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Comment Nice way to lose customers (Score 1) 497

I own at least 1 game from Ubisoft: Chessmaster X. And it came with the annoying "feature" of having to insert the game CD each time you wanted to play (online or offline). In addition to this, it had the typical activation code (to play on-line).

They realized this measure was stupid because they launched (months after) a patch which disabled this protecction measure.

May be it is reasonable to require any sort of on-line checking, when you are trying to play on-line (e.g. CS or Quake-like shooter game). But it's absurd if the game may be intended to play off-line (imagine you just want to analyze a chess game).

Anyway. People would avoid all the cumbersome cracks (and associated viruses and trojans), if they had the chance to get their games (or software) for a reasonable price. More in the case of games, where a great part of user base is made of young people with a reduced budget.

Most current intellectual property "defenders" start from a false premise: people would buy your product if they could not get it for free. In that case, it is obvious that people would consume less products (and therefore authors would get less money either way).

What most current intellectual property "defenders" are trying to do, is making of the "intellectual property rights" a business on itself, and trying to milk the inviting Internet "cow".

Comment The real picture (Score 2, Insightful) 370

Someone stated wisely, in a previous comment, that you should attack disease's roots, not symptoms.


The fundamental origins of current islamic terrorism lay in old Cold War's "dirty" strategies carried out by both blocks (mainly USSR and USA), in order to undermine the enemy's stability.

- USA funded and supported today's talibans (and Ben Laden) against USSR, and the Iraq of Saddam Hussein (against Iran). I would not be surprised if any Western help (of any kind) had supported Chechenian "terrorists".

- USSR has continuously supported Palestinian terrorism and Iran's activities (against Israeli and American influence in the Middle East). The support from Russia to current anti-american parties and forces in Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Cuba is also evident.

Saying that Cold War is ended just because the flags of some countries changed colour is just a joke. It will not end as long as irresponsible politicians and military commanders, with psycho minded profiles, keep ruling the most powerful countries in the world (same for their allies). And as long as people do not use their heads when voting.

Regarding the statements above, it is highly probable the real truth has not been told about Irak and Afghanistan wars. Warning hostile nations might have been another one of the objectives to be achieved. You may call them "preventive" wars.


On the other hand, Islamic terrorism is not the first one to be used as a political / lobby influence weapon. USA (with many citizens with Irish origins) has tradicionally given a "mild" treat and media coverage - just to say it softly - to IRA terrorists. More or less the same has happend with France and other countries - USA too - to Spanish ETA terrorist group. In the case of ETA, France began to fight its criminal activities when they started to cause harm to French prestige and security.

You have the funny example of "The Jackal" remake: a former IRA terrorist (Richard Gere) and his former girlfriend and ETA terrorist are presented as old warriors for indepence, who help FBI in their investigations. Well, you must call them "terrorists" when they perform massive killings, kidnapping, extortion and other activities of the kind.


Now comes another funny example with body scanners for airports. A "fair" meassure just to avoid incidents like those not prevented because of intelligence agencies' incompetence.


As a summary, I think:

- Security threats should not be either overestimated or underestimated: just take appropriate measures actually proved "and not believed" to be effective.

- Don't feed ANY beast. If you think you are going to keep control you are underestimating it. You asshole. You may not be as intelligent as you think you are just because you attended a military academy or expensive university (if any). Common sense cannot be learnt but at your own home.

- Act honestly, and you will save your own reputation around the world, and all those bitches will have less stupid reasons to gather stupid dumbasses willing to blow themselves to shit.

- That includes providing your citizens with fair and enough information, and wasting their money wisely.

- If you are a citizen, watch less TV and read more books. You may start reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.


Submission + - MS distributor involved in Corruption Scandal (

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft leading distributor in Brazil, TBA Group, is beeing accused of receiving money from the so called DEM scandal. The group revenues with the Federal District Government in Brasilia jumped from US$ 2.4 million to US$ 42.6 million since 2006.

In 2005 and 2006 the TBA Group reported only US$ 2.4 million in revenues from sales to the Federal District Government in Brasilia, managed at that time by Joaquin Roriz. At the current Arruda administration, revenues jumped to US$ 42.6 million, nearly 17 times more. The prosecutor's office lists 24 government agencies with which the group has contracts.

The company president, Cristina Bonner, has been caught on video negotiating with government officials and paying bribes to deputy Paulo Octavio (DEM).

Other Links (In Portuguese):


The Best Robots of 2009 51

kkleiner writes "Singularity Hub has just unveiled its second annual roundup of the best robots of the year. In 2009 robots continued their advance towards world domination with several impressive breakouts in areas such as walking, automation, and agility, while still lacking in adaptability and reasoning ability. It will be several years until robots can gain the artificial intelligence that will truly make them remarkable, but in the meantime they are still pretty awesome."

NASA and Space Station Alliance On Shaky Ground 73

coondoggie writes "Even as the latest shift of astronauts arrived at the International Space Station, challenges with the orbital outpost on the ground are threatening its future. Those challenges include the pending retirement of the space shuttle but also the way NASA and the ISS are managed. A report issued this week by the Government Accountability Office said NASA faces several significant issues that may impede efforts to maximize utilization of all ISS research facilities."

Comment Interesting (Score 1) 262

The old idea of controlling your computer with minimal effort is of course interesting (i.e. Homer Simpson-Compatible).

I hope it would work better than some speech recognition systems, as you sometimes become tired and bored trying to emulate the appropriate tone of a snooty BBC speaker for being correctly understood.

On the other hand, it poses the new problem of what to do with your hands, while you are in front of your computer screen, typing with your brain.

Comment Motion sickness (Score 1) 72

In some way you "train" your brain to process more efficiently fast images with much information content...

From my own experience with shooters, I remember I sometimes suffered motion sickness when I started playing quake. I also notice it is harder to follow the images when I have not played from a long time.

Anyway, I think this is more related to your brain, not your eyes. You may just learn to take into account only the "important" visual information and discard the rest.

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