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Comment Calling Thursday Next... (Score 1) 242

From TFA:

Imagine the outcry if the courts were to legalize patents on English prose. Suddenly, you could get a "literary patent" on novels employing a particular kind of plot twist, on news stories using a particular interview technique, or on legal briefs using a particular style of argumentation. Publishing books, papers, or articles would expose authors to potential liability for patent infringement. To protect themselves, writers would be forced to send their work to a patent lawyer before publication and to re-write passages found to be infringing a literary patent.

Sounds like a plot element from a Jasper Fforde novel.

Comment Re:FUD FUD FUD and more FUD (Score 1) 926

Good to hear. If PowerShell becomes vaguely universal on Windows (which, given that it wasn't installed by default up through Vista AFAIK, might now happen as soon as two more Windows versions from now), it might be actually useful for system automation.

Plus, it will become more possible to actually have a meaningful discussion about the merits of the competing OSes' CLIs, and see whether the *nix-style shell actually is as superior as I think it is. With the obvious inferiority of cmd.exe (which is virtually identical to in at least 80% of relevant respects), and the near-universal unavailability of PowerShell, it's been impossible to talk about the subject...

Comment Re:I've always wonderded... (Score 1) 926

it's somewhat like going to a restaurant, either you return it to the kitchen or you eat it. RMS insists I'm not free unless I get to go into the kitchen and give the dish a do-over. Don't tip, don't return and give bad reviews seems to work for the rest of the world.

The analogy breaks down in that you can readily go elsewhere, or even just eat your own food, if you don't like the particular restaurant, and refraining from giving them your business won't affect the rest of your life - but you can't necessarily do the same (go to another vendor or write it yourself) with nearly the same facility in the software world, and refusing to give one vendor business can be difficult or impossible if you have to work with other people who *do* give them business (because of file-format compatibility and so forth).

If it were as practical to "vote with your wallet" that way for software as it is for e.g. restaurants, then your analogy would be a pretty good argument. The trouble is that it isn't that practical, and hasn't been for a very long time - if, indeed, it ever was.

Comment Re:"Teach a man to fish" (Score 1) 926

convincing fortune 500 CIO's that getting paid for your product is fundamentally evil is a hard sell.

Getting paid for your product is not fundamentally evil.

There are plenty of other things which are, however, and Microsoft does quite a few of them. Some of them are listed in TFA. "Charging for its software" is not on that list.

Comment Re:These people are delusional. (Score 1) 926

Microsoft includes DRM software in their operating systems to allow consumers to view certain media on their computers. Microsoft didn't put the DRM on the media, the DRM doesn't affect your personal files, and Windows sure as hell isn't enabling anything, unless you're talking about "enabling" a consumer to view something they have legally purchased.

Yes, it is.

It's enabling the people who put the DRM on that media to restrict what I can do with the media on my computer. (Or, well, not my computer - I don't run Windows, for this reason among others - but the same principle applies.) Without Microsoft's cooperation, they wouldn't be able to restrict it that way.

You are arguing that the only alternative is to not have the media be playable at all. This is nonsense. It would be entirely possible to have software which can play the media and neither actively cooperate with nor actively ignore the DRMers' attempts to restrict it; indeed, that would have been the path of least resistance, the easiest way to go.

Microsoft chose to actively cooperate with the aims of the DRM crowd, instead of either rejecting them or remaining neutral. Because they are actively cooperating in the DRM effort, it is entirely legitimate to blame them, in addition to blaming the people who put the DRM on the media itself.

Comment Re:These people are delusional. (Score 1) 926

The argument for DRM is that content producers should be able to do what they want with their content, including hiding it behind DRM if they believe it will protect their profits, regardless of whether it will actually protect their profits, and that you don't have the moral authority to tell them that they can't produce content under their own terms -- that you'll outright change the terms to your favour after they produce it.

And the counterargument is that the "should" you cite is not enough to outweigh or otherwise override the fact that the content producers "should" not be able to take control over, or otherwise dictate, what people can do with their own computers.

The law already restricts what people are *permitted* to do. DRM goes beyond that and tries to restrict what people are *able* to do. That's a very significant distinction, and a potentially very significant line to cross.

Comment Re:FSF is not very truthful in this campaign (Score 1) 926

DRM may infringe on rights (which is actively being argued in court these days), but to simply provide software that allows current laws to be enforced is not evil.

I think I disagree.

Or rather, I would say that if you voluntarily (as opposed to under coercion and protest) cooperate with the attempts to do evil, you are yourself doing evil. Thus, if DRM itself is evil (as many seem to think), then providing software which *has no other purpose than to make DRM more possible* is necessarily also evil.

Comment Re:FSF is not very truthful in this campaign (Score 1) 926

Further, it is most certainly NOT the responsibility of the software vendor to aid you in circumventing the wishes of the content owner (ie: by providing a system that can decode DRM-encumbered content without enforcing restrictions).

Perhaps not. But it's also (and at least equally) not the responsibility of the software vendor to aid the content owner in imposing their wishes on you.

Microsoft should not be colluding with the content owners to enforce DRM. If the content owners want to use DRM, they should have to do all the necessary work for that themselves.

Neither Microsoft nor the content owners, nor for that matter the law, should be able to dictate what someone can or can not do with their own computer; only the technical limitations of the hardware and software should be able to do that. It might be legitimate for the law to constrain what someone *may* do, but it is definitely not legitimate for it to constrain what they *can* do. DRM attempts to constrain what people *can* do, not just what they are allowed to do, and in doing so it steps over the line.

This will become more of an issue if copyright on DRMed material is ever allowed to expire, such that the material enters the public domain, but is still inaccessible because it's covered by the DRM...

Comment Re:Pseudo-LAN to the rescue! (Score 1) 297

None of these seem like real complaints.

This is bad argument. What constitutes a "real" complaint?

Requiring Battlenet accounts for each copy of SC2 sold

This is how software works in the modern age.

It shouldn't be.

and no ability to resell SC2

Just don't put other games on the account you use with SC2 and you can sell the game+account.

Why should one person *have* to have multiple accounts, just to retain an option they've had since the beginning of the industry?

For that matter, why should someone *have* to have an account at all in order to play?

With WoW it makes sense; the design of the game inherently requires connecting through a central server and uniquely identifying the connector. (It would have been possible to design in a locally-hosted single-player mode, but it wouldn't have made a lot of sense, and it wasn't done in any case.)

As historical network play has demonstrated in past Blizzard RTSes, the game design does *not* inherently require connecting through a central server, much less uniquely and permanently identifying the connector.

no ability to hold large LAN events without cooperation of Blizzard

I don't see that anywhere. Blizzard will try to sell "LAN party services", of course. But you can organize whatever games you want however you want.

I think he's talking about the fact that, if - or even this particular incarnation of it, which includes compatibility with whatever exact protocols the game speaks - goes down or is taken down, network play becomes impossible. As long as Blizzard remains a going concern and plays nice, this won't be an issue - but if it ever goes under, or if its data centers go haywire, or if it decides it doesn't want to support the game anymore, then it's suddenly a major issue for anyone who wants to play at that point.

Alternately, he might be referring to something mentioned in the comments on the other recent Blizzard story - large numbers of people connecting from a location which has them all show up as a single IP, and then that IP getting banned for having too many simultaneous connections...

Or something else I haven't though of, in which case hopefully he'll explain.

Comment Mana-dependent character classes (Score 1) 520

In the original Diablo, only one of the three classes was strictly mana-dependent: the Sorcerer. The Warrior and the Rogue were dependent on other factors (primarily Health, and in the Rogue's case arrows), and could get away with paying little or no attention to mana.

In Diablo II, every single class was mana-dependent; all of them relied heavily on their active abilities, and all of those required mana. Ignoring mana would inevitably get you killed in fairly short order.

Warcraft III's heroes also tended to be mana-dependent (or so, at least, the "games built on top of War3" such as DotA seem to indicate), though perhaps not to the same extent, since those heroes were far from the only means of doing things in the game.

World of Warcraft has moved away from this somewhat, in that the (very differently designed) Warrior and Rogue now rely on Rage and Energy respectively, but it's still by and large a very mana-dependent game; ignoring mana will still get you very dead. For many classes this makes sense (Mage, Priest, Warlock, Shaman, Druid), but for others it doesn't necessarily fit as well; it's arguably also odd that intuitively mana-dependent classes so far outnumber ones which would not be.

Will Diablo III have any non-mana-dependent classes?

Comment Re:Like an ID for a database record (Score 1) 688

By contrast, in the organization where I cut my other-people's-computers admin teeth, we specifically avoided moving computers to follow people except in special cases (mainly, when the person involved was high in the hierarchy and didn't want to hear a "no"). That might explain part of why you consider this a more viable solution, whereas I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole if I had a choice in the matter.

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