The Hypersynergy Technology Index :
Science Computer Internet Issues
Sunday November 17, 2007 Slashdot : Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes
As someone who been inside the health care industry for the last 20 years I can assure you that there is a horrendous percentage of this money spent on things that have no real direct relationship with the delivery of medical care. I happen to work at one of the better managed organizations both from a medical and business view, but it is the exception.
Probably nearly a third of your health care costs go toward bloated administrative costs. How medical care professionals and institutions get paid is a quagmire of private and government plans that requires multiple, confusing and usually duplicated efforts and paperwork. While dealing with the bureaucracy of government programs is indeed a hassle the challenges are often trivial when compared to private insurers that quite frankly do their best to not pay their obligations at all if possible and have evolved slow pay into an art. Then there is the issue of top level management staffing levels and compensation which are both often obscene, all the while lower level managers and staff are run dangerously lean in both salary and staffing levels. The salaries of the insurance executives and staff figure into this in the same manner as far as you and I are concerned even if from the opposite perspective industry-wise.
The next largest black hole involves marketing and the associated 'appearance' issues. Sadly more often that not an organization is bleed pale by advertising and cosmetic 'improvements' to facilities and grounds. Local media is often a player in this. If anything does go wrong, and of course it does far too often what with the typical low staffing levels and money diverted for real needs, then the local media will hound the institution relentlessly. Subsequently or sometimes concurrently the other hand of the media is in the organizations pocket for 'image recovery' advertising.
As for direct medical costs, the areas of emergency care, medical imaging, cancer treatment and surgery often though of as the 'expensive part' of the equation is dwarfed by long term care costs. I guess it is politically incorrect to point out that this more often than not involves a patient who has passed the average lifespan. Many families of of average means or less will see their entire inheritance siphoned away in grandpas or grannies last two months, or maybe weeks, of life.
Finally another huge issue that is a bit harder to quantify with numbers but I believe has the largest impact of all. There is a reason why health care organizations often find themselves in highly litigious circumstances. Simply put the medical care establishment due to some of the reasons stated above along with other equally inexcusable reasons every year manage to kill more people that auto accidents, firearms, and illegal drugs combined. These are deaths caused by misdiagnoses, medication mistakes, equipment failures, simple negligence and the biggest of all infection control failures.
There is a lot of work to be done before we can expect to have reasonable quality health care at a reasonable cost. Many of the entrenched players such as the insurance, medical prosthesis and drug industries have no reason to want change in their part of the camp. With the system so broken medical care professionals, administrators and support staffing are nearly hopelessly beleaguered in most cases where they try to improve things. Every year now for what seems like forever I hear 'you have to work smarter and do more with less' and we do pretty good at it, but the costs keep going up anyway. Hey but aren't those grounds pretty, my look at those Italian marble floors, oohhh you just gotta see the granite fountain in the patrons garden and did you see that new TV spot with Dr so and so....
Oh as for the topic of the article, screw Gene Simmons, I say boycott anything he has ever done or will ever do, like any of it was worth listening to anyway.
Sunday November 11, 2007 Slashdot : Has the Novell/Microsoft Deal Made a Difference?
Heh, you know you can change that, right? We are still talking about open source GNU/Linux aren't we? I will agree that the default openSuse Gnome start menu implementation is horrendous, I am not a SLED customer so I don't know so much about it of course. Then again I am not a Gnome fan anyway, I use KDE on openSuse and have to say I like the new openSuse kicker menu quite well. I feel the same way about most GTK interfaces, I prefer those built from QT. I just installed 10.3 and the GTK based Compiz Fusion manager sux compared what I am pretty sure is a QT based Beryl manager on 10.2.
As for the politics here. I am not fond of anything that involves a deal with MS. However from a pragmatic standpoint I still like Suse or at least openSuse better than any distro I have tried (all the heavy hitters). It may be that in the future I have to move to something else due to this deal, but at this time the deal has very little to do with openSuse and the distro still has the same German engineered feel of a well nitpicked and finely finished quality to it from my perspective. It just works, all of it, not 95% or so like many other distros.
Thursday October 25, 2007 Slashdot : Terror Watch List Swells to More Than 755,000
Hi Simon, Welcome to the list. hypersynergy.com
Thursday October 25, 2007 Slashdot : FTC To Take a Second Look at P2P
I think this has more to do with darknets than most normal P2P file sharing clients. Of course what they want is a undefeatable backdoor. Of course this is impossible to guarantee unless the technology's supporting such networks are banned. This is a battle where the FOSS community will have to take a stand on the side of freedom or loose much of our moral authority. It will be a tough fight since the confluence of serious threat, real malicious intent with the ignorant scared masses and their appointed idiots makes for a frackin' mess.
In most of the western world today complainants about one or more issues of terrorism, illegal content, or copyright have some legitimate right to be critical of darknets. At least from my limited excursions the accusations of misuse seem to have some valid claim. There does not seem to be much real use of the darknets for what I would consider important liberty related stuff as of yet. However in the near future this may not be so, besides at such a time such information would be a threat to those in power so it would be declared illegal anyway. Still I find value in a few quotes that relate here:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"
When the fight comes home where will you stand?
Monday October 22, 2007 Slashdot : Scientist Are Working to 'Steer' Hurricanes
Steer them to where?
Monday October 15, 2007 Slashdot : Dragonfly-Sized Insect Spies Spotted
"Doesn't a jump straight from squirrel to fly violate Moore's law?"
Flying squirrels, cool... can they pull a wabbit out of their hat as well?
Monday October 15, 2007 Slashdot : Dragonfly-Sized Insect Spies Spotted
"So it comes down to these two options.
a. The government of the US can create almost magical technology and then is stupid enough to use it in this manner.
Lets see we have in option A: The dimwits behind the Iraq war, duct tape personal protection and color coded terrorism alerts. In option B: Quite a few rally attending activist tinfoil hat types. Sorry but it seems to me that both of your options are equally valid.
Monday October 15, 2007 Slashdot : Airbus 380 To Have Linux In Every Seat
"While I would like to point out this is not about critical flight control systems (where I doubt any Linux would be certified as it costs a lot to be) and in-flight entertainment machines are OK to crash sometimes, the specific functionality is, probably, a win for Linux distros."
While the link below describes ground based flight control operations rather than in flight aircraft controls it is still pretty damn critical stuff. The implementation described in the article is impressive. From the article:
"DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH developed a radar data-processing system called PHOENIX, which runs on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for high availability and performance - helping ensure safety for aircraft across Germany."
Link to full article with video: [novell.com]
Happily running openSuse 10.2 with KDE/Beryl-SVN as my primary OS.
Friday August 24, 2007 Slashdot : Drug Testing Entire Cities at Once
"As much as the "well they are breaking the law/what do you have to hide" appeals to me"
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." Abraham Lincoln
Saturday August 18, 2007 Slashdot : Super Pathway Discovered In Southern Ocean
Why was this modded as a troll? It seems pretty insightful to me. Whatever the reason for the recent tilt toward warmer conditions the advice is reasonable enough. For instance the idea of investing in new AC technology. Just today I noted to my boss that part of the reason a couple of our 100 ton air condensor AC units were struggling was that they were built optimized for efficiency in our locale (US midwest), however in the past week we have been experiencing Texas conditions. Units built for Texas would have a larger condensor surface area that ours but such would less efficient in normal midwest conditions. If these conditions do turn out to be long term or erratic then there is going to be a lot of money to be made designing a new generation of units and patching existing units condensors, control hardware and software. With water based condensors you simply add cooling tower cells, air based condensors are not quite that simple. Note this will be just as much an issue for homeowners as for industrial plants like ours.
Friday August 03, 2007 Slashdot : Smarter Teens Have Less Sex
"I should be a super genius."
That would be MY p.s.tag you are claiming. wilec zzzuuueepp splat!!!
Friday July 20, 2007 Slashdot : Too Many Linux Distros Make For Open Source Mess
Bruce remember this is /. almost nobody reads TFA anyway. \. argghh das dis dang it, wokwowkwok, oohhooo.
Seriously, thanks for all....
Tuesday July 10, 2007 Slashdot : On the Widespread Misuse of the Mouse
The rich depth of this type of object oriented approach is what I miss most about OS/2 and the better written native apps that were designed to take advantage of such features. I have become really fond of GNU/Linux for many reasons, philosophical, stability, security, flexibility, performance, new hardware support, value and even some interface features like the extensive and powerful CLI/terminal tools. Add these to the fact that IBM failed to keep OS/2 current all the while dragging users and developers along with expensive teases and there is no way I would ever go back. However OS/2 did have a elegance in some areas of the user interface that has never been matched, though KDE is getting pretty dang close.
Wednesday July 04, 2007 Slashdot : Deathbed Confession Says Aliens Were at Roswell
"Velcro.. Yeah that was a NASA invention, riiiiight. I bet the egg was full of the stuff."
Actually is a Swiss invention. [wikipedia.org]
Saturday June 30, 2007 Slashdot : Russia Claims Large Chunk of North Pole
Ice Station Zebra? Over...
Please folks! Just don't forget to feed the bear.
Sorry, just showing my age I guess.
Saturday June 30, 2007 Slashdot : Music Industry Attacks Free Prince CD
"I know this makes me a crazy radical, but I think I've had just about enough of being pissed on and told that it's a shower of gold."
But that's how "trickle down economics" works, you know some people pay for that fetish service.
"And best of all, I don't have to lay down at night feeling like I've been fucked all day against my will."
Another fetish service some pay for, you ungrateful heathen. ;)
From high up in the trees all the upper most monkeys see below them are toothy grins, when the monkeys living below look up all they see above them are assholes.
Just bought the first major artist music CD/DVD I have in years because of all this mess that interferes with my ability to enjoy it how I want. The Eagles Farewell Tour, now I have spent mucho cash on the Eagles music before in many different formats/media, most of which I do not have access to today because it got damaged or is on obsolete media. I was perfectly willing to buy this because it included video of a live performance, new not anything I have had before. Of course I tried to rip the DVD's to my hardrive, not so I could distribute it, just so I could conveniently view/listen to it when I wanted and so I could lock the DVD's in my safe. Of course the DRM loaded DVD's give me all kinds of grief, I have of yet to get a valid rip of them. I hope the Eagles do not expect me to buy these again or to see my toothy grin at a live performance if they decide to have another "farewell tour", they probably just got their last friggin' dime from me. Same of course applies in spades to all those whose music I enjoy less.
Saturday June 30, 2007 Slashdot : Vista Security Claims Debunked
"This information will not stop the Canadian provinces from taxing smokers into submission. $10 a pack . Almost 100% tax.
I would contend that they were very much an engineering shop back then. It isnt reasonable to compare MS products of the early 90s to Vista/Leopard/Whatever today. Back when windows 95 shipped it was head and shoulders technically better than the other operating systems targeting average everyday folks."
Most MS consumer market software has always been of a lower quality. Windows 95 was a horrible OS far below in quality, stability, security, features and ergonomics to what was offered by IBM in OS/2 at the time. Even Linux, barely 4 years old at the time could best Windows 95 in all areas except perhaps feature set and ergonomics. I will agree that there really were no "other operating systems targeting average everyday folks" for the PC platform. IBM upper management made only a half hearted effort before pulling the support for consumer marketing of OS/2. In some respects it is a shame because IBM had a superior product. At the time NT which shared a code base with OS/2 was relativity solid, since the origin of both were a joint MS/IBM project. However NT could not come close to matching OS/2 in the ergonomics and usability aspects. In may ways no version of Windows or even Linux ever has.
However the emergence of free software and GNU/Linux may have been thwarted by a strong OS/2 effort so in the end run things have worked out much better for us all. I for one have not booted OS/2 in years now and would never go back to any closed source OS. I would love to have VM support for it so I could run some of my favorite apps like Impos/2 or ProNews under Linux. Have any other /. ex OS/2 users run our old friend under a Parallels VM?
Follow-up: I tried the Parrallels VM with OS/2 and it does work acceptably. I have not as of yet paid the $50.00 US for it as I really can't justify it at this time. The free trial timed out so I haven't booted OS/2 in a few weeks now.
Friday June 29, 2007 Slashdot : Five Ideas That Will Reinvent Computing
Like say a GyroMouse.
Midair mouse like pointing devices have been out several years now. I know the technology is a bit different but the functional effect seems not so new to me and would actually seem to be inferior to gyro based technology. Like I said a typical PC Mag article suckin up as usual to one of its favorite advertisers know for over hyped behind the curve inferior products and vaporware. Classic. And so it goes...
Tuesday June 26, 2007 Slashdot : Scientist Calls Mars a Terraforming Target
"all someone needs to do is come up with a solution (or multitude of solutions) for turning the bulk CO2 of the Venusian atmosphere into something else (perhaps hydrocarbons, carbon nanotubes, hell it could be graphite or diamonds for whatever reason)."
I have had the same thought in regards to dealing with the excess CO2 here. It seems that carbon is a excellent building material and the value of free or hydrogen bound oxygen is pretty obvious. I suspect the problems lie in the energy required to break the molecular bonds of CO2. It would be nice if we could figure out a way to do this that we could afford. I seem to remember that plants have using solar energy. Heck with sequestering carbon in the bowels of the earth. Lets "fix" it and use it for the next generation of homes, vehicles, etc. The full replication of the process using water as well would provide free hydrogen as a fuel, and the remaining products for food/feedstock or pharma. I knew this was to elegant for no one else to have hit on it....
Friday May 25, 2007 Slashdot : Firefox 3.0 Makes Leap Forward
Yea same here. I ended up with about two dozen 25 - 100k files. In fact mine got so big that it was easier to use perl to whack it apart and clean it up than to manually sort through it all. It was nice to have a responsive bookmarks file again. Dang nearly time to do it again with a 1.2mb bookmarks file, now where did I put that script. Ah but for being saddled with the interesting but cursed life habits of a packrat...
Sunday May 13, 2007 Slashdot : Battlestar Galactica To Continue After All
Something tells me that he might not make it to the fifth season. This would be a shame as Edward James Olmos has been my favorite actor in this series with both his acting and the writing making Admiral Adama the most interesting character, for me anyway. As for the future length of the series, well I can think of several spins on this. Many posters have noted that this story is limited by the goals of the respective elements, ie: humans and cylons. I see several interesting things that have already been introduced into the story and more that could be. For one the angst of the cylons about their god, place and purpose. Another cylon issue is their interest in hybrids, perhaps related to a genetic cloning disease, something similar to inbreeding in humans. Remember the obsession with what was it the last seven cylons. As for the humans, what kind of earth will they find? Just who populates it? A post holocaust civilization in ruin, a world with Star Trek level technology, is it populated with humans, cylons or how about hybrids? I can even see several valid spin offs that could easily be better than the average fare on TV.
As for the soap opera type twists and the relation to current events of a controversial nature, well these can both be over done and in my view have been somewhat. However such is what allows for people to feel a connection with the story. All the best stories be they TV, novels, short stories or what ever use this basic method of connecting the everyday lives of the audience with the drama of the story. This requires very extensive and well executed character development and the very best do it very well. The best, like say Hemingway or Blair, I have known do it in such an understated manner that it is almost subliminal. The danger for the writers then is in being to up front and obvious in their approach to using this method. This rule also applies to the acting trade as well, and in my view E.J.Olmos is in the same league as Anthony Hopkins and both are to the acting world what Papa Hemingway or Eric Blair are the world of literature. In whole and especially in the best episodes the writers and actors have done well by this rule. Occasionally both have strayed a bit and come off as being a bit too obvious and thus, well corny.
I do think they have done a pretty good job at staying idealistically neutral on the politically charged topics, mainly by exposing the multiple viewpoints even if the format only allows for shallow explorations. At least they attempt to address these in an intelligent and interesting manner. I find such interesting, I like the shootem up special effect stuff too but there is only so much I can take before I get bored with it. And they have done a pretty decent job with the SF conceptual stuff like the cylons angst and viral like mental transpostions and the humans devolution of networking technology as a defense. Overall I still give the series an A, and hope for several more seasons at a quality equal to those so far.
Saturday May 12, 2007 Slashdot : No Wine for Dell Ubuntu Users, Says Shuttleworth
"One key comment that Mark makes in the interview is that he is for free software."
For most in the GNU/Linux community the focus is on freedom of use, flexibility and quality not on the creation of a cheap knock off of commercial software. This is often explained by the "free as in speech" as opposed to "free as in beer" examples. Perhaps I do not have the full text of the same interview you quoted. The ones I read that are topical to this thread are quoted below. They indicate to me that he was referring to the qualities that relate to the freedom of use qualities inherent in Linux that allow users and developers to freely build, deploy, customize and use superior software. Either you innocently have a very basic misunderstanding of the Free Software movement, you are a commercial developer upset that your coding efforts are being out classed by free software developers or you are acting as a shill for commercial interests. The Free Software movement is a true grass roots effort initiated by developers that also often use their own products. Many of them got tired of having the products of their own creative efforts being acquired and locked away by commercial interests, very often in the nefarious acquisitions and mergers of the last few decades. They were angered that in many cases the code they labored on had been used in ways contrary to their own ideals. They were frustrated that they often lost the right to use or alter a product of their own creation.
Nether the less I will still bite on the "free as in beer" argument. Commercial software development companies have simply over priced their product in relation to its usefulness. Given the prevalence of computers and the digital nature of software, especially commonly used software, the price per unit of deployment can be very low and still provide a substantial return. Commercial interests decided to use, or more correctly stated as misuse, copyright and patent laws in addition to morally if not legally questionable "agreements" (EULAS) to create an artificial scarcity of product and thus maximum returns. I believe they simply went a few steps too far in the restriction of rights and the price of the product when it is compared to the usefulness of the product. Via these return maximizing methods these companies have managed to build some of the most fiducially successful monopolies in history before they hit the wall of customer resistance. Nether the less the wall has been hit, and their greed has reached the limit of customer acceptance, at least by a minority of customers. These same customers have in the course of a couple decades created alternative software and development methods for themselves and others. They have done an excellent job, their product development model is based on a open and flat meritocracy and is thus able to recruit many thousands of skilled developers and create products of comparative or better quality. The license model, the GPL, has very few restrictions on the use of the end product. The movement holds the moral high ground in regards to the basic ideals of its development model and the rights of its developers and customers. Last, and in this case also the least, it by its base nature is thus priced very competitively ;). These are the new rules, get used to them. The "free ride" for the bean counter and monopolists types at the helm of software development for the last thirty years may not yet be over but there is now a very viable alternative.
""I am a deep believer in the ideology of free software. I think it's morally better, but I'm also very conscious of the practical benefits of the free software movement."
Tuesday May 01, 2007 Slashdot : Has Open Source Jumped the Shark?
I had to Wikipedia "jump the shark", while I had heard the phrase before it was not in the context of anything that I found interesting enough to wonder about its source or meaning. Now I know why, I was right in the first place, I almost wish I never ingested this bit of trivia. I love a rich and free culture / language especially metaphorical transpositions, but this is well not so much rich as just tacky. To me "jumping the couch" belongs in the same trash bin, maybe even closer to the bottom. Oh well to late now this meme is forever burned into my cortex. Cruel how the mind works, more obnoxious something is to us the deeper it is burned in our memory. I do not mean to be critical of those that like these this type of language use, its just that certain items like this annoy me. .
Monday April 30, 2007 Slashdot : Vitamin D Deficiency Behind Many Western Cancers?
"This information will not stop the Canadian provinces from taxing smokers into submission. $10 a pack . Almost 100% tax.
I am sure that tobacco tax revenue in Canada is a huge profit for the government and brings in many times what smoking related cancers cost the healthcare system. Everybody loves to hate smokers these days, but without us, Medicare would fall down flat, guaranteed.
The tax on my cigarettes, pays for your healthcare. I have not been to a doctor or the hospital once in over then years, though over that ten years I have probably paid $10400 in tobacco tax directly subsidising the wasteful and frivolous healthcare system. (about two $10 packs a week for 10 years) Not to mention the 10% sales tax I pay on everything else I buy - everything, which is supposed to pay for the healthcare system. (Compounded by an additional 8% federal sales tax - the "GST").
Nor will I visit a doctor or a hospital in the next ten years. I simply do not trust the medical profession, I'd rather let nature take its course thank you very much.
There is no way in hell that smoking related illness costs even a fraction of the taxes earned on tobacco. What costs the healthcare system are the "health freaks" who visit the doctor or hospital on a regular basis for every little thing. Not smokers.
However, I'm sure this extortion will continue. And you can rest assured that if I started to grow and cure my own tobacco, the mounties would be here with their guns in no time."
As someone with a bit of inside knowledge of the health care field I can assure you that while mouth, throat and lung cancer and yes acute heart related treatment cost is very high it is far from the most expensive health care expense. The most expensive is long term nursing care and treatment of the chronic diseases of the very old. Those that die before age 70 from acute disease or illness are a nominal expense compared to the cost of last 10-20 years of most those who live past 70. Now calm down, I am not suggesting that we do not take good care of these folks, just that we tell the truth about things. Smoking is a terrible self destructive addiction that can contribute to hideous diseases and it is fine that as a society we discourage it. However to demonize smokers with an excessive and undeserved tax burden while telling lies about their relative cost to society is shameless.
Whats next outrageous sporting goods taxes for the endomorphin addicts that suffer terribly expensive orthopedic trauma. How about a food fat content tax for the vast majority of western society, the hell with no sales tax on milk and butter, lets tax it cheese, ice cream just like tobacco. Don't get me started on what prion contaminated hormone saturated red meat, chicken or heavy metal laden fish does for colon cancer and mental health. Just wait until all the implications of prion based illness like CJD and the outrageous practices of the "meat factories" are exposed. And lord knows just what is actually in much of the processed foods you consume such as chips, dips, frozen pizza and breakfast cereals. Of course if you really want to be risque you can always eat out, may I suggest the latest redneck BBQ joint or Chinese diner in town.
Sunday April 29, 2007 Slashdot : DARPA Developing Defensive Plasma Shield
""Defensive weapon" is an oxymoron. All weapons are offensive by definition. You may defend yourself by using a weapon, but you would be defending yourself by attacking back - it doesn't make the weapon defensive, and it doesn't change the fact that you are actively using it to hurt or kill, as opposed to something passively protecting you like a wall or a moat. Arguing that a weapon is defensive because it is heavy is disingenuous - plenty of things are difficult to do but it doesn't stop them being what they are."
Look I did not make the post as a philosophical argument defending the definition. I was simply stating the most probable reason for the military to declare it as they did using classic military logic, that is by tactical/strategic definition. Military tactical strategy and the logic supporting it do not always make sense to a layman. That you can feel correct in defining it as a oxymoron or as a disingenuous statement is simply a matter of definition by perspective and/or lack of knowledge of such tactical strategy. I am not a big fan of the military industrial behemoth that in many ways threatens our republic. I am also not a fan of warfare as it is a terrible, no make that a hideous way to settle disagreements. However the logical underpinnings of the methods of military tactical strategy that have evolved over thousands of years are more than worthy of my attention.
However since you insist, my observation of whether any weapon is defensive or offensive can be dependent on attributes of the weapon and/or relative to the incident of its use. There are static defenses like moats, walls, armor plating or anti ballistic missiles then there are active defenses like archers and tubs of hot oil atop the walls, crocodiles and snakes in the moats, large caliber stationary automatic firearms or retaliatory banks of second strike ballistic missiles. Even such can be muddied up by the intent of use. For instance anti ballistic missiles deployed to destroy only offensive ballistic missiles are viewed by many as part of an offensive strategy themselves as they could be used in strategic ways to support survivability of first and second strike offensive missiles and other strategic holdings, thus they are seen to destabilize parity in ballistic missile holdings. I personally wish there were no such thing as a ballistic missiles, but I could click my heels together for eternity and they would still exist. I can wish for the end to warfare, I can even be active in opposing unnecessary acts of violence, which BTW I am, more so than most. However I am at my root a objective realist, thus I realize that such will be with us for far past my lifetime. I also realize that sometimes though rarely, fighting will be the only acceptable choice.
In the end run if someone kicks my door in and attacks me with whatever, the fact that I shoot them dead with 12 ga shotgun is a defensive act regardless of how you personally wish to define the shotgun. I personally own mine just for such a purpose and no other, as believe it or not I am too soft hearted to hunt for sport and would rather buy my meat packaged these days.
Sunday April 29, 2007 Slashdot : DARPA Developing Defensive Plasma Shield
Fuel Cells. Of course a Mr Fusion would be nice but in the mean time fuel cells, then next nano process fuel cells are the most likely critters. Possibly even more promising near future source for a better power-to-weight ratio would be mini turbine powered generators. Of course for less portable applications conventional CAT gensets and capacitor banks might work pretty well.
Saturday April 28, 2007 Slashdot : DARPA Developing Defensive Plasma Shield
It is defensive in the same way Gatling and Mini-guns are. That is the damn thing and its ammo or in this case its power source will be too heavy to be portable enough for effective use as a non mechanized ie: infantry assault weapon. Of course mount the critter on a rolling, floating or flying platform and it makes a pretty good offensive weapon as well. However it is well founded classical military logic that the infantry is the root of any offensive action. All other weapons systems are seen as defensive support for the infantry, even those like tanks or air power that are used to "soften" up the enemy first.
Saturday April 28, 2007 Slashdot : Criminalizing The Consumer - Where DRM Went Wrong
"When you buy music you but the media, not the content. You dont own the song, you never did. When you buy a CD, you dont get free LPs and cassettes."
While you do not own the rights to distribute the music you do own that particular copy and your rights extend past the media it is contained upon. You need to read a bit on First Sale and Fair Use.
Wednesday April 25, 2007 Slashdot : Beryl User Interface for Linux Reviewed
"Does anyone understand why the make or break of a new OS this year is whether you can view different workspaces (multiple desktops, whatever you call them) imposed onto a cube which you can twist about? This seems completely dysfunctional. You can't possibly view observe all six faces at once, so it's going to be very difficult to find anything, and you'll get quite disorientated looking. If you perform the wrong transformations, desktops will come out upside down, or rotated 90 or 270 degrees. Most people have 4:3 or 16:9 ratio screens, so you can't possibly map six of these onto the faces of a cube without distorting them terribly. If you had four or nine desktops, then you could split the screen to display them all in a rectangular grid, which would make finding applications easy: this would be planar rather than 3D. There's no need to make the desktop something from Half-Life 2, or I'd staple six screens together and send myself to space."
You know when I first tried Beryl I though that it was going to be just eye candy stuff that I would tire of quickly and then turn off. However many of the features have turned out to be much more natural and intuitive and thus more useful that anything else I have used. Most of the spinning cube clips on MySpace actually do a great injustice to Beryl by focusing mainly on the flashier but on the less useful features. I am pretty certain that the exact type of view manager you specify does exist for Beryl in the latest SVN versions anyway. It is an "Extra" called "Mini-Viewport". However I found this specific extra to not be stable on my system, at this time anyway, and thus turned it back off, it is off by default as are all iffy extras/features.
However there are several features in Beryl I have found to be just as useful or more so and have been damn stable for me. The closest to what you describe is the "Scale" feature in the "Window Management" settings manager group. Pressing the F8 key for all viewports or the F9 for the current viewport only causes the current widows to fade out and all appropriate windows to be all displayed scaled on your clean desktop. You can also designate a hot corner of the screen to engage this feature via the mouse.
The "planar" or as I prefer the "Ring" task switchers can be used to display all windows in a single viewport or in all viewports("cube" sides). As I noted I really like the "Ring" switcher, when called with "Super-Ctrl-Tab" keys this fades away the current window and displays all windows from all viewports in a 3D ellipse and cycles through them bringing one to the foreground and active state with each Tab press, release and you are switched to the app in the foreground at that time. Another handy feature is the "kicker" taskbar "Extra" called "Window Previews" that displays a live mini window of whatever taskbar item you hover your mouse over.
All these "Window Management" and "Extras" window/task display methods have one common and very handy feature. The items displayed are live or dynamically updating mini versions of the actual window instead of a simple icon or snapshot. This is really handy if you need to to check on say a download or compiler progress, etc with minimum effort or distraction.They all have seemingly endless configuration options to tweak things just how you want them.
There are many other features that I would not want to give up anymore.The "Visual Effect" "Opacity-Brightness-Saturation" feature makes it really easy to check on something behind the current window with just my mouse wheel and the Alt key. With the Super key and N key I can toggle the "Accessibility" feature "Negative" and give my eyes a break by inverting the current windows display colors. With the "Accessibility" feature "Input Zoom Enabled" I can easily zoom in and out on any application and still have unfettered control of my mouse and keyboard. The "Visual Effects" feature "Trail Focus" dims widows based on time since last focus, neater than you would think, as it reduces distractions. I am sure the "Window Management" feature "Group & Tab Windows" is going to the feature I have been waiting for as soon as I get the time to tweak it out.
As for the "cube" and transformations/ distortions, I run a 16:9 ratio here on a 20" Samsung SN204BW. I usually run 8 viewports so instead of a cube I actually have an octagonal 3D configuration. This SVN version I am running supports up to 16 viewports though some earlier ones did 32 or more. In addition you can specify up to 16 desktops. So one can have up to 16x16 or 256 individual workspaces though I don't know how useful such a number would be, it would defiantly make for a huge pager. I don't use a pager, I simply have one desktop and flip through the 8 viewports with my mousewheel or "Ctrl-Alt-arrow keys". I actually do very little of that and usually use the taskbar or "Ring" switcher to find, checkon or switch to a window. Though I have been known to occasionally press both mouse buttons and shout wheee as I zoom out, spin and roll the octagonal "cube" crazily about. Try the latest SVN version and don't be too quick to give up on it you might just find a lot of stuff you like.
Tuesday April 24, 2007 Slashdot : Beryl User Interface for Linux Reviewed
"It's as simple as all that. And since I play at least two games that utilize OpenGL and I like the OpenGL screensavers, I have to vote "no" to the current 3D desktops...or at least to Beryl since that is the only one I have tried. If/when there is a 3D desktop that will coexist with my other 3D stuff, then I'm down with it."
Odd that you have come to this decision. My favorite screensaver is the openGL 3D Molecule renderer. I have found it to to be especially entertaining when the "Water Effect ie: Rain" plugin of Beryl is running concurrently. As for games I don't really do much gaming but when I occasionally run GL-117 a 3D openGL flight game I have found that left clicking the Beryl icon in the KDE kicker system tray - "Select Window Manager" and simply selecting to switch to KWin or Metacity for the duration of the game does help with performance somewhat, I am not sure what menu/icon item to use in Gnome or XForce. Of course regardless of desktop manager you could also start a new x-session to run the game in and just switch back to an uninterrupted Beryl in the current session when done. You can of course also automate these methods via a shell script and have the game icon/menu item do any of this in one click.
This is not to say that Beryl will co-exist nicely with the myriad of 3D apps/games out there, I just don't have the exposure to them all to know. What I do know is it plays nice or is easy to bypass/negate such issues with the stuff I use. Please note I have been running the latest SVN of Beryl for sometime now cause I find that the older more developed features that I use the most are also the most stable in the SVN releases. I hope the merge back with Compiz does not slow down progress too much. Of course I am all for stability but I have actually found Beryl to be more stable and a better performer that Compiz on my rather aged box, Asus P4 S533-E | Intel P4 2.2ghz/2gb SDRAM | nVidia GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256mb | openSuse 10.2 |nVidia Driver & XGL. The only glitch I have at this time is an occasional -once or twice per 8 hours of use- frame remnant left on the screen by a drop down menu when the system is very busy. This is simple to fix with a reload of Beryl, right click-left click - 15 seconds and all is pretty and shiny again.
Friday April 20, 2007 Slashdot : Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring Released
"OpenSuSE (like Fedora) is a "demo version" of SuSE Linux."
That's not quite so, what openSuse and Fedora Core are could best be defined as community supported development projects, ie: test beds. That they are not distributed with legally complicated things like full media support does not set them apart from the d/l version's of Mandriva or any version of Ubuntu or Debian that I am aware of. As for the stand alone issue, the case of code migration between licensed copy/ paid support support versions and free versions should be a good compromise between rapid development and stability. Though I do have to say Novell has managed to muddy this up quite a bit. I don't really know about how the seamless migration issue with Ubuntu because I would not use such paid support myself. I can see where some would see such either defining the free versions as demos or even for the cynical types as a bait and switch setup.
I do know that I have used free d/l versions of both Suse and Fedora for quite some time now and never considered either as "demos". I always considered them to be base versions that I could, with a little elbow grease, add features to that could not be included in the distro due to legal patent/licensing issues. Of as in the case of the copy of Suse 9.0 I bought I could get most of that stuff included on the install media and go a bit lighter on the elbow grease. But as long as one has a fast internet connection one has only to add the repositories, update and install whatever they want. As one who only recently got quasi-broadband (satellite) access I do understand the plight of people on dial-up, for these folks a full licensed version of a distro like Mandriva, Suse or Redhat might very well payoff as might a update by disc subscription.
All in all I have usually found free versions of Suse and now openSuse to be the most polished initial install and the most stable overall. There are not very of the top 20 distro's that I have not installed at one time or the other. Slackware has always been the most stable initially but by the time I got it nearly as usable Suse it was not usually as stable and was still missing a lot of handy tools. I have usually had a tough time with Debian for some reason or the other. Fedora stability and usability has been spotty at best and no where near Suse level. Mandrake/Mandriva has been typically feature rich, but at least 5% of the stuff usually just did not work and I more often than not I had stability issues with the distro. With Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu, I have to say they were all pretty simple and clean installs that seemed to be stable initially, but I was left wondering "wheres the beef", as they are missing the GUI admin tools you would find on Suse or Mandrake. This lack of GUI admin tools in fact is a pretty common issue with most other distros. I guess it is apparent that I kinda prefer Suse, actually openSuse now, as I do not see myself buying into SLED. I can agree with your point about differentiation issues with opeSuse and Fedora, from the perspective that I hope Novell don't muck openSuse all up with MS code contamination or distro isolation from GPLv3 incompatibilities. For now openSuse still works best for me, tomorrow we will see. I am still pleased as punch to see the huge number of distros evolving in parallel. I see this as a healthy thing. Ahh variety, ain't it wonderful!
Saturday April 14, 2007 Slashdot : Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring Released
Unless things move to optical or biological I would think that future cooling of CPU/GPU etc might very well be by immersion in a high dielectric fluid or vapor such as HCFC compounds. For instance where I work we have several Trane chillers that have the motors, about 400hp 480v 3phase, cooled by running them in the same evap side cycle refrigerant fluid/vapor as the compressor vane assembly.
So if one placed the CPU or for that fact the whole dang mother assembly in a hermetically sealed vessel one could simply dump the heat via an external condenser. I am not even sure a compressor would be required if one immersed the entire assembly in fluid and the external casing had sufficient surface area to dissipate the heat the whole thing might work via convection currents in the fluid or with the assistance of a small pump for circulation. Of course the use of a full or even cascaded refrigeration cycle with compressor, condenser and expansion device might be worth it to get lower operating temps for higher end systems. Something with capacity of a small window unit AC should be adequate for a pretty serious system and not really all that expensive a solution.
Another approach might be to use solid state cooling devices cold side bonded to one side of the chip and build the chips in a cubical or other appropriate geometric assembly with heat sink sides on the exterior surfaces then simply fan cool those. Though condensation issues might be a problem here unless the cold sides were all well sealed.
Wednesday April 11, 2007 Slashdot : Water Found in Exoplanet's Atmosphere
"Besides, whats the use of finding a space buffalo if we can't kill it, eat it's flesh, wear it's skin, and turn the land it used to live on into farmland?"
Heck the way things are headed here it seems we would be more likely hunt it to extinction for sport then turn the real estate into mined out wasteland, tract housing, strip malls, airports, golf courses, off road vehicle parks, highways and parking lots. I would have included manufacturing facilities but we would most likely have outsourced all that to the Chinese Borg.
Bruce Perens Counters Claim of GPL Legal Risk.
In the FUD news this week Microsoft front group "Association for Competitive Technology" (ACT), released statements suggesting the GPLv3 was legally 'risky' in respect to anti-trust liability. Richard Wilder, an attorney at Sidley Austin, the intellectual property counsel for ACT, penned an analysis titled "GPLv3: The Legal Risks of Overreaching for Third-Party Patent Rights. Bruce Perens has put forth a stinging expouse of ACT intentions and a well reasoned counter argument in a rebuttal on eWeek .
In a Slashdot post on the topic Richard Wilder makes a ad homien attack by accusing Bruce of making unresearched and absurd statements in the rebuttal on eWeek. In an in kind reply Bruce pours more astringent on Mr Wilders argument. As of the time of this update Richard Wilder seems to have had enough.
Why is this important stuff? The GPL3 is a proposed update to the GPL2, the legal document describing the license that GNU/Linux is distributed under. The proposed update has language intended to protect Free Software users, developers and distributors from malicious attempts to contaminate free software with code from non-free software that is subject to copyrights or patents. Microsoft once described Linux as a toy, then a cancer, now it seems it sees it and the GPL license as a legitimate threat. In recent press announcements and in contractual efforts their intention seems to many to be the contamination the code base of selected distributions, causing forking or division in the free software community. In addition they continue to spread what many see as plain old fear, uncertainty and doubt over the legal status of other uncontaminated distributions. The free software movement has been invaluable in pushing innovation in the area of personal computing, read the next article for more on this. Bruce Perens is one of the stalwart knights of the free software community and his arguments are in my opinion consistently low key, well reasoned and logical.
Support those who support your rights!
Bruce Perens rains on Novell's parade during Brainshare.
Bruce in his usual humble but expert manner discusses in open forum the Microsoft and Novell deal that Microsoft is now using to threaten Linux, the free software and open source community. The excerpt includes a statement from R.M.Stallings.
Action on Technology Policy (techp.org) Please "Sign Open Letters and Petitions" on these issues. For those friends of mine that still use proprietary software like Microsoft Windows, these issues are still important for you as well. The people behind the Free and Open Source software such as the GNU/Linux operating system do much more for you than you might think. For instance these folks are the ones responsible for the writing of the bulk of the software that allowed the creation of the internet, didn't know that did you. I know you have heard me rant on in aggravation when I have to use Windows. You have heard me describe the security, stability and new innovations like my 3D desktop that I enjoy at home and you are still waiting for. I understand why many of you do not want to learn a new operating system and thus still continue to use Windows, I really do and I will try to be less annoying on my advocation of GNU/Linux.
However think about how the existence of this type of software drives innovation, how it pushes others like Microsoft to make their own products better. Most important of all remember that free and open source software is licensed in a manner liberates and empowers us the purchasers and users. The thousands of underdogs that write, advocate or otherwise support FOSS, free open source software, are in a great battle with several of the most powerful and wealthy organizations on Earth. Some of these folks are true geniuses that do this because, well.. this is what they do well, some are idealists with a dream of helping build a better world, some like Bruce Perens and R.M. Stallings fit both descriptions. Most however are common folks like you and I that do this because we want to help support something we find useful and/or see as important or sometimes because we have a dream as well.
In other issues such the DMCA, the Action on Technology Policy is also your friend. The DMCA is the horrible bit of legislation that the big media companies are trying to use as a means to strip away you "fair use" rights to use media you have purchased however you wish. They do so in the name of preventing piracy. In truth all it does is force you to buy additional copies of the media as the player formats change or your media gets old and damaged. It has had no effect what so ever on the mostly far eastern pirates that produce stamped bitwise copies of CD and DVD media INCLUDING the DMCA protected encryption software that prevents you from making backup copies of your DVD or CD easily and LEGALLY. Support Bruce, as he supports us!
Support those who support your rights!
Sunday March 25, 2007 Slashdot : CBC Recommends Linux To Average User
"Is there a way to emulate IE in a linux environment. My work login requires IE as well as my State university."
Yea any one of the several ways listed below and probably a few others as well:
Sunday March 25, 2007 Slashdot : CBC Recommends Linux To Average User
"If I didn't, I certainly wouldn't go out and buy a $100 modem just to use a free OS."
I can understand that but you can get a used external Courier vEverything off eBay for under $25US bucks these days. I know this because since I recently moved on to a SAT modem I thought I would sell my Courier, which BTW I did give $100US for -used from eBay, about five years ago. I decided to keep it for emergencies when I saw the prices they are bringing today.These things really are the tanks of serial com and the improvement in performance could be more than you might suspect. They handle crappy lines and noise much better than most others I have used and thus have many fewer retransmit requests which equals more data in less time. FYI most lab assay equipment I have seen uses this brand and model exclusively for serial com functions.
As for the parent topic. My satellite service is of course way better than dialup and I would not want to go back. However the "fair access" bandwidth limits make it impractical to download anything like CD or gasp DVD images. I even have to plan for major updates to the several installations here and often pass on updates to some VM installs as just not worth it. This however is not any different for Windows updates, and at least Linux is more flexible in respect to updates. Oh BTW you are not likely to see many instances of 10mb per day of serious bug fixes or security related updates for Linux anyway, at least for a little while longer :).
What I don't get is the fever over Ubuntu. I understand people have preferences and such and embrace the variety. Heck polymorphic choice is one of Linux's most endearing qualities. I have also found Ubuntu and especially Kubuntu, I don't really care for Gnome so much, to be solid and pretty damn easy. Still to me the Ubuntu noise is way past what it deserves. I have tried every major distro and a lot of arcane ones as well over the years since I gave up on IBM & OS/2. I have found Suse or now openSuse has always been and still is the most polished, stable and easy of the lot. I am not happy with the Novell deal either but remember folks openSuse is not SLED. Still I am happy to see the excitement that Ubuntu has generated, and thus grateful for the efforts of their developers, benefactors and advocates.
Monday March 12, 2007 Slashdot : Political Leaning and Free Software
I myself could be described as a small l libertarian who is about off the left side of the scale on social issues but fiducially pretty darn conservative, ie: cheap. I also have this personality glitch wherein I get pretty annoyed if things do not work properly and consistently. Free Software is about as good as it gets from my point of view. It works very well as a matter of normal course, I can do what ever the hell I want with it on my computer, it is inexpensive to obtain in the extreme. As a bonus I end up connecting with a lot of like minded folks with whom I can share, trade, improve and support others in developing this software without the parasitic authoritarian, bean counting and marketing types demanding their divvy. Oh but if only the rest of my life should fit so well to my inclinations wants and needs....
Saturday March 10, 2007 Slashdot : Virtualization Is Not All Roses
""I dont know what i know, but one thing I do know and that is; 'that i know what i don't know'.""
Ahh grasshopper, on first impression one would think that such is a good thing, because:
"It ain't what folks don't know thats gets them in the most trouble, it's the things they think they know that ain't so" Will Rodgers (or a close paraphrase of something he said anyway)
However one should be endeavor to be more agnostic on the certainty of ones agnosis of things one has yet to grok, a logically recursive blackhole this is.
Sorry to pick on your tagline, actually I like its recursive illogicality. :)
Sunday February 25, SUSE Forums > SUSE Help > : Post Topic : Bringing Up Eth0, need to run yast to bring up eth0
"After an upgrade from 10.1 to 10.2 eth0 does not automatically start. ifup eth0 gives:-> Interface eth0 is not available dmesg|grep eth0 gives no output. ifconfig lists only lo However if I start yast and go into network setup, eth0 magically appears. Machine is a Lenovo 3000 C100 with reported COMPAL Electronics RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ ( ndiswrapper works for the wireless if anyone is interested ) Anyone know what yast does ( seems to do some 'detection' ) or any way to fix ? Ta"
I hit a similar or the same problem when moving to 10.2 from 10.1. The problem in my case seemed to be related to my Hughes Sat Modem not being fully booted/connected when Suse was booting and thus bringing up eth0. At first I kept running off into Yast2 network hardware config which seemed to fix the issue by reinitializing the NIC and thus eth0. However I found that I could simply reinitialize eth0 by left clicking -selecting on the KNetwork Manager - Wired Network icons in the system tray section of the kicker dock and accomplish the same reinitialization of eth0 without having to supply the su password required for Yast2.
In the end run here I now simply allow the Sat Modem time to boot and connect to the remote server, 30 seconds or so, before booting Suse, thus all the reinitializing of eth0 is unnecessary. It all "just works" again like most things Suse :). There may be some values you could set in ifcfg that tell Suse to ignore eth0 replies/status when trying to bring up the network on boot. However from my experience I would suggest that you make sure your network devices such as routers, switches or cable modems are all fully booted and happy before booting Suse. If nothing else just try reinitializing eth0 connection via KNetwork Manager before fussing over it with Yast2. If you are using Gnome I am not sure what the equivalent utility is as I prefer KDE and have not spent much time with Gnome recently. Hope this helps you.
Sunday February 20, 2006 SUSE Forums > SUSE Help > Network/Internet : Post Topic : Swap /home And What Else Can Be Common To Multiple Distributions?
"I'm going to be doing some fresh installing (and hopefully some cluster building) this weekend. I am going to have SUSE Pro 9.1 and OpenSUSE 10.2 as well as possibly setting aside some space to play with Solaris. For the two SUSE flavors, I know that swap and /home partitions can remain common between them.
I can probably get away with a common /opt as well, right? Maybe it would be better to just install /opt stuff that can be common in ~/opt.
Are there any other partitions that can be common between the two distributions?"
As others have noted sharing /home/"user" and various system directories will cause you grief. I used to separate /home from /. but anymore my partition setup per Linux OS looks like so:
/boot (512mb partitions at start end of drive for the distro boot files so I can play with various new ones non-virtually)
Then I create my primary data directories that I wish to share between distros in standalone disk partitions with volume names like so:
/kommon or /kommon/"group" (user group working data files -- /projects, /music, /video, /images, /documents, etc. example /kommon/family/documents or /kommon/music)
I usually, but not always, define the mount point for these in fstab under /mnt. I have not felt the need to to use LVM tools very often so far, but they can be handy as well. Usually I simply create links from the /kommon"group", /"user"and /arkives directories or sub-directories in each distros /home directories. This all does take some planning attention in the area of UID and GID and permissions issues as some distros seem to handle assignment and consideration <>ID differently if not explicitly directed to do so in a specific manner. Even then some like Mandrivia seem pretty stubborn in how they wish to do so. From what I remember last, unless it has changed since version 10, Solaris don't play well with others drive wise, it insists on having the whole d*** disk for itself.
Hope this helps Matthew
Sunday February 18, 2007 Slashdot : Post Topic : Microsoft Slugs Mac Users With Vista Tax
I think what this is about has very little to do with Apple specifically. What it is about is throwing a stick in the spokes of Virtual Machine technology as it relates to the common PC and workstation. They hope to cripple and confuse the VM issue long enough to develop counter measures. From what I have read recently the future of the PC OS will very likely include VM "Hyper-Visor" type code sitting between conventional OS services and the hardware. As usual with emerging technologies, it seems that Microsoft is lagging a bit behind several others in the implementation of virtualization. There is also the issue of whether they can ever manage to gain control of the technology. Others such as VMWare, Parallels, Novell, Sun and IBM have considerable experience and history, read patents out the yasoo, with the technology. With hardware due for a generational shift toward poly-core processors and serious hardware support for virtualization long before the five years it took to get Vista out the door, they had to address the issue. As typical for Microsoft, they choose to use a restrictive kludge instead of innovation, though I suspect it is the only real option they had ready.
I also suspect that the DRM technology built in to Vista may be of issue as well but I don't really know enough to speculate on these things. As for Apple they seem to have the same blinders on, or they maybe they are just holding their cards very very close, though I would think that any serious efforts at VM technology for OSX would leak from Apple dev labs if this were so. I may be seeing this wrong but from what I can tell VM technology could be the most promising and versatile technical advancement for user freedom and thus the most disruptive thing in computer OS software since GNU/Linux. I can see where Microsoft feels their only choice at this time is to muck the playing field. I would have been surprised if they had not done so.
Sunday February 17, 2007 SUSE Forums > SUSE Help > Network/Internet : Post Topic : > Opensuse 10.2 Live Dvd
I downloaded and burned the new live suse DVD. When i start i get the suse welcome screen with the penguin walking all over my screen (very nice) and then it asks me what i want to do: boot into KDE,Gnome or harddisk(Win XP). I choose either KDE and then I get a very impressive list of modprobe fatal errors like: modprobe: FATAL: Error running install command for block major 3(or 56,etc) It ends with: init:cannot find the CD I was booted from init: exec/bin/busy box: No such file or directory init: mount CD-ROM device: No such file or directory /.CD real/cloop.img: No such file or directory Kernel panic-notsyncing: attempted to kill init The PC freezes and I have to take out the DVD, shut down and reboot into win XP
I loved SUse 10.0, which I used a year ago, when I was in India. I wanna try the new 10.2, but this thing wont boot from the live DVD.
I have a Toshibha Satellite A105-S4284, 100GB Hardisk, 1GB RAM, Intel Centrino Duo 1.6GHz processor, Intel Calistoga Mobile 945GM Express Chipset family, with 128MB shared video memory.
Help very much appreciated!
Same problem with openSUSE 10.2 Live DVD here on a ASUS P4S533-e mother board. Also have had roughly the same results booting in a VMWare session. It is not my DVD , as I am able to boot some other distro's CD and DVD media fine, including Suse 10.0 Live. However Knoppix 5.1.1 DVD fails in a similar manner, that is it is unable to find the media upon what seems the be the 2nd stage of boot. Both of these problem DVD's were purchased from OSDisc.com, to their credit upon my complaint they sent out a duplicate order really fast but alas it had the same problems. I have not contacted them about the failure of the replacements as yet. The other items in the order, all CD media instead of DVD works fine. I have tried the various acpi=off, noacpi, options and in Knoppix have tried several other documented options, I even tried "mount /.CD.real" as a boot option, all to no avail.
I have noted that in VMWare both try and access the DVD as hdc (2ndMaster) though it is really hdd(2nd slave). I can't remember if this was the case with the real boot attempts. Though remember that other CD and DVD media works fine with this quirk. I even went into the VMWare Phoniex BIOS and specified the device as a CD rather than Auto, still not any help. More odd details, k3b reports the media size as 2Kb with 0 and 0 as start and end sectors. Attempts to rip an ISO from these DVD's results in a useless 2Kb file. Konqueror sees the media as an xmms audio CD with no data. Anyone got any new ideas on what is happening here?
Motherboard = ASUS P4S533-e
TIA 4 da help
Hope this helps Matthew
Thursday February 01, 2007 Slashdot : Post Topic : OSDL's Review of Desktop Linux In 2006
You mean META level system utility's like Suse's Yast2, Madrivia's MCC, etc. Then there are the tools in KDE or Gnomes control centers, which at least with KDE in Suse also have the capacity to launch Yast2 modules. Personally I find the GUI system management tools in Suse for example far superior to those in Windows XP Pro. I do still ocassionally head off to /etc with a text editor, but it is do things like customize the main menu icon on my kicker panel, that most people would not care to do. As for the use of plain text for most configuration files being a liability, I see it as a strength. I still remember the pain, hassles and hazards of huge monolithic and thus often corrupted binary config files in Windows and OS/2. As for LSB, I would like to see better and more consistent implementation made by distros but it is still far from a "joke".
Saturday December 23, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst?
"The average user never installs an operating system"
I don't disagree with the basic premise of your points but there is another view you are missing here. Indeed very few average users will ever do an install of a NEW OS. But most are well versed in reinstalling a certain one from system restore media every few months, guess which one that is :). Most of the ones I know usually end up losing personal files, which I know is mostly a backup issue, but that is sooo "complicated" that few ever do so on a regular basis.
I forgot the last time I installed, reinstalled, upgraded, or updated an OS and lost ANY, that is zero, null, nill, zip, not a frackin one, of my personal files in the process. I have made many many backups of my personal files and will continue to do so, but the only time I have ever had to restore any of them on a Linux system was due to the death of hardware. Not only have I migrated my personal files between new hardware, but many of them between several Linux distro's, OS/2 and BSD, and of course between several file systems as well.
Today I keep most of my personal files in an over 100gb /kommonstuff directory tree, with a daily updated mirrow of the changes or additions on a second physical drive and occasionally to a third drive. I access them from over two dozen Linux distros, most of which are VM's, as well as from other Linux boxes on my lan. Like I say I forgot the year I last lost personal files from an OS crash, but I can remember the OS and it was not Linux, nor was it OS/2 or BSD, guess which OS it was.
Tuesday December 26, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : Jeremy Allison Resigns From Novell In Protest
"Windows became the dominant system purely because it gave people what they wanted. No other reason."
Not really, Windows became what it is from a combination of several factors. Number one is preloads, that Microsoft managed to persuade IBM to tie a MSDOS license to each CPU clone was an outstandingly brilliant business move. That it can manipulate vendors into preinstalls today is due to failures of the legal system to act. Some of the success is due to simple good fortune of being at the right place and time. Some is due to vision of seeing the possibilities. Much more is due to ruthless practices, ethical flexibility in regard to acquisition of others persons ideas, even IP as they themselves define it. Somewhat more than most expect a lot is due to MS being rather soft on the piracy of Windows in the early years. In the later years it has been more about manipulation, deception and marketing, oops sorry those are kinda of the same thing. I will concede that compared to commercial versions of UNIX, DOS and especially Windows was rather cheap and easy, read dumbed down and limited to make is so. Since IBM PC cloned hardware was also much cheaper than Apples MS scores again.
It may very well be that many here need to be better informed of natural philosophy. However a Wikipedia linked mini dissertation on how "Hobbesian" or "Lockean" philosophical base principles are related to software development and the marketplace is pointless in such a construct and I can easily twist such an argument around on you. As brilliant as these men were they or no other person has ever nailed down the human condition well enough to support such an argument. Yes there are "Machiavellian" persons about in the world and there are those who strive to the ideals of Gandhi, however the vast majority of persons fall into the vast grey center. These opposing philosophical views often work out in the real world in ways you might not expect.
An example is called for here: Modern Linux distributions are much closer to what the vast majority of people would choose as per your definition of "Hobbesian values". That it is cheap, and dependable are attributes that most people want is due mostly to the merits of the FOSS "Lockean" type of ideals. Linux is getting easier to use and more dependable with each generation. Microsoft indeed realizes all these trends and this is why they are being as aggressive as possible in the deals they cut, the manipulation, deception, collusion and the FUD they spew forth.
On the other hand Windows is getting more expensive, less easy to use in many ways, and its relevance is being diminished by the greed of MS the RIAA and others. I just signed the document and as of then : 3109 people have added their signatures to this document. I can understand why Bruce would hesitate to edit it now. Hey he has provided a space for your comments, just use it to present your IMHO rather excellent logic. Myself, I noted the parable of the scorpion and the eagle as being most topical.
Thursday December 14, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : Moglen on Social Justice and OSS
"I definitely think that anyone (poor or not) should earn what they get. I think one of the greatest things that has undermined US culture and other cultures is poorly designed welfare systems."
Personally I think that while poorly designed and implemented social welfare systems are a problem, they are less of a problem than inherited affluence. There are way to many who do not appreciate the importance of the assistance they get from their parents or other benefactors. In my experience the most vocal critics of public social support systems are those who have had overly generous private support systems, ie: wealthy or at least comfortably well off parents or grandparents. In my 50 or so years I have found that neither sloth or intelligence usually have much to do with ones fiducial conditions. Sometimes fiducial success results from where one places such as a priority in life coupled with a dogged persistence toward some such goal, more often though it is due to the initial bootstrap one has received from ones ancestors. The most fiducially successful persons are those with lives that are reflective of both base issues. And yes many of the more reflective and intelligent successful persons are aware and appreciative of the bootstrap, many more however are clueless of its importance in their lives, indeed most of these types see such as something they are entitled to.
"People have come to believe that they are entitled from someone for the basic necessities in life."
In a civilized society the idea an individual should be entitled to the basic necessities in life is not really that bad of an ideal to build upon. However as a member of said society they also have a responsibility to contribute as best they can back into said society. I know that I sound a bit like Karl Marx but he was not entirely wrong, you have to place yourself in his time and place to understand his views. I do believe there is a social responsibility that we a have, if nothing else to our ancestors efforts and honor. This is coming from someone that considers himself very much an (small o) objective thinking independent person with a (small l) libertarian view of life.
"In terms of knowledge, however, I think think it should be free."
I agree and besides "It wants to be"! I know that was shameless and I guess it sounds a bit silly to anthropomorphize such, however in the big picture we all "stand on the shoulders of giants". The base ideals that Thomas Jefferson had that gave birth to the patent system allowed people to receive benefits from their creativity and efforts for a reasonable period of time. Too bad it has been corrupted almost to ruination by shameless greedy types.
"It seems that creating knowledge creates power, sharing knowledge shares power."
This ignores the synergy that can and usually does result from sharing of knowledge. The gnosis and thus power of both the original creator and those they share with can both increase as long as the transaction is open both ways. BTW your entire perspective on this is, from my view, at the heart of what "free" software is about, GNU/Linux is one excellent proof of of the models success.Wabi-sabi
Monday December 04, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : Stallman Absolves Novell
.. if they read such hogwash and believe it, kinda like the FOX "News" fanboys deserve to be misinformed. Anyone who would believe they have developed a well informed opinion about something as complex as the GPL and the surrounding legal issues from such a small data set deserves to be misinformed regardless of the bias in the information. However bias is the reason that such people go through life with a warped view of the world. This is somewhat analogous to the idea of a self full filling prophecy. Their less than nimble minds already had the kernel of misinformed or warped view and thus seek only sources that reinforce such fantasy. A spiritually and mentally slothful and thus dangerous way to live, this is. Ahh Karma!
"because other people who don't know anything about the GPL read this shit, and then they think that they do"
Your observation reminds me of one of my favorite quotes...
"It ain't what folks don't know thats gets them in the most trouble, it's the things they think they know that ain't so" Will Rodgers (or a close paraphrase of something he said anyway)
How about a fork - FreeSuSe the Karma Khameleon , as an icon I kinda like the twisted little lizard-like navigator/engineer character off of "Trippin The Rift", I know he was a bit of a perv, but none the less a kool one, don't ya think! It seems to me he would fit in well on /.
Sunday November 26, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : So What If Linux Infringes On Microsoft IP?
How would one know anyway, whats to stop Microsoft from stealing and inserting GPL'ed source code into Windows source code base and claiming they wrote it first? Does any independent third party hold Microsoft source code in some sort of a legal proof copy? If so how often is the base updated and re-certified, with the constant evolution/bug fixes of the code base? The way I see it there is no way for closed source software to prove it's copyright short of such a method, even a check sum value of the packages can be manipulated with comments and such. It seems to me that closed source code should never have been granted any form of copyright protection since issues such as this prevent it's being clearly provable as legitimate. Things like a book, digital document, schematic or blueprint are certainly easy enough to prove as legitimate first copy, but closed source code, how?
Another thing, just how much GPL'ed IP is Microsoft Infringing upon? How is anyone to know? You can't compare the code because it one party keeps its code closed. As of yet another issue, just what IP are they discussing anyway, that subject to the law in the USA?
Now this is an example of a IP issue where copyrights are concerned. The other IP issue is patent infringement which is just as stinky a mess due to reckless patent grants. Way to many patents have been issued for obvious fundamental computing concepts, business methods, research methods, technological concepts, etc. Software patents are an especially way too generalized in application. I have looked at a few and the way they are written makes me wonder who the idiots were that thought issuing patents for such a nasty mess was a good idea. I am surprised that no one has managed to patent gravity yet. Political/corporate USA has a huge interest in sequestering and protecting IP since it is about all they can look forward to now that they have sold off/out virtually all of its value added services like materials processing and manufacturing for short term gains.
The next 50 years should be interesting.
Thursday November 23, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : GoogleOS Scenarios
"Computers aren't going to keep improving geometrically forever, so people will stop replacing their computers every couple of years, and that means less bundled copies of windows being sold."
Forever is a long time, the view you see seems to me an extremely shortsighted one. The recently arrived at relative plateau of mhz speeds may seem to indicate this, however the next generation of fab plants are not online yet. As new fab plants come online you will see decreases in component size and thus increases in speed. As the hardware and software architecture matures for, then later exceeds, the 64bit address space you will see a dramatic increase in performance as well.
But even more important in the future will be the move to parallel processing (multi-core) and virtualization (vmware/xen)technology. Efficant parallel processing has been the holy grail for computing for years and is more of what makes a super computer a super computer than raw speed of the individual components. Recent advances in multi-core CPU's will bring this type of power to the desktop. Expect massively multi-cored CPU's in the near future. The main bottleneck will then be the softwares ability to make use of this power. The consumer level desktop OS's of today even the multiprocessor variants are just not up to the scaling process control and interprocess communication tasks that will be needed to effectively harness the power of massively paralleled hardware.
So there will be the need for continued development of the desktop OS, to the point of reinvention. In the short run the new power will allow the use of virtual machines that will deliver neat things to the user. However in the longer run I think virtualization technologies will be seen as keys in the solution of many problems like scaling issues, process management and interprocess communication.
All in all the evolution of desktop computing is far from over, in fact we are only in its infancy. I expect to see more advances ,with increases in the exponential growth rate, in computing power in the next ten years than in the sum of all to this date. The only real stumbling blocks I see are political and legal, the limitation of internetwork bandwidth and the throttling of implementation of new technologies by those trying to hold on to or grow their piece of the pie, ie: Microsoft, IBM, ATT/Bell, and RIAA type folks. New computers are going to be capable of things we can barely imagine now. Some of these things such as better user interfaces like real functional voice I/O interface, intelligent interactive agents or whole body AVATAR generation and control/feedback devices, better visual interfaces like CA generated virtual 3d worlds on Super High Definition displays, comm media and entertainment convergence and home automation are going to be so handy that I am sure I will want one and I think you probably will to, and so will Joe sixpak and maybe your grandmaw. Microsoft can and will probably will be a major player in this, hopefully a company of better ethics and vision or of lesser influence than today since they, like many others, seem intent on holding back progress wherever it threatens their ever increasing stake in the game.
What is needed are political/legal solutions that allows for as open as possible "free" market forces but establishes a legal framework tilted towards the most efficant advancement of technology. This in the long run will by its nature be the most beneficial solution for the stakeholders (all of us) and the well diversified share holders (more of us than you might think). Patent, copyright, and digital rights management are at this time be biggest impediments to technological progress. Materials and implementation sciences are constantly being restrained by legal devices setup to encourage progress. This is not to say they all need to dumped, that is A: not possible B: not an efficant solution anyway. However a lot of laws need to be readdressed and refined, enforced, created, extended or simply eliminated. I suspect that we will need much more tech savvy representatives that are actually accountable to the people before this happens. I think organizations like the EFF and FSF could really make a difference here with enough support. Perhaps it is time for a geek revolution in the A: political candidate or B: political lobbyist camp. Too bad most of us are A: not photogenic enough B: not wealthy enough. We are for sure smart enough but damn we usually don't lie well either....
"Those who are too ethical or intelligent to engage in political endeavors ironically are doomed to suffer a self inflicted curse of rule and domination by those who are not similarly restrained by conscience or enlightened by gnosis." Socrates*
*This is a paraphrase of my rendering of something I think he had said, possibly repeated by Plato in a similar form
Tuesday October 31, 2006 Slashdot : Post Topic : Make Linux "Gorgeous," Says Ubuntu Leader
Ok so you can't code worth a hoot. Are you any good at artistic stuff? Maybe your really great at organizing things logically. Maybe even those of us who are totally clueless about source code can finally find a way to contribute. I realize there are quite a few talented people doing this, but the effort could always use more.
As for the idea that there has to be a standardized desktop for all distros. This would totally wreck what I see as the most powerful asset of FOSS like Linux distros. The richness of the diversity in Linux distros IMHO is what I like the most about it, and I suspect such attributes may very well be crucial to its survival. To get a substantial market share distros need to be created that target user types with lower skill levels. The modular nature of Linux would mean that it could still be capable of being expanded as that skill level increases.
I do agree with the basic premise that a pretty and easy to use interface would probably do more to draw in new users that anything except maybe better compatibility with main stream (new & cheap) hardware. However I am not sure this is where most current Linux users and developers want to go. Most users, even those of moderate skills like belonging to what most of us consider a elite group and would not consider the inclusion of Joe sixpak and Grandmaw into this group a good thing. Star programmers and commercial developers might be interested if there were a reward/profit path, which is not impossible but is certainly not as clear a thing as Windows or OSX.
I do think that by producing an easy (remember Mandrakes example) and pretty (the Ubuntu Splash) that a distro can gain in market share, especially with new low skilled users. I also believe that such would actually be a good thing even for those using "elite" power distros simply due to the increase in interest from hardware vendors and commercial development houses.
Pretty is going to make a difference, especially in the coming 3D desktop. You can rail against it all you want, but with increases in processing power and display/quality size it will happen. The FOSS community should embrace the better uses of it and extend it in the same manner they have other technology. Linux has many benefits that I do not have to regurgitate to the readers here. The new desktop interfaces will be more not less about eye candy and artwork than ever. They will require new ideas about the organization of information and the ergonomics of accessing such. I see a lot of areas where non coders will be able contribute, will be NEEDED than ever before. Think about it.
Saturday September 02, 2006 Slashdot Post : Topic : Transcript of Talk with Richard Stallman
That may have been the question the interviewer intended and even the one RMS responded to. However it is not the question that was asked. From the transcript:
" Q. There are a lot of misconceptions about free software. What kind of an economic model does an entrepreneur look at when he starts out with free software ?
The response he made should have instead addressed the actual question. In effect there are many ways an business model can include and benefit from FOSS. For instance IBM, HP, SUN, and quite a few others are embracing the ideas, and not just to counter Microsoft. Also there are many areas outside of IT that can also reap the benefit of using FOSS.
For instance I guess I qualify as an entrepreneur. In addition to my day job I moonlight in contract/consulting work in the design and implementation of environmental/automation controls and process/quality monitoring. It is true that for the most part I need to use a Windows OS for much of my work as most of the interfaces and tools are not yet, and some maybe never will be, available for Linux. However for my own records, communication activity and more of the design process than you might think I use Suse Linux. I do so because I have found it to be more secure and reliable NOT because it is cheaper. I have to keep at least one of almost every Windows OS license as well anyway. I know several others, including a mechanical engineering contractor and a general contractor that have reached the same decision. The mechanical engineer for the same reasons as myself, the general contractor the same plus due to the initial and maintenance cost advantages on his rather extensive multi location office network.
In a another direction how about someone who was looking to develop and market a hardware product, say a cellular networking device. For one thing by using Linux in house they could reduce the basic office overhead like the general contractor. In another even more dramatic approach they could possibly slash the application development costs involved for drivers and interface. I realize that there does not seem to be a wildfire of this happening yet, but I believe that it is happening somewhat.
Many of the ideals that grounds FOSS and people like RMS have been crucial in the development of programming languages and yes even the Internet. Much the same can be said for computer science departments at educational institution's. The ability of researchers, teachers and students to dissect, tinker and customize source code, not to mention the cost savings involved, have benefited all of use in many ways. I do agree that there is a case to be made for non-FOSS sometimes. However in most cases I believe FOSS is the model that advances the basic science involved the fastest and most reliably. If nothing else the two models in dynamic competition drive the technology forward. What would be a shame is for the politicians to hop in and legislate a monopoly for a few fat cats in yet another area of our lives.
Saturday June 24, 2006 Slashdot Post : Topic: DefectiveByDesign Supporters to Call on RIAA Execs
"The people that produce and distribute it are willing to let you listen to it,_if_ you are willing to agree to their terms. You don't have to agree to their terms. But, then you don't get to listen."
I can live with that. I keep my money and they can keep their over priced, restrictive and mostly crappy material. Screw 'em, I'll bet they miss me more than I miss them. But then even GOOD music is only at best a minuscule part of a happy life, for me anyways. This applies to DRM and to proprietary formats and technology's as well.
Saturday June 10, 2006 Slashdot Post : Topic: Microsoft Talks Daily With Your Computer
To the tune of "It's me again Margret" by Ray Stevens (sorry Ray :))
Well there is a feller named Billy G Gates
It's me again PC, hello is this a Windoze PC, hehehehe
Well this upset the customers, and it made them all blue
It's me again PC, hello is this a Windoze PC, hehehehe
Mean while the lawyers caught ole Ma Bell up in the same type of jokes
It's me again PC, hello is this a Windoze PC, hehehehe
Well the customers sued them and dragged their companies to court
It's me again PC, they got me PC, you ain't gonna miss me PC
Well when I get my people back in power I'm gonna come over there
Thursday June 08, 2006 Slashdot Post : Topic: DRM and Democracy
There is an even more insidious problem with this picture. To quote Simon and Garfunkel in The Boxer "A man hears wants he wants to hear and disregards the rest". There is a tendency, especially among the hard right to watch, listen and read only what reinforces their already warped views. What if the "pay per view" model was extended into news programming as well? How many FOX "News" fans would ever choose to pay for ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC much less CSPAN, Link or PBS. Now I realize they don't watch much else anyway, it is pretty obvious. But this would pretty much lock that in by removing the rare opportunity for them to blunder on something besides the rancid propaganda Fox feeds them. Now on the other hand if I could remove my meager contribution to FOX "News" as a revenue stream for Rupert Murdoch by breaking it out of my DTV package, well I would be much happier. I do watch it every now and then when I think my blood pressure may be a bit low. Honestly, I try to get my information from a variety of truly "balanced" and even some disagreeable unbalanced sources, but explicitly paying for Fox "News" would be kinda of like paying for an Ann Coulter book, not likely to happen here.
Sunday April 16 Slashdot Post
"The only generalization that I can make is that people who find a reason to disparage Windows in this column are a bunch of idiots, and I'm pretty sure that's not just a matter of opinion."
Of course I guess you are also pretty sure that just because many of the folks who buy a new computer do so because the old one is infested with malware and viruses it just cannot be Microsofts fault. I have to say that the idiots using Windows that allow it to become infested in the first place are complicite to some extent. However Microsoft with it's ill gotten monopoly shares some of the blame for the inferior products and services they sell in the marketplace they have manipulated for the dominance they enjoy. They have an ethical responsibility to provide a better product than they do. But then again like so many other corporate enities, responsible ethics are not exactly their most notable feature.
"There are a lot of people who run out for the latest and greatest Macs as soon as they're out."
Interestingly enough I have had several diehard Windows fans query me about Mac's lately. My advice is the same as it has been for a while now, buy the hardware and software you need for the task at hand, but if you do not REQUIRE either Microsoft or Apple specific or dependant wares, buy a NEW PC, on sale branded or white box, OS free if possible, preferably a few months to a year or so from the cutting edge speed. Buy live or installable versions of several $5.00 eBay listed beginner friendly Linux distro's like Suse, Mandrivia, Fedora, Ubutu or Xandros to find the one that fits. Once you settle one one you like you may, or may not, want to buy a supported boxed issue of the distro. The ratio of converts is actually pretty good. The few that have been able to try this and not have been convinced of the great deal that Linux is were hopelessly clueless anyway. I for one have pretty much stopped acting as a free cleanup service for friends who insist on repeatedly using and indeed often abusing Windows.
You may label me an idiot, maybe it makes you feel smarter, but I am pretty you will still be the same closed minded, tunnel visioned Anonymous Coward that posted the insulting drivel above in the first place.
Saturday April 08, 2006 Slashdot Post
"Or a company on its last legs can make a crazy last-ditch effort to sue themselves into profitability, like SCO. But what's Lucent really doing here?"
Isn't Lucent in the middle of a takeover or buyout attempt by a French firm? Maybe this relates to that deal. Possibly a shot at making it seem more of a player via it's IP rights and thus add to it's value. Maybe its a way to complicate or delay the takeover process. Maybe this is a move by both parties in the takeover to drag the issue into French courtrooms as well, or make an implied threat of such apparent to Microsoft.
"Isn't Microsoft going to turn around and use it's double-click patent to try to make Lucent stop selling everything they make that involves a GUI at any point?"
Apple or the folks they got the idea from http://www.parc.xerox.com/ [xerox.com] PARC might have something to say about the GUI issue. From the PARC history page.
In 1973 the PARC "Alto personal computer becomes operational. As it evolves, the Alto will feature the world's first What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editor, a commercial mouse for input, a graphical user interface (GUI), and bit-mapped display, and will offer menus and icons, link to a local area network and store files simultaneously."
In 1975 PARC "Engineers demonstrate a graphical user interface for a personal computer, including icons and the first use of pop-up menus. This interface will be incorporated in future Xerox workstations and greatly influence the development of Windows and Macintosh interfaces."
Friday March 24, 2006 Slashdot Post
"How would you like it if someone stole your work and flooded the market with copies of it so that you couldn't make money from it?"
Well if I had the inflated ego of most artists and authors I might be grateful for the fame and promotional publicity it created that would put me in high demand for lucrative live appearences. But I do not have that kind of ego and nor do all artists or authors. I have no wish to deprive the creators of content of whatever they and the marketplace decide their efforts are worth. I simply wish to be able to: A. protect my investment via archival B. to be able to transfer it to a alternative storage media for my personal use, without breaking the law!
As one old enough to have purchased the same titles on vinyl disc, 8track ,cassette or video tape, now CD/DVD, I have hit a point where enough is enough. I refuse to buy the same content endlessly as the technology changes but the content doesn't improve in a substantial way. If in the future a new recording of a favorite old piece becomes availiable in a improved more true method of reproduction I might bite. In most cases it has not improved in quality, it has actually declined.
"It's the million people stealing a song or DVD that necessitates DRM b/c it's not worth it to the company to go through archaic enforcement procedures (filing lawsuits, etc.) to recover the $15"
Again, theft of copyright protected content via P2P and USENET or warez site type file sharing is and should be illegal. I also have a problem with the selling or pre-populated iPod type players with duplicated (read pirated) content. I don't doubt that napster and such took a bite out of the industrys pocket. I do suspect they are exagerating the extent of the damage. And by engaging in punitive tort litigation with sometimes equally clueless single parents and grandparents they are simply beating themselves in the face.
I think the losses claimed from file sharing are mostly a red herring anyway. Most of what I saw on the internet in mp3 format was rather poor quality low bitrate versions anyway. I believe that most people who would buy a CD/DVD would still buy it anyway. Even if they had to pay for content they did not want, I have, though I have about stopped. This issue of content is probably the biggest reason the sales fell for them. In far too many cases one would spend $15 for a CD with maybe one or two good selections and a dozen or so filler pieces of junk. This is a big reason why file sharing became so wide spread and services such as iTunes have done so well. One can build a collection of what they like without fishing through the trash. Which by the way is what was really behind the old mix tapes of yesteryear. The artist's and producers got lazy and greedy, and technology bit them in the ass, it has before, and it will again if they don't change thier ways. If they were not so clueless about things they could harness the power of digital technology and add to thier bottom line. Look at what Apple has done, with I have to add what seems to me a pretty draconian deal for the customer, forced by I suspect the RIAA legal whores. Such restrictions keep folks like myself from building the collection they have always wanted. If one accepted that they had no other motives it would seem they are just incapable of learning.
With the $6 a month service from Microsoft can you archive your collection when the $100 device becomes unreliable or obsolete? If your $100 device dies without being backed up will you need to download all the music again? I guess you have broadband, many of us still do not. What about services like Apples iTunes, from what I have heard if your iPod dies so do your rights to the music you purchased and downloaded onto it. The way I understand the DMCA it is illegal for one to circumvent Apples DRM to archive the collection, to anything but another iPod (or maybe a Mac) anyway. This seems like a pretty clear case of using the law to support unfair monopolistic practices to me.
True Digital Rights Management would protect the customer as well as the content creator, I would have no problem with such. The reality is that DRM as currently employed by most major media content providers does not protect a customers rights. Rather it has been deployed simply as way to support the creation of laws that attempt to roll back fair use laws and stifle competition. Which I again postulate as my base argument against DRM as currenty deployed. I think we probably actually agree on this point.
Thursday March 23, 2006 Slashdot Post
"since there is clearly a demand for convenient and unrestrictive DRM, that will clearly be the future of DRM"
A demand? From whom? Not the customer. How can anything like DRM possibly be seen as "convenient and unrestrictive"? At best DRM would an annoyance to the customer who needs to preserve the collection they have paid for when the specific technology it was stored on becomes unreliable or obsolete. At its worst it is undermining the legal precident set with "fair use" laws. It is also a drag on the evolution of technology when it is used as a weapon against legitimate competition. The only "demand" for DRM is from what I see as an illegal collusion of a short sighted greedy media industry and clueless and/or purchased politicians. They never expected DRM technology would "stand on its own". DRM is simply a stalking horse that was deployed explicity to support the creation of the DMCA. Heck it doesn't even address the serious pirates, in most cases as they produce "bit level images", usually in the case of DVD and CD media, they produce stamped media. These are true "cloned" reproductions, including even the DRM elements.