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Sony Gets Nasty With PSBreak Buyers 246

YokimaSun writes "The war between hackers and Sony over the PlayStation 3 has now taken an even more sinister turn, with Sony going after not just shops but actual buyers of the PSBreak dongle, threatening them with fines of many thousands of Euros and forcing them to sign cease-and-desist letters. It seems Sony will use any means necessary to thwart both homebrew and piracy on the PS3."

Infinite Mario With Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment 103

bgweber writes "There's been a lot of discussion about whether games should adapt to the skills of players. However, most current techniques limit adaptation to parameter adjustment. But if the parameter adaptation is applied to procedural content generation, then new levels can be generated on-line in response to a player's skill. In this adaptation of Infinite Mario (with source [.JAR]), new levels are generated based on the performance of the player. What other gameplay mechanics are open for adaptation when games adapt to the skills of specific players?"

Comment DRM is not about "copy protection" (Score 0) 447

DRM only affects paying customers who play by the rules.

DRM ceased being about preventing "piracy" nearly a decade ago (if not earlier). DRM does not affect pirates. At best it makes difficult work for the one or two guys who initially crack a given scheme. Though I suspect those guys are probably getting more enjoyment out of unraveling the DRM than they would playing the game it's wrapped around - so even there it is a failure to affect "pirates".

Take UBI's DRM for instance, because it seems to be the one on everyone's minds these days. Assassin's Creed II was one of the first games to use it. Not only was the game out on usenet before retail, but the DRM was also smashed. If I can be permitted an anaolgy: Companies like UBI wants us to think of DRM like a lock that they use to put on their most valuable treasures, and they want us to think that they're just doing what is necessary to defend their livelihood. So in terms of Assassin's Creed II, it's like they bought a brand new lock to lock up their priceless treasure, then someone came in, right in front of them, cracked the lock, made a master key, duplicated it a thousand times and started spreading the keys all over the sidewalk in front of their building with little labels on them saying what they were for. Now the reasonable thing to do would have been to demand your money back from the a-hole who sold you the lock that didn't work, and move your valuables elsewhere, but that's clearly not what UBI did. They just soldiered on.

Why? Because the DRM still works. It still does what they want it to. It controls consumers who play by the rules. No company in this business is naive enough to truly believe that DRM will stop or even slow "piracy". (There may be elements in the company, like CEO's and people distant enough from the concept and susceptible enough to BS propaganda that believe it, but I'm not counting them - they're just highly paid idiots.)

Otherwise, why would DRM be implemented to stop people from playing a game before the release date? Not all pre-release copies are unlicensed. Release dates are a function of marketing, not technology - especially in situations where a software is completed and sitting on a shelf for two weeks before anyone is allowed to buy it. DRM is about controlling customers.

Why would DRM require that you log into an Internet service to "activate" a software, or only allow you to install it a certain number of times? This is not to prevent "piracy". It is to discourage "sharing" via sneakernet, and it is to kill off secondary sales. They don't want the copy of the game you have to retain any value - they are attempting to make software behave like perishable goods - in other words they want your copy to be "used up" so that anyone seeking a copy is forced to buy it new from them.

Again, these are not things that affect "pirates". "Pirates" disable the "protection" scheme and just go on their merry way. You may think that "pirates" are just greedy bastards who want everything for free, but their efforts are sometimes the only thing tipping the balance in favor of consumers.

It is ironic that so many people who read posts bitching about DRM automatically assume that the ones doing the complaining are just frustrated "pirates". "Pirates" do not complain about DRM - IT DOES NOT BOTHER THEM. The people doing the complaining are either paying customers, or people who would be if it were not for the DRM.

Geek Squad Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter To God Squad 357

An anonymous reader writes "A Wisconsin priest has God on his car but Best Buy's lawyers on his back. Father Luke Strand at the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac says he has received a cease-and-desist letter from the electronics retailer. From the article: 'At issue is Strand's black Volkswagen Beetle with door stickers bearing the name "God Squad" in a logo similar to that of Best Buy's Geek Squad, a group of electronics troubleshooters. Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the car is a creative way to spur discussion and bring his faith to others. Best Buy Co. tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it appreciates what Strand is trying to do, but it's bad precedent to let groups violate its trademarks.'"

Comcast Awarded the Golden Poo Award 286

ISoldat53 writes "The Consumerist has awarded Comcast the Golden Poo award for the worst company in America. From the article: 'After four rounds of bloody battle against some of the most publicly reviled businesses in America, Comcast can now run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and hold its hands high in victory — it has bested everyone else to earn the title of Worst Company In America for 2010.'"

Comment 2 Solutions (Score 0) 932

As far as educating your family, experience has taught me that the majority of people who don't understand technology either don't want to, or aren't willing to spend the time it takes to learn. I *mostly* solved this exact problem for myself about 2 years ago. I tried two different methods, both of which worked to some degree. The first method I tried was simply denying them administrative access to the machines. This is somewhat easy on XP because any software they use that normally requires admin access can be allowed to run without it by opening up only the specific file/directory and registry entries used the by the application and nothing else. In Vista it is a different story because the OS "believes" an application needs admin access even though all of the things it wants to access are open to that user. The second method was to install a Linux distro. Since the user is clueless about the operation of the OS in either case, better to run one with more security and less malware targeted at it. This is really a variation on the first method, because, again, I don't give root access to the user. It is not without its drawbacks - this may be due to the distro I chose (openSuSE 10.3) but it has not been the easiest thing to maintain. Compatibility issues with glibc were never solved before the distro was abandoned so VLC died the death when I upgraded it to 1.0 and there was no going back because removed the old packages that work. That's just one example, but numerous things like that have come up. Neither of these methods is really viable from a business standpoint - like if you're operating a computer repair service out of your house, but for family they work great.

Comment Re:Curiosity... (Score 0) 1766

I don't know when or where you went to school, but when I was taught about evolution, it was pretty much given as the explanation for the origin of life. Maybe the whole "primordial soup" thing has been tossed out since I last took a hard look at it. I don't scour science journals every week to keep abreast of all of the newest revisions to Earth's collective scientific beliefs, so maybe no soup now? That does make me ignorant, I suppose but by the same token, I doubt you regularly study the Bible and see how it applies to life in this day and age, so it makes you ignorant too - just of a different subject.

I never claimed to have some great understanding of evolution, and, in fact, was asking someone to explain it to me. I wasn't rude or antagonistic and all of my responses were as thoughtful as I could make them. I fail to see how that warrants my karma getting trashed. But I probably don't understand karma - since we're so into reinventing things but not changing their names, maybe karma's just a big popularity contest rather than a thoughtful and objective critique of my postings.

I'm clearly not a scientist, but I don't have to be one or even agree with one to understand what science is. I know very well what it is, but perhaps you don't? Or maybe the fundamental definition of science has changed into something more like a religion since I went to school? It certainly has enough zealots now.

It's exactly reactions like yours that prompt things like Mr. Stein's movie. Maybe introspectively it looks different to you, but to me you seem insulting and spiteful. How else am I supposed to interpret you telling me that I'm so stupid that I don't know what science is in the first place and that my stupidity facilitates my belief in creation. You have really just proven my point here.

Submission + - Antarctic ice sheet melt accelerating 1

OriginalArlen writes: The rapidly diminishing extent of Arctic sea-ice has been widely covered here and elsewhere. Now NASA scientists using satellite data have published a paper in 'Science' demonstrating increased melting around the margins (mostly) of the Antarctic ice sheet. This is potentially much more serious, as the margins act as barriers, preventing the much larger land-borne ice-sheets sliding off the continent into the sea — causing a catastrophic 4-6m rise in sea-levels.

Submission + - Cyber attack 'could paralyse Sweden'

paulraps writes: Sweden may be one of the world's most connected, data-driven societies, but there is a downside: according to two leading defense experts, "a large-scale attack on the country's computer infrastructure could paralyse the country within hours'. Dan Larsson at the National Defence Radio Establishment and Roland Heickerö at Sweden's defence research institute say it is disturbing that Sweden has no national action plan to combat a major cyber threat — but what country does?

Submission + - Man Wins Partial Victory In Circuit City Arrest (

JeremyDuffy writes: "Michael Righi, the man who was arrested at Circuit City for failing to show his reciept/driver's license, has fought a moral battle against the city for almost a month now. The case has already been settled and he emerged victorious... sort of. It turns out that he's already spent almost $7500 and would have kept fighting them too, but because his family would have been dragged into it, he was forced to take a deal. They've expunged his record and dropped all charges, but he had to give up his right to sue the city to do it."

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