Love that Capitalism

Nokia sells spy systems to Iran

I find it amazing that so many people can wholeheartedly embrace Capitalism, and then get angry about things like this. The rabid defense of Capitalism makes me suspect that it has gotten too tied in with the western national identities and too few people actually understand what it is, why it’s good, or even -if- it is good. It’s become a synonym for “us”, “good” and “freedom”, much the same way that 50’s propaganda made Communism a synonym for “evil”, “scary”, “violent” and “totalitarianist”. (Though, admittedly, the communist regimes themselves did much to aid that.)

Bottom line: You have a free market and don’t be surprised when people in it realise that they can make large profits selling nasty things to nasty people. Capitalism has no social conscience. (Which is why we have regulated, moderate capitalist markets, and not complete free-market capitalism. To protect us from people like that.)

Consumers and their Limited Resources

Finally.

http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/06/12/2043209/Game-DVD-Sales-Hurting-Music-Industry-More-Than-Downloads?from=rss

It is beyond my understanding how, even after so long, with so many people pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, the big media companies are still able to claim that every download is a lost sale and that illegal downloads are destroying music/movies/books/their-ability-to-make-billions-off-their-artists.

Well, that last one might be true.

The bottom line is, or at least should be, that not business model has any intrinsic ‘right’ to succeed. If the market changes, and it certainly has changed, and your business model no longer works to make you money then you need to adapt.

And yes, I am aware that convincing governments to pass laws making your business model sacrosanct and then having your customers arrested, charged in civil suits, and forced to give you money is in fact adapting. It might be better to adapt into something with a bit more long term survival.

If you keep biting the masses, eventually they’ll bite back.

Micro-payments and economies of scale

Gamasutra – Features – What Are The Rewards Of ‘Free-To-Play’ MMOs?

Gamasutra has an interesting article here about free-to-play MMO’s and whether or not the micro-payments business model works.  It certainly seems to be working in some of the cases listed, but more interesting perhaps is the note at the end that companies can become comfortable (and need to, if they want to try this model) with bringing less money in and sending less money out.

This gives me great hope for the gaming market of the future, just as new platforms like the iPhone and Facebook have.  Each new platform has given licence to small groups to try something new.  They have to do it cheaply, they have to do it simply, they don’t have huge budgets and the limitations of the platforms don’t require them to.  They live this idea that if they spend less money they don’t need to bring in as much to be successful.

What you end up with is an awful lot of crap.  Check out facebook games, and the million-and-one “mafia” style iPhone games that rip each other off shamefully.  You also get an injection of new ideas, innovation and a lowered barrier-to-entry.  You get a spiritual return to the days of the commodore 64 and the amiga, where games were developed in a short amount of time by a single developer, or a small group of developers.

One of the great reducers of innovation is cost.  The big multi-million dollar blockbuster games are a big investment and if they go wrong, they can do substantial damage to even a large, well-funded company.  It’s no surprise really that the big game publishers resist innovation and want “the same, but different” in each release.  Innovation, where it happens at all, tends to become restricted to small changes over time.

As an example, The Sims has become one of the biggest earners in the game market ever, and it was only Will Wright’s track record and influence that ever allowed the game to be made; executives didn’t think there was any money in it and were scared by the departure from the ordinary that it presents.

So I am filled with hope anytime evidence arises to show success in turning back this particular clock, any time that games can be made cheaper, with less people and overhead, then there is potential for something more risky and potentially interesting and market-changing to occur.

Unrecognized attribute ‘xmlns’.

Here’s web-systems based error that is tangentially related to BizTalk 2006. If you use BizTalk 2006 in order to generate a webservice this problem will often need to be fixed before your webservice will be useable.

This issue is that you receive the above error message, Unrecognized attribute ‘xmlns’., when you attempt to log on a webservice and use it. It’s easy to test for as it should show up if you use a browser to hit the service and attempt to load up the test forms.

This is caused because, although the web service/web page is using Asp .Net 2.x, the website itself is set to use Asp .Net 1.x

The trick is simply the launch the IIS management application, navigate to the Asp .Net tab, and set the target framework to the 2.x version of the framework.

Try again and hopefully, it should work.

Error 1718. File was rejected by digital signature policy

Sometimes, when you’ve got Visual Studio 2005 installed and are using automatic updater, or manual updating, to install service pack 1, it can fail with very little indication as to why. If you search the event logs, you may see something like the above.

It happened to me on windows server 2003 where I was setting up a biztalk development environment, but it can happen on xp as well apparently.

Turns out there is a bug in windows causing it to fail to validate the signature on one of the files in this update pack, and thus windows (quite correctly) refuses to install the patch.

A hotfix has been provided by Microsoft for Windows server 2003; it weighs in at a mere 800kb and solves the problem quickly and easily. Go grab it.

Hotfix

Unfortunately it appears no such fix has been released for XP. There are workarounds listed on the above link as well though I haven’t investigated them at all. They’re worth a shot, leave a note here if you find them useful.

Google tackles the eBook Market

Slashdot Technology Story | Google Set To Tackle eBook Market

As a long-term ebook reader myself, I have been both excited by Amazon’s entry into the market raising the profile and the usage of ebooks, and disappointed in Amazon’s heavy-handed tactics and DRM, a side of the retail giant that is quickly becomming “business as usual”.

So I for one welcome our google overlord’s entry into the ebook market.  By pushing a free standard and open access, hopefully we will see some decent kindle competition – because nothing breaks down unnecessary and greedy restrictions like open competition (come on Android come on!).

In a related note, the best ebook reader programs I have found so far are uBook (micro-book) for the pocket-pc, an excellent little program that worked very well on my old iPaq, and Bookshelf for the iPhone, which is the application I currently use and makes the most of your own file formats and the beautifully clear resolution of the iPhone screen.  Reading on the iPhone is convenient and a pleasure and I generally carry half a library in my pocket at all times.

Why the USA should continue to control the internet

I never thought i’d say this but this guy:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/515zoozk.asp?pg=1
Makes a really good case for why control of IANA and its support structures should remain in American hands. Whilst it certainly sounds good to have an independent international body in control it would be foolish and wrong to ignore history.

The fact that international countries would attempt to convince an international body to accede to their wishes and impose their form of censorship on the entire net (something which is currently not possible) should be beyond question. If you think the Islamic countries wouldn’t like anti-Islam pages gone you’re foolish, and if you think China wouldn’t love free-Tibet pages invisible then you’ve been asleep the last decade. If you think it couldn’t happen, you haven’t been paying enough attention to the UN and the Human Rights Council, to name one example.

There are proponents of censorship in just about every country with a significant interest in the internet and an “independent” controlling body would be the perfect platform for these groups to work together to impose their own strictures.

Better then is to leave it how it is. It is a hefty responsibility, but the USA have done fine so far, and they do have a significant and -vocal- portion of their community who are serious about protecting freedom of speech, something lacking in many other countries.

Personally, it worries me a great deal to see the potential for abuse resting firmly in the hands of Americans, who have proven over the last eight years that they are quite capable of embracing fanaticism as a nation and quite capable of being rule by fear. It is telling that even in the depths of this period however, freedom of speech on the internet remained untouched (as best we can tell).

I think I’m more comfortable with it being in the hands of people who so far haven’t abused it, when you compare it to say.. Australian’s communications minister Stephen Conroy. Control of the entire internet? That sounds like a sexual fantasy of Conroy’s.

Also this post wouldn’t be readable in that horrible otherworld, as use of the word Sexual is offensive to pure Christian ears.