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The recent blog, Peace in the Era of Call of Duty  really made me think about war games that dig deeper than simply a kill streak reward. The first game that came to mind was Spec-Ops: The Line and although I haven’t played it, I began to wonder if it did the war genre as...

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Futurama movie leaked
Posted on Tuesday, November 20 2007 @ 16:03:50 Eastern

Yep, the whole film has been leaked and is making its way across the interwebs as I type this a whole seven days before it even gets to the cinema, and it's DVD quality! I haven't seen it myself, I'm tempted to just wait until I can see it in enormo-vision at the cinema. That isn't what this blog is about though, it's more a precursor to the true topic of piracy.

Piracy is a pretty big thing, there are countless torrent sites full of pirated material and relatively few that contain only legitimate large files intended for legal distribution. There is an 'internet underground' replete with IRC channels, torrents and sod knows what else where, if you know what you're doing, you can find pretty much whatever you want. I truly have no idea how these things start and don't have a clue how films like Futurama can get leaked so quickly but is it a good or bad thing? Moreover why does it happen?

Arguably there has always been piracy, even back in the Commodore 64 days, but it's been recently that a big furore has been made of the evils of piracy and how those who partake in the practice bring down the artists who make the music/movies/games. Piracy has been blamed on the rise in price for these items, because of the sales lost to piracy the legitimate customers have to pay extra so the creators get their bags of cash. Piracy is responsible for DRM, the scourge of legitimate users everywhere. But is piracy the evil it's made out to be, or is it a reaction to tighter and more unreasonable restrictions made by media giants?

I'm here to argue that it's both. I'm definitely no proponent of heavy piracy, I feel that artists, whether they're making music, film or games, deserve to be paid for their efforts (though perhaps not the millions that some stars make). But at the same time I vehemently disagree with the pricing strategy of some things. Sure, the record label/publisher needs to get reimbursed and paid but just how much of the consumer's money goes to the people responsible for creating the item they're buying? I'm guessing if you drop a few middlemen you could drop the price and still make a decent profit. People download because they don't want to pay ridiculous prices, for instance the Dirty Sanchez movie in a certain high street retailer cost about £18! For you non-English people just keep in mind that normally DVDs cost about £10, even brand new DVDs are around £13. The only reason I bought it was because I found it in an awesome deal. Anyway, rising prices merely encourage people who would buy things at a reasonable price to download them for free.

As for DRM, what an incredibly flawed concept! Let's get this straight, you buy an album from a shop and you want to put it on your computer, your laptop, your iPod and copy it to a backup disc but wait! You can't because DRM only lets you copy a song a certain number of times. Obviously this is intended to limit the amount of copies a person can make so they can't just buy one album and then sell numerous copies to numerous people but anyone bent on making their business in piracy is going to manage it anyway, all DRM does is limit functionality for law abiding people who actually buy the product.

So do these flaws mean we shouldn't attempt to crack down on piracy? No, not at all, but rather than attempting to directly screw over the pirates (which only screws over the consumer) why not attempt to make the prospect of legitimately purchasing a product more appealing? I know I'd buy things from the iTunes music store if I could use them with another audio player and I'd gladly buy films from the various websites there are if it was an easier process and they didn't have so many stupid restrictions. Long story short there will always be piracy but the tactics the conglomerates are using now do nothing but harm the regular, Joe Bloggs Consumer.

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No 360 = no gaming
Posted on Friday, November 9 2007 @ 14:22:15 Eastern

So my 360 packed in late last month while playing skate. The game stalled so I turned the console off and on and figured that would be it but I got the dreaded red rings of death. The worst one, the panic that grips you at that moment is quite unlike any other, it's the "oh **** my quite expensive console has gone down the crapper" panic but after the initial despair passes an unusual calm washes over you, once you realise it's happened and you need to get things sorted, kind of like the eye of the storm it passes and depression takes hold. The realisation that gaming is going downhill for a month or so, luckily that feeling isn't accompanied with the stress of having to pay for postage and repair due to the extended warranty but there is a slight amount of stress in having to buy suitable packaging and get a UPS pick up sorted. It took me about a week to get the electronic stamp, packaging and pick up all sorted (my slowness, not UPS or Microsoft) and then another day for the precious shipment to reach the grasp of the mothership. Now all I have to do is to wait for them to fix the machine and then be there ready and waiting for my baby to be delivered back to me. Until then I've borrowed a friend's PSP, good stuff? Well not really, there's only three games he's got that I haven't already completed on PS2, one I'm not interested in because it's too much like games I have completed, one I've nearly finished anyway and one I can't find motivation for, it's tempted me to drop the 130 notes to get a PSP myself but I guess it would be better to just tough it out without gaming for a bit and see if PSPs are reduced during the lead up to Christmas. So everyone feel a little sorry for me, the closest I'm going to get to real gaming is dipping into GTA2 which I downloaded earlier today and I've already completed that!

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Slow cashiers
Posted on Saturday, November 3 2007 @ 13:29:17 Eastern

So I'm in Iceland today, I've got three deliveries waiting for me back at my flat (two separate orders that just happened to arrive on the same day) and all I want to do is get my food and get back because I'm god damn starving. So I spent about fifteen minutes dodging single mothers, old couples and inconsiderate bastards who just fancy filling up the aisles, gather up enough food to feed either me for a week or a small army for maybe a day or two and then dash to the till like there's a Go Girl waiting for me on the other side. Out of five or so tills there's only one that's NOT on so you'd think the queue would fade down pretty quick right? Wrong, at least if you're talking about the queue I picked anyway. Once I managed to get into what passed for a line I started seeing people moving at every. other. till. My line was being held up by a tiny two foot tall granny writing a cheque. Then it was held up by an incredibly slow couple who were incapable of having one pay and one pack (well to be fair to the guy paying he stuck his card in the machine as good as the best of them, his girlfriend however couldn't figure the polythene bag out). Once these people had carried on their merry way I thought maybe service would pick up, it turns out I was wrong once again, the baboon at the till was inexplicably slow.

So thank you everyone I came into contact with at that damn queue, you really slowed down my day.

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It could be worse I suppose
Posted on Tuesday, October 30 2007 @ 13:54:56 Eastern

From wimp.com

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had bad day at the office. I know you\'ve been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma wi...   read more...

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Guitar Hero III
Posted on Wednesday, October 24 2007 @ 08:39:53 Eastern

I don't know if you all know but the Guitar Hero III demo has been released on Xbox Live. After playing three songs on Expert I can say it still retains the GH charm but has obviously undergone a graphical overhaul with textures appearing smoother an...   read more...

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Construction works
Posted on Sunday, October 21 2007 @ 09:53:13 Eastern

A sure sign to tell a construction project is running behind schedule = the workers come in on Sunday mornings. My room has the pleasure of overlooking a rather large construction and every day of the week there is some activity for at least some of ...   read more...

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Weird sleep patterns
Posted on Saturday, October 20 2007 @ 21:56:34 Eastern

It's 3am and I'm just about to go to bed. It's Sunday tomorrow and I don't have to go out until about 2pm so it's not a big deal but I've gradually manoeuvred myself into this odd wake/sleep pattern of waking up halfway through the day and going to s...   read more...

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Reviews
Posted on Thursday, October 18 2007 @ 08:16:16 Eastern

What review shall I write next? I have a reading week coming up which, spectacularly, means all I have to do is research and a literature review so I'll hopefully have some time on my hands that can be filled with something other than work. I've boug...   read more...

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Morning starts
Posted on Wednesday, October 17 2007 @ 06:45:20 Eastern

So I wake up this morning at 7:20 thanks to my alarm clock and then again at 7:30 (I know what I'm like so I set at least two alarms), I'm thinking to myself "it's too early to get up, I can get another fifteen minutes in and still be at my lect...   read more...

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Censorship
Posted on Wednesday, October 10 2007 @ 07:26:18 Eastern

So I\'m watching Scrubs on E4 (British TV channel), it\'s season 2 because E4 indulges in the annoying practice of latching on to a licence and repeating whatever seasons of the show they\'ve got the right to play until the tape is worn out (another ...   read more...

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