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Comment Re:EEE (Score 1) 410

I'm entirely sure they'd be happy with you re-purchasing your games through the MS store.

The bigger problem with the backlog of games (and other software entirely unrelated to games) is that Steam people aren't stupid or lazy, but many other developers are. Short of literally locking the platform (which would garner them some serious anti-competition lawsuits,) at the end of the day they have to allow software to run on their platform. Nobody uses an OS purely for the file explorer. Third party apps are a necessity.

Which means Steam can just continually upgrade their app to match. They're doing that regularly anyway to keep up with video driver changes and other tweaks.. its a bit of a pain but having one more source of reasons to push patches isn't exactly going to break them.

What would get broken is everybody else who doesn't have the money or manpower to keep up with a constant stream of breaking changes. Never mind the developers that have gone out of business and end users that rely on their products go from unsupported to completely SOL.

MS really can't "break" Windows in any significant way. Sure they might try to tweak or deprecate specific APIs that Steam happens to use and few other software packages do, but I'm sure the Steam programmers have the capacity to work around things like that. And the main Win32 API can't just be pulled without driving off a large portion of your customer base that now can no longer use all of the (non-game-related) apps they rely on. Especially corporate customers who make up a large portion of MS' income and give exactly zero shits about Steam or games. Probably prefer if their users aren't able to play games on their work systems. But they sure as hell care if their $50,000/seat CAD software stops working every few months.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 232

Its different in one major way: If you fail to open the door, they can (and will) just break it down.

If you fail to unlock your phone on the other hand, the police are kind of screwed.

Sure they can beg Apple or Google for unlock abilities, but that's literally not possible for those companies to provide -- they intentionally do not retain the encryption keys in order to reduce their liability in cases like this.

The whole Apple fiasco a while ago wasn't them giving up the encryption key. What they did was provide a version of the OS that didn't lock the phone after too many failed attempts. The cops still had to brute force the passcode (which luckily for them is only 10,000 possibilities.) If that guy had used a full password or other strong lock instead of a regular 4 digit passcode, the cops would have had no recourse at all.

Comment Re:TFA is not terribly clear... (Score 1) 232

the best course of action if you don't like that fact is to stop using real evidence

That's the trick though. Why is my phone not protected because I used a fingerprint while your phone is because you used a passcode?

In both cases, the access to evidence is exactly the same. Neither of us are providing testimonial information -- a passcode by itself says nothing about who you are or what you've done any more than my fingerprint does (and perhaps less since my fingerprint could potentially be matched against the crime scene.. but lets assume they've already got other copies of my print by the time they get to trying to unlock my phone!)

Honestly all of these laws are kind of bogus in the digital age. The fact of the matter is that if you refused police entry to your house or other place of interest, they picked up a ram and knocked the door in and had their way with your documents belongings (hopefully with right of warrant or they'd be breaking the fourth!)

In the digital world though, the police have no recourse. If you refuse to give up your password, and assuming its strong enough to prevent brute forcing, the police are left with no recourse whatsoever. Whether that's good or bad is up for debate of course. (My personal opinion is that they should be allowed to compel you no matter what type of lock you use -- As long as they get a warrant, same as when they enter your home to search for physical evidence. Not that my opinion matters in the grand scheme of things.)

But whichever side of the equation you fall on, the underlying problem is that its still different from a physical entry and trying to rely on laws created 200 years before anyone even dreams of these kind of devices to give us more than vague direction is a bit foolhardy.

And I mean you see it all the time already. Your digital devices are considered physical evidence when the cops want to stop you from taking the fifth, but non-physical evidence when they want to confiscate so that it doesn't fall under the fourth. How does that work out? Its like the cops coming into your home and making photocopies of all your documents and then saying its not a fourth amendment violation because they didn't technically "search" (blindly copying everything) nor "seize" (just making copies) the originals. Yeah that doesn't work out so well for them.. and yet its no less of a valid digital vs analog analogy than many of the ones they actually use to justify their doings.

Of course, half the lawmakers today seem to have no more knowledge of digital devices than the founders did so I'm not sure I'd really trust them to make fair laws at this point even if they did realize that the old laws aren't completely applicable.. but that's a whole other issue in its own right.

Comment Re:Justice? (Score 1) 300

Seems like that only applies to the anti-Sodomy laws unfortunately. Its been used as a basis for suits related to other sexual activities but with mixed success (including an incest case which failed -- Frank v Muth. And those folks got 8 (guy) and 5 (sister) years, significantly more than Poland's law it would seem.)

Of course that's all from 20 minutes of Wikipedia after reading your reply, so I'm sure I'm missing a lot of the context and wider discussion, but its good to find out that they got it right for at least one case!

Comment Re:They sound completely insane (Score 1) 328

I doubt most Muslims read their sacred text any more than your average Christian reads the bible -- a few chapters that were assigned to them and then they put it down because they're busy. That's why pretty much all major religions have some equivalent of priests who dedicate their lives to learning the religion and are able to pass their knowledge on to the masses -- those masses don't and have never had the time to do so themselves, even during periods when they might have had the desire.

As for the priests and their counterparts who DO read the texts.. its hard to say how much being in the original language matters. Certainly something is always lost in translation, but plenty has been historically lost in simple transcription (copying) as well back before the printing press. Its why things like the dead sea scrolls are so important -- they provide earlier (and thus generally less tainted) copies of the original texts.

Of course the question then becomes how accurate any particular copy is, no matter its age -- it could be that you found the copy that was written by some nutjob who decided to rewrite large chunks of text deliberately as opposed to some later scribe who may have made additional small errors on top of two or three generations of previous small errors and still doesn't add up to that one nutjob's large errors.

Now its hard (for me) to guess exactly how accurate a modern copy of the Quran and other texts would still be. I mean the hardcore Muslims would obviously claim its perfect because they kind of have to, but I have trouble believing that their ancient scribes were magically better at their jobs than the Christian scribes so unless they secretly had printing press technology 1000+ years before the rest of the world and we just somehow didn't notice, there's a good chance that Islam has also been slowly changed over the centuries, for better or worse.

Keep in mind that the Muslim-controlled Middle East essentially kept reason and thought alive during the west's dark ages. Much of our modern math was started during that period (the word "algebra" comes from the Arabic "al-jabr," which is a pretty common story of course, and we use Arabic numerals instead of the old Roman ones because they're far superior -- or Hindu/Arabic if you want to fully credit their history!)

Islam hasn't always been dominated by violent extremists. Nor has the west always been the rational part of the world. Just a matter of luck to be living in our particular period of time and much can change when you start looking on a scale of a few hundred years.

Comment Re:Justice? (Score 1) 300

There's anti-incest laws all over the place. Whether they're still relevant or useful in our modern age of understanding (and birth control!) is another question -- the biggest downside of incest is the genetic gamble which only really matters when you make a child. But incest creates one heck of an "ick" factor in most people so even if the law isn't especially useful, it would be political suicide in many cases to try and revoke it.

Heck you can still find places with anti-sodomy laws (and not all of them are specific to male/male intercourse) and I believe there's even a few places that still have anti-oral laws. Those don't even fall into the "ick" category for most people anymore but even if its not political suicide to try to revoke them, there's still little pressure to bother as long as they remain (mostly) unenforced.

Check out for a whole lot of stupid things like this (though they cover all dumb laws including things like making it illegal for bees to buzz after 9pm and other totally unenforceable crap, not just sex-related laws.)

Comment Re:So day to upgrade (Score 1) 126

I would hope that if you're running a business on the machine, small or otherwise, you have a better plan than waiting for MS to upgrade it for you, where you have no control over the process (and has a good chance of involving FORMAT C: if the upgrade install doesn't work first try.)

I'm sure someone somewhere will do this and then get pissed off when "within a day" doesn't somehow magically mean "within 10 minutes" but lets hope that's not the majority. There will probably be far more people bitching that Win10 doesn't look and work exactly like Win7 because somehow a lot of people seem to think they can get improvements (ie: changes) and have absolutely no changes at the same time.

Comment Re:Creepy (Score 1) 126

I'm sure Nadella is getting some bonuses cause CEO, but even aside from that there's plenty of (greedy) reasons for MS to want to push Windows 10:

1) They get little to no revenue from upgrade installs at the best of time. The vast majority of people "upgrade" their Windows the day their PC dies and they have to buy a new one. So at the very least, they aren't losing much with the push.

2) It saves them having to maintain Win7 and Win8. For some reason, MS still takes the flak for bugs in their system even after they've EOL'd it because people love to hate them, so their choice is either put effort into old systems forever, or get people to stop using the old systems. (This is also why Windows Update is no longer easily optional. Or at least not easily. People don't update then blame MS when they get infected.)

3) Similar for future compatibility. Developers like to use new features, but they also need to look at the widest install base. A few of the big devs (including MS themselves) with the time and money to do so will support multiple sets of features but for the most part, they target the lowest common denominator. So again, MS is stuck either maintaining old versions forever to prevent pissy devs or get enough installs moved to the new version that third party devs can justify losing a few potential sales in order to improve their product.

4) And of course, all of the telemetry and the bit of advertising spread around the system is a potential revenue source in itself. Not really sure how much of a revenue source it is but I'm sure they've at least got plans for monetizing that information if they haven't done so already.

I don't particularly agree with the automatic forced update to Win10 that was turned on a few weeks ago (not the least of which because I do tech support and its had compatibility issues with a few of our customers' systems that I get stuck dealing with,) but I certainly see the business logic behind at least pushing people to the new version, without needing to focus on a single person's bonuses.

Comment Re:Google needs to be responsible (Score 1) 153

That's all fine and good except the majority of people are NOT sick of the "corporate" content. If they were, they'd have already stopped buying it and the content would change.

The RIAA and friends might fight tooth and nail against changing their business model, but they've got no qualms about changing the style of musicians they hire as tastes change -- that's already part of the business model and has happened dozens of times over the years.

"Popular" music is called that for a reason. That doesn't imply that its "good" music (and 99% of pop songs are generally forgotten about a few weeks or even days after they stop getting airtime.)

But it does mean that the probability of everyone (or even a significant minority) arbitrarily starting to block it is unfathomably small even if Youtube allowed it.

Heck, sites like Facebook and Twitter already essentially provide what you describe -- a way to receive word of mouth about things from the friends you care to pay attention to and can block/ignore anything you aren't interested in. Yet somehow, the music revolution still hasn't happened and we all still listen to boxed boy bands like we have basically since radio became widespread.

Comment Re:Google needs to be responsible (Score 1) 153

They would have to review the claims. Content ID is a measure to help avoid being directly sent 150,000 claims every day by (attempting to) beat the claimants to the punch.

Is it "fair"? Of course not. But its essentially necessary to do this in an automated way at some level. You could argue that it should be the content owners that write some equivalent of Content ID but then Google is stuck in a position where:
a) They're getting dozens of individual formats from each owner's system which is a pain in itself and would still require automation due to the scale of the issue, and

b) Without any neutral control over Content ID, you can guarantee that the false positives would be orders of magnitude more than what they currently are. In this case, Google's of course not entirely a "neutral" party but they're about as close as you could get to one because they're the only ones in a position to balance the two sides -- they get extra revenue when videos are NOT taken down but they also have to remain within the law.

So yes, you're right in that Content ID isn't required by law specifically any more than its a requirement that a takedown be implemented by "rm" instead of "delete" (or more likely some proprietary command since I doubt they use a standard ext2 or NTFS file system!)

Its just a tool to assist in doing the job and any alternative you can propose would be just some other tool for doing the same job, and it would necessarily also be automated with all of the same (if not worse) failings as Content ID due to the scale of the issue.

Comment Re:Google needs to be responsible (Score 1) 153

No it won't. Especially in the realm of music, there's thousands of great musicians out there. The problem is that nobody's ever heard of them.

The music "industry" isn't about making music so much as its about advertising music -- expensive music videos and massive stage shows and radio time and whatever else. Very little of that is available to your average garage band no matter how good their music happens to be.

Movies and video games are a different story because they legitimately require big budgets for actors/programmers/special effects/etc if you want to compete on the AAA scale. You have to have an amazing story or gameplay (Minecraft!) in order to compensate for the lack of everything else since very few people have $10-100mill just sitting around waiting to dump into their pet project.

But music doesn't have those limitations -- anyone creative enough with a decent voice and instrument skills can put together an album just as good as major studios for at most a few thousand dollars, and frequently much less if you use a lot of synthesized sounds (less studio time required) and are happy to go with purely digital distribution (save on the cost of physical discs, covers, etc.)

But then they have to figure out how to get people to notice them and that's where the big money gets spent for the most part -- big money your average garage band probably doesn't have. The internet and digital distribution has certainly made it easier but its still hard to compete against songs that are continuously played on the radio and artists that are being paraded around on TV and written about in magazines and newspapers all the time.

Comment Re:Google needs to be responsible (Score 2) 153

I agree with your premise but the issue is scale. The reason Content ID exists is because Youtube can't possibly manually review everything. Unfortunately the reverse is also true -- they can't possibly manually review every single counterclaim either if they made the counterclaim process easy enough that everyone Content ID screws can potentially counterclaim.

I don't really have a solution (and I'm sure the people at Google trying to find a solution are much better suited to the job than I am, and they still haven't found one either.) Its absolutely not in Google's best interest to be taking down valid content -- it makes them look bad and also reduces their own revenue stream a bit -- so its not like Google is teaming up with the RIAA here to screw the little guy.

Google is, I'm reasonably sure, doing everything in their power to make the situation as positive as possible for everyone but unfortunately if they don't make a profit, all videos will be taken down (because Youtube won't exist) so doing something like hiring 10,000 reviewers to try and keep up with manual workload isn't really possible and we're stuck in a situation where all they can do is try to tweak the automated systems in hopes of getting incremental improvements.

Also, for everyone who continually complains about false negatives -- there's also a right boatload of false positives. You can find practically anything on there if you hit the right search terms (especially if that "anything" is more than a couple years old) and it often remains available for weeks or months before it gets taken down -- and there's usually a replacement or 3 just another search away.

I'm not saying either of those failure modes is a good thing, but ignoring half the problem just because it benefits you isn't really helping anything and makes you sound just as far off from reality as the RIAA lobbyists -- and they're at least getting paid to ignore reality in their rants.

Comment Re:Google needs to be responsible (Score 1) 153

In the same sense that 95.6% of the world isn't under the finger of the RIAA either though. Someone in Argentina posting a Taylor Swift video to Youtube will have it taken down under a DMCA claim just as fast as someone in the US will. Because Youtube is governed by DMCA law and has to deal with the RIAA.

And its already enough of a hassle trying to deal with takedowns without trying to do it by geolocation (which would then require geolocking which would then turn into Netflix-style VPN blocking attempts and so on.. and having to properly deal with individual country's copyright laws rather than just going for the lowest common denominator of removing anything anyone anywhere files a complaint about.)

If you can find a streaming service hosted in and limited to a country not subjected to US copyright law, or at least not bothering to enforce it then I'm sure you'll be able to find all the TS videos you can stomach. But Youtube sure doesn't fit that bill.

Comment Re:Content owners? (Score 1) 153

$1B isn't a whole lot of money after it's sliced a million ways

According to (and corroborated by a couple other sites I found on a quick Google search,) the entire US music industry is only generating $15B annually, putting Youtube's injection at a bit under 7%.

That's not bad revenue considering they don't have to do anything to get it beyond claim their copyrights (often excessively to the point of fraudulent but that's another rant.)

Of course the most obvious counters would be a) Google is doing the math different which is well.. given what we already know about the RIAA's accounting schemes, that wouldn't be surprising (huh.. all of your artists lost money and had to pay out of pocket but you simultaneously reported record profits? Fancy! Not as bad as the MPAA's version though I suppose so that's something.)

Or b) Google's dividing that billion around the world, where it would be closer to 2% (some more Googling suggests around $50B global revenues.) I wouldn't be surprised by this scenario -- all sides love to massage the numbers in their favor. But still, 2% of your revenue for doing little beyond hosting DMCA threatbots and bitching to anyone who will listen isn't a bad return. Hell, I'd love to get paid a bonus 2% of my annual earnings just for being a loudmouth. I complain about things all the time I'd be great for the job!

Comment .. Comparing to Apple? (Score 1) 729

You can buy an off-the-shelf gaming PC comparable to any Apple computer, and usually for quite a bit less.

PC gaming is only "hard" if you really want absolutely top of the line gear that even Alienware doesn't bother trying to sell. But that's also way above the spec of any Mac you can buy so the comparison is pretty damned fallacious.

Of course you still have to have an idea of what you're purchasing since you have you know.. options.. in the PC world and not all of them provide the same value for your money. So I guess Apple is "easier" in the sense that the only thing you need to know is how far to bend over.

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