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Comment: Re:70% on fully updated installs. (Score 1) 373

by Cryptimus (#37620768) Attached to: How Windows Gets Infected With Malware

Wrong. On the contrary, the article - if you read it - specifically says the following:

    The conclusion of this study is that as much as 99.8 % of all virus/malware infections caused by commercial exploit kits are a direct result of the lack of updating five specific software packages.

    So, fully patched installs let through 0.2% of infections.

    The 31.3% figure refers to the percentage of infections relative to exposure. In other words, it's the infection success rate over the entire data set.

    Thank you, come again!

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy (Score 0) 325

by Cryptimus (#35867980) Attached to: Used Game Penalty Escalates With <em>SOCOM 4</em>

> No. The store sold me the game, on the disc. Once I'm finished playing the game, I can do whatever the hell I want with the game and the disc

    No. You can't. You can only do what you want with the disc. The game is an experience you - as a consumer - have consumed.

    You can't regurgitate food and pass that on. You can't unlisten to music and expect to sell it, you can't unexperience a game and expect to sell that.

    Your "stuff" is tangibles. It's material goods. You can expect to sell on your material goods because the value in those goods is embodied in the goods themselves.

    The value in a game is the experience. The media in and of itself has no utility that you could continue to benefit from if you were to keep it. When you sell a chair, you're deprived of the value of that chair and its utility. Once you've installed a game, the utility of the media is gone and there's nothing for you to sell. You have the right to sell the delivery mechanism. You do not have the right to sell the experience. Only the publisher has that right.

    Basically, the disc is a box, and the game is a cake. You've eaten the cake and are now loudly trying to proclaim your right to resell the box because it's capable of magically producing another cake. The fact that this is a byproduct of the delivery mechanism completely escapes you. Despite the fact you've contributed nothing to the cake, you feel you have the right to sell a cake-producing box and feel sufficiently aggrieved to bitch and whine when the people who actually put blood, sweat and tears into producing the magic cake-producing box object to your behaviour and take steps to ensure people buy their own cake-producing box instead of using yours to cheat the developer.

> And do you know what most gamers do with the money they get from selling their used games? They buy MORE games.

    Oh, give me a break. If gamers had to buy all their games for full price, perhaps they'd have to - oh, I don't know - get a fucking job to pay for their gaming habit.

    I'm not buying the retarded excuse that gamers need to rip off developers so they can buy more games. That's like saying piracy's okay, because pirates save money which they'll spend on other goods, thus pumping value back into the economy. And that benefits all of us, dontcha know!

    Basically, I fully support the publishers doing everything they can to stop the used game market from stealing from them. If you don't like it, tough. Consider the benefits of growing up - you know... thinking and acting like an adult, instead of a leech expecting a free lunch.

Comment: Hypocrisy (Score -1) 325

by Cryptimus (#35866970) Attached to: Used Game Penalty Escalates With <em>SOCOM 4</em>

The whole used-game market is a monumental exercise in hypocrisy on the part of gamers and used-game resellers such as GameStop.

    Here's a little piece of education for you used-game kiddies who want to get something for nothing. When a publishers sells a game to you, you're buying the experience. The game. You are not buying the delivery media. You're buying the game.

    Once you've bought that media, you have zero rights to on-sell it unless you've simply not consumed the experience. You can on-sell the media all you like, but until the publisher gets paid for the resale of the game experience, that media is simply worth the cost of the delivery mechanism.

    I'm a gamer, I buy games and I've never worked for a publisher. The used-game market is theft, pure and simple. If the publisher isn't being paid when someone enjoys their commercial game, then someone is stealing.

    The problem, of course, is that when arguing for theft, people usually revert to invalid analogies with other types of media. Books, music and so on. Fact is, the ability for books and music to be shared is simply an artefact of the limitations of the media. They've been shared simply because it's impractical to try and prevent it and it's fair to do so under certain circumstances.

    Moreover, books - traditionally - had the limitation that as embodied in physical media, they were only able to be shared with one individual at a time. Consequently the potential for one sale to deny another was limited.

    With gaming, both gamers and Gamestop try and pretend that they're reselling the media. They're not. What they're actually doing is reselling the gaming experience, without a license to do so from the publisher.

    Essentially, the used game market is a massive exercise in copyright infringement. And I simply do not blame the publishers for taking steps to fight it.

    What's surprising to me is that Gamestop can get away with it. It should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense that the physical media is a delivery mechanism only. However Gamestop deliberately blurs the lines between the two to pretend they're only reselling the physical media when, in point of fact, they're reselling the experience. Something THEY make money from and which they have no authorisation from the publisher to do.

    Every used game sale robs the publisher - and the game developers - of dollars which are rightfully theirs. It boggles my mind that people can rail against piracy in one breath but defend used game sales in another. There is no distinction between the two. A lost game sale due to piracy is the same as a lost game sale due to the theft which arises from a used game sale. In both instances, the publisher and developer receives nothing.

    If you buy a used game, you're not supporting the developer. They receive nothing. You're supporting the theft by Gamestop and others and company of the money which is rightfully due to the publisher and game developer.

    What I want to know is when gamers are going to grow up and stop pretending they're doing anything other than acting in self-interest. I'd love games to be cheaper and/or free, but I'm smart enough to know the world doesn't work that way. If you want to rip off the developer, then pirate the damn thing - don't buy a 'used game' and pretend you somehow have the moral high-ground over a pirate who paid nothing. You don't. You're just as bad.

Comment: Re:Clueless (Score 2, Insightful) 250

by Cryptimus (#32094828) Attached to: Best Way To Sell a Game Concept?

No, I think you're clueless on this particular issue.

    Screenplays are absolutely required to follow a strict set of conventions in order to even get a hope in hell of being glanced at, let alone read. If you spend so much time learning and implementing those conventions manually in Word or another naive editor instead of spending your time honing your craft then you're an idiot. Automatic assistance to format your intent into following these conventions is invaluable. Which is why custom software which assists you in doing this is a damn good idea.

Comment: Actually no. That's completely wrong. (Score 1) 114

by Cryptimus (#31970942) Attached to: IEEE Introduces Mario Level-Generation Competition

> The implications of this competition are techniques for greatly increasing the replayability of games,
> since each gameplay session could present new levels to the player."

    Utterly incorrect. People have this conceptual idea that gameplay is about merely providing a framework in which people exercise their skills. It's utterly wrong and I'll demonstrate why.

    Back in the 80's, there was an air-combat game. Think it might've been F15-Strike Eagle... which included the concept of random missions in which you were sent out to hit one random air target and one random ground target for each mission.

    It was the most boring thing I've ever seen. One random target is the same as another. And it very quickly becomes a case of "Why bother?". There's no progression, no reward. It's just a way of playing the same thing over and over again.

    In the ensuing years, I've viewed a lot of games. And the one truism I've always found is that the length of the game and the amount of enjoyment I get out of it is directly related to the amount of information content the developers put into the game.

    This is why the various Sim games bored me rigid. They have no information content. They provide a sandbox, a set of rules and let you go. To a certain extent Civilisation suffers the same problem, although the campaigns mitigate this to a degree. That's all very well if you want to play around but most of the games I enjoy playing most contain unique scenarios and ideas put forward by the developers which contribute to the information content inherent in the game.

    Think of information content as the number of decisions and sets of consequences which the developers have explicitly coded for. For example, take a game like Uncharted 2. Say you have the possibility of collapsing a bridge as a gameplay goal. The game plays out with you either having collapsed the bridge or not. In the context of the story it could potentially shift between two opposite extremes, but in either case, the developers have explictly developed further decisions and consequences.

    Now I know that branching pathways have a finite limit, because the development effort is effectively the sum of all the branching pathways that decisions allow. But I'd argue that a finite set of pathways is vastly preferably to a bunch of decisions which have a totally arbitrary effect on the outcome.

    For example, in Civilisation, the exact placement of your home city has many potential possibilities, but to a large degree there's very few differences between them. Oh, the placement relative to resources and the coast is relevant, but on the whole it's a reaction to the randomness of the game. As such, it's exercising a skill, not giving you an opportunity to make meaningful decisions.

    I've played CIV and enjoyed it, but I can't play it more than once every six months or so. It's just not interesting to me to repeat the same fundamental operations over and over again. I prefer Fallout 3 or Dragon Age. Dragon Age has extraordinarily high information content which is why it provides entertainment for so long. Fallout 3 actually has low information content relative to Dragon Age. Random encounters aside, there's just not that much to do beyond exploring or following the main narrative. And that narrative is not long. You'll find that most of your time in Fallout 3 is spent digging through minutiae in various locations, not exploring the game itself.

    So the idea that you'll get extra replayability out of random generation of levels is completely false. You'll get a random experience which has no information content behind it. It'll be valueless except as a reaction test.

Communications

Making Free Phone Calls With Google's GrandCentral 144

Posted by timothy
from the you-will dept.
andrewmin writes with an enthusiastic pitch for Google's closed-beta call-aggregation service called GrandCentral, for which we non-beta-testers can at least reserve a number. Specifically, he's using GrandCentral in combination with Gizmo5 to make free VoiP calls. Excerpted: "Most of the time, I'm at my computer. Or near it. And if I had an internet device like a Nokia N810 or an iPod Touch, I'd have it with me 24/7. And since most of the time I'm at a place where there's a WiFi network, it makes sense for me to use VoIP rather than a regular phone line. ... I'm talking about making and receiving calls that are completely free (that is, $0.00/minute) forever (that is, no 30-day demo) for as much as you want (that is, no 30-day trial or five hour/week limit)."

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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