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Comment Re:Survey says: everyone pirates but pirates buy m (Score 1) 186

Long story short, P2P or not, people are pirating these days, but the P2P folks have a larger appetite for music, and that includes purchasing it in larger quantities. Nothing really earth-shattering for most of us, though hopefully it'll be a wakeup call to the RIAA and their kind.

Well, we can hope, at least.

This resonates with something I've come to realise over the past week or so with regards to my own purchasing habits. And it's not just down to "I buy what I download", although you can easily oversimplify it out to that.

If I'm listening to a lot of music, I want to buy music. If I watch a lot of Anime, I want to buy Anime. If I'm watching a lot of genre TV, I want to buy genre DVDs. This includes if listened via radio or Spotify, or watch stuff on TV or on DVDs I already own. Consuming a certain type of media makes me want to consume more, and when I'm browsing the shops just after payday, that type of media is foremost in my mind.
I don't always buy exactly what I've already watched, although I sometimes do, but it puts me in the mindset to buy something.

So whether it's via torrents or via radio/TV/Spotify/VOD/rental, if I've just really enjoyed something then see something similar on the shelves of a shop, or in an Amazon search, then I'm more likely to buy it than when that kind of thing isn't on my mind.
I buy more media when I'm consuming media. This goes for things I see or listen to legitimately, too. But it's easy to understand why some people who pirate music will also buy a lot. They either want what they've listened to or just want to buy some music.

Comment Re:Has he ever actually talked to users? (Score 1) 980

And most of us have absolutely no problem with the "For Dummies" theme that's skinned over so many products today.

The problem isn't even if it's the default look and feel.

The problem is generated when frustrated (and experienced) users cannot change it to suit their liking.

My sentiments exactly.

Going back to the Ribbon, it was a complete break from how things used to work. I will grant that it's probably a better method for people first learning how to use the software. It does make a certian amount of sense from that perspective.
My issue with it was it became the One True Interface. If you wanted the new improvements or needed reliable file file format compatibility (as the compatibility pack wasn't perfect) - or just bought a new PC from a shop - you were lumbered with the Ribbon. There was no (Microsoft produced) method of reverting back to classic menus and icons. A nice third-party solution did exist, that I used for a short while.

From a personal point fo view, I did adjust to the Ribbon. It took a while, but I am now pretty good at using it. I can work my way around it as natively as I could the old menus.

But here's the thing, I still prefer the classic interface. This isn't a technical limitation I have. It's not a lack of desire to learn something new. From an preference and aesthetic viewpoint, I just don't like it. I can (and do) use the RIbbon. I'd just rather not. Even now.

And that's where mandated UI changes really piss me off. It's not a "new default". It's a whole new interface, whether you like it or not. If your preference is for heirarchical menus, or power user options, or vertical layout (or whatever non-standard layout you favour) you are out of luck. Your opinion does not count. "We created this shiney new perfect UI, this is all you get with the newer releases." Which really sucks when using older versions is not an option for whatever reasons.

One size does not fit all. Options are nice.

Comment Re:zzzz (Score 5, Insightful) 165

Obviously providing the means to download relatively small files is cheaper than manufacturing and shipping books, so good thing something might be done about it.

The fallacy here is that the physical cost of a book (printing, storing, shipping) is the largest contributor to its price. It's not*.

The problem with ths fallacy, though, is that it is reinformed by the retail side of it. Hardback are pricey, paperbacks are cheaper. Hardback prices still stay at the same price even after teh paperback comes out, therefore hardbacks cost more. Therefore printing is a key factor in cost.

The conclusion may be false, but it is logical given the perception of the facts at hand.

There is also the matter of value.

Personally, I don't mind paying close to paperback prices for an ebook. Hardback prices, on the other hand, make me want something persistent. Maybe if the file was DRM-free. Maybe.
But hardback pricing for less functionality than a paperback? It's just not worth it.

Comment Re:anime may be a bad sample subject (Score 1) 199

Very few titles are dubbed well.

This isn't entirely true, certainly not anymore. And I say this as a subtitle fan. I've seen enough clips, and entire episodes (granted, of stuff I saw subbed first...) and the dubbing these days is actually pretty damned good. The quality is improving over time. And that can only be a good thing. Should I ever want to intruduce a non-subtitle watcher to a new show, I can do it without my ears bleeding. ;-)

I think it mainly comes down to personal preference.
My interest in anime (and other Japanese shows) has contributed to (and is increased by) my interest in Japanese language and culture. So my preference remains to the original langue version. Obivously manga and novels I have to read in English, owing to my lack of real Japanese skill. But subtitles means I can enjoy the original performance, in its original langue, with original inflections, yet still understand what is going on.
And that is the same regardless of the quality of the dubbing. A good dub does, however, mean I can rewatch something (or go sub-free when my eyes are tired) and actually enjoy the overall show.

Maybe if dubs had been this good back in the 1990s my preferences would be different. It's certainly possible, and would explain why more people seem to like the dubs these days. And I don't have a problem with that, as long as the discs continue to have the subs on.

Comment Re:Torrents (Score 1) 275

I don't see it as exactly moving the "pirate" stuff.
I see it as Google had probably already planned on tuning the auto-complete to remove a lot of pirate search terms because, quite frankly, its not helpful for anybody that those be there.
There is probably a lot of other things that will be down-favored in this same move, but Google gets to turn to the RIAA and say "See what we did for you!" by focusing its forward face on the coincidental removal of things the RIAA wants removed.

As long as they're not removing actual search results, I don't see too much of a probem with this. As someone who works in IT Support it's really bloody annoying when Googling a software name without autocomplete "suggesting" warez, serials, cracks,. keygens, etc.
utocpletely can be really useful to see if other people have encountered the same issue. But when the top tier of auto-suggetions are to do with acquiring pirate copies of software I already have ut need to fix... not useful. And it's worse if the terms I want to use include serial, CD, license, etc. As these always get the auto-complete suggestions of crack, keygen, etc.

Comment Re:Just a little bias from the minister (Score 1) 139

It sounds like the submissions didn't agree with the minister's pre-determined outcome .. just keep trying until you get what you want to hear.

Doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's the way a lot of people are, it's certainly a behaviour I see a lot in my cutsomer-facing role. People told "no" try rephrasing the quaestion or restating their side of the reasoning several times then then ask my boss, get their boss to ask me and ultimately get their boss to ask my boss. (And they then look genuinely surprised when my boss tells them exactly what I already told them...)
In very very few cases does the answer change. But people seem to be conditioned that when they ask a question there is only one "true" answer that will eventually come out.

And I'm certain that managers and politicians believe the same thing. They know what they want to hear, so that they can present it on to others. And they'll keep going until they have the stats they want.

Comment Re:Its like 1000's of customers cried out (Score 2, Insightful) 282

Unfortunately, you're dead right. One of the DRM advocates on the BBC Blogs comment thread comes over very much as being afraid that caving to the "FOSS preachers" will result in the withdrawal of content from the content providers.

Or, to put it another way, is willing to put up with a reduction in freedom as long as all his (her?) favourite programs are available for viewing.
And then in the same paragraph, will accuse FOSS advocates of being "selfish".

Comment Re:Save your sanity, give up now (Score 1) 951

What they want is to pick up the phone, make a call, and have someone tell them what to do.

Which is fine and understandable. Annoying at times, but fine and understandable. What isn't fine, however, is how often they then call asking for support after dismissing the error message.
It's when people say "The program crashed and there was an error message, so I dismissed it and restarted. What went wrong?" And they have no idea what was in the error message, and don't seem to get that they sorta help me troubleshoot what the problem might have been.

On the flip-side, I've known some users who will actually pass on the error message. Whether by email, screenshot, post-in-note or even just leaving it on the screen and asking if I could have a look.
They may not be interested in how it works or what actually went wrong, but at least they realise that those annoying little messages might actually help a techie get them up and working faster.

Comment Re:Fast flip? (Score 2, Insightful) 125

Most of the crap wouldn't be so bad, only most ad-supported pages block on the main content until the adverts are loaded. And, personally, if it takes longer to load the ads than the content then I quickly read the content, ignore the ads more than ever, and mentally blacklist the site for a while.

This can be annoying in and of itself but it becomes worse if you're on a bad connection or if, perish the thought, the ad-server slows down.
I've had these before. In one case, the link was s slow somewhere on the chain that it took a couple of minutes to get as far as the logon page for one site so I could access the ad-free version.

And then we have the sites which put an advert in before the content, or who split the articles into multiple (ad-supported) pages.

If the companies really want to protect their revenue stream then they need to make sure that aforementioned stream (the adverts) doesn't get seen as "crap" by readers. Relevance and not slowing the site to a crawl would help. Yes, some of us out here will dislike advertising on principle, but it will help in the public view if the adverts don't make it hard to get to the content that people go there for in the first place. Making reading the articles feel like effort really isn't a good buiness plan, surely?

Comment Re:How about some nice menus instead? (Score 1) 617

This is my main issue with the Ribbon. Not the existance of the Ribbon itself, but that it is the only interface available in Office 2007. And even worse, the only plugins to restore the old-style menus and toolbars are third-party.

I can see that they wanted to make an interface that's meant to be more intuitive to new users. I can even see how it may well accomplish that - I've heard anecdotal evidence on both sides.
What really bugs me is that for those of us who have years or experience using the more traditional-looking interface and can skim the menus quickly, or for those people who learn one way of doing things and get completely flummoxed by a change in interface, Microsoft have decreed no official way of working the way you're used to. Not even an official Microsoft plugin.

Comment Re:Bollocks! (Score 1) 90

The problem in that case, though, is that the UK release - being a part of the European release - cannot (or at least often is not) be released until all the other European languages are done. Even though the game's already been translated to (or released in) English.

When it's a game you've been waiting for since before even the American (or Japanese) release, it just feels like a massive insult. But then they wonder why people import or flat out download the games. Once it's in English, English-speaking gamers are ready to play it.
If there was a confirmed date it would proably be better. But when the game's been out Stateside for months before there's even a confirmed UK/European release date, no wonder people lose patience.

Comment Re:You mean... (Score 1) 420

The worst thing about this lack is that it would help in the case of corporate environments, which Microsoft seem so keen on. Yet they still don't include it.
(OK, from the sounds of it Vista's UAC acts similarly - only without the Grace Period which allows a string of admin tasks to be done without having to authorise every single action.)

Currently the annoying thing about tech-support is when a user needs something doing which is, in and of itself, only about a 2-minute task. But it then requires either logging off and back in as an admin, or promoting their accounts and re-logging in for when admin-level user-side things need doing.
So a showstopping issue with a quick-fix often ends up taking far too long because Windows (XP) doesn't play well with certain software - even using RunAs.

Hardware Hacking

Wozniak Accepts Post At a Storage Systems Start-Up 183

Hugh Pickens writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is going back to work as chief scientist at Fusion-io, a start-up company that tweaks computers to let them tap vast amounts of storage at very quick rates. In the early days of Apple, Wozniak stood out as one of Silicon Valley's most creative engineers, demonstrating a knack for elegant computer designs that made efficient use of components and combined many features into a cohesive package and Wozniak will do similar work at Fusion-io, although this time with larger server computers and storage systems rather than PCs. 'I have a pretty quiet life, and I like to watch technology evolve,' says Wozniak. 'In this case, I like the people and the product, and said I would like some greater involvement.'"

Comment Re:Swimming on random waters (Score 1) 156

It's not possible to make a single game be go and dice. You can't add both randomness and it's lack to a game, to appeal every target.

I guess one of the problems with many videogames is that the same game (or game genre) can by played by people with totally differing skill levels.

Not even necessarily playing at the same time. But just playing in general.

The problem this raises is that for the highly practiced and skilled FPS gamer, they want it to be Go or chess. They have the decent screen, the precision controllers, and the decent hand-eye coordination. When the cross-hairs match up, it hits. Because they are (genuinely) that good, and when it doesn't hit it must be highly frustrating.
End result: Too much randomness and it's not fun.

Then there are the people like me. Mainly avoid FPS games. Sometimes play them for a quick fun round or blasting. In this case, it needs to be closer to poker or dice. I know I've don'e well in (casual) games of UT in the past, purely because of luck and chance - as my skills are.... somewhat lacking. But without that randomness, I'd probably never last more than a munute - at best.
End result: Not enough randomness and it's not fun.

So, for the developers they are between and rock and a hard place. They have to try and appeal to every target. If it's hardcore-only then it'll have great cult appeal, but might not sell as well. If it's casual-gamer-only, they get lots of instant sales but it might not have as undiring a long-term appeal as the more advanced gamers won't contunue to buy/mod/play it too much beyond the next big release.


Walmart Caves On DRM Removal 215

cmunic8r99 writes in with an email he received from yesterday evening about the pending shutdown of their DRM services (which we discussed a while back). Walmart has reconsidered and won't be shutting off its DRM servers after all. They are still moving to an all-MP3 store, but won't break all the DRMed music its customers have already downloaded; this because of "feedback from the customers."

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