While I am usually against situations where a government or organization blocks communication in an attempt to stop speech they do not like, I feel that the devil is in the details in this case. If the cell blackout was used because officials did not want the protestor's message to be heard, then I entirely agree that they went too far. However, with a lot of protests and demonstrations there is an increased chance of violence breaking out, be it from the protestors or even other bystanders, and in a place such as an underground train station which is both full of people and rather closed off any violence can quickly escalate. So, if officials did in fact have good reason to believe that the protest could turn violent, then I believe that turning off cell communication was an effective preventative measure to ensure the safety of bystanders (I would much rather miss a text message or two than become involved in a violent protest).
In summary, if the officials turned off cell communications because it was believed that the protest in question would likely lead to violence, then I believe it was a rather clever idea that had minimal impact on the public (as opposed to other alternatives such as shutting down the station or posting armed guards or something). However, if this was merely an attempt to prevent the message from being heard, then this was a completely condemnable act.
On the whole I find paywalls annoying, especially when a blog links to a news article locked behind one. The money's not really an issue to me, but the sheer annoyance of it. Let's say I'm reading my news in the morning, and an interesting article has a link to another news report about the same topic. Being me, I like to read several different reports in case one of them was excessively biased or had faulty facts. So I click the link, only to be presented with an annoying subscription page. I then have to get out my wallet, put in my credit card info, go through a bunch of account setup crap, and so on, by which time I've lost all interest in whatever I was originally reading.
I'm not against these news organizations making money for their work, however I feel that thwy definitely need to look at other options aside from paywalls. They seem more likely to drive readers to other more convenient news outlets than make enough money to be worthwhile.
I almost feel like BlueBeat.com is setting itself up as a sort of martyr in this. Think about it: a lot of people will buy tracks from them at that price, especially ones that aren't available elsewhere. When the site is eventually shut down (as is inevitable), a lot of those people are going to start thinking that the $.99 price is way too high, since they were able to get songs for a lot less. They will also start to view the record labels in a more negative light, since (in their view) the labels shut down a competitor who was offering a better price so that they could keep charging four times as much.
In light of this, I'm not sure if BlueBeat.com was simply trying to make as much money as possible and then run, or if they are trying to raise dissent against the record labels in order to bring down the cost of music.
I'd be considered a pirate. This is not, however, because I hate paying for anything and don't care about the content producers. I will gladly pay for content, and I enjoy supporting bands or other content producers I support. The only reason I pirate is because when I weigh the options pirated content is a better option for me. With pirated content, even when you consider the fact that the quality is usually not as good, or that I could get into legal trouble, or any of the other drawbacks, it still holds more value to me than the "legal" content options simply because it is easier to use. I know that it will play on whatever I have due to the absence of restrictive DRM, I (usually) don't have to worry about it sneakily installing all kinds of software on my computer, and so on.
So basically, while there are a good number of people who pirate content simply because they don't want to pay for it, there are a lot of people like me who like to support the artists and don't mind paying for the content, but instead pirate it because the legally produced content is a lot more trouble than it is worth. DRM and other tactics to try and stop piracy by restricting the consumers actually do the opposite, they drive the people who would gladly pay for the content to instead pirate it.
Imagine a crowbar. A useful tool, with many applications. I could, for example, use said crowbar in building a house. I could also use the crowbar to break into my neighbor's house. The crowbar itself is no more responsible for either of these actions than the people who made it. If the people who made the crowbar advertised that it was especially good for breaking and entering it would be one thing, but simply making a tool with many lawful uses does not mean they expect it to be used in an unlawful way.
Simply replace the crowbar with P2P software, and the uses with something more fitting, and it becomes clearer.
Many people these days think completely differently when it comes to technology. While the above crowbar argument may make perfect sense, for some reason when the item in question is some new kind of new technology people seem to think backwards. Crowbars and P2P software are really both just tools, their use depends on the one using them.
So here's a true story illustrating how piracy often works:
At one store I worked in for a while, there was one employee who was always playing music I liked. Not the really popular rock bands that most of the other people played over and over, but smaller and lesser-known bands. One day there was this really catchy tune that I had never heard before, and it got stuck in my head so I asked him who sang it. He told me it was a kinda small band called Say Anything. That night, I downloaded their (only) album and listened to it for a while as I worked on the computer. I really liked the band's sound, and now I am a pretty big fan who goes to their shows whenever they are in town and actively supports the band.
So long story short, while some may just look at the fact that I "stole" their music and call me a criminal who is killing music, downloading and listening to their music resulted in me becoming a big fan, giving the band more money and support by attending concerts and spreading their music to friends than just the price of one CD.
Lately I've noticed that a lot of kids are getting into Computer Science for two main reasons: 1. They like to play video games, so they figure they'd enjoy going to one of these "video game programming" schools that are popping up everywhere, or 2. many of today's top-paying jobs are in the technology field. However, a lot of kids just aren't really programmers at heart. Personally, my brain works so much like a computer that computer programming just comes naturally to me, however a lot of kids sign up for these courses thinking they'll just be playing video games all day or be taking the easy ride to being rich, neither of which are true.
Some games I can understand taking 40 hours to complete, like big RPGs and similar styles of games. However, as more and more games these days are focused more on multiplayer gaming (Halo 3, the latest Call of Duty games, etc.), I believe it is perfectly fine for the single-player portion to take just an afternoon to complete. There should be at least some single-player campaign to play, but it doesn't need to take two weeks to complete it when the best part of the game is the online play.
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