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Comment: Re:One word... (Score 3, Informative) 76

by Samantha Wright (#46735151) Attached to: Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?
Well, here's the tl;dr of TFA: Social media is the starting point. Hence the Arab Spring—you use Facebook or Twitter or whatever to spread your message and/or propaganda, and then accrue those with personal willingness to march and coordinate action through the net. Five dictators have been overthrown in the Middle East since December 2010 (as well as uprisings and protests in more than a dozen other countries) following social media germination, so clearly it's viable for that. Unfortunately this means it's also a single point of failure, as shown in Egypt when they depeered from the rest of the network in early 2011, easy to infiltrate and possible to manipulate.

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 1) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46684689) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

I was actually thinking of large platform developers such as Zynga. The fee and labour cost is potentially significantly higher, which makes it only attractive to a smaller number of companies prepared to do the work of scraping information itself, but the opportunity for information transfer still exists, doesn't it?

I believe you when you say the company's trying to improve its image in this regard, but, well, when you have a history of putting things like "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information" in your privacy policy, that sours users' perception of your brand. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that people assume such things continue.

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 1) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46672605) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

I've gotten quite a few random spam messages from Chinese industry, despite being a software engineer at an academic institution with absolutely nothing to do with any product development or manufacturing whatsoever. I've gotten offers for piping, ceramics, and a wide variety of plastics. At this very moment, I am reading a spam message from Kevin, who informs me he represents "one of the best digital images retouching/editing professionals located in China."

They seem like very good deals, and I'm almost saddened that I can't take them up on what appear to be very genuine, heartfelt attempts at mass mailing in an age where most unsolicited e-mail is about "your urgent Cooperation in transferring the sum of $11.3million immediately to your private account" and unauthorized activity notifications from Bl1zzard Entertanmnt on my several hundred accounts.

If you ever figure out what kind of plastic it was, let me know, and I'll check to see if I got the same e-mail!

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 3, Insightful) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46672555) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

Facebook's position on providing large amounts of user data to its business partners has been the subject of scrutiny a few times. It remains unclear exactly how much stuff developers like Zynga have been able to access. There was also a series of events a couple of years ago where privacy controls were updated and set to overly permissive defaults—which is either spectacularly bad management (given how much bad PR it generated each and every time) or a bribed enablement of data-scraping.

As for sending email to a Gmail user, that's what I meant by "passive" use of Google's services, although I should note that if your e-mail never gets read, it cannot make Google money, just like a site with Google ads on it that never gets visited. You're really only an incidental bystander in that situation.

Comment: Re:Because you think Google is any better? (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by Samantha Wright (#46671699) Attached to: Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

Well, there's at least one sentence that's essentially different: "even when you die, Facebook can still make money off you."

Google doesn't (as far as I know) sell user information to advertisers. They exclusively use their own analytics; all an advertiser can do is submit their target demographics and keywords, and let Google do the math. While they're both huge storehouses of personal information, the big G is monolithic and generally non-porous—unless you're a malignant security agency, at least. If you're not using their services (at least passively), you're definitely not making them money.

This doesn't make them Totally Cool Groovy Guys You Should Trust With Anything, but it does make them naive ideologues surfing along the edge of a slippery slope rather than the outright thuggery of Facebook and other traditional advertisers—FB is more like a spam subscription; once you get signed up, you can be certain that your private information will propagate across the cosmos for eternity.

Comment: Re:Not "thousands" (Score 1) 53

Oh, don't worry, I double-checked Wikipedia too. :) If those were truly multicellular (and the evidence is inconclusive as to whether or not some of them were even cells) then it's very likely they developed it independently. Continuing to quote Wikipedia:

Multicellularity has evolved independently at least 46 times,

...and that's without discussing pluripotency, which is the ability to differentiate various kinds of cells. It's very unlikely that Metazoa separated from Protozoa more than a billion years ago.

(Better luck next round, hero.)

Comment: Re:Too Little Too Late (Score 1) 166

by Samantha Wright (#46576805) Attached to: <em>Diablo 3</em> Expansion <em>Reaper of Souls</em> Launches

It's not about whether the game is fixed or not, it's about the business's management decisions. Lots of people won't buy EA games, for example, regardless of the quality of the title itself, because of the business's conduct in the past. The simple act of shipping a fixed game doesn't equate to the necessary cultural shift from the developer that would merit returning to the game. It's not as if they've gotten rid of Bobby Kotick as the head of Activision Blizzard, or said they'd commit to a long-term fan-driven model across their titles. It's essentially a boycott.

On top of that, we're talking about rewarding them with more money for what is, at its heart, an old product with some refreshes. Expansion packs and other forms of non-free DLC are only really effective at drawing in consumers when the base product has something the player wants to continue. Many people (myself included) got sick of the repetitive, imbalanced structure of the game a year and a half ago, when it first came out, and we have no desire to relive those memories or anything tightly associated with them. D3 had a breathtakingly uncompelling story; the adventure RPG equivalent of a cookie-cutter save-the-cat blockbuster, only without any character development whatsoever. (Unless you can think of a game with a lamer ending cutscene?) Even without the auction house, crazy elite monsters, terrible loot rates, failure to learn from competitors and clones like the Torchlight and Dungeon Siege series, the total lack of character personalization, and the extensive balance issues, I think the exploitative, sequelitis-infested anti-plot would be enough to keep people away from any continuation of the franchise.

Comment: Re:Too Little Too Late (Score 1) 166

by Samantha Wright (#46576475) Attached to: <em>Diablo 3</em> Expansion <em>Reaper of Souls</em> Launches
I believe the obvious message is "the bridges are burnt," not "we want more crappy games." Publishers may be incredibly, unbelievably stupid, but they are stateful enough to know when they've killed brand trust. It is one of the few things they are indoctrinated in, since they are little more than marketers run amok.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain