* Posts by The Indomitable Gall

1247 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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FCC says cities should be free to run decent ISPs. And Republicans can't stand it

The Indomitable Gall

Food greatly simplifies intertate commerce, in that people who don't eat die. (Reductio ad absurdum.)

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The Indomitable Gall

Other people are scared...

It's not just the ISPs proper that are scared -- it's a fairly big issue for MacDonald's and Starbucks too. If you do any amount of travelling, a recognisable chain which advertises free wifi in all its outlets can be very appealing. It's certainly easier than going into an unknown local café and asking about wifi, particularly if you don't know the local language.

A knock-on effect of keeping municipal internet services fee-paying, is there can be no free municipal wifi. Municipal wifi is a great leveller, because with it, we know we can get online literally anywhere, so we don't head to the multinational chains....

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Apple LIGHTSABERS to feature in The Force Awakens

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Reboot?

Annakin, both the "I see dead people" version, and the "I see nothing but red" version, deserves to be booted out the airlock...

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: It's just a movie....

" The Star Wars prequels are similar to Starship Troopers (the movie) in the sense that most people criticising them do entirely miss the plot. Don't see the wood for the trees, so to say. "

Not the right cliché. The plot was tiny, and hidden behind all the distracting fluff tacked on (which is not what vignettes are, incidentally. I'd say the plot was a clearing, which you couldn't see because the viewer was outside an Endor-sized forest with a whole moon's worth of trees between the viewer and the clearing.

The theme held promise -- the corruption of power -- but the overall plot was ridiculous. Episode I in particular had a lot of people moving about for no clear reason. Episode II had two people who appeared more robotic than R2D2 deciding not only that they understood the concept of "love", but that they were in it. Episode II gave the opportunity for a good tragic twist when the Trade Federation told Kenobi that they were building the Death Star to fight against Darth Sidious, but then Lucas chickened out and made that a lie. The Greek-level tragedy of Obi-Wan destroying the galaxy's last hope against the founding of the Empire and personally delivering the plans for the Death Star to the future Emperor would have been a fantastic plot twist.

And in the end, even the political intrigue needed a figure of ridicule to pull it off. It should have been someone we liked who messed up.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Warranty void if seal is broken

"They'll probably have a standby mode, and an irreplacable fuel source that needs recharging every 24 hours."

I'd be more worried about the fact that you can't plug it into a charger without it turning itself on. Kind of risky.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Retrogression of the "Force".

@Vlad,

" You are angry, AC. Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. "

Suffering leads to ???, and ??? leads to profit.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Retrogression of the "Force".

" As for why the lightsabres might get more spitty. Well, let me think... hmm three seconds later I came up with the idea that possibly it's because all the other Jedi/Sith are dead and the couple who are left lost the previously refined art of constructing lightsabres and are trying to work it out from the beginning again, hence the technology is messier. Obviously three seconds thinking is too difficult for you. "

If you'd thought three seconds more, you'd have remembered that Luke Skywalker's Return of the Jedi light saber was built by Luke himself, seemingly after the death of Yoda, so with no ancient Jedi blacksmiths left to pass on the knowledge. Luke's entire Jedi training appears to have consisted of a week with Kenobi and a few months with Yoda, so it can't have been that hard.

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Kanye West: Yo, DNS... Imma let you finish, but this gTLD is one of the best of all time

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Bah!

He is a gay fish.

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LICKED: Behold my TOAD-PROOF ERECTION, boasts Aussie boffin

The Indomitable Gall

Re: That fence will exclude everything not just the toad

Yes, but the reservoirs aren't part of the natural ecosystem, so blocking them off completely would rebalance things quite nicely.

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Silicene takes on graphene as next transistor wonder-stuff

The Indomitable Gall

@Andre Carniero

"Still waiting to see real-world applications of graphene, though..."

It's nanotech -- why would you expect to see it?

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Turbocharged quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed, global geekgasm likely

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Competitors dead in the water?

Still 100 MBIt and no SATA.

<p>And still no sign of audio in. I mean, seriously -- the Broadcom SoC was designed for camcorders and embedded multimedia, but there's no ADC anywhere on the Pi board. It's an unbelievably odd design decision.

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NY premiere of The Interview cancelled after hackers' terrorist threats

The Indomitable Gall

Actually...

I think the studio that made the film win this one -- how much free press is this generating? And there'll be plenty of people who go to see it to "stand up for freedom". Pass the popcorn....

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Unlock your mobe by STROKING it with your PEARL

The Indomitable Gall

"It's not a pearl, it's a bean."

Well, that's how I heard it anyway.

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Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

The Indomitable Gall

Budgets declining.

"if the state budget declines, so too may artists’ remuneration. "

This is not a problem. Consider:

The state remuneration is to compensate for lost sales in implementing a right to "space-shift" recorded media. This is important because increasing consumers' rights over recordings retroactively changes the value of the product. The industry can say "but we could have charged more if we'd known," which is true. So they are compensated.

However, look at where we are now. We now know that people will copy files across devices. It is expected. Therefore, the labels should be accounting for it in the price of first sale.

It follows that the revenue in artists' compensation schemes should drop year on year as the industry adapts.

Everyone's happy, no?

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UK.gov STILL won't pop a cap on stolen mobile bills

The Indomitable Gall

Profits...

Note also the fact that mobile operators are "unable" to block premium rate numbers. I appreciate that call charges are different on landlines and mobiles, but... WTF?!?!? I mean, how is it technically feasible to block premium calls on landline exchanges, but not mobile ones? It's the same bloody thing! The only difference is that the operators have CHOSEN not to implement such call barring. Their choice, their negligence, their responsibility... surely?

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Pervert's Guide man's new book, an urban myths tome and Youth, an underrated gem

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Some BS

Indeed. No historical society has institutionalised individualism and thrived in the long term. Modern society is a corruption of earlier family-like tribal structures. Individuals have used positions of trust (head of the household) and slowly mutated them into positions of "authority". Domination etymologically meant little more than running a household, patriarchy was just doing as your father said. But now these words have been corrupted by office-bearers to mean something more controlling and sinister.

This sort if self-interested individualism killed Rome. It was the increasing servitude of feudalism that triggered the French Revolution and the birth of modern democracy. Industrial capitalists' lack of altruism led to trade unionism and communism, but they only stalled the march of the current individualist wave which is set to bring our society tumbling down.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: It doesn't require much genius to know it is far easier to provide criticism when

Spoken like a politician. Politicians love criticism to be accompanied by a counter-proposal, because then they can attack the counter-proposal rather than having to defend the flaws in the current system (and no system is wihout flaws). This leaves us with a "disposable politic society" where we throw away all our policies and start from scratch on new policies, instead of mending only the broken parts. Nowhere is this clearer than in education, where every 30-ish years we swing between strict grammar-spelling-and-times-tables "basic skills" teaching, and let-them-be-free-to-create "holistic" teaching, instead of integrating the two (NB lots of individual teachers do go work resolving the two ideologies into a coherent whole,but it's never institutionally codified).

So it's good to go into some depth about the problems without confusing the debate by introducing one of an infintite variety of possible solutions.

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The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Eh?

@Peshman

" but if a signal is broadcast on a particular frequency then how do you stop that particular frequency from being hijacked? Or there is nobody capable of spoofing a satellite transmission signal to bork your bit of hardware? "

If that's really a concern, then the best trick would be to use a parabolic receiver, which is traditionally used to isolate a particular signal from a particular point in line-of-sight -- in common parlance, a "satellite dish".

Obviously not all satellite receivers bother with the parabolic dish now (GPS, most satellite phones) but if interference is a genuine concern (and it will be if you're operating on a band that isn't specifically reserved by the ITU) then you'll be wanting that dish....

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HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox

The Indomitable Gall

Re: WILL THIS BE BRIANS LEGACY?

"has this fuck actually contributed to science or has he just passed a load of exams?"

The former. Exams finish at MSc level, and you get a chair (professorship) based on your academic weight. You can look up some of his papers, if you like. I don't know what the ATLAS project is, but I'm pretty certain he's using the LHC at CERN for more than just high-energy Scalectrix...

http://academic.research.microsoft.com/Author/23398545

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Helium-3

Yeah, but then some 21st century human hair gets in the reactor and mutates. Future man will be wiped out by the resulting monster!

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'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?

The Indomitable Gall

Re: It's the crystals!

I'd be careful -- if you focus too much on the crystal, you may well end up locked in, and waiting for Mumsy to come round with a bowl of soup.

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The Indomitable Gall
Joke

Re: Awards to ACs

@Khaptain:

"the fact that PC crowd can become exceptionally distastefull"

You must be some kind of Apple fanboi.

/me ducks, and scuttles off into the bushes chuckling to himself.

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Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

The Indomitable Gall
Headmaster

Funny how pedants are so quick to show their superior knowledge that they don't even stop to check the Oxford English Dictionary. No mention of purchasing in their definition of the word.

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Clara goes to the dark side, with dark secrets revealed in Dark Water

The Indomitable Gall
Thumb Down

On the subject of spoilers...

Why does El Reg have the Cybermen spoiler on the subhead on the main page? Surely that's no place for spoilers....

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Fav moment

They also showed the cybermen in the thumbnail pic on iPlayer. Way to kill the tension, BBC.

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Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function

The Indomitable Gall

Re: it's an beta release

Maybe you've never done any software dev, so here's a little lesson about undo features: if you don't code them in from the ground up, they're unlikely to work. I find Microsoft's lack of an undo feature disturbing.

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Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Good on him

"Zuckerberg is giving a mountain of money for a worthy cause"

And that worthy cause is Zuckerberg trying to minimise his chances of getting the disease.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Great, but...

There has only ever been one Doctor! (Well, at any given time, that is....)

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A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Ignore the licence requirements

@Phil W

" it would be worth pointing out that the article author didn't say to ignore the rules or the insurance, only not to bother getting a licence. "

Right. Now you find me an insurance company that will pay out on an unlicensed individual.

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Remember Palm's WebOS? LG does – check out its smart TVs

The Indomitable Gall

@Steven Raith Re: Wrong priorities

I gave up trying to connect tellies to hifis a few years ago, as all this digital processing seems to mess up the sync.

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Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

The Indomitable Gall

Re: how would this go on phablets ?

@DougS,

" If you add everything it needs to be used on a modern mobile device, it will no longer be minimal and lightweight when compared to Unix. "

Not necessarily. A lot of the cruft and bloat in modern operating systems is legacy material that can't be removed due to backward compatibility issues, or simply for fear of unintended consequences. Building direct from "back then" to "now" while skipping all the in-between stuff should result in a lighter, quicker OS that modern *n*x variants.

That said, it still wouldn't be worth the bother. Some people might find it useful for embedded work, but it's not going to set the world alight....

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Trials of 'Iron Man' military exoskeleton due in June

The Indomitable Gall

First practical market:

Mike Brown:

"Without a very effecient, and small battery these suits are going to very limited in range: the length of the power cord."

This is why the only market I can think of for the initial units is for steadicam operators. A full steadicam rig typically weighs around 50kg, and I've seen steadicam operators who don't weigh much more than that to start with. A lot of the time the cameras will be on an umbilical anyway rather than battery power, so the power lead won't be an extra burden if it's bound into the same "snake" as the camera power and signal cables.

By increasing the weight capacity of the operator, they'll be able to use heavier cameras still, and I'm sure you all know what that means.... Yep, that's right: seasickness-inducing stereoscopic steadicam 3D!!!!

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Minecraft developer kills Kickstarted Minecraft movie

The Indomitable Gall

Re: IP, you say...?

So making a full-length Star Trek fan movie is, well, fans dicking around not-for-profit, but a machinima/live-action hybrid set in a universe that has no story of its own is piracy on the high seas?

There are Star Trek fan movies out there with the blessing of the copyright holders, and these are alright, because they have the permission. There are parodies that exist under the US provisions that protect parody, so these are alright. If they weren't alright, they wouldn't be there, because those guys have lawyers like you wouldn't believe.

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Gamers in a flap as Vietnamese dev pulls Flappy Bird

The Indomitable Gall

Yaks?

Last I heard he kept sheep and llamas on his plot of land in Wales, but no yaks.

(Actually, I recall being told that yaks can't survive at low altitudes because the air pressure would kill them... I wonder if this is an urban myth...

...google...

Wikipedia says they "do not thrive at lower altitudes", so it's not instantly fatal, but also that they begin to suffer heat exhaustion at 15 degrees Celsius.)

(Goddammit... I need to get a job.)

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Flappy bird in Blender

"Nobody will begrudge a small developer hitting it big."

Welcome to the internet -- you're new round here aren't you...?

Heck, welcome, intergalactic traveller, to the Planet Earth. May I introduce you to the dominant species on this planet, "humanity"?

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HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

The Indomitable Gall

Re: It's not the 80s, and things have moved on.

Horses for courses, pal.

Restrictions on game mechanics have knock-on effects in level design, and as long as the two are considered in parallel and feed into each other, there's no problem.

The most valid way to complete a game is by learning and mastering the game mechanics. If you have no save points, à la 80s and 90s gaming, that means there will be a lot of replaying to be done. If you replay, you will be constantly improving your base skill level before hitting the new stuff, so the game difficulty can ramp up pretty quickly.

If, however, you never need to replay a completed section, the next section can't really assume you've mastered the mechanic, and you're forced to make the next level only very slightly harder. This means you've got to write more content to get the same overall learning curve and final mastery level for the game. However, it also risks the designers slipping into "very obvious" mode for a lot of the levels, where the solution to the next difficult bit relies directly on the new trick that you've just picked up.

If you add a save option into a well designed game that had no saves, the game will become boring. If you take the save games out of a well designed game with savegames, the game will become boring.

The two things are different.

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

The Indomitable Gall

Re: What a bunch of wimps.

Maybe they just forked an alpha version of the Ubuntu Touch codebase? Legally, there's nothing stopping them (GPL and all that).

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Under the GPL

"The definition of "Enough work to exempt it from the GPL" is "Enough for it to constitute an entirely new work in its own right, aot a derivative work based on an existing copyrighted work".

Funnily enough, nobody seems to have any problem with this concept when dealing with old-fashioned, closed copyrights (the kind which the GPL specifically forbids you to apply to derivative works of GPLed works)."

A headache that's yet to be resolved....

Cos after all, when a GPL project discovers they're carrying code that ísn't GPL compatible, they "rewrite" the code -- no cleanroom, just "delete code and add something that does exactly the same thing" -- and then they tell us that it's not a derivative work of the very same code that they were directly recreating....

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The Indomitable Gall

Real communists...

Real communists use BSD.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Give some credit where it is deue

@AC

" That is bloody weird, I know plenty of people married to a non-EU citizen, and they have no problems getting a Visa for the UK, last I checked its EU law they have to grant her access unless there is a valid reason to refuse.... "

You've not been reading the newspapers -- the Home Office have been refusing residency left, right and centre, even to people who have been resident, married and working in the UK for years. Poster examples include the Australian NHS mental health worker who was kicked out, and the US man who was the sole teacher in a Scottish rural school, as well as the sole carer for his critically ill wife, and was told where to go.

The thing about EU law is that it often only determines how you treat people from other member states. So the UK has to grant access to a foreigner who has gained EU residency in another state, but it doesn't have to grant UK residency (and hence EU residency) to anyone directly.

So lots of British people are now emigrating for a year to get an EU-registered marriage to their non-EU significant others, so that they can come home.

Immigration laws in the UK are really the pits.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

@Joe Gurman

" It just seems strange to this liberal (by US standards) that a government thinks its citizens can't be trusted to buy what they want "

What I want isn't available.

I went a long time without a tablet, because Android couldn't do real-time audio processing like iOS can, but the iPad isn't compatible with my plethora of charging devices, or my case full of SD cards. (I have all sorts of cameras and audio gadgets in my drawers).

I individually do not have the power to change that.

So you'll say we need collective buyer power... and you know what? That's what government is supposed to be -- collective power.

" and note this is an economic issue (presumably less expensive micro-USB vs. more expensive proprietary connectors), not a safety one, as there's ample anecdotal evidence of people being incinerated by using cheap knockoff copies of either proprietary or "standard" connector chargers. "

It is economical and environmental -- if chargers are proprietary, we keep binning them, and electronic waste is a huge (and growing) problem.

Besides, while nobody ever claimed it was about safety, safety may actually be improved as a happy side-effect: those faulty connectors you mention... do they have a CE mark? I doubt it -- EU safety regs are pretty damn good.

You will never be able to stop people importing their own unsafe super-cheap chargers, but when you break the proprietary monopoly, and there's a CE-tested charger available for a fiver at a local shop, why are you going to leave yourself waiting up to a month to get a £2.50 charger shipped from Taiwan?

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Appropriate use of icon..

"assuming we're still part of the EU."

Here's hoping we're not..

Yeah, did you hear that those nasty Eurocrats were trying to feed our starving poor?

Those pinko Guardianistas don't seem to get it:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/17/government-under-fire-eu-funding-food-banks

They just don't understand that if we don't starve families to death, people won't have any motivation to develop entrepreneurship skills and become the sort of self-employed go-getters we love: contract cleaners who draw minimum wage for 3 hours' work a day, and can be ditched the moment they take a day off for illness. It's the flexibility of these heroes of industry that makes Britain great.

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You gotta fight for your copyright ... Beastie Boys sue toymaker over TV ad

The Indomitable Gall

Re: @rh587 wrt: Campbell vs Acuff-Rose Music

Utter tripe? {citation required}

There have been various cases in the US which have established that two things that might be considered individual "works" are only considered individual works if they have been conceived independently. I'm thinking mostly lyrics and tune here -- there have been several cases where lyricists have claimed royalties for instrumentals, because the tune is merely a part of the "work": the song.

So while I am arguably wrong, I am not undoubtedly wrong. If I was a lawyer (I'm not) and you were a lawyer (I'm pretty sure you're not) and we were arguing against each other in court, I hope you wouldn't address my arguments with "utter tripe". (Actually, scratch that, it would be nice for my opponent to be found in contempt...)

I'm not against people proving I'm wrong, but proving requires proof....

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The Indomitable Gall

Sorry, what makes them "increasingly 'establishment'"?

The fact that they're trying to maintain a personal artistic decision on how and when their music gets used? As opposed to that typical "anti-establishment" tendency to license it out for big spondoolicks to all comers for their TV spots?

Or maybe it's the fact that they're using the legal process to seek remedy rather than kicking down the offender's door and defecating in his fireplace?

Plenty of anti-establishment figures have used the judicial system to protect their anti-establishment stance. Those that don't aren't just "anti-establishment", they're anarchists. And anarchists are often just thoroughly antisocial selfish people by another name.

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The Indomitable Gall

@rh587 wrt: Campbell vs Acuff-Rose Music

"Commercial use" is too broad a banner here.

In Campbell vs Acuff-Rose Music, the parody itself was a commercial product, In this case, the parody does not exist as a standalone work -- it exists only within the advert, and the advert as a whole is not a parody, and the product that it is selling is not a parody.

If the song has no existence outside of the advert, the song isn't likely to be considered a "work" at all -- consider that US courts have already established precedent stating that the tune and lyrics of a song are a single work, so both composer and lyricist receive royalties for (and can block the use of) instrumental versions and lyric sheets.

That's what the BB's lawyers will be arguing, and I think they'll win.

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The Indomitable Gall

Re: Pretty much my thoughts too

@JeevesMkII

"Since almost all parody produced today is ultimately for commercial gain that seems like a pretty silly argument."

I think the difference here is that a parody is a work of art that has commentary or political expression as its primary reason for being.

This song has no existence independent of the advert, therefore its primary reason for being is clearly to be part of the advert and to sell a product that is not itself parody.

If the song had been written independently, and they'd picked it up to use in the advert after the fact, they'd maybe have a case, but that's not what happened, so its a rip-off.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

The Indomitable Gall

Biscuit size and memory...

Whenever I wonder if a biscuit has really shrunk, I bring a pack to my parents' house, as they still have the cups that used to hold the milk I dunked my biscuits in. Certain biscuits needed a bit bitten off the side before they would fit. If they don't any more, then I know they've shrunk them.

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Speeding cops, fearsome drops and Death Star shops

The Indomitable Gall

Re: Personally

@John Sanders,

"If you do not pay the game is just not that fun, if you pay (or hack the game) it becomes way too easy.

Some game companies are like Telecom companies, they are putting way too much effort into the billing/charging for everything and little on the service quality/gameplay"

I think a lot of this sort of behavious comes down to what I call "the gamification of gaming".

Everyone outside of gaming has spent the last few years trying to "gamify" everything, from shopping to education, by pulling out the accoutrements of gaming (rewards, achievements, levels etc) and tacking them onto their "customer experience".

The problem is, that these accoutrements aren't actually a game -- there's no actual gameplay in it.

I remember when the term was new, there was an article on one of the gaming sites about "gamifying education", and a leading game programmer pointed out this very problem. Traditionally, playing games was about learning -- learn the level maps, learn how to time the jump, learn how to pull off the Dragon Punch with a quick flick. Brain scans show that playing computer games stimulates learning in ways that would make teachers green with envy... but it's the gameplay that does that, not the "achievements".

For instance, a few years ago, fired up an emulator and started playing the 8-bit tie-in game to the film Platoon, a game I hadn't played in over 15 years. I completed the first level on my first attempt, from memory. I remember the strategy to beat half of the first 50 levels in Bubble Bobble. There's dozens of shoot-em-ups that I would be able to glide through on autopilot, because I've learned them.

But games have been gamified.

Remember when MMORPGs were new, and people used to complain about "grinding" and "gold-mining" as being too much a part of the game? Most of these casual freemium games are just grinding. Tiny Death Star, for example, has virtually no game mechanics, nothing to learn and nothing to fight against. All you're doing is pressing buttons at partially random intervals to keep the credits coming in and to reach the next "achievement", and making a few simple decisions on what to build next... decisions that provide no feedback, so you can't learn from your mistakes.

If computer games are drugs, Tiny Death Star is nicotine. It offers no high, no real reward, but once you start on it, it dominates your life. "Just one little puff.... and another... and another."

I have uninstalled it.

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Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

The Indomitable Gall

Re: So why aren't terrorists...

...because the "dirty bomb" just isn't practical, and this ain't fissile material, so you can make a nuclear bomb.

Think about it... would you be more scared by pictures of people with missing limbs or of pictures of uninjured people with an elevated risk of cancer in 10-20 years time? Which is the better press for the morally bankrupt crusader?

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Build your own WORKING Sonic Screwdriver... for a UNDER A FIVER

The Indomitable Gall

Deus IN machina! Deus IN machina!

The sonic screwdriver is not deus ex machina at all, it is deus in machina. Deus ex machina requires a previously unmentioned outside force to affect the course of events, but the sonic screwdriver is an established element of the Doctor Who story universe, therefore it is not an outside force by any stretch of the imagination.

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