What Would Have Entered the Public Domain Tomorrow?
The more historical culture is available to us the more we tend to stay with the stuff that's stood the test of time and less of today's releases which frankly have never been more good than bad.
Total bullshit. Public libraries did not pop out of existence. Project Gutenberg was not disbanded. Yes, many libraries closed because towns have money problems or politics, but not nearly all of them (people who believe in libraries will do quite a lot to keep them open). In communities with libraries, such as my own, I'd wager you are able to walk in right now and get any classic book you care to name, because (unless it's been recently adapted into a film or TV show) actual people do not give a damn about the classics.
The main reason libraries have been seeing a resurgence in use is the crushing recession. But that's never stopped library patrons from getting on waiting lists, not for Pride & Prejudice, but for the latest pulp book, or the latest movie release. I volunteered and worked at my local library for years, and the books everyone wanted were new, not old.
"Nexus One" Is Google's Android Phone
There are tons of unlocked phones out there for purchase in the US.
Most Americans, at least until recently, have looked at just one thing when choosing a phone, initial cash outlay. They don't care about contract terms, monthly prices, or anything else. The original, 2G iPhone sold extremely well, but that low $200 entry fee really juiced the ball and got it into the hands of the bulk of Americans. It was the primary factor in getting one into my hands, to be sure.
Now, with the economy in shambles, and credit hard or non-existant, this may start pushing people to no-contract plans and therefore buying their phones outright. As it happens I spent a good chunk of last night researching unlocked phones, and plans with no contract (the contract for my iPhone runs out this June) and it's not hard to find them. The phone companies don't put them front and center, because they don't make as much money on them, but that's only to be expected. Expecting them to give pride of place to their least profitable products ignores reality.
Arrington's CrunchPad Dies
I very much doubt that an amicable settlement is desired by either party.
FusionGarage's shareholders think they can use Michael Arrington's personal investment in the project as leverage to get more ownership of the product. This situation has apparently been unfolding out of the public eye for at least a couple of weeks, according to Arrington's post. They're playing hardball, and they figure that they can shove the terms of this new deal down Arrington's throat because he doesn't want the public embarrassment of not getting it done, and not wanting his baby to be stillborn. I'm sure that those shareholders have done this successfully with a lot of other wide eyed tech entrepreneurs. The shareholders probably believe that what is likely a minor investment in the grand scheme of things can be risked. If they lose it all because Arrington decides to call their bluff, they very well may not care.
Michael Arrington more likely than not went into this in a totally naive manner. I wouldn't doubt that there are a number of things he did wrong that enabled this situation. However, that doesn't change the fact that his partners are now attemtpting to blackmail him, probably legally. They have part ownership of the IP, that means they have a voice. However, Arrington has that same part ownership. He also, as the saying goes, buys ink by the gallon. He has decided that he's willing to shoot the hostage and eat the loss rather than see the people who betrayed his (naive) trust profit.
As he said, there's going to be lawsuits back and forth on this, and the place this will be resolved is in the court system, probably many years down the line.
Murdoch-Microsoft Deal In the Works
If it gets News Corp content out of my Google News page, I'll be all the happier for it. You go, Rupert. Don't let the door hit you.
App Store Developer Speaks Out On Game Piracy
If a pirate is someone who plays a game without buying it, what is the name for someone who buys a game without playing it?
A collector. I'm in the same boat, though not with PC games anymore. I had a HUGE collection of PC games I'd bought from the bargain bin that I just gave away to a friend because I was never ever going to get around to even trying half of them, let alone finish them. So then I proceed to build up a massive collection of console games I have yet to really play (last time I bothered counting, I was up around 150 titles I have but haven't finished).
Emergency Government Control of the Internet?
While it's quite a lot of things, being disconnected from the Internet is NOT a breach of my privacy. I hadn't heard that Echelon was dismantled, so I'm pretty sure that anything I send out unencrypted is being parsed (and anything encrypted stored for future reference) even without this particular emergency order. My stuff on my computer is still on my computer.
And I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but frankly it's about time that this kind of thing was talked about and put into law. The bits of the Internet that are on sovereign US territory are most certainly vital national infrastructure by now, and the law needs to be updated. It's long past time that the US government, and the US population woke up to the threat vectors presented by the Internet, and deal with the hard questions surrounding what to do when the "cyber war" eventually happens, whether it's concerted non-state entities mounting an attack against Internet connected infrastructure or government/military Internet areas, or state entities. If we have finally decided, or are close to deciding, what level of "attack" through networks constitutes a declaration of war (and if we haven't, we damn well should be doing THAT too), then the POTUS as Commander In Chief needs to be able to do the kind of crap you do in an attack on your country. And putting into law is a LOT better than letting whomever is the President at the time make up his powers in that situation from the ether like the Bush Administration did. This particular bill may or may not be the correct answer, I haven't read it. Something like this, however, is going to and should be put in place. I'm all for using the political process to make it the best possible bill, but acting like the government shouldn't ever be able to do this kind of thing is fantasy.
FBI Investigating Mystery Laptops Sent to US Governors
Formatting the drive doesn't protect against malicious hardware/firmware built in (or installed before they were sent to the target). If we're talking foreign government it would be a piece of cake to get that done. The US government has done similar things to espionage targets. Organized crime would more than likely have the ability (or be able to develop the ability) to hide the face that a case had been opened and the guts altered from casual inspection.
I don't expect it would take too much ingenuity to develop an extremely small keylogger process that could get data out no matter what operating system you're dealing with.
Xbox 360 Failure Rate Is 54.2%
Especially if this is over the entire lifetime of the 360. I didn't buy a 360 until the beginning of 2009. Every single person I know that has had an Xbox has had at least 1 RRoD, most several. I have a Wii, and I'd been intending to buy a PS3 but Sony kept falling over itself to make it hard for me to buy their console, most importantly refusing to drop the price to something reasonable. During the years Sony could have had my money, Microsoft got its act together and newer Xboxes eventually got better and failed less and less, and MS improved their customer service from "absolutely the worst" to "tolerably bad". I made sure the Xbox I bought was one of the new models (was packaged with games that were a new bundle at the time), and I've been pretty happy with it so far, which I never thought I'd say about a Microsoft product other than their keyboards and mice (which are the best peripherals I've ever used).
Prior to the massive RRoD publicity my anecdotal experience was 100% of 360s were going to RRoD eventually, it was just a question of time. After MS got their act together the failure rate for NEW Xboxes is a lot better, but it's going to be nearly impossible to bring the failure rate across all models down to anything reasonable unless no 360s fail for years to come, if they even ship them that long. Sony's failure to take advantage of Microsoft's stumble is their biggest mistake ever in the Console Wars, and only the massive install base of the PS2 and their lazarus act with the PSP is keeping them afloat. Nintendo just doesn't care really, since they have the insanely popular DS, and the Wii is a profitable sideshow in the grand scheme.
Ubuntu's New Firefox Is Watching You
I don't care that it had a branded Google search. I care that I couldn't remove it. Turning something "off" is not a sufficient option.
Ubuntu's New Firefox Is Watching You
I installed Linux Mint about a month ago looking for a new Linux distribution to put on a cheap laptop I had just gotten. All the search pages, no matter where I searched, were coming up branded "Linux Mint". Didn't take too long for me to get annoyed at this, especially when I found out there was no way whatsoever to remove the addon from Firefox. I ended up downloading the mozilla.com distributed package and overwriting the symlinks by hand. Mint is based on Ubuntu, but my 9.04 installs don't have this in there. I guess this is one "innovation" that made it back up the food chain. Personally embarassing for me, since I had just finished recommending Linux Mint to several friends, aquaintances, and customers.
Twitter, Facebook DDoS Attack Targeted One User
Well, to be fair, the Russians WERE telling the Georgian government to "stop fucking with" South Ossetia and Abkhasia. Whether they were justified in doing that is an entirely different matter, but the facts are that the Russian government took the position that the Georgian government was no longer the sovereign in that piece of land, and acted on that.
Underground App Store Courts the Jailbroken
Not everyone that can jailbreak an iPhone does either.
Now, a possibly relevant caveat is that I didn't actually go out and buy mine (gift from my Apple-fan father, after I said don't bother giving me one, since I don't care about it) but I honestly don't see the gain in jailbreaking it. I'm not planning on leaving AT&T (they're a hell of a lot better than Sprint in my experience, which gave me nightmares for years. I don't care how good they are rated right this second, they would have to basically hand me a bag of $100 bills for me to sign back up with them at this point). When things go wrong with the phone, I want Apple and/or AT&T to be the ones on the hook for fixing them.
And frankly, Apple approving all the software in the App store, while slimy doesn't particularly matter to me, because there's no way I'm ever buying any software for any phone, whether it's an iPhone or a Pre or a Blackberry or an Android phone. On top of that, while I certainly don't trust Apple to have my best interests at heart, I see no reason at all why I should trust any of these unofficial app stores any more, especially since I have to allow them to do whatever they damn well please with my phone in order to use their "service". Frankly, I think the FCC investigation is possibly the best thing to happen to the iPhone. I figure there's very little chance that Apple will be forced to allow any unsigned code whatsoever to run (which would pretty much mean I sell off the the phone and get one that isn't an invitation to data theft), but a very good chance that the black box in the approval process will be torn apart, some Apple executives embarassed, and some changes made.
Goodbye Apple, Hello Music Production On Ubuntu
My gf is a composition PhD candidate (though they call it something other than a PhD, can't remember offhand) and she is the only grad student in her department that uses Linux, with everyone else using Macs. It's certainly doable, but it's not at ALL simple. She recently had to replace her laptop and I convinced her that she should buy a system76 machine, which comes with Ubuntu preloaded. Ubuntu itself was a disaster, but she got her normal Slackware environment working on it with not much trouble. That environment, however, was NOT built in a day. Rather it took months of painful and frustrating work to get it there, and there are still niggling problems with it. And while there is audactity, most of the real hard work has to be done in a lisp interface to csound, which is about as user-unfriendly as it comes.
For the kind of musicians where audacity is enough, Linux is probably "there" for them at this point, and for certain types of digital creation you can certainly make it work, but if you're dealing with any amount of specialized production hardware, yeah, Linux is a very wrong tree to be barking up at this point in time.
US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years
Too bad the only thing developers do is give us some form of a shooter lately, and change the graphics and call it amazing. Bioshock had a good story, but that was like 2 years ago already.
Well, all Bioshock had was its story, because after the first 20 minutes or so it was pathetically easy, no matter the "difficulty level" and about as scary and suspenseful as the Cliff Notes version of Heart of Darkness. The story and art direction were its only saving graces, so lucky for them they were especially good ones.
And as far as "it's been only shooters" I dunno where you pulled that from. Yeah, I'm sure you could pick a time frame where it's just been shooters that's been released on a particular console, but it's blindness (willful or otherwise) to believe that's the truth across all the consoles. There's a steady stream of localized RPGs/SRPGs on the PS2, PSP, and DS. The DS has so many titles coming out for it, hardly any of them shooters, that I can't imagine why you think that's all that's out there, unless you don't consider the DS a "real console".
Why Video Games Are Having a Harder Time With Humor
Definitely. As the old saying goes "dying is easy, comedy is hard". I think the real reason there are hardly any video games focusing directly on humor is the sheer difficulty of doing humor. Just having some comic relief, or some funny lines peppered throughout your game isn't really comedy. There are a few games that have attempted this. Whiplash was one of the few games that tried to do pure-play humor gaming, and it succeeded in being very funny, but didn't succeed so well as a game (exceedingly long, and less than perfect controls). Raze's Hell is another, though more satirical than flat out comedic. I imagine people will get better at this as the medium matures, and when the winning formula is found, it will be mined for all it's worth (or beaten to death) just like the modern TV sitcom has been since it was developed.
Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far?
Yeah, we could call it, I dunno... Difficulty levels maybe? Yeah, that's the future of gaming.
Do We Want ISPs Penalizing Music Fans?
What's your opinion on downloading ripped movies you already own, because ripping a DVD is (arguably) illegal and in some cases more time consuming than actually downloading?
Ripping a DVD actually has more than a snowball's chance in hell of being considered fair use. Restrictions on distribution are part of the heart of copyright law, and offering ripped movies to "only people that own the DVD" is ridiculous on its face. No one seriously believes that, even if limiting distribution to those who only own the DVD was the actual intent, that it's even slightly feasible to design a system that proves only those people could do it. Sure, people do download the movie because they don't want to take the time to rip it, but not a single person I know that downloads movies off the Internet does that. I didn't when I used to. It's a convenient lie. It was a convenient lie for the old-console ROM sites before Nintendo's virtual console for Wii. If you actually believe that this kind of theoretically high minded activity comprises the bulk of content downloads, you need your head examined.
What's your opinion on downloading cracks for the games you own, just because DRM makes you want to cry and requiring the original DVD on the drive is JUST PLAIN STUPID?
What's plain stupid is downloading cracks that might have the gods know what buried in them. The kind of trust that theoretically intelligent people place in the cracker community is insane. I have friends who regularly download games they haven't bought and play them with cracks. They refuse to buy the games, whether they can afford them or not. Their PCs are also among the most spyware/virus/malware infested piles of crap I've ever had the misfortune to try and clean up. I don't bother helping them any more because they'll only go and screw the computer up in a few days time.
The real answer is to not buy the game if it has DRM you can't abide. No video game is worth the hassle, no matter how good. People have survived for millennia without Spore, or Fallout 3, or whatever. You will too. Show some self control. Pirating the games is playing into the hands of DRM proponents. Buy games that meet your standards. There are some out there, no matter how strict your standards are.
How about people who want to acquire a work that there is no legal alternative for them to buy?
I do this plenty enough, and it basically comes down to the fact that being prosecuted over it is next to impossible, as long as you stay within the unwritten rules. Like not going more than 10MPH over the speed limit is going to keep you reasonably safe from getting a speeding ticket, pretty much everywhere I've driven in the US. Abandonware that actually is abandoned (that label gets slapped on pretty damn quick these days for quite a lot of things I can still buy easily) has no one to sue you, by definition. Lots of people conveniently miss the fact that some abandonware gets found again. I haven't seen Nintendo or Sega ROM sites evaporate very fast post-Vitural Console. Foreign TV shows (anime is the most prominent example) is still illegal, but unless it's a multinational that owns it, they have to come over to your jurisdiction and sue you, and that's prohibitively expensive. Most of them (at least in the anime space) also get the fact that it helps build a market, especially in the short term. Naruto and Bleach would have been a shadow of their current popularity if it wasn't for the fansub action they saw. And lots of shows will just never see the light of day are just not worth sending the lawyers after people over. Most of the big fansubbers have a kind of detante with the production companies, a takedown notice gets it taken down from the above-board sites (since it usually means a localized version is coming).
Legitimizing Real Money Trading In Games
Actually, the reason it wouldn't be fun anymore is because every single in-game action would be instantly and irrevocably boil down to money. You don't really need a whole lot of trust to deal with people in a non-legitimate-RMT game. Sure, plenty of people don't care about legitimacy, but enough people do that you don't have to chew your fingernails off nightly in worry that your guild leader is going to run off with the guild bank. It might happen, and does happen often enough, but it's not a big deal. It's just a game, even if some people sell the pieces they have to other players.
When there is real, hard currency, simple-to-obtain value associated with that high-demand epic BoE ring that dropped last night during a raid, it becomes a very VERY different situation. Especially in tough economic times, that small database entry could feed me for quite some time. The corrupting influence it exerts would be staggering. The cultural shift would be staggering. If WoW suddenly legitimized and brought in-house RMT, I'm good enough at the game that I would probably use it as a source additional income, but it would stop being fun very, very fast. It'd start being a game like the stock market, and that's not an especially fun one.
Norton Users Worried By PIFTS.exe, Stonewalling By Symantec
PIFTS = Personal Internet Firewall Tracking Service?
Amazon.com To Accept Game Trade-Ins
The only real value you get from using Amazon instead of Gamestop to trade games in is that you can use the proceeds on non-game items. IE, trade in my games and console and buy a Kindle, or a rice cooker, or whatever. Even then, you'd stand to make far more money if you sold those games on Amazon, and that cash can be used anywhere, not just Amazon. Perhaps they're seeing a market from people who don't trust Marketplace buyers and/or sellers. I know I was turned way off of the whole concept of participating as a seller after dumping a collection about a year ago, when the bulk of the buyers tried to talk me down on price after the sale, or refused payment until I went through the motions on a dispute, which took forever.
Amazon is probably just making a very modest bet on long odds that this is going to turn into a real market for them. A third party partner of Amazon is managing the operation, so Amazon's outlay is probably extremely modest. Development time to implement the web interface, postal systems, linking to the partner's internal systems, etc, but Amazon has quite the head start in all those areas. I expect they just skim some profit off the top as their fee for the use of their name and storefront. If it all falls down it's the partner that eats the bulk of the cost, not Amazon.