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DArcMatter

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  1. All an RSS feed is an XML file written in a special directory, so it would be easy to set up, but the site only gets updated once a month (for now). So check in at least once a month, and you'll know if it's been updated.
  2. There's something I noticed that had a lot to with the Objectivist Meta-ethics. SPOILER ALERT: [Maybe you need more space? ] The PAX gas that the Alliance used on Miranda robbed people of the choice to continue living (as humans, of course). Most people decided to stop living altogether, while a very small percentage of the population were reduced to a sub-human existence as Reavers.
  3. Nintendo will again be using a 'proprietary' format for the Revolution, but the discs will be 5 inches across. Part of the benefit of using their oddball format is to 'fence in' their intellectual property. While the PS2 and XBox use DVDs for their media, they also fall prey to pirates with a DVD burner and a mod chip handy. This problem is something that Nintendo does not have to worry about, because the Gamecube's optical disc is so odd that it cannot be copied. By protecting its intellectual property rights, Nintendo makes sure that people properly pay for their product. I approve of that. I am in favor of having discrete components for discrete jobs. I have a DVD player, and that is the device that I use to watch my DVDs, and it does a much better job than my PS2 at doing so. As far as getting this thread back on topic, have you been following the console news on Anandtech and ArsTechnica? The preliminary, behind-the-scenes, off-the-record reports coming in so far say that the much-hyped Cell and Xeon processors [Cell-PS3, Xeon-XBox360] have only the hype going for them, and that the GPUs are going to save the day for the systems. As being the sceptical sort of person when it comes to these too-good-to-be-true press releases from Sony and Microsoft, it's hard to tell what to believe regarding these guys. From what I can tell is true, I don't care if Nintendo's Revolution will only be marginally better than the Gamecube, the new controller has such wonderful promise.
  4. Have you also looked into QNX? It is a realtime POSIX-compliant operating system (that means it works like Unix). It's a great fit for the embedded market, which means it will fit comfortably on a 'small' machine. There's also NetBSD which can run on your toaster: http://www.embeddedarm.com/news/netbsd_toaster.htm. (as the old joke goes) Before you go and pour your intellect and effort into a software project with some history, please do some research about the licensing issues and the ideas behind them. Linux is released under the General Public License, which masquerades as a free license, but it's a matter of dropping context. Richard M. Stallman (RMS), who wrote the GPL, has many a rant about how 'intellectual property' is a false concept. In this particular matter, RMS equivocates some poorly-implemented patent laws with the proper use of the law in order to rightfully secure the fruits of your creative labors. A quick trip to the fsf.org website, and some philosophical detection will reveal that RMS is a collectivist. The GPL is his tool to bring about collectivism in software. All the big software companies love the GPL pragmatically, because for them, it means that any competitor can't sell products with their code without giving away their enhancements, and there's a free labor force out there, but RMS has a surprise waiting for them with the new revision of the GPL. He's dropped some pretty ominous hints about how companies who implement technologies that enforce copyright protection, and those who use their patent portfolio for the protection of their intellectual property (no matter how sound or unsound the patent is) will be penalized under the new regime. Linus Torvalds has often been described by the computer press as 'pragmatistic'. They don't know how right they are. Linus chose the GPL for Linux because he thought it would be good enough to keep his project out in the open. In fact, there's a recent news bit on kerneltrap.org about how Linus doesn't like to use specification documents for his coding. One of the first posts in his 'defense' said that Linus is an engineer, and doesn't care about theory.
  5. This GPU, multi-processor business is old news. Read up on the Hobbit, which is the code name for the first BeOS machines. It is the precursor in spirit to these multi-core gaming machines, and something like BeOS would make very good use of the Cell. Also check out the architecture of the Amiga. The man who started Amiga, Jay Miner, believed he could make the world's best video game machine, and his creation's architecture looks a lot like these cutting-edge gaming rigs of today: Every subsystem has its own dedicated controller, leaving the CPU to do the higher-level thinking and choreography of video and music. The music system had a highly-advanced multi-track architecture which the current incarnation of sound cards have embraced and extended. The independent video processor is something which you have already waxed enthusiastic about in today's machines. For all the wishbook architectural promises the XBOX360 and PS3 bear, there's one thing that's rumored to spoil the party: they're hard to program for. If the rumors leaking out through slashdot, arstechnica and anandtech are true, then the hype is far from reality. I'm psyched about the upcoming Nintendo, tho’. For the system specs, the difference between it and the other two ‘contenders’ should be marginal, and the recently-revealed control-device is full of wonders. I will patiently await such wonderful delights as they may come.
  6. This artificial distinction between positive and negative freedoms is a mistake. From the wiki: "Rights are those actions capable of being performed by a human which all other humans are morally bound not to impede." In other words, a right is a moral sanction to man's life-sustaining actions in a social context. They are rights to do, not to a particular set of things. Keep in mind that rights are contingent upon the normal conditions of human existence, so the existence of so-called exceptions merely mean that the required social and metaphysical conditions of rights do not apply in a given case. Having an oblique triangle does not invalidate the pythagorean theorem, but the law of cosines applies. If you have to enter your neighbor's property without his permission and use your neighbor's water hose to put out a fire in your neighbor's backyard does not mean that you have violated the sanctity of your neighbor's right to property, but you have respected your neighbor's rights in another way. Property rights, properly defined, are rights to own and control things gained through voluntary trade or production. This is all too often contracted to be said as "Property rights", not the "Right to Own Property". Property rights are inextricably related to the right to trade with other willing people. So ask your socialist friends how a hungry man is not free.
  7. BeOS still lives on, tho' it has been supported by a ragtag bunch of developers. There's a commercial release of mainline BeOS, called Zeta, released by a German company called YellowTab. There is also an open source BeOS-derived OS called Haiku. There is also a professional re-release of the Amiga operating system, made for PowerPC systems. I came across a preview of the thing a while ago, and the impression was that the AmigaOS wasn't changed much, but feels incredibly modern, and it feels fast. Too bad that Commodore couldn't even sell water to a man dying of thirst, as the Amiga's fundamental design decisions are being adopted by all present companies, what with every system having its own processor. Both of these OSes are in a good position to get a leg into the embedded devices market, and both should be enjoyable and worthwhile to study.
  8. The different BSD projects have their own priorities: Free for performance on i386 and related systems; DragonFly forked off of Free in order to demonstrate a better approach for running on multi-processor systems; Net focuses on having a portable codebase which can run on almost anything (not your old VIC-20, tho'); Open focuses on security through correct coding, but forked off of Net due to a personality conflict. OSX (or its free sibling, Darwin) has been mentioned before as a BSD, and while it is true that it was based on FreeBSD, it's a mishmash of many other things. That's why the duck-billed platypus is the Darwin mascot. While there are 'entry-level' efforts underway as an adjunct to FreeBSD (PC-BSD and FreeSBIE, look 'em up)--realize that it doesn't take very long to become proficient in navigating your way around the system and setting things up. If you keep at working with the system, you'll be a novice for less time than you'll be proficient. Any UNIX-like system that holds your hand by hiding the arcane parts of the operating system will keep you from learning about those arcane parts. From my experiences with OpenBSD, the base install is very bare, and you will need to learn what you need to add or turn on, and how to get it set up. Once you do, you will come to learn about the structure of the system, the basic commands and configuration files. So far, my home PC has something like what was on the computer accounts that I used when I was in school. I also have a paid shell account on a server that runs OpenBSD, and I'm picking up other skills along the way. If you have dialup access and still want to pick up some experience in using a Unix-like system, there are a few servers out there that provide a basic free shell account. Give them a try. www.metawire.org is one that provides a free OpenBSD shell account with 100MB worth of space.
  9. I see a pocket of despotism in Utah. I spent a good chunk of my life living in Utah, and from my personal experience, the state is run by puritans--people whose greatest fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves. I went to a private invite-only party held at a 'bar' that had not yet had its alcohol license granted. Any alcohol there was on a BYO-basis. The bar owners had made sure that they had every permission granted to throw the party. The place still got raided by the state's division of alcohol control, and got shut down--not because we had underaged guests, or any drug-related contraband, but because the dart games were not properly licensed yet. The state of Utah is run by Mormons, but ironically, it is Salt Lake City--where the Mormon Church is headquartered--that is turning into a place where you can live something approaching a real life, mainly because Mormons are in the minority.
  10. [Mock Shock] You didn't list the BSDs! [\Mock Shock] When I dabble in learning how to use and administer a Unix-like operating system, a bit of research led me to look at the BSD variants. BSD stands for Berkeley Software Distribution, which was the product of a Department of Defense-funded research team at UCal-Berkeley. BSD grew out of AT&T's UNIX, but for legal reasons, cannot be called a UNIX system, and if you have some free time, Google about the BSD lawsuit. The result of the lawsuit was that UCal-Berkeley could distribute a UNIX-derived full-fledged operating system under a very liberal license, one which allows for copying and modification, but does not require that the source code be shared. It is even possible to make some modifications to the code base and sell the product with only the legal obligation to give attribution to the source. I've come across the BSD copyright notice in Windows--the internet protocols are from BSD, and even in some PlayStation 2 games. The present-day BSD projects, Free-, Net-, Open-, and DragonFlyBSD all share important foundations in common beyond having the same source code in common. The project developers all insist on having a theoretically correct and well-tested design before any code is even written. In fact, the most recent forking was between DragonFly- and FreeBSD, with regards to the foundations of multi-processor coding-a dispute which developers on both sides believe will be best shown by having a working model to demonstrate their approaches. Any BSD project's offering will also be well-documented and fully-integrated. All the basic applications needed to run a minimal installation have been tuned and modified in order to better work with each other, and the documentation included with any BSD is top-notch. I personally use a computer with OpenBSD on it in my spare time. Theo DeRaadt, the OpenBSD project leader, has a devotion to code quality and security beyond even the other BSD project leaders. They are one and the same to him. The OpenBSD developers have audited the codebase for errors of all kinds, regardless of the security implications, yet most security problems are due to coding errors. In fact, for the upcoming semi-annual release of OpenBSD, Theo has instituted a new memory mapping change which will not play nice with poorly-written programs, all in order to better detect these subtle errors, and to encourage correct programming practices. In many ways, Theo has the same attitude about software design as Howard Roark does about building design, there was one recent interview at http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/5-7-5/30084.html which was very reminiscent of Roark's reasons for designing the Cortlandt. For the other Open Source projects--check the developers' premises. [Edit -- sleepy typos fixed]
  11. I am a graduate of the Seminary program, and former Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I live and think for myself now. I wrote the bishop of the University of Utah student ward a brief letter asking to have my name removed from the membership lists. Two months later, I got this HUGE handwritten letter that was chock full of all kinds of personal details about me. This guy did his homework in an attempt to shame me back into the church. I was friends with another guy who had gone through the MTC (Missionary Training Center for you who aren't in the know), and asked to be let go days before they were going to ship him off to North Korea. He smuggled in the Fountainhead. I'll drink a beer, a cup of coffee, and a cup of tea to thee. I'll even burn a couple of cigarettes for you too. Here's to rationality!
  12. Advocating irrationality for medicinal purposes? Get a dog instead--having a pet has been shown to make you better off more ways than religion is purported to. Remember that Objectivism stresses the importance of having a personal foundation in reality, and any attempt to substitute your rational judgment with that of another can only hurt your long-run happiness. Your happiness is the purpose, and your life is the standard that all your goals should aim at and be judged by. Building your beliefs on faith, that is, beliefs that you hold without evidence, or in the face of conflicting evidence, can only distort your perception and understanding of reality. Reason and faith do not and cannot mix.
  13. [Asking about Japan's interest rates.] http://www.ny.frb.org/research/global_econ...con_charts.html The charts available on this webpage only go back to 2000, when the whole world was in at least a recession. A look at the interest rates shows that short term debt, that is, risk-free lending, has been done at 0 (yes, zero, goose-egg, doughnut hole, etc.) percent since 2000. I recall coming across older sources claiming that Japan's economy is stagnant. The causes cited were that Japanese banks made loans based on the successes of pull peddlers and not value creators, and were not willing to declare default on non-performing loans. The Nikkei average is also trading well below its high, reached in the early nineties. Japan is going to have more troubles ahead for it too, since its generous social welfare programs have required a growing younger population to serve as a leech base, yet nobody is having kids. At least Japan doesn't have to contend with a growing population of Muslims, like Europe does.
  14. I am 2/3rds of the way through Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, in the part concerning Ayn Rand's personal notes regarding her attempts to help Nathaniel Branden in the months leading up to her dissociation with him. [Edit-addition: Rand's letter regarding her dissociation with Branden told the necessary facts at the necessary level of detail for the readers of the Objectivist. It was Brandens' letter in response to that that said too much, in that he could not maintain a romantic relation with Rand because of the age difference, which is only one of the many lies he has told.] I have also read the so-called tell-all biographies by the Brandens, and I feel all the more dirtier for it, and all the more fooled because so many things had to be pointed out to me. Peikoff was right to dismiss them both as outright lies. Please, for your sake, you need to realize that Branden is blowing smoke. He never fully integrated Objectivism, and had deceived Ayn Rand over the course of 4 years. Do you think he's telling the truth now? Do you think his criticisms of Objectivism are on the spot? Do you think the philosophy is responsible for the actions of people who do not correctly integrate it to the level of consistent habit, and instead earn the pejorative name 'Randroid'? If you end up living by Branden's 'corrected' form of Objectivism, you are going to go down a road of pain, my friend. Bad ideas have bad consequences, and those bad ideas are those that have no bearing at all in reality.
  15. I used to be addicted to placebos. It was a crippling affliction that brought me to my knees. </sarcasm> Note that the advocates of these alternative medicine treatments rarely fail to mention that Doctors never tell their patients about these things because it is in a Doctor's best interest to keep people sick, so they can get a steady stream of patient visit cash flows. In my day job for the benefits company, I too have noticed that many client health plans are beginning to pay for acupuncture and hypnotherapy. There are medical claim codes (CPTs) in the books corresponding to acupuncture, osteopathic and chiropractic treatements.
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