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Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1

Babbster Re:adware is malware (177 comments)

I've never heard of "crapware" before, but charging money for something that has no monetary value (as it's offered for free by another entity) sounds to me like fraud.

That's complete nonsense; if true, it would mean nearly every piece of commercial software was fraud, from office software to image editing software to antivirus software.

about 6 months ago
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Google's Image Search Now Requires Explicit Queries For Explicit Results

Babbster Re:Censorship (369 comments)

Everybody knows that teenagers raised by good parents would never go out of their way to look for pornography. Seeing a fake picture of Salma Hayek straddling a 13-inch schlong when they were just looking for pictures to use in a report on actors' charitable works would traumatize the poor things!

about 2 years ago
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Nintendo Wii U Teardown Reveals Simple Design

Babbster Re:well doh. keep it cheap and simple. (276 comments)

Final Fantasy 11 on the 360 is, as far as I know, the only exception when it comes to requiring a hard drive. It was also the only [North American] PS2 game that required a hard drive - I remember because I was in the PS2 HD beta program.

Some 360 games do ship with "downloadable content" on disc (such as "game of the year" editions such as Fallout 3/New Vegas or Red Dead Redemption, and I've read that Forza Motorsport 3 is an example) that can't be installed without a hard drive but otherwise the base games are always playable without being installed to the hard drive.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Retiring Messenger, Replacing It With Skype

Babbster Skype on 360 (213 comments)

I wouldn't be surprised if a key reason Windows Messenger hasn't been killed already is that Microsoft is waiting until their Xbox 360 Skype client is ready to go. I use my 360 for all my gaming and TV viewing, so it would be pretty convenient to be able to get my phone calls through the system as well, especially if the client was capable of multitasking which, unfortunately, some key Microsoft 360 apps (perhaps most notably Xbox Music Pass, formerly Zune Pass) are not.

about 2 years ago
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Wired Proclaims the Death of the Game Console

Babbster Re:Don't believe it (368 comments)

True. My nephews got a Wii and loved it. I gave them my Gamecube games, and they loved those. In fact, their Wii failed, was replaced by a new one without Gamecube compatibility and they actually asked for a Gamecube. I let them have a taste of Mass Effect 3 when I brought my 360 over to their house and they loved that.

I have no doubt that there will be more people playing tablet games than console games into the future, just like there are more people playing Facebook games than Civilization V. That does not mean, however, that home game consoles are going away, any more than "big-box" PC gaming is going away. It's not so much a shift of the gaming market as it is an expansion.

about 2 years ago
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EA Exec Won't Green Light Any Single Player-Only Games

Babbster Re:Then I've evolved to not buy EA games... (274 comments)

Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode may have started as something tacked on so that they could check it off a list, but it's ended up being quite a lot of fun for a lot of people (myself included). I've met more than one person in that game who bought the game specifically for the multiplayer, some of whom have played for an extended period without even touching the single-player game. In fact, one guy I talked to went out and bought the game for his brother so that they could play it together. In short, it's pretty good stuff.

In fact, I think Mass Effect 3 could be an example of the good that could come of publisher pressure. Give a good development team a new objective and they might make something that turns out to be a pleasant surprise.

about 2 years ago
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Bethesda: We Can't Make Dawnguard Work On the PS3

Babbster Re:I've developed for the PS3. (371 comments)

Probably at about the same time as they weren't able to increase their system RAM in a relatively inexpensive upgrade. PCs with 8+ GB of system RAM are commonplace now, so why would they need to access any of the video RAM to do CPU work?

The sad thing is that it didn't really require any foresight on Sony's part to anticipate greater memory needs. PC games at the time of the PS3's design were already able to take advantage of more system RAM than they ended up putting into the PS3. It was a no-brainer that if they weren't going to allow RAM to be shared, they should have added more. Unfortunately, they were already in so deep financially that they felt they couldn't afford the increased unit cost - and in that sense they were right given how much they charged for the PS3 at launch.

more than 2 years ago
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Magician Suing For Copyright Over Magic Trick

Babbster Re:Oh noes, he copied him!!!! (296 comments)

"Imitation" would be one thing. If this guy was just doing the illusion on stage, Teller likely wouldn't bother suing. This guy, however, offered expensive kits for sale so that others could do it, and they don't have to go to the trouble of figuring it out for themselves or even appreciating Teller's part in its creation.

I don't know if the suit can be won, but writing this off as sincere flattery is a mistake.

more than 2 years ago
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What's Not To Like About New iPad?

Babbster Re:Coming Soon (617 comments)

apple seems really bad at coming up with dpi agnostic solutions so this is what you get. of course it's a selling point on some level, even if it means more pixels to push. of course at some version they're going to have to address this, but not this year(it's rather ridiculous that you can't configure osx to be at all usable on a screen like on the ipad though!).

I think the more important factor is maintaining aspect ratio and size, at least within product lines (iPhone/Touch and iPad).

When designing an application, being able to standardize your UI elements to a fixed display size makes things easier and is friendlier to the consumer. For example, if Apple increases the size of the iPhone display at some point, then it's possible that UI elements designed for the new display could be too small for comfort on an older one.

This was a problem for my dad when he started using a home PC with Windows and he had to reduce the display resolution so that applications operating in a fixed resolution smaller than the size of the screen would be easier to see. This applied mainly to specific shareware programs he liked but it complicated his user experience in that he had to learn to adjust properties of the OS about which he should never have had to learn. In an OS with few customization options, those adjustments might not even be available to the end user.

more than 2 years ago
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Should Snatching an iPhone Be a Felony?

Babbster Re:It already is (607 comments)

I could be wrong but isn't there an assault here as well? It's obviously a violent act to grab something out of another person's hand against their will and then there's the second violent act of throwing the phone through a window. If that happened to me, I'd certainly be in fear of further violence against me. Thus, it would seem to rise to the level of assault.

Of course, an assault can still be a misdemeanor but there would seem to be the potential for multiple charges arising from the incident.

One final note: Can you really be called "paparazzi" if you're doing the job with an iPhone? Yeah, the cameras in them are okay but wouldn't their quality be beaten handily by even a relatively cheap, dedicated camera?

more than 2 years ago
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New York State Passes DNA Requirement For Almost All Convicted Criminals

Babbster Re:Why is this different than fingerprints? (260 comments)

Fingerprinting is old and mature tech.

So are acupuncture, astrology, and polygraph interpretation. I wouldn't put a lot of stock into age as a measure of reliability.

more than 2 years ago
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Sony Ditching Cell Architecture For Next PlayStation?

Babbster Re:Why not PC + 360? (276 comments)

I'm just guessing, but it may be because Microsoft Windows is still the standard OS for most desktop PCs with the ability to render high-resolution graphics. Microsoft has never been a huge game developer for PCs. Heck, they're not even a really big developer for the Xbox 360.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Zune, Windows Live Brands?

Babbster Re:An Ode to Zune (262 comments)

You're not the only one. I like my Zune and use the Zune Pass. I like the Zune's interface a lot better than that of the iPod Touch and wish they would have tried harder to compete instead of abandoning it. Maybe Microsoft will make me happy and release a phone-free Windows Phone.

more than 2 years ago
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PSVita Released In the USA and Europe

Babbster Re:Ya well, may be a reason for the price (225 comments)

Agreed, there's not much out there in Android-land as good as Skyrim or Civilization or the obscure hex-based military strategy games I like. However the PSVita games aren't that good and cost just as much.

Well played. It's good that you're not rushing to judgment on a system that's only been available (in limited quantities) in this country for a week. Wait, you are, aren't you?

Seriously, I'd never recommend buying a game system at launch. I went against my usual grain and did so with the 3DS and it was a huge mistake. Of the systems launched in this century, none of them have had great launch lineups. Even the Nintendo DS - a system with a multitude of great (and awful) games today - had a terrible lineup of games at launch.

Don't get me wrong. There are some really good reasons to hate on the Vita as it exists today, from battery life to expensive proprietary memory cards. But the game lineup, judged against other launch lineups, is either average or better given that Game Rankings has 6 Vita games listed at 80+%.

more than 2 years ago
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PSVita Released In the USA and Europe

Babbster Re:Half-assed backwards compatiblity (225 comments)

Even if there aren't individual serial numbers (and I certainly don't think there are), it would be a simple matter to test it, make sure the game is working, and then give the code. Or at least it would be a simple matter if a) game stores wanted to participate in such a boondoggle that does little or nothing for their regular business (they wouldn't) and b) licensing agreements were in place with every publisher to make their titles available online (they aren't) and allow exchanges of physical discs for downloadable copies (they surely aren't).

Sony doesn't own every game released for the PSP. They were involved in the licensing and production processes, but in the absence of a contract to the contrary, they don't get to unilaterally determine alternate methods of distributing those games.

This is all a tempest in a teapot anyway. The PSP has never been significantly popular in the US and the issue of backwards compatibility will recede into the background as new games are released for the Vita (assuming it does well and generates publisher interest). In the meantime, getting a used PSP - or a new one, for that matter - is easy and cheap. Nobody with these mythical huge collections of UMD games is losing the ability to play their games, either now or in the foreseeable future. I don't understand why they'd have any interest in the Vita anyway if they're still playing the old games so much...oh wait, I do understand: It's fun to bitch about big companies in general, and Sony in particular.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon Blocks Video Streaming On BlackBerry Tablet, Blames Apple

Babbster Re:Occam's razor... (128 comments)

You may be on to something, though it would still be sloppy customer service. The premise that they want to sell more Kindles makes no sense given the prices they set for those devices. It's the content they want to sell; that's where the profit margins are.

more than 2 years ago
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Oklahoma Politician Wants To Tax Violent Video Games

Babbster Re:Sounds completely logical (312 comments)

Please, no. I don't want to read about a Supreme Court decision in a few years establishing that fecal matter is speech.

more than 2 years ago
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Crysis 2 Most Pirated Game of 2011

Babbster Re:News Flash (383 comments)

If they sold 500,000 at ~$50 , but could have hypothetically moved 3 million at ~$10, they might have come out 5 million dollars ahead (negligible per-copy cost incurred, so volume can pretty well be adjusted at will without repercussion).

That's way beyond unrealistic. I don't believe even half of the pirates would pay $10 for a game, let alone 80%. By that logic, video and music -- both almost universally available for download at pretty darned reasonable prices -- piracy wouldn't be a booming business (and it is a business for some pirate sites).

That's not to say that I disagree that price reductions could be implemented that would benefit the video game industry (there's probably a sales-enhancing middle ground between $10 and $50 per game) but given that video game prices haven't changed significantly -- compared with inflation and considering increased game development costs -- in 20+ years, I think we're dealing with a situation where most people who pirate won't pay any price for what they're downloading. Of course, that means that annoying DRM practices are still an exercise in futility. :)

about 2 years ago
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What Microsoft Should and Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720

Babbster Re:Never going to happen. (502 comments)

It's a complicated solution to a problem that doesn't really exist. Companies make good money selling games on optical discs and, again, manufacturing costs (including cases and instruction books) are miniscule. I've got a decent connection and I still wouldn't want to download a BD's worth of data. The frustration of watching a download bar instead of playing a game would drive me nuts; it's already annoying with a DVD9's worth of data. Being forced to go to a particular retail location to download the game to flash memory wouldn't make me happy either (and we could be talking some big flash cards given that Blu-ray games can already reach towards 50GB).

Honestly, the only places I see people complaining about optical discs in game consoles are on technophile sites like this one.

more than 2 years ago
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What Microsoft Should and Shouldn't Do For the Xbox 720

Babbster Re:Optical? (502 comments)

Indeed. I've got virtually unlimited downloads (I'm sure there's a cap somewhere if I pushed hard enough) but how long would that last if just for gaming I was downloading an additional 20+ GB per month? And there are enough people in the world with hard caps on monthly bandwidth that it makes no sense for a console game company to move to a system that would at least limit their game-buying capability ("I'd love to buy Arkham County but I already bought Mass Effect 4 this month"), if not shut them out completely.

more than 2 years ago

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