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Comment Re:Looking at the frets? (Score 1) 172

Well, I've only played for 20 years, but surely using your eyes is an advantage? I don't scan the fretboard constantly because in a band situation you need to checking with the drummer, or nodding to the keyboard player to take a solo; but when I'm in a complex passage or ripping out a solo I'm 100% concentrated on getting things right, and to me that includes visual feedback of the fretboard.

Sure riffing some Am chord or playing some simple blues riffs you don't NEED to look down all the time but I don't see what you gain from NOT making sure of yourself at times.

Comment From here in China... (Score 5, Informative) 302

I live in China (Harbin, to be exact).

The ONLY shops here that seem to sell legal software are some of the supermarket chains. In fact, the only legal software I see in any quantity (and not much of that)are PS3 games, since they haven't been cracked yet. These sell for about 300-400 rmb ($40-$60). Compare that to any other computer game of 4-7 rmb ($0.5-$1).

Same thing with movies. I can often buy the DVD release of a movie before it's available in the west, complete with picture insert and so forth, for around $1.

I understand that music is not a big seller since everyone downloads it.

I often discuss this my students (I'm an English teacher) and, quite literally, EVERYBODY buys / downloads / uses copied media. It's part of the fabric of the country. Since the government love to keep the people happy, you aren't going to see any change whatsoever on this in the near future, despite whatever the Chinese government may say.

The only two examples I know of that seem to 'sell' software with any success is WOW, since they have a separate Chinese micro-payment system, and QQ, an instant messaging service, which also handles micro-transactions (you can upgrade your avatar with extra clothes, and many other things - I've never looked to closely).

Comment More of a health issue.... (Score 5, Insightful) 279

Most students that I teach in China (18-22) can't afford the computer required, so they play WOW and CS at their Internet bar. These places are usually dark, dingy and full of second-hand cigarette smoke. They make some of my teenage hacker basements look positively healthy. So I think it's not that the parents are really worried about the length of time spent playing, it's the conditions they are played under.

Comment AS IF!!!! (Score 5, Interesting) 189

I live in China. This will not happen.

The very idea that you must even sell each computer with said software on it is a non-starter. The rule of law here is very thin; if you don't annoy the govt. you can pretty much do what you like.

I bought a computer today from the flea market that is Harbin's main computer store (the infamous downstairs section, for those of you living here). This is a zero-regulated place where the very idea of mandating computer software is laughable.

It's like a few weeks ago when there was an article about mandating Red Flag Linux in cybercafes. This place is very capitalist and such measures simply won't even be enacted, let alone enforced.

Even the Chinese government know this. From TFA:

"The software must either be preinstalled on the hard drive or enclosed on a compact disc"

So at the very best, it'll be a CD thrown away when new machines are purchased.

Comment Call themselves engineers.... (Score 5, Informative) 217

Touchscreen calibration? I used to work for a company that built quiz machines and the like for the UK pub industry (circa 2000). Essentially they were simple PC's with a touchscreen (the monitor had a PS2 output).

We used to leave those machines running at various sites for YEARS, and I can't ever remember a calibration problem. And trust me, we'd know because when a customer starts to lose money they let the pub know about it all right. The biggest problem we had was the coin slot mechanism screwing up.

So now you're telling me that almost 10 years later and the calibration in a voting machine can't last A WHOLE GODDAMN DAY? That's service so bad it almost makes me believe in the conspiracy angle!

Comment Re:Great firewall of... wtf? (Score 5, Insightful) 127

It IS transparent to the population of China. I live here, and its just not an issue even with the net-addicted teenagers I teach every day. They all use Chinese video sites, and the only people annoyed by this are us westerners.

Think of it this way: how many Chinese language sites do you go to every day? Would you notice if a few got shut down? That, my friends, is the reality of this to the average Chinese person.

Now, if they shut down WOW, we'd have a revolution today!

Comment Here In China... (Score 4, Interesting) 354

I work as an English teacher in Harbin, north-east China. I do 20 hours of actual 'work', i.e. teaching a week and about 2 hours lesson planning (sat at home on the computer). Not really a busy schedule.

But my wife, a Chinese teacher, manages to get by with 5 HOURS teaching a week. OK, so she technically works 40 hours a week at the school but the rest just consists of sitting in the office surfing the net.

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