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Journal: Why I pirate

Journal by SmallFurryCreature
On 9 October 2012, the game XCOM: Enemy launched... launched in the US. Unknown to me, the EU launch date was to several days layer, 12 October 2012. Maybe. Yet, 9 October 2012, I received an SMS from Gamemania.nl a dutch gaming retailer chain, that my copy was ready to be picked up. So I left work early that day to arrive 17:54 in front of the store. Doors pulled almost shut, store had already closed and refused to serve me. Very well, I thought there are other stores in the world, so I bought it the next day at Free Record Shop in Amsterdam. Then when I came home, I tried to install. First I had to install steam, which crashed, crashed and crashed some more but finally I got it working and had to create an account. Then activate my email. Then I installed the game and was told it was not released. What? If the game was not released, what was I holding in my hand? Note the error message mentioned nothing about a region or what would be the release date. Just not released. By google came to my aid and I found that throughout Europe, the game was available for sale but not yet ready for install. I read this from angry users posts. Not a single forum had an official answer yet. Not yet and counting. Even the official release date was less then clear. But I know my Internet, if Steam, Dutch retailing, 2kgames/firaxis couldn't/wouldn't help me, maybe some pirates would? thepiratebay itself is of course famously blocked in holland but there plenty of mirrors around. So I checked and yes, full downloads were available in various flavours for a total cost of ZERO bucks! And if you had issues, then the supplies answered your question in minutes. Not like the hours, days and counting before getting a reply from people I had payed money too. Many a reply to a piracy story has had comments similar to my story, so what is so special about it? Nothing. Just that after years of downloading, I have with MMO's gotten used again to paying and I didn't have any issue with paying for this game, if it had worked. But I do have an issue with paying 50 euro's for a game that can't be played and that now that I have read the forums I have seen is filled with bugs. Bugs the official forums have no answers for but that are fixed on piracy forums. To repeat myself, for this game the people that wanted me to pay did:
  • Act as if my giving them money is a favor they are doing me and only when they feel like it, opening hours be damned.
  • Not reply in a timely manner (or at all) to complaints
  • Treat Europeans as second rate customers for no reason (what are they afraid of, that a world-wide release will overload the servers)
  • Break consumer laws by selling a product not fit for its purpose (a game that can't even be installed is obviously not a fit product)

Meanwhile, the pirates offer:

  • Early access
  • No charge
  • Free, fast useful support by computer experts.
  • Service available any day of the week at any hour.

Sometimes the anti-piracy people complain the content industry can't compete with free. But come ON! I had PAYED already and the companies just said "no". Meanwhile the group that doesn't want money, said "yes". This is like paying a hooker to have an headache while your wife is stuffing your wallet full of money and begging for sex. Something ain't right!

And this is why I pirate. Because how else can I send the signal that I am not a sheep who will just keep turning the other cheek? Sure, there are sheep who advocate just that, just wait 3 days, it is not the developers fault etc etc. FUCK THAT! Nothing is every anybodies fault and I as a consumer should just take it all and keep quiet.

NO! And that is my reason why I post about being a pirate. Because just downloading alone isn't enough. Consumer boycotts don't work, there are to many sheep drowning out the silent protest of people like me who just see no other option but to not pay to make it clear I expect more service for my cash.

Because I see no other option. Mails go unanwered, forum posts get ignored, I can get my money back from the store and the sales clerk don't care, not his problem. How can I HURT that manager who thought it was a good idea to do a staggered release, hurt that Steam admin who didn't just flip a switch to prevent customers getting angry. How can I even get the companies involved to acknowledge my existence?

I can't. But I can keep my money in my pocket. That doesn't solve anything but it is a lot more fun having impotent nerd rage with cash then without.

Anyone want a beer over the backs of game developers who haven't learned that if they want an income, they need to tell their managers to not upset their customers?

Windows

Journal: Vista/Windows 8 Hype Log. 1

Journal by twitter

All the usual hype is flowing about Vista 8. This mostly means that Vista 7 was a failure, but I decided to log it for laughs. Vista 7 did not sell as well as Vista did and Vista 8 won't sell any better than Vista 7. Vista failure has really killed Microsoft. The upgrade inevitability myth is six feet underground, traditional desktops are becoming a thing of the past and everyone looks to Google, Apple even IBM for cool and reliable computing. Despite that, Microsoft brings out the same old lines and strategies.

2009

  • 05/29 - Steve Ballmer tries to freeze the market by announcing an early release date, only to have Micrsoft quietly rebuff him. In reality, OEM outrage at Microsoft's limitations and power grab pushes Vista 8 release out of 2012.
  • 06/02 - A fawning article from business insider. We get all the usual BS, "riskiest OS ever," "biggest step forward in more than 20 years, when it pushed Windows as the replacement for DOS", "underneath that layer is the old Windows that users are accustomed to. It will run old Windows apps", Linux and Apple are too jarring, expensive and suck, and so on and so forth.
Windows

Journal: Windows in Decline, as More than 1 in 3 PCs Ship Without 7

Journal by twitter

As the Linux Foundation wins new friends and influences people, sharp reporters at PCWorld notice that Windows sales as a fraction of PCs shipped are in a steep and accelerating decline. Woody Leonhard of Infoworld does the math on Microsoft's numbers,

Between launch and June 30, 2010 -- a period of 251 days -- Microsoft sold 0.78 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold. Between July 1, 2010, and April 22, 2011 -- a period of 275 days -- Microsoft sold 0.67 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold: 175 million Windows 7 licenses, and 260 million new PCs. To turn the numbers the other way around, in the past nine months, more than one-third of all new PCs sold didn't have Windows 7. ... it's entirely possible that 40 percent of all new PCs in the past nine months shipped without Windows 7. Maybe more.

So, the Windows 7 PC sales "refresh" is over. Business adoption rates are still under 10%. Kanthryn Noyles of Computer World interprets that as a Win for gnu/linux

I think it's fair to assume that a good number of them are running Linux instead. Preloaded options, after all, are increasingly common, and the reasons to switch are more compelling with each passing Patch Tuesday.

Android/Linux, is another reason for the decline. Why sit around mom's basement with a big, noisy PC when you can drop the net in your pocket? PCs are less important and Windows is downright archaic.

Microsoft's bottom line sags with its cash cow. There was good evidence in 2010 and January of this year that Windows 7 was not driving sales. Roughly Drafted now looks at Microsoft's quarterly report and shows that Windows profits are down since 2008 back when they were trying to sell Vista which many people dumped in less than six months.

Advertising

Journal: What is Florian Mueller telling Slashdot? 7

Journal by twitter
A list of things that Microsoft lobbyist and software patent advocate, Florian Mueller has been telling Slashdot.

Florian Mueller has thrust himself into the news a lot over the last couple of years, mostly to the detriment of Microsoft competitors, and has been particularly successful at getting Slashdot to copy his message. Roy Schestowitz, of Techrights, noticed him early because Boycott Novell was on Florian's journalist mass mailing list. So was Groklaw. Both rejected Florian's message and both are now smeared by him. Techrights has this index and PJ has this about bad behavior in 2005, this, this and more. Florian waged a Twitter/Social Media FUD campaign against both "Groklie" and Techrights in retaliation. Even Slashdot submitters have called Florian a "gadfly" and noticed he's behind anti-Google FUD. All of Florian's media manipulation has earned him special mention by actual lawyers who advise those threatened by lawsuits to ignore him and people like him.

The best way to understand what Florian has been doing is to make a list of it. Here then, is a list of what he's been telling Slashdot readers over the last year or so, with context and links to refutations as time allows.

Android/Google Spin.

Red Hat FUD

IBM FUD

Novell's Patent Hoard.

Reframes Microsoft's attempt to tax Motorola's use of GNU/Linux and Android.

This issue should not be separated from general anti-Google FUD but Florian does this.

That's 16 articles in less than a year and each represents dozens of Microsoft press echos. All of it says something bad about Google, Red Hat, IBM and other free software users. When he's not busy smearing Microsoft competitors, he's telling us that they Love Microsoft and are working with them towards some noble goal.

People speculate that Muelller is fed inside information as part of Microsoft's coordinated campaigns against free software and Microsoft competitors. PJ of Groklaw thinks that Microsoft hoped that a community of deluded coders would form around Florian, but only Novell employees and Mono boosters pal around, while the larger free software community ignores him. His recent praise of the SCO Gang and smears of PJ places him among the most disgusting of Microsoft company.

Windows

Journal: ZDNet Author Dumps Vista for GNU/Linux 1

Journal by twitter
J.A. Watson of ZDNet belatedly joins the Vista Sucks Chorus. He makes up for his tardiness with zeal and by moving to GNU/Linux.

I simply can't believe how awful Windows is, and (unfortunately) how gullible I am. [my laptop] came loaded with Vista Business, and a "fallback" DVD for XP Professional. I tried running Vista on it. I really tried, I really wanted it to work, and I said exactly that in my blog here. But it didn't. Every time I tried it, things started out looking promising, and after a month or two it would go belly-up. Three or four times I reloaded Vista from scratch and tried again, hoping that the latest Microsoft Updates would fix it. Eventually I gave up, reloaded one last time with XP Professional, and ran that with no problem for two years.

A month or so ago, through my own carelessness, I wiped the disk on this laptop. I had to reload everything from scratch, so (like a fool) I thought well, Vista SP2 is out, everyone says that it is "all fixed up now and works great, and reliably", so I'll try that again. I loaded Vista from scratch, added all the updates to SP2 and beyond, and I've been running it that way since. Until today. ... Windows is unreliable garbage, it always has been, it always will be, and if you use it you should be willing to accept that risk. I am no longer willing to accept that risk, even part-time as a secondary operating system on this laptop. Windows is gone, it has puked all over its disk for the last time here, and I will not reload it. I am in the process of transferring the data to one of the Linux partitions - yes, Linux is quite happy to read the partition that Windows says is hopelessly corrupted.

Please, PLEASE, unless you want to hear a very long string of words that I learned during my military service, do NOT tell me that the "solution" to this problem is to give Microsoft even more money and "upgrade" to Windows 7. ... if Vista is not stable, or reliable, then Microsoft should withdraw it and either offer a free "upgrade" to Windows 7 or offer a refund of the purchase cost. ... I absolutely don't believe the Windows 7 is any better, any more stable or any more reliable than Vista. They come from Microsoft, they are utter garbage...

This is a sign of things to come for Windows. Windows 7 was predictably just as bad as Vista was. People no longer are falling for Microsoft's promises of "this version fixes everything."

User Journal

Journal: World Peace is Easy

Journal by phantomfive

World peace is an unusually simple problem: it's entirely a marketing problem. We don't even have to get people to buy anything, all we have to do is get them to want it. The marketing is the whole problem. Once everyone wants it, then the problem is solved because no one will fight anymore. It really is that easy.

In talking to people, I have observed three broad 'market segments' that need to be addressed, three types of people. Maybe there are more, but this is what I have found so far:

1) Those who think that humans are violent by nature, and thus war is inevitable. These are believers in the 'killer ape' theory or perhaps they've just seen too much violence in their lives. Fortunately men are not violent by nature, the 'killer ape' theory is discredited, and in any case we are capable of choosing our destinies.

2) The second group are those who would stop fighting, but the 'other guys' won't stop. These are most Americans. They didn't want to attack Afghanistan originally, but the Afghanis struck first, so what choice was there? These people happily would support peace if they saw it as a viable possibility. Fortunately, peace is viable because it is the most profitable solution, we just need to help the world see that. The more people start supporting peace, the more this group will become convinced that peace is possible.

3) The third group is the most difficult group, because they actually have something to gain from war. In this category was Slobodan Milosevic, who wanted to consolidate power in his country, or warriors on the edge of the Sahara who want to take others' land for their own cattle. Some people fight because it is exciting, they like the thrill. These people need to see that there is a better way, and that their children will want to live in peace, and sometimes compromise is worth it. Anyone who has loved has learned the value of compromise. These people can too.

Try to talk to everyone you can about world peace, because word of mouth is the best type of marketing.

User Journal

Journal: Why no recent journal entries?

Journal by fyngyrz

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

User Journal

Journal: Slashdot moderation is awful 5

Journal by syousef

I am sick and tired of slashdot moderation. The fiction that "it sorts itself out" or "most people do the right thing" is laughable. Yet I've seen such drivel modded +5:Insightful while the original gripe is modded -1:Flamebait. or -1:Offtopic (How one is insightful while the other is offtopic is baffling) Way to be a welcoming mature, open minded, community.

Just write one post that a group of fanboys or zealots doesn't like and watch it get modded into oblivion, usually after yo-yoing. People who waste their time on such childish vendettas as coming back days later to mod something down simply because they don't like what's being said are immature fools. People who hold a grudge and then repeatedly mod down anything by the person who's offended them with - shock horror - valid criticism, and downright pathetic. Getting your mates to mod someone down because you don't like it smacks of mass stupidity.

  -1:Flamebait does not mean "I don't agree". It means you believe the person who made the comment made it purely to be inflamatory rather than to make a genuine point. -1:Offtopic means the post is off topic, but is regularly applied to on topic posts. -1:Overrated is as close to "I do not agree" as we have but is so vague it should be banned. If someone wants to say they don't like a company or or product or practice they should be allowed to do so, even if you like it, and even if it's your favourite company. Apple, Google, Mozilla/Firefox are not immune to criticism and have all made some very questionable choices. On a mature forum you'd be able to discuss such things without being modded into oblivion.

  Slashdot moderation is badly broken and lately the place seems to have been taken over by immature and unsavoury types.

The only way I can see to fix it is to display ALL moderation (uncapped), not just a summary. Show the +12 insightful posts as well as the -4: Offtopic. When you cap it at -5 idiots come back 3 days later and mod things down.

Windows

Journal: Digitimes: Windows 7 Won't Drive PC Sales. 1

Journal by twitter

Digitimes has another reason for Windows 7 sales to be low.

PC replacement demand is not driven significantly by the consumer market, but rather enterprise and government purchases ... most enterprises in Europe and North America are expected to start planning annual purchasing budgets for the year in March and April of 2010, actual replacement demand is not expected to spur until the second half of the year.

Companies and government might buy computers next year, but they should already be buying orders placed in March and April of this year. There are already accounts of corporate rejection of Windows 7, so that OS is not likely to have anything to do with corporate buying and government won't be a big market because UAC still does not meet government security standards . Back in January, retailers at CES remembered being "burnt by Vista" and saw nothing to change their minds about the contracting PC market. Perhaps OEMs and retailers could deliver the gnu/linux netbooks and desktops that people actually want to buy.

Upgrades

Journal: email not shown publicly

Journal by twitter

Who decided that all story submissions would be tagged with user email addresses? You might as well demand and publish people's real names.

This is a breach of trust that will drive away long standing users such as myself. Email addresses were collected under the promise of never being published. Now I have the choice of submitting things as AC, publishing my email address or just giving up. I'm leaning towards giving up. Boycott Novell has been more fun anyway.

Windows

Journal: Vista 7 Fail Videos 1

Journal by twitter

Despite all the hype, it is easy to predict that Windows 7 will go the same way Vista did. Vista was a failure in every way, so a pretty new face was made to sell the same buggy and customer hostile core and the Microsoft hype machine was turned on full blast. Now that Vista 7 is RTM, we no longer have to make predictions, we can simply watch the results. Here is a collection of Vista 7 failures found on YouTube. Enjoy what I found in a few minutes:

Update 1/2/2011 Real users have been forced to buy Vista 7 with their new computers for more than a year and it's Vista all over again. They tell the story better than I can.

Here are videos that have collected at YouTube over the last year. Windows 7 is no less a pig and no more secure than Vista was, everything the Microsoft boosters say is a lie. All of these videos were made after the RTM date and most after the October 22nd, 2009 shelf date. The best have bold dates.

2009

2010

2011

Education

Journal: Religion is falsifiable

Journal by phantomfive

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1301347&cid=28687519

Religions are falsifiable (science is the un-falsifiable thing: it is a tool, not a proposition. How do you falsify a hammer? How do you falsify science?). Any decent religious system has ideas of the type, if you do X, then Y will happen. Let's investigate a bit, and see what some religions say:

Buddhism: if you follow the eight-fold path, your suffering will end. Extremely testable. If you follow the eight-fold path, and you are still suffering, then man, they led you astray.

Tantric yoga: do these exercises and meditations and eventually you will have a kundalini rising (enlightenment). So if you do them, and you don't have a kundalini rising, then you know tantra is worthless (either that or your teacher sucks).

The Bible: Those who believe shall be able to do miracles, such as drink poison and not get hurt, or heal the sick (Mark 16:17). So if you follow Christ and you can't do those things, then......yeah, you've just falsified it.

Daoism: 99% of the battle of daoism is figuring out what you are supposed to do. That is an ancient Chinese way of teaching.....but, if you ever do figure out what it is you're supposed to do, then you will be able to tap into the mysterious power of the Dao. If you figure out what you are supposed to do, and do it, and still can't tap into that power, then you've just falsified Daoism.

Mormonism: fast and pray oft, grow in humility, and you will be filled with joy and consolation. I really like Mormonism because it is even more scientific: it says all over the place things like, "if you have faith, God will give you anything that is good." It gives examples of people who became good enough that God gave them anything they asked for, and it says that you can do it too. It even directly gives an example of how to test these claims, and verify/falsify them. I like it because the more clear the promises, the more easily it is falsifiable.

See? If all you are saying is that some being out there exists who affects life on earth in some undetectable way, then yeah, it's pretty pointless. But any preacher who preaches that doesn't know his religion.

Also see:

http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=39406&cid=4207448

http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=39406&cid=4208176

The Media

Journal: Amazingly Bad Defense of M$ Monopoly Practices. 1

Journal by twitter
From the dept of brain dead or bribed journalists.

This ZDNet opinion piece has got to be the worst defense of unethical business practices I've see to date. Basically, the author admits M$ bribes and punishes OEMs and that's AOK with him. Let's preserve this gem:

a company gets twice as much from a PC with their brand on it as one they make for someone else. MSI needs this money to survive in a world where its Chinese partners can undercut them. The margin justifies MSIs existence.

It is also true that Linux cannot afford a presence in the channel. Its not how we roll. You cant invest in retailing if your product costs nothing. There is nothing to invest. Thats why Linux and open source depend on the Internet.

A monopolistic practice occurs when two sides are offering the same deal and one side gets all the business. But in this case both sides were not offering the same deal. Microsoft offered channel support, Linux a hearty handshake and rhetoric about freedom.

... What Linux needs to succeed is a way to offer more than was offered MSI. The question is, how would you structure a deal?

Well, that's a good question. What besides an OS that works and costs zero dollars does free software offer? OK, it can cost up to half what Windows costs if you get it customized and maintained by a company like Xandros. "Channel Support" is just a code word for exclusion of competition by bribes and threats, the very definition of anti-trust conspiracy. Lately, "Channel Support" has come at a terrible cost to companies like Asus. Retail partners like CompUSA, Circuit City and others who got themselves channel stuffed with Vista. This is what Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association, was complaining about and it's worth a DOJ investigation. People don't want Windows, they want computers that work. Retailers and OEMs that don't deliver are going the way of other M$ partners and M$ themselves.

Ordinarily, I don't pick on language and style but the phrase, "how we roll," references to his parents' national origin bring special disgrace on ZDNet and the Wintel press. It's hard to tell if he's being cynical or if M$'s culture has really degenerated so far. This single article earns Dana a place in my Poison Pen Collection.

Windows

Journal: M$ Employee Admits M$'s Poor Security Reputation. 3

Journal by twitter

Roger Grimes makes this startling admission of public perception:

Youll often read similar recommendations to dump Microsofts Internet Explorer (I work full-time for Microsoft) and use any other browser instead. To completely protect yourself, theyll advise moving off of Microsoft Windows all together.

He goes on to make some long winded excuses and insult users in a way that's completely torn apart in the comments. His readers sanely point out that Window's endless problems have been well demonstrated. What's interesting about this article is not the same old blame the user and "popularity" excuses, it's that M$ is no longer able to pretend to the general public that "computer experts" still trust Windows. They don't and neither does anyone else any more.

Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly suffer.

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