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Comment Piracy: Free Advertising (Score 5, Interesting) 321

Piracy is one of the greatest forms of advertising. In some businesses, it's called "word of mouth". Growing up, many of the products I was introduced to, and subsequently became loyal customers of, was thanks to "piracy" of one sort or another. Back then, nobody saw it as a bad thing. The rule of thumb was copy all that you want as long as you don't try to make a profit from it or pass it off as your own.

When I was younger and still listened to mainstream music, my favorite band was Metallica. I heard them on the radio a few times, but I didn't know who they were. That is, until one of my friends loaned me a cassette tape. Then, a series of them. I was hooked. I bought every CD I could find (even though I already had the tapes), and I tuned into every radio station that played them. From what I understand, they owe a lot of their success to piracy. It's a shame that they attacked Napster. By the way, has anybody heard anything from them lately? I wonder how their anti-piracy campaign is working?

It wasn't just music. Everything from software and video games to free food came along my way, and I often rewarded the company with my business. I was always more loyal to companies that treated me like I was a prize to be one, and not a resource to be manipulated. I hope that the media companies realize this before we lose too many of our rights. As for me, I've already given up on them.

Comment Re:I don't understand.... (Score 2) 68

Just because you, the end user, doesn't see something, doesn't mean that you aren't actively engaging it. Everytime you open a web page, your browser usually makes several requests to retrieve stylesheets, scripts, and every image on the page. There is nothing that requires those items to come from the site you think they do. If a rogue script is there, then it gets on your computer and likely has all the permission that you've allowed for the page you're on, possibly including cookie information. Also, a script could quietly auto-redirect you to a phishing page, etc.

Comment Re:Uhm... (Score 4, Interesting) 68

Very true. It's something that has bothered me for a while. I'd really rather not have Facebook and others tracking me all over the web, and yet, they usually do. Even while you're viewing this very page, there are icons for Twitter, Facebook, and Google which must be loaded from their site. IIRC, some of those ToS won't allow you to use their logo, so it has to come from their site. Even the website has a copy of the image, you still need to use their site for stats and other nifty functionality. In modern sites, that is almost always done by client side JavaScript which makes users send traffic to their site. All of that can be bypassed, but I don't know anybody who does for long.

I think that people would be truly shocked to find out how much information they are sending about themselves, and how many sites collect it that they are unaware of. Most of that comes because of an ignorance about how the web works. What makes it sad is that most of them don't care as long as they get to chat with friends on their Facebook page.</rant>

Comment Re:Not on the disc (Score 5, Informative) 908

... and none of it goes to the original developer!

And why should it? The developer was paid from the initial sale. Part of the value of the product for the initial buyer was the fact that it was his to now keep or sell. Wen you buy something, it's yours, and you have to right to use it, sell it, or throw it away if you want.

How many other industries let you sell something, and then still keep all rights to it? When a car company sells you a car, they don't demand that every time you sell that car, they get a portion of the sale. If you buy fries at McDonalds, your friend doesn't have to pay McDonalds a fee if you give them one of your fries. Suppose that I went out and built a radio and sold it to somebody. You would think I was crazy if I demanded that each time it was sold or given a way, I should get some of the profit. You would think me insane if I pushed laws demanding that you never take it apart or use its parts for other things. And yet, that is exactly what you propose for games. It's interesting to see how you and others like you have been conditioned to express shock and resentment when it's legal for people to do the same things with media that they do with any other legal product.

Also, it's been a while since I've bought any games, but I find it unlikely that somebody would pay 90% of the new product price when they could get the new, out of the box version for only 10% more. Of course, if they would, that only goes to further show how much resentment people are feeling for the manufacturers.

Comment Re:Not on the disc (Score 5, Insightful) 908

I think that you miss the point. Nobody is trying to stop them from making a profit. This isn't about us trying to make them poor, it's about people being fed up with companies acting more like parasites trying to squeeze more revenue from their product their predecessors did and is worth paying. They treat the consumers like they need their products. They forget that people aren't always able or willing to pay higher and higher prices for their merchandise.

Sure, F2P games are often there to provide a profit. We don't have a problem with that like we didn't have a problem buying and trading games back in the 80's and 90's. When I was growing up, part of the fun of buying a game was that after you got bored with it, you could trade it off with one of your friends. You'd still buy the latest games that came out when you had the cash, but your old games still held value. Even in this new age, I still enjoy breaking out the old Nintendo games sometimes.

As a side note, there are many truly free games out there. It's called OSS. I know that some people will complain about the low quality compared to the more polished proprietary games, but at least we have some free options. As for me, I haven't found any game, for pay or for free, that I enjoy as much as nethack. So, let them make a profit, but when that profit is made to spite the consumer, I say it's time to look for an alternative.

Comment Re:But does it change anything? (Score 1) 217

These protests are short-lived and I wonder if they end up doing any good.

These protests might do a little good and kill some of these bills. The problem is that the bills keep coming. How long will people protest? They will eventually tire of protests and blackouts for each and every bill. The only answer is to stop it all at its source.

This sort of legislation is being funded and pushed by the big media companies who are afraid of losing their oligarchy. If we want to do something that will last, we need to limit their funding and rethink how we get our information and entertainment. Y Combinator has already planned to fund such startup companies, and Reddit already has it's own community to gather ideas. I think that it's time to do more to address the real problem.

Comment Re:Their "common carrier" status (Score 1) 181

I'm a bit on the fence. I don't like mandated censorship (by governments), but I'm sometimes okay with private entities censoring themselves. The problem here is that Twitter seems to be bending to the will of the various governments, and doing so in a time when it's best to act out against those governments. However, something else that I must consider is that if it doesn't comply, it might have to be banned by those governments, so this might actually allow them to be more useful there. After all, people can still get useful information out by bypassing censorship. In the end, I'm still not strongly on either side.

Comment Re:Fair use? "Not comfortable with..." (Score 4, Insightful) 242

Copyright owners want to do away with fair use.

That's exactly the point. These media companies have been expanding their "rights" for years while shrinking ours. If the copyright system was anything like it is now back when these companies started doing business, they would have been sued out of existence before anybody knew who they were. They want to make it big playing by one set of rules, but then change the rules to prevent others from doing the same.

Comment Re:"Kill" is hyperbole (Score 1) 424

I think that it's a wonderful idea. Hollywood is already on the way out, and it needs a shove. We need to see more real innovation from the public, and not the same old stale model. There's a new community on Reddit seeking to do just that: /r/KillHollywood. I don't know if that is where the next big idea could come from, but it could be a place to give some of us a voice.

Comment Re:G-O-L-D Baby. (Score 1) 868

Gold has no practical value. The only reason some people are willing to spend money on it is because they like shiny things. I would suggest that things that actually have a practical value (food or oil for example) are a better store of value.

Gold is very practical. What makes it so valueable is the fact that it has uses in many situations and across different cultures. In a society interested in manufacture, gold can be made into a very thin conductor that doesn't corrode. Practically all societies adorn themselves or their possesions with jewelry, and gold is shiny and able to be easily crafted which makes it well suited to that. Gold does not corrode and can be melted to remove impurities and reformed into new uses when the old form goes out of style. It's easy to store and carry requiring no special containment or transport conditions.

It's important to base a currency on something static, whatever that may be. As it is now, once I get my paycheck, it's worth less than it was when I worked for it. Until something changes, it isn't a bad idea to buy whatever you know you will need as soon as it is practical. Buying your grocieries as far in advance as you can is a good idea. At some point, the system will collapse. How hard is uncertain, but things can't go on like this. Ammunition might be a good investment. Even if thre is a bloodless revolution, you can still use the rounds for hunting or self defense. For the long term, gold is still the best bet, though.

Comment Re:5 Over (Score 1) 717

I agree, there should be no sympathy for tailgaters. They are breaking the law, not using common sense, and are generally being selfishly annoying. Now, I have learned better than to go out of my way to slow them down myself, but I still dislike them.

Simply, the speed limit is the speed limit. That means that if it says 70mph, then 71 is breaking the law. If somebody wants a buffer, they can go 5mph under. Most places don't even have a minimum speed. It is also unlawful to get too close to the car in front of you. IIRC, the law is one car length per 10mph. It's only common sense. If I have to come to a stop, there has to be enough room that I'm not hit. I would rather be rammed at 10mph than at 80mph, so I don't mind slowing down until the offender backs off.

Of course, this doesn't apply to the passing lane. If you aren't passing, you shouldn't be in the passing lane. That's why they have multiple lanes. I might be wrong, but I think that if people used common sense and only used the passing lanes for passing, then everybody would be able to drive close to whatever speed they wanted without bothering anybody. However, if there is a car in front of you, there is nothing that you can do. Just my two cents.

Comment Re:If I wanted consequences (Score 5, Interesting) 352

When I first started playing nethack, I was frustrated by how almost everything was irreversible and game changing. I would quickly kill myself when sometihing didn't go the way I thought it should.

I have since resolved to play out each game the best I can no matter how unlikely the odds seem to be. In the process, I've learned to be more careful with each choice that I make. This has the advantage of adding a more real sort of fear that gets the blood pumping. I get a real tingle up my spine when I "sense a wave of psychic energy" at the bottom of the Gnomish Mines.

Another upside is that I find that I have more unique characters which sometimes require unusual tactics to get by. When you overcome these challenges, you have a story to tell that likely has never been experienced before.

Comment Re:Tell that to to judge ;-) (Score 0, Troll) 250

It wasn't that somebody just decided "You know, we should just not have fun!", but there are reasons why these things are considered bad. The first hint is your conscience, but the reason behind it is that they are simply, as the Bible explains, inconvenient.

Sex, for instance, is perfectly fine within the lifelong bond of marriage. However, when we use it as a source of pleasure, we find ourselves in all sorts of painful and distracting situations. As for intoxication, there are several problems. Other than the fact that you are out of control (depending on the intoxicant), you also have the tendency to get wrapped up in it and become less productive.

One may argue that there are drugs that are not adictive and cause no lasting damage. That may be the case, so they may not be so bad. The real problem is trying to define your life by pleasure, which is fleeting. It is one of the things, such as money, fame, etc. that people set their sites on that have no lasting benefit. In that sense, it is inconvenient at best.

Sadly, I have known many people who have had their life ruined by drug addiction. It is their experience that has told me the harm that those things can cause. Am I therefore advocating laws against drugs? Not necessarily. I'm just saying that they are a potential snare, and I thank God that He loves and forgives even the worst and will remove them from the things they can't leave on their own.

Comment Re:Missing Option (Score -1, Troll) 178

That's exactly why I'm glad Christmas isn't about family or even friends, even though that's what all those Christmas shows try to tell people. There are people who don't have families, and sadly, there are some who don't have any friends either. I'm sure that we've all been at a place in our life where we have at least felt like that. Also, I'm glad it isn't about gifts which we may or may not get. So, a holiday celebrating those things would be a sad day for many.

Thankfully, we have something much greater to celebrate on Christamas. That is the gift of God's own Son, who is the promise that the very God of all creation wants very much to be your friend, in fact, a friend who will never leave you or forsake you. With that gift also comes adoption into an eternal family. Much like our biological families, some of the Christian family can be awkward and hurtful at times. Yet, if you find a good church, you'll have a large family that will love you and want to help you no matter what you do or say.

The best part is that you can celebrate these things any and every day of the year, regardless of your circumstances. Even though it is a free and universal gift, it is such a personal one. For a computer guy such as myself, it is nice to have somebody who really understands me, and loves me anyway. So, forget the decorations this year. Remember the free gift. If by chance you haven't accepted it yet, then check the tag, it is for you. Have a merry Christmas.

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Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas