February 29th, 2008

Captain Obvious

Copy Protection = User annoyance and hassle = Pirated stuff is more convenient

The marketing people babble on about how Digital Rights Management "enhances" your "enjoyment" of a product. But what copy control really does is make ripped-off stuff better than the legal version. The most obvious example of this is the difference between illegally downloaded movies and commercial DVDs. To view a downloaded movie, you just double-click it. And then you're watching it.

Stick a recent commercial DVD into your player, though, and you'll probably have to sit through lengthy, un-skippable warnings about how dastardly is the piracy which you did not just engage. And that's before you even get to the annoying menus, trailers, and other dross that stand between you and the movie for which you, one might start to think foolishly, paid.

Legally purchased copy-protected game discs are another great example. They can't be backed up - literally, not just legally. The copy-protection generally makes the game discs uncopyable by all but very expert users. But you can make copies of the cracked version of the same game on The Pirate Bay, to save you from having to download it again if something goes wrong, with no trouble at all.

And legitimate Windows users enjoy the "Genuine Advantage" of having to validate their OS online or over the phone. Meanwhile, Captain Hook just downloads the fully patched and polished Corporate Edition, which doesn't even need a CD key, for free.


It is, of course, about control. Companies that sell software desperately want control. But the amusing irony is, the harder they grab, the more they strangle their users, and the more people turn away from their products. If they could just let go and relax a little... ha, yeah RIGHT!
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Trajedy... for YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

And now for your weekly political update.

"A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive." —George W Bush, after touring a genocide memorial, Kigali, Rwanda, Feb. 19, 2008

You mean like... exactly what YOU did to Iraq? No, seriously, HE ACTUALLY SAID THIS.
http://mfile.akamai.com/5913/wmv/whitehouse.download.akamai.com/5913/2008/02/20080219-6.v.asx - 27min 40sec. Dubya may not be the worst president in US history (he's only #3), but he may very well be the stupidest.

Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, informing him of the referral letter sent to U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor on contempt citations of former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.


Ohhhhhh... she WROTE HIM A LETTER! Hahahahaha! I sure am glad they're politely *writing letters* to the people who refuse to arrest those who have ignored congressional subpeonas and been found in contempt of Congress! Reality has finally caught up with Team America: World Police! "We will be very angry! And we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are!" At this point, I want to pull the lever and feed these morons to the sharks. The fact that Congress already has the power to arrest and imprison but refuses to do it is just the icing on the cake.

In other news, the car in front of me at a stoplight this morning had two bumper-stickers: "WE LOVE OUR PRESIDENT" and "Republicans 2008!" You just can't make this shit up. Maybe I should print up bumper-stickers featuring those new Abu Ghraib photos...

But at least we can exercise our freedom of speech to protest this insanity, right?

Protesters had been holding the sign - which read "Education not incarceration" - for more than an hour without disturbance when the trooper arrived. Heated words were exchanged as the trooper demanded the protesters remove the sign, which the State Patrol now acknowledges was displayed within the law. The trooper grabbed the sign, then dragged it and one of the protesters into the street, Yousling said.


Freedom of speech and political expression? First Amendment Rights? WHAT RIGHTS? Bow down before your police state, citizen! If you don't, you will become just another statistic in the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the entire fucking world! Yes, more than Russia. Yes, more than China. A higher percentage of people in jail than fucking NORTH KOREA!

Some sci-fi reading recommendations.


First of all, I don't think any of these books will change your life.

I've read Fire Upon The Deep and I recommend it. Also the sequel, Deepness In The Sky. Very good, very imaginative sci-fi.

I've read The Sparrow and I don't particularly recommend it. It's not bad, but I don't understand why it keeps getting recommended. Possibly the twist ending makes people think it's better than it really is. Kinda like Planet Of The Apes that way.

Pattern Recognition and Cryptonomicon are both books that, in my opinion, pale by comparison to earlier works by the same authors. Your call.

Consider Phlebas, The Dispossessed and Perdido St. Station all look very interesting.