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top

Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing

skorch Re:Raspberry Pi (439 comments)

Or if they propose pieces of legislation that chip away at those rights. You don't take away rights all at once, you slowly erode them bit by bit. You don't push for legislation that prompts the "That's crazy" response, you push for the "Well that's not so bad" and lather rinse repeat about 100x. Sure maybe no one is proposing what you say right now, but if you think they won't be soon after this round of SOPA and PIPA plays out, you haven't been paying much attention.

If you're only looking out for a giant troll to come crashing through your castle gates, you're going to miss all the little thieves that sneak in the back door and cart out your treasury of rights piece by piece.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?

skorch Cable free for 7+ years (697 comments)

We've been cable free ever since me and my SO left college and moved in together. In the earlier days, before streaming services were what they are today, we had to rely pretty heavily on torrents to get what we wanted. We'd also occasionally visit our friend with the DVR and watch some shows with him on his couch while hanging out (I know, shocking). We watched the first 3 seasons of the Wire like that actually.

Then Netflix intro'd instant streaming to Xbox, and selection was terrible. It was hardly worth it if we weren't already subscribed anyway. But it has continuously improved over time and now makes up I'd say the bulk of what we watch now. The rest of our current viewing we'd get off Hulu (free version) streamed from my laptop to our TV via hdmi cable. There's so much available by those two alone now we haven't needed to download a show in almost 4 years.

There are still plenty of shows that we can't get (till they're available on Netflix disc), but at this point, if it isn't available through Hulu/Netflix instant, then it's not worth it for us to watch. Simple as that.

more than 3 years ago
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When DLC Goes Wrong

skorch Day 1 misconception (261 comments)

While there are many valid complaints about DLC out there, there is one major misconception that does get perpetuated rather unfairly, and that is of Day 1 DLC. The perception is that this was content that was deliberately withheld from the disk to be charged at a premium as a way to bilk consumers. While I can't speak for all companies' strategies I can say that in general this is simply untrue, and more a product of the nature of console development nowadays.

When a game goes into Cert for first party consoles, i.e. the game is complete, nothing else is to be added to the disk so that Nintendo, Sony, and MS can test the disk for compliance to be published on their systems, you're looking at a 4 to 6 month period between the disk entering Cert, going Gold, and then going to disk pressing and distribution and then actually hitting store shelves where nothing new is or ever will be added to the disk (except for major bug fixes found in the cert process). But this is still 6 months where you have developers on staff with all the tools and expertise of development still fresh and ready to go. So unless you've already scheduled the next product cycle (which you shouldn't while the game is still in Cert in case issues arise), you've got plenty of resources you can dedicate to turning around day one patches and DLC. Cert process for DLC is usually much shorter, because it's all building off the engine that was already tested on the disk, and since there's no manufacturing or distribution lead time, you can usually have some pretty high-quality DLC available in pretty short time alongside your disk's actual launch.

Day 1 patches also get a lot of flak, but are often a much more preferable solution (from the developer and publisher's perspective) for fixing issues that are turned up in cert that don't require you to restart the cert process and potentially delay your game's launch. It screws over the users who aren't online, but in today's console environment, that's such a non-vocal and shrinking minority of users that almost no one in the industry is any financial trouble for not going out of their way to cater to them (actually usually the opposite).

Not that a lot of Day 1 DLC (or DLC in general) isn't still not worthwhile, but the idea that it was content the devs were sitting on and decided to exclude to screw over the customers just doesn't jive with reality. No matter how much content may be included on a disk that may or may not have been relegated to DLC, there is always a huge chunk of time between the disk being locked and the disk hitting shelves where the devs can work on new material that may be ready in time for launch.

more than 3 years ago
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When DLC Goes Wrong

skorch Re:Fuck you, developers. (261 comments)

As a current game developer, while I can sympathize with a lot of your points on a general level, it sounds to me like you worked at some particularly shitty companies if all of those things were perpetually true at once.

Not saying that none of them happen anywhere, but they certainly don't all happen everywhere. And after that, change the details and the job titles in your description and you could be complaining about just about any industry in existence today.

more than 3 years ago
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Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong

skorch Re:I am not surprised. (1027 comments)

Actually, to be fair, Scientologists managed to con their way into the tax-break status too.

more than 4 years ago
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Has Any Creative Work Failed Because of Piracy?

skorch Re:Starsiege: Tribes took quite a hit from piracy (1115 comments)

That's a fair point, but we need to be able to compare the number of people who didn't pay for it but might have against the number of people who did pay for it but wouldn't have if they had not seen/heard/sampled it via word of mouth due to the increased exposure of the title due to piracy. If the latter outweighs the former, then there would appear to be a net gain.

Study after study has shown that the people who download the most music via p2p are also the segment that pay the most for music legally too. This isn't surprising because these are obviously the most avid music consumers (I know, I know, citation needed, but I forget which article I got that snippet out of, so feel free to take with a grain of salt). Same could, (and in my experience) does apply to gamers and moviegoers. People who have the highest demand for a material are willing to pursue as many avenues as are available to them to procure it, and don't necessarily always sink to the lowest cost option if it's less than legal (though often do). The question that would be nice to have answered is what the ratio of non-purchases to increased-purchases is, and if one outweighs the other.

This is neither an endorsement of piracy, nor of copyright laws as they stand or are enforced, merely a question about what the truth of the situation actually is, and what the net costs vs gains actually are (if any) vs what studios and infringers and researchers are claiming. It's possible that an entirely different model of content distribution is waiting to be discovered that doesn't rely so heavily on flat pricing or the current balance of large media publishers vs content developers.

more than 4 years ago
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RIAA Calls YouTube-Viacom Decision Bad Public Policy

skorch Re:Uhhh... (260 comments)

No, Liability has been the way to punish people for doing wrong. Deterrence effects of liability measures has never been demonstrated to be significantly influential compared with simply providing legal alternatives for people to gain access to the goods and services they want, even if it means paying for it.

Most people are honest people and want to come by their goods honestly, and if you provide them with a competitive product for a competitive price, the numbers show the vast majority of people are willing to pay for it over getting it for free illegally (exceptions of course always apply). It's when you deliver (or don't even offer) an inferior product that the balance starts to tip the other way.

more than 4 years ago
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Fark Creator Slams 'the Wisdom of Crowds'

skorch Re:Wisdom of the crowd. (507 comments)

Don't forget that the candidates name was coincidentally very similar to that of popular singer Al Green (Alvin Greene), and since he never went out in public to campaign, no one knew who he actually was. Some voters have admitted to assuming it was Al Green himself who was running.

Even for those who may have known or suspected it wasn't him, familiarity played a role. There have been many cases where candidates have won seats on name recognition by association alone (they share the name with a celebrity or another popular politician who may or may not have been a parent or family member they are "inheriting" the seat from).

Doesn't speak well for the collective intelligence of the voting population.

more than 4 years ago
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New Fossil Sheds Light On Lucy's Family Tree

skorch Re:Biped (89 comments)

our ancestors could run when they hunt the might dinosaur

You're about 62 million years off putting these or pretty much any other hominid species alongside real dinosaurs. Seriously, it might sound cool but it makes no sense, and the public believing stuff just because it sounds cool has lead to a lot of trouble in this field.

more than 4 years ago
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J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System

skorch Re:Hello? "United STATES of America?" (773 comments)

Wow, it's almost like you were able to read the subtext he was bludgeoning you over the head with so subtly. Now if you could just remind me which half of the founding fathers he's channelling, because if I remember my history at all, I seem to recall that they were pretty evenly split on this issue. Something about Federalist and ant-Federalist / Democratic-Republican parties in the early years after the formulation of the Constitution.

I'll see your Jefferson and raise you a Washington and a latter-day Jefferson.

more than 4 years ago
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Guess My Speed and Give Me a Ticket, In Ohio

skorch Re:That's a lousy analogy (636 comments)

Except in practice, there is plenty of evidence that a "suspect's" appearance will have a lot to do with how the police will treat them. One example while staying OT is that you are statistically much more likely to be pulled over for speeding if you are driving a car painted red, and/or looks like a fast car. If Cops are going to eyeball it, then subjectivity will play a role, and a cop may be more likely to decide you are in violation of something if they think you look like you should be.

So "you look like a speeder" is actually much closer to "it looked like you were speeding" than you suggest.

more than 4 years ago
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Pope Rails Against the Internet and Transparency

skorch Re:wagging the dog (840 comments)

Oh, and since TFA seems primarily concerned with the child abuse scandal (obviously this is a despicable thing that has happened), it might also be worth mentioning that the Pope is the bishop of Rome, and his primacy is in matters of faith. He is *not* the CEO of the Church like you might find in an ordinary industry. If we want to find resolutions to the abuse scandal, we have to bring the local bishops to account.

That's all very nice except that this Pope used to be one of those Bishops you're talking about. Actually he was the Cardinal directly responsible for many instances of the coverups. Of course we only know this now due to all that pesky transparency that's been going around lately.

If somehow the Pope is removed, it will not get rid of the problem.

True

All it will do is make a few Atheists happy.

Because holding corrupt individuals and organizations accountable for atrocities is exclusively the concern of Atheists? I thought Atheists were the ones with a moral relativism problem.

more than 4 years ago
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Star Wars TV Show Tainted By Memories of Jar Jar

skorch Re:The first is still the best (474 comments)

I think you're overlooking something for the sake of making your point. For the first 3 films, there were plenty of adults and children who loved the films, whereas with the last 3 films there were only children who loved them. This is because, children have a much lower threshold for enjoyment, but are still capable of enjoying things that also appeal to older crowds. So it is possible to make something that appeals to all ages (Pixar have largely mastered this), but some filmmakers think that the only way to get to children is to patronize them. While this works, it effectively shuts out the older crowd.

You can make a good film, and children will like it without the need for inserting slapstick cartoon characters with the mental capacity of a 4 year old, but putting those in will turn away adults though. Children don't necessarily care about or appreciate good acting, coherent plots, and subtlety, but including those things doesn't necessarily turn kids away. The first three films had a lot of the former and only a bit of the latter, whereas the last three films had a lot of the former and almost none of the latter.

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

skorch Re:Spell Checking (1343 comments)

I doubt it, otherwise he should have said so. If the whole point of this whole language debate is that formal language is useful precisely because it can minimize ambiguity by using very precise terms and grammar, then the very least he should do is distinguish between his impression that spelling skills are improving vs. the observation that spell-checking allows for fewer spelling mistakes without actually improving spelling or grammatical skills.

more than 4 years ago
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Telcos Want Big Subsidies, Not Line-Sharing

skorch Re:More competition needed (340 comments)

I think about my municipal water and sewage service all the time. It's actually a real concern that I might get them.

You see, I live in the country, and paid quite a bit when I bought my house to put in a new septic system that should last me 30-50 years. However, the nearest city recently (against the wishes of anyone nearby) decided to put in a new water treatment plant a few miles down the road. Not close enough to really bother me, thankfully, but close enough that they might want to run lines to my house.

That's great, right? Government at work, getting better sewage system out to the country.

If the county runs sewer in front of your house, you are *required* to pay to be attached. That means thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of direct costs that you are required to pay, regardless of whether your current system still has 30 years of life on it, and for no real direct benefit to you.

Government-run utilities can do good things, provide good services, all that. But it's still government, and there's still a "must" attached to it that can really screw you over if you're caught on the wrong end of their plans.

Just out of curiosity, how much would you, or those who inherit your property, have to pay to replace this septic system in 30 years compared to the cost of connecting to the government run system then as opposed to now?

more than 4 years ago
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Murdoch To Explore Blocking Google Searches

skorch Re:Good. (549 comments)

If my local paper offered a good online subscription I would sign up. What I want to see is:

Revision history

Oh don't worry, with Rupert Murdoch's news agencies, you can be assured to get plenty of revisionist history.

more than 4 years ago
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Why Charles Stross Hates Star Trek

skorch Re:Given the enduring popularity of Star Trek, et. (809 comments)

No kidding. It's hard enough to keep a decent sci-fi show on the air while they are entirely entertainment / plot / character-driven. If he wants them to shoehorn in more hard-science technobabble to replace all the soft-science technobabble (bearing in mind that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic anyway) then I fail to see how the entertainment value will be enhanced beyond a very niche demographic.

about 5 years ago
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Barack Obama Wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

skorch Re:personally (1721 comments)

I take it from the fact that you're posting now, that means you're a liberal then?

about 5 years ago
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The Nickel & Dime Generation

skorch Re:Why single out games? (358 comments)

Because companies intentionally cripple games and then charge you extra to get the full game

Citation needed. I've never heard of a game that came deliberately broken and then forced you to pay to fix. Games do often come broken out of the box, but those are usually fixed with patches (often available on or soon after launch day) that have been universally free to my knowledge.

Regardless, any such game that came broken would quickly earn a reputation and would subsequently flop, so if such a game exists then the reason I've never heard of it is probably because it failed in the market. No one is forcing you to buy these games, much less the additional content they will sell you after the fact.

about 5 years ago
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Game Over For Sony and Open Source?

skorch Re:Stupid Article. (364 comments)

Sure, as a consumer you may have an interest in whatever suits you, but that interest is not in relation to your being a member of the "open source world". Any interaction you have with Whoppers and Whopper-related products are completely independent of your status as a member of the "open source world".

Of course, the fact that ingredients and recipes for hamburgers are widely available, and I can make my own burgers at home with tools available to the public might make Hamburgers somewhat open-source. I just can't go selling it while calling it a Whopper.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?

more than 5 years ago

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