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Archive for April, 2006

Important musicians such as Barenaked Ladies and Avril Lavigne have formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition to among other things, support fans being sued by the Big Four Organized Music cartel. In their first white paper, the artists say, "Fans who share music are not thieves or pirates. Sharing music has been happening for decades."

Well, now we have proof that the CRIA does not act in the interests of its own artists. According to Michael Geist, now the CMCC will have to be represented at parliamentary hearings on proposed copyright legislation so politicians will hear directly from the artists instead of just lobbyists who do not represent either the artists or the consumers (or for that matter any of the small labels).

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The reason I've been talking about Starforce quite a bit here is because my brother Danny used to work for Ubisoft and we've had some…'discussions' about SF over the past few months. He was happy that Ubisoft decided to use SF because it seems to be the best type of copy protection technology; I haven't had any problems because I don't play many games, but I don't want my computer hijacked or damaged by rogue software should I ever buy a SF protected game.

Danny emailed me a response to my previous post about boycotting Ubisoft for this (which I am no longer doing) and invited me to reply on my blog:

And about Ubi dropping SF, this pissed me off obviously, but you made a mistake by "boycotting" them simply because you've never bought any of their games. Boycotting a company means they provide a service you use then change something and you don't agree with it so you refuse to use their product until something changes. Since you never bought a Ubi game they were not providing you a service, so you can't boycott them. And you can't boycott them on principle especially if you never intend to use their service even after they stop doing what you disagree with. And just cause you played a little Prince of Persia doesn't make your argument valid, that is my game, not yours.

Feel free to post the part about boycotting in your blog, I'd love to see your response.

OK. My response:

Boycotting means that I specifically refuse to use their product or service for whatever reason. I may never have bought a Ubisoft game but that doesn't mean I was boycotting them, only that I had found nothing I wanted from them. Theoretically I would still be willing to play one of their games if I found one I wanted to buy (but I play relatively few games). When I started boycotting them I was saying, 'there is no chance I will ever buy a game from you so long as you continue using SF.' When they dropped SF my boycott ended because now I will consider purchasing their games again (whether or not I actually do is not relevant). So now I'm saying 'I'll buy a game if I think I will like it.' Point is, there was a certain contingent of people who would never buy a game using SF (say 10%) so Ubisoft was never going to get that that 10%. Ubisoft sells 10% less than it normally would sell. Now Ubisoft drops Starforce and picks up the remaining 10% as potential buyers; not all of them will buy from Ubisoft, but all will consider it.

Or maybe it's just a semantic issue and the word 'boycott' is not the correct one to use. The point is still that I decided not to purchase any games for their use of Starforce. Call it whatever it is. Ubisoft had no chance to convince me to buy their products before; now they do.

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Easter!

I went back to Montreal for a few days for Easter this past weekend… which was, er, fun. Having decided not to shave or get a haircut before going back I was relentlessly assailed by requests to do just that while in Mnotreal, which I didn't want to (I didn't bring my razor). My grandmother in particular repeatedly requested that I go to the barber each of the three or four times I saw her. Eventually I promised that I would shave and get a haircut in Kingston and send her a picture this week to prove that I had done so. (Except now I can't find my razor.)

It was also my brother and sister's birthday last Friday. I got them each a security wallet. A nice, good quality security wallet from Trailhead. I know that my brother was hoping for something technologically snazzy, like the mp3 player he got for my sister, but I think he was awestruck by the wallet I got him (ha). I did bring my playstation 2 like he asked but I forgot the memory card so he couldn't save any games. (I left him the ps2 and got my dad to bring back the memory card when he drove me back to Knigston so he should be happy.) For their part they got me an iTunes gift certificate…which will make this the first time I get anything off iTunes.

Update: I got a new razor and have now taken the picture my grandmother asked for. I might post it on my About page here.

Update: As I've written about this before, I will point out that Ubisoft has decided to give up on Starforce. Good for them – now I won't boycott their games.

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A researcher from McGill University has been denied funding to study the detrimental effects of intelligent design gaining influence in Canada. The funding agency said the application failed to provide "adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent design theory, was correct."

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Word is that Gary Brolsma is miserable these days, approx 1.5 years after his Numa Numa video went nuts and was viewed by approx. everybody. That’s a shame — the video was so joyful. So, I was glad to see the Google Current team here at Current (where I work) put this together… the Numa Numa Global Tribute. Thanks, Gary.

I remember seeing the Numa Numa video many months ago and thinking that it was quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life (not to engage in hyperbole, but…). What inspired madness (or genius) must possess a man to film himself in front of a webcam and put it on the internet, and what madness possessed me to want to watch that video over and over again… Really, that video was just amazing to watch.

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My parents came to visit me this weekend from Montreal, it having been my birthday last week but them having been unable to visit last weekend. They only stayed overnight (at a hotel this time) and we spent most of the time going around buying me things that I don't usually buy because the store is too far away/things are too big to carry home (like the 24-can carton of V8 that I love – hang on, I'm thirsty… there). And this time they didn't bring me mountains of food. Shame, really, since almost everything is much cheaper in Montreal (especially the olive oil, which I learned yesterday has gone from 10 to 12$ at Loblaw's – for shame!).

My parents treated me to Gusto on Saturday night, which is a nice place which looks on the inside rather like cross between a high class tavern and the inside of a windmill (I've never been inside a windmill – come to think of it, I've never seen one in person – but I have an image of it in my head now that I've been inside Gusto). I had the swordfish. Quite tasty. Then my dad asked not to blog too much on thier trip here. I'm still not sure what he meant by that but I was always going to blog this.

Oh, and now my apartment is clean. New carpets in my entrance and I finally vacuumed the other carpets. Sweet.

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I’ve been mulling over these ideas for quite a while, and I think I may still have more thinking to do, but recent events have gotten me thinking again about the increasing urgency of the need for a professional code of conduct for computer programmers.

Very interesting discussion about how programmers should write their software, arguing that users need to “trust” the software they use the same way they trust their doctor or doctor to fulfill a professional obligation, and about how DRM precisely contradicts this obligation (especially the sony rootkit). I wonder if elected officials ever read up on things like this before passing legislation on anything computer related, since much of the copyright legislation on the table now in Washington and Ottawa is just the opposite of what this article argues. (That’s putting it mildly; the real problem is not ignorance, it’s that so long as corporate interests own our elected officials, a professional code of conduct for programmers like this is unlikely to get much of an airing in the halls of power.)

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