards. UBA ranks at around 175. I'm surprised, though, that it's ranked as high as Tsinghua or Monash.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Attack on Aaron Barr seems over.

elsurexiste elsurexiste writes  |  more than 3 years ago

elsurexiste (1758620) writes "Apparently, Aaron Barr's twitter account has returned to his control a few minutes ago, after a lot of twits were posted with a modified avatar. He seems to take it pretty lightheartedly: "site defaced, twitter hacked, email taken...priceless." and "Does this mean I have become an internet celebrity...not quite how I imagined it?"."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Why I'm leaving Slashdot

elsurexiste elsurexiste writes  |  about 2 years ago

tl;dr I quitted /. because it has little community value and fails its mission.

I'll start by saying that I stayed this long because, while /.-ers are awful, /. is great. The question was more about what positive elements had the institution that balanced the negative ones from the community. Of course, if I start by telling that I left because the cons were greater than the pros, I should clarify why I think so. In any case, the straw that broke the camel's back is today's article about SCOTUS and healthcare.

I said I like the institution and I truly do. First, news were, overall, relevant to its stated mission: "News for nerds, stuff that matters". This means, essentially, that news were oriented to technology, the digital/electronic world and science in general. The second part is a vow to promote relevant news. Relevant to whom? To anyone, of course! That's why the site run news from Australia, Rusia and even Argentina. Of course, the relevance issue won't ever be solved, but a priori there's no reason someone in Botswana or East Timor won't find these "nerd" news interesting. The article from SCOTUS and health care convinced me that it'll never achieve neither true global relevance nor geek relevance. I'm not talking about indirect relevance, which has saved many articles in the past, but irrelevance to anyone who isn't American. That's OK by the way: if 100% of editors are in the US, it's natural that news from the US are relevant, even if there's no technology involved. It's also OK when I say that /. runs news that sometimes don't matter.

Now, let's talk about the community. Actually, saying there's a community is an overstatement. eldavojohn, one of the best /.-ers I've read, stated something along those line a while ago. There's two kind of people here: (a) a few experts and (b) a lot of screamers with Bachelor in Everything. Most of the time, I could offset this mismatch by marking 5-point comments visible and <1-point invisible, but the last few months it mostly filtered group-think. Informative or interesting comments sometimes went through the wall, but not as much as I'd have liked. There's something else that's distasteful: the best way to gain karma and upgoats is to be one of the first to comment. As simple as that. This could easily be solved by a random, yet replicable, ordering of same-level comments, but there's no real interest in fixing this situation. It's a shame, because I submitted an article once and people wrote some nice, thoughtful comments on it. A lot of assholes were there, too, sadly. Of course, it's not about feelings but about how much effort can I devote to separate the chaff from the wheat. There may be a community, but it's being drowned in "-1: Overrated" for interesting comments and "+1:Insightful" for insulting ones.

So, I come to the conclusion that the site no longer offers me the kind of news I want. It also doesn't provide a community I can feel attached to. What to do? For the moment, I'll try Ars Technica. I'll get my international news from Al Jazeera and The Economist and Matt Strassler's blog will provide me with Physics news. Let's see how that works out!

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The entertainment industry gets it, and that's the problem.

elsurexiste elsurexiste writes  |  more than 2 years ago

After following for a few years the modus operandi of RIAA and MPAA, and working on movies' DRM, I now understand why the industry gets it and how it acts. But I didn't feel inspired to write about it until I read these comments. My entry will apply only to movies, because I don't have the context or inside information for books or music.

Let's start with a basic statement: copying a movie and seeing it without paying to someone is bad. I'm not talking about a guy seeing the flick he bought with his friends (even if he totaled around 200 friends in different occasions), but the guy that downloads the movie. Let's just be practical: it's unsustainable. A producer puts money on it and expects at least to break even by charging people for seeing it. If everyone sees your movie without paying, and this behavior is generalized beyond a certain point, you can't recoup. So, even though it gets a lot of upvotes, we must agree that copyright provides a good incentive. It's not about freedom of speech: it's about an incentive to produce a creative work. Or, if you prefer it that way, copyright is indeed trumping on your freedom of speech, but you should come up with arguments that prove that freedom of speech is (a) always right and good, or at least (b) how it's good in this context.

This is not a defense of the current copyright durations: 20 years was enough in the twentieth century; I'd argue that sometimes is excessive today. I even noticed that, should the copyright duration after the death of the author extends just three years, Disney would have infringed Grimm's rights on his version of Snow White back in the 30's. I'm also not justifying these actions or the passing of abusive laws: I'm just defending the notions of copyright and that it should be enforceable.

I can summarize the way the movie industry deals with copyright violations today in a single phrase: "Put as many barriers as possible while we try to make money". There. This is based on a surprisingly simple fact: as a film gets older, its contribution to the cash flow gets smaller. This is not always so, especially with classics, but it works as a rule of thumb. The movie industry doesn't care for old flicks, because its main source of income is movies that have been out for less than a year. So, instead of fighting copyright infringements just for the sake of it, it's trying to delay the inevitable. Because, no matter how many times slashdotters say it, they *get it*. They aren't dinosaurs, and know this is fighting a losing battle: pirates are going to evaporate that income no matter what. What's important is to make it as hard as possible for pirates to do their thing, because profit is on that difference. They do what they can to close sites not because of an Orwellian notion of content, but because they want to profit as quickly as they can before piracy kicks them out of the equation. They put DRM schemes like AACS because they can remove pirate traitors from the system and continue publishing protected works in an easy way. The thing is, in this state of mind, there's no barrier ugly enough to be discarded, no action deemed too harsh, irrational or immoral. They are just deterrents that keep the money coming in, "the right thing to do" has nothing to do with it.

Here we are today, with the MPAA demanding batshit crazy laws and criminalizing everyone, and crazy people arguing that copyright should be abolished and institute a model in which artists live on donations because they shouldn't profit from their works' massive and instantaneous distribution. How do we get out of this crazy circle? To be honest, I don't know. I'd argue that returning to the 20-years rule of copyright, eliminating DRM, and turning infringement into a summary offense would help a lot, in part because it would change the attitude of all the parties. Something that would really help is truly payable fines (e.g. the total cost plus 25%, and you get to keep that copy) instead of suing for millions in damages: if paying is fast, cheap and convenient, suddenly it's much more enforceable. The producers can expect to receive money from both infringers and buyers, illegal distributors get penalized but not so heavily that they must go too underground, and users aren't guilty by default (the case with DRM). Even more, these changes would make illegal distributors a more interesting target than users. The only problem is how to find out about infringement. TPB would, in its current format, have some responsibility in this offense, but because it can produce a list of offenders, it can pay for their copies or direct the MPAA to them so it can still collect a few fines. As you can see, it's not polished enough

I don't know, maybe I'm hallucinating, but reality is too crazy as it is. Everyone "gets it", and that's making the problem bigger.

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