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Comment Re:Sucks (Score 1) 314

Well, you had my sympathy right up to: "Now without those Disney movies, well, I will honestly probably go right back to piracy since I can't afford to buy every Disney movie that comes out. (I know not every movie was on Netflix)."

Now you just come across as spoiled and self-entitled. By your own admission, you have at least two other easy and legitimate sources for this content - so use them.

Comment Re:What about sales? (Score 1) 199

Tweakguides did that: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_4.html

Also, the entire article is worth noting: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_1.html

Basically, when they crunched the numbers, they found that the determining factor for whether a game sees large-scale piracy was popularity. For the popular games, the piracy rate came out at around 1 pirate copy for every six copies sold for the consoles, and 10-12 pirate copies for every legitimate copy sold for the PC.

Comment Re:Question about method... (Score 1) 199

Well, the difference can be a source of uncertainty, but there are trends based on general similarities that can be calculated. For example (pulling numbers out of my hindquarters), if the average sales for an RTS by company X is 400,000, and they've not only produced several RTS games, but they've got a consistent ability to hold off piracy for two weeks, then they do have a reasonable expectation that if they release an RTS with the same level of quality and they can hold off piracy for two weeks, they will sell around 400,000 copies. If this new game has zero-day piracy and only sells 50,000 copies, then they can draw some legitimate conclusions about the impact the piracy had.

Comment Re:Question about method... (Score 1) 199

As I mentioned in another reply, Tweakguides did some research on this, and crunched the numbers. The article (which is long, but worth reading), is here: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_1.html

To answer your question, they found that the DRM only had a negative impact on piracy, and that was when it was successful. Lack of DRM (or light DRM) showed absolutely no impact on piracy rates whatsoever. So, either the people who are pirating to get away from DRM are an insignificant minority, or it's just an excuse.

Now, with PC game piracy at a rate of around 10 to 12 pirate downloads per copy sold (both download and disc), the highest percentage of illegal downloads that can be accounted for by people downloading pirate copies to circumvent the DRM on copies they bought is 10% (1/10), and that's assuming that no copies sold match up with a pirate copy downloaded first (eg. somebody downloads the game, tries it, and decides to buy it). So that's a basic rough estimate based on the numbers I've got.

Comment Re:Question about method... (Score 1) 199

Tweakguides did some research on this, and crunched the numbers. The article (which is very long, but very worth reading), is here: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_1.html

As far as methodology goes, I think that's covered here: http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_4.html

But, in brief, for the console market, the numbers for a popular game (they used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) in the console market was 1 pirated copy for every six copies sold. For the PC game market over the same period, it was 10 to 12 pirated copies downloaded for every legitimate copy sold (both download and CD/DVD).

Loss is a bit more complicated, but measurable. The most measurable part is the freeloader effect - pirate copies using authentication servers and technical support (and some of the supporting data is the number of copies authenticating on the servers vs. numbers sold, which can be over 10:1 at times), and that's costs of time, server bandwidth, etc.

As far as lost sales, that requires an understanding of the game market. You have hard core fans, who will buy the game no matter what - that's a small core of guaranteed sales. You have hardcore pirates, who will never pay for the game, so there's no point in even trying to market to them. The lost sales take place in a third group - call them "casual gamers." This group is interested in playing the game, but they aren't particular on how they get it. So, if they can't download it, they'll buy it. Most of the sales for a game tend to be in this third group. So, the longer the piracy can be held off, the more sales occur in this group. Zero day piracy wipes any sales from this group off the map.

Now, again, this makes it very difficult to measure exact numbers of lost sales, but you can get a sense through trends. So, if a game had 400,000 sales with piracy held off for two weeks, and the sequel to that game had 50,000 sales with zero-day piracy, you can draw some general conclusions about lost sales, as well as the sizes of the various market groups.

Comment Re:Most of the Data is Freely Available (Score 1) 507

Okay, seriously, I'm a historian and an AGW skeptic - and _I_ say that we're in a warming trend.

The question is not "are we warming?" - we're right on schedule for a warm period, just as we had a thousand years ago, and a thousand years before that. The question is "to what degree is human activity influencing this warming?"

And for that, I only know of one real-world study comparing UV coming in vs. UV bouncing out compared with CO2 content in the atmosphere using EBRE data, and its results came in at the opposite of what climate computer modelling had suggested. But, this still has to be reproduced.

Comment Re:also (Score 1) 249

There's a difference between ignoring something and contesting it. Your post had some merit, but it also missed the Salafi ideology and the war of ideas, both of which have a tremendous impact on this discussion.

When you leave Muslims alone to govern themselves in a democratic system, they do tend towards liberalism and secularism. That's the actual trend - you can see it in the Muslim majority democracies in the Pacific Rim. The Salafi ideology out of Saudi Arabia does not want either - they want a totalitarian Caliphate based on the Koran. It's no accident that Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive countries on Earth. The Arab Spring is one of their worst nightmares - it's a popular movement valuing democracy and liberalism over theocracy.

You cannot solve the problems leading to Islamist terrorism without confronting the ideology behind it, and part of that is recognizing that there is a war of ideas, that there is a well-funded and vocal totalitarian ideology behind the Salafi Jihad, and that issues like Israel are being used as a smokescreen to keep Western democracies from interfering with them. The more you get caught up in the smokescreen, the harder it is to get at the heart of the issues in play, and the easier it is for the Salafi Jihad to indoctrinate new members and keep the violence going.

Comment Islamist propaganda (Re:The way I see it.) (Score 1) 249

Israel is no saint - frankly, there are no good guys there at this point - but it is NOT the root of our problems with the Muslim world. And Israel is not the political master of the United States - that's just Islamist propaganda.

You talk about its ethnic cleansing - but I know at least a bit about that situation, and I cannot think of a single Israeli example. So, WHAT ethnic cleansing? Where are the mass graves of Palestinians murdered because of their race? And what about Darfur? What about all the Islamic ethnic cleansings, which are far greater, and for that matter, REAL (remember the Armenians in Turkey during WW1, or the Kurds in Iraq, or the 120,000 murdered by Salafi Islamists in Algeria in the 1990s)? What about the fact that the Salafi Jihad wants to create a totalitarian caliphate with Taliban-style rule, and uses Israel as an issue to create a smokescreen so that the world won't take a close look at the totalitarian nature of Islamism?

Put simply, our problem with the Muslim world comes from the Salafi Jihad, which is an aggressive, expansionist, and totalitarian political ideology that wants to create a caliphate with Taliban-style rule. Israel is very much a convenient sideshow for it that allows it to play the victim role when it is anything but one, and keep promoting liberalism and democracy as bad guys when the reality is that they are the threat.

Comment Re:also (Score 1) 249

And I fear that you're being caught up in the Salafi smokescreen. In a lot of cases, they don't have legitimate grievances, but it is in their best interests for creating their totalitarian Caliphate that we believe that they do.

There's a very good book on this subject titled War of Ideas, by Walid Phares. Basically, there is a section of Islam called the Salafi Jihad, which is the most conservative form of Islamism (as opposed to Islam - one is a religion, the other is a totalitarian political ideology, and while there is occasional overlap the two are not the same thing). Based primarily in Saudi Arabia, it has spent a lot of oil money to create a smokescreen with the goal of presenting the Muslim world as a unified whole (it isn't) that has been the victim of Western imperialism (it has been, but not nearly to the extent that they claim), and that the Muslim complaints by the Mullahs should be seen as a reaction to Western actions, with the West at fault (it isn't).

And, so long as we believed this, they were free to attempt to impose religious totalitarianism without us taking any measures to stop them. They would talk up issues such as Palestine so that we wouldn't look at atrocities in places like Darfur and try to stop them. They worked very hard to prevent us from engaging with Islamic countries so that the people of those countries wouldn't see democracy or liberalism as an option to Islamism.

They are very good at propaganda too. Take those big anti-west demonstrations that pop up whenever an incident such as the Danish Mohammed cartoons occurs. They don't happen because lots of Muslims have a hair-trigger temper whenever anybody criticizes them. They happen because a number of Islamist news stations grab onto them, propagandize them, and keep building them up as more than just an isolated incident until enough Muslims are upset enough to come out. And there's a clear message being sent to the West: back off.

So, while there are some areas who have legitimate grievances, it is also very important to understand that the Salafi ideology coming out of countries like Saudi Arabia is NOT a reaction to Western imperialism - it is an expansionist totalitarian ideology that has existed since the 1920s, and it is advancing itself through propaganda and psychological warfare. We are the enemy to them, and we are in the middle of a war of ideas. Fighting and winning that war must be part of any solution.

Comment Re:Al Qaeda was a reaction. (Score 1) 249

"Al Qaeda was a reaction to Arab tyrants propped up by the American government."

No, it wasn't.

Al Qaeda is part of the violent arm of Salafi ideology. It wants to institute a totalitarian world Muslim state with the Koran as its constitution and Taliban-style rule. This ideology has existed since the 1920s - Al Qaeda is just one of the more recent wrinkles.

They were never a reaction to Arab tyrants. If they reacted to anything, it was secularization. They hit the United States in part to try to drive it out of the Middle East, so that the Arabs there would not see democracy as an alternative to totalitarianism. And a lot of oil money has been provided in the last few decades to create this image of the Muslim world as victims of American policy, so that when the Salafi Jihad pushed, the West would not push back. They were almost successful too - right now there is a split in academia with Middle Eastern Studies being heavily compromised and Security Studies (a new branch that deals with Salafism without the smokescreen they put up) being very new and controversial.

There's a very good book on this subject titled "The War of Ideas," by Walid Phares. If you want to know more about this, it is very worth checking out.

Comment There was a time when people didn't have it... (Score 1) 462

Well, I was born in 1976, and I spent my entire childhood without the Internet. And, so long as you can take care of any professional online needs (stuff for the office, etc.), you should be fine.

In fact, your biggest problem may be other people in your social circle being too used to contacting you by email or over the 'net, and having to remind them to contact you by phone instead. But, really, I have a feeling that if you have no problems going back to basics (like newspapers for news, etc.), you shouldn't find too many real annoyances.

Comment Re:Don't sign it (Score 1) 355

Well, it's not that simple. From what I remember reading of this (which, granted, was at least five years ago, so perhaps...HOPEFULLY...some of this has changed), the recording industry is set up to shaft recording artists upon entry.

Let me put it this way - I am an agented author. So, when I deal with the publishers, I have an agent on my side who will play hardball if she sees the need. My agent works for me - she gets a cut of what I receive, so it is in her best interest to ensure that I get the best possible deal. This is how it is supposed to work.

In the recording industry (around five years ago, and hopefully not today) many of the lawyers involved in the contract negotiation on the artist side are in cahoots with the labels. So, a bunch of stuff that should get caught and removed from the contract isn't. And, there's a trick that often gets used where the initial offer is a contract in disguise - a "letter of understanding" - locking in the recording artist before a proper negotiation can even take place.

To cut a long story short (I know, too late), it's not a situation of read the contract offer, negotiate to take out the bad stuff, and walk away from it if the other side isn't reasonable. It's often receive the offer, take it to an entertainment lawyer who is secretly working against your interests, and later find out that you've agreed to terms that leave you going platinum while making less than you would if you were working at a Macdonald's.

(At least, that's how it was when I was reading about it around five years ago.)

Comment In defence of the liberal arts... (Score 1) 433

Okay - somebody has to defend the arts degrees here, and I guess I'll do it. A lot of people are looking at this in terms of technology work (hardly surprising, as this is a technology site), but a liberal arts degree is far from useless.

Take me, for example. I just finished a Master of Arts in War Studies with a history concentration. Prior to that, I got a B.A. in English literature, and prior to that, a B.A. in Medieval Studies. Where did this lead me? Contract defence research. The work I do will hopefully help my country (Canada) avoid a debacle like the United States had in Iraq between 2003-2005. No new graduate with a B.Sc. could do what I do.

Will a B.A. immediately lead to a job paying $80,000 per year? Probably not. But, it does tell an employer three very important things: you can finish what you start, you can work under pressure (depending on the reputation of the school), and you can think critically. All of these are attributes that are looked for in the senior positions. So, you may be making $30,000, or possibly less, right out the door, but you will be on the path to a much better senior position as you get more experience.

And, if you want to get ahead outside of the technology field, the liberal arts are important. Want to work in politics? A liberal arts degree will take you farther. Same with defence research, or working in developing countries. Or social work.

So, a liberal arts degree is not useless. It just doesn't lead into a technology field right after graduation.

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