* Posts by KB 1

10 posts • joined 22 Oct 2009

Steve Ballmer window-dresses Windows 8

KB 1
Welcome

Bring it on...

I, for one, welcome the announcement of Windows 8 so soon after 7. I've generally skipped every other Microsoft OS release and it's a policy that's served me pretty well:

Used 95

Skipped 98

Used 98SE

Skipped ME

Used XP

Skipped Vista

Using 7...

So let's just get this next one out of the way and I can start being interested in what Microsoft are doing again.

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Suit settled, PS3 hacker donates $10,000 to EFF

KB 1
Stop

Neither party "lost" this case...

I'm pretty sure the bad PR and attentions of hacker collectives like Anonymous was part of the reason for Sony's decision to settle this case now, but they hardly "lost" the case.

What was the point in suing GeoHot? It was never going to be to get damages - money - out of him, was it? Hotz might have had $10K to dontate at the end of it, but that's a drop in the ocean for Sony and would easily have been swallowed up (and then some) by lawyers' fees if this had gone to trial. If Sony had pursued this all the way, they might have won some hollow moral victory, but they'd have been left with a massive legal bill and costs they had no chance of recovering from the defendant.

No, Sony got what they really wanted - for Hotz will stop meddling in the PS3 and other Sony products (with an injunction and the threat of further court action if he doesn't) and a clear message has been sent to other potential hackers that they risk Sony's wrath if they try to follow in his footsteps.

Sony wins all that and limits any further PR damage for no further costs. Hotz only really wins the removal of the threat of the ongoing law suit which could - could - have bankrupted him.

Neither side really won or lost overall. If anything, the biggest losers are the lawyers who don't get to charge a big fat fee. And that, surely, is a win (of sorts) for everyone?

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Anonymous hacks Sony PS3 sites

KB 1
Stop

Thanks to g e

...for pointing out the blindingly obvious difference between "hardware" (which is yours to with what you like) and firmware / software which are Sony's intellectual property and which you are most certainly NOT allowed to mess around with to your heart's content.

With the greatest respect, Loyal Commenter, if you really are a software developer, I would have thought you'd understand that the actions of these hackers / crackers involve making unauthorised changes to software / firmware which the relevant rights owner has every entitlement (some would say obligation) to defend. The rootkits saga... fair enough, but that wasn't the reason Anonymous started this whole farce, was it? And it has nothing to do with the PS3.

As for the loss of OtherOS on the PS3... I would be fairly confident that 99%+ of PS3 owners didn't even notice, let alone care. Yes, it was a shame that it happened, but the person to blame for that is our friend George Hotz because he was the one that pushed too far against the boundaries of the playpen Sony had provided.

It was a sad move, but it was perfectly legal - yes Sony offered the choice of OtherOS or online gaming, but they are perfectly entitled to change the terms of access to PSN (which is, after all, a free service) and if you didn't want to accept them (and the firmware update they required) then that's your choice.

Sony owes an obligation to games developers and publishers to take steps to protect its platform against piracy. I know people would love to believe that hackers are all acting in their own hobbyist interests but that's patently not the case. Why did Hotz take such delight in publishing the PS3's root keys on the internet? Is he really so stupid that he didn't realise this was like waving a red flag at a very, very big bull? Of course not - he's living off his own massively inflated ego and delusion that he's somehow above the system. He did it because he knew it would be picked up by pirates and damaging to Sony. The sooner he and people like him are cut down to size, the better for everyone involved in the gaming, software and technology industries.

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KB 1
Thumb Down

"Must say though it couldn't have happened to a more deserving company" - Why?

Why say that? What has Sony really done wrong other than pursue legal action against a couple of idiots who infringed their intellectual property, caused (or attempted to cause) significant harm to one of Sony's core product lines as well as harming their business partners (the game developers); promoted piracy and inconvenienced millions of legitimate PS3 customers all over the world?

Oh yes: "allegedly".

I for one, really hope "Geohot" gets the book thrown at him in court - he thoroughly deserves it. I'm also very much against these "Anonymous" f**kwits (can I say that on El Reg?) and their DDOS attacks because really, the only people they hurt and inconvenience are all the completely innocent consumers who might actually quite like to access Sony's websites or play a few games on their PS3s.

I just don't get the schadenfreude over Sony's situation - they make consumer entertainment products; they're nothing like the Scientology or Wikileaks stories (or ACS: Law for that matter) and unless you're a hacker who engages in practices of dubious legality, this legal action has little adverse effect on you.

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61

O2 to raise broadband prices by up to 27%

KB 1
Stop

Get on the phone to them!

I had this email this morning. Got straight on the phone to the cancellation team and said I was unhappy with the price rise and thinking about leaving - after a little bit of negotiation, a £3 a month retention discount was applied to my account (on the £18 "All-rounder" package) and I'm actually paying 50p less a month than I was previously!

Win-win!

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The year's best... console games

KB 1
Alert

Tin hats on... here come the fanbois

You do realise that posting this sort of question on any game-related web forum is only going to attract the worst kind of fanboy response? Brace yourselves...

For what it's worth, I'll merely explain my thought processes that led me to buy a Playstation 3 instead of an Xbox 360:

- Blu-ray: If you have a HDTV, then you should get a Blu-ray player and the PS3 is actually a pretty good one.

- Free online gaming: Microsoft charge a sub for playing online games of about £30 a year. Sony's service is free. You can also browse the web and watch iPlayer on your PS3 which you can't on the Xbox. Handy of you don't have your PC hooked up to your big telly.

- The choice of exclusive games: This is always going to be a personal one - instead of Halo you could equally enjoy Killzone or Resistance, yet for Gran Turismo you could be playing Forza. YMMV. Note that El Reg Game of the Year "Demon's Souls" is a PS3 exclusive though.

Finally, I wouldn't wait for next-gen hardware - both the 360 and PS3 will be around for a few more years yet. If you really want next-gen then spending a bit more money on a good gaming PC is pretty much your only option.

Good luck!

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KB 1
Thumb Up

Good summary, but what about...

I can't argue with Demon's Souls being game of the year (aside from the fact it came out in 2009 for most of the world, including many European importers, but we'll let that one slide) but I agree with other commenters that Bad Company 2 (the year's best online FPS by far), Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood should all have had a mention.

I can't agree with the Coward above slating Vanquish though - it was one of the best things I've played this year and a clear example of a Japanese developer doing a non-Japanese game (if that's not too politically incorrect for me to say) far better than any Western developers have managed. I'd take a Vanquish 2 over Gears of War 3 any day.

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Government goes after outsourced staff T&Cs

KB 1
Stop

Missing the point?

New workers don't have a "right" to expect comparable terms and conditions to the exisiting, TUPE-transferred workforce. The Code of Practice only ever has legally binding effect on the outsourcing company if it's built into the contract that the Authoirty signs with its service provider. Often this is indeed the case and I've seen plenty of contracts that oblige suppliers to follow the Two-tier workforce code, but equally you can't blame the outsourcing companies if they decline to follow this voluntary code of practice if no one is requiring them to do it.

For my money, what's really behind this is the Government's cost saving drive. The Tories want more outsourcing because it boosts the private sector and (in theory) reduces costs to the public sector of performing those same services.

Outsourcing as a concept is usually sold on the basis that it can be done cheaper adn better by a private sector specialist, but the two-tier workforce code has been a big problem in terms of delivering real cost savings because it artifically inflates the cost of employing staff to do the work. How is a private company supposed to make significant savings when the single biggest cost - the remuneration paid to workers - has to be maintained at existing levels, even for replacement staff?

TUPE exists to protect transferring workers' terms and conditions, but companies can only make savings on their wage bill via redundancies or by replacing expensive people with cheaper ones. Surely axing this code is good for the taxpayer (we save money); staff whose roles are outsourced are still protected under TUPE and all the new staff... well, if you're not happy about the wages on offer, don't apply for the job in the first place!

As plenty of people have said, there's no such luxury in the private sector!

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Blur vs Split Second Velocity

KB 1
FAIL

Couldn't disagree more

... with the criticism about Blur. I haven't played Split/Second to compare, but Blur is a tremendous game and easily the most fun I've had with a racer online ever - certianly more than Mario Kart Wii.

The weapons are actually very well balanced. Every single one can be countered (or avoided with a bit of skill) and the combat is as much about tactics (e.g. do you fire that shunt - homing missile - forwards as soon as you pick it up, or keep it in reserve to fire backwards and take out the shunt that someone behind may fire at you) as it is about the joy of mindless chaos. There's nothing unfair or game breaking in there like Mario Kart's Blue Shell or Lightning and the pick ups are not randomised - you can see the selection on the track and it's all about driving through the pick up you want or need as the race dictates. If you're constantly getting shot to pieces, you should consider picking up a shield, right?

As for ramming into course dividers, surely the point is you need to practise the game and learn the tracks. That is what real racing drivers have to do too, you know. It really isn't a problem if you play a track more than a couple of times or - get this - just look where you are going! Drifting similarly, comes with practice.

Final gripe about the review - you completely fail to mention the Modern Warfare 2-esque levelling and unlock system which makes even coming last in a race worthwhile because you're still gaining fans (xp) and working towards the next set of new cars or mods or unlocking challenges to win more xp. I'm no expert racer and in my time with Blur online I've seldom finished first, but the game is as much fun when you're battling it out for 4th place as it is when you're out in the lead. This aspect also gives Blur a lot more longevity than (I'm led to believe) Split/Second has.

I'd fully recommend Blur to anyone, even if you're not a big racing fan. Actually, especially if you're not a big racing fan.

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Burger King cooks up Windows 7 Whopper

KB 1
Coat

How about an Apple instead?

Anyone else think McDonald's missed a trick by not bringing out a limited edition Snow Leopard burger at the same time?

Leopard might be tasty, you never know.

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