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Comment Try Bandcamp (Score 3, Insightful) 86

Anyone remotely serious about their music - and, equally, their willingness to pay for a decent service and support the artists they like - could do a lot worse than checking out Bandcamp.

Pay only for what you want, download FLACs (plus many other formats) and stream everything you've ever bought via their app if you'd rather not download any files. They're also far more artist-friendly than the likes of Spotify; I've got a fair amount of music on Spotify and have never seen a cent from them whereas Bandcamp give you a significant percentage of any sales.

Admittedly, Bandcamp doesn't have the breadth of music on there that some other options do - many artists need to do a better job of uploading their libraries, myself included - but right now it's by far the best option for both listeners and artists out there (though I'd absolutely be interested to hear of others). It's unquestionably a better alternative to any option that either gives zero support to the artist, provides a poor service to listeners, or both.

Comment Re:Next step to prevent PC piracy (Score 1) 795

Actually I'd argue that you're perpetuating some fallacies yourself.

1. Semantically you're correct, but what does this prove? Copying something for free instead of buying it is still hurting the person who made the game/album/whatever.
2. I'd agree that anecdotal evidence isn't worth much, but maintaining the opposite without any proof of your own is just as bad.
3. Can you really say that -all- DRM is customer hostile and ineffective? A lot of it is undeniably awful, but many companies are just doing it wrong.
4. "if you're buying mainstream... you're doing practically nothing for the actors or musicians" - but by pirating you're doing actually nothing for them. This is the only way these guys are making a living, and no, not everybody is able to do live shows (see many composers, producers, electronic musicians etc.).

Fundamentally, copyright is there to protect people who put time, money and effort into creating something. It's not some evil oppressive force that's out to steal your rights and rip you off, though I think it would be fair to put certain companies into that category.

Comment Article misses the point (Score 1) 224

I read the article hoping that it would provide some interesting ideas about how independent musicians can better adapt their business to the challenges of the internet (I record for a number of small independents), but was rather disappointed.

TFA basically makes two suggestions:

1: Make all your money from live shows instead.
This argument has been made many times before on many different websites, but fails to account for anyone who doesn't fit easily into the typical 'rock band' style setup. What about composers? Dance music producers? Orchestras? People who for whatever reason can't gig regularly? It also assumes that you'll easily get gigs in the first place - something that is much more difficult without having music already released, so you're back to square one.

2. Get people to payfor your album in advance, then tailor it to their needs and maybe get them involved/credit them if they donate enough
I shouldn't need to point out why this will only work in the tiniest number of cases. Realistically, who's going to pay for music that hasn't been made yet, when so many people don't even want to pay for music that has? How many people here would 'fund' an album that might turn out to be shit? The evidence supplied by the article for this is also irrelevant for the vast majority of musicians who are trying to make a name for themselves.

Most musicians - if they're in it for the right reasons - should tell you that they're not in it for the money. This is the right attitude to have, but try telling anyone who enjoys their job that they shouldn't get paid for it and see how far you get. Musicians need better solutions if than this if they're going to survive the huge drop in profits from recorded music that is affecting most (not all) people in the industry, and has been for years now.

Comment Re:Award for all-time worst voice acting goes to.. (Score 1) 251

I think you're being a bit too kind here. A made-up accent is one thing. A performance that sounds like someone with one accent doing a laughable job of a completely different one is something else. Doesn't really help with immersion when all you can concentrate on is how badly they're mangling the dialect.

Comment Award for all-time worst voice acting goes to... (Score 1) 251

...the actor playing Sheogorath in the Shivering Isles expansion pack for Oblivion, purely for the comically bad accent. Was Sheogorath intended to be someone who spent equal amounts of time living in Scotland, Ireland and America? Or did Bethesda just decide that one of the pre-existing cast of 4 voice actors was probably good enough to pull off an additional regional accent, seeing as the same person had already voiced half of Oblivion's population of NPCs?

Comment Re:Google's customer list - public information? (Score 1) 671

Ditto the phony 'cancer fighting strategies' ads you get if you search for cancer information. They sell bullshit 'cures' for insane amounts of money to vulnerable people who can't afford it... highly unethical and clearly based on a desire to make money from other people's misfortune, but Google have been running the ads for years now. Horrible.

Comment Re:Why does anyone care? (Score 2, Informative) 350

People are making comparisons to IE6 because its market share is still relevant and affects the state of the web as a whole. For example, developments like Google Wave simply aren't possible on IE6 (at least without the somewhat controversial Chrome Frame plugin), so IE6 is hindering the adoption of new technology. Additionally, IE6's endless list of quirks cause untold lost hours of devlopment time for web developers worldwide.

Once IE6 drops down to a negligible percentage it means that many developers can free up a large part of their time to do more productive things, as they abandon support for it altogether. This would be great news not only for developers, but also for the web as a whole, which can proceed into new cutting-edge areas without being hindered by stale and outdated platforms.

Comment Problems are still corporate users and non-techies (Score 4, Insightful) 350

This is great, but IE6 is still going to stick around for years. The reasons - as have been widely discussed on these pages before - are:

  • Large corporations can't be bothered with the cost and hassle of updating thousands of machines when IE6 is supposedly 'good enough' and doesn't break internal applications which were built on top of its many quirks.
  • Many, many home users don't know what a browser is or don't realise that there are alternatives. These people aren't stupid (well, most of them anyway) - they just don't care enough about tech to know the options.

Neither of these situations will change any time soon. Gradual adoption of Windows 7 will certainly help in the second case, but the first one is dependent entirely on enterprise-level IT departments creating lots of work (and therefore cost) for themselves when senior management can't see any tangible benefit... And how soon do you think that will happen?

Comment All about the money... (Score 2, Interesting) 223

Could this be because of the losses that Sony and MS are making on each unit sold? I couldn't say whether past consoles always turned a profit, but I suspect that after investing so much money in their respective hardware, neither company wants to move on to the next gen before they can claw back as much cash as possible on games and add-ons...

Comment Horrible interface (Score 2, Insightful) 107

I've got to say the interface leaves a lot to be desired... it's quite flashy but not at all intuitive. I'd like something more table-based, where you can see the price, release date, genre etc. of lots of different games all at once. Instead, you often have to calculate where the content you want lives and hunt it down using the right combination of categories and button presses. Yeah, I know there is a search feature, but the browsing experience isn't great and is only going to get worse as more games are added.

If you think this is bad though, try Vidzone - the PS3 music video player you can download for free. It is slow, clunky and so horrible to use that I uninstalled it minutes after first using it. Worst interface I've ever seen, possibly apart from the Sonicstage NetMD software from 10 years ago or so (also by Sony). I think the company desperately needs to hire some usability experts...

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