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  • Aug 6th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

    Basic publishing economics (as Varsil)

    Come on, Mike... you clearly don't understand economics as it works in the elite world of book publishing (though it is similar to the recording industry, etc).

    The accepted method is this:
    1. Determine your costs to publish. That's payment to the author (as minimal as possible), printing costs (or bandwidth), graft, waste, lobbyists... etc. Divide by number of books to get cost to publish one book.
    2. Decide arbitrarily on the amount of profit you want to make for each book. Pick any number you want here. Price clearly doesn't affect demand for books, because books contain knowledge, which is priceless.
    3. Decide how many books you'd like to sell.
    4. Blame any failure to sell the number of books decided at step 3, for an amount as decided in step 2, on any of the following: Google, Amazon, piracy, the kids these days and their new-fangled video games, etc.
    5. Hire more lobbyists to complain about the factors identified at step 4. Naturally, this increases the costs in step 1.
    6. Ride this "success spiral" all the way to the end.
  • Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:34am

    (untitled comment) (as Varsil)

    Soda control, gun control, 'random' stop-and-frisk... I'm pretty sure the entire reason for his political career is to satisfy some sort of deep-seated control fetish. I'm just hoping they disinfect his office when he moves out.
  • Jun 6th, 2013 @ 12:18am

    Re: (as Varsil)

    Easy--step one in any forensic analysis is to make a duplicate of the drive, so the original can then be stored in a locker. He'd be entering a password on the duplicate. If that gets wiped, A) nothing is lost, and B) shows, at best, him being uncooperative. At worst, it shows an attempt to destroy evidence.
  • Apr 26th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    McAfee, the leader... (as Varsil)

    McAfee is currently the leader in providing virus software to consumers.

    No, I got that right. I don't mean virus detection and elimination software. I mean that their software is shitty enough that it should be considered malware.
  • Apr 11th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    (untitled comment) (as Varsil)

    Jayne: "The money was too good. I got stupid. I'm sorry, okay? Be reasonable. What are you taking it so personal for? It ain't like I ratted you out to the Feds."

    So, I guess this action is thematically appropriate. Now, what was the punishment Mal suggested for that one?
  • Mar 20th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: "Unique" (as Varsil)

    Let me tell you about how unique and "this belongs to me" CD keys have made me feel in the past:

    I bought a copy of a game (Myth: The Fallen Lords), which came with a CD key. I get the game home, I open it up, and immediately I go "Oh, shit", because it becomes clear that I'm not the first person to open this particular box. Sure enough, when I enter the CD key, it works, but I can't get online. Key is in use.

    So, I take the thing back to the store, and they won't accept the return. See, it's been opened, so they won't take it back. Thankfully, the good folks at Bungie turned out to be stand-up guys and sent me a new CD key, but most companies wouldn't. So you get the experience that the thing you just bought belongs to the guy who snuck into the package at the store, or used a keygen to predict your key.
  • Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Of course...

    Of course they want Canada back on the list. After all, putting us on the list worked the last time--they got their ridiculous list of demands. Why stop now when you're winning?

    Don't mistake what they're asking for for a compromise. They want you to compromise by giving them half the pie, and then they'll ask you to compromise again for half of that... pretty soon they've eaten the whole pie and are demanding you pay half their dry-cleaning bill because they spilled pie on their shirt.
  • Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Re: (as Varsil)

    Would you like to invest in a bridge? Perhaps one of our nation's monuments? Some swampland ripe for development?

    These and many other "opportunities" await you if you're credulous enough to believe EA's explanation for the ban.
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 7:22pm

    Pronunciation (as Varsil)

    Rapiscan: Pronounced "rapey-scan".

    Or at least, that's how I pronounce it.
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 7:21pm

    Uhh... (as Varsil)

    ""It sets a dangerous precedent," says Noel Hidalgo, Code for America's New York Program Manager, "where special interest groups can exempt their communities." If firearm owners can create an exemption from public disclosure, than why couldn't licensed livery car drivers, healthcare workers, sellers of pesticide or lawyers?"

    I'm a lawyer. In my area, I have the right to either have my name published on the roster or left unpublished. My home address, on the other hand, is never published unless I do so independently.
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Fact Check

    "Assault rifle" and "assault weapon" are not the same thing.

    "Assault weapon" is a legal term, which was chosen to be similar to assault rifle for political positioning.
  • Jan 18th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Slants and Observations (as Ian)

    "Absolutely true....but mass killings are waaaaay up. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in our nation's history, six have happened in the last six years."

    The evidence you offer in support of your conclusion here doesn't actually support the conclusion. First, you switch from "mass killing" to "shootings" as if they're the same thing. They're not. For instance, of the top five deadliest mass killings in the U.S., none of them have relied on firearms. Fire, bombings, and deliberate air crashes take the top. And I'm not counting 9/11 here, either. But the bigger issue is that counting the number of deadliest shootings neither provides evidence that the total deaths per capita are going up, nor that the total number of incidents are going up.

    But, more to the point, mass killings in the U.S. kill a trivial number of people per year. It's on line with lightning strikes, or insect/reptile/arachnid venoms. It's a rare cause of death, not a common one. But, when the entrenched industries want to prevent you from having a 3d printer, they'll point to guns as the reason, and they'll point to mass killings. It's the same as how everyone who wants to limit speech or to sell fancy pornoscanners to airports points to terrorism.

    "You know what's REALLY lazy? Not doing the intellectual work to understand that I DIDN'T say any of the above, only that I pointed out that NRA opponents COULD make that argument as an example of why the distinction the NRA is making is a weak one. The fact that you think I implied that's true simply means you're not reading hard enough, or that you're a shadow-jumper. The problem is with you, not the article, since what you allege above simply didn't HAPPEN. I both fish and have hunted in the past. I have a problem with neither."

    Might I suggest another possibility, which is that you were unclear in the article? You said "The line on shooting living things is crossed and it would be quite easy to point to harming animals as a predictive sign of criminality, violence and sociopathy." This implies that you believe that hunting falls into that category. If that wasn't what you mean, fair enough, but I don't think it's right to call people intellectually lazy for what seems to be a miscommunication. You weren't clear, you were misunderstood. It happens. I think that I'm getting your point from reading your further comments, but it's not the point I got from just reading the article on its own.
  • Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Not hypocrisy at all (as Ian)

    Please, enlighten me.

    It's hard to consider a game where you shoot at paper targets to be "violent", in the same way that I don't find laser tag, archery, javelin throwing, and so forth to be violent. There's no intention to harm anyone.

    Hypocrisy: Taking a moral/principled stance via words, and then contradicting it via deeds. Which means that something isn't hypocrisy if the deeds and moral stance aren't in contradiction. That's the case here: The NRA opposes games that show violence--e.g. Mortal Kombat, but not games that don't, e.g. a game that involves target shooting, or Farmville, or whatever.

    Calling the NRAs stance hypocritical requires both first defining all firearm-related activities as violent, even when they are not, and second, believing that the NRA itself feels that all firearm-related activities are violent. Even if you think the first is true, the second obviously isn't the NRAs position.
  • Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    Not hypocrisy at all (as Ian)

    It's not hypocritical for them to decry violence in video games and then put out games where firearms are used responsibly, shooting at paper targets. Notably in all of the games shown there are zero human casualties, and zero laws being broken. Much as I am a big proponent of video games and play a lot of violent video games, I can't think of many other games where that is the case, excepting military scenarios, and even there the number of war crimes pretty quickly starts to go through the roof.

    As has been noted, the NRA didn't set the age limit for it. Apple did. So, there's that.

    Also, the whole "harming animals as a predictive sign" doesn't apply to hunting, it applies to cruelty to animals. Further, that has been thoroughly debunked, though it remains as a popular myth. What the evidence actually shows, if you dig into it a bit more, is that abused children are likely to be cruel to animals, and also face higher risks of criminality. Cruelty to animals (which is not part of hunting--clean kills are emphasized) is a warning sign that a child is being abused.

    If you think it's hypocrisy, you don't understand the NRA's position at all, and the article ends up being a straw man. Their position isn't "it is bad to have video games with guns in them", it's "it is bad to have video games wherein you commit criminal acts, including with firearms". They'd be entirely fine with Duck Hunt, not so much with Doom.

    Personally, I think the NRA's attacks on violent video games are stupid, but that doesn't mean they're being hypocritical here.
  • Dec 21st, 2012 @ 10:19am

    Fact Check (as Varsil)

    The AR-15 is not an "assault rifle": Assault rifles, by definition, must be capable of select fire, which the AR-15 is not.

    They resemble an assault rifle, but it's just cosmetic.
  • Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As a general rule (as Ian)

    I'm not in the U.S., so Netflix is kind of a barren wasteland (and Pandora's just an apology letter, and so forth).
  • Dec 19th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Well... (as Varsil)

    As others have noted, the campaign was holding out that these products were actual Victoria's Secret products, which is indeed trademark infringement and buys them into controversy they probably don't want. I think they're hoping they can extricate themselves from the thing gracefully, which is likely a tactical error.

    That said, I can see why they don't carry said products. They're in the business of sexy clothing. I can think of many, many things sexier than having a woman slowly peel off her clothing to reveal "NO MEANS NO". At that point I think I'd say "No" and go play some video games instead.
  • Dec 19th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: As a general rule (as Ian)

    I wish I was good enough to be on a show called Top Shot. I'm an amateur at best, so I won't be on TV unless I get a lot better, or they start hosting a show called "On paper more often than not".
  • Dec 19th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: As a general rule

    Well, calling the people who disagree with you "paranoid cowards" and their property "security blanket[s]" isn't really helpful to a productive discussion.

    Here's a bit of my story, for perspective. I have ADHD. I have a pretty strong case of it, in fact. I barely graduated high school. It took me about a decade to get through a four year degree for my undergraduate. Around that point, I actually got my stuff together and started dealing with it. Medication was a part of that, but I'm really bad at taking my medication. A bigger part was learning to manage, including finding activities that help me regain a state of focus.

    Above and beyond, the best of those activities to help me regain a focused state is target shooting. I've tried archery, not the same thing. It forces a sort of meditation that helps me out for a couple of weeks afterwards. I would say that it's been an important part of me getting my life onto a successful track--I have since been able to attend law school and am a practicing lawyer. I'm still spending each day dealing with an intellectual disability, but stuff like this helps tremendously.

    Talking about banning firearms isn't just "taking away a security blanket". In my case, at least, it would greatly affect my quality of life by reducing my ability to function. It takes away an important coping mechanism for dealing with a disability.

    Long story short, you really can't know what the importance a particular activity is to someone. A friend of mine owns one rifle he rarely shoots, but is the only item he has that belonged to his (deceased) father. They used to go plinking when he was a kid, he now takes the thing out once a year to go plinking on his own. It's got tremendous personal significance to him.

    Assuming bad motives to people isn't useful. If you're genuinely wondering about the importance things have, reach out and ask some people. Slinging insults just polarizes the debate and makes it impossible to do anything useful, and makes it us-vs-them instead of "Hey, we're all in this together".
  • Dec 19th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    This is tautologically true, but only because you specified 'shooting' deaths. However, historically many of the worst rampage killings have been those involving arson, which have been known to kill many hundreds of people. If you're including death generally, a person unable to shoot a lot of people may burn a lot more people instead. It's not exactly a cut and dried issue.

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