yes, i know i’ve been slacking for about a week – but if i’m going to be writing about anything related to consumer technology and/or tech news, the last couple of weeks of available material has been all apple all the time – and i just can’t care about it anymore. enough’s enough.
so my process was as follows – start writing a post on the ipad, then stop. fallout from the iphone 4 fiasco – 1 paragraph, stop. more about the apple-adobe war, 2 sentences, stop. apple-cingular exclusivity? couldn’t even come up with a title. i can’t be the only one who’s tired of reading about apple in every damn publication and site i get my news from. so i stopped reading the news for a while. digging through pages of seeing steve job’s mug plastered across abso-damn-lutely everything got boring, and i don’t want to just be one additional hit that helps apple control the news cycle. due to the lack of anything else interesting, i took a few days off , and ended up doing some leveling my druid in warcraft instead. got rake and tiger’s fury, so yep, far more productive.
i read about (and ultimately got) something called the humble indie bundle. i generally like occasionally seeing what indie game studios offer, and since i loved world of goo, it was worth a look. it’s a limited time offering of a set of five independent games (including world of goo), by wolfire, that are completely DRM-free, work with pc, mac, and linux, and best of all…
… wait for it…
cost only as much as you want to pay. you read that correctly. if you want to pay $10, that’s how much it costs. only able to swing a dollar? well sir or madam, to you, the pack costs precisely $1. only want to pay a penny? then that’ll be one shiny red cent please. the pricing scheme did seem a little shifty at first, until i saw what was behind it. user contributions support the electronic frontier foundation, and the wonderful child’s play charity, started by gabe and tycho over at penny arcade. sounds like a good idea right? you wouldn’t mind shelling out at bare minimum a couple of cents for a set of games that would cost you about $80 combined, would you?
of course you wouldn’t mind – you’re good people. but others would, and did, take a different stance on the matter, while taking full advantage of the “no DRM” thing. instead of paying all of the $0.01 it would have taken to have a legitimate copy, let alone any altruistic motivation, it turns out that key links for the humble bundle are being distributed in forums, from 4chan (though we really should have seen it coming from them) to steam, and many in between. wolfire estimates about 25% of the downloads have been pirated, not counting anything pulled down by torrents. just to clarify – these people
pirated jacked software for charity that was pretty much given away. and yes, there is a difference.
i’ve done a couple of posts on piracy before – mainly because i can understand instances that can be considered sticking it to the proverbial man. because “the man” sticks it to us. daily. companies that publish audio/video media and games are getting a little ridiculous spending their time calculating how many fictitious dollars piracy costs them (while pulling in record profits hand over fist) instead of legitimately focusing their energy on creating a richer experience for the end user. so sometimes putting them in check is called for. this instance is completely different. skimming this game pack off of a forum isn’t piracy. you’re not sticking it to the man. trust me, the man is cushy and comfortable on this one. you’re just flat out being a jerk. in addition to independent developers, who you’re affecting is:
the EFF: a non-profit foundation whose goals are to protect free speech, privacy, and digital consumer rights, and
child’s play: an organization with gamer roots that donates toys, games, books, and money to sick kids, their families, and the children’s hospitals that are trying to help them.
i personally give to the latter (and should really get more involved with the first), because i believe in what they’re doing, making this matter far more loathsome to me. in my opinion this is digitally tantamount to punching a bell-ringing santa, squarely in the neck, and taking his or her salvation army bucket. this kind of stuff is depressing, if as nothing else but a confirmation that this particular brand of asshat still exists, and that their numbers show no signs of slowing down.
but i can’t be completely mentally bogged down by this kind of selfishness today – there’s still some positive news to report. despite the copies that were ill-got at best, in the three days that this bundle was available, contributors raised $319,000 for charity, which isn’t exactly chicken feed. and before this is posted, the bundle has now been extended for another 3 day period. hopefully they can collect another $300,000 or more.
for those that need a refresher, robin hood never sucker punched little john for a bag of coin or drugged friar tuck to steal a swig of his ale.
he robbed from the rich.