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Comment That Doctorow's CCC talk is worth watching (Score 1) 266

I gave it a view a few days ago (don't worry at the seeming length - half of it is Q&A), and found it thought provoking. While it's more a statement of what is and soon will be, with less on action items, the general themes will resonate here on /., I think.

Lot of interesting talks at CCC this year, more broadly: do dig through their list on youtube - lots of neat stuff in there. This talk on timing attacks on websites was pretty darned neat (starts mild, ramps up to "cool!").

Comment Yup. All the level designers are working on Steam (Score 1) 235

Brad Wardell, as always, is full of shit. The vast majority of Valve developers do not work on Steam. If I understand it correctly, the Steam team is actually rather small, given it's impact. And please, Brad is telling us that a crew of, say, designers and level designers has not been working on HL2 dlc because ... they are working on Steam?! Yeah. Sure. Those poly-pushing level monkies are all hard at work coding up Steam transaction backend software.

Comment Re:To clarify (Score 1) 218

This is blazingly untrue. Most users don't have a synchronous line, yet with only moderate effort ("stay connected after you're done" and "actually pay attention to how much you have downloaded and take it easy") these millions have no reall issue maintaining a ratio. You're Doing It Wrong.

Comment Companion issues (Score 1) 1

It's sad to hear that a sidekick is more trouble than it's worth. I often wish games just wouldn't bother with this kind of feature, unless they went into it with it being a seriously core feature of the game at the outset. Game after game results in your comment of "after I tried it out, I just got rid of the sidekick because it was more annoying than it's worth."

Comment Important note: WA does not *have* an income tax! (Score 1) 866

Key to this discussion is the point that Washington State does not have an income tax, relying instead on a sales tax for revenue. So, much of the furor is not simply a matter of the rich wanting to avoid a soaking, but as well the broader issue of weather Washingtonians want to replace a sales tax with an income tax at all. (I, for example, prefer sales tax vs. income tax).

Comment Re:Set for life on the excuse front. (Score 1) 454

Wow, tough crowd. But I still the think point is valid: from here on out, anything bad that happens to Assange can now be conveniently blamed on Dark Powers etc etc, weather or not it's the case. Kind of like the mid-2000's "disagree with the war == you hate freedom" - an instant shortcut around discourse or truth. Anything even remotely troublesome that may happen to him or wikileaks will instantly result in a flurry of Pentagon-blaming hand-waving tweets from his twitter feed, weather true or not. Man, I wish I was that bulletproof.

Comment Re:Starsiege: Tribes took quite a hit from piracy (Score 1) 1115

Kudos, and I'm glad you understand the implicit distinction I was making in reference to DRM. Hugely invasive or demanding DRM is a pain, and does a severe disservice to the customer. However, I fully advocate some basic, simple bits of copy protection simply to cover the most casual of casual piracy. Anything beyond that generally does nothing, and just pisses of the user.

I responded to the post specifically due to the example of Tribes 1's total and complete lack of anything resembling copy protection: it was maximally copyable in a way that was very rare even at the time (late 90s). It was this, and only this, degree of copy freedom that resulted in what I think are legitimate lost sales for the game.

Responding to others above, I want to be clear that I fully am aware that piracy can't be fully, or even partially, stopped. This point is blazingly obvious, so it's unfortunate to see people wasting their breath stating what we all know. That issue isn't the point. Further, as I stated in my post, I fully understand that a pirated copy does not represent a lost sale. Personally, I might ballpark it and say it might be a one in five or one in seven kind of deal (although of course that's just a wild gut guess based on jack shit).

However, my worry is that by painting the discussion in such extremes ("you can't stop piracy," "a pirated copy is not a lost sale"), we miss the inbetweensy bit that this post opened with: that there are classes of pirates, defined by the knowledge and effort they can apply to get a game. It's the first class that is the teeming masses (moreso back in the late 90s, when it was less easy for the average joe to get the goods vs. today) who, presented with a simple barrier, will wander off or, sometimes, buy the game (that one in five or one in seven deal I mentioned). If you don't even protect your product for this group of users, you end up in Tribe's boat.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"