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Comment: Re:As long as you don't mind spoilers for 11+ mont (Score 1) 148

I know, but charging me X for the box set just after it finished wouldn't cost them anything compared to charging me X nearly a year later. In fact, it would benefit them a little in terms of cash flow and probably very slightly due to inflation. And obviously it would benefit them compared to me being fed up with the spoilers and consequently not bothering to buy the next season on disc at all. I enjoy the show, but I enjoy plenty of other shows too, and I could just as easily spend similar money on 20+ episodes of one of them instead of 10 episodes of GoT next time I'm on Amazon.

Comment: Re:As long as you don't mind spoilers for 11+ mont (Score 1) 148

So what you're saying is that there *are* legal ways for you to get the show earlier and avoid being spoiled?

Reportedly, but as far as I know I don't have any way to use any of them without spending many times the cost of the box set just on one kind of equipment or another and then another significant multiple of the box set cost on the subscription/streaming/whatever for the show itself. So as long as I don't mind a 1000-2000% mark-up, sure, I can probably avoid being spoiled (unless you count the other inferior aspects I mentioned as spoiling the show in another sense, of course).

Comment: Re:As long as you don't mind spoilers for 11+ mont (Score 1) 148

They just launched HBO Now, so your complaint is moot.

I know, but as I'm in the UK, my complaint remains perfectly valid.

Here your legal options are basically limited to either getting Sky or relying on one of the very limited number of on-line options. All of these require dedicated equipment and/or work out absurdly expensive if GoT is the only exclusive show on the service that you're interested in watching. As I understand it, you're also still likely to get interrupted by ad breaks and logos/banners spammed all over the screen -- an insultingly inferior experience to just playing a disc and enjoying the show, and you're paying a premium for the "privilege".

Personally, all I'd need to avoid the disappointment is a simple and reasonably priced pay-per-view option to watch in sync with everyone else. With no real effort at all they could at least release the box set of discs as soon as the season has finished like every other show ever. In practice that would probably still avoid the worst of the spoilers, because usually people are pretty good about not assuming everyone saw this show live. The biggest spoilers I had for season 4, which I just finished watching, were all the trailers and promos for season 5, which obviously only start happening nearly a year after season 4 finished its first run.

Comment: Re:Not my type of show either.... (Score 2) 148

There's an old saying, if it's fantasy the women are dressed in fur bikinis. If it's science fiction, they are wearing metallic bikinis.

Funnily enough, I think this is one of the things that gives GoT its edge over a lot of on-screen sword and sorcery fantasy. You get women wearing realistic clothes, like expensive formal outfits at court or actually useful armour for combat. You get women wearing effectively no clothes at all. However, you rarely get much in between, and in particular you don't get women going into situations with random skimpy clothing for no apparent reason beyond the ratings. Also, while there has been (with some justification) criticism of the gratuitous nudity on the show, the same basic all-or-nothing-but-plausible divide has been true of the male characters as well.

Comment: Re:Good guy HBO (Score 1) 148

Because once watched I probably won't ever watch it again at least not for another decade.

I can see this for some shows, but GoT is one I almost always watch at least twice. It's such a huge cast that if I don't review key parts of the last season before the next one starts, I forget minor details, like who got married and brought 17 new characters from their family into House Evilempire, or who arrived/left locations X and Y, or who died in a spectacular betrayal by their formerly loyal henchman/sibling/dog.

Comment: Re:Keeping spoilers close to the chest??? (Score 2) 148

anyone can know what's coming by RTFB.

Until next year. Given that GRRM's shown no interest in accelerating his writing and it must have been 5+ years since the last book, it's likely that the TV show will overtake the paper version within the next season or so. Reportedly, their general strategy is that since the TV show only follows the general storyline rather than being 1:1 with the books in recent seasons anyway, they will get an advance outline of the future of the story and work from that instead.

Comment: As long as you don't mind spoilers for 11+ months (Score 4, Informative) 148

I still think that HBO has met me half way in providing their content in a reasonable, fair manner.

I've bought legal copies of the previous seasons on Blu-Ray, lacking better options for seeing them. HBO's insistence on not releasing each season on disc until just before the next one (with the inevitable resulting spoilers in between) really annoys me.

When I've paid full price -- and it's an expensive price for a show with only 10 episodes per season -- for something that from my point of view was only just released, I don't appreciate seeing trailers and promos for the new season that show the person in supposedly mortal jeopardy at the end of the episode I just watched is going to make it/not make it/turn into an angel and fly away. This has been happening even in between old shows I'm rewatching on second-rate freeview TV channels for more than a month (advertising the new GoT season coming up on an expensive premium channel not conveniently available where I am). They even had two principal characters on the front cover of TV magazines at the store last week.

I'm generally anti-piracy, but this is a show that depends on the big plot twists and no-one-is-safe surprises, and I'm far more likely to give up and just rip it on-line as so many others do because of the spoilers than for any other reason. Or just give up watching at all, because why bother when the story has already been ruined anyway?

Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 1) 187

Sure, no child that age needs a smartphone or internet access in their room. That doesn't mean they absolutely shouldn't get them, depending on circumstances.

Of course. Every child is different, and every parent has their own ideas about how best to raise their kids. I am strongly of the view that this is one of the most fundamental freedoms any parent should enjoy, and that interfering with a parent-child relationship is fundamentally a damaging act that is justified only in cases of serious neglect or abuse.

IMNSHO, there is way too much nanny state behaviour in the world today, and certain people and organisations are far too judgemental about how loving and generally competent parents raise their kids. This is true even though actually the critics are frequently lacking in robust or long-standing evidence of their preferred methods' superiority anyway.

You seem to be projecting your own ideas on how the rest of us should raise our kids, in a way typical of non-parents.

On the contrary. As far as I can tell, it's mostly a certain type of parent who is advocating all these censorship measures. Also as far as I can tell, it is those same parents who want the rest of the world to change how it works (including but not limited to how it raises its kids) to meet their own preferences.

Personally, I'm just a guy on the Internet pointing out that if those parents don't like this particular aspect of the real world or can't effectively support their children in this respect, there are reasonable alternatives they can choose that will dramatically reduce their own children's exposure to any actual or feared damage that might otherwise result.

I am all for society as a whole making reasonable allowances for the practicalities of parenting. I have nothing against giving parents options and/or information or other points of view that they can consider when making their decisions. But these are very different things to saying parents should or must follow "best practices" according to some dogmatic authority that may or may not have any idea of what is really best for the children anyway.

Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 1) 187

The NSPCC is one of those charities that I often feel like I want to support (because who doesn't want to help children have a better life, right?) but then I see how they act or something they say in reality and I wonder whether we really see the world the same way at all.

This is sad, because maybe somewhere there is a child losing out because of it. However, I have to think not just of what might happen to unlucky children in terrible cases today but also what kind of world I think all children deserve to live in both today and tomorrow.

I want to believe that organisations like the NSPCC and for that matter government-run social services are working towards a better world for those children. I also don't doubt that the overwhelming majority of people working in those roles have good intentions. But the obvious fear-mongering and nanny state tendencies really concern me and make me very wary of lending any active support to this kind of organisation.

It's actually disturbingly similar to the debate about terrorism. There are bad people in the world, and good people really do get hurt by them. No-one disputes this, or the desirability of keeping everyone safe. But there is no such thing as 100% safety in the world, if you let rhetoric and fear created by outlying cases, however horrific, overtake logic and reason in policy-making, you can wind up doing more harm than good because of the other consequences.

Comment: Re:Good Luck with That (Score 4, Insightful) 187

Parenting 101: Stuff is going to happen with your kid. Your goal isn't to magically prevent it, because you can't. Your goal is to keep it to a level where you can support your kid until they can cope with it independently, and stop anything disastrous from happening along the way.

Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 1) 187

All valid points, and it certainly doesn't help when politics defeats reasonable proposals like creating a dedicated .xxx TLD that would allow most of the heavy stuff to be blocked in practice for most kids most of the time. I imagine the porn industry, at least the legitimate/legal parts of it, would have supported such a measure in practice, and it makes it relatively simple to block that content objectively by opting in to whatever child-friendly access plan your ISP offers with minimal risk of false positives.

But for younger kids it's much simpler. In the UK, a child aged 12 has normally just moved up into secondary school. No child that age needs their own smartphone, or unsupervised Internet access in their own room at home. Get them a feature phone if they need one. Set up a computer they can use in the family room at home. Show them that there is more to life than being on-line 24/7 anyway. Such simple and (one would think) obvious steps instantly reduce the problem to primarily one of peer pressure and what they can get via their friends. That will obviously be more than nothing in the real world, but probably far less than if they can spend several hours a night curiously looking around the whole Internet to find stuff they really don't understand yet.

Comment: Re:And where are the parents? (Score 2) 187

Teenagers will watch porn. Teenagers will have sex. To the parents out there: don't make it taboo, make it safe. Those are two different things.

I couldn't agree more, but I'd also add that helping them to find good information when they're ready for it is probably the best thing a parent can do to support a child of that age.

On the evidence so far, the problem with older, sexually active teenage kids and Internet porn is more the unrealistic expectations that the porn creates. This can lead to peer pressure to do a lot more, potentially with more dangerous, distressing and/or permanent consequences, than previous generations did when they fooled around at the same age.

That makes it more important than ever for kids to understand STIs, contraception, the right to say no at any time, and the importance of respecting others' wishes. These aren't exactly the first priority in most porn.

Comment: Re:That's not how it works. (Score 1) 187

Oh, I've seen it with plenty of people who otherwise exhibit much greater than average intelligence and capacity for critical thinking too. Becoming a parent seems to create a reality distortion field around a surprising number of people.

However, this failing certainly isn't universal among parents, nor does it mean that people with more rational and reasoned positions should not challenge this kind of foolishness. It is, after all, likely to be better for all children if their parents act responsibly, supervise them properly when they are younger, and support them as they do grow up and become young adults.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.