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Comment WHAT?! (Re:A week?) (Score 1) 1004

Excuse me, but what planet are you living on? I live in Canada too, and unless you're living in the Arctic circle, there is no way these figures are right.

Here are the rough costs in Eastern Ontario, to do what you want, assuming you have a television set but don't have the receiver or cable service.

1. Purchase a cable or satellite system package (fees vary) - around $50/month
2. Select a package with HBO - around $10-15/month
3. Rent or buy a receiver with DVR abilities (about $15-20/month for rental, about $350 for purchase)
4. If you want HD, get HD - around $10 per month.

You would NOT have to spend close to a thousand dollars to watch Game of Thrones. In fact, if you rented instead of purchased (which with a lot of the DVR receivers is the better way to go due to a lot of them being on the flakey side), you could do it for as little as $110 per month.

Seriously, dude, I own an HD receiver (non-DVR), and I get cable and HBO, and I'm paying less than $100 per month - and drowning in on-demand while I'm at it (which, by the way, each episode of Game of Thrones is available on about two days after its first airing).

Comment Re:Actually, in this case, the punishment fits (Score 1) 420

I'm not the one resorting to name calling. And I know how much the dollar is worth, thank you very much.

And, to make things clearer, what I am saying is that he brought a life-time penalty upon himself. And, he did it in such a sociopathic manner that there was no way to save him. This is more Darwinism in motion than an injustice.

Let me put it this way - if somebody is standing in front of a minefield, the minefield is clearly marked, an official is waving a sign which reads "DANGER - DO NOT ENTER MINEFIELD" at the person, another official is tapping the person on the shoulder and telling him not to walk into the minefield, and finally, a third official comes out and provides the person with a way around the minefield, and the person still walks into the minefield, then at this point he deserves to be blown up.

Tenenbaum uploaded and shared the songs. He was guilty of the offence. He had the option to settle - he did not. He had the chance to come clean during initial legal proceedings and try to gain a reasonable settlement. Instead, he lied under oath. For eight months. He could have hired a lawyer who would have dealt with his case in a professional manner. Instead, he hired somebody who was so eccentric as to appear incompetent. And then, when he finally did come clean, he could have apologized to the jury, and explain that he was terrified of what might happen due to the way the RIAA was going after file sharers.

Instead, he told them that perjury basically seemed like the right thing to do.

So, forget the sympathetic defendant. Here the jury was faced with what appeared to be a lying sociopath who didn't even seem to be sorry that he got caught. So, they made an example of him, and buried him.

What else would you expect them to do? He basically did the equivalent of flipping every member of the jury the bird.

Even now, look at what he's trying to do. He'd rather attempt to convince the Supreme Court that copyright - in American law, first laid out in the Constitution - is unconstitutional than actually take responsibility for his actions.

Now, modifying the amount of the fine is for the courts to decide, and that story isn't done yet. But whatever Tenenbaum gets at the end, he deserves. Not because of whether the system is just or not, but because he went above and beyond the call of duty to convince the system to make an example of him.

Comment Actually, in this case, the punishment fits (Score 1) 420

A lot of the commenters here have forgotten their history with this case. This is one case where, in fact, the punishment fits quite nicely.

This is a punishment for illegally sharing music pretty much in name only. The actual trial could be described as a textbook case of "how to alienate a jury."

So, first, Tenenbaum hired a lawyer who acted very eccentric:

Then, Tenenbaum - after eight months of legal proceedings - admitted that he had been lying under oath the entire time. When counsel asked him why he had basically played the entire court system (and, for that matter, his own lawyer) for chumps for the last eight months, he replied with the equivalent of a shrug and "it seemed like the best response to give":

At this point, he had acted enough like a sociopath that the $675,000 judgement against him was self-inflicted. Then, having done all this, his legal team put out an appeal to the Internet to pay his fine for him. I'm not kidding - the appeal was removed after the backlash included Ray Beckerman himself:

And now, he's trying to weasel out of the consequences of his actions. I'm sorry, but I think the punishment fits here. This isn't some poor fool who got caught sharing a few songs and got extorted by the RIAA for it. This is somebody who perjured himself for eight months, alienated what would have otherwise probably have been a sympathetic jury, and tried to get everybody else to pay his fine when the jury - understandably upset when it learned it had been lied to and the entire system played for chumps - handed down its sentence.

The Supreme Court was right to not spare this man any of its time.

Comment Re:Not the most sympathetic victim (Score 1) 420

There's even more than that. This is a case where the "victim" acted like a sociopath for a good chunk of the trial.

It's one case where I have absolutely no sympathy for the man. For eight months of the trial, he lied under oath about whether he had done it. Then, when he was caught out, the reason he gave was that it seemed to be the best response to give.


Then, he tried to take up a collection to pay the damages, which only got retracted after an uproar in which Ray Beckerman himself took a stand against it.


So, you've got somebody who perjures himself for eight months, plays the entire court system for chumps, and tried to get the internet to pay his damages for him. I'm no fan of the RIAA - frankly, I'll be in line to dance on their graves when they die - but in this case, the punishment fits.

Comment Re:Not flash drives or free software (Score 1) 377

Very well said.

The best gift I ever received was a portrait of my great-grandfather on the eve of World War I in his Russian army uniform. He had died when I was a kid, and it felt like he had just been given back to me.

I'm hoping to do the same for my father this year for his birthday. My plan is to give him a copy of his father's World War II record (my grandfather passed away earlier this year). Neither of these are expensive gifts, but they're the sort of gifts that will always be remembered.

Comment Not flash drives or free software (Score 2, Insightful) 377

Okay, I know some other people have mentioned this - and been voted down for it - but this has to be said: both free software and flash drives are terrible ideas for stocking stuffers on general principles.

Look, there are two reasons for this. The first is that any worthwhile gift has to be about the person you're giving it to. It has to be something THEY will appreciate. And, ideally, it should be something they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. When it comes to holiday shopping, even the friends of mine who are techies I wouldn't give free software or a data stick to. The ones who are into free software likely already have what I'd give them, and the ones who aren't would probably prefer something more non-technical, or more difficult to come by. It doesn't matter if you think it's cool - it's what THEY think.

The second is that, well, the gift should be something out of the ordinary. A flash drive is a basic computer accessory, and free software is, well, FREE. If it was software you created, then it would be worthwhile, as it was something you made. But otherwise, it would be like giving somebody a box of tissues.

If you're looking for gift ideas, be creative and stay away from the free software. If you've got a wine lover, give them a bottle of ice wine; if you've got somebody who loves the cute stuff, an interesting plush toy or the like. And if you absolutely have to give somebody software, make it something you created yourself or something that they would have to go shopping and pay for to get otherwise.

But if you go with flash drives and free software, the only thing you'll end up coming across as is some boring, thoughtless, self-obsessed cheapskate. Believe me, you don't want that.

Comment Re:I stand corrected on Greenland (Score 1) 1105

Ah...just my luck to come across a bona fide Greenlander... :-)

And that's not a complaint by any means - frankly, it's fascinating to hear what's been going on over there. I think you may be wrong about the settlements. As far as I understand it, there were two Viking settlements, with the earliest founded around 980. There is a growing settlement, but it starts to decline in the 13th century, around the time of the end of the Medieval Warm Period. The Western Settlement is reported abandoned around 1350-60, and the last written record of the Vikings in Greenland is from 1408 (a wedding). By 1480-1500, ships going to Greenland are reporting that the Norse settlements have completely disappeared.

Jared Diamond has a good section on why the Greenland Norse probably disappeared in his book "Collapse." As I recall, he theorized that part of it was the cooling climate, a large part of it was the fact that the Norse thought that because the soil looked like Scandinavia, it was just like Scandinavia (it wasn't), and as a result destroyed the topsoil, and a large part of it was conflict with the Greenland Inuit combined with an unwillingness to adjust their lifestyle and diet to the changing conditions as farming became untenable.

Comment I stand corrected on Greenland (Score 1) 1105

Actually, I just checked that, and you're correct - there is nascent farming again around the vicinity of what was once both Viking settlements. Nice catch, and I stand corrected.

That said, you are wrong about the permafrost being long gone - this appears to be a development in the last five years or so (compared to the centuries of permafrost). Considering the Vikings were farming there for about 500 years before the settlements were confirmed abandoned, what we have here remains evidence of the commencement of a warm period - which, as I mentioned, is right on schedule.

Comment Here's your solid evidence (Score 1) 1105

Perhaps most scientists agree, but the historians disagree. The historical evidence for a warmer MWP is overwhelming.

Where shall we start? The fact that there was increased agriculture? The fact that Greenland had arable farming settlements on what is permafrost today? The fact that vineyards in Eastern Europe were found at higher altitudes and latitudes than is possible today?

Or how about the hundreds of peer-reviewed proxy studies from the time that show a temperature ranging from .5 to 2 degrees higher than today? A database of those can be found at the Medieval Warm Period Project at

The truth of the matter is that we are right on schedule for a warm period - they happen about once every thousand years. The last one, the MWP, was about .5-2 degrees warmer than today. The one before that, the Roman Warm Period, was about 2-4 degrees higher than today (and during that time, there were passes through the Alps that haven't been usable in close to two millennia). The idea that we're about to enter a climate apocalypse is fear-mongering.

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:

Also, the entire article is worth noting:

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:

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:

As far as methodology goes, I think that's covered here:

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.

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