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Comment Re:almost never? (Score 1) 384

Almost never?

I've almost _always_ been able to resell my games. Fallout 3 was late 2008, thats the last big bethesda game i can recall without drm. Aside from the past 5 years of drm bs, I'd say being able to resell is the norm. Though I guess if you're younger you may think it's always been this sucky.

Of course on consoles you are able to resell most games you buy, but that is only because they use a different approach to preventing piracy. In the case of consoles the use digital signature thingy in the console that prevents it running pirated disks without someone modding the console. They can do this by having code in the game that checks the disk in someway and if you remove that code the signature no longer matches to the console will not run the game.

Like it or not the companies who now produce games simply don't trust us not top pirate their product. They know they can't make it completely impossible, but they can make it difficult and that puts a large percentage of people off so they settle for that.

Whether this is right or wrong morally is largely irrelevant, it is what the publishers want to do.

If Steam is prevented from doing this in Germany (I very much doubt that will happen, since they tell you up front when you guy the game that you can't so it is probably a legal contract) then they will just find some other way of achieving a similar aim. Maybe they will go down the signed code route on their new Steam box instead.

Steam do not produce most of the games they sell in house, they just sell them. The game publishers were all talking about abandoning the PC a few years back due to piracy, Steam has used it's DRM to bring them back. If Steam (and Origin) are suddenly made illegal then when the next generation of consoles come out the game publishers will only release their product on them instead. Unless the threat of piracy completely disappears somehow some form of DRM will always exist now.

Comment Re:inevitable (Score 2) 384

It is an easy problem to fix. Upon transfer the seller's copy is deleted and a fresh copy is provided to the buyer.

That of course is dependant on whether Steam are allowed to do this according to their contract with the people who created / distribute the game in question?

I would not be at all surprised if the who way Steam negotiates the very cheap prices they offer stuff for is that the publishes know the use a very restrictive form of DRM that prevents resale. That DRM may actually be a condition attached by the company who actually own the copyright on the game in question. Since many of the games bought through steam have a different form of DRM if bought on disk this is definitely the case for some stuff.

It will be funny if that is the case as this could just end up in Steam having to not sell those products in Germany in future.

Of course there are also the other companies that are following Steam's example now as well. Is Origin (EA's offering) any different in this regard?

Comment Re:Hate to be a troll or anything, but... (Score 1) 416

Forgive me for being a Brit so not really understanding what this is all about, but is it not the case that when you buy a phone in the US you are buying it for a small fraction of the actual cost (or being given it free) under the condition that you only use it on their network and hence pay for the calls to the people who subsidised the phone? That is how it works over here.

Yes, that's part of the justification for locking phones.

In the US, we also have the same rent-to-own system for paying for expensive electronic appliances and expensive furniture. Basically, in exchange for a subsidized appliance upfront, you end up paying over a two-year (or a three-year) period multiple times the normal retail price for that appliance. Of course for rent-to-own, only the people in the most extreme circumstances end up using that system, and the overwhelming 90% of the population wouldn't even think to enter a rent-to-own store.

For cell phones in the US however, we're not given much of a choice even if we pay the full unsubsidized price. Technically, I could unlock my Verizon CDMA phone, or I could pay full retail price for a Verizon phone, or I could wait until the two years are up and ask that they unlock it for me, but that phone still wouldn't work on any GSM network, nor would it work on the Sprint/Nextel CDMA network. That's how CDMA works. It's a form of proprietary technology lock-in. Once unlocked, the most I could do with it is use it with PagePlus Cellular, or may be with Boost Mobile (assuming Boost Mobile even lets me), but that's only because those two outfits are subleasing the same Verizon CDMA network.

The US is not like Europe. In Europe, the law says that all carriers must all standardize on the same technology. In the US, there is no such law. And even if I were to bring back a fully unsubsidized GSM phone from Asia, or Europe, my choices would be extremely limited in terms of US carriers that would even support that technology (and I'd be lucky for one to even cover adequately my normal geographical area).

Ok, so let me get this straight. If I emigrate to the US with my nice shiny new (unlocked, I bought it for £600 from expansys) Samsung Galaxy S3, I would be unable to go to a carrier an get a contract to use it on their network on a pay for calls only basis? Over here I can just use a pay-as-you go prepay account, do they not exist in the US?

If what you say is right then no wonder you are all complaining so much.

Comment Re:Hate to be a troll or anything, but... (Score 1) 416

Also, we're acting defensively when we should be going on the offensive instead. Reinstating our rights to unlock our phones is not enough.

The locking of phones by carriers should be made illegal in the first place. Our airways are a public good. They're part of our public infrastructure. They're just like our public roads. As a society, we get to set the rules of the road, or update them as need be. The locking of phones may have been ok in the beginning, but this is a business practice that needs to stop right now.

Forgive me for being a Brit so not really understanding what this is all about, but is it not the case that when you buy a phone in the US you are buying it for a small fraction of the actual cost (or being given it free) under the condition that you only use it on their network and hence pay for the calls to the people who subsidised the phone? That is how it works over here.

Also, we have this weird system where the all the transmitters and infrastructure that the phone uses to relay calls and data over were paid for by a private company in the first place, not government. They use the call cost to recuperate that as well. And on top of this they actually have to pay government for the electrical spectrum they use as well.

I guess they could only use the calls to subsidise the infrastructure and make everyone actually buy their handsets upfront but over here that would be really unpopular with most people.

It is actually possible to but an unlocked phone here but nobody does because the decent phones are too expensive like that. I know they could be made a crap load cheaper but most people I know would not even want to pay $250 up front for a phone (an iphone5 costs about $207 to produce), they would rather pay a small amount every month to cover it instead.

Comment Re:Patent troll? (Score 1) 259

I have a solution: the patent office should do a thorough examination of every patent application, in the order that they are received. If that makes the process too slow, then maybe the big dogs with their gigantic patent warchests should try paying their fucking taxes so we can afford to hire more patent examiners!

I love the idea, but there is unfortunately bugger all hope of them playing ball. it's cheaper for them to buy a politician or two than it is to pay tax.

Comment Re:they go back to school , not on the street (Score 1) 206

If you ever bothered to read them you might know his name was spelt "Marx" not "Marks".

... or grew in a country that spells it "Marks" (surprising as we use the Latin alphabet just like the original, but that's probably because most communists who invaded us spoke russian natively).

Wow, wierd. In my country we pretty much always spell peoples names the way they were actually spelt be the person we are referring to and try and guess the pronunciation correctly based on country of origin so in my case I would try and pronounce his name in a slight german accent :)

I guess it is because we have so many foreign words and place names in our vocabulary already, the same thing that makes English such a sod to learn I believe.

Of course none of this changes my central point: That his writings actually do have a lot of truth in them, and that the communist system that was built later was only very loosely based on his ideas. I actually think it was more of a dictatorship than anything else that was ended up with after Stalin had his way.

The interesting thing I find though is your sig: "Copyright is not merely theft. As a form of censorship, it's a crime against humanity."

The concept of intellectual property (ie: copyright) is a cornerstone of capitalism, if you do not support it then you are probably more of a socialist than you realise. Or do you believe that capitalism should only apply physical items and resources but that ideas should always be communal?

Copyright was only really invented when the printing press was born and we suddenly had an easy way to replicate other peoples ideas cheaply. It was solely designed by capitalists who wanted ensure they had a way of monetising their writing or art. As we have developed the ability to replicate more and more things without the original creators involvement copyright has been naturally extended to those products too.

Within our lifetimes we may have the ability to do this for any physical product too, copyright will naturally be extended to cover this. This is essential to ensure that people who come up with books, music, films, software, etc are still able to make a living from their creations. The idea of only selling services based on freely available inventions is simply not enough to ensure people carry on inventing new stuff.

Some people argue that copyright should be more limited in term, and I believe the are correct. But in a capitalist system the concept of copyright must still exist in some form.

Of course I actually think we must ultimately out grow capitalism, which is the core of Marx writings that I agree with. Until then though, while any private property exists, the privately owned ideas (where they are shared for some monetary reward) must also exist or the people who do most to benefit society (by coming up with new ideas) will be the least rewarded.

Comment Re:they go back to school , not on the street (Score 1) 206

The works of Marks and Lenin were pure lies even according to their authors.

If you ever bothered to read them you might know his name was spelt "Marx" not "Marks".

I actually think he has some very good points about labour, especially when taken in the context of the time he wrote in. Of course this is very different from saying any real world example of communism is a good system, since almost all examples of communist countries came about long after he was pushing up daisies.

I guess Marx is like anyone trying to do any sort of social commentary about systems they themselves are part of. They are not able to look through truly impartial eyes as they have invariably had both good and bad experiences of the system they are commenting on.

Comment Re:Patent troll? (Score 2) 259

Make the patent offices liable for any patent that's later invalidated (ie. pay all the legal bills). It's the only way.

The problem with this idea is it makes the american taxpayer ultimately liable.

The patent office is basically underfunded and simply cannot afford to fully examine every patent filed and look for prior art in every case. Funding it to this extent would probably cost billions based on the number of patents file every year.

Even if you made the people applying for a patent pay for the process if the patent was found to be not valid, this would still involve the patent office needing far more money that it currently has.

Comment Re:I've Seen Touch Screens For Years (Score 1) 913

Missed the part where it should run GNU/Linux? There are already cheap tablets for less than $100 (and not as cheap, but pretty close, and powerful, for less than $200). Add a keyboard and some base to use it as a notebook and you are mostly there.

Running Linux makes something more expensive as the hardware manufacturer can't fill the device with crapware that subsidises the cost.

Comment Re:Blame it on the others (Score 1) 913

The only reasonable explanation is really, really bad leadership.

Why would that be the only reasonable explanation? Windows 8 is the result of choices made by several engineers and designers. I bet there are lots of people inside Microsoft who have had their say on it, not only Ballmer or Sinofsky.

Because this is slashdot, hence it is important to blame whoever runs MS at the time, be it Balmer or Billy "Borg Boy" Gates.

Comment Re:The problem is Windows 8 (Score 1) 913

Why suffer through all that shit? Just install Ubuntu/Mint. It's way easier because it's not that simple (read: dumbed down). Problem solved.

Seriously... some people just seem to love to suffer, as long as they don't have to actually lift their asses off the chair and change something.

I just installed Linux Mint and I love it. There is no way i would recommend it to someone who wasn't already comfortable with Linux though.

I had to go to actually work to make it work with my phone a galaxy s3. I also had to put some effort into getting it connected to my work (windows) vpn. Linux mint is great, but it is only ever going to be a fit for people who are comfortable googling for instructions to make something work for the moment. The just plug it in and it works crowd need to go elsewhere for the moment (ie, stick with Windows or Apple)

Comment Re:I've Seen Touch Screens For Years (Score 2) 913

I want a 10" fanless & no moving parts sub-100$ netbook, not 2nd hand and preferably x86. I'll run GNU/Linux on it of course.

An "Intel" RaspberryPi (different processor, different pcb layout, real memory, tiny SSD, battery, keyboard and screen) in a netbook format should be doable in volumes for less than 100$ right? Think of it as a portable modern pseudo-terminal.

It was almost doable (except no fan cooling) at 4x the price a computer generation ago, i.e. 2 years ago.

Fail traps: pushing it with Windows or Android. Not interested in garbage like that.

Spot on apart from it being sub $100, that is a pipe dream as the OS costs more than that on its own. I think it is realistic for $300 (ie, the price of a normal laptop) though and that is exactly what MS are moaning nobody tried to create.

I think the reason is that it would kill the market for most budget and high end laptops. I know most of us geeks here on slashdot would not agree with this though, we are all to wedded to our keyboards. I could not live without things like alt-tab and other key shortcuts but if you watch non-geeks use a computer you realise that unless they are typing long essays or whatever they keyboard is mostly unused. If all you did was type the occasional short email you could make do with an on screen keyboard.

As for me, I code for a living so for me to be productive I NEED a keyboard, but most people do not and that is why ipads are used frequently, even in the home. I do not think most people out there have the same demands of a portable device as me though.

Comment Re:I've Seen Touch Screens For Years (Score 1) 913

I see touch screen computers all the time at best buy, so the PC manufacturers are definitely making them. The problem is, they don't market them very well. All of the PCs and laptops are lined up in a row and you could walk right by one and not know it is a touch screen.

I think Microsoft is trying to create a market of PCs that act like tablets, when that market doesn't really exist. If people wanted touch screens, they could get them today. Most users either want a tablet or a traditional computer. The users who want both usually want them as separate devices.

Microsoft screwed the pooch on this one and it will probably mean the end for Ballmer. Hopefully the next OS corrects the issues and slashdot can find something else M$ to bash.

Actually I do think you see any touch screen systems in best buy that are anything like MS is talking about. They are talking about touch screen laptops with detachable screens (basically, like the surface pro).

To be honest I have been looking at stuff like this for a while and the only device I thought was up to scratch is the surface pro. What i want is a high end, high spec laptop that I can use as a touchscreen tablet when I am on the train or bus or whatever but can put on a desk and use as a decent high end worskstation (with external keyboard, mouse and screen). If every company tried making these the costs of all of them would come down in a competetive market (also driven by increased demand for components meaning they could be made cheaper).

Unfortunately not many companies have done this, probably because they know it will kill the market for all the current unsold high end laptops they have in stock thanks to intels ultrabook push. They will probably fold and do what MS wants in the end though if the Surface Pro gains any traction in a year or so once it becomes more affordable.

In terms of the next MS OS that is an easy prediction: it will be a server / desktop cross over so they will start to have on product for mobile devices and one for servers and desktops. It makes sense since when you do connect to a windows server to do stuff currently you use remote desktop so why not keep it the same as the desktop you are using.

The pro versions of windows 7 have most of the server stuff so why not just throw it all in and be done with it. MS are starting to realise that they need to keep the OS dominant or they risk losing everything so I expect them to make more and more gambles like Windows 8. Some will certainly fail, but they know if they do not try and innovate then they risk losing everything the have built up.

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