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Comment Re:Let me be the first one to say it ... (Score 3, Interesting) 1870

In a similar vein, http://torrentfreak.com/economy-profits-from-file-sharing-report-concludes-090119/:

The researchers further found that people who download music and movies are not buying less than people who don't. In fact, downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors of concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn't. In the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from file-sharing, the researchers report.

Comment Re:The official post (Score 4, Interesting) 98

The BBC can't opt-out at the moment. It seems that major sites which do opt-out at the moment make news (including headlines at http://news.bbc.co.uk/). It'd be quite reflexive for the BBC to opt-out from a scheme run by a major UK telecommunications company and to report it on their news website, since that is a major source of their web traffic. The BBC News website itself would be making the news by undermining BT's scheme on the grounds of privacy invasion. When enough sites have opted-out for it to be non-news, they could do it.

Also, the BBC and BT have to work with each other on things like iPlayer, the online television/radio delivery platform. Perhaps the BBC are avoiding opting-out on these grounds too.

Then again, since the BBC has a special place in the UK regarding license fee and lack of advertising, perhaps they were opted-out of the scheme from the beginning.

Comment Akamai, Google and privacy (Score 4, Insightful) 204

Akamai is an odd choice of platform if The White House is concerned about privacy. Akamai serve about 20% of the world's Internet traffic and function as a "content delivery platform" for many big-name websites. Most of the work they do is in caching images and interactive media, as well as serving ads for many websites to improve loading speed. They are like Google in many ways, in that they have a massively distributed server network that spans 70 countries and are ingrained in many peoples' browsing experience.

One of the things they are best known for is Internet usage statistics. They provide good indicators of general Internet use and use of specific services.

Also like Google, they track users using various means, and use the details to profit. Most importantly, they use this information for advert targeting.

There are two dissimilarities between Google and Akamai (ignoring the obvious dissimilarity of the two companies' models): Akamai have spent most of their life trying to find ways to make a profit and Akamai receive a lot less public scrutiny because their services are transparent to the end-user.

If YouTube was abandoned due to Google's privacy practices, privacy advocates should be as concerned about the privacy practices of Akamai. Indeed, the extent to which Akamai tracks users needs to be investigated and exposed for the sake of public scrutiny.

Comment R, GNU Octave. Necessary to good science. (Score 1) 250

I am an academic biomedical scientist working with electrophysiology. A lot of proprietary software is used in this field, such as IGOR Pro, Matlab, Statistica and SPSS.
These tools are, currently, better than open-source alternatives, and are sadly a little too entrenched in the field.
In terms of statistics software, R is good alternative to SPSS and Statistica, and I tend to use R. GNU Octave is designed to replicate Matlab, and be compatible with Matlab, but it isn't as feature-rich as Matlab yet. IGOR Pro is the most important piece of software in my work, and is used for data acquisition and analysis. Unfortunately, I don't know of any open-source alternatives to IGOR Pro.

Open-source software is crucial to good science, because expensive, proprietary software presents another barrier to replicating experiments and results. Ideally, there should be as few barriers to experimentation as possible. The current proprietary-based system ensures that science is bound to institutions (universities and companies, usually). It is very hard for scientists to work independent of these structures.

Comment Re:If EA is reading this (Score 1) 605

Let's try an analogy:

That's like walking into a store you've never been, and the owner keeps an eagle eye on you because he doesnt recognize you and suspects you might try to steal something, so in return you steal a candy bar.

Yes, software piracy is not physical theft, but your attitude is a good mirror of the situation I just described. Rather than simply saying "I won't buy it," threatening to pirate it is actually ENFORCING and ENCOURAGING the decision for further, stronger DRM.

Your allegory doesn't illustrate the situation at all. In your scenario, a candy bar is stolen in reaction to the eagled-eyed store owner. In reality, regarding this game, some choose to pirate it to avoid being subjected to what they see as unjust treatment. They do not pirate it as a reaction to unjust treatment.

A better allegory would be that the newest, latest candy bar comes out but it is only available from one store. The store jealously guards its recipes (think Willy Wonka) so each customer is finger-printed and a DNA sample is taken and put on a database as a discouragement. Some consumers really want to try the candy bar, but do not wish to be subjected to treatment they see as unjust (fingerprinting and DNA sampling). They obtain a copy of the candy bar on the black market to avoid this treatment and none of their money goes to Willy Wonka.

Just as the candy consumers obtain copies to avoid unjust treatment, gamers who pirate DRM-free copies do so to avoid what they see as unjust treatment (rootkit).

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky