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Comment: Re:Maybe it's catching up with them now, though? (Score 1) 101

by Opportunist (#48479217) Attached to: Ubisoft Apologizes For Assassin's Creed

It was by no stretch the first blunder on their side. UBIsoft is already pretty much synonymous with "the company that can't really release anything right". Their reputation among gamers is even worse than EA. And that's quite a feat in some twisted sort of way.

Of course people who enjoy a certain franchise (aka fanboys) will continue to buy their favorite line of games. But only so long. I don't really see much of a preorder potential for the next Sim City game after the blunder with the most recent one. Granted, it was not only a release problem, the game was atrocious too. Way to burn a much beloved title, EA. But I ramble. I cannot really speak for the quality of AC from a gameplay point of view, i.e. whether the game would be a diamond or a turd if it wasn't for the glitches, bugs, crashes and whatnot, because I already dodged that bullet. Mostly due to recent experiences with UBIsoft and not wanting to preorder with them anymore.

I can only imagine that they now noticed a serious dip in preorders, and that's really something studios do NOT enjoy. Preorders are, from a studio's point of view, golden sales. Not only can you 100% predict them (because you already HAVE not only the data but also usually the money), they are essentially a free loan, they are completely independent of eventual reviews (that may or may not be favorable), in other words, preorders are what you want. It's like subscriptions for newspapers, they're also beloved and treasured (and hence usually either discounted or bundled with some nice gifts). Considering what newspapers have to do to sweeten the deal, studios get off VERY cheaply for their preorders. Usually, if you get anything at all, it's some additional graphics to look at or some other stuff that doesn't really cost them a dime, while at the same time people pay (in advance) at least release time prices.

People will only do that, though, if they have a reasonable expectation to get what they want. If you drop the ball once too often (as UBIsoft, IMO, did with AC), people will stop trusting you to deliver. And they will instead only buy after they see some facts that your product is satisfactory, and given the "unbiased" way major reviewers work, today most people will actually wait for reviews from their peers or people they trust before buying a game they aren't so sure about.

And by then not only could they have waited for the price to drop, they could also have seen something else they want and bought that instead!

Comment: Re:Unexpected technical issues (Score 1) 101

by Opportunist (#48479169) Attached to: Ubisoft Apologizes For Assassin's Creed

I was thinking just that. Unexpected? Did QA take a collective day off when the game was to be tested? Not even the "there's just too many configurations" excuse holds any water because the glitches, bugs, freezes and what ever else you have happened not only on the PC version but also on the consoles. And please don't tell me there are too many different PS4 variants out there where it just so happened that you didn't have the one with the CPU/GPU where the game bugs out.

The game was friggin' unfinished. That's all. If you need any proof, just look at its graphical, physical and logical makeup, then look at the minimum (!) requirements of the game and compare the whole mess with other contemporary games. Of course there hasn't been any serious optimization in place. Debugging wasn't even done yet!

Comment: Re:Hardball negotiations not an effective strategy (Score 1) 157

by TheRaven64 (#48478973) Attached to: Behind Apple's Sapphire Screen Debacle
70% of your market buying your stuff is great. 70% of your market liking the thing they bought from you last year and not deciding to upgrade is a problem. This was also Microsoft's problem with Windows XP - it wasn't great, but it was good enough for most people. When the iPhone came out, it and the other new smartphones with big touchscreens were a big change from what went before. Now, even a cheap smartphone like the Moto G is more than powerful enough for most users, so what's the incentive to upgrade?

Comment: Re:Rather late (Score 1) 260

by TheRaven64 (#48478849) Attached to: Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

It depends a huge amount on what you're listening to. For about 90% of my music, I can't tell the difference between the original CD and 128kb/s MP3. A few things have noticeable artefacts that don't go away no matter how high you put the bitrate. Substitute 128kb/s AAC and that changes to over 95%. At 256kb/s AAC, I can't tell the difference for anything I own, but I've heard some recordings that hit pathological cases in the algorithms used for AAC and sound terrible at any bit rate (usually orchestral pieces with a single voice and only for short samples). With FLAC, you can 100% reconstruct the original, bit for bit, so you won't suffer from any unfortunate coincidence between your choice of music and the CODEC of choice.

The big advantage of a lossless compression though is for recompressing. For a long time I had a DVD player connected to my living room speakers that could play back MP3s, but not AAC. If I wanted to burn a CD-RW or DVD+RW to play on it, I had to recompress, which usually sounded noticeably worse than if I'd gone straight to MP3 from the source material. If I'd ripped everything as FLAC, then that recompression would not have introduced any new artefacts.

Comment: Re:What Does This Mean (Score 3, Informative) 154

by TheRaven64 (#48478577) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election
They created an algorithm that constructed constituency boundaries randomly, but in such a way that obeyed the rules. They constructed 100 such random maps. The average of these had 7-8 Democrat seats, 5-6 Republican seats. The actual results were 9 Republican, 4 Democrat, using maps drawn up by the Republicans (note: TFA didn't say what the results would have been with the previous set of maps, which had been drawn up by the Democrats). This means that, although the Republicans lost the popular vote in the state, and they lost the geographically weighted vote according to 100 randomly drawn electoral maps, they still ended up winning the state overall.

Comment: Re:Nuclear is Clean (Score 2) 130

by TheRaven64 (#48478433) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source
I'm trying to read this site, but it's quite difficult as they pop up an obnoxious banner that doesn't go away when I click the red close box. Their figures are 7,900,000 birds killed for coal, 330,000 for nuclear. So your citation directly refutes your point: coal kills 24 times more birds than nuclear.

Comment: Re: Hafnium in short supply? (Score 1) 127

by TheRaven64 (#48478191) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

So, as the price goes up economically viable reserves go up.

Yes. Of course, at some point you'll start getting the material from asteroid mines, because at a few million dollars per kg it's actually worth doing that. Generally, the demand slows as the price increases too though. A roof paint that costs a few thousand times the value of the house probably isn't going to be that popular...

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 186

by TheRaven64 (#48478095) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

By the time Gmail was no longer an invite-only beta service, everyone had been talking about it for months. The buzz was enormous

Among geeks, sure. Among normal people? Not so much. A year after GMail launched, I still had non-geeks asking me 'what's your hotmail address?' meaning 'what's your personal email address' (as opposed to the work-run one).

Microsoft bought a well reputed linux based webmail service (whose name I can no longer recall) that they painfully migrated Linux>Windows to attempt to jumpstart their entry into webmail.

The service that they bought was called Hotmail and was running FreeBSD, not Linux. They bought it long before Google was a major player in the online space. When they bought it, it was (by quite a large margin) the dominant player in the webmail space (it was also the first mover). They tried once and failed to migrate to Windows. Windows Services for UNIX exists solely because of that PR disaster: they eventually migrated everything to Windows via a POSIX compatibility layer.

Comment: Re:Why is competition not a good criterion? (Score 1) 186

by TheRaven64 (#48477741) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

So why isn't anyone making a big deal about Microsoft any more? The big issue at their trial was bundling the browser with the OS. They are still doing that.

The big issue was using a monopoly in the OS market to gain a monopoly in the browser market. Bundling the browser with the OS was one aspect of that. Giving away the browser for 'free' (actually for free for the Mac and UNIX editions, while they lasted) was another. Tying ActiveX to IE and pushing server products that only worked with their browser was another. Forcing OEMs to pay more for Windows if they included Netscape or other browsers was yet another. The shipping of a browser with the OS was a relatively small part of the complaint, just the part that got the most press coverage.

And this was addressed in Europe, by requiring Microsoft to allow OEMs to bundle other browsers and to provide a box on first boot that would allow the user to select their browser of choice. ActiveX is basically dead and it's been a while since Microsoft launched any IE-only services, so this seems to have worked.

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 186

by TheRaven64 (#48477725) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

When did Google ever start forcing users to sign up just to search?

If you visit the Google search engine, it will set a tracking cookie that is used to serve ads to you, so they are forcing you to sign up to their targeted ad service to use their search. If you want to be able to configure the search settings, then they do this via the tracking cookie. This is not a technical decision: DuckDuckGo, for example, sets a cookie that just has a set of preference flags in it, so any two people with the same preferences will have the same cookie, not a unique identifier, and the web server can handle these preferences without needing any kind of database lookup.

I'm not sure if the EU is aware, but Google is absurdly popular. I'd be shocked if Gmail didn't come up #1 in a search for email

That's certainly true now. But when gmail launched, it wasn't absurdly popular, it was a new contender in an established market, yet it still showed up at the top of the search results.

Comment: Re:Poe's law (Score 1) 186

by TheRaven64 (#48477707) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs
When I started using Google, its results were not better than AltaVista. The thing that caused me to switch was the fact that AltaVista took 30 seconds to load the search page and another 30 seconds to load each results page on my modem (with calls charged per minute), whereas Google loaded almost instantly. That meant that I'd find the result faster with Google, even if it happened to be lower down.

Comment: (Score 1) 76

by mjwx (#48477541) Attached to: BT Blocking Private Torrent Sites?

That might be fine in theory, but who knows in what agreements in the future those governments will engage in? Perhaps it'll even be secret and you won't even know it. I think tor is a better choice. It's distributed and not bound to any particular company or country.

Except TOR is bad for torrents.

Besides this, the nebulous threat of some global co-operation over copyright enforcement is delusional to say the least.

If such a threat became credible, you'd just switch VPN providers to another country.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud