This is a cop out argument. "We can't understand something perfectly, so all science related to it is bogus!"
That's crap. Psychology and sociology are legitimate scientific fields. By this logic, no science is legitimate. I can guarantee in 50 years every single field of science will learn something new or disprove a previously understood theory, from physics to geology to astronomy to chemistry. All of those sciences are dealing with "quadrillions of interlinking variables interacting with each other" (actually, compared to astronomy and physics the human brain is easy to account for variables...).
This is part of the scientific process. A hypothesis was raised; "violent media causes an increased level of violent behavior in those who engage with it." Now there are scientists attempting to validate the hypothesis with experimental data. And just like many other fields, you can't exactly use a school science project to determine one way or another; it's not like you can simulate a star's fusion or observe evolution in progress; we have to make conclusions based on incomplete data and what we can observe.
I hate it when people hide behind the mock-intellectual fallacy of "well, science doesn't understand all the variables, so don't believe what you read!" While you should always be skeptical and verify sources, just because something is complex does not make it false or useless to study.
The annoying part about this is that child porn is considered such a huge deal. Now, before all the strange looks, bear with me; child sexual abuse is a horrific crime. There are few things in my mind worse then violence against children.
Child porn, however, is not actually harming any children, any more than a beheading video is killing someone. It's evidence of a crime, and just as snuff videos will be used by sick individuals for their own fantasies, child porn is used by disturbed people.
The problem is that we've made child porn into such a pariah that even mentioning it causes people to look at you funny. Possess some? Your future is done. You're looking at jail time and a lifetime stigma. Keep in mind this is just for the possessing the record...not the act itself.
Why is this a problem? Because child porn is evidence of a crime. What happens when you make possessing evidence illegal to an irrational degree? Well, kind of like punishing hackers for revealing security flaws, you get people who may find child porn and, rather than report it to the authorities, they immediately delete it and pretend it never happened.
So, instead of an investigation which could potentially lead to the arrest of a child abuser, we have a child abuser free to harm more children. Not only that, but if the person was actually seeking child porn, and turns themselves in, rather than punishing them, why not get them some therapy?
Although it's not a perfect analogy, that's kind of like jailing someone for trying to quit drinking because, hey, they're obviously an alcoholic. And isn't it at least possible that, with some therapy, someone who eventually becomes a child molester could have been handled before any children were harmed?
I believe that due to our focus on crushing child pornography we've lost sight of the real tragedy...the act the pornography recorded. It depresses me that, as a society, we're focused more on punishing people for evidence of a crime than the crime itself, and that we discourage mentally ill people from getting the help they need by making their illness, rather than the act, illegal.
Also, for someone to be convicted of speech that could cause "clear and present danger" (a term also later discarded) there must be evidence that individuals were likely follow the suggestion.
I'm a bit baffled by the debate on this. Rappers encourage listeners to commit sexual assault, murder police, and other violent acts, yet we haven't arrested them for "hate crimes." We don't arrest them because it's extremely unlikely for listeners to follow those actions.
By the logic the French use here, Techdirt should be arrested for hate speech too. After all, they quoted the offending hashtag, and you all read it, so obviously you're about to go out burning people, right?
Of course not. A blanket post on Twitter to "violence" is extremely unlikely to cause actual violence. If anything it will cause a bunch of #LookAtThisIdiot responses. Even for the bigots that are following these guys I doubt they're going to log on and see "burn all the gays!" and think "Hey, that's a good idea, time to get the lighter!" And if they do, well, they were probably already going to do it. People aren't that open to suggestion.
This is censorship, pure and simple. It has nothing to do with protecting any group and preventing violence. They've found a way to enforce their values and they've decided to use it. We can gripe back and forth about "hate speech" all we want but until you can show a casual link between saying "burn the gays!" and actual violence taking place, or real plans to commit violence, we're aren't talking about violence; we're talking about speech.
And arresting people for speech is, by definition, a form of censorship that directly opposes freedom of speech.
Not really the right place for this, but if you don't understand "all this" then it's probably fine to upgrade. If you aren't planning to root your phone (or don't know what that means) the Note 4 is a pure upgrade.
To my knowledge, however, the Note 4 is rootable. I've had both (Note 2 and 4) and find the 4 is a significant upgrade over the 2. The screen is amazing, the camera is fantastic, and the S-Pen is far more useful and accurate. So far the battery life has been better, and I'm a fan of the "Private Mode" with fingerprint unlock to secure private data but leave the phone able to unlock quickly for normal use.
Granted, I haven't rooted my phone as I've found the default interface works fine for my purposes and any advanced features I want are easily covered by Tasker even without root. Rooting is only useful if you're going to use it for a specific purpose, otherwise it's really a waste of time.
I appreciate that it's available, and if I found some software that could only be used rooted that I wanted, I'd root in a heartbeat. But between Tasker and the fact that Wi-Fi tethering no longer requires root (I use my Note 4's 4g to give internet connection wirelessly to my Nvidia Shield Tablet) I haven't seen much point.
Overall Android is only restrictive if you're a power-user interested in the absolute limits of your device. For the average user you probably wouldn't even notice the difference between your rooted and standard phone, and even for power-users there's a surprising amount you can do even without root. I wouldn't worry about it, but it's nice to have the option.
It's refreshing to see a developer who understands that someone who pirates your game isn't necessarily a lost sale. The developer has lost nothing by giving this guy the go-ahead to pirate his game; after all, it's not being sold where he lives, so if the guy didn't pirate it, his net profit is still zero.
He stands to gain a fan, however, and now (probably unintentionally) good publicity. That fan is someone who is going to watch out for any new games he releases which aren't banned in Australia, and by being open he's probably gained a life-long customer.
It's a lesson more companies really need to consider. We're so focused on short-term gains we seem to forget the concept of investing in the future. For video games, customers are a far more valuable commodity than sales. Think of companies like Blizzard, which until some poor decisions with Diablo III, had millions of people buying their games on the reputation of the company alone. Heck, it was so good that even Diablo III couldn't ruin their reputation (and the excellent expansion certainly helped).
My recommendation to any content creator is this: build your reputation and a fan base first, and always keep your focus on what's best for your customer, not you. Focus also on the product, and making it the best you can. A good product, from a creator willing to engage with their community, is going to be very valuable to your customers. You have to create value for those willing and able to pay you for your product; you can't demand that you deserve value.
I was thinking primarily in terms of cable, not wireless, but either way it doesn't change my point. In fact, for wireless, data caps have even less relevance because if the limit is the number of users connected it doesn't matter how much data they're using at all. Therefore charging for data used makes no sense from a technical standpoint.
I'd love to see a technical reason why data caps are necessary, but so far it doesn't make sense.
The "rollover" plans really irritate me. They run along the same lines as "sponsored data" programs (an internet company pays your ISP to grant you unlimited data for their product) and "unlimited streaming" programs. They'd all make sense IF data was a limited or costly resource.
The truth is that data doesn't cost the ISPs anything. It's an imaginary resource. Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred per second and only has relevance within that specific point in time. Somehow the ISPs have convinced people that data matters. It doesn't. Before the techies start shouting out "well, wait a minute..." let me explain.
The original idea behind data caps (beyond the "let's get more money for nothing" part) is that if people are worried about their data limits they'll tend to use less data at any given time. In other words, they'll "save" it so they don't run out. By encouraging end users to use less data overall, the hope was that it would alleviate the peaks so they didn't have to create a huge infrastructure to handle the spikes.
So what's the issue with these programs? They only work when you assume data is a limit, not bandwidth. Letting you "save up" data does nothing to alleviate bandwidth issues. To give a better example, consider two users...the first downloads 20 gb of data per day for 30 days, and the second downloads 100 gb of data per day for 5 days, then doesn't download anything for the rest of the month. Which one causes more bandwidth problems?
The second. During that period, this user creates a much higher load on the ISPs than the first user. In a perfect world, everyone would use exactly the same amount of bandwidth at all times. This doesn't happen, though; we all browse and download/stream in spikes, and usually all around the same times of day. Yet if you believe that data is a limited resource, the second user only used 500 gb of data, and the first used 600 gb, so clearly the first is causing the internet to slow down for more people, right? Nope.
Unlimited data plans for a specific service work the same way. If I use T-Mobile I can stream, say, 250 gb of music from Pandora or Google Play, but what if I wanted to stream 250 gb from Jango or Sony Music Unlimited? I hit my data cap. But if you think about it, the actual load on the T-Mobile servers is identical regardless of which streaming service I use.
If that's the case, why can't you just let me stream whatever I want? It works if I use your approved stuff, so clearly you have the capacity.
Oh, right, because the whole problem is BS and a money grab. I forgot.
This is one of the reasons that forcing someone to reveal their password isn't foolproof. There's no guarantee that what is revealed is everything in the encrypted volume, and (to my knowledge) there's no way to identify the difference between encrypted free space and a hidden volume.
This is pretty common for individuals living in oppressive countries; they fill an encrypted volume with personal, but not necessarily dangerous, information (bank information, personal photos, etc.) and then a hidden drive with the actual dangerous stuff (dissenting articles, banned books, etc.). If forced to give up their password, they can comply using the outer drive password, and there's no technical way to determine that they are lying (unless they were sloppy and left evidence of the encrypted files on unencrypted parts of the system, like having "FreeTibet.doc" in their Word history with the document saved on the hidden drive...it would make it obvious there's more file available).
Anyway, I think the real issue they have with encryption is not that it's unhackable but that it takes time. Given enough time and resources, you can hack any encryption in existence. The problem is that it takes time and resources; you can't skip that step. Therefore they lose out their "mass data" strategy because they can't just aggregate tons of unsecured data; they'd have to dramatically cut down their data sources.
Encryption is literally a locked door. A locked door can be used for all sorts of things, from protecting your valuables to illegal activity. Any locked door, no matter how much armor you build into it, can be broken through eventually. The intelligence agencies want people to leave their doors unlocked and or at least give them the key so they can quickly stop at each location and glance inside to make sure there's nothing juicy in there.
People, on the other hand, are rightfully uncomfortable with this, which is why they kept their "peeking" a secret. Now everyone is locking their doors, and it's made the process much harder.
So apparently their solution is "well, if you're going to lock all your doors, we may end up smashing yours down."
My understanding is "private third parties" are the ones that currently hold it. In other words, Google currently holds all your Google data, and your phone company holds all your phone records. It's pretty much impossible to prevent this as these records are required for their business.
I didn't think having the information condensed into some third party for the NSA to access was ever on the table. Could be wrong, but I can't find it.
One more thing...policies and laws like this are counter-productive. It's sort of like calling the police to arrest someone who picks up your wallet off the ground and returns it to you, because hey, they weren't authorized to touch your wallet. I'd rather get my wallet returned than having someone keep it and use it secretly.
By punishing people for exposing security holes we're arresting the good people while the bad ones are just keeping their mouth shut and using it for their own gains. It doesn't make sense.
So don't complain when your crap gets stolen when you start arresting all the people who would have told you it was unsecured.
Consider, for instance, that I have denied being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, both in public and private, ever since the press began calling me that in the beginning of 2011.
I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain that "decentralized leadership around a general philosophy" is one of the core aspects of the Anonymous group. In other words, there aren't really "spokesmen" or really leadership. I'm extremely skeptical when anyone says "I'm speaking on behalf of Anonymous".
Great to see someone going to jail for years because of people arguing over stuff they don't understand.
First of all, there's a huge difference between "representing" someone and "helping" someone. If I "represent" someone who wants to give me a million dollars for a pencil, I may not exactly be helping them out.
Second, I'm not sure you have the order correct. If I convince someone that giving me a million dollars is a good idea, and then I represent them in doing so, I'm technically doing as instructed. That doesn't change the fact that the action has a lot of benefit for me, and not for them, and that I didn't encourage the harmful behavior.
Those limited studios are doing something that actively harms themselves, and they are being encouraged to do so by the MPAA, which has convinced them it's not only necessary economically, but morally the right thing to do. Both are complete bullcrap, but it's an effective lie.
Keep in mind that several of those games are indie games, not "big name publisher" games (Rust, DayZ, I think Dying Light and Evolve are indie too). Steam has become a major indie release platform as well as bigger games.
Steam does other things to increase its popularity besides have big name games; the constant sales, curator and game finding systems, big picture mode, and in-home streaming are all great features that GoG lacks. The last in particular is fantastic; I can install my games on my beastly computer in my room and then play them on my HTPC downstairs on the projector without having to install them twice. I can also add my wife's collection of games to mine and play them interchangeably (we both need the game to play together, but we can share singleplayer games).
While I don't particularly like Steam's DRM, at least for my system it's mostly unobtrusive (if I have issues it's related to 3rd party DRM, not Steam's) and offers some great features I can't get elsewhere. I'd prefer no DRM but there are enough positives that the majority of my game purchases are on Steam. I use GoG as well, especially for classic games as they have fantastic compatibility software, but it won't become a primary for me until the actual service improves.
Gabe Newell has actually stated he's against DRM, and Steam primarily uses it because the studios demand it for their content. In fact, many games on Steam don't use DRM at all; Steamworks DRM is optional, and if you go into the Steam directly for a non-DRM'd game, you can just run it straight from the executable. They don't advertise which games use their DRM and what don't but Valve isn't a pro-DRM company. They offer a non-obtrusive DRM option rather than have everyone use a bunch of different worse ones.
I mean, it's absolutely people's right to hate on Steam, but I'd argue that they do a great job of compromise and offer a lot of extra value to the consumer beyond DRM. That counts for a lot to me. I'd love to see DRM go the way of the dinosaur, but if Steam is the worst I have to deal with, oh-freaking-well.
And by communities I assume he means in the home, where most refrigerators will give you essentially the same thing as the majority of bottled water. And even if the water is from special place, it's still essentially water (there isn't a ton you can do to modify plain water). Even a drinking fountain is not giving you a significantly different product from a bottle of Dasani or Aquafina, other than the plastic bottle.
People pay for the convenience and perceived value of bottled water, not because it's a superior, finite product that they can't easily get elsewhere.
Water is one of the few resources where the comparison actually works because, for the purposes of drinking (as assumed by the example of bottled water), water is effectively an unlimited resource. You can't physically drink enough tap or filtered water to significantly impact your water bill (hence the "essentially free").
Yet people consistently pay for bottled water, including brands like Dasani, which is literally filtered tap water. In both cases we're talking about an essentially unlimited resource, which not coincidentally tends to be free or close to it (weird thing, that supply and demand principle, especially when supply approaches infinity...).
Your comparison to the necessity and tangibility of both things is irrelevant. He wasn't talking about water in general, which is finite and valuable, but about water for drinking in communities, where it is effectively unlimited and available for free. And yet people still pay for that same resource when it's completely unnecessary to do so.
This directly counters your statement that people won't pay for something if they can get it for free and the resource is unlimited. This is demonstrably false.
This comment is hilarious in the context with you being an Insider on Techdirt. So you think that you can't compete with free on a website that offers all of it's content for free that you are currently paying for?
What specifics do you need? You're proving he's right every time you pay for his free content.
There's so much irony here, but one of the biggest is your misconception that piracy is hard, or even risky. It's not, despite millions upon millions of dollars the MPAA and studios have thrown at it. In other words, Mike's "utopian vision" already exists as far as your complaint is concerned.
Here's the thing. A content company isn't competing with pirates. This is a fallacy, and one that even a slight amount of logic utterly destroys. There's only one scenario where piracy even affects a content creator, and that's the scenario where a potential customer would have bought their product, but due to free alternatives, chose not to. Every other scenario is completely irrelevant; maybe the person chose to pirate, but wouldn't have bought the product anyway, or the person didn't pirate, and wouldn't have bought the product ever, or they bought the product. None of those scenarios are slightly affected by piracy, although for some reason everyone gets hung up over the first one. If by some miracle they couldn't pirate your stuff, they still wouldn't buy it, so the end result is the same.
The actual problem, where someone could have been a customer but chose to pirate instead, is always fixed by one of two things: either you make the product available at a price they're willing to pay, or you improve your service to a level that they're willing to pay. If you don't fix one of those two things, all you're doing is creating the person who pirates but wouldn't have bought it anyway, by definition.
The amusing part is that the person who pirates, but may have become a customer, is actually more likely to increase profits than the opposite. Why? If they considered paying they probably have an interest in your product. By pirating it, they are being exposed to the quality of content you create. If they like it, they are more likely to consider purchasing other products from you in the future.
This is known in fancy business terms as "advertising." Companies pay millions of dollars per year in advertising. A 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl costs around $4 million. And piracy is advertising, even if it isn't authorized. The best part? It's free. So your worst possible scenario, the person who would have bought, but chose not to due to the availability of free alternatives, just got a full advertisement that didn't cost you a cent (again, because unless your product is at a price or service level they're willing to pay for, they aren't going to pay...this is common sense).
This works even better for the younger crowd. Kids in high school and college rarely have a ton of expendable income, if any. They aren't going to buy a lot of content because they simply can't afford to. No amount of anti-piracy is going to magically change their income; without access to your content, they simply aren't going to buy it.
You know what free access to your stuff causes, though? Interest. Habit. Fandom. Things that, once they do have more expendable income than free time, makes your better service and reasonably priced product more appealing. Studies have shown over and over again that individuals with the highest piracy rates are usually the ones that spend the most money on content. Which is obvious if you think about it; fans want MORE.
Do you think HBO subscriptions would have risen as much if Game of Thrones was only available via HBO, and not piracy? Of course not. The only people watching would be those that already had a subscription. People bought it because they wanted to watch the show the second it came out. And they were willing to pay a ton for it (HBO is really expensive, especially if you don't already have cable).
So yes, they're supposed to sit back and let other people give their stuff away, like they've effectively been doing for years. All that money going to ineffectual lawyers and lobbying could instead go to making a service so good, with so much content, that people will flock to it, and piracy will die out except for the few diehards that refuse to pay for anything (which, incidentally, will never be your customers).
Granted, this sucks for the lawyers and lobbyists making bank on exploiting the content industry, but sorry if I don't really care about the people who are adding nothing to our economy. Which is the whole point of this article, really...the MPAA is made of up lawyers and lobbyists, not content creators.