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Comment Re:Flawed reasoning? (Score 1) 459

What he's saying seems to be this:

You start with a potential pool of sales - 100% of the iPhone user base. From that you want to compute "sales lost due to piracy". If you measure it by "only 20% of the people who play my game have paid for it, so 80% of my potential sales are lost due to piracy" then you get the measure that the industry usually talks about. But if you're talking "lost sales" then the article author is arguing that's not really right - if 80% of the people playing your game are pirates and only 10% of the population of customers who own the phone even have the possibility to BE pirates, then you've lost a lot more sales to some reason other than piracy.

I see where he's coming from - the stupid 80% number they bandy around is meaningless - but his reasoning isn't that much better. It's a different way to approach the problem, but he's missing the fact that the potential customer pool isn't really 100% of the people who own an iPhone, and that's the key question. If 50% of the people who own a phone are interested in your game that's one thing - the size of the potential customer base dwarfs the number of potential pirates. But if only 5% of the people who own the phone are interested at all in your game then the overlap between interested parties and potential pirates becomes much more important to your bottom line. And I suspect that when you see companies bandy around that 80% figure what that means is that the size of their base of people potentially interested in their game is small and has a high overlap with people willing to pirate it.

And that's not even getting into the behavior of pirates that's linked to in the article - where pirates are willing to download and try A LOT of stuff because it's free for them to do so, so they do it. But that doesn't mean they stick with it and use it forever. It's disposable to them - they play with it for a while and move on to some new shiny toy. Those aren't lost sales in any meaningful sense - if they hadn't been able to get it for free they never would have tried it in the first place. Which means that the overlap between "pirates" and "people interested in my game" is in many senses artificially high because the people in the group "pirates" are interested in almost EVERYTHING that they can get their hands on, even if only for a short period of time, because they're not paying for it.

Comment Re:Yay ignorance. (Score 1) 372

If there's an easy way for me to allow my son to browse the net with little supervision, while minimizing the chances that he doesn't mistakenly happen upon 2g1c one day, I'd be thrilled.

Um yeah.

This domain name scheme isn't going to work like that. 2g1c and things of its ilk are pranks - things that your kid's idiot friends will show him. There is just about nothing more resourceful on this planet than a 13 year old kid who wants to find a way to gross out a friend for a prank. Even if this domain scheme could actually manage to put all of the porn on the internet behind a single 3-letter domain, your kid's friends will find a way to emotionally scar him. 2g1c is just a means to an end in that respect.

But to get back to the question of "protecting your kid from porn" (rather than "protecting your kid from the gross-out"), think about how ridiculous the whole idea sounds - given the Internet as it exists today, do you really think it's possible that somehow this scheme will manage to move ALL OF THE PORN ON THE INTERNET behind the .xxx domain? It's a ludicrous idea - each country controls their own domain space, and so they'd all have to buy in. And then, if your kid is even halfway intelligent, he's going to quickly figure out that there are these things out on the internet called "proxies" and that he can get into the porn ghetto pretty damn easily no matter what kind of domain name filtering you're having your ISP do on your behalf. And if you're relying on a local blacklist of the .xxx domain to keep the porn away from your kid, he'll figure that one out even faster.

As a nice side benefit, your kid will probably know quite a bit about how computers, the Internet and TCP/IP work before leaving High School. So there are a few merits to this approach.

Comment Re:Yay ignorance. (Score 3, Insightful) 372

Honestly, I can't figure out why the moralists are against this.

Because if you have a certain mindset, if the government doesn't make it illegal then the government approves of it. It's even worse if there's a place specifically cordoned off for the purpose of propagating the "immorality" they despise - that makes it seem like the government approves of it even more. And, like most people, they don't like their government approving of things that they disapprove of. So you get moralist crusades against drugs, gambling, alcohol, prostitution, porn, video games, and just about anything else that the moralist doesn't like. Setting up a sanctioned area for porn is like setting up a sanctioned area for gambling or a sanctioned area for prostitution - the government is saying "it's okay to do that here" and in their minds the government should never be giving approval for "immoral" activity at all - the government should at best be criminalizing it and at worst not saying anything about it. It's the mindset that got Prohibition enacted into law in the 20s and the same mindset that keeps the "War on Drugs" going despite its consistent failure to do anything about the actual drug problems of the US. It doesn't matter that what the government is doing doesn't work - the only thing that matters is that the government is taking the "correct" moral stance.

Comment Re:What do the British call real torches? (Score 2, Interesting) 271

I'd assume they'd call it a "torch" since the reason they use the word "torch" for what we call a "flashlight" is because it's a torch, just one powered by electricity instead of fire. Much like an electric oven in just an oven powered by electricity instead of fire.

A better question is "why did Americans decide it should be called a 'flashlight' instead of an 'electric torch'"?

Comment Re:Missing the Point (Score 1) 574

My question is: "Isn't his vote pre-decided by his political party?"

Probably, given that he's a Republican Senator and the bill was about abortion. He was probably only in the room to make sure there was a quorum. Or waiting his turn to get his own bloviations on the bill read into the record.

And as far as this:

This guy is not paying attention, yet will be voting on bills that will affect our entire country.

First - State Senator. Not Federal Senator. State Senator. Meaning that he's voting on bills that affect the state of Florida.

Second - All Senators have a staff. The staff does most of the work. They read the bills, summarize it all into a nice set of bullet points, and work with the Senator to figure out how to vote or what changes to recommend or if this is a good bill to demagogue against to score political points. If you're lucky, you've elected a Senator who is really good at finding smart people to do that work. The debate that goes on on the floor of a state Senate (or even the Federal Senate) isn't there to change anyone's minds - it's there to put things into the record and to give people who like to bloviate their opinions in the Senate an opportunity to do so. It's a nice fiction that we teach children that the debate on the Senate floor actually matters, but like Santa Claus it doesn't work that way. The real debates go on behind closed doors in people's offices and at whatever clubs the Senators frequent while they drink with their friends after hours. The horse trading and vote getting is done behind closed doors - the "debate" on the floor is for covering asses, demagoguery, getting good sound bites that might make the news, and impressing the other Senators with your rhetorical skills.

The fact that he was apparently checking his mail while one of his colleagues was performing his role in the voting ritual doesn't really offend me all that much. His vote was decided long before he hit the floor of the Senate and he's there to carry out his part on the ritual. On the other hand, if his story is bullshit and he was surfing the web rather than doing something at least somewhat productive with his forced down time he should be openly mocked and ridiculed.

Comment Re:Way to go Red Hat! (Score 1) 89

They completely lost their patents, they were shown to be invalid. That is the first time I've ever heard of that happening. If that becomes common, companies will be a lot more careful about what patents lawsuits they file, for fear of losing the patent. This is an extremely good precedent.

What's the risk of losing a patent that is unenforceable, especially if your business model is basically extortion (i.e. you don't produce anything yourself but you sit on patents waiting for someone to produce something similar to your patent and then sue, hoping for a licensing settlement)? If you don't sue your patent is worthless anyway - the only reason you have it is to give you something to sue over. I agree Acacia lost something here - their investment of money in the lawsuit process. But that's all they really lost - they weren't going to make any money sitting on a patent they were never willing to bring to a lawsuit. Given their business model, that's just a "cost of doing business" and may not act as a deterrent at all to future companies, or even future actions by this same company.

That brings up a good question - they've had these patents for a long time. Are Redhat and Novell the first companies they tried to exercise them against, or are they just the first companies that didn't blink and pay for a licensing agreement? If your business model is basically extortion, every small company that blinks and pays out on your bad patent is money in the bank.

Comment Re:Realistically.... (Score 1) 457

Because if MPEG-LA takes you to court then unless you're a major studio with deep pockets you will in all likelihood be forced to roll over and settle. And if you are a major studio with deep pockets you've probably already bought them off as a cost of doing business and wouldn't be subject to their lawyers in the first place.

We may not settle differences with clubs and rocks as much as we used to, but we've just switched out the clubs and rocks for lawyers and money. Might still makes right more often than not in the world.

Comment Re:Apple knows how to sell computers not phones... (Score 2, Insightful) 181

Apple knows how to sell Apple - they've gotten very good at it over the past few decades. A few missteps back in the 90s, but nothing that really tanked their image. If anything, a few of their missteps (like the Newton) played into their image even as they flopped in the market.

HP, on the other hand, never really realized that branding was important. They know how to sell hardware, but they have never been really good at selling HP as a brand. Which means it will be much harder for them to expand into a new market than it was for Apple. Buying Palm probably won't help much - Palm isn't exactly the most respected name in the market either these days.

Comment Re:What is that smell? (Score 1) 549

Put simply, your tablet docked to a station providing a more comfortable keyboard: there's your desktop computer. Looks cooler too.

Replace that with "your 'phone' docked to a station providing a more comfortable keyboard and larger screen" and you're probably more correct.

If tablets become an important form factor there will be a dock for those too.

('phone' is in quotes because using these things for point-to-point speech communication is going to become a secondary feature of the device. For some people it already is.)

Comment Re:Good! (Score 4, Interesting) 436

Actually, despite the credulousness of the summary poster, if you click through to the abstract you also get this bit:

To circumvent this kind of monitoring, BitTorrent users are increasingly using anonymizing networks such as Tor to hide their IP address from the tracker and, possibly, from other peers. However, we showed that it is possible to retrieve the IP address for more than 70% of BitTorrent users on top of Tor [LMC_POST10]. Moreover, once the IP address of a peer is retrieved, it is possible to link to the IP address other applications used by this peer on top of Tor.

Perhaps I'm exposing my own ignorance (because I've never felt the need to use Tor myself) but that strikes me as surprising if it's true. And something that even savvy internet users might not think about.

Comment Re:Yeah, but.... (Score 1) 178

It's not a matter of fun.

It's a game. It's ALWAYS about fun.

The rules of the world should be the same for every entity in the world: be them players, monsters or NPCs.

Not every player is a simulationist. I'd imagine that quite a few players would rank "This game is fun to play" above "This game implements a realistic simulation of a world" in their scale of "things worth paying a monthly subscription fee for".

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