Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/20/letters_2003/
Elton John blags counterfeit Windows
After receiving liposuction
Letters Computer games continued down the bad press highway this week with the news that car racing games tend to make men more dangerous drivers in the real world. Or they could. Or maybe not.
Unfortunately the study of "Racing games increase real world crashes" is somewhat flawed by the testing being done by giving the participants another computer game, rather than creating a test situation in a real vehicle. As it stands, the results really paint a picture of "you will take more risks in Gran Turismo if you play it after Burnout, rather than after a different game".
People don't react the same to simulators as they do to the real world. Get a reasonably realistic computer sim with wheel and pedals, sit someone down in front of it, and impress upon them the importance of driving it "as if it was you, in your real car". Five to one odds they still boot the throttle, hoon off down the course and crash at the first corner anyway.
You were also unimpressed by the new US anti-spyware bill. Make them pay, you say:
"Zango, a company whose settled with the FTC for deceptive trade practices in 2004, paid a fine of only $3 million, even though it took in more than $50 million in revenues"
It is frankly no surprise that companies continue to think that they can "get away with it until caught" - given that the amount of the fines in just about any commercial market are defined with little regard as to how much money the company can suck out of the marker.
Personally, I don't think any new law is necessary. Just make a blanket law that states that any fine awarded to a company for commercial wrongdoing is ON TOP OF the automatic reimbursement of all benefits made from said wrongdoing as accurately as the Court can determine.
In that case, a company having skimmed $50 million from the market would see the final legal invoice amount to $50 + $3 million.
If you remove the benefit of wrongdoing, companies will start thinking first about "are we honest" instead of just "how much will it cost when we're caught".
Of course I realize that some people will object that such fines could well spell the demise of some companies. I am willing to discuss the matter if, in exchange, we reinstate the whip for white-collar crime. Given that far more misery is caused nowadays by the casual disregard some CEOs have demonstrated for the personal savings of millions of people (uh, Enron, anyone ?), I think it is only fitting that he who is responsible for destroying the future of so many should at least feel the pain personally.
"Overly aggressive legislation could punish legitimate advertisers and marketing firms"
Really? I challenge the DMA to name a legitimate marketing firm. In my experience, *all* advertising is lies, misdirection, and innuendo. The DMA is one of the biggest offenders in this arena.
The least dishonest ads are those which contain enough truth that the consumer can find the whole story on his own, if he is so inclined. Most of them contain so little truth that they could be declared "turth-free" under FDA food purity rules.
I thought the trend for contrived acronyms died out in the '80s due to being irredeemably naff.
What's next? A highly partisan anti-anti-globalisation protestor bill called Obstructing Barriers Against Management Actions Initiating Sanctions Generally Against Youth? K.
Yup, the IT and science communities do love acronyms – especially ones that make nice neat words - and when boffins measured a recent gamma ray burst using an instrument called RINGO, your suspicions were raised:
I've got to ask: just what linguistic contortions did a the have to go through so that a Liverpool university ended up with an instrument called RINGO? Mike
Keeping with all things linguistic, "wiki" last week received the honour of elevation to the hallowed halls of the Oxford English Dictionary, becoming a fully-fledged member of the English lexicon – along with crème fraiche, malware, technopreneur and zipperhead, mind.
The inclusion of "wiki" makes me feel like crying for the Queen. I for one, won't use that word until it's forcibly mouthed by my cold, dead lips - right after the use of "google" as a verb.
Something you thought you'd never hear uttered from Redmond's lips was the announcement that if you must pirate, use a counterfeit copy of Windows. Keeps out those nasty competitors, you see.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," So, what other competing operating systems are people likely to pirate? Are there a lot of people running cracked copies of Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org then?
This was microsofts policy right up until the WGA nonsense. The idea I believe was to crush OS/2 Microsoft made their software accessible to pirates in many ways including guessable license keys, keys for windows for workgroups working on windows 95/98, and non of the copy protection mechanisms that were available eg secrom, safedisc. Of course the OEM bundles were pretty limited to certain hardware, but a basic OS and a stack of driver discs generally got around that problem.
If microsoft want to make their software piratable now they'll have a hard time, they've already lost a lot of home users to ubuntu because of the WGA. To then open the door to piracy means that their investors will raise an eyebrow, and the policy just doesn't work anymore, they've been too agressive with customers in the past the reputation is irrevocably damaged. It won't bring in revenue and won't stop people switching to mac/linux.
More fluid licencing schemes are required, less pricey, and less like someone telling you what you're not allowed to do. For instance, when you buy a copy of OSX you get a 'family license' which is a set of 4 software coupons, when you buy vista, it will only work on one machine and will cost 4/5 times the amount for something which is less secure, less usable, less interesting and with crappy windows designers painting it up like teletubby land.
"if you're not going to pay for software, at least use Windows rather than Linux" The "pirated copy=lost sale" is bogus arithmetic and always has been; no one who ever thought about it for more than a millisecond believed it but it makes good copy for press releases - "economy losing x bazillions to piracy". Gibberstistics for lobbyists, is all.
Microsoft benefitting from Piracy isn't exactly news, though it's nice to finally see them admit it.
Everyone has known for years that this was the case, right back to the days of yore when MSDOS only because the industry standard because everyone copied it. Microsoft have written completely ineffective antipiracy measures into their software when they could have made one that worked, and even allow people to (with the employers permission) use copies of the software they use at work, on their computers at home under their employeers licence.
Bring on the .NET era that microsoft heralded 5 years ago, where everything is web based and paid for weekly. (Pity google have beaten they to the prize!)
"Raikes' intervention provides a welcome perspective on the software piracy debate which has for a long time been dominated by the simplistic argument, wheeled out ad nauseum by industry groups such as the Business Software Alliance, that a copy of pirated software is equivalent to a lost sale."
It certainly does add an interesting new turn to the debate, and is effectively what many people, myself included, have been saying for a long time. Quite simply, I recon that had MS been able to completely stop piracy of it's products then it would not be in the dominant position it is now. I'm that many, many, many people who previously (and still) used pirate copies of (for example) MS Office would not pay hundreds of pounds to use it legally - especially when there are cheap or free alternatives that are more than adequate for the majority of home users.
So in that respect, perhaps we should urge Microsoft to be as arrogant and destructive as it can - so as to drive it's actual and potential customers to alternative products :-)
Oh, come on John! It has been obvious for years that MS have not been interested in catching the home pirates, or the small PC suppliers who will load on a copy "under the table". Having Windows on people's home computers (like having them in schools - MS indulging in some "cut-price" piracy itself there) encourages its use in the workplace, and we all know that the business world, with its volume pricing, is where MS makes the profits. Stuart
Arrr. Beware, me hearties! 'Tis guised as a gesture to be makin' us all into privateers. But thar be hidden horrible tidin's. How long afore that scurvy Microsoft be usin' it's industry might to force the great grand pirate software providers to only be carryin' pirated Microsoft booty? It'll be placin' the black spot on the whole sweet trade. Swaggies'll be hardly worth the lootin'.
A new breed of pirate emerged this week, using "chocolates and charm" rather than looting to make off with £15m worth of diamonds. His sweet methods certainly melted your hearts:
And people are talking about, sigh, security all the time... Maybe we should ban/eradicate stupidity first. I can only applaude the Gentleman for making this point so clear without the need for resorting to 419 methods. -- Greetings Bertho
Ah, a blagger from the old school. No shooters, no hostages, no nastiness. You almost want him to get away with it... Mike
Hello Lester, Anyone been humming the Pink Panther music in the office today? If only all thieves were as pleasant sounding as this chap... I hope that he does get caught (he's a thief), but I hope they go easy on him. The ones who should get the most aggro should be the stupid bloody bank that let him in. And Barclays are thinking of 'merging' with them, or this just Barclays sweet talking their way in so they can take over where this diamond thief left off? Matthew
Another harmless menace to society, at least the society of Tobago, is Elton John, who was banned from performing a forthcoming gig on the Caribbean island for fears he could turn the whole place gay:
Interestingly the quote from the Archdeacon condems his lifestyle, while I think that this probably means his homosexuallity, I can see why many religeous types, myself included, may find other aspects of his lifestile offensive. The tantrums, the conspicuous consumption, the jetting off round the world without caring a toss for the environment, the 'look at me I'm giving to charity' way that he seems to do his charitable work, the way he seems to go out of his way to wind up relligeous people (I saw him interviewd in the same chat show as Moby, sticking up for Emenem, of all people, who Moby had previously criticised, then talking about how he liked to shred bibles.) etc. etc.
Having said that, if you have a music festival you've got to expect a certain amount of sex and drugs and rock and roll and he did tick all of those boxes at one point or another in his life.
It's funny how when a religious zealot wears a turban or sports an AK47, the industrialized nations call him "integrist" or "terrorist", but when an integrist foaming at the mouth with Dark Ages zealotry wears the robes of a well-known and highly-respected religion of our parts, then all thoughts of integrism are stuffed into a dark hole and forbidden from entering the media, much less our minds.
There is a country today with WMDs by the thousands that can reach across the planet, and a military force that none dare challenge. That country has appointed as its leader a madman who sees things that aren't there and has publicly declared that he speaks with his God. I wonder how long he would have stayed in office if he had worn a turban ?
Moreover, given that the Roman Catholic Church is supposed to base its faith on the words of Jesus, whose most important teaching commands tolerance and care, how is it that said Church can continue to promote intolerance and hostility toward a part of the human population without anybody taking it by the collar and saying "that's enough already"?
All this intolerance is all the more intolerable given that the Roman Catholic Church is the privileged home of an ever-increasing number of child molesters. So it's all right to rape a kid, but it's Hell if you love a consenting adult that happens to be of the same sex? I'm not homosexual myself, but the mind boggles with such contradictions. Pascal.
I was stopped from entering Tobago, lest I turned everyone I met into a 6'3" 15 stone beer-guzzling curry-swilling flippant fecker.
As a confirmed heterosexual, and a fan of Elton John's music, I am moved to wonder what makes the Archdeacon believe that listening to the gentle strains of "Candle in the Wind" would impel anyone who is not already a bit swish to buggery.
Oh, wait. He's a cleric. Repressed homoerotic urges are de rigeur (pardon my spelling, if need be) for those people, aren't they? I suppose his self-restraint is teetering on the edge of the abyss.
A BA passenger was also teetering on the abyss after a corpse was upgraded from economy to first class and ended up sitting next to him after the lady's untimely death just after takeoff.
So THAT'S how you get upgraded to first class then. You have to sacrifice a family member to the dark gods in an airborne ritual. I guess that'll only work so many times before you run out of family members though. Then what? Insincerely, Arah Leonard
Its interesting isn't it, airlines will happily ground or divert aircraft for such trivial matters as ringing mobile phones, missing passengers, etc. But when someone dies onboard, they won't divert. Also, people spend the extra money in first class for privacy and quiet. Unfortunately, the "all rights end when you board" policy of airliners does not put you in any position to complain or anything.
I've noticed that standard of service you get from BA deteriorating rapidly in recent years. Despite the fact that the frequent flyer programme is worthless, I'm seriously considering Virgin for transatlantic flights in the future.
'maneovering a corpse'? I am not sure what 'maneovering' is or whether doing to a corpse is entirely legal! I think we should be told...Is it like a makeover for hair?
One makeover went horribly wrong when a plastic surgeon, performing liposuction on the "saddle bags" of a belly dancer, went OTT on the suction and mistakenly hovered out the woman's right buttock:
Come on Cleopatra! ... why sue the doctor? Can't you just 'Turn the Other Cheek'?
A cracking joke.
And that's where we'll leave it. More of your musings, right here on Friday. ®