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Comment: Re:Yes, but because (Score 2, Insightful) 182

Those who pirate their entertainment tend not to be likely to spend money on the content, to begin with. While I have no doubt that there are a good deal of jerks out there that could easily afford to pay for their consumption, the majority, I suspect, would do without, if no avenue existed to obtain the works without fee. That's really just the way the market works out. The impression I get, is that people tend to be willing to part with otherwise unallocated personal funds in exchange for such things that they like, but many just don't have those unallocated personal funds available to spend. Thus, Napster-like services are born and continue to mutate and propagate.

Downloading these things is easy for people to justify to themselves. They weren't possibly going to spend money on it, anyway; or the original copy still exists where it was to begin with, so it isn't really like actually sneaking a CD in your jacket pocket from a rack at Sam Goody at the mall. The store still has their copy to sell, you now have what you wanted, and nobody's poorer for it. See? Very easy.

Meanwhile, all the other kiddies in the class are asking each other if they've seen the new and hot feature film, or heard Taylor Swift's new album. Not being one with the tide is somewhat more difficult to justify, as that attaches more directly to one's identity. If you can't obtain or experience the cultural icons, then you may have to detach from your preferred social grouping, and toss in with some sort of hipsters or curmudgeons. This may be downright unthinkable to a lot of social drones, especially when they are very young, and as yet lack the experience needed to carve out an identity of their own. So abstaining from these musics, books and movies due to lack of funding becomes overwhelmingly more difficult to justify than obtaining copies from a faceless stranger in the night.

It's a cultural pressure we have, to consume, and the aggressive hyping and advertising the entertainment industry rains down upon us strangely promote it. The advertisements call an individual's attention to it, he tells his friend and his friend tells him back. Now it's a thing to both of them. They've connected on it. They connect with others on it. Some will have the capacity to pay for it, others won't. Those that can pay for it, by and large, do. Those that can't either get copies from those who can, or begrudgingly go without. Those who go without loose their connection with those who didn't, and become a lower caste in the social hierarchy (despite their greater integrity than the second group, which I suspect sometimes makes them spiteful-- thus: hipsters). Those who got their copies for free are then threatened by the industry over their life choices, and therefore, the cries of entitlement begin.

That's my guess at it, anyway.

Comment: Re:Now they just need intensity from the actors. (Score 1) 165

by VanGarrett (#49058739) Attached to: Star Trek Continues Meets Kickstarter Goal, Aims For Stretch Goals

The problem is that Star Trek isn't a very good science fiction premise.

Really good science fiction isn't really about the space exploration or the robots, or the time travel, or what have you. Really good science fiction uses those features to make you think about things that you might not otherwise have context to think about.

When you watch Star Trek, the original series especially, you really need to take it in with the culture of the time. It was a time when racism was normal, and women were treated as second-class citizens. Star Trek presented a scenario where men and women, whether they be white, black or not even human, were all treated by each other as equals. What made it especially classy, is that this was done without any characters getting preachy. They simply went on about their business, as well they should. To characters on Star Trek, working together in harmony was a given, and that a man should think women lesser than he, or that a white man should be somehow superior to a black man was more alien than the strange creatures they met. It was so many generations lost to their culture, that it was no longer even a thing. This is what Gene Roddenberry presented to us with Star Trek. In creating this series, he meant to show us that this is what we can become, if we abandon these notions of hate and inherent superiority, and just work together. Infinite diversity, in infinite combinations.

Roddenberry couldn't have expressed that in a modern scenario, nor would it have worked so well in an historical scenario. A military starship three hundred years in the future, on the other hand? It was a pretty damned elegant fit, and frankly, I think that makes it a pretty worthy work of science fiction.

Comment: Re:And here I'm hoping... (Score 1) 681

I don't think that's what Mashiki meant. 64-bit versions of Windows run 32-bit applications just fine, and the mere virtue of being 64-bit does not require 4GB of RAM or more. It just doesn't make much sense anymore, to continue making a specific version of the OS to support a hardware standard that's been obsolete for a decade, give or take a year.

Comment: Re:He also forgot to mention... (Score 2) 343

by VanGarrett (#47139039) Attached to: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

That's technically true, but cbiltcliffe also makes the point that it's not his responsibility. cbiltcliffe doesn't care about the US postal service's fee. The Canadian postal service has given him a price for delivery of his letter, and he pays said price. His end of the transaction is done, and whatever agreement the Canadian postal service has with the US postal service is, that is the Canadian postal service's problem, not his. Whether or not the Canadian postal service's fee includes the US postal service's fee is not guaranteed, and any additional fee for international shipping may indeed be considerably greater than the US postal service's fee to complete the delivery.

Comment: I devised a remarkably similar calendar. (Score 1) 209

What I came up with was almost identical; the year started and ended with the Winter Solstice, and consists of 13 months of 28 days. Where mine differs, though, is that instead of a "minimonth", I choose to exclude the extra day or two from any week, month or year; a period of time I call "Offset". These days being excluded from a week means that any given day on the calendar will always be the same day of the week from one year to the next. That is to say, under this calendar, if the first day of the first month this year is Monday, then next year and every year, it will or has been Monday (as is the first day of every month, in point of fact). In fact, the 1st, 8th, 15th and 21st would always be Monday, and Friday would always be the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.

I've only ever used this system in unpublished works of fiction, though I find it interesting that this same idea has been explored by others.

Comment: Re:One more reason to get off this rock (Score 4, Interesting) 209

Seasons and duration of day are logical and meaningful things to base your units of time on. Nuclear decay and EM wavelengths are a rather illogical basis, as these things don't have a practical use or observation in the common life of humans in general. Days and seasons, on the other hand, have an apparent and obvious cycle, which can be observed without need of special equipment. Furthermore, they have an immediate and profound affect on our environment. This is the difference between light and dark, between heat and cold, between growth and recess. These cycles dictate when we can grow food, and how long we have to complete tasks. It therefore makes a great deal of sense that we would want to keep track of these things. The only failing, is that the larger units aren't always comprised of a whole number of the smaller units, as they are based on difference cycles, which are not actually related to eachother.

Now, on the other hand, if we lived on a starship or perhaps a space station unassociated with any particular planet, your timekeeping method could reasonably be arbitrary. You might choose to base it on the crew's mode average circadian rhythm, perhaps. In those circumstances, you would have eliminated the conditions that have inspired our current timekeeping system.

Comment: Start Menu Search (Score 2) 194

by VanGarrett (#46437543) Attached to: Ars Technica Reviews Leaked Windows 8.1 Update

Perhaps this is speculation too far, but this pair of changes almost suggests that many Windows users haven't changed the way they use the operating system—or their computers—since the mid 1990s. The Windows Vista-era mechanism of "Start and then type," now seven-years-old, apparently hasn't caught on and quite plausibly isn't even known by many Windows users.

Am I missing something important, or does this idea where you're expected to type the thing you want to do kind of abandon the whole point of using a GUI instead of a command line?

I'm not exactly opposed to having the feature there, but if you automatically have to resort to it, then your GUI needs to be reconsidered.

Comment: Re:Wow... (Score 1) 235

by VanGarrett (#46432711) Attached to: Facebook To Pay City $200K-a-Year For a Neighborhood Cop

I dunno, $200k seems about right to me. 30k seems quite a bit low for a police officer, though. The tricky thing about deciding how much a cop's salary should be, is that you've gotta pay him enough to keep him honest. If he's having trouble making the rent each month, then taking a bribe here and there might start to sound pretty good to him.

Comment: Re:This is not a simulation (Score 1) 745

by VanGarrett (#46261675) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

If your life and the events thereof had been run through the simulation more than once, without that knowledge being a designed part of the simulation, how would you know? You are, after all, a part of said simulation.

I've given this idea some thought as well, but the conclusion I've come to is that I don't think that we're part of a computer simulation. I do, however, think that whatever it is that makes the universe possible is liable to operate on principles similar to a computer, and may even be somehow artificial.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors

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