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A simple competition: win your weight in beer. =:D (They do note you'll be added to their mailing list - but, JW Lees do make some good stuff, notably Manchester Star, currently available in Sainsbury, possibly Morrison)

If you have a few moments spare, see what you make of this article from the New Yorker: The Spectacular Thefts of Apollo Robbins.

Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.

“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

And so Elite: Dangerous not only makes its initial funding target, but also secures Mac support, and gains an extra ten ship designs, having breezed past the £1.5m mark. ^_^ And as a reply on the comments there noted, you can download the original and sequels as Windows applications, pre-bundled with emulators, over here - or, native versions of a clone of the original, Oolite, for OS X, Linux, and Windows. I oughtn't have gone with the support level I did, but - it was very much a one-off opportunity (being able, in a small way, to not just fund it, but actually help influence the course of the game!) and thankfully, the diet does mean not having to spend much on food and drink. ^_^;

Short for the day: Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses. Can you guess what it's about?

And, a music video: I Have Your Heart, of a woman and a cat-man's forbidden romance. Flayrah notes "The 4’25” video is apparently not produced by an animation studio, but by three people: New York cartoonist/paper cutout artist Molly Crabapple, music composer Kim Boekbinder, and Melbourne stop-motion animator Jim Batt (and a small staff); it raised $17,280 on Kickstarter."

Could it be that publishers are finally grasping that physical media is not their future? Finally? Disney's announced that Wreck-It Ralph will arrive for download first, on Feb 12, with the discs debuting on Mar 5. Though, I dare say they'll still try to favor the discs with much more extras, still only sometimes even available as downloads.

Well, that's an.. interesting wrinkle to get out of paying SL rent. If land's group-owned, it appears it can be put up for sale, with no contributions from any members, and the land doesn't fall out of group ownership.
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you have a few moments spare, see what you make of this article from the New Yorker: The Spectacular Thefts of Apollo Robbins.

I read that one recently when Bruce Schneier linked to it. Fascinating!

Could it be that publishers are finally grasping that physical media is not their future? Finally? Disney's announced that Wreck-It Ralph will arrive for download first, on Feb 12, with the discs debuting on Mar 5. Though, I dare say they'll still try to favor the discs with much more extras, still only sometimes even available as downloads.

Are you sure they're not? I'll be the first to admit downloads have their upsides – if you intend to watch/listen to/read stuff on a digital device, anyway, it's much more convenient, you don't have to wait for delivery, you have fewer physical objects around to clutter up your place, etc. –, but I'll also be the first to say they have their downsides.

Sometimes, e.g. with books, the digital experience just isn't the same; in pretty much all cases, having a physical medium means that you have a nigh-indestructible backup copy, physically separated from your digital devices, you're not at the mercy of a company's idea of what you can and can't do with your stuff, you cannot be tracked in your media usage habits, your stuff cannot be remotely deleted, disabled or "rights"-managed, you retain the ability to resell, lend etc. what you purchased, you're not limited to "authorized" devices, you aren't tied to specific merchants (e.g. when buying books for your Kindle, music for your iPod etc.), you can remain anonymous when purchasing (just go to a local store and pay cash), and so on. Perhaps most importantly, there is no such thing as licenses involved: all that exists is a standard sales contract between you and the merchant, and once the physical object is in your possession, you do not need a license from and do not need to enter a contract with the rights holder to read the book you bought, listen to the CD you bought, or pop the movie you bought into your DVD player.

To me at least, all these are important points.

Well, that's an.. interesting wrinkle to get out of paying SL rent.

Seems pretty similar to squatting in RL to me, in principle; there is no guarantee you'll still be able to do it tomorrow, especially since a new owner might come along, and just because you've not been busted for it YET doesn't mean you won't be in the future.
It's a fascinating glimpse into practical psychology, ne? I'd love to actually see him at work, though I'm not at all fond of Las Vegas - such a dreadfully busy place, to put it mildly.

Sometimes, e.g. with books, the digital experience just isn't the same; in pretty much all cases, having a physical medium means that you have a nigh-indestructible backup copy

I bought all of 2000AD, only to have it quietly thrown away by my mother. If they'd been digital copies, I'd have been able to re-download them. I left a copy of Tintin and the Shooting Star on a tree, to dry out - that's gone. Digitally, that wouldn't matter.

you cannot be tracked in your media usage habits

A good point, and one I wish legislation would address. I don't benefit from being tracked - without my consent, even - but companies do, particularly those with a focus in advertising. I'd prefer such consent not even to be possible, as it's too readily abused.

your stuff cannot be remotely deleted, disabled or "rights"-managed, you retain the ability to resell, lend etc. what you purchased, you're not limited to "authorized" devices,

A definite grey area, so to speak. There was that wonderfully awkward disabling of an Orwell title, fo example. I suppose it feeds from the broader concept of personal versus publisher rights: if you innocently "buy" a title to which the publisher doesn't actually have the rights, the concept can exist that you don't have the rights to that title in a similar manner to whether or not the purchaser of stolen physical goods retains the rights. In some jurisdictions, they're fine - in some, they're out of luck.

But, if you buy a copy of 2000AD, you own that copy - but you don't have the right to offer your copy to everybody, as you'd then enter into the realm of publication.

you aren't tied to specific merchants (e.g. when buying books for your Kindle, music for your iPod etc.)

I'm not sure about Kindles, but on the iThing front, there's no special restriction. I have DRMd comics from ComiXology, Dark Horse, Robot Comics, Random House, IDW, and more. PDFs I have from all over the place, and plain CBZs from unofficial sources, and 2000AD's own outlet. ^_^ (Needless to say, I pay. It's noticeably cheaper than the paper editions, and it helps keep the publication going. That's something that's all too often (perhaps not accidentally) overlooked - I'm not seeking to cheat the artists out of their income. I'm just not huge on paying for publishers' margins, versus being able to simply download the work, and pay them directly, perhaps minus some storekeeper's overhead. I'm saddened that so very few publishers opt for plain CBZ) Similarly, my music comes from a variety of sources - weblogs, iTunes, Amazon, RSS feeds, and so forth.

you can remain anonymous when purchasing (just go to a local store and pay cash)

I do wish that were more appreciated. I can't help but feel that if the concept of cash were to be promoted now, there'd be tremendous pushback, from those in power claiming anonymity to be detrimental to liberty.

perhaps most importantly, there is no such thing as licenses involved: all that exists is a standard sales contract between you and the merchant, and once the physical object is in your possession, you do not need a license from and do not need to enter a contract with the rights holder to read the book you bought, listen to the CD you bought, or pop the movie you bought into your DVD player

To some extent, but, not entirely - you'd still be liable for any "public performance" license, covering, say, having the music audible in the shop. Similarly, playing a DVD for friends would be covered, but not for general exhibition. It's still sold under a license.

With digital copies, I don't have to heft these boxes around. And yes, that really does add up. Why, ultimately, do I need this Blu-Ray or DVD? What does it offer above being able to download the same file?
I do wish that were more appreciated. I can't help but feel that if concept of cash were to be promoted now, there'd be tremendous from those in power claiming anonymity to be detrimental to liberty.

Likely. I recall hearing about a new Italian law on the news a while ago that makes it illegal to use cash for transactions exceeding 300 EUR or so; Google suggests that it used to be ~1000 EUR a year ago, and 5000 EUR in 2010. I can't find a reference for it, though, and I'm too lazy to really look hard for one.

To some extent, but, not entirely - you'd still be liable for any "public performance" license, covering, say, having the music audible in the shop. Similarly, playing a DVD for friends would be covered, but not for general exhibition. It's still sold under a license.

You need a license for public performances etc. because copyright law specifically reserves those rights. That's OK, insofar as that it's a legal matter; there are no contracts involved that would further curtail the legal rights you otherwise have.

Why, ultimately, do I need this Blu-Ray or DVD? What does it offer above being able to download the same file?

See above. :)

As I said, I'm not opposed to digital distribution in principle. It does have its pros(of which I listed several), and I've bought music in digital form, too, especially when physical CDs aren't an option. Bandcamp is a good example: professional independent artists can probably afford to publish their own CDs and sell them on CDbaby etc., but if you're just someone doing stuff in their free time, that's gonna be overkill. Sites like Bandcamp are quite valuable for allowing those people to still make their music available, and for allowing listeners to express their appreciation by paying a few bucks (and receive DRM-unencumbered files in a variety of formats, including lossless ones).

That's an upside I didn't list above, BTW: lowering of barriers.

As I said, both physical and digital have their place. By and large, I prefer physical, for the reasons given above, but it depends on the specifics: the devil is in the details.

Of course these are just my conclusions, too, and if someone else comes to different ones and feels that a digital sale works for them in cases where it wouldn't for me, more power to them. :) I'm not trying to get anyone else to do anything: just offering my opinion.