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Comment: Re:I guess it's okay (Score 2) 295

by TraumaFox (#42161273) Attached to: Apple Declutters, Speeds Up iTunes With Major Upgrade
Correction: Apparently the album view does have a neat expanding songlist if you single-click on an album, there is just an obnoxious delay which is why I didn't notice it before. Double-clicking still only plays the album without opening this list though, so it's now a two-step process. -1 intuitiveness.

Comment: I guess it's okay (Score 2) 295

by TraumaFox (#42160943) Attached to: Apple Declutters, Speeds Up iTunes With Major Upgrade
Once I figured out how to get it to sort my albums by title rather than artist again, I have to say I'm getting used to the minimalist interface. iTunes has always been minimal on features, so it never made sense that its UI was such a mess. Now it's more, uh, pushbutton-y? Feels like it was designed for touchscreens, oddly enough. I definitely like the new pop-out Visualizer, now I can properly have that running on my secondary display without jumping back and forth between the full interface. The only thing I'm not digging is how double-clicking an album immediately starts playing it instead of opening the song list. There's actually no way to get to that song list anymore, you have to start the album and then skip to the track you want, else you have to sort through the Songs view which includes your entire library. Oh well.

Comment: Please (Score 2) 813

by TraumaFox (#40527435) Attached to: After Recent US Storms, Why Are Millions Still Without Power?

My home state of CT had two storms that took out power to most of the state for over a week just last year. Get on our level.

On a serious note, it's kind of sad to see that even after our horrendous storms and massive consumer backlash against CL&P's near-monopoly, there are still power companies out there acting like it could never happen to them, not having a contingency plan for the worst case scenario.

Comment: Re:Is it Tetris if the 'R' isn't backward? (Score 1) 138

That's the kind of nitpicking which is just as stupid as you'd like to make copyright law look. If Tetris was such a simple concept that it shouldn't deserve copyright protection, then why would official Tetris be so much more popular than profitable than not-quite-Tetris? There are plenty of similar block-dropping games which use different types of blocks, varying mechanics and so on which are very similar to Tetris, but different enough that they don't encounter legal trouble, yet none of them reach the level of ubiquitous popularity and recognition that Tetris itself has. Why?

Tetris is more than just a "set of polygons that can be constructed out of 4 congruent squares," and that is precisely why it is and should be protected. If none of this were true, no one would bother trying to make exact copies of Tetris such as Mino, and people wouldn't get all flustered trying to argue such copies should be legal. There is a high demand for Tetris, not sort-of-Tetris, and that's why TTC and its licensees are the only ones allowed to profit from it whether you like it or not.

Comment: Re:Is it Tetris if the 'R' isn't backward? (Score 1) 138

That's not really a fair analogy, since you're equating the differences between games in the FPS genre to differences between Tetris clones. Tetris is a very simplistic game with minimalistic elements, so it is only defined by a very limited set of qualities. You can only imitate so many of those before you go from Tetris clone to just Tetris. After all, that's why we liberally use "Tetris clone" or "Insert first puzzle game to use these mechanics here clone" to define puzzle games, rather than just calling them Puzzle games. FPS games have more complex engines, mechanics, and a far wider array of qualities that can vary. As the judge in this case said, you can't base the infringement on the mechanics of the game - but without its mechanics, Tetris can really only be defined by limited details such as block shapes and well size. Besides all of that, 90s developers might have been trying to ride the success of Doom and the rising FPS genre, but none of them actually said, "Yeah, we're purposefully and deliberately copying Doom just to see if id can enforce their copyright."

Look at this another way: 90s FPS games were successful on their own without being exact copies of Doom. That also applies for puzzle games which are not Tetris. However, plenty of people want to play Tetris itself, not "sort of Tetris but with a fundamental gameplay mechanic changed to get around legal trouble." Mino would not have met with success if it was not an exact clone of Tetris, and I can say that confidently because of how upset people get over developers not being able to make exact clones of Tetris. There's more money in Tetris than sort-of-Tetris, and that is exactly why TTC goes after copies.

Comment: Is it Tetris if the 'R' isn't backward? (Score 2) 138

You don't need to break down and analyze which individual details make a Tetris clone a Tetris clone that violates copyright versus a Tetris clone which doesn't; it's quite clear at first glance that Mino is just simply Tetris. I know this sort of thing is a popular debate, and this is hardly the first example of its kind, but the extremely wide range of Tetris clones that survive without legal problems do so because their developers make at least the bare minimum effort to change something fundamental. Note, that's not to suggest TTC doesn't go after several of these as well, but they are certainly far less successful in those cases.

I think the point here is that if EA had taken this exact game and released it as their official licensed version of Tetris for iOS, no one would be the wiser. I understand that EA's official version isn't spectacular and we all wish we could play something much better without threats of legal action being thrown around, but the decision is really clear cut in this case, so I don't think it's unreasonable to cut TTC some slack here, or the DC judge in this case.

For anyone still shaking their fists in anger at TTC, I'd just like to point out this snippet from the article: "Xio readily admitted that Mino purposefully and deliberately copied from Tetris." He wanted this fight, and he lost.

Comment: Re:Wonderous (Score 1) 515

by TraumaFox (#40086433) Attached to: FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet
Other countries manage it by being physically smaller and having denser populations. The US is very large and has a lot of people spread out with miles of space between them depending on the area, and in these cases they are lucky to have a single ISP to choose from, giving certain ones regional monopolies. Prices are lower and speeds are higher in the Northeast and other densely-populated areas, because the availability of different service providers means healthy competition. Of course this is a really basic explanation, there are far bigger underlying problems that contribute to our relatively high prices and low speeds.

Comment: Re:Summary is wrong again (Score 1) 922

by TraumaFox (#39485933) Attached to: UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets'

The U.S. concept of freedom of speech (and other freedoms as defined in the Bill of Rights) is that the government has no right to make laws which infringe upon it/them. This does not mean that it is consequence-free, of course, which is why we still have concepts such as hate crime and the ability to file lawsuits. But for the law to step in and make decisions regarding the restriction of speech, it is quite disturbing to think of how a law like "inciting racial hatred" would have even been passed, and how imprisonment was determined to be an acceptable form of punishment for it.

The primary purpose of the U.S. having an explicitly defined Bill of Rights is to prevent any one group or authority from leveraging their standards on another. Monarchies and aristocracies allow the few to leverage laws in their favor, to oppress society at large with no recourse. Democracy counters this by making sure the majority is heard and society at large gets to decide what is best for them. But it goes further than that; simply being a majority doesn't make you free from the same biases monarchs and aristocrats are susceptible to, so we have gradually made provisions to ensure the majority cannot restrict the freedoms of minorities either. Even if those minorities are racists and bigots, the idea that their human rights can be restricted is even more reprehensible than anything they might say or do. So who voted for this "inciting racial hatred" law to be put in place, and is it right just because it passed a majority? Remember, there are options for recourse outside of government intervention.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982