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Comment: Re:The playbook is now written (Score 1) 152

by Mark Hood (#44764061) Attached to: Court Orders Retrial In Google Maps-Related Murder Case

While I happen to agree with that, from the article you linked:

Despite having "long been condemned by usage commentators as incorrect or sloppy", some authorities consider the use of "begs the question" as a way of saying "raises the question" or "evades the question" to be no longer mistaken because it has attained such wide usage.

In other words, we lost the battle - and it now does mean that.

Comment: Re:You can't avoid piracy (Score 1) 298

That's not a bad idea (although others have pointed out that pirates won't be slowed down much) - but I might prefer to read a 'monthly' aggregation. Or weekly, or when I have time...

I might read it on a tablet / e-reader & not want distracting by all the other internet activity, or just want to wait until a multi-part article is complete & read it all at once.

So with your method, I have to click through repeatedly... or go to download a PDF/app/whatever of 'this month's stuff'. If that's not an option on your website, I *will* look elsewhere, to get the convenience. And once I'm doing that, where's my incentive to keep coming back to pay you for the original content?

To echo what a lot of folks have said - make it worth my while to buy it from you and I literally won't think about pirating it. I subscribe to a few magazines in print & online, and don't even bother looking for a pirate copy - because they give me what I want and I don't have to look elsewhere.

Things that will drive me away - making my life hard by splitting an article over multiple parts, days & flashing ads; intrusive DRM that tells me I need to de-authorise one computer to read on another; nagging me about piracy when I'm paying you...

Comment: Re:Bad meetings? (Score 1) 457

by Mark Hood (#42615079) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Practices Impede Developers' Productivity?

Well if you believe that the rest of the group get nothing out of the status reports, then yes it's a complete waste of their time.

Normally when we've done these meetings they are a) fast and b) lead to someone offering an insight the other person had missed.

Not to mention the actual feeling of being part of a team, which is often overlooked.

Combining reports into email is all well and good, but if I'm busy I'll just file it - and not give up my time to help someone out, unless I know I have enough time spare. 5 minutes each in a meeting is more productive for everyone.

Comment: Re:alright, (Score 2) 142

by Mark Hood (#42153587) Attached to: 4 Microsoft Engineers Predicted DRM Would Fail 10 Years Ago

I'm not so sure they didn't.... there's no DRM on their OS (no activation, no keys, no problem re-installing it on more than one Mac). Compare that to MS who practically accuse you of piracy before you run your first update.

The DRM they do have (in the Mac App store, iOS apps at least) is so low-key that most people don't even know it's there. I can buy an app once and install it on any and all iOS devices, again and again, with no concern at all. If it's a Mac app, I can install it on up to 5 Macs at once. Neither of these is likely to encourage me to go out and break the DRM, so it's serving its purpose of preventing me 'handing on' a copy to a friend.

The same with Movies, TV & Music - you can play them all back on all your devices, stream them to your friends' apple devices, everything short of hand over a copy. You can even burn a CD of your music with no DRM at all, if you like. I agree that it's more intrusive here, but because the limitations are reasonable (don't give it away, but you can do anything reasonable with it yourself) there's a much lower incentive to break the DRM.

Of course, this only holds true if you stay in the Apple ecosystem, but since most of their customers do - I bet most of them don't even know what DRM is, or why it's bad. I know I'm talking to Slashdot here, but remember we're not the typical users.

So in short, it's working for them, because of the decisions they made - customer comes first (as long as you stay in the walled garden) as opposed to trying to prevent each and every 'lost sale'.

Comment: Re:DRM is not useless (Score 2) 142

by Mark Hood (#42153553) Attached to: 4 Microsoft Engineers Predicted DRM Would Fail 10 Years Ago

You need an internet connection to download it anyhow, why not just install it right then?

At least Steam doesn't make you be online whenever you boot the game up.... like some DRM.

Or - and here's a radical thought - buy the game (so as to show support for the game you 'really need' to play) and then pirate it to get the 'critical feature' of being able to install it from your EM-shielded bunker? The makers get to eat, you get to add your perceived value, the pirate 'community' gets to show that actually they're NOT hurting sales, everyone wins.

Comment: Re:iOS (Score 1) 445

by Mark Hood (#42130809) Attached to: The Coming Wave of In-Dash Auto System Obsolescence

Similar story with my 2009 Honda Civic - it's got a USB plug (actually a proprietary adaptor, but they provide a dongle to make it USB) for the iPod integration. No promises are made about iPhones, but my 3GS has worked perfectly so far. The Bluetooth works a treat too for making & receiving calls, ducks out the music properly and hasn't let me down (although the voice dialling is useless, it can't read the phone's address book properly, so I don't use it).

I plugged the lightning cable in and the iPhone 5 works just fine, as does anything else with a dock connector. If all else fails, there's an aux-in 3.5mm jack right next to it.

Comment: Re:Not a big fan of blaming party politics, but... (Score 1) 81

The government of the time (and I'm not a fan of theirs) believed they did the best job for the taxpayer - they had a resource (bandwidth) and got a great price for it from the private sector. Do you blame the seller on eBay when all the other bidders push the price too high for you?

And of course, they botched the sale of all our gold reserves, but that's a whole different debate.

The operators bid high as the auction happened at the peak of the DotCom bubble, and the money was flowing nicely. Of course then the bubble burst, someone woke up and said 'you paid how much? we still have to buy all the hardware yet!' and they didn't invest as much in the infrastructure as they should have, so 3G took longer to show up than originally hoped. You can understand why they're not going to fall for that again...

There's a slightly angry summary on WikiPedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecoms_crash

Comment: Re:Irony (Score 1) 284

by Mark Hood (#40509445) Attached to: The Leap Second Is Here! Are Your Systems Ready?

Not a trick question - but now you're exactly where you were before you tried to fix it...

The OP was pointing out that just loading the new Kernel isn't always an option - depending on the environment, you might find it easier to stick with a working, well-understood configuration than introduce the risk of the unknown.

Comment: Re:A week? (Score 3, Insightful) 1004

by Mark Hood (#40062339) Attached to: Who's Pirating Game of Thrones, and Why?

Game of Thrones, Season 1 (UK experience):
1. Open iTunes. (no Amazon VOD service over here)
2. Search for 'Game of Thrones'.
3. Filter out podcasts.
4. Discover it's not available.
5. Buy the Blu-Ray or DVD instead (which only recently came out, but OK).
6. Realise that it's technically illegal to copy them onto a mobile device.
7. Know that I'm being screwed over 'because they can', and start making justifications for an impending download.

Season 2:
1. Not available online, or in any stores.
2. Ah, it's on Sky Atlantic (their rebranded HBO channel) only one week behind the US.
3. But that channel is not available on cable, only on satellite.
4. Decide I don't want to move my phone, internet just to get one channel.
5. See step 7 above.

Hat tip to the Oatmeal.

Comment: Re:Trust (Score 5, Informative) 247

by Mark Hood (#39642041) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: At What Point Has a Kickstarter Project Failed?

Hear hear. From Kickstarter's own FAQ (oddly, no-one's quoted this yet):

Who is responsible for fulfilling the promises of a project?

It is the responsibility of the project creator to fulfill the promises of their project. Kickstarter reviews projects to ensure they do not violate the Project Guidelines, however Kickstarter does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their project.

Creators are encouraged to share links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects. It's up to them to make the case for their project and their ability to complete it. Because projects are usually funded by the friends, fans, and communities around its creator, there are powerful social forces that keep creators accountable.

The web is an excellent resource for learning about someone’s prior experience. If someone has no demonstrable prior history of doing something like their project, or is unwilling to share information, backers should consider that when weighing a pledge. If something sounds too good to be true, it very well may be.

So there you have it - caveat emptor. If you throw money at a stranger, based on a promise, it's down to you. Most of the Kickstarter projects I've seen have been 'hey fans, you love our website, help us make a book' kind of things, which would certainly bite the owner in the ass if they let you down.

One way to make your old car run better is to look up the price of a new model.

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