Last time I dealt with Comcast, they required my roommate and I to set up an appointment to get the Internet service rolling. This was in late 2007 near Baltimore, MD; I'm not sure if anything changed since then.
My defense was to boot my laptop into my Gentoo install and politely tell the technician to deal with it. Shockingly enough, even though the Comcast software wouldn't install (and yes, he tried it), the Internet connection worked flawlessly.
The fact of the matter is that Sony appears to have a poor understanding of system security. Furthermore, Sony put so much much trust in their "secure" console that they didn't even consider what to do when (not "if") the system was cracked wide open. Finally, rather than working to fix it or make the issue better for the benefit of their customers, they lashed out and started suing.
As for the stat resets, that's all Infinity Ward's fault and, apparently, MW1 is vulnerable as well. For reasons unknown to anyone who has even the slightest grasp of security, IW decided to solely trust the server software to award experience for kills and match wins (servers with the exploit do nothing fancier than sending large, negative amounts of experience to the client). I don't think I need to explain why doing it like that was a terrible idea.
Regardless of whether you ever intended to use the Other OS feature, you can't deny that a company being permitted to remove features from a product after its release sets a very bad precedent.
In terms of you wanting a good gaming experience, please note that the situation has gotten far, far worse since Sony axed Other OS. I don't know whether people were just generally content with a vendor-supported feature for installing an alternative OS or if the system was truly secure enough thwart hackers (which I very much doubt), but a majority of this crap happened post-3.21. This series of incidents did nothing more than paint a giant bullseye on the PS3.
Besides, you also have to remember that the inclusion of IE with the OS had an unfortunate side-effect of getting lazy web developers to program for IE6 and its non-standards approach to web code. People would often assume that something was "wrong" with Netscape, etc. when they failed to render some pages, when in fact it was the developers making sure it wouldn't render anywhere else...
Have you ever used Netscape 3 and 4? Their support for W3C standards was horrendous. Like it or not, IE 4 and 5 easily trumped Netscape when it came to compliance in all aspects. Netscape was also about as stable as a tower of empty beer cans in a hurricane. Most of the CSS workarounds that web designers had to put in to support Netscape 4 were primarily to keep the browser from crashing. The Mozilla project actually dumped the Netscape source code and basically started over because it was such a mess.
The real issue with Internet Explorer is that it simply didn't evolve much beyond where IE 6 took it. IE 6 was pretty good when it was released (remember, standards really weren't followed by anybody at that point in time), but the rendering engine stayed in that state through its time and through IE 7's time.
Fortunately for web designers, IE 9 is shaping up to be a pretty awesome browser. The only question at this point is whether Microsoft will keep up the momentum.
You know what's funny? If Google hadn't admitted anything, nobody would have known about it. Instead they came clean, admitted that they screwed up and cooperated with investigative efforts, and now they're getting crucified for it.
What's the moral of the story? If you are unlikely to get caught, admit nothing. Ever.
Your door lock analogy is deeply flawed, as your physical property line does not extend into your neighbor's house. Your wireless router is broadcasting a radio signal into public airspace. Listening in requires about as much "hacking" as turning on your radio does. Hell, wi-fi enabled devices have to "listen in" to a certain extent just to get a list of what access points they can connect to. I'll bet your network was "accessed" hundreds of times by devices in your cloud for the purpose of seeing what was available to connect to, and I'll bet your network was already "hacked" several times by devices that automatically connect to unsecured access points. Should people who own those devices be punished?
The way I see it, you're making a flimsy emotional argument based on your lack of knowledge. If you had it your way, radio and TV stations would be able to sue anyone who tuned into them, because what's happening is the exact same thing.
Someone attempts to conceal bombs in a laptop and an iPod; consumer electronics no longer allowed on flights.
They already inspect laptops from time to time to ensure that they actually function as laptops. Fortunately, I didn't have to do that on my first (and, so far, only) time flying, as my laptop didn't have a working battery at the time. I wonder what they make you go through if you're unable to power the device on.
Once again, this is data that you can get by simply traveling there and taking a stroll. Hell, if you wanted to, you could stand in the middle of the street with a camera phone and go to town.
If an entity really wants to map out the landscape or if radical groups wanted to target individual houses for whatever reason, they'll just go there. Street view is outdated enough where it wouldn't be particularly useful for either of those situations. And I can't imagine a radical sitting down in front of a PC saying, "well, I guess we're not going to hit that mark; the house is blurred on Google Maps!"
I think adding on such a robust DLC catalog has helped Rockband immeasurably. And I think that's where they left Guitar Hero in the dust. And between the (arguably) better peripherals and more 'grown up' graphics, it left GH with the image of the kiddies' version of the genre. At least, that's how it looks to me.
Well, the "better peripherals" thing is kind of debatable, since I've had more than my share of problems with Rock Band guitars (I'm still using my wired Rock Band 1 and Guitar Hero 2 guitars since I can't seem to get a RB2 guitar that completely works, and my kick pedal is cracking just like my RB1 pedal did), but I think that the main issue here is that Neversoft spent way too much time maintaining the status quo rather than innovating. You could see that just by looking at their extreme sports games.
As far as appearances go, I rather like the exaggerated look of the Guitar Hero series, even after Neversoft further exaggerated it. The issue is that Guitar Hero 3 has absolutely no polish and is not convincing at all. The Rock Band series has an almost-absurd amount of detail put into the on-stage performances of your virtual band. Between being able to drastically customize your character to watching them sing and play (and, as far as I can tell, they seem to be actually playing what they should be playing) is just awesome. In comparison, when I played Guitar Hero 3 all I saw were stiffly animated caricatures flopping around lifelessly on a stage, occasionally jumping to life when you hit Star Power.
So...I dunno. I think they could have made the "kiddie" look work, they just didn't.
You're right -- it'll never happen -- but it's not for the reasons that you're thinking of.
Creating charts in rhythm games isn't something that could be automated. In games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, the developers strive to (or at least, should strive to) make the charts "feel" similarly to how they would if you were to actually play them on a guitar. A computer program wouldn't know the difference between a chord and a single note, nor would it be able to intelligently decide which of the five buttons would be a good match. You'd either wind up with uncomfortable, nonsensical patterns, or boring, repetitious patterns. That's also assuming that the game would be able to tell the difference between a bass guitar, rhythm/lead guitar, drums, and vocals in the first place.
Finally, it's also ignoring another serious problem: BPM calculation. Most of the songs in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games have human drummers and, thus, use the movements of a human as a sort of "metronome." If you were to sit down and work out the beats per minute of every segment of the song, you'd wind up with different values on just about every single beat. I imagine simply dealing with this would be half of the job of writing a chart, not to mention the reason why the timing windows of these games are so loose and why they don't score based on hit accuracy.
This concept has been tried before with a Dance Dance Revolution style game. A company -- I believe it was Codemasters -- released Dance Factory to...well, dead silence. It had a problem with detecting BPMs. From personal experience, it sometimes failed to properly work out a usable BPM on electronic music with a loud bass kick and didn't bother with BPM changes at all. The charts were also bland, lifeless, and didn't have the same flow that you'd get on a choreographed dance game. Even Dancing Monkeys, possibly the best step chart generator for DDR-inspired games, spits out charts that are pretty sterile.
Oh, I forgot to mention the issue with time signatures above. Not every song is 4/4. Rock Band has several tracks by Dream Theater, for instance, and they are widely known for going way overboard with time signature changes. If the time signatures aren't set up, the measure markers in the game won't work properly.
If you can't generate a convincing chart on the simplest of game types, there's no way you'd be able to manage something like that for a band simulation game.
You might argue that they should allow users the option to create their own charts. That brings on a ton of other complications. Even getting past the fact that user created charts can never be as complete as a real chart without hacking (since getting a proper song with separate channels for the different instruments generally wouldn't be doable for most, nor would it be a practical to support on a console), you still have to consider many other issues, most notably people being able to deal with the complexities of actually creating a chart.
For one, we have the aforementioned BPM issue. Many people who are new to creating DDR charts have this issue and, as I explained, there's only so much that an automated program can do. It takes time and patience to be able to work this out. The person charting the song would also have to know enough about music to be able to work out the time signature that's being used. You could argue that they could assume it's all going to be 4/4, but that would make charting songs with different time signatures disorienting. The person creating the chart would also have to consider the offset of the first beat in the song and would have to place that accurately to avoid having the file start off-sync.
Secondly, the person who writes the chart would have to have a damn good ear. Harmonix and whoever-makes-Guitar-Hero-now have the benefit of being able to listen to each audio track individually. After songs are mixed, telling what part is what can range from being somewhat easy to being nigh impossible.
Finally, there's the issue of distribution. Since, in most cases, the person who finishes the chart will not have rights to distribute the track, the only thing that would be distributable would be the data making up the chart. You could argue that it means that anyone who owns the actual song would be able to download and play it, but in practice you wind up with another mess on your hands. For one, not all compression schemes and audio extraction software is created equally. Worse yet, not all CD releases are the same. Some of them are remastered, some of them are rerecorded, and others are just flat-out different (i.e. removing a bonus track for a greatest hits compilation, etc).
The way I see it, even if all of the technical issues were resolved and this actually did happen, I can picture the end result looking sort of like what wound up happening with StepMania (a DDR simulator), and even things like Little Big Planet -- too much user-created content available with absolutely zero quality control.
The Rock Band Network addresses many of the issues that I pointed out by putting the power into the hands of the bands. They can put together chart bundles that can theoretically match what Harmonix has in place and that can take advantage of all features of the game. It does some limited automation (which is probably reasonably accurate, since it actually has access to the individual audio tracks of the song, most notably the drum track) to lay down a bit of ground work for the file and to save some time for the author, then lets the chart author go crazy.
To make a long story short, I think that the way that Harmonix is approaching the issue is the most practical. Automatic generation simply sucks too much and putting it in the hands of the general populous would lead to far too many technical, quality, and legal issues.
I doubt they'd be able to sue Zynga over the patent, but they can surely get it invalidated easily due to a very healthy amount of prior art being available, not to mention how insanely obvious the concept is. Virtual currency is little more than an electronic rendition of Monopoly money.
It actually looks to me like all of them but the keyboardist have iPhone 4's. His appears to have rounded edges, which is a telltale sign of a pre-4 iPhone (though it's hard to be sure which -- the 3G and 3GS look identical when held, and the original's looks identical at more than a short distance). The video is also available in 720p, so the people recording it are using either iPhone 4s or fourth generation iPod touches (and considering the clarity, I doubt it's the latter).
On an slightly related note, the fact that I'm going into any sort of detail on this is a pretty good indication that I need to go outside more.
Now, it's true that they're not exactly the same, but it certainly looks like one site pointed their designer towards the other's and said "make it look like that."
I work for a company that offers web design services (among other things) and you'd be surprised how many people will just give us a list of URLs (it's usually not much of a list, either -- usually they only give us one or two) when we ask them what they want it to look like. We try to make inspire our design on the other site without making them look similar at all, but nine times out of ten our customers aren't satisfied until we make the sites look almost the same.