Who is making a list, checking it twice

Sony PS3 Playstation network TV spotI know, right? Why won’t her boyfriend take his new Playstation online, where obviously all the fun is? “What’s wrong with him?!” The Sony PS3 spokesman commiserates, but he’s an interested party. So what’s up? Well, we have a clue this week with the Xbox.

By the way, I find Sony’s choice of spokesperson discordantly subversive. I’m guessing marketers of the PS3 have found their target audience watches the Mac vs. PC commercials and identifies with PC.

In a sudden move that has exasperated Xbox users, Microsoft decided that all its game consoles which have been modified to play software obtained through alternative delivery systems (piracy) will now automatically be blocked from their online system.

It make sense, but is it appropriate? If you’ve modded your car, for example to run on another fuel in addition to gasoline, would gas stations have the grounds to shut you out? And it’s not like you put a sticker on it advertising the modification. How would they know?

I think Microsoft’s violation lies more in a Terms of Use contract which permits them to query your machine for your personalizations. What right have they to tell you what you can or cannot do with your equipment, regardless whether you bought it from them? You didn’t rent it. Next are they going to dictate with which peripherals you are allowed to connect it, or atop which pedestal you must behold it?

You may not feel the video gamer’s pain, but look who’s doing the smack-down. What would happen if Microsoft decided to apply the same policy to copies of its operating systems, or office software?

Could it be coming? Google is criticized for knowing too much about internet users as they search the web. The companies who make browsers, including Microsoft, of course know where you go online. Imagine what Microsoft knows about what you do offline. And they are now asserting jurisdiction over your hardware. What if you wanted to turn off your computer, instead of putting it to sleep where it might still be answering queries about you? Maybe Microsoft will decide its Terms of Use won’t let you.

Microsoft hasn’t been above integrating spyware into its applications, creating stealth logs whose existence its programmers deny, even as users wonder why the files regenerate themselves after they’re deleted. Microsoft Windows’ unceasing security vulnerabilities are due entirely to the software exploits it leaves so that its programs are inter-compatible.

If that’s not enough, Microsoft counterinsurgent teams load malware into community open source projects, to give Windows company looking crummy.

Apple too is guilty of overreaching its intellectual rights authority. It recently stopped Psystar from adapting the OS X to work on PCs. And it disabled an element of its Snow Leopard 10.6 release to thwart a Hackintosh adaptation of Mac’s OS for netbook users.

3 thoughts on “Who is making a list, checking it twice

  1. If I were eager to do online gaming, I’d want to game against people who would put up a challenge. My grandpa taught me that the best way to learn chess is to always play people you know are better than you at it. No challenge, no advancement of skill.

    The ones who would be the sharpest knives in the drawer would be those who don’t bow and worship The Empire, All Hail the Emperor Gates!.

    They’re bright enough to mod their games, and do it because the skills they have exceed the limits of the hardware. It would be like Lance Armstrong piloting a child’s bicycle complete with training wheels.

    The other ones, well, they’re the ones to beat. And everybody else does.

  2. The BIG money coming the way of Apple and M$ is going to be from handhelds, aka “cell phones”… cells that can access and browse the net. What the for Much Pay people don’t want us to realize is that they can already be reconfigured to run Linux, Chrome and Opera… all open-source and for the most part free. The top players in Linux will have a few fee services to go with their free services and products. Southwest Airilnes uses SuSe Linux on their e-systems. The “enterprise” version thereof, which is exactly the same as the Free version, but with actual corporate support. That’s a very heavy contract.Ticketing and scheduling is only a small part of their data management.

    Not bad for a system that Bill Gates keeps declaring to be “dead in the water”.

    And of course, you can mod your Xbox to run Linux. And there’s more to Online Gaming than what M$ provides. Bill Gates has nightmares about that.

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