JP Jones’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Jul 6th, 2015 @ 1:01pm

    (untitled comment)

    Seriously, though, without copyright to get rid of this obvious theft, how could EA justify continuing to make Mass Effect games? Obviously this free board game will negatively affect their completely different video game sales when people realize they can just download the board game and not have to play the video game!

    That's the logic here, right?

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 8:08pm

    Re: This case has taught me

    That's because programmers seem to use the word "API" as a synonym with "SDK" a lot. The two are superficially related...an SDK is a specific implementation of an API for use by other developers...but the API is essentially what you'd be left with if you deleted all the code from the SDK and left comments and variable declarations behind.

    Or maybe I don't understand it, and if my understanding is flawed, please let me know. But to use a code example, this is something you'd see in a (really crappy) SDK:

    addtwoints(int x, int y)
    {
    // Add x and y to return an integer
    int z;
    z = x + y;
    return z;
    }

    And this is the API for the same function:
    addtwoints(int x, int y)
    {
    // Add x and y to return an integer
    }

    Sure, they both look like code. But anyone with even a shred of programming knowledge knows that second one doesn't actually do anything. They are also probably offended at my horrid example and are confused as to what crazy combination of syntax I'm using (it's been a while since I've touched anything based on the C language, sorry).

    Again, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's what an API is.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re:

    That's what I was thinking. Mine are $10 with the military discount. Plus about $50 for the babysitter. And then gas money, and possibly the overpriced food.

    And all that money gets me an experience worse than my living room with a 127" projector and surround sound. At least at home I can sit in pajamas on my comfy couch, pause if I need to go to the bathroom, rewind if I missed something, and I don't have to drive anywhere.

    Pretty much the only reason I ever go to theaters is to watch a movie that just came out, and even that is happening less and less.

  • Jun 29th, 2015 @ 12:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    You know what? I hereby copyright the five paragraph essay. Here is the code:

    Topic()
    {
    introduction
    establish basic premise
    establish three primary discussion points
    define topic sentence
    paragraph one
    describe supporting point one
    describe any opposing viewpoints
    rebut opposing viewpoints
    paragraph two
    describe supporting point two
    describe any opposing viewpoints
    rebut opposing viewpoints
    paragraph three
    describe supporting point three
    describe any opposing viewpoints
    rebut opposing viewpoints
    conclusion
    restate thesis and how supporting points prove main argument
    wrap up argument and counter-arguments
    conclusion sentence
    }

    Anyone using this format on a computer now owes me royalties for its use. If you need me I'll be on a college tour...high schools are for next year. Be back later with yacht.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: About time...

    Correct, secession was caused by slavery. The Civil War, however, was caused by secession. So saying that the Civil War was caused by slavery is provably false.

    Why does that distinction matter? If it was slavery->secession->war isn't that the same as slavery->war? No, because the war wouldn't have started without the secession (or at least there's no evidence it would have). If the South had ignored Lincoln's election and continued on there would not have been a Civil War. If the North had simply allowed the secession there would not have been a Civil War. The secession was the key; the fact that it was caused by slavery does not make slavery the driving force behind the conflict (also, slavery was not the sole factor that led to secession, as there were also nationalist, political, religious, and expansionist factors; slavery was just the biggest contributing factor).

    It may seem like a minor point, but when you have legal slaves in the North up to 1865, it seems that the "the North hated slavery and the South loved it, so they fought" argument falls apart pretty quickly. It also requires ignoring a huge amount of historical accounts, including quotes from Lincoln himself.

    Granted, the Civil War wasn't fought over states' rights either. But the majority of contemporary historians agree that the spark of the Civil War was the secession of the Southern states and the creation of the Confederacy, regardless of why those states chose to go that route.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you believe that, I doubt we're going to get anywhere.

    My position is based on the work of contemporary historians, but hey, you're free to believe whatever you want. The South seceded because they wanted to preserve slavery; this is absolutely true. The war, however, was fought to end the secession, not to end slavery. If it were fought to end slavery, then slavery would have ended in the Union in 1861, when the war started and there wasn't a political reason to preserve it, rather than in 1865, when it actually ended.

    So yes, slavery was certainly the primary factor leading to the civil war (along with conflicts over westward expansion) because that's the factor that led the south to secede, but Lincoln didn't start a war because the South had slaves, he started it because they quit the club. It was a war over control; the South wanted to control human beings, and wanted to keep their "traditional values" (no matter how sick those values), and the North wanted control over the "Union" and was willing to kill to preserve their power. Everyone has an ideology they use as an excuse, but it's naïve to think America fought against itself for anything other than power, plain and simple.

    The North didn't have to fight; they could have abandoned the Southern states, let them secede, and gone on with their day. Everyone acts like it was inevitable, that the South forced the North to act. Bull. They could have let it go, and after a few years and a few inventions, plus a lot of education, slavery most likely would have died off in the South like it had been doing everywhere else in the civilized world. Instead, we fought a bloody war that has people divided over it 150 years later.

    I'm not really defending the South. They could have avoided the war too by not freaking out when Lincoln became president, especially when he had said multiple times during his campaign that he didn't intend to end slavery. "Lost Cause" proponents tend to forget that the South didn't have to seceded...they chose to. But there's two sides to any fight and this was not a "good vs. evil" conflict as much as we'd like to villainize the Confederacy today.

    Keep in mind that this is not about making private citizens or businesses do anything, it's about whether the flag should fly over a government building. I don't see that as a free speech issue.

    But that's the conflict. It's a state building, and if the elected leaders of the state are following the intent of those they represent, that's exactly what a republic is designed to do. It's when the minority dictates what the majority can do that the basic principle of democracy breaks down. If you don't like it, move there and vote against the leaders who put up that flag. Otherwise, that's their business.

    Sure, the majority isn't always right. But I trust the majority to generally follow the values of the people more than special interest groups with their own agendas. Sure, I like some of those agendas, but I don't like others, and I'd rather my vote actually mean something rather than be a "well, you voted, but this small group of people is going to override you because they say you're wrong."

    Be careful what you wish for, because the interest groups' designs may align with you today, but when they don't (*cough* TPP *cough*), and you wonder why the government is ignoring the will of the people, well, now you know. It's because they know what's in your "best interest," your opinion be damned.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

    And New Jersey and New Hampshire, which were part of the Union yet had legal slaves until 1865, would disagree with you. So would Abraham Lincoln, who said that if keeping slavery would prevent secession, he would keep slavery.

    Slavery was certainly a huge factor in the Civil War, but slavery is what caused secession, not war. The war was fought because the South seceded, and the question became whether or not they had the right to do that.

    This may seem like a minor distinction but it's important. Secession, and whether or not a state could choose to leave the United States, is 100% a state's rights issue. Slavery was the catalyst that forced the answer.

    And the Union won, so the answer is that you can't secede, as the Supreme Court would reaffirm in 1869. But pretending those factors didn't exist because the Confederacy was pro-slavery and seceded due to slavery is pure fallacy and ignores a massive amount of context for the Civil War.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: From the "lets up the ante" party

    I don't either. I see it as a symbol of the South's history. Granted, some of that history is awful, but I don't think the U.S. flag should be throwing the first stone if we're talking about evil shit done in the name of a country.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Same Issue, Different Context

    Sounds like a short game.

    I, as an American, would play it. Why not? It's history. We got our butts kicked. It happens.

    Hell, half the Call of Duty games involve the U.S. getting blown up by somebody. Woop-de-do, it's a video game.

  • Jun 26th, 2015 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But its history is different from its symbolism. Its history is fact. Its symbolism is opinion. And the latter differs from person to person.

    To you the flag may symbolize hatred, racial prejudice, treason, and slavery. To someone else it may represent state vs. federal rights, oppression from government, freedom of speech, military and cultural pride, and state history. The slavery and racial aspect may not even be something that occurs to them.

    I could make the same argument about the American flag. How dare you fly this symbol of racism, violence, and hatred! The U.S. practically wiped out an entire continent of people, has killed more foreigners per year on average than any other country in the world, is the only country to ever use atomic weapons in combat, and did so against civilian targets, and is currently killing children in foreign countries with drone strikes. Take down the flag!

    See how silly that sounds? How it takes all the bad in a country's history and applies it to their flag? Every country in the world has things in their history they aren't proud of. That doesn't mean you have to erase the symbol of that country from the history books.

    Keep in mind you're viewing the Civil War with a modern bias. For many people, especially in the southern United States, the issue has little to do with slavery and everything to do with whether or not the government can define your morals and override the social decisions of the states. From a modern perspective, the answer to this question is "Yes, of course they can," but for many people this is a major political issue that has virtually nothing to do with racism.

    Switch this around. What if the Civil War was fought over the right to smoke Marijuana? What if we had "Weed" states in the South and "Clean" states in the North?

    I'm not trying to minimize the horror of slavery, but that's only because I'm looking at it from modern eyes. The point is that the issue itself was secondary, and it was secondary for Lincoln. I'm sure Lincoln was anti-slavery (and he said as much elsewhere) but he would have abandoned abolition to prevent secession.

    And that's what the fight was really about. Secession, and where the power lies. In the opinion of the North, the federal government ruled. In the opinion of the South, the states ruled, and the federal government broke ties. You can argue all day which is right and which is wrong but that's ultimately why over 620,000 men died in the Civil War; they were fighting for their "country" whether that was the Union or the Confederacy.

    The South lost, a bunch of amendments were passed to solidify the power of the federal government, and today we have five unelected people determining a national social issue based on those amendments. Love it, hate it...that's the history, and that's the reality, and our current government is the result.

    I get it. I hate racism and I believe homosexuals should be allowed to marry. But there are consequences when these things are resolved in the wrong way. I disagree with federal spying, extrajudicial drone killings, federal copyright law, civil asset forfeiture, police militarization...the list goes on and on. And if I want to move somewhere that doesn't have these rules or allow them my only option is to leave my country entirely. I can't just go to a state that fits my values because the federal government controls these policies for everyone.

    So to actually answer your question, no, I don't believe it's appropriate for a state government to fly the Confederate flag. But I believe that they should have the right to choose whether or not they want to do so, and I reserve my right to ignore them. I don't believe in forcing my values on others, even when I find them awful.

    That flag didn't kill anyone. Some psycho did, and there are plenty of psychos out there itching for a reason to kill. Label them as racists, label them as terrorists, they're all fundamentally the same...they're murderers, and we have ways to deal with them using our existing rules.

    I don't know how to cure "murder." It probably isn't possible. But I do know what won't solve the problem...removing a flag from a statehouse. All you're doing is making more people angry and giving the symbol more meaning.

    Seriously, for a site that spends so much time promoting free speech, no matter how awful, I'm honestly surprised that so many people want the flags taken down.

  • Jun 25th, 2015 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's a 154-year-old symbol of the Army of Northern Virginia. Where you guys are getting 175 and 200 years is beyond me; the Confederacy didn't exist until 1861.

    That's it. That's all the meaning the flag actually has...it's the flag of the Confederate Army's main fighting force.

    You are free to disagree with slavery and the principles of the Confederate States of America. I sure do; I believe slavery was a reprehensible, disgusting practice, but I also recognize that it was practiced worldwide around the time that the American Civil War was fought, and existed in many places after. This includes New Jersey and New Hampshire until 1865...technically, per the executive order of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Confederacy "ended" slavery two years earlier than the Union.

    It's easy to be judgmental and look back at the "barbaric" past with a modern viewpoint. People will do the same to us (*cough* how did you justify extrajudicial drone killings? *cough*).

    But the flag isn't the problem. There will probably be many people who do terrible things because they're racists and bigots who live in a black-and-white world filled with nothing but ignorance and hate. They were that way without an old army's flag, and hiding the flag away won't solve the problem.

    This is simply an example of America in denial. We don't want to address the real problem...that racism, sexism, and bigotry are very much alive in our culture and that we may have to take a hard look at our own behavior. Instead we attack things we don't understand, like video games, music, the internet, and flags.

    Ironically, that reaction is exactly what drives the very same bigots everyone here claims to be so disgusted with...ignorance. We tend to hate what we don't understand. Bigots exist because they have decided that it's "us vs. them" and categorized the "others" into something they don't understand and therefore would be better without. The way to solve this is to gain a better understanding of other people; of other races, genders, cultures, and beliefs.

    So the next time you go on a crusade against this new "thing" that is "evil" try and remember that you're doing exactly the same thing racist fanatics do. Terrorists have labeled the U.S. (and other countries) as evil, the police have labeled minorities as evil, the list goes on and on. Think carefully before doing the same thing yourself. Nobody is immune to bias, and it's always harder to recognize your own bias than someone else's.

    Something to think about.

  • Jun 23rd, 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Re: "focusing on the business models that do work" -- OKAY, SO WHAT ARE THOSE, COLLEGE BOY?

    You blather on jealous of Taylor Swift but YOU HAVE NO OTHER BUSINESS MODEL.

    You mean like the business model where all the content here is free and can be freely replicated elsewhere? Yeah, that clearly doesn't work...

    I've pointed out many times that GETTING NOTICED IS THE TOUGHEST PART. You have NO advice on how to do that.

    You mean like releasing your content for free, which naturally increases exposure, thus leading to more fans, and eventually more money? This is pretty much this site's entire argument...selling things that are limited and not relying on copyright to make an unlimited good into an artificially scarce one because it's counter-productive. The purpose behind this argument is to help with getting noticed, which, as you said, is the toughest part.

    No advice? That's literally this site's main point. Try reading this, this, and this, all of which discuss core concepts of Techdirt as it relates to business models. Considering these articles are part of the "New to Techdirt?" list at the bottom of the site I'm not sure how you could argue Mike doesn't present advice.

    YOU DON'T CALL FOR TARGETING CORPORATIONS, just insist that piracy (neither corporations nor artists getting money) is good for artists!

    [Citation needed]. That being said, and this is my opinion, piracy can be good for artists! You said it yourself, in fact, in the second part I quoted...getting noticed is the toughest part. If that is true, then "piracy" increases exposure. This is pretty much what advertising is, by definition.

    Someone who doesn't know about your content, or doesn't know if they will like it, is unlikely to ever buy any of it. People generally don't spend money randomly (maybe frivolously, but generally they know or think they know what they're buying). A pirate doesn't pay, sure, but neither does the ignorant potential customer.

    The difference is that pirate has been exposed to the content...the potential customer hasn't. We spend so much on advertising because it works, and the pirate is much more likely to buy the content in the future than the unexposed individual.

    I know I'm wasting my time because you've already decided that copyright infringement is theft. You most likely believe that piracy is a lost sale, and that if the pirate weren't able to get something for free, they would have bought it instead. There's little evidence for this, and even in cases where it is true, it generally only applies to content that is already popular. Which doesn't help the people in your second paragraph.

    Anti-piracy fanatics love to point out piracy rates and the couple of instances where loss of big piracy sites (usually temporarily) slightly increased sales rates for legal retailers. They like to ignore the strong correlation from multiple studies where the individuals who pirate the most content also tend to be the biggest spenders on content, because that doesn't fit their "Piracy is theft...you wouldn't steal a car!" narrative.

    Now, what Mike has actually argued, and I agree with, is the piracy is generally a service issue, not a social one. Piracy rates tend to decrease in areas where legal alternatives approach the quality and convenience of pirate sites at a reasonable price. The actual number of sites that do this are very few (and I would argue all are strictly inferior to pirate sites, both in breadth of content and actual value in the product received, regardless of price).

    He has stated, and I agree, that offering legal alternatives that do not fetter customers with frustrating restrictions or ridiculous pricing will reduce piracy rates to a few die-hards who refuse to pay for anything (and will never be customers regardless). Keep in mind that buying power per customer is not linear; I "pirated" a lot of anime during my college years because A) most of it wasn't available in the U.S. and B) I didn't have any money. It didn't really matter if it was cheap; I couldn't afford to spend cash on anime.

    I did, however, become a huge fan during those years, and now I've bought a lot of anime. It's more convenient to buy and lets me maintain a nice collection. I promptly rip all of it off those useless pieces of plastic they ship it in for actual use (the DVDs never actually leave my shelf once ripped) but I've spent literally thousands of dollars on anime. If I hadn't been introduced and developed a liking for it during college, however, there's no way I'd have had the time to discover it now, and all that money would never have been spent.

    The world is only black-and-white if you are a child, fanatic, or idiot. Which are you?

  • Jun 17th, 2015 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Imagination Gap

    That's poor programmers generally believe. They're wrong, but they use that excuse.

    Apparently poor programmers understand the definition of words. If you plan for something, then you, by definition, acknowledge that it is a possibility. That means the thing is no longer "unforeseen." You foresaw it as a potential issue.

    For example, if someone had programmed the Mars Climate Orbiter to convert metric to imperial units if there was a conflict, then it wouldn't have been an unforeseen problem (and would have fixed itself). It wasn't anticipated, therefore a $651 million operation ended up disintegrating into the Martian atmosphere.

    Obviously you should try to handle as many eventualities as you can, and then build in error checking to try and make unexpected bugs cause the least amount of issue (and preferably generate a log to identify where the failure was). But no matter how skilled the programmer is they cannot create software solutions to directly handle unforeseen problems, they can only create general error handling to minimize unexpected issues.

  • Jun 17th, 2015 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Captain Obvious

    You can't have explosive armor on your vehicle to protect you from fender benders.... although the visual i just got typing that was awesome :)

    This needs to happen. Now.

  • Jun 17th, 2015 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    Cars offer a bit more than "easy mobility." I assume by your logic if you're in a situation where an ambulance has to come and save your life you'd rather it stay away, because cars are dangerous, right?

  • Jun 16th, 2015 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's the problem, though, you can't "prove safety." We've already established that science has been unable to find a direct (or really even an indirect) link between cell phone use and significant health effects. I use the word "significant" because merely affecting you is not sufficient to warrant regulation, just as coffee affects you but is considered safe to consume.

    No conspiracy is necessary. This is the normal scientific process. A scientist can't say neutrinos are safe, either, but we're pretty sure they are. Who knows? Fifty years from now we may find out our atmosphere is the only thing protecting us from the little buggers, and without neutrino shielding (and yes, those who know what I'm talking about are laughing) we won't be able to survive space travel!

    Conspiracies take effort, time, and money. Ignorance doesn't. It's far more likely that, assuming cell phones are as dangerous as you think, we just don't know about it than some group silence to benefit the wireless industry. If big, rich companies could so easily prevent health information from existing we'd still all be smoking and driving cars with leaded gasoline. If the oil and tobacco industries can't do it, with an astronomically higher budget than the wireless industry, I find your hypothesis that "lack of information equals suppressed information" to be pretty weak and not supported by available evidence.

    This is the problem with people who aren't scientists interpreting the results of scientific research without understanding the nature of science itself. Scientists think in theories and hypothesis. These things are inherently unstable and tend to change constantly as new information is obtained. They also tend to conclude things along the lines of "might do this" or "may affect that."

    The public, on the other hand, tends to think in laws and "bottom-line-up-front." Coffee may cause cancer? Headline: SCIENTISTS LINK COFFEE TO CANCER! ARE YOU IN DANGER? Global warming might cause an ice age in the future? New Movie: THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: WATCH AS THE MODERN EARTH FREEZES IN A FEW DAYS!

    I can't even imagine how much frustration this causes in the lab. And if you brought up your "all the scientists are saying that cell phones probably doesn't have significant health effects with a handful of exceptions which say they might" theory as saying "all scientists know cell phones are bad and are being paid to say otherwise" you'd probably be the cooler discussion on idiots.

    Who knows? Maybe you're right, and in a few years I'll be buying those crappy RF sleeves and turning off my phone at night. More likely, a new FCC policy will be created to force phone manufacturers to comply with whatever safety standards don't cause the issue. But worrying about it now is like worrying about an alien invasion. Could we be invaded by aliens? Sure, it's possible. Am I going to buy a bunker, you know, just in case?

    Um, no.

  • Jun 13th, 2015 @ 4:03pm

    Re:

    Well then, if it's in the summary:

    Any person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage (i) end users’ ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or the lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of their choice, or (ii) edge providers’ ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to end users. Reasonable network management shall not be considered a violation of this rule.
    Ok, your turn. Where does this say the government can restrict content?

    Please, do go on.

  • Jun 13th, 2015 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    Yeah, that's right! The internet has never been regulated by Title II in the past, and if it had been, we wouldn't have had the free and open internet we have today?

    (Wait, what? Title II regulations applied to dial-up? And it didn't destroy the internet, and in fact there was more competition between dial-up companies than there ever has been among broadband?)

    Er, I mean net neutrality rules will remove free speech!

    (The actual net neutrality rules specifically forbid prioritizing some content over other content, which is the entire purpose of net neutrality in the first place? And if I read paragraph A.15 of the rules there is a "No Blocking" provision that would immediately make any attempt to use these rules to block legal content impossible?)

    Er, um, do your research! Actually, only do your research from my site! Don't look anywhere else, that would be counterproductive...I mean, full of lies!

    -PushBackNow

  • Jun 13th, 2015 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Clearly you don't understand history. When we decreased regulation in Wall Street our economy bloomed less than ten years later!

    Wait, that's not what happened? Er, yes, it did! And if you disagree you're a liberal communist! Regulation is bad!

    (let me see that script again...)

    - PushBackNow

  • Jun 13th, 2015 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re:

    No, no, you aren't understanding our point. The ISPs want to restrict users' viewing ability and this provision won't let them. The government is forbidding your friendly neighborhood ISP from properly restricting your internet access!

    In a truly free country, corporations can do whatever they want without regulatory interference, because corporations always have the best interest of the consumer in mind. Because that's what our Austrian school economics blog tells us. No, don't ask for real world examples, I'm talking about a proper theory that only works without the government! Or math!

    You crazy liberals and your "regulations" are ruining this country!

    - PushBackNow

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