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Comment Catching cheaters is missing the point (Score 5, Insightful) 437

There seems to be an increasing emphasis by schools on "catching cheaters". This seems to be missing the point.

We send our kids to school not so they can pass tests. I honestly do not care if my kid gets an "A" or an "F" on the test; I care that he actually learns the material. Tests are a tool that educators can use to help them determine if a child is learning the material but passing grades shouldn't be the goal. If students are cheating on tests then you need to look at the reason why. Is the material being presented in a way that is too hard for the child to understand? Is it not being presented in a way that interests the student? If a student is intererested, he will learn. If he learns, then he has no need to cheat.

Stop spending money on anti-cheating technologies. Spend money on improving the methods of education.

Comment Cool; now I'll buy it. (Score 1) 1066

Blu-Ray is cracked? The masterkey is available to all? There is no technical restriction on doing what I want with the contents of a blu-ray disk now? Great!

*NOW* I will buy a Blu-Ray drive and blu-ray content. Because those very restrictions that were supposed to protect the content-producers investment were the same things that were keeping me from cracking open my wallet and handing them my money.

When will companies learn: DRM doesn't work and it annoys your real customers. It costs you more money than it can possibly save. Treat us like criminals and we will either act to your expectations or avoid your products entirely.

Of course, now comes the hard part: trying to find any blu-ray content *worth* buying.

Comment Re:Freedom from porn. (Score 1) 1067

It sounds less like Orwell's "1984" and more like the Gilleadan theocracy of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale".

"There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.

I suppose not having to worry about these "bad things" has its appeal to some, but I happen to like the ability to define what I think is bad rather than depending on some outside source doing my thinking for me. You know, don't just go with the flow but "think different" and all.

Comment Re:No one wants to be behind the times (Score 1) 252

Well AFAIK The Dragon Age engine is based on the same engine used for KOTOR and many other Bioware games, just updated for the modern era.

Actually, it doesn't.

Mass Effect uses the Eclipse engine. This is considered a wholly new engine (although it doubtlessly shares some code from earlier projects, just because it is the same development house and performs similar functions).

Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2 and Jade Empire used the Odyssey engine. This in turn was based on the Aurora engine, first used in the Neverwinter Nights games (as well as a number of third-party titles).

Prior to that, of course, Bioware used the venerable Infinity engine, which powered Planescape Torment, the Baldur's Gate and the Icewind Dale games.

Comment Re:Smart move. (Score 1) 909

Actually, that may not be as bad an argument as one might first think. For a long time Apple suffered from the commonly held belief that Apple computers were "toys" and therefore not intended for use in the workplace. It's one reason that IBM PC Compatibles dominated the marketplace for years.

I don't know if the claim that "iPhones are toys" would have the same effect, but it doubtlessly would be a painful reminder to Apple.

Comment Re:Sure Steve (Score 1) 909

Apple already had an AOL-like online service. It was called AppleLink Personal Edition. It was run by Quantum Computer Services, who later fell out with Apple and renamed themselves... America Online.

Apple also had an older online service called AppleLink (different in all but name) and later EWorld. None of the three services were particularly successful.

Although the nature of "online services" has significantly changed since the hey-day of AOL, given this history I'm not sure Apple is all that interested in starting a fourth time.

Comment Re:Usenet (Score 1) 171

I'm glad somebody said this. Usenet may be long past its heyday (at least as a source of information; it still has more nefarious uses) but at its height it was both a valuable resource and an entertaining community.

Google shouldn't have a monopoly on this information; if the LoC considers tweets worth saving, then (non-binary) Usenet should definitely be included in their archives.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 2, Funny) 377

I've always preferred jozxyqk myself. Erm, I mean, I prefer to use it in Scrabble. I'd hate to have to use it in real life.

It's a perfectly valid word. It's the sound you get when you get your sexual organs trapped in something. I saw it used on TV so it must be real!

Comment PC Gaming is dying? Really? (Score 1) 375

It's not my blog but I think it is a nice counterpoint to the assertion that PC gaming is dying:

Games of 2010

It lists over 150 games exclusives to the PC platform, spanning a variety of genres and game-styles. Admittedly, not all of these are big-budget commercial titles (most are) but most of them look very good. And this doesn't include any of the multi-platform titles, of which there are a great number.

Many games which are multi-platform are designed that way from the beginning; it's not as if the PC's are getting scraps grudingly scraped off the overfull plate of console gaming. Games are designed to be multiplatform from the start because they are so expensive and publishers need to target gamers regardless of what hardware they play on to recoup the costs. Fewer PC exclusives is less an indictment of the PC platform as it is of the skyrocketing costs of game development. But as evidenced by the link above, PC gaming is still going very strong.

Comment Re:You aren't fighting if you are giving up (Score 1) 309

Ultimately, you may be correct in that some publishers are more interested in killing the PC gaming market rather than finding a solution to the piracy issue. You may also be correct that publishers may further try to circumvent the market through legislation rather than actually providing a product the customer wants.

Nonetheless, my argument still stands. The grand-parent made the claim that onerous DRM justified piracy. It does not. Piracy in this case may be emotionally satisfying but legally and ethically it in no way helps solve the problem.

The only thing that will convince them to drop DRM is to hurt them enough financially so that the expense of the copy-protection no longer is worth it, but at the same time still offer them a way to make a profit (e.g., support non-DRM protected games). Pirating does the former; it does nothing for the latter.

Look, I am not lecturing against piracy. If that's what a person chooses to do, so be it; that's on their own conscious. They are probably aware of the risks they run and should be aware of the consequences not only to themselves but to the software industry. But I can't stand these false justifications people make in support of their piracy habit. If a person is going to steal, just admit you are stealing and stop trying to make it sound as they are part of some noble cause.

Comment Re:No option but to vote with wallet (Score 1) 309

As far as the updating goes... Every game I've got has an option to control how the game is updated. I can tell it to only update manually if I want to. Yes, the default is to update automatically.

Except when you first install (or reinstall) the game, the update is mandatory before you play. You can turn off updates AFTER that is completed, but you have to endure that initial download.

Since there are some mods that only worked with certain versions (and were never updated) this feature has been a continuous annoyance. Furthermore, you can't chose which version you want; if you want to upgrade from version 1.0 to version 1.4, but the latest version is v1.5, you are getting v1.5.

I have no objection automatic updates for those who want it, but they need to make it so you can completely opt out and stick with the original release version if you want, or manually select the patch version you specify.

But who am I kidding? Giving customers control of the product they paid for? That'll never fly.

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