It's HBO

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Slashdot made a post about HBO attacking BitTorrent. I made a comment that will probably never get modded up, so here it is:

Let's do some math:

  • HBO: $13/month * 12 months = $156
  • Rome DVD: $20
  • Rome in DivX: $4/episode * 12 episodes = $48

Now lets see, HBO has at least four decent series, and I'll let you do the math. I think $4/download for each hour long series they do would compensate them more than enough.

It's time media companies adapt and grow up.

I would pay what I pay for a pack of cigarettes to download each episode, so long as they weren't DRM crippled. I've watched and enjoyed at least four of their series so that covers the yearly fee that my household pays to get HBO. In sum HBO could be making more money if they let me download the episodes of each of their series.

Nvidia GLX and Composite

I just upgraded my NVidia drivers only to find that GLX didn't work. After some fiddling I thought I'd take a gander at the new docs for the GLX driver. Near the bottom it mentions that GLX won't work if the composite extension is loaded too. It recommended that the AllowGLXWithComposite option be set to True. That got GLX working making me happy.

A Laissez Faire Corollary

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Here's a laizze-fare corollary:

It is wrong for the government to interfere with business, thus it is also wrong for business to interfere with government.

I believe that's logically sound. If not I think it has merits anyway and is worth further thought. It would also be some sort of ideal too, since government will most likely keep putting its hand into business forcing business to interfere with government. My that's grand!

Ah ha! Captcha!

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I just wanted to say I hate captchas. I ran across two tonight. One was an image that was barely discernible to me, and the other was adding zero to 87. I have to ask: Can we come up with something better before I'm given a complete Turing test just to post a small little comment on a site or, with the spim discussions, send a message?

Bob Parsons & Real-time Information

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Courtesy of WorkHappy I read a piece by Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, about the secret of John D. Rockefeller. It's only worth mentioning because he used headlines like "Quick decisions based on real-time information made Go Daddy #1!", "Real-time information about your business is critical", and "Old news has little value". I'll leave it to you to find out why and to let your imagination roam.

Spam, the Real-Time Internet, and the Singularity

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There's been much talk about spam over IM on Jabber.org's standards-jig list. One of my reflections is that spam is just the tip of the iceberg of the information we have to filter and get way to much of. Spam isn't exactly something we want, but the sheer amount and constant stream of it has to be a harbinger of the real-time Internet and things to come.

With the real-time Internet we'll be getting a deluge of information, non-stop. A lot of this information will be about some sort of change, and will most likely be something we do want to know about. With the increase in the rate of change as we approach the singularity, we will be so inundated with useful information that we just won't know what to do with all of it, much less keep up with it.

Most likely it'll be our machines that keep up with it, and we just won't know what's going on behind the scenes. That has to be some sort of inflection point. Perhaps that's when the machines become our new overlords?

The Windows Key

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I did a switch back to WindowMaker, and after having a useless window key for so long, I finally figured a decent use of the window key. It does nothing but window management functions when chorded with another key. I setup the following bindings:

  • I changed what was Alt+Tab to Window+Tab.
  • Window+number switchs to a numbered window.
  • Ctrl+Window+number switches workspaces.
  • Window+F4 closes the window.
  • Window+F11 and Window+F12 call up WindowMaker's desktop menus
  • Window+H hides the window and Window+M minimizes
  • etc.

If you've caught the gist of this rebinding, anything window manager related got a window key chord. I think this is an extremely proper use of this key. If only Microsoft would expand its use to more than just popping up the start menu.

Washington, We Have a Problem

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I just read a speech Benjamin Powell gave titled Immigration, Economic Growth, and the Welfare State. The entire transcript is a good and easy read, but I have to copy a quote from it that only shows that government fixes problems with even more problems:

Milton Friedman has said, “It’s just obvious, that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.” Conservatives and classical liberals should agree with a resounding “here, here,” and it’s time to abolish the welfare state.

I doubt there are many supporters of the welfare state in this room. But it is a mistake to take the welfare state’s existence for granted and use it as an excuse to condone government interventions in immigration. This is the problem Ludwig Von Mises famously pointed out in his book The Dynamics of Interventionism. One government intervention in the economy produces undesirable and unintended results and planners are confronted with the choice of making further interventions or repealing prior ones. All too often, government chooses the former. [emphasis mine]

Long Live Static Typing!

I just read an article that mentioned dynamic and statically typed languages, and I also just looked up Ruby's yield statement. One of the examples on the page I found was this:

class SongList
  def [](key)
    if key.kind_of?(Integer)
      @songs[key]
    else
      # ...
    end
  end
end

The problem I have is with the if key.kind_of?(Integer). I've been toying with Lisp some, and it reintroduces static typing (think C/C++ function/method arguments). So the above could be simplified a lot, especially if a method needed to be specialized for a ton of types. This could be done by specifying an argument's type. The following would work perfect, and could allow some optimizations to be made too:

class SongList
  def [](Integer key)
    @songs[key]
  end

  def [](key)
    # ...
  end
end

Science Masquerading as Common Sense

Scientists have done it again! They have proven the obvious. This time though they've done it with trees and carbon dioxide. Nature.com has a report about an experiment where extra CO2 was pumped into the branches of trees to see if they would grow more and/or faster. In the process they have disproved a misconception of people who have claimed that extra CO2 in the atmosphere would spur plant growth.

Reading through Nature's report, I was thinking of the obvious: I don't grow any faster or more if I'm placed in a room with nothing but oxygen. I suppose I might be able to run for a few more feet before I'm huffing and puffing, or I might just feel a little giddy in such a room. I definitely wouldn't gain any super powers like super-human growth, and I sure as hell won't use any more oxygen than I normally do.

So this one goes out to science for discovering common sense once more. Some of us could use a lot more of it.

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