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Comment The Opinion MMO (Score 1) 283

The issue I'm perceiving with this is the entire study seems based on computer models, not actual people. Models, regardless of how well built will not capture the full essence of human reactions and beliefs. It also seems that the models exist in a framework that is not accounting for education as a force for opinion formation, but rather "if some 'opinion leader" says it then I believe it". It also makes no mention of contrasting opinions, consolidation of existing foundation beliefs with the new idea or other critical factors. This is all great stuff for computer models but to me it says "in our fantasy opinion game that we made, if you reach 10% then you win"

Comment Doomed Idea (Score 2) 136

this whole idea is doomed to failure. Think this through.

Salesman: "Hey, barkeep. Would you like to hook up some cameras and advertise your male to female ratio?"
Barkeep: "Huh? What?"
Salesman: "It's a new thing. You put up some cameras and our software tracks how many males and females come in so guys around town can look up and see how many girls are at your bar. Cool, huh?"
Barkeep: "What's it cost?"
Salesman: "For only $1,200 you can get started today"
Barkeep: "How many guys in my town use your app?"
Salesman: "Seven"
Barkeep: "So let me see if I have this straight. I pay you $1,200 (salesman interrupts "plus $19.95 a month") to advertise to seven guys that my bar is filled with mostly guys."
Salesman: "Great, isn't it? Can i sign you up now?"
Barkeep: "GTFO and don't come back"

Comment MS work visas for pirates? (Score 1) 617

So does this mean that any employee MS gets a work visa for, who trained on pirated software in a foreign country before coming here is also covered under the plan? Surely every MS employee born in India or China or Japan has a valid license when they learned computers, right? If not, well I guess MS is to be held liable and owes an amount equal to the person's salary, to be paid to a US jobs program.

Comment This isn't about bandwidth, it's about usage (Score 5, Insightful) 538

Here's the thing, ATT will be capping the bandwidth of "Internet" usage. This is separate from the usage of the streaming HDTV signal that ATT provides to U-verse customers. One could run the TV streaming 24x7 and record 4 shows at once and run many times the bandwidth cap and there's no cap or additional fees. The issue lies in what you do with your computers. They are basically coming out and admitting that it's not a bandwidth issue, it's a services issues. ATT wants to own parts of what you do such as cloud gaming services and video streaming services. When you use their services they can be exempted from the caps, thus crushing competition like Netflix or Hulu. This isn't about bandwidth or caps or infrastructure, It's about greed and it's about net neutrality. Does anyone find it coincidental that this comes the week after the FCC net neutrality rules got struck down?
PC Games (Games)

Map Editor, Photoshop Tool Coming To Braid 44

Erik J writes "Braid creator Jonathon Blow has revealed that a map editor and image tool will be added to the popular puzzle game. First, though, Braid will receive a patch to fix some issues players have reported. Blow explains: 'After I get a new version out in a few days that fixes the problems some people are having, and when more people have played/finished the game, I am going to post some documentation for the editor. The way it works is you can make levels with the editor (up to a full game, potentially) and run that with -universe later... also a tool will be released that lets you take Photoshop files and import them into the game, if you want to put new graphics in your levels.' It is unclear if these capabilities are coming only to PC or to the Xbox 360 version as well."

Comment Re:Sorry Guys, But The Authors Have a Point (Score 1) 683

One side of the argument that Amazon might take is that they are simply selling a reader. No different that selling a program that plays music based off of scanning sheet music. From a technical standpoint I'm sure we all see how that defense could be used.

Conversely, the publishing industry treats audio rights to books as a separate and wholly viable product to sell. Amazon sidestepping that and offering a device that produces much the same results is the issue at hand.

If I'm not mistaken, is not one of the yardsticks in these situations the impact? If sales of Kindle 2s and their "free" audio play of books has an impact on the sale of actual AudioBooks, would that not indicate an issue?

So the debate might be shifted to "Will sales of Kindle 2 impact sales of audio books?". In that context it might be easier to understand the relevance of audio rights being given away.

Comment Re:Despite the champion, the argument has some val (Score 1) 683

In contracts such as these, I would expect the boilerplate equivalent of "all other rights reserved" to be in the contract.

Amazon must still obtain the source text of the book from the publisher and negotiate some sort of compensation structure with the publisher. I would not expect them to be free to simply scan in existing works and start selling them on the Kindle without a new agreement with the publishers outlining the sales of electronic copies.

So while the author has no contract with Amazon, there is a chain of legal rights for the book itself and additional rights could not typically be inserted without some type of negotiation with someone in that chain.

Like yourself, I am not a lawyer, nor am I an insider of the publishing industry, simply knowing what we have learned by having been through the process ourselves.

Comment Despite the champion, the argument has some validi (Score 1) 683

Regardless of how this particular argument has been made for this example, there is actually an under riding issue to this.

Authors sign contracts for the use of their works by a publisher. these contracts usually spell out exact restrictions for use of the content. The author's compensation for their work in creating the book is in various ways tied to the rights of use that they sign away with the contract. A publisher who takes a hit novel and wants to produce an audio book version of that book must have the rights to do so. If they do not, then they must strike a new contract with the author to attain these rights.

This is the basic foundation of how authors make money for their work.

The Kindle 2, by making text to speech a foundation part of how the book is sold, while perhaps an interesting idea for some users, may in fact be problematic from a contract standpoint.

While the Kindle 2 today may offer a monotone rendering only marginally better than watching Wargames, but that is a temporary condition. Technology advances and soon these readers might add more flavor to the reading. At what point does the Kindle interfere with the Books on Tape market? These issues must be resolved in order to proceed in an acceptable fashion.

The user of various readers for the visually impaired is an existing reality that has it's own arrangements in place with various publishers, distributors, etc.

To take a special needs argument and apply it as a defense of a device designed for the broad market, is a conceptual fallacy.

It's easy to point at the Author's Guild and make the leap to painting them with the same brush as the MPAA and RIAA but the publishing industry has some significant variations from those industries and to assume that the same motive drive them is foolish.

As an eaxmple. My wife is a new author. She went through nearly 4 months of contract discussions and negotiations during her initial sale of her first trilogy. The rights for the books are spelled out in explicit detail, using portions of the boilerplate contracts from both her agent and her publisher. One aspect of author's contracts is what published language(s) the contract covers and if it covers audiobooks. One cannot reasonably expect authors to give up their contract negotiations for their personal compensation for audio rights to their books simply because the Kindle 2 gives text to speech features, and what advanced form those audio features may have in the future.

So, while you read and debate this topic, avoid painting the topic as specific to one speaker and apply it as an argument on behalf of the authors who produce these works.

Comment The only Way This Works (Score 1) 842

The Only Way this Works is if they plan to offer Windows 7 as free software in third world markets to head off outright piracy. Today they have no hope of converting those users to paying users since they initial buy-in is huge. If they offered this limited version for free, to get it onto systems and out there, then charged small incremental fees to add more functionality, they might be able to monetize those markets.

Comment Not trying to be anti-Sony or anything... (Score 1) 106

But nothing has changed on the PSP exceopt a few updates. So why did it take this long to get cool stuff? Sony really has been having a hard decade. This sort of thing should have been worked into the initial PSP release and used to increase market share, instead of comming after all this time when the DS is kicking it's butt.

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