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Submission + - Where has PC quality gone? 1

IceDiver writes: I'm an ordinary PC user. I'm not a sysadmin, or tech in charge of a large number of PCs. I have a desktop and a laptop. That's it. Yet over the past year I have suffered what seems to me to be an unreasonable number of component failures: 3 hard drives (well 4, actually, as the replacement for one arrived DOA), an optical drive, a graphics card, and a RAM chip. One of the hard drives and the graphics card failed within 6 months of purchase. Everything else is less than 2 years old. I generally buy name brand parts, and research current reliability ratings, to try and ensure that I am getting quality parts, yet here I am, spending a small fortune shipping parts back to the manufacturers for RMA.

Are there any good brand names left? Or has price competition fatally compromised quality across the board?

Comment Re:Settlers 7 (Score 4, Interesting) 279

It might lead to more sales, but not from me.

I won't buy them, and I won't try to download any of these games, even if they ARE successfully cracked. Besides being illegal, it would just give UbiS*** ammo for their claims that they are losing sales to pirates.

Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message.

Comment Re:More reasonable pricing (Score 3, Insightful) 236

How does the existence, or non-existence, of middlemen affect my perceived value?

I see a hardcover at $20 - $30. I get a physical copy that can be used anywhere without special technology. I get the right to resell it when I am done with it. A hard drive crash will not delete it. To me, that has value.
A $14.99 digital copy that has none of these advantages seems to me to have little value. That perception does not depend on middlemen, or the cost of paper. It depends on the usefulness of the product. Whether or not the publisher and author save costs by publishing electronically is not my problem.

Comment More reasonable pricing (Score 5, Informative) 236

Considering the fact that you get no physical copy and are encumbered by DRM, it seems to me that fair pricing is as follows:
$9.99 for the period when the only physical copy available for sale is hardcover,
$4.99 once the paperback comes out.

Anything above these prices is, to me, a rip-off.

This explains why I have never purchased an e-book, yet the bookshelves in my home are overflowing.

Submission + - School Astronomy Observation List Wanted 1

IceDiver writes: I am a teacher in a small rural school. My Grade 9 students are doing a unit on astronomy this spring. I have access to a 4" telescope, and would like to give my students a chance to use it. We will probably only be able to attempt observations on a couple of nights because of weather and time restrictions. I am as new to telescope use as my students, so I have no idea what objects would look good through a 4" lens. What observations should I attempt to have my students make? In other words, how can I make best use of my limited equipment and time to give my students the best experience possible?

Submission + - Church of Scientology Convicted of Fraud ( 1

IceDiver writes: As most Slashdotters know, the Church of Scientology's practices are widely scorned and even mocked. Now, however, the so-called Church has been convicted in France of fraud and one of its leaders given a 2 year sentence. Yes, the sentence is only a suspended one, and the effect this will have on the worldwide church is still to be determined, but we can hope. Is this the beginning of the end for L.Ron Hubbard's five-decade-old scam?

Comment Re:How times change (Score 1) 368

Bnetd was created to bypass Blizzard's cd key check so people could play pirated versions of Starcraft online.

No. That was just ONE of the things bnetd did. And the reason it bypassed cd-checks was because (as I read some years ago) Blizzard refused to provide the info that would have allowed the programmers to check cd-keys. The PURPOSE of bnetd was to create an open server product that would address many of the shortcomings of Battle.Net

Now, I have some sympathy for BLIZZARD not wanting info about their cd-key algorithm to become public, but the bnetd developers DID try to cooperate with BLIZZARD on that issue.

Comment Re:How times change (Score 1) 368

Pirating was the main reason for bnetd. Period. If you can't come to terms with this, then you aren't living in reality.

And back in the day the movie and TV companies claimed that the main reason for VCRs was the pirating of broadcast content. Didn't make it true.

What I REALLY want to know is: Who is responsible for the taking away of the fair use rights we used to have as a result of SONY vs BETAMAX? The law used to state that even if the primary use might be piracy, it was still legal provided there were significant non-infringing uses! BLIZZARD vs bnetd seems to have changed that.

Comment Re:Missing Option: None of the above. (Score 5, Informative) 452

Blizzard's license says 'thou shalt not reverse engineer our services'

bnetd devs never agreed to any Blizzard EULA, and besides, bnetd worked through reverse engineering network protocols, not Blizzard code.

Blizzard made several unsubstantiated accusations during the case (I would like to see how code was stolen without access to the servers - and no evidence was shown to back up this accusation). Basically, bnetd was shut down because Blizzard lied in court and got away with it.

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