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Letters: The music industry was delighted this week, when the latest round of figures seemed to show that file sharing may have slipped into decline. If that sounds a little conditional, it should. Not everyone agrees, and there are more than a few alternative explanations offered in this mail round up:

Subject: Global P2P jihad claims success

"Not all observers are convinced that the figures smell of victory. It would take a large pile of CDs to store 800m songs."

Indeed. Taking an average of 12 tracks per CD, we get 800 000 000 / 12 = 66666666.666...which is irrefutable proof, as though it were needed, that the music industry pigopolists are in fact worshippers of Satan.

P.

Indeed. And if you take an average of 13 tracks per CD, you get 61538461.5384615385...An infinitely repeating number sequence. Equally indicative of the red and horny one's involvement.


Fortunately not all of the comments on this one came with a whiff of green pea soup about them. Some were actually alternative suggestions for why file sharing has apparently slowed:

John, There is a much simpler reason for the drop in the number of files shared - Worms.

Preventing infection from Worms is the number one reason people are firewalling their computers. Firewalls block the server portion of P2P. As the number of servers decreases more pressure is placed on the remaining servers.

Most of these are on broadband accounts and the increased pressure makes the broadband account unusable for the person owning it. They call their ISP, such as myself, who packet sniffs the line to see what is going on. It is trivial to identify P2P as the cause. People then either remove the P2P (most common) or firewall their computers. This increases the pressure on the fewer remaining. And so on. It is a spiral that spins down faster and faster. So, spammers are indirectly killing P2P if you want to view it that way. Tony Ray


Those guys are really naïve if they thing they are winning the war because they can't see as many files being shared on the public P2P networks they are monitoring. Have they even bothered to consider that all they may have done is driven a lot of file sharers underground, to where their prying eyes can no longer monitor them? But what the heck, if they want to believe they are winning, why should I break their bubble, and tell them how wrong they really are?

J Namon


You might like to also consider the notion that the actual reason for the drop in P2P file sharing usage is that people have pretty much downloaded all of the songs they want. Its that simple perhaps.

A friend of mine is a fairly typical music downloader from P2P. She has reached a stage whereby there is no more to be had. She has to really scratch the base of her musical knowledge to find something new (or old) to download. A year ago this 30 year old professional woman had so much to download... all of the stones... primal scream yada yada all of the bands she had ever even liked briefly. She now has them all. Nothing is left to "steal".

Even without anecdotal evidence it seems to me pretty obvious that there will be a slow down of the usage of P2P as hard drive size and bandwidth increases. The fuel for P2P networks is the desire for retainable information and as more information is retained by more people then this fuel will necessarily drop in quantity. Thus will drop the amount of P2P usage.

How this inevitable deflation can be projected into the future is an interesting topic for discussion.

Perhaps in the future only new works (movies, songs, books) will be pirated and all of the old stuff will just be retained by individuals or small groups of individuals. This would mean that the media controllers will have a more focused area to concentrate on stopping piracy. I guess that's a pretty good compromise: give us all old media for free and then let us pay for the new stuff (whilst the pirate underground continues trying to get that for free too)

All food for thought,

Best wishes

Mat Ripley


We reported that morale in the IT sector might not be as buoyant as managers might hope. Still, you reckoned not all was lost, and in a classic case of looking for a silver lining in thunderstorm, sent in the following:

Tim -

On this month's Despair calendar (www.despair.com), it says that "A study at the University of Alberta reveals that unhappy workers are more productive and less error-prone than happy ones. (2001)". So this may be for the better; maybe they'll produce more secure and less buggy code, for example.

J.B. Chimene,


Eric Drexler's u-turn didn't go unnoticed. We had plenty of emails explaining why a self replicating nanobot is impossible, and similar numbers explaining why it is not only possible, but inevitable. A sample:

There are already many different types of self-replicating microscopic machines - every bacterium, or single-celled plant, animal or fungus falls into this category. Why should we worry more about the world turning into a mass of grey goo any more than we worry about it turning into a mass of green goo? Similar processes would limit the spread of even the most cunningly designed nanomachine.

David Brown Norway


I don't believe that for a minute.

I'm sure that every programmer of my generation has written a program that produced an unending paper report.

b. I don't believe that for a minute. If people are capable of creating so-called weapons of mass destruction, then they're capable of deliberately creating nanomachines that endlessly duplicate themselves, perhaps by extracting carbon from any organic material to hand.


Cough. Father of nanotechnology. cough. Richard Feynman. Cough. cough.

:-)

Peter

Ahem. We'd blush for that one, except it's not easy to do when you are a bird of prey. Can we compromise and call him the Grandfather of nanotechnology?


You wondered if the British "land speed in an electric vehicle" record attempt (sadly postponed over safety fears) was not a bit, well, amateurish:

The track in Tunisia has been declared dangerous, so they are going to announce another venue today.

Very interesting: they are using off-the-shelf components. Plain stupid for such an expensive venture. Everything needs to be custom-built, including the batteries and motors. In the USA, electric dragsters reach alarming accelerations. In Oz, many have crossed the continent on solar-only. Folks aren't 'thinking outside the box'; all available IPR needs to be combined. Insufficient visionaries. Detroit and the oilers can laugh a little longer. DGL


Next up, we should have seen this coming, but someone has suggested that there is already a patent covering the wifi cow herd. Prior art! Prior art!

Did you know there is already a US patent that probably applies to this system? Sorry, I can't be bothered finding the number, but when I was employed by Trimble Navigation, a patent was awarded to my colleague Charles Manning (not unknown in The Reg world) for a system using GPS to herd cattle via electric shocks... this was actually a joke at the time, following the typical exhortation of all employees to patent anything and everything vaguely applicable to our technical field... but (not surprisingly, really) the patent was issued.

Regards, Mark


Butler doesn't know how often cows go near watering holes in winter in our southwest.

They don't. There are puddles all over the place. To be fair, there are many places this isn't a problem.

In some places in Oz they'd need to fly an aeroplane over the herd. Some properties are bigger than Texas. That's Texas in the USA.

As opposed to the Scottish soft rock band? We thought so. But anyway, thisd is evidence at last that everything is actually bigger in Oz. Stick that in yer pipe and BBQ it, Lone Star.


Most amusingly, Amazon seems to be having a little trouble with its preferences pages at the moment. It is making the most bizarre recommendations to its customers.

Are you aware that if you search Amazon for "Spot" as in Spot The Dog and limit your search on toys it brings up some interesting "Related Links".

Ian


Not only that but in their synopsis of the book, it says:

"Nagel's second volume of photographs captures portraits of nudists who prefer the aesthetic of smooth, hairless pubes."

How is it possible to have hairless pubes? The mind boggles!

Douglas


I have recently purchased a digital camera and had looked on amazon for it and SD card. I have added to the "page I made" the Shaven Nudists and another title "Vulis' Crazy Sexy Pictures Mix" by Ralf Vul.

When I complained to Amazon they sent a standard response of "this is how the page you made works". I replied saying that I didn't think that those suggestions were related to my searches - or appropriate to simply add to anyone's page. I received another standard response (i.e. brush off) so I gave up.

I really don't think that sort of content should be displayed with something that is not related to the searches I have done - and certainly not added to the page that "I" made.

Who knows perhaps they are just trying to get rid of excess stock? ;)

Regards,

Naomi Russell


It's not just camcorders that Amazon are linking their 'Shaven Nudist' adverts to. A couple of weeks ago I ran a search for a science-fiction book ('Pandora's Star' by Peter F. Hamilton, for the record) and was very surprised to see an advert for the aforementioned 'art' book - or something very similar - pop up. Assuming that Amazon use context-sensitive advertising like Google does (or so I am led to believe), I'd be very interested in the thought process that went into linking these two products!

Mike Plunkett


If you think that's weird ask yourself this: why would someone shopping for Sennheiser HD202 Headphones want a copy of.... A Hand in the Bush: the Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting; Paperback ~ Deborah Addington? That's the fine art mind you. Regards, Tim Newman

Another top offer from Amazon


There was news this week of carbon nanotubes making rather nifty lightbulb filaments. We must confess to a small amount of over enthusiastic reporting on this one. Something that didn't get past you lot. No siree, bob:

You guys (and gals...) Sometimes are spot on and sometimes engage in such irrationally unqualified statements I have to immediately stop what I am doing and offer a small prayer to the gods of journalism that they take notice of your abhorrent flaying of the facts and smite you down immediately in your dreary little British abodes. And I quote "As well as being the only real change in design in the last 125 years...." PUHLEASE. How about the MUCH MORE EFFICIENT Fluorescent bulb with a far greater service life, cooler operation and better efficiency which has been around for what, oh say at least ONE_HUNDRED years!!!! The technology that they were spawned from has been in existence for over ONE-HUNDRED and FORTY YEARS. Oh and then you babble on about efficiency... The most efficient incandescent lamp runs at about then percent efficiency and maybe that waste of technology and time used to make the nano-bulb will being that number up a little. BUT fluorescent bulbs are already at least 40% efficient and LED' technology which continues to make leaps and bounds is now coming to the forefront of consumer technology and has an extremely high level of efficiency ( over %80) and can last into the 100,000 hour range???. Oh did I mention Sodium Arc and metal Halide lighting which each have somewhere between 50 and even up to 80 percent efficiency and is now being used in Auto technology and even low voltage bicycle applications? In your quest to constantly sound the horns of the wonderments of advancing new technology you often overlook the real facts that frequently trump the gee-whiz bells and whistles factor of the objects of your bleary-eyed adoration. Sigh. Better luck next time.

Brad Cameron

Fair point. If you need us, we'll be standing in a corner wearing a pointy hat until further notice. OK? ®

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