Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:First Sale (Score 1) 304

That is not true: you are NOT "buying a license to a game", you're buying the game.

Sorry it is true and wishful thinking doesn't change it. Virtually all commercial software is covered by a EULA - end user licence agreement. You are buying a licence to use the software under the terms described by the EULA. If you run afoul of the terms then your right to use the software may be void or other penalties may apply.

In this particular case I suspect UPlay, Origin, Steam are reasoning that the licence is non transferrable, and since it WAS transferred from one person to another it has become void. That sucks but it's well known that they do this and if you want to avoid it, don't buy licences off some reseller.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 1) 304

This is no different from what happens on Steam all the time. I remember buying Left 4 Dead in a store for less than it cost to buy it on steam. The retail copy contained a steam code so it was effectively the same game.

It just demonstrates the utterly obscene pricing models in these online stores. In the real world the MSRP / RRP is just a guideline - the store can sell a game for any margin they like and usually they reduce it below MSRP. In the online store, the price is always the MSRP. I occasionally read the (pathetic) excuse that it's the publishers who set the price and there is nothing the store can do about it. Wrong! Publishers should be required to sell their digital download licences at the same wholesale cost as the physical copy and then digital stores retail can compete on their margins.

Just recently Sony offered a 10% discount off of PSN by way of apology for being attacked on Christmas day. The irony is that even with 10% off the prices there were still more expensive than a physical copy with the cost of middleman and postage thrown in. It's not just them of course - XBL is the same. And Steam. And Origin. And UPlay. They only time these services offer value is for games so old that their retail sales have flatlined and where people might pay $10 for a game in digital form that they wouldn't even bother with in physical.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 1) 304

What Ubisoft are doing is no different from what EA did recently or what Steam did before them.

Personally I think they should let people use these keys but the keys should unlockversions of the game that are heavily localized, thus negating any "advantage" people think they got from buying them. e.g. I bet Far Cry 4 and AC 4 are a lot less fun if the audio, text and subtitles are hardcoded to Thai and multiplayer to Thai servers.

As it is, I wouldn't be surprised if the terms of service allow them to do precisely what they did but I think there are better ways to discourage code selling.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 463

by DrXym (#48912271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?
I think it's right to say vanilla Pascal was not a good language and so every implementation went off and implemented its own extensions, hacks, workarounds. Turbo Pascal, Free Pascal, Delphi etc. I was reading Gnu Pascal's features yesterday and it's amusing to read the "features" which are features cherry picked from other implementations. There wasn't any standard to maintain cohesion or enable portability and the entire platform suffered from that.

It's not like C/C++ is a perfect language - it's a horrible language in some ways but it's also very powerful and quite portable with discipline. It also has standards by which to measure implementations by and it has tended to keep compilers pretty close together aside from a few extensions.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 463

by DrXym (#48902919) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?
The readability of C depends on who wrote the code. It's not hard to find code which uses abbreviated variables all on one line, no comments, bad formatting, monolithic, copious use of MACROS, pointer abuse and all the rest to make unreadable code. Indeed, the international obfuscated C contest shows how easy it is to write utterly meaningless code which somehow does something.

And C++ adds it's own layer of fun. Templates are the work of the devil - get an arg wrong e.g. miss a const or a (de)reference, and the compiler might throw a wall consisting of hundreds of errors back at you. Not intuitive at all and certain not easy to step debug.

Doesn't mean the answer is Pascal but C/C++ was never designed for readability and any that exists is by the grace of the person who wrote the code rather than inherent to the language. Other languages do try a lot harder to enforce readability in the file structure and in the code itself. Python would be most famous for it but even enforcing filename = classname, path = namespace as seen in Java / C# gives more structure than you get in C.

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 463

by DrXym (#48902803) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?
I envy you having to use Pascal at University. We had to use modula-2 which is even more anally retentive when it comes to boilerplate.

Anyway, Pascal lost the language war because it wasn't low level enough (at the time) to compete with C and didn't offer any other advantages. By the time franken-Pascals like Delphi appeared to gain those features it was too late because Java filled the application end and C/C++ was still there for the other stuff.

Comment: Re:Full Vaccination Wouldn't Stop This (Score 1) 653

by DrXym (#48884207) Attached to: Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?
And if 100% of people wore seatbelts it wouldn't prevent some people dying in car crashes. Does that mean the exercise is worthless? After all, if a seatbelt isn't 100% effective what's the point? Except of course even if it were only 50% effective that still represents many thousands of lives saved every year, not to mention many tens of thousands more who suffered less traumatic injuries.

And in the case of a communicable disease, it needs pathways to spread. Block enough pathways and it cannot spread. This is what herd immunity is. Even if a few % of people cannot be vaccinated they are still surrounded by enough people who are. It is no coincidence at all that when these outbreaks occur it is ALWAYS in areas where the vaccinate uptake is lower than required for herd immunity to be effective.

Comment: Yes (Score 1) 653

by DrXym (#48884025) Attached to: Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?
Providing Disney pay for the shots then yes it's reasonable they require all customer facing staff to have shots for all common diseases like rubella, measles, chickenpox, flu etc. that vaccines are highly effective in preventing. It's not just for their benefit but the dozens if not hundreds of kids that performers and the like may come into close contact with during their work day.

And California and other states should start passing laws and prosecuting parents for child endangerment, harm or even manslaughter if their kid ends up contracting a disease because the parents wilfully failed to vaccinate them.

Comment: Re:What an idiot (Score 2) 180

by DrXym (#48879137) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"
Well obviously, but the smart perp would think of that situation. They would use encrypted drives. They would use shadow volumes. They would disable logging, or archive and encrypt them or routinely permanently erase them as a matter of habit. They would use virtual machines that didn't preserve state. They would route their activity through encrypted proxies in as many jurisdictions as humanly possible. They would situate their servers or computers with several locked doors between them and the outside. They'd have power switches within easy reach if the cops bust in. If they were super duper paranoid they'd even have the disks dangling above strong degaussing devices as a last resort. Preferably they'd be as far as way as possible from the United States when they did all this.

Comment: Re:What an idiot (Score 3, Insightful) 180

by DrXym (#48879011) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"
The most likely diagnosis is the Dunning-Kruger effect. He thought himself smarter than he actually was. Add to that the fact he was running a market in illegal goods (drugs, weapons, hitmen etc.) which tends to make law enforcement throw lots of manpower at finding out who the perpetrator is and the determination to take them down.

Comment: Re:What an idiot (Score 3, Funny) 180

by DrXym (#48878981) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

Perhaps that, in itself, is compelling evidence that he didn't.

"Your honour, the defence submits that the fact that an entire room of people saw the accused stab the victim and state he was glad he did it, proves conclusively that he didn't. There is so much compelling evidence against our client that it is actually evidence of his innocence. And with that the defence rests."

Doesn't exactly work.

Comment: Re:Homeland Security? Everyone is a terrorist (Score 1) 126

by DrXym (#48874053) Attached to: Silk Road 2.0 Deputy Arrested

One day the world will be liberated and people will be free to trade. Right now we live in a Kafkaesque dystopia.

So basically this guy was a freedom fighter? Or just perhaps he was a somewhat tech savvy dealer who didn't give a shit what product he sold or the harm it might cause providing he got his cut?

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson