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Comment Oracle just trying to save face (Score 4, Interesting) 357

Are we supposed to believe that Oracle really had the best interests of the Open Source community at heart? Are we really supposed to believe that this case was all about Oracle's altruistic intentions instead of a $9Billion payday??

Now that they have lost this particular legal battle, Oracle are just trying to save face in front of the Open Source community. This lawsuit has alienated a massive segment of the developer community. Arguably that alienation began the moment Oracle acquired Sun, and this lawsuit simply confirmed many people's worst fears. It is clear, from comments in the trial, that Oracle only acquired Sun to have total control over Java, and anything related to it. Now that this lawsuit has confirmed that Oracle don't have the control they thought they did, their only option is to try and sway public opinion with the developer community. I don't see how that will start to happen unless Oracle abandon any appeal and let this case rest.

Hurst said that the whole Open Source community is in jeopardy because this will allow anyone to ignore copyright on source code and claim 'fair use'. Sure, there may be a possibility that 'fair use' could be pose a risk to enforcing the GPL, but the precedent in this case is limited because it specifically involved APIs. That hardly means that the GPL is now worthless. What is certain is that all developers everywhere, including the Open Source community, would have been in far greater jeopardy had Oracle been victorius.

If Oracle had been victorius, then Annette Hurst would have been busy firing off dozens of other API copyright lawsuits instead of writing Op-ed pieces on ArsTechnica. (The only thing that surprises me about this article is that ArsTechnica were so willing to publish something from such a clearly biased source.) Given that this was published so quickly after the trial, I find it hard to believe that Hurst penned this in her spare time after the trial as her personal opinion instead of the opinion of her client. To me it just seems like a lame 'Plan B' approach to sway public opinion for her client while they work on an appeal.

To be clear, I don't for one second believe that Hurst and Oracle have the best interests of the Open Source community in mind. I also don't believe that this is just about making money out of Google (although that is the starting point). This is about Oracle trying to regain total control over Java and anything related to it. The are billions of devices and programs that use Java or make use Java APIs (and not just Android devices), so the potential licensing revenue stream would be massive for Oracle. This is about Oracle trying to put an Open Source genie back in the bottle, and represents a far greater threat to the GPL than fair use ever will.

Comment Modular, but no longer upgradeable (Score 1) 39

This article misses the critical point that the Project Ara phones will no longer be upgradeable.

From the Project Ara website: "The Ara frame contains the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display..."

The whole concept behind Phonebloks, which grew into Project Ara, was that everything was to be upgradeable. When a new CPU came out, you could just upgrade the module. If you wanted better gaming performance, you could drop in a better GPU module. If you needed a larger battery, or if the current battery performance was poor, you could swap it out. If you wanted a better display, you could just upgrade the module. The idea was to create an ecosystem when you didn't have to replace the whole phone if a new upgrade came out.

Yes, the new Project Ara is modular, but only to the point of secondary functions. Key functionality (ie. Display, CPU/GPU, battery and cellular) is not modular, and therefore not upgradeable. This goes completely against the original concept of Phonebloks and Project Ara.

Comment Why is Slashdot advertising for Arduino SRL? (Score 5, Informative) 67

This article completely brushes over the Trademark dispute, where if the facts were published it would become clear that ArduinoSRL (formerly Smart Projects) has been attempting to hijack the Arduino brand. ArduinoSRL/Smart Projects produced boards under license from In 2008 they sneakily registered the trademark in Italy just before pursued registering the trademark internationally. found out and tried to negotiate for the trademark that was rightfully theirs. Subsequently, Smart Projects stopped paying royalties to, changed their name to ArduinoSRL, and have declared themselves the real Arduino. Funny thing is that the code they distribute to run their hardware is still from

Comment This isn't a normal KVM solution (Score 1) 128

Are the point you want to separate displays between two machines, you deviate from what KVMs are designed for. It comes down to what you want to spend. I'd suggest you get an HDMI matrix with at least 5 inputs (PC1 1&2, PC2 1&2 and Laptop) and 2 outputs (screen 1 & 2), and then get a separate USB switch. Finally you need control to link them together (unless you really want to switch them manually). If you get IR controllable HDMI matrix and USB switch, something like a Logitech Harmony should easily control both. Then you just customise whatever modes you want.

Comment "Nobody wants a stylus..." - Steve Jobs (Score 0) 508

Well, I guess he was wrong. *gasp*

I feel a great disturbance in the Reality Distortion Field, as if millions of fanboys suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. They probably all want one now. But it isn't a stylus, its a pencil, right?

Seriously, I'm looking at the iPad Pro, and all I see is a slavish copy of what Microsoft are already doing with the Surface line.

Steve Jobs also said "if you see a stylus, they blew it" and "as soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead." Perhaps this is a sign that Apple have hit peak Apple, and are now on the decline.

Comment No microSD slot, no replaceable battery? NO SALE. (Score 4, Insightful) 77

I have enjoyed previous Galaxy Notes, but my current will probably be my last. The upgradeable storage and removable battery were (for me and many others) key points of difference over the iPhone, but Samsung have decided that they don't want to be different.

I don't want Cloud storage. Why would I waste my phone plan's data allowance when I should just have expandable local storage? Oh, I should pay for model with the largest capacity? No, not for the price per GB that they're selling.

Sure, I may be able to charge in 90 minutes (with Samsung's charger only, of course), but what happens when my battery gets end of life? Planned obsolescence sucks.

I also liked that the previous flip covers and smart covers, that clipped on instead of the battery cover, more or less became part of the phone. That was much more useful to me than a back plate of glass that will just be a crack magnet.

Yes, this release was the standard fare of a processor/RAM bump and screen resolution bump, but for me this release is far more notable for the features that have been removed....

Comment Re:Is a false DMCA claim an act of Perjury? (Score 1) 224

From Vimeo's website, amongst other things the notice must contain:

"A statement by you UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf."

Good faith shouldn't be had to disprove in this instance: as a company who specialises in anti-piracy they should know the law and should be held to a higher standard than a member of the general public. An automated search for anything containing the word 'Pixels' is going to contain a high number of false hits. Using those as a basis alone for a DMCA claim is negligent at the least. They have stated UNDER THE PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information is accurate, when they cannot reasonably believe that every claim is accurate. They should have had someone verify the automated claims, but instead they are relying on the DMCA system to do that for them. That is bad faith.

Comment Is a false DMCA claim an act of Perjury? (Score 5, Interesting) 224

I wonder if it is possible to bring a Class action lawsuit against Entura (and Columbia Pictures)? IANAL but there seems to be a class here. By filing DMCA claims, Entura have committed themselves to a legal document (even if that is an electronic document). Surely, if the claims in the document are clearly false, then Entura have committed multiple acts of perjury (as each claim is a legal statement invoking the DMCA). As Vimeo counts the DMCA claim against the user, even if that claim is proved invalid, then the users can show that they have suffered harm to their reputations.

Comment Interesting timing (Score 2) 66

This call for patents comes just after HEVC Advance announce a HEVC patent pool to compete with MPEG LA. DASH is a complimentary technology to HEVC (h.265), and MPEG LA know it. By offering both DASH and HEVC patent licensing portfolios, they probably believe they are making themselves more attractive to deal with than HEVC Advance.

Nevermind that this patent licensing competition is actually likely to impede the uptake of both technologies.

Comment Wait... this rhetoric sounds familiar (Score 1) 83

"...Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners..."

This sounds an awful lot like the scaremongering that was put out surrounding Iraq and its WMDs. We all know how that turned out.

Laser targeting and guidance systems have been about for decades. These days a simple laser pointer can be considered a laser targeting system. It is a massive technological leap to go from milliwatt laser pointers to 150kW directed energy weapons: a technical leap that Iran, and countries like it, simply are not capable of.

The Navy are clearly banking on the fact that Politicians simply will not know the difference and will just allocate more money to Defence Budgets out of misguided fear. Nevermind that the Navy's own Laser Weapon System's performance has actually been rather lacklustre.

Maybe the Directed Energy Weapons program is yet another area of US Military spending that is deemed 'too big to fail'... just like the F35.

Comment Re:Ask other retro communities (Score 1) 66

...replace them with modern power supplies before they fail.

That's fine if you just want to keep the machines functional, but this is a Museum and restoring this as close to original condition as possible is the goal.

I do not believe that modern power supplies are any more reliable in the longer term, given the number I have seen fail. These machines have lasted 30 years on the original PSUs. The goal is to keep them going another 30 years and beyond, not just get them up and running for now.

It sounds like they know at least some of the key problems. What they need is not necessarily someone who knows the 30 year old machines, but someone who is going to institute a regular maintenance schedule and replace the parts before they fail. I know what is inside them and any halfway decent electronics technician will have no problem working on them (no surface mount components in there).

Comment A Judge with any sense should see though this. (Score 1) 190

"... Office Space previously tried to purchase the domain name from him..."

If Mr Kneen can prove this in court then Office Space Solutions' case won't last long. It proves they are the ones guilty of bad faith.

Furthermore, if the claim that Office Space Solutions tried to perform an unauthorized transfer of the domain is true and can be proven in court, then surely that would be criminal fraud.

It sounds as if Office Space Solutions are hoping that Mr Kneen would see the lawsuit filing and just hand over the domain instead of fighting this. I hope that he doesn't, and I hope this is something that the EFF would care to involve themselves with.

Comment Re:Future parent company already calling the shots (Score 1) 50

it doesn't seem at all clear that 'geoblocking' qualifies.

What else is geoblocking other than geographic market separation? There is no other use for geoblocking other than to control access so that different regions can be charged differently to maximise profits. The way that section of the Copyright Act is worded does not make Technological Protection Measures absolutely the same as DRM; it covers DRM, but can be applied to other things too.

Comment Future parent company already calling the shots? (Score 3, Informative) 50

What the article doesn't state is that CallPlus is in the midst of being acquired by Australian company M2, and there has been speculation that M2 is behind the sudden settlement. Up until now, CallPlus were quite proudly sticking up for Global Mode.

It is a shame that this is not being tested in court. I do believe that the Section 226(b) of the New Zealand Copyright Act would have applied here:
"for the avoidance of doubt, [a Technological Protection Measure] does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that, in the normal course of operation, it only controls any access to a work for non-infringing purposes (for example, it does not include a process, treatment, mechanism, device, or system to the extent that it controls geographic market segmentation by preventing the playback in New Zealand of a non-infringing copy of a work)"
It is the one reason that region free DVD and BluRay players are legal here. New Zealanders were using Global Mode to view legitimate content that they paid for; content that was otherwise unavailable to them due to geographic market separations.

The ones to lose out here are the various studios that are content producers. At least with Global Mode, people were still paying for the content. Now, with the demise of Global Mode, and the hassle of having to sort out a separate VPN provider, the number of people turning back to torrenting is just going to explode. Of course this is all because the local Media Distributors want their cut, as if the millions they already get weren't enough. These are the same Media Distributors who delay releases by months or even years to try to capitalize on popularity while paying the lowest possible price for broadcast rights (the reason many NZers flocked to Global Mode in the first place).

Given their talk in about this being so illegal, the fact that NZ Media Distributors are not proceeding with testing this in court means they have probably realised that a conclusive victory in their favour is simply not possible. Of course this does not stop them from trumpeting this as a win for them, which it really isn't.

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