Diche Bach

Members
  • Content count

    1,109
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

265 Excellent

5 Followers

About Diche Bach

  • Rank
    Kerbthropologist

Profile Information

  • Location Beyond the vast public, static, void . . .
  • Interests C++, game design, anthropology, history, military science, psychology, psycho-biology, epigenetics, mathematics, astronomy.

Recent Profile Visitors

1,617 profile views
  1. Diche Bach

    For Questions That Don't Merit Their Own Thread

    Watched a very good movie on Amazon prime: Salyut 7: The True Story of the Soviet 'Apollo 13' Highly recommended, even though non-Russian speakers will have to read sub-titles.
  2. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    LOL Well if they want to TRY to scan my machine they are welcome to try! I'm equipped to prevent such things, as we all SHOULD be. Having said that, I suspect that such a scheme would be beyond the capabilities of the programmers at TT. Game development is a high art, to be sure, but it is not the same art as "hacking." In fact, I would imagine that the only really viable means to carry out such hypothetical "scanning" would be if an application installed itself with administrator privileges and then commandeered the network port and began transmitting the contents of every single byte on all connected disks; which is pretty much impossible. Software to to scan through all those hard drives to try to find useful information like banking data MIGHT exist, but I doubt it. If it did exist, I am confident it would require far more infrastructure than could be concealed on the average end-users machine. Not to mention the enormous burden that would be placed on the users network. Even without a proper end-user security setup, such a "hack" would cause so many symptoms on end-users machines that it would reveal itself very soon. ADDIT: what most non-technical people don't know: MOST high-value hacks are "inside jobs." Massive data rakes that just pull in everything are pretty much useless and "filters" to sift through EVERYTHING and only find the "good bits" are not an easy thing to pull off. Instead, you dupe users into GIVING you their information in a text entry cell. You gain access to a database that has the data you want for hundreds or thousands of people already nicely configured in a tabular format, that sort of thing.
  3. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    How exactly would they do that?
  4. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I disagree. The point of an EULA is to afford a non IP-owner a capacity to make use of copyrighted material. International and many different national level laws make it quite clear what that amounts to: don't steal the IP owners property. If the IP owner defines "stealing" from them as "continuing to use the product you paid for despite our claiming you have to stop using it simply because we say so" that flies in the face of several hundreds years of property law and general common law. They will do it because they can get away with it. In order to stop doing it, they need to be challenged. But as I've said repeatedly, it is ILLEGAL and it merely waits to be challenged in court. You cannot sell someone something and then changes the terms of sale after the transaction is complete. The fact that the "something" was software makes no difference. ADDIT: Oh lord, this article . . . While it does make the fair, and accurate point that there are many legal grey areas, the article itself (if not the "legal expert" they consulted) have got at least one thing wrong as far as I can tell. Gamers have NEVER owned their games. The product/service distinction is irrelevant to this point. Book owners do not "own" the stories that are created by the unique combination of ink stains on paper sandwiched within the covers of the book. Record owners do not "own" the songs created by the unique combination of peaks and valleys etched into the vinyl on the records. Game DVD owners do not "own" the games created by the software that is represented by the microscopic etching on the plastic disks. Game downloaders who own hardware on which software was stored which creates a game, also do not "own" the game that is encoded on their hardware. But they DO own the hardware and arguably also the software, but they do not own the game. I own (as I'm sure many of us do) MANY physical media copies. I OWN THEM. No one else owns them. No one else has any legal right to them. The law is absolutely crystal clear on this point, there is NO DEBATE. Sony, MCI, Matrix, EA, and all the other various entities who sold these media to retailers who then sold them to me have absolutely ZERO legal rights to those DVDs/CDs/vinyls or books. It is essential that this point be absolutely clear to everyone and that we are all in agreement on it. When one makes a purchase for anything, one OWNS that thing. That thing might be "sitting in this seat from 20:00 to 22:00 while the orchestra plays," or it might be "sitting in this seat here while this aircraft travels from L.A. to Honolulu," or it might be "possession of a piece of physical media like a book, a DVD, a CD, a vinyl, an 8-track," whatever. It might also be internet-based access to a database/downloading/installing application sufficient to download and install a functioning copy of a particular piece of software onto one's own hardware. Often this latter example will be highly constrained, meaning that: the software one is paying to download and install might only be compatible with a narrow range of hardwares, and/or dependent on a certain narrow set of operating systems and/or require other third party software to function fully. The key analogy here is that: once a person has downloaded a piece of software to their own hardware, they OWN that software. This is not the same thing as "owning the game" or "owing the IP" as I explain below, but it absolutely MUST mean that the person who legally acquired that download OWNS the software; any other interpretation would lead quite simply to anarchy and revolution, even IF the game's publishers/IP owners/their legal counsel would wish to claim otherwise. The only caveat I could imagine holding up in court is if the EULA had to be agreed to BEFORE the transaction. This is never done, and so the standards of ownership which have prevailed for the past several hundred years of commercial distribution of copyrighted material are the standards which will be applied by any sane court of law. To date, I don't think it has been challenged and it may never be challenged. Now here are the parts that generate confusion, arguably unnecessary confusion: 1. On many of those physical media objects we possess, are copies of intellectual property.. Those might be music, literature, games, movies, visual arts, etc. Despite OWNING the media on which they exist, NONE OF US own those intellectual properties and we NEVER HAVE. This is a point which the article is either confusing or just plain getting wrong. I do not own "Houses of the Holy" even though I OWN a record with that "album" of music impressed on it. The "lack of ownership of the games" is nothing new, it was ALWAYS the case and has always been the case for hundreds of years. 2. Software, fundamentally, are logical and mathematical expressions which regulate electrical states on hardware. Any given piece of software can take multiple different forms depending on how it was created, but the fundamental form which all software must have at some point in its life cycle is "machine code," the binary code which directly controls the electrical states on hardware and thus creates the experience of any given computer application or operating system. In much the same way the author /publisher/IP owner of a book or an album of music OWNS the story/music the developers/publishers/parent company/IP Owners OWN the game. They always have and they always will. What they do not own is my hard drive, just as the owner of Grapes of Wrath doesn't own the book the retailer sold me. Once the software which is the media for that IP is on my hardware, I own it (the software, not the IP). If I agreed to an EULA BEFORE purchase which states that I will relinquish ownership after X period of time, then of course I am bound to do so. But if I agree to a EULA stating as much AFTER I have already paid for the product, then my interpretation is that the writer of the EULA has made an illegal imposition on my property. If they seek to impose their interpretation of property law onto my hardware then they are going to have to take me to court. They won't however, because they know they will lose. ADDIT#2: but there is one additional "complication" that deserves to be acknowledged, and that is the issue of "software as a service" versus a "product." It is a legitimate distinction, but the distinction is ultimately not dependent either on the medium of distribution, nor claims made by the distributor which run counter to the long-standing standards of commerce and property. There are many "games" which absolutely ARE services, not "products" and it is perfectly legal and legitimate for the IP owners to describe them that way, and to treat them legally that way. For some service based games (EVE Online is one), the client-side package (the software and all its supporting files and documentation) is readily available to anyone for free (you probably have to create an account but not pay for a subscription); this is of course not the case for many service based games, but I will focus on EVE because the fact the client-side package is "free" serves to demonstrate the actual nature of a "service based game." In the case of EVE Online, this download is built in such a way that, any "functionality" a user might be able to gain with ONLY the client side package is minimal and falls well below the threshold of "full functionality" or "full service." In order to gain full service, the publisher/IP Owner of the game REQUIRE that users connect these client packages to an authorized server using credentials which are paid for on a subscription basis. CCP gives the client-side away for free because they had the good sense to design the client side well enough that anyone being able to breach their EULA is very unlikely.
  5. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I disagree. The EULAs may claim as much, but until there is a legal precedent at at least a Federal level, if not an International Treaty level, I'd say that the assertion that any digitally-downloaded software is a "new" type of product better conceived as a "service" than a "product," implicitly BECAUSE it is being distributed without corporal media, is speculative at best. It is in fact, insane. Imagine if such a precedent were actually established in major court cases. Microsoft could sell its OS with an ACTUAL timer: Oh sorry you only paid for a 6 month edition, fork over another $99.99 to extend your service contract. That might be a perfectly legit model for game software commerce in some Harry Turtledove Bizarro World, but except for specialty applications with narrow market penetration (e.g., Autodesk, Systat, ESET Nod32): singleplayer gaming software has generally (more often than not I would speculate) been sold with a buy once, own forever model. Moreover, in MANY cases where a "subscription" service model is explicit, and accepted as the de facto and de jure standard, the additional commerce is NOT to retain ownership nor usage of the existing installation; it is to continue to receive, "support." When I was an academic, I kept my Systat installs up to date because I wanted to be able to get customer support. The application still ran fine long after I stopped keeping up my subscription to the software. The firm who bought the IP and provided support would never have been in their rights to gain access to my property (my hd) to determine if I still had a functioning copy of the application and somehow try to force me to relinquish it. They could of course attempt to configure the software so that its continued functionality was dependent on timestamps in interaction with the machines clock, but the user is always free to circumvent those and there is frankly nothing they can do about it.
  6. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I have not started KSP in online mode for a very long time. I don't even have the latest version of the game installed. I think I had version 1.28 or something along those lines? I have an enormous number of mods that I knew would break when 1.3 was released, so I simply "bypass" Steams client-handshake nonsense. Even if they were to make it more intrusive than it already is, it could still be bypassed. The files that control these functionalities are, if I understand correctly, not baked into the executables; this is why third-party launchers are able to "fool" the client-server handshake and launch the applications. Most of the games in my Steam library which are installed on my local machine have "Auto-Update" set to "Disabled." I only leave this functionality active for games like Stellar Tactics or Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare, which are still in very early alpha, and consequently I generally will WANT any updates the publisher pushes through Steam. This combined with keeping Steam in Offline Mode 97.5% of the time, means that anything TT or Squad, Steam or any other party involved in the products I own say or do is largely irrelevant to me. I OWN copies of the software on which their IP is transcribed. I will NOT engage in any usage which would be deemed illegal by a 1990s court of law, but I'm not required to log in and update my software to their latest version simply because they expect me to do so. Unless Steam wishes to shift its position from "questionable distributor of intrusive software which some might argue borders on malware" into fullfledged "malware distributor," they have zero capacity to enforce anything beyond the terms of "traditional" pre-digital download EULAs, i.e., they CANNOT "take away" my access to their "service" nor can they impose new terms of service on my possession or use of services which were originally procured with a different set of ToS. That is the reality; and as I said in a preceding post, here we are, loyal, law-abiding, supportive customers and fans of the IP and its creators (if not also its publishers and distributors) and WE are the ones who are made to "jump through these hoops." Meanwhile the pirate sites continue to run business as usual. When I contrast this with how small "cottage" industry outfits operate (take for example Mojang in its early days or John Tiller Software as it has always existed and right up to this day and a host of other small fry developer/publisher IP owners) the only conclusion I can reach is that: lawyers will barge in with fear mongering and gain a toehold in any organization that exceeds some minimal threshold in head count or total annual throughput of money. In confederation with managerial or even technical managers who understand how they might personally gain by saddling the organization with byzantine legalese wards of protection and strange click-wrap rituals of end user licensing these kinds of things are inevitable once a product gets "big" and the vultures in suits start circling. Meh.
  7. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I suspect that the argument you are making is exactly the one which the publishers, distributors and IP owners who have devised EULAs along these lines would argue. That doesn't make it "legal" per se. It represents a distinct departure in substantive commercial exchange (as claimed by the EULA writers) even though superficially it appears almost identical to traditional "own a physical copy of media on which a copy of IP has been transcribed." It is certainly true that physical media do not last forever; so the traditional dimensions of access to copyrighted material bear some similarity to these more contemporary assertions in so many EULAs. Meaning: CDs/DVDs/Vinyls/VHS tapes/even books WEAR OUT. No court in the world would ever argue that the IP owner was required to provide a replacement copy once the media itself wore out. But that is a rather different constraint than one in which the IP owner specifies in the EULA that they can cease to provide access at any time and for any reason. If book publishers or traditional vinyl producers included substances in their media which cause the ink to fade or the engravings to crumble after X period of time, I don't think that would have been deemed legal. It was understood: you purchased one copy and you get to keep it for as long as the media is intact, thus "collectors." That is a very different kettle of fish than "you get one copy for as long as we choose to provide it." The latter would facilitate utterly capricious and unfair practices on the part of IP owners, and it would set a precedent which would be devastating to commerce of copyrighted material. If a case established that an IP owner could in fact provide a digitally distributed copy of a work with a proviso stating that they can withdraw services at any time and for any reason, thus depriving purchasers of any access to the product they paid for, it would spawn a brief period of rampant abuse and exploitation globally. Fly-by-night organizations selling units at ridiculously low prices would be opening like tulips in the spring, customers flocking to them and shoveling lucre at them; and once they had reaped what they deemed sufficient revenue, they would pull the plug and leave all those users high and dry. This is not to say that, I expect any court of law would hold that Steam is bound to provide eternal access to all of us to our libraries. If they go out of business, or sell their business or experience any manner of other changes to their operations, it is of course reasonable that the nature of their services to us users might necessarily change. But again, that is also a different kettle of fish, and I reckon that if litigation ensued, most courts anywhere on Earth would recognize the precedent established by the pre-digital download age, and thus reach a finding which was at a middle-ground between the interests of consumers and the service providers. Many of us retain copies of some portion of our libraries on our own media, and were it not for "auto-update" and similar client-server handshake features (which btw, are completely optional it seems even within Steams terms with the publishers they serve, Paradox titles acquired through Steam for example function normally once they are installed and undergo initial validation, whether Steam is installed in the games environment or not, or so I'm told by various websites I've perused . . .) we would all have the unfettered capacity to "own" copies of those games with just as much (if not more) perpetuity than traditional corporal media-based distributions. Steam would thus have an uphill battle with most reasonable courts (and definitely the more consumer-indulgent ones in the EU) to argue that they are justified to "pull the plug" either without warning, or without provisions for users to retain their own personal copies. Moreover it would be child's play for them to do so. They simply make it known that services will terminate at some point in the future (perhaps the most difficult part for them) and then the include in all subsequent Steam updates external files that disable the functionalities which prevent games from operating without the client-server handshake. I have to be slightly vague here because, I have not spent the time to fully understand how these functionalities work, but I am confident based on what investigation I have done, it would be perfectly simple for Steam to accomplish. They could do it RIGHT NOW and we could all download all of our games, delete our Steam accounts and "own copies" of all our games just as if we had purchased them on traditional DVDs. The technicalities are absolutely accessible. The only real challenges are: providing users with timely "alert" and allowing enough time for most users to attend to the impending changes.
  8. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I think it is the case that none of us "own" any of the software we have purchased. The intellectual property (IP) owners own it. This is akin to saying "none of us own the Grapes of Wrath," or "none of us own Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." You may have a COPY of the Grapes of Wrath on your shelf, but you do not actually own the piece of literature. Effectively you own a license to that copy of the IP, which affords certain uses, including reselling the book/record, quoting from it (as long as properly attributed), or various other "fair use" uses. There is much you can do with it over which the IP owner has little or no legitimate oversight much less authority, but if you were to use your copy to transcribe or scan the story into digital form, and then post it to a website where you used that copy of the work for some personal gain, one would be guilty of copyright infringement. The impression I have, is that the state of actual software distribution is far ahead of where legal precedent lies. Thus my argument that "it is probably illegal, but hasn't been contested."
  9. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    I beg to differ. If I purchase a product, the seller cannot reserve the right to take that product back if I at some future time fail to agree to some additional terms in order to be allowed to use the product. Once upon a time, software was sold primarily on physical media and digital rights management was handled through things like serial keys. Certainly, games software retailing has come a long way from that stage of the commerce, but the fact that Steam's model has been prevalent for even longer than KSP has been in existence does not change the fundamental truths of consumer product law. When a person buys an end user license agreement they OWN that EULA forever; I don't need to draw an analogy to a product like a printed book or a record do I? The IP owner has NO RIGHT to change the terms of service if such changes would infringe on the original rights of ownership. PERIOD. Any argument for anything less favorable to the consumer is an argument for something so nefarious, so unethical and so inconceivable it makes "snake oil" sales sound beneficient. IP owners have every right to protect their property. But if they seek to make a living by selling access to their property then they need to operate from a mirror principle that EULA owners have every right to protect THEIR property too.
  10. Diche Bach

    Updated Terms Notice & Privacy Policy

    Like everyone else, I didn't read them. My main concern is: For many of us, we purchased the game long ago. However, because of how Steam now functions (auto-updates cannot be permanently shut off, but rather only set to occur only when game launches), none of us have the unfettered capacity to use the software according to the original ToS we agreed to when we purchased it. I suspect that this is illegal on the IP owners part: changing ToS for a product after the point of sale and in concert with a system of distribution that "requires" updating to the most recent version. It would need to be challenged in court, and that would require truckloads of time and money and perseverance, but I suspect if properly contested it would be found to be illegal. There are of course ways around all of this. The Steam client-server handshake can be legally fooled I reckon. Short of that, a third-party launcher can be used to effectively avoid EVER having the game application "phone home," thus it is possible for end users like us to (a) agree to the ToS; (b) for a product we do not technically own [the latest updated version]; (c) and which is intended by the IP owner to replace the ToS for the product we DO own (the original version we purchased), which creates all sorts of question marks. Meanwhile the pirate sites are still up and running strong as ever. It never ceases to amaze me how much time and effort these corporate entities will expend on forcing the users who are willing and eager to pay them for licensed product and yet they apparently cannot find the shared interest with any other IP owners to go after the crack sites where ALL their products can be procured illegally. Some of those sites have been running continuously for years, probably even decades in some cases . . .
  11. As long as they do not IMPOSE "updates" to Kerbal Space Program which (thanks to Steams auto-updates functionality) cause current installs of the game to be updated to a version which includes micro-transaction malware, I honestly do not care what Take 2 does with their new IP. If they wish to pursue alternate forms of revenue with KSP 2, then as long as they make it clear enough in their marketing that I am not duped into purchasing it, it is of no consequence to me. I will NEVER purchase another game which uses a micro-transaction dynamic. I learned my lesson with EVE Online and Magick the Gathering Online: ingenious money pits in which the initially somewhat positive correlation between expenditure and enjoyment soon transforms into no correlation thence into a negative correlation. One must be suffering an actual addiction to continue on that path for very long, and while the IP owner/creator/producer/publisher may well reap sufficient rewards to justify the system even if 90% of users curtail their micro-transactional indulgences during the "pre-negative correlation" phase, the ethics and long-term sustainability of the business model strike me as extremely questionable. I have no desire to promote such a business model, and in fact will speak against it when it seems prudent, but if a particular business wishes to do it, that is their business. They won't get any more of my consumer dollars that is for sure, but then they don't care about the anecdotes anyway. The one version of this business model that I do find truly objectionable and probably bordering on illegal is when they "update" an existing application which has been in post-Beta release form for quite some time (hell even if it was still in Alpha, I think the model is objectionable) and which was not previously a MT model but which is adapted to that model. Fallout 4 is the exemplar of this. Bethesda has breached by brand loyalty, quite possibly irrevocably and I may well never purchase another of their titles. Based on the response the Creation Club garnered, I think it is safe to say I am not alone. The actual proportions of lost revenue are anyone's guess, but given they could very simply allow users to Opt In or Opt Out of the Creation Club, and effectively avert estranging users like me speaks to the deep stupidity of the planners who implement these schemes. If your product is so fantastic that you have to dupe /extort/force your consumers into using it, then you really should ask yourself: is this a sustainable business model?
  12. Diche Bach

    Mars Colonization Discussion Thread

    Seems to me that what I'm talking about (a) safe space living; (b) economic prospecting of space and what you are talking about (c) manned space flight are, parallel, adjacent, very similar, if not identical. As we all keep saying: we cannot even get the ISS to "flourish." Lets start by getting that sorted out. Baby steps. Re: the discussion of "crypto-currency" are you guys taking that stuff seriously? I'm not necessarily debunking I'm just not clear on how seriously it should be taken. Seems like a con game to me. Maybe best for another thread though . . .
  13. Diche Bach

    Mars Colonization Discussion Thread

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, this I think is why the comparison of Musk with guys like Edison or Ford (or pick ANY famous and influential creator/inventor/capitalist/mogul since the industrial revolution, those are just two that I as a Yank happen to think of first . . .) is apt: Musk's dreams require commerce. He would do well had he exemplified his role-modeling by naming his electric car "Edison" instead of Tesla, no matter how romantically appealing or truly brilliant the latter might have been. Edison and Ford (and many others, like I said, just the two names that jump out in my mind first) were SUCCESSFUL at making themselves fabulously rich AND at changing the world, making it "better" arguably although not without a whole lot more "worse" to right along with it. More specifically, people are not going to become a multi-planetary species based on principle alone. There has got to be money to be made, livelihoods to be fostered, well-being and lifetimes of fulfillment to be achieved. This is why I believe he, despite his great capacities, his drive and his visionary ambitions is ultimately misguided. The way to make space "pay for itself" is to: (a) make living in space safe and comfortable and that means a real space station where the next few decades can be spent sorting out artificial gravity, radiation protection, closed-circuit organic reclamation systems, and all the other myriad technology necessary (and organization, and policy, and law, and philosophy, which are all frankly just as lacking as the nuts and bolts and circuit boards part of the equation); (b) fetch a juicy chunk of asteroid or comet or whatever close enough to be harvested = pay for it all. If Musk tomorrow would come out with outlandish overly ambitious plans to accomplish THESE things, I would become overnight his most ardent advocate. Going to Mars before this stuff is well-sorted is just plain stupid.
  14. Diche Bach

    Mars Colonization Discussion Thread

    That may well be true; I don't doubt it. Still, my point remains. Edison was "responsible" for watershed historical developments that contributed to altering the human condition permanently. If you disagree, you should take it up with whichever Wiki groupies keep vigil over his page! Or are you willing to accept that most if not all of the following is true?