How is the Spore DRM Protest on Amazon Going?

About 1,500 one star reviews so far.

Here’s some background if you’re just coming to the party.

Like the PC version of Mass Effect before it, Spore’s DRM limits owners to only three activations of the game after installation. The point is to prohibit software pirates from sharing and reusing activation codes over and over, but it also means that if a user happens to uninstall and reinstall Spore more than three times for completely legitimate reasons, they’ll have to contact Electronic Arts customer support to request and have approved a new authentication on a case-by-case basis. Which is precisely what has Amazon users up in arms.

A quick scan of the negative reviews reveals some bitterly sensationalistic headlines: “DRM Kills another potentially great game,” “Not a chance until the DRM goes,” and “DRM complicates life, removes value.” One reviewer, who calls the DRM “draconian,” even likened a purchase to a rental as opposed to an actual ownership of the game, since a player could theoretically be barred from playing their copy of Spore if they use up their activations and EA refuses to allow more. “What you will be left with is a nice, colorful $50 coaster. And you will be required to pay for another copy/license if you want to continue playing,” the user writes.

And believe it or not, this backlash comes after EA and Maxis made Spore’s DRM less stringent, when fans decried the originally announced plan to require online authentication every 10 days. As for how much the Amazon debacle will affect sales of the game remains uncertain, but it’s probably a PR problem that EA and Maxis could have happily lived without.

There is no way I would ever buy software that had a limit on how many times you could install it. There are many times I uninstall games that I haven’t played in a while to free up some hard drive space (Spore requires 6GB of space) only to install it later on when I’m in the mood. Or if other issues come up. Or if I buy a different computer and want to put it on that one.

I understand a company wanting to make it more difficult for a game to be pirated but why are they trying to make it more difficult for your paying customers?

The Truman Syndrome

From the NY Times:

The Truman Show delusion, or Truman Syndrome, has drawn attention in recent months, in the United States and Britain, as psychiatrists in both countries describe a small but growing number of psychotic patients who describe their lives as mirroring that of the main character in the 1998 film “The Truman Show.”

Played by Jim Carrey, Truman Burbank leads a mundane existence in the suburbs, starting from the time he was in the womb, while being filmed for a documentary television show that he cannot escape. Everyone is in on it, including his wife, and no one will believe Truman when he discovers clues that his life is being chronicled all the time by cameras.

With Internet delusion, patients typically incorporate the Internet into paranoid thoughts, including a fear that the Web is somehow monitoring or controlling their lives, or being used to transmit photographs or other personal information.

The delusions are fueling a chicken-and-egg debate in psychiatry: Are these merely modern examples of classic paranoia fed by the current cultural landscape, or is there something about media like reality television and the Internet that can push people over the sanity line?

(via Conceptual Trends)

Sarah Palin’s Alaskonomics

From Time:

Sarah Palin thinks she is a better American than you because she comes from a small town, and a superior human being because she isn’t a journalist and never lived in Washington and likes to watch her kids play hockey. Although Palin praised John McCain in her acceptance speech as a man who puts the good of his country ahead of partisan politics, McCain pretty much proved the opposite with his selection of a running mate whose main asset is her ability to reignite the culture wars. So maybe Governor Palin does represent everything that is good and fine about America, as she herself maintains. But spare us, please, any talk about how she is a tough fiscal conservative.

Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said, “No, thanks,” to the famous “bridge to nowhere” (McCain’s favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said, “Yes, please,” until this project became a symbol and political albatross.

Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 21/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska’s government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite board or card game?

Question inspired by Chotchskies’ tweet.

I’ve taken a new interest in board/card games. Planning on buying Zombie Fluxx and Settlers of Catan to start! 🙂

Wikipedia’s entry for List of board games.


I’m bumping this to the top since I posted it late in the day and some people may not have seen it. The answers are informative to those who want to try some games. And most importantly, I don’t have another question for today ready.

Update 2

I spent all of my lunch in The Games People Play in Cambridge and walked out with Zombie Fluxx. I would have bought Settlers of Catan but I didn’t feel like re-financing my car to be able to afford it. (Much cheaper on Amazon. It was $45 at the store.)

Is Google Launching Its Own Navy?

From The Register:

About 70 per cent of the Earth is covered by water. So Google’s thinking it had better build some data centers that can float.

With a recently-released patent application, the search giant cum world power seeks exclusive rights to what it calls a “water-based data center”. This modular collection of processing, storage, and network resources would sit on a ship anchored somewhere offshore, using the crashing waves for both power and cooling.

Google envisions its seaworthy data center serving land-bound humans in times of emergency. “For example,” the application reads, “a military presence may be needed in an area, a natural disaster may bring a need for computing or telecommunication presence in an area until the natural infrastructure can be repaired or rebuilt, and certain events may draw thousands of people who may put a load on the local computing infrastructure.

(via Linkbunnies)