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Israeli Group To Attempt Moon Landing

sela Please try to avoid spreading misinformation (150 comments)

The US gives Israel about 3 billion a year in financial aid, and Israel can only use this money to buy military equipment back from the US.

Israel's defense budget is about 15 billion a year.

about 9 months ago
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Patent Infringement Suit Includes Linking URLs In an Email

sela Re:Patent not as broad as summary claims (124 comments)

I believe W3C's Agora could be used as a prior art. Agora was a browser/server combination that allowed users to surf the web via email. It was developed for people with email access but without direct access to the web. The client side browser would send a URL request by email, and the server returned the content of that URL. The same servers could be accessed directly by email, without using the Agora client. There was also W3Gate, which was similar to the Agora server.

about a year ago
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Ask Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson About Their Kickstarter Vampire Movie

sela Re:Overdone? (103 comments)

For a contribution of 2000$ or more on kickstarter, you can sponsor a vampire stare. For a contribution of 10000$, you'll get a gracious glitter from an emotionally staring vampire named after your dog.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson About Their Kickstarter Vampire Movie

sela Re:Why do you need kickstarter? (103 comments)

You assume this is a zero-sum game, but it's not. The pool of potential funders is not fixed. When a well-known creator starts a Kickstarter project, it attracts a new wave of fans who come to help the specific project they are interested at, and then some of them stick around and help funding other projects. It's a win-win.

Besides, its up to the funders to get their priorities right. Personally, I wouldn't fund a Rolling Stones album because I believe they don't need my help. I would rather spend my money helping some small indie band, and help some project that couldn't happen without my help, and I'm sure many others will do the same. So I'm not worried Rolling Stones or George Lucas would dry the funding for those smaller indie projects.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson About Their Kickstarter Vampire Movie

sela Re:Why do you need kickstarter? (103 comments)

Your logic is completely faulty here.

First, being famous doesn't preclude you from using Kickstarter. Even someone could get funding from a big studio, it means the'll have to cede some of the control over the movie to the studios, who would change it to get more commercial appeal. Kickstarter allows the creator to maintain creative freedom.

Second, it doesn't suck funding from indy projects. Actually, it works just the other way around. More big names bring more public awareness to kickstarter, and as a result, those small indy projects get a chance to get more money, NOT less.

And third, this is not a Neil Gaiman movie. This is a Michael Reaves movie. Neil Gaiman agreed to play in this movie to help a friend.

about a year and a half ago
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Apple and HTC Settle Patent Dispute

sela Re:Really? (179 comments)

I agree. Apple does create products, so they can't be patent trolls.

Using the right terminology is of utmost importance. We need to make sure we use the right term for Apple, a big successful company which uses patents aggressively to hurt the compatition and stiffle innovation. The correct term for Apple is a patent bully.

about 2 years ago
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Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps

sela Re:They're really playing for keeps, aren't they? (561 comments)

Here, fixed it for you:

Because the patent arsenal shouldn't even worth the paper it's written on? Things aren't looking so good for them in terms of patents globallly.

For now, these patents seem to worth one billion dollars for Apple. Even if this verdict is going to get completely overturned by appeal (as it should), and Apple won't see a penny out of it, the damage is already done, and Apple will still gain from it a lot by generating FUD over Android.

about 2 years ago
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Bing Now Nearly As Good As Google — Says Microsoft

sela Re:Not there yet (405 comments)

My point exactly.

more than 2 years ago
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Bing Now Nearly As Good As Google — Says Microsoft

sela Not there yet (405 comments)

Bing doesn't give me the results I expect yet.

I tried the ultimate test to compare both search engines: ego-surfing. When I google for my last name, my homepages are displayed first. When I use bing, my mom's linkedin page is on the top of the list. And she doesn't even know what linkedin is, and how come she have a an account there! Epic fail!

All in all, I'd say that googling myself works much better than binging myself.

more than 2 years ago
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US ITC May Reverse Judge's Ruling In Kodak vs. Apple

sela Why patents are bad (101 comments)

Thinking about this case made me realize why patents are a bad idea. And the problem with patents have to do with the scarcity of invention ... or lack of thereof.

Patents give inventors monopoly over their invention, even if other people come up with the same idea independently.
One of the main assumptions justifying this is that invention is scarce. Coming up with an invention requires either a rare original idea which is hard to come by, some special insight that only few brilliant people would have, or a tremendous amount of effort that only few would be willing to spend on developing such an invention.

If inventions are indeed rare, then the benefit of encouraging innovation by giving such monopolistic power to the inventor, and making it safe for the inventor to publish the invention and license it to others is greater than the damage caused by such monopoly. If invention is easy to come by, on the other hand, such monopolistic power stifles innovation rather than foster it.
If you look at most patents, even the better ones, where there is no issue of prior art, most of them are solutions that are easy to come by. They may not be immediately obvious, but if you take any reasonably experienced engineer and give him a few months to work on this problem, they would come up with a solution, and probably a similar solution. With thousands of qualified engineers in each area and hundreds of companies that benefit from such inventions, it no longer makes sense to protect them with patents.

Patentable inventions are supposed to be "non-obvious", but this doesn't solve the problem. Even if the USPTO made a better job of filtering out obvious inventions (more than the lousy job they're doing right now), we'll still have all these patents where the solution is not immediately obvious but are the kind of invention that any qualified engineer could come by. And because this is true for most inventions, and because there is no clear criteria for distinguishing between the true "high quality" and the lower quality patents, I think we are better off by eliminating patents in most areas altogether.

more than 3 years ago
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Is Apple Turning Into the Next "Evil Empire"?

sela Re:What (722 comments)

I can certainly call Apple evil, for a good reason.

Apple are evil because the promote an evil ideology, because their products are the antithesis of freedom. Maybe you believe that such an intangible concept as freedom is meaningless, as long as they do not physically hurt anyone. Maybe you believe consumers still have choice because they do not have to buy apple's products. But nonetheless, if Apple's way will win, we would no longer have this choice. And we don't have to wait for Apple to win to call it evil. Because their way is evil, regardless of the end result.

In order to explain it, lets consider the following analogy:
Suppose a new U.S president is elected, and this new U.S president decides to suspend the senate, cancel all elections and to become the sole leader. This new president doesn't really hurt anyone. He's truly a benevolent dictator. He tries to do his best to make the country successful, the economy booms, taxes are low, he helps the poor and the rich, and even the secret police is nice and doesn't torture anyone ... they only issue warning letters to people who object the president.

All he took away is our freedom. Nothing else. And it's not that we don't have a choice either. If someone doesn't like his policies, they can always move to Canada ...

Would you call such a president evil?
 

more than 3 years ago
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On Retirement, Israeli General Takes Credit for Stuxnet Attacks

sela Re:Redundant (334 comments)

I'm a native Hebrew speaker. Haaretz is parsed "Ha-aretz", where "ha" means "the" and "aretz" means land.

Anyway this doesn't really matter. You shouldn't add the article "the" in front of a newspaper name, anyway, unless the article is part of the name itself, because names are proper nouns. Just like you don't usually refer to a guy named Robert as "the Robert".

The confusing part is that many newspapers' names begin with "The": for example, it's The New York Times, and not the New York Times. On the other hand, you do not refer to USA Today as "the USA Today".

more than 3 years ago
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Open Source-Friendly Smartphones For the Small Office?

sela Re:AT&T? (222 comments)

The Nokia N900 isn't sold with service by T-Mobile or any other US carrier.

Like most of Nokia's smartphones, the N900 can only be bought unlocked in the US, without any service package. It does work as a GSM phone with both carriers. However, it does have better 3g support with T-Mobile. It supports T-Mobile's UMTS but not AT&T's, thought you can still use the slower EDGE there.

AS for coverage, T-Mobile's coverage is pretty good around the big metro areas. There is a problem only in smaller places.

about 4 years ago
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New Tool Blocks Downloads From Malicious Sites

sela Re:Interesting... (192 comments)

OTOH, those machines that run Linux and do fairly important things are not used for browsing the internet. Linux serves are a target for hackers. Linux desktop isn't.

about 4 years ago
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New Tool Blocks Downloads From Malicious Sites

sela Re:What the fuck (192 comments)

You are right, download shouldn't run automatically. And actually, no browser intentionally allows downloading programs automatically.

Unfortunately, internet browsers are a quite complex piece of software which connects to a lot of other complex libraries, and each of these software elements may contain security vulnerabilities, used by exploits that download and run malicious code. The idea is this: some hacker find out about a security bug in some windows library (which could be a result of things like a buffer overflow bug), such as the library that displays some file format (WMF, AVI etc.), ActiveX, JavaScript etc., and then embed in a website some file that uses this exploit ( windows metafile, embedded video etc.). Such vulnerabilities are being discovered all the time, and Microsoft keeps releasing new security patches that fix these bugs, but from the moment the bug is discovered to the moment you download a security update there is enough time where your computer is exposed to such exploits.

I don't think it is realistic to expect software to be free of such vulnerabilities. Every OS got them. Fortunately for people using other OSes such as Linux, it is not targeted as much as Windows by hackers because it is not as common as a desktop OS, and the fact that most users do not run as admins also helps to reduce the potential damage of a malware. I believe there are other ways to reduce exposure to such exploits: for example, use data execution prevention and use a sandbox to isolate the browser and all the libraries it uses from the rest of the system. However, you need to design the system from ground up to be able to implement these measures properly.

about 4 years ago
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Real-Time, Detailed Face Tracking On a Nokia N900

sela Re:N900 without phone? (139 comments)

If I want something like an N900, but I don't plan to use it on a cell phone carrier, is the N810 any good?

IMHO, you should still be much better off with an N900. The N810 is already quite old and have a lot of annoying limitations. It got only 128MB of RAM, which is a major limitation. You can easily get out of memory with the N810 if you browse a heavy web site, and multi-tasking is limited as well. In addition, it got a relatively slow CPU, no OS support for GPU accelaration, 2GB internal storage and a limited size of system space for installing apps.
The N900 got 256MB RAM and 1GB virtual memory (with swap space), faster CPU, 32GB internal storage and up to 2GB for applications.

The N810 have a larger screen, which can be an advantage in some cases, but it is also bigger and heavier.

Better go with an N900. You can find used/refurb units for quite cheap prices on ebay.

more than 4 years ago
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A Composer's-Eye View of the Copyright Wars

sela One thing JRB forgot to mention (973 comments)

So he's just a guy trying to make a living. And he made this little experiment where he tried to stop his sheet music from being traded, and it seems like he was successful doing this. But then the more important question he did not address is: how did it help him to make a living? How much more does he make now that his work is more difficult to find online? Did it actually help him to make a living?

I guess the answer is: no.

more than 4 years ago
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Why I Steal Movies (Even Ones I'm In)

sela On the contrary (753 comments)

This is a strawman. Most people do not believe in a "right to consume". This is not about consuming but about the futility of turning art into a scarce resource that have to be bought and consumed.

There is nothing inherent about art that makes it a scarce resource. There is nothing inherent that makes it a "product". We, as a society decided few centuries ago to convert art into a product as a way to encourage people to create. It my have been a good idea at the time, but now that art no longer have to be distributed in a tangible form, it outlived its purpose and have to be replaced with a better mechanism.

So no, there is definitely no "right to consume", and I don't think there should be any, but then again, art shouldn't be consumed at all. It should be experienced and shared in order to enrich our culture. We should definitely encourage people to create art and ideas and should reward people for doing so, but a mechanism of artificial scarcity is not the right way to do it.
 

more than 4 years ago
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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison

sela Re:More to it... (1127 comments)

A lot of details do not add up in this story.

First, how did they get to 20 years in prison? Possession of child porn is a misdemeanor in California, and he can get only 1 year for that (And AFAIK, the same is true for the federal law). He could get 20 years only if he distributed (or possess with an intent to distribute) child porn material.

Something tells me there are some missing facts in this story, and I guess the prosecution had a lot of other incriminating evidence in addition to those accidentally downloaded CP files.

more than 4 years ago

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