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Comments

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How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

orgelspieler Re:How the Patent System Destroys Innovation (95 comments)

I'm not entirely sure how this got modded insightful. The patent system is certainly not built upon owning an idea. They cover a particular implementation, a certain solution to a problem, not just an idea. If you invent a machine that makes unicorn farts, you can patent that machine. If I make a unicorn fart machine that operates in a different way, I am free to do so. Now the market has two different unicorn fart machine styles, and we are arguably better off as a society.

As an engineer with some hands on experience filing and working around patents, I can honestly say that a large part of the patent system still works as intended. I believe inventors should be protected, especially when it's a David and Goliath situation, and patents still offer some of that protection. I also believe that the patent system encourages inventors in at least two ways. It lets you know that there is at least one solution to your problem, and that somebody thought it was worthwhile enough to patent it. It also forces an inventor to be more creative and come up with different solutions to the problem than what has already been done. Sometimes when you have to think of a different solution, you end up with a better solution.

That being said, I think business method patents are stupid, and that software patents are evil. And if you're going to file a patent on something, you sure as shit better not try to sue me on "trade secret" grounds. (yes, that actually happens)

12 hours ago
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Phoenix Introduces Draft Ordinance To Criminalize Certain Drone Uses

orgelspieler First amendment issue? (192 comments)

What about when the press uses a quad copter with a camera to go behind the gates of a company doing something nasty, or a wealthy politician's compound where something illegal is going on? Seems like this would make it harder for whistle-blowers to do their thing.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

orgelspieler Re:Very subjective (380 comments)

The more prescient (or paranoid) among us have been nursing alternative "real-name" identities on-line for a while now. I started one of mine about 4 years ago; he uses Google+ and posts the odd comment to online forums (not this one). I had another one about a decade ago, but I lost the password to it's keystone account. I think the key is going to be having enough dummy accounts, that I can have them be in each others' circles. But I really don't know if it will be worth it to go to that much trouble.

2 days ago
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The IPv4 Internet Hiccups

orgelspieler Re:Yes, Please (247 comments)

I think porn is the obvious solution here. Just get the major porn sites to require IPv6, and the problem will solve itself.

about a week ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

orgelspieler Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (364 comments)

This is a fair point. The traditional meaning of "may" involves some permission being granted by one party to one party ("May I?" = "Will you allow me to?"). Since they obviously aren't telling you that you give them permission, the only possible meaning would be that they are giving you permission to make a recording. Never thought of it like that before, but that's literally what they're saying.

about a week ago
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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

orgelspieler it's not a typo! (275 comments)

Looks like they added some stealth technology to that "L"

about two weeks ago
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Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

orgelspieler Nothing that Apple doesn't already do (267 comments)

Apple did the same thing with their upgrade to iOS. If you had iOS6 and an older Mac, you could connect through iTunes and everything worked fine. Then they "upgraded" to iOS7, and without warning you had to have a more recent version of iTunes, which in turn requires Mac OS 10.6.8 or newer. So don't think this is some Microsoft conspiracy. It's just typical thoughtless programmers not giving a shit about reverse compatibility.

It's surprising that people are raising a fuss about this, when they didn't say peep about the iPhone thing. Hell, on the Apple Discussions board if you try to bring up something like this, you are ridiculed for having a computer more than three years old.

about two weeks ago
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40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

orgelspieler Re:High success rate or lots of unknowns? (256 comments)

I think you misunderstand what things can link you to a terrorist. If you are the dry cleaner for a terrorist's dog walker, then you have a link to a terrorist. You are being watched. What I find so amazing is that even with such feeble all-encompassing definitions, they couldn't find a way to "link" these other 280k people.

about two weeks ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

orgelspieler Re:We can't live without these things? (212 comments)

The windows don't open now.

The hell they don't. The problem is, when I'm done opening it, it can't close. Bwahahaha. *goes to look for hammer*

about a month ago
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One Trillion Bq Released By Nuclear Debris Removal At Fukushima So Far

orgelspieler Re:Pick your units of radiation... (190 comments)

Wait... is that a metric fucking disaster or imperial?

about a month ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

orgelspieler Re: name and location tweeted... (928 comments)

There are terms and conditions for purchasing a ticket. Unless one of those terms was "We can kick you off the plane for sending a tweet" then they are in violation of contract and should be taken to small claims court. Of course it's more of a PITA than it's worth, but it would be fun to see SWA's lawyers have to defend such absurd behavior.

about a month ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

orgelspieler 9 year olds need not apply (205 comments)

I know at leat three people driving Sienna's ... each of them over ten years old.

I should hope so. Otherwise how do they reach the pedals?!

about a month ago
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New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

orgelspieler Re: minivan dead? (205 comments)

You are absolutely right about the stigma thing. My wife used to swear up and down that she would never get a minivan. She toughed it out with her CR-V as long as she could. When the in-laws (or other visitors) came over, I would dutifully crawl in the back, while everybody else piled in. But once we had our second kid, it became increasingly impossible to safely get the whole family where we were going. Then when the older one entered grade school, there was the need to shuttle friends about, too.

So we've had a Honda Odyssey for over a year now. The mileage isn't bad. The thing handles better than my Accord. It has more luggage room and is more configurable than the Pilot would have been. My only complaint so far is that the windshield is so large that it distorts my field of vision giving me a slight headache on long trips. But my wife says it's just my imagination. She has embraced being a minivan mom. She'll probably be one until the kids are grown.

I liken a minivan to any other tool. Once you get used to using the right tool for the job, you wonder why you ever did it any other way.

Regarding the push-button fold flat seats, that is already an option for the back seat of one brand. Don't remember which, though.

about a month ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

orgelspieler Re:Some people are jerks (362 comments)

Here are the rules at my house: Be safe. Be nice. Four words, and still my seven-year-old finds a way to get all lawyery.

about a month ago
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

orgelspieler Re:Some people are jerks (362 comments)

That's actually a pretty good point. Policies are set out to protect the company, while appearing to protect the employees. If an employee signs something saying they know harassment is not allowed on premises, it makes it a lot easier to fire them. If you don't have such a policy, it makes it a lot easier for the harassee to go after the company as well as the harasser.

Besides it isn't always so clear cut, which illegal activities will get you fired. How many companies will fire you for getting a speeding ticket? What if you get a DUI? How many companies will fire you if you smoke a joint (while not at work)? What about bouncing a check? Hell, some school districts have policies forbidding teachers from being seen drinking in public.

I don't think a company policy is meant to cover everything, just everything they are worried about getting sued over. I wonder if anybody has ever used the excuse "Well it wasn't in the policy, so you can't fire me for torturing my puppy to death," or some other heinous act.

about a month ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

orgelspieler Re:That's what I do (280 comments)

Man that guy is a complete idiot. Pa$$w0rd! is like the stupidest password ever.

about a month ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

orgelspieler That's what I do (280 comments)

Basically if there's no personal or financial information I'll use a low security password. Hasn't caused any problems yet, and I find it easy to remember passwords for forums this way.

about a month ago

Submissions

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University makes 80,000 Einstein documents publicly available

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 2 years ago

orgelspieler writes "The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has scanned in some 80,000 of Albert Einstein's documents. According to the university's press release, the documents cover more than just scientific matters. The broad range of subjects include his solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict, a postcard to his mother, and a letter from one of his mistresses asking for assistance getting to America. Some documents have been translated and annotated and are completely searchable."
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Another fake paper slated for IEEE publication

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 5 years ago

orgelspieler writes "Just last month we read about Herbert Schlangemann's acceptance to chair a session at an IEEE conference in China. He's at it again, and this time the paper was even reviewed by a human who said:

Accepted. Topic of this paper is related to this conference. This paper mainly studies on a methodology for the improvement of local-area networks. The author introduces a scalable tool for evaluating Internet QoS(PlusPug), which the author uses to prove that digital-to-analog converters and XML are regularly incompatible.

"
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What Makes a Good CIO?

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 6 years ago

orgelspieler writes "A friend of mine is being considered for a promotion to CIO of his Fortune 500 company. He does not technically have any IT experience, but his current position requires that he makes many of the hardware and software decisions at his branch office. What would the Slashdot community look for in their ideal CIO? What technical skills and knowledge are absolutely required for somebody in that position? What sorts of policies would a perfect CIO try to implement?"
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IRENE Makes Old Sound Recordings Audible Again

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "NPR is running a story on a safe way to reproduce sound from ancient phonographs that would otherwise be unplayable. The system, called IRENE, was installed in the Library of Congress last year. It can be used to replay records that are scratched, worn, broken, or just too fragile to play with a needle. It scans the groves optically and processes them into a sound file at speeds approaching real time. IRENE is great at removing pops and skips, but can add some hiss. Researchers are also working on a 3D model that is better at removing hiss."
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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "According to The Consumerist, a budding UK photographer, Lara Jade Coton, took a self-portrait (SFW) at the tender age of fourteen. To her dismay, the photograph ended up on the cover of a porno flick. It seems that several of the sites selling the video have removed her photo, but there are still a few out there selling the infringing cover."
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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "NPR's Morning Edition ran a story this morning about how USB turntables are giving vinyl records a new lease on life. According to the summary, "audiophiles are drawn to records because there aren't any anti-piracy restrictions." The story goes on to talk about USB turntables being used to transfer older music collections into the digital era, leading to an increase in used vinyl sales. Most interestingly, sales of new vinyl albums are up about 10%. While the volume is still low (about 1 million units), it seems to punch a hole in the recording industry's theory that digitization leads to reduced sales due to piracy."
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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "As mentioned in several articles, the Texas Democratic Party filed a suit alleging flaws in the eSlate electronic voting machine. The Democrats claim that the chief election official was aware of the problems, but chose to ignore them. From the press release:

On the eSlate machines, when a voter chooses a straight-ticket vote and then continues to select candidates of the same political party to "emphasize" their vote, the machine actually records the vote for that race as a no vote. ... Additionally, the Secretary of State's office is required to test all voting machines used in Texas elections and knew of the irregularities related to the eSlate machines, which are manufactured by Hart Intercivic. Yet Secretary Williams allowed the machines to be used anyway.
Another straight-ticket problem was mentioned by the Travis County Clerk back in 2004. There have been other glitches as well."
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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "The Register is reporting on a recent study of 420,095 Danish cell phone users and 14,249 cancer cases. It concludes that cell phones do not increase the risk of brain tumors, or any other cancer. This is opposed to a Swedish study of smaller scope, discussed earlier.

From the study:
Conclusions: We found no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users. Moreover, the narrow confidence intervals provide evidence that any large association of risk of cancer and cellular telephone use can be excluded.
"
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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 7 years ago

orgelspieler writes "According to the NYT, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine has opened a review of his department's role in the domestic spying program. Democrats (and some Republicans) have been requesting an all out investigation into the legality of the so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" since it was made public. But this new inquiry stops short of evaluating the constitutional legitimacy of the program. From the article:
The review, Mr. Fine said in his letter, will examine the controls in place at the Justice Department for the eavesdropping, the way information developed from it was used, and the department's "compliance with legal requirements governing the program."
Needless to say, Democrats have their doubts about the timing of this announcement."

Journals

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Patron-polling jukebox

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So I had this idea while eating at a burger joint yesterday, but it seems like something that should exist already. If it does, I expect that the discussion will devolve into a Zune flamewar. If not, I hope to harness the sheer nerdpower of /. to make it happen.

When you go into a restaurant or other place of business, wouldn't it be nice if they were playing music that most of the people there enjoyed? It would make sense to have a music probe. I imagine it should check all the portable music players, cell phones, laptops in use, etc. and a) tally up what types of music were the most common, b) what genres and songs are liked the most, and c) see if there are any songs that are absolutely hated by any current patron in the facility. Perhaps it could be run in conjunction with one of those web music services that is good at predicting what people will like based on what they already like and dislike. This might also be useful for DJs at small events.

Obviously some people will cry foul, saying that it's an invasion of privacy. So there would need to be a way for those people to turn off the sharing option. There is also a problem with part c) above. Most people will delete a song from their portable player if they hate it. The biggest technical problem would be getting all the device manufacturers to agree to support a polling protocol.

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hotlinking and copyright infringement

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  about 8 years ago Has anybody noticed this, but most of the people bitching about hotlinking are copyright infringing. I saw a minimally amusing switcheroo, but then I started thinking about it. I see everybody getting uptight about drawing a line between copyright infringement and theft, but nobody bats an eye at calling hotlinking "bandwith theft." What gives? Especially with this Doc guy. Half the images on his site are blatant copyright infringements. Yet he has the nerve to bitch about people "stealing" his bandwidth. Grow up and use .htaccess if you're really that worried about it. Fuck that guy.

My favorite is in the feedback section there's this omnedon guy who says he "lifted" a photo from a website (hello copyright violation), and then he turns around and sent a C&D to somebody for hotlinking one of his images (not copyright violation).

I'm tired of people trying to use copyright to bitch about hotlinking. who's copying anything? the person viewing the website, and the original server that has the linked image. guess what? both people have the right to copy.

idiots.

wrong? maybe. stupid? oh yeah. copyvio? doubt it. theft? not even close. if you don't want people viewing your shit with your bandwidth, don't let them. end of story. now quit your panzy-ass whining so i can get off this soapbox already.

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MySpace

orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 8 years ago

So my little brother introduced me to MySpace. It is a little scary. The only thing I had heard about it was that it was designed to be difficult to parse by adults. I guess that makes me an adult. The strangest things are there. My 16 year old cousin talks about dating some 21 year old. Random people that I haven't seen in a decade ask me how I'm doing. It's a bit like crack. But it's not as anonymous as /. so I don't feel as open and freewheeling as I do here. hmmm... odd. It's more connected, but I feel less open. What does that say about me? about our culture?

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orgelspieler orgelspieler writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Not that anybody really cares, but I'll be taking a break from /. for a while. I'm going to be doing a bit of work for the musipedia project. I encourage all you music lovers to do the same. (contribute to mp, that is)

Cheers!

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