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Comment Re:Pirate attitude (Score 1) 309

I disagree. If you are funny or talented enough and you put yourself out there, the marketing will come to you claiming that you need them to get started. Maybe it used to be true that you needed heavy promotion through television, but I don't know if it is anymore. Things are changing, and for the better IMO.

I think the success of this experiement proves that you DON'T necessarily need all that marketing cash. You DON'T need to have every one of your customers exposed to 12 ads to ensure they see a video, not when the Internet is your word-of-mouth. The cost of marketing has been over-inflated by the assumption that box office / DVD success is the only valid success.

If you don't use the big Marketing Machines to promote your movie, maybe you won't make a hojillion dollars at the box office, but you know what? I don't watch that many things at the movies anymore - it's too expensive, inconvenient, and often a poor experience when compared to viewing in a home theater setup. The relative "success" of a movie puts too much emphasis on this overpriced and outdated mode of distribution. There's a reason why big screen-warping action blockbusters make that box office bank - they are the only movies really enhanced by being 3 stories tall and louder. And I'd be willing to bet that the long-run digital/DVD revenue for some of the high-quality but low-marketed movies more than made up for a shoddy box office performance.

With regards to home video, I can't exactly justify $20 or more to buy a movie or video to own that I will only watch once. Times are hard, bills are more important than entertainment, and I'm much more willing to wait than I ever used to be for something to come down to a reasonable price, regardless of the distribution method. I just don't see the point in buying anything I won't watch multiple times. Rental, sure. Digital rental via subscription (netflix, hulu) definitely. Bring the price down to a level that doesn't assume I will watch it 20-30 times over its life and we can talk. And I've digitally rented TONS of movies or DVDs that I never saw a single commercial for just because a peer recommended it. On the Internet.

When you add in his honest appeal to human decency and the attractiveness of paying an extremely talented artist directly instead of a media conglomerate, I was sold. A fair price didn't hurt either.

Comment Re:What Flavor Of Neutral? (Score 1) 315

If those subscribers are incurring bandwidth costs, Comcast ought to be billing them for it. In fact it is, I'm fairly sure Comcast sends every subscriber a bill every month for their connection and turns that connection off if the bill isn't paid. If Comcast wants Level 3 to pay, then what's that bill to the subscribers for?

This is the crux of the argument, right here.

Comcast doesn't want to pass the costs off to customers because they don't want to issue an across the board rate hike or be the first to install metered billing. Rightfully, the extra costs should be the burden of the customer, but if you thought the complaints were loud for this issue, it's a echoing whistle in a mineshaft compared to the cacophony a rate hike or metered billing would cause. Not to mention the reactionary net subscriber loss is MUCH higher for a rate hike than for some bad PR. So they're trying to hot-potato the extra financial load around.

Bottom line, we need to stop thinking of the internet as all-you-can-eat. The ONLY thing keeping metered billing at bay is that nobody wants to step up and be the first to implement it across the board. One day that dam will burst and a major provided will go metered. Every other ISP will follow within 6 months to 1 year, guaranteed.

Comment Let's not get too excited (Score 4, Insightful) 121

One thing I can all but guarantee, it won't be cheaper than cable/satellite. The a la carte television service is not a new idea. The same people that fucked it up when it was explored back in the early cable days and who fucked it up for Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming service will be there for this one. And no, it won't be Comcast or AT&T or any of the people that actually bill you. They WANT to provide people the most flexible service they could, that would draw more customers.

No, this will be reinvented to death by the content providers.

You will see $10 monthly subscriptions for each media producing company's channel packages, tiers of packages for the big ones like Turner or Disney, and my guess is you'll end up with a la carte that costs just as much as your bundled cable TV does if not more. You will likely be able to buy comparable "bundles" at the same cost per month as traditional subscription television. But if you truly want a la carte programming, you'll end up paying as much or more for fewer overall channels.

The carriers (Comcast, ATT, etc) are not going to give you a choice of ignoring the providers' experimental networks and shows, they're locked into paying for them just as you are by contracts printed in the 80's and they already oversell their ad space with the channels they have. They would start a riot with their advertisers over the suddenly very narrow marketing window if they didn't force you to accept some channels you don't want. If they did, new channels would never get off the ground and niche channels would die out from lack of funding.

Well, why do I need a channel anyway, you might ask. Let me just watch the shows I want and stuff the channels.

That is the reason why Netflix and Hulu are getting the push back on providing streaming content that they are. The entire business system is based on a model that presumes upon timeslot-based content to promote and target prime advertising and shows. The technology to provide the media has changed, but the business model behind it never had to. Now it is suddenly bucking hard against what they see as the iTunes to their RIAA, coming to slay the lumbering beast of their outmoded business plan. There are simply too many people who ALL have to be on board for it to work.

I'm not saying it will never work, but I'm saying don't get too excited about this announcement. Microsoft will play ball with content providers, it won't try to leverage them into the 21st century (like Google or Apple). You might see it change down the road for the better as studios and networks start to realize that they cannot dictate how we watch their programming anymore. If they want to join the rest of us in the World of Tomorrow, some big sweeping changes to their business has to take place first. And that will be slow and painful for them, and for us in the meantime.

Submission + - Virtualization--Blessing or Curse?

ChelleChelle writes: Over the last ten years virtualization has been the source of much hype. Many have come to perceive virtualization as a panacea for a host of IT problems, ranging from resource underutilization to data-center optimization. Yet the question remains— can virtualization deliver on its promises? According to the vice president of Morgan Stanley, Evangelos Kotsovinos, yes it can, just not right out of the box. For virtualization to deliver on its promise, both vendors and enterprises need to adapt in a number of ways. This article cuts through the hype surrounding virtualization and focuses on the hidden costs and complex and difficult system administration challenges that are often overlooked.
Google

Submission + - EU Opens Investigation into Google Search

adeelarshad82 writes: The European Commission has announced that it has opened an antitrust investigation into Google over allegations that the company has abused its dominant position in online search. According to the commission, the probe comes after other search service providers complained about "unfavorable treatment of their services" in Google's unpaid and and sponsored search results, as well as alleged preferential placement of Google's own services. While the EU will be looking into a few different things, their main focus will be to investigate whether Google has purposely lowered the ranking of unpaid search results for its competitors and given its own services more prominent placement.
Linux

Submission + - Red Hat acquires Makara (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Open-source software vendor Red Hat has acquired cloud software provider Makara for an undisclosed sum. Red Hat plans to use Makara technologies as part of its Cloud Foundations portfolio.

"Cloud Foundations is about enabling customers and developers to have an easy on-ramp to the cloud. With the addition of Makara, we aim to further simplify application deployment and management," said Paul Cormier, president of Products and Technologies at Red Hat, in a statement.

Specifically, it can be used as part of Red Hat's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) portfolio. When combined with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Middleware, the Makara platform could allow additional monitoring, rollback and scaling tools, according to the company.

Networking

Submission + - Trouble Ahead: DNSSEC Implementation Challenges (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: There has been a lot of recent buzz surrounding implementation of Domain Name System Security extensions (i.e., DNSSEC). The latest example: verification and signing of DNSSEC for the .IN (India) and .ASIA top-level domains (TLDs), which are being pitched as major enhancements to global security for much of Asia.

Yet massive industry-wide confusion, continued lack of awareness for DNSSEC outside the DNS industry, a plethora of DNSSEC verification techniques and standards, and arguments over which to use, tell a different story. This also leads to some key takeaways for anyone looking at implementation today.

An interesting look at the history and reasons for the existence of DNSSEC and some of the key implementation roadblocks on DNSSEC deployment...

Censorship

Submission + - BitTorrent Based DNS To Counter US Domain Seizures (torrentfreak.com)

jarong writes: The domain seizures by the United States authorities in recent days and upcoming legislation that could make similar takeovers even easier in the future, have inspired a group of enthusiasts to come up with a new, decentralized and BitTorrent-powered DNS system. This system will exchange DNS information through peer-to-peer transfers and will work with a new .p2p domain extension.
Idle

Submission + - For Sale: Aircraft Carrier, One Only, Lightly Used

Hugh Pickens writes: "Time Magazine reports that just in time for the holidays, the British Navy has put the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible up for sale on an eBay-like website. The proud 690-foot warship sailed Her Majesty's seas from 1980 to 2005, and took part in the Falklands, Balkans and Iraq campaigns. A crew of more than 1,000 manned the ship as she steamed at speeds topping out at 28 knots, thanks to its four Rolls-Royce turbine engines. The ship underwent a major refit in 2004 but was decommissioned in 2005 with the proviso that she could be "reactivated" at 18 months notice if a crisis beckoned but over the years her engines, pumps and gear boxes were cannibalized for use in other ships. Of her total weight of 17,0000 tons, 10,000 is composed of metal which makes her attractive on the scrap market. If interested go to the like auction web site and put her to your "wish list," or add her to your "cart." Interestingly enough, the Australian government had originally planned to purchase the ship in 1982 but the Falklands war intervened and in July 1982 the British Ministry of Defence announced that it had withdrawn its offer to sell Invincible and that it would maintain a three-carrier force."

Comment Re:US DNS Tampering a Real Threat To Outsiders (Score 1) 181

Touche.

I think the term "illegal" isn't the right one to use. Which one is more immoral is probably more accurate.

One country is revoking DNS service for a relatively small list of sites when its investigations show these sites violate that nation's (and in some cases international) trade or copyright laws. These sites are shut down without due process or prior notification. There is fear that if unchecked, this power could be extended to remove ideas that are unwelcome to those in control of these mechanisms.

Evil, yes. But our own brand of evil, evil that benefits our own subtly neo-feudal power structure and shores up the foundations of our capitalist economic structure. It does this by directly preventing the operation of some who seek to circumvent established monetary contribution channels for intellectual and real property holders. Whether you agree with the core concept of monetizing intellectual property or not, the rules guarding it are pretty clearly and publicly defined and this action supports enforcement of those ideals. So I would say there is a potential for evil in this if taken to extremes, but by and large it mainly supports the established tenets of the nation.

Another country has been caught using the trust extended to them in the form of DNS root servers to change the information provided by these servers to prevent access with the country's political interests and restrictions on tolerated ideals. The country's agencies have been known to intercept and effectively hijack the Internet connection of an uncertain number of global users whose traffic happened to be entrusted to their equipment due to load balancing. It is not known what the intention was, the extent of the data captured was never fully understood, there was no overt manipulation or presentation of purposely deceptive information, all that is truly known is that China has a policy of strict regulation of ideas of its people and that a great potential for harm exists if the country chose to pursue it.

This is evil, but it is evil defined by ideals that happen to be antithetical to our core belief structure. Looked at (mostly) objectively, this has the ring to me of something that was a toe in the water or groundwork laid towards true purposeful evil, but in and of itself was not deliberately harmful. Everyone can point to how bad it COULD be, but nobody can clearly define how bad it actually was. Policing the exploration of ideas is widely considered to be much more evil than policing the exploitation of others' ideas, however one of the core principles of said nation is enforced unity of ideals and purpose. So I would say there is a large potential for evil in this if taken to extremes, but it mainly supports the established tenets of the nation.

So I would say when looked at this way that both countries are nearly as morally in the wrong, but that our level of perceived "transparency" in the process is greater in that we are told a version of what is going on and then can vent our frustrations by complaining about it. With China there is a long history of secrecy, double dealings, and heavy spin, so there's the same level of abuse potential combined with MUCH greater levels of mistrust due to the lack of transparency. The actions were essentially the same, only the methods were different. Whether that means we're more honorable or just more subtle than China, I'll let you decide.

Comment Interactive Storytelling vs. Gaming (Score 1) 418

It sounds like your tastes are just changing to more serious and thoughtful titles. You'd rather play an interactive story instead of a press-the-button-when-the-flashy-thing-blinks-game. Good thing for you is, it's right in the middle of a resurgence.

The relative success of Heavy Rain and Telltale's success with reviving the adventure game formula is bearing some really awesome fruit. Check out LA Noire by Rockstar - I think it'll be right up your alley. http://www.rockstargames.com/lanoire/agegate/ref/?redirect=

Also I hear great things about Red Dead Redemption and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Both are purported to have great stories to go with gameplay that's not quite so frantic.

Classic Games (Games)

Lost Online Games From the Pre-Web Era 186

harrymcc writes "Long before the Web came along, people were playing online games — on BBSes, on services such as Prodigy and CompuServe, and elsewhere. Gaming historian Benj Edwards has rounded up a dozen RPGs, MUDs, and other fascinating curiosities from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s — and the cool part is: they're all playable on the Web today." What old games were good enough for you to watch them scroll by on your 300 baud modem?

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 94

There may be all sorts of science-y reasons why we would want to examine an 18-inch rock on mars, that I can get behind.

But naming it? Seriously? If we start naming every rock and boulder and sand dune we run across, we're going to run out of all the cool names. Then later when we land on an area with an 1800 meter meteorite, we'll have to settle for "OR XXVI" or something dull like that. Plus, think of the future - we'll have stupid historical markers and protected rover trails all over the terraformed landscape with the Historic Site of Oileán Ruaidh and the Pebbles of Aljsdfk Splksd and stupid gift t-shirts and little mini-rovers and 18-inch rock keychains for sale in stands run by the mutants who can no longer work in the mines.

I'm just saying, let's save names for the impressive things. Think of the merchandisers!

Comment Re:Big deal. Another announcement of a Cryptic flo (Score 1) 169

This.

I can't believe I had to wade through hundreds of arguments over 3.5 vs 4 and pages of twink guides and batman v. superman like discussion to get to what is the REAL heart of this story. Cryptic Studios and their history of shitting all over the franchises handed them.

Cryptic hasn't gotten it right since City of Heroes, and honestly that was only good by comparison to all the other super hero games of the day (read: none). Quickly it turned into an EXTREMELY drab treadmill. Then once that horse was beaten to death with some really lackluster expansions ("We are out of good ideas and talent, so here's a dungeon toolkit!") they moved on to the Dew Chuggin', Snowboardin', Xtreme Sports version of CoH they called Champions Online. Leveraging the power of stolen ideas and artistic style, they managed to simultaneously dumb down and Lens Flare CoH into a true apex balance point of pointless flash and mindless gameplay.

With the Superhero genre beaten down like the first Robin and vital juices all squeezed out to feed the money machine, Cryptic ran out of good ideas. So they bought one. Never mind that every Star Trek game with VERY few exceptions (Elite Force was surprisingly good, for a re-skinned Quake 3 Arena) has been a complete and utter failure. Never mind that they have no idea how to tell a cogent story or have anything but a comic-book (heh) grasp of the genre. Never mind that every other game they made was all sizzle and no steak. This will be different!

It wasn't.

And now they turn their sights on yet another pillar of nerd-dom to hump dollars out of. Fear not, fans of 4th edition, they will not desecrate the game you love because this will not resemble that game except in the most brief and fleeting ways. You'll still have the same DoTs, knockbacks, and DDs you have in every other game they make, they will now just be called Cone of Cold or Acid Arrow and will have 6 differently colored versions. Oh and a tied in series of "books" by Bob Salvatore since he's firmly chained to the Wizards Wheel of Woe and Profit by +4 Contracts of Binding (which honestly will probably be better than the game, he's a pulp fantasy writer but he is entertaining).

In the end it will feel like someone spilled a sticky bucket of D&D on Champions Online and ultimately will go on the woodpile next to Temple of Elemental Evil and Iron & Blood to burn brightly, illuminating our map grids and figurines for a brief moment, a moment brighter than the spark of joy we felt hoping that someone would make a D&D game that was like the ones we fondly remember. (Silver Blades, Beholder, even the later Baldur's and Planescape - NWN was pretty close, but felt cheap somehow)

Dragon Age was the closest to this that I've seen in recent years, but even it felt awkward - like it didn't want to acknowlege its turn-based roots and chose to hide this disfigurement behind a veil of shiny graphics. 4th ed, though, is TIED to a turn based grid, is balanced around it, and I totally see that being the first thing out the window. Strategy is anathema to RPGs for some reason these days, and yes you can blame WoW (yes, there is some strategy to WoW but not until you get 25 ppl together which takes a bigger time investment than my mortgage). Even Dragon Age is moving towards an action RPG genre style. I'm quite sure someone is trying to fit Halo or Gears of War qualities into the equation somewhere, like a set of tits on a chessboard.

Woe be unto the traditionalist RPG turn-based gamer, I'll see you in the nursing home. I'll be the one in the back with the barium suppository debuff counters in the medicine cup figurines and the DM screen made out of old medical charts paper-clipped together. Now roll initiative before I poop myself.

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