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Messages - Bryant

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Books / Re: So did you hear about Chris Paolini's books?
« on: February 06, 2008, 11:22:41 PM »
I can't say I think of high school fondly, or even as real social interaction. I went to public school, and high school was more an exercise in subduing any actual personality you had, and adopting a stereotypical personality to fit in with whatever clique it was you found yourself in. Everything that I would call real social interaction in a school setting happened at college, and outside of the school.

Books / Re: So did you hear about Chris Paolini's books?
« on: February 06, 2008, 01:15:07 AM »
The school system in the US is quite terrible, both public and private institutions. Homeschooling, if done properly, is infinitely better than subjugating your children to the conformity inducing production line that is American education. Of course, there will be parents who teach their children far more poorly than anything the education system could do, but that isn't indicative of homeschooling in any way - just bad parenting.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: torrent!
« on: February 04, 2008, 11:26:14 PM »
there are several issues being muddled here. 

The mention of musicians, artists, authors, etc. releasing their own material for download is fundamentally different from other torrent downloads.  When, say, and author releases his/her stuff online, it is with consent.  They are making it available for people to read to help influence their future sales.  They rarely release EVERYTHING they have ever done.  The Super Bowl reminded me of this last night when, before the game (and every game for that matter), they say that any rebroadcast WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE NFL is illegal.  There is no doubt that authors like Brandon, musicians like Smashing Pumpkins, Fallout Boy, and that rapper dude have benefited by having their stuff downloaded.   However, that stuff is being downloaded with the artist's consent and approval.
The underlying concept is the same, though. The freely released material was sold in stores as well. In the case of the rapper, that album - the one he released free, online - has the highest sales out of any of his. I don't think it's his best work (Though, I'm not much of a rap fan, so my judgment on that might be off), yet it has the most sales, arguably because it has the most exposure. I don't see why the underlying fact - that the album is available for free - would effect sales differently depending on if the artist put it out there, or if it had just been widespread over p2p networks. People who were fans who buy music would have bought it regardless, and people who are only out for free things wouldn't have bought it either. This means that there has to be a faction out there that learned of him because it was available for free, and then bought it later.

Let's look at radio broadcasting. There is no subscription to listen to radio, and it is legal (Or was, before the DMCA. I'm not so sure how things stand now. I believe it still is, as things like DVRs for TV are legal) for me to record things from the radio. I received this music for free, at no cost.

The point of radio is publicity. The point of music videos is publicity. The point of releasing things for free on the internet is publicity. Illegal filesharing, at the very least, does give them some publicity.

Overall music sales are up. CD sales are down, but with iTunes and other paid download services, music sales are increasing.  Quite simply, the facts are saying that illegal downloading is not hurting the music industry anywhere near as much as the RIAA would have you believe. A lot of this, I'm sure, is because iTunes and other downloading services such as Napster's paid models allow people to get their music more cheaply than before, and select what songs they do want, and what songs they don't. I am not in any way arguing that filesharing is behind increased overall music sales. I just believe that it is likely contributing to them.

That is a COMPLETELY different issue from other torrents that are being done without the consent of the original artist.  It's not just the companies that suffer, the artists do as well.  In the book industry for example, it's not like authors get a ton of money per book that is sold.  not to mention authors get double taxed.  Can you see why an author would get a little upset for each book of theirs that is downloaded rather than purchased.  For anime, where do you think a majority of their profit comes from?  Manga sell a ton, sure - and the margins are way lower.  Merchandise, i imagine, is a much smaller part of business.  DVDs are probably a huge part.  Overall sales dont mean shizz if the biggest contributor to your bottom line is f'ed by things such as downloads.  Business 101.  For an Anime company to have its DVD profit cut in half is like Microsoft having its profit from software/hardware cut in half.  It would bankrupt them.
You're missing my point. With the music industry, CD sales are down. Less people are going to the store and buying CDs than they used to. But when you factor in sales over iTunes, etc, there is more music being sold today total, combining CD sales and online sales, than there was in CD sales before the advent of illegal downloading. Concert sales are up as well - which is the big thing for the artists. Concerts are where they have the opportunity to actually make significant portions of money for themselves. The industry takes a huge portion out of actual sales for themselves.

Now, obviously, anime doesn't have concerts. But it does have online sales. How well are they doing?  DVD sales are down, but they're only part of the story. Are online sales up? I'm not saying they are - but I refuse to condemn any party, on either side, until the entire truth is known.

So, because they are young and cant afford it means its ok to download?  I old and cant afford everything I like, so according to your logic I should legally download anything I want for free too.  In fact, all those young kids downloading 17000 mp3s should be able to go into BestBuy and take any CD for free since they cant afford it.  You know, lets make all bookstores libraries with free copies to "borrow" for everyone.  Im sure all the artists would work for free.  Downloading without the artists consent = stealing.  Period.  claims to the contrary are ridiculous.
Again, you're missing the point. You cannot lose a sale you never had.

Let's take an expensive piece of software like 3DS Max and use it as an example. It's retail price is 3500 dollars. I would never, ever, for any reason, buy 3DS Max. I am not a 3D Modeler. I do not do Animation for a living. There is absolutely no reason for me to have it. Yet, I could, on a whim, download it.

But I never would have bought it. Autodesk is not out $3500 they would have otherwise received if I didn't download it.

Does that make it right? No. In this example, I have my hands on software that I did not pay for, and should not have. But ultimately, it does not hurt the company.

The comment about the show House vs Tenchi Muyo doesnt seem to be taking into account the fact that it is way more expensive for the anime to be released than House.  The translation costs alone make that price go way up, and also the quantity of released.  They sell the anime at a higher price to account for smaller release numbers and higher costs.  That is an apples vs oranges comparison and really isnt valid.
The reasons are irrelevant. My point had nothing to do about Anime being unfairly priced - it had to do with economics. Most people want entertainment. Many enjoy anime. But if they also enjoy regular TV, they get far less bang for their buck buying an anime series. The US economy has been steadily declining, unemployment is up, and the value of the dollar is falling. People are defaulting on loans, and houses are being foreclosed on. Leisure related industries losing sales is hardly surprising, and the more expensive things are the first to go.

If the amount of money I feel safe in spending on entertainment each month is only $200, and I'm only out to spend half of that DVDs, am I going to buy two different seasons of a TV series, where I get nearly 2000 minutes of entertainment, or three sets of anime DVDs, where I get barely half that? This has absolutely nothing to do with why either season is priced as it is, but entirely with me trying to stretch my budget as far as I can.

Most anime fans are (And I'm generalizing here, and I could be off - though I don't think I am) younger. The majority are of the high school/college age, and that demographic does not have a whole lot of income. For many of them, most of the income they have goes towards tuition and cost of living. Without much spending power, the budgeting problem is even greater.

The reason for the cost disparity is apples and oranges. But I'm not looking at the reason for the cost disparity. I'm looking at the basic fact that there is one.

Again, I am not saying file sharing is right. I am not defending it. I am not supporting it. It is getting something that you did not earn, and is quite obviously morally wrong, if nothing else. I am, however, saying that it is not a black and white issue. There are hundreds of factors at work, and all I am trying to do is point out that there is more to the issue, and explaining other factors that are quite likely having an impact. That is all I am doing.

Preaching that file sharing is the root of all problems means that the other problems get ignored and go unresolved. When they go unresolved, the entertainment industries hurt. And I don't want them to go out of business any more than you do - they are where I find my entertainment as well.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: Theory on why Vin is so powerful *spoilers*
« on: February 04, 2008, 07:53:19 AM »
I hadn't thought of this, though it does make sense, in a kind of roundabout way. I'm not really sure that this is the truth, but it's certainly an interesting idea.

It does seem a bit odd that her mother heard voices, just like Zane did, and killed Vin's sister, and then turned around and gave her a gift.

I guess now I'm taking a page out of Sazed's book, and beginning to see proof of something because I'm looking for it.... But that's certainly an interesting coincidence, even if it turns out to be completely unrelated.

If I understood Mistings correctly, they can specialize in only one metal, but it can be any metal. I am not sure if that is correct, as per Brandon's way of thinking, but that was how I read and understood them.
That's what I thought, too, but somewhere in book 2 Vin "asked Clubs to burn bronze".  Since Clubs is a smoker (copper burner) I didn't understand how that was possible.

This bothered me to, but I assumed it was simply a mistake that slipped by, rather than indicative of Clubs being a special misting/mistborn hybrid

Books / Re: Do Dead Authors Have Rights?
« on: February 03, 2008, 03:23:07 AM »
I dunno. Brian Herbert (In my opinion) was able to quite easily turn Dune from an amazing series into one tainted by a slew of novels that were....  Not exactly exceptional, and he even had one of my favorite authors helping him. Christopher Tolkien seems to have fared better, but I wouldn't say the two exactly cancel each other out.

I've seen a lot of harm done to good stories where someone else has had to finish writing them.

I think that that the author should either leave their work to another author that they know, so that they have some idea of the quality that would be produced. Or even leaving someone they trust in charge of the decision making process once they're gone, such as Jordan did. I guess I'm making a bit of an assumption in believing that EUOL will write the final WOT book well, but based on everything else he's done, I expect it will likely be better than Jordan could have done himself.

While I'm hesitant to try and give rights to dead people who in all likelihood could care less what happens to their work, now that they're enjoying themselves in heaven (Or being worm food, depending on your belief system), but it also seems to me to be a matter of respect. If the original creator wants his work to die with him, than I think it's only right that his children respect his wishes.

More specific to the article on Slate, the question does become a bit tougher when you're dealing with literary genius. As one of the great writers, isn't it to the benefit of literature lovers everywhere that it be released? Does that desire outweigh a dying man's wishes that he passed on to his son?

Largely, I would say that we should respect the wishes of the dead, but that they should try to find some way for their work to be completed before it reaches that point. But there are some situations, such as with Laura, that I can't say I really have an answer that I can stand by.

Books / Re: So did you hear about Chris Paolini's books?
« on: February 03, 2008, 03:11:12 AM »
Admittedly, I wasn't exactly scholarly in my reading of Paolini's stuff, but I don't really remember anything remotely homo-erotic. In fact, I remember being left with the impression that the protagonist was almost unhealthy in his fixation with the elf girl, going so far as to badger multiple other elves about it.

Music / Re: What are you Listening to?
« on: February 03, 2008, 03:06:11 AM »
Ehlers, you might want to look into foobar. It's specifically designed with very large playlists in mind. By default it doesn't look very pretty, but it's possible to customize it to look quite nice.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: torrent!
« on: February 03, 2008, 03:01:02 AM »
The biggest problem with illegal downloads is the culture of freedom that purveys in the Net.  Basically people expect, or even demand, all content for free thus they think they're entitled to download movies, music and books for free.  This train of thought is encouraged by the fact they don't have to walk into a store to steal something, there's no risk.

As for Bryant's question about Anime, well if it wasn't hurting them why would one of the most popular US anime companies--Genon who has Cowboy Beebob--close shop because no one is buying DVDs or digital versions?  If people were buying legal digital copies, which would offset the drop in DVD sales, this wouldn't have happened.  And as Ookla said ADV (which has a wide digital distribution reach for an anime company) havening lost of problems too?  As both the articles stated Anime in the US is becoming more and more popular yet DVD sales aren't just stagnate, aren't just low like the rest of the DVD industry they're down 50% compared to 20% for other DVDs?   

The worst thing about this discussion is you seam to be defending people stealing content, tens of thousands of dollars go into make a single episode and there are lots of jobs at stake, do you honestly want no more Anime over here in the US as well as less stuff made in Japan?  Do you honestly see nothing wrong with this (even if the numbers weren't as staggering as they were)?  You called it illegal yourself yet seam to have no problem with it.
I would appreciate it if you wouldn't jump to conclusions and put words in my mouth. I stated fairly clearly in my first post in this thread that I am neither for nor against file sharing, as there are some stories out there that point to file sharing having a positive impact.

Tech N9ne, a rapper from the midwest, is fairly well known for his decision to release his album Absolute Power on the internet. Sales for this album are by far the highest out of any of his work, even including albums which have multiple tracks featured in motion pictures, etc. Yet, quite obviously, people will aways choose to take something for free, when faced with the choice of getting it for free vs. having to pay for it. One aspect is positive, and the other is negative.

And my question wasn't about DVD sales, but rather overall sales. I realize their DVD sales are going down. The thing is, that doesn't tell the whole story. Even anime dropping a larger percentage than regular movies makes quite a bit of sense, concerning the digital medium, for several reasons. One is the audience: Anime fans are largely a geeky population my nature. The average anime fan is far more likely to be interested in computers, etc, which places them in the market that digital download services cater to. You then also have to consider the fact that anime DVDs cost significantly more than, say, an equal number of TV series episodes. I recently bought the 3rd Tenchi Muyo OAV. It cost me $35, for 7 episodes and 300 minutes of play time. Comparatively, House Season 1, 22 episodes and 970 minutes, only cost me $40. More than three times the length, and only 5 dollars more in price. Prices on the online stores are not quite as disparate, from my understanding.

Say I release a book. It is originally sold in hardcover format. Later, a trade paperback version is released. If I put out an article saying that hardcover sales have plummeted, I would probably be telling the truth. But that doesn't mean that filesharing caused it.

As for ADV's digital distribution, there are quite a few issues with it. $5 per episode is quite a price, with the average anime episode being ~20 minutes long. For an hour's worth of entertainment, that's $15! I can grab a regular TV show off of iTunes for $2. It also only works on Windows because of the DRM system, which eliminates Mac and Linux users from the equation. Again, while these are much smaller pieces of the market than windows users, due to the nature of the type of person who is a fan of anime, they are hardly market shares that you wish to ignore. By requiring Windows, they are definitely losing sales.

I also disagree with the downloading = stealing sentiment. You have to realize that a significant portion of those who download things off the internet are teenagers, etc, with no jobs, and very little disposable income. Some 15 year old who's only source of income is a weekly allowance might have downloaded 17,000 MP3s, 600 movies, and 74 anime series, but it is quite obvious he never would have been able to buy all of that. You can't lose sales that you never had. Am I saying that it's fair, or even right that this kid has these, when he didn't pay for them? Far from it - I buy my things, and so should he. But the RIAA in particular has left a bad taste in my mouth on this subject, where they make wild claims saying that a single person who has thousands of MP3s has cost the industry hundreds of thousands of dollars - quite obviously, these people would not have actually bought all of this music, even if it was not available for download.

By no means am I saying that file sharing is correct, nor defending file sharers. I would agree, even, that for products that are already popular, it is a bad thing. However, there is proof out there that it can help people gain recognition and popularity. That, coupled with the ridiculous strong arm tactics of several organizations, such as the RIAA (Who has been lobbying for the penalty limit to be increased - they're saying that every single shared MP3 file is $150,000 in damagers. More than a million dollars for a shared CD!) makes me believe that the issue is hardly black and white. There are multiple sides to every story, and to make an informed decision, you need to know all of the sides. And, at this time, I do not know all of the sides, so I can not comfortably make a judgment one way or another. This does not mean that I am for, or defending, filesharers. All it means is that I'm not ready to roast them on a spit, either.

Edit: I didn't even consider economic issues, either. With the US likely in a recession, the higher priced luxuries are going to go away faster. I don't believe this is a major contributor to lost sales, but it could be one of many minor ones. Thousands of untreated small cuts will bleed you to death just as surely as several big ones.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: torrent!
« on: February 02, 2008, 06:40:48 PM »
Well, torrents themselves are not illegal. It refers to a peer to peer file sharing protocol. The torrent itself just is a listing of people with the file, and then you make the connections based on the torrent information.

It's mainly used for file sharing copyright material, but it also has legitimate uses. Blizzard distributes their World of Warcraft patches using BitTorrent, and many Linux distributions use torrents. You can use BitTorrent to download OpenOffice, even.

1 - Language - the first inconsistency - the world introduced to us  is one where knights refer to each other using the ancient Ser not even Sir. And then they swear in the modern vernacular - f-bombs and other modern swear words in a ancient setting? Utterly ruined the consistency of the world - for me :)
I suppose this comes down to a matter of preference. I don't really mind this at all, and I don't really see why you take issue with it. What's to say that in this world the word "Ser" just stayed in use longer, while the rest of language progressed. Knights, etc, seem very traditional, but there are also very modern aspects to the world. It's also quite apparent in the books that human civilization has existed for tens of thousands of years, so it's not unlikely at all that many things have changed, yet others, while being held more sacred, did not.

2 - Undead - the second inconsistency - the mother who died and then came back as undead - two complete books and NO MENTION of undead or anything like that and then suddenly, a character comes back from the dead. And interacts with the live characters - in something like Wheel Of Time, the dark lord from the very first book is referred to as the lord of the grave and a number of references to him being able to reach the dead and bring them back allow for the return of a couple of bad guys much later in the series without disturbing the continuity of the world.
Uh, the prologue of book 1 involves undead. The Night's Watch guardsmen are killed by the Others, and they come back from the dead to kill the one companion who had lived until the end of the chapter. Throughout the series, the Jon storyline involves dealing with the Others and their dead, converted minions. Jon saves the Lord Commander one night because he sets the wight on fire. Dany and her unborn child are also involved with necromancy (Albeit gone wrong) very shortly into the story. Beric Dondarrion is referred to as having been killed many times, though I believe Martin intended for the reader to just assume that it was a legend. However, it turned out to be the truth, and Dondarrion gives his life for Catelyn to be ressurected. If you believe that there was no mention of the undead until that point, you really misread quite a bit of the series. I would say it is the only consistently present magic in the entire series

3 - Religion - the third inconsistency - the system of beliefs presented has no mention of heaven or hell - there is no reference to an afterlife or anything like that - the belief system is based in the current living world - and yet certain characters tell others to, "Go to hell" - perhaps this ties in with the first inconsistency but I isolated this as it refers to a system of religious beliefs that is not part of the world.
There are quite a few various religions in the world. The most common is worship of The Seven, and then there are the Gods of the North, and the gods of the Dothraki, whatever god it is that Stannis Baratheon's witch lady and Thoros of Myr follow, etc. I'm not certain any of them exclude the thought of heaven or hell, but I would find it extremely unlikely that none of them do. I wouldn't say that this is out of the ordinary at all.

May I suggest Neil Gaiman?
Neil Gaiman is an excellent author. American Gods is one of my favorite novels.

Brandon Sanderson / Re: torrent!
« on: February 02, 2008, 05:53:27 AM »
Since you brought up Naruto, which I don't think file sharing made popular--being on Cartoon Network did that, I thought I'd link to a few interviews with the US anime industry which file sharing/fansubs is killing the industry  and companies are closing down.



From and old industry insider:

The difference between these interviews is that the interviewees are quite up front that there's more then just File sharing hurting sales, and they're trying to actually reach an internet market (I never knew Apple limited how many TV shows a company could release in a month so they can't quickly distribute that way) but I think they're being honest about it.  Read the ADV one where they talk about costs involved and the time investment you can see why illegal downloads are hurting them.

Naruto was pretty big before it ever got licensed. I saw tons of people with the headbands, etc, at cons, and I know that it had a massive following on the internet. It had quite a bit of momentum going for it before it was ever played on CN.

The problem with those articles is that they only tell one side of the story. DVD sales are down, yes, but how different are the numbers when you take into account online sales, like the mentioned iTunes/Xbox Marketplace. The RIAA has been screaming music sales are down, but that's only if you take into account CD sales. When you factor in iTunes and all of the other online sales, it's about the same now as it was a decade ago, with some markets showing some growth, and others some loss.

I would like to see some hard numbers involving DVD sales, internet sales, and merchandising sales from several years ago, and from now. I'm not saying anime sales in general aren't down - because I don't have any problem believing that they are - just that I would like to see some real numbers involving all aspects of it, beyond simply DVD sales. I mean, if DVD sales are down 50%, but online sales have tripled to amount in the same number of episodes being sold, and merchandising has doubled...

Of course, I figure the profit margins on online sales are lower than that of physical ones, and 60000 DVD sales probably brings in more than 30000 DVD sales and 30000 online sales, but if these are about even, I don't think it's fair to claim the sales are really down.

Illegal downloading may very well be negatively effecting the industry - it wouldn't surprise me in the least - but I would just like to see some sales numbers before I sit back and say "Yeah, I agree. We need to get rid of the file sharers! "

Brandon Sanderson / Re: torrent!
« on: February 02, 2008, 01:46:17 AM »
File sharing is interesting. In some cases, it has pretty much MADE the artist in question famous. Dragonforce, for example, would have never gotten any real attention in the US without their stuff being available for download, and you see them now doing tours, part of Ozzfest, etc.

Naruto also got a huge head start on the US market because of file sharing. Merchandising, etc, has also taken way off for it.

But then, for every person that goes out and buys something that they liked after downloading it, there's two (or more) people who won't.

I'm not sure if there's some magic obscurity:file sharing conversion to sales ratio out there, but I would have to theorize that it at least marginally helps those who could use more publicity more than it hurts them.

I have no idea what the magic point is, though, where it starts hurting more than helping. And that's the problem - no one does. That makes it pretty difficult to really say whether file sharing is right or wrong.

I think EUOL has the right idea with Warbreaker. If there are freely available samples of that nature - An album, or book, or whatever - then I think it achieves largely the same good that filesharing does.

Edit: Just ran a search of my own, and all I got was a book on "Macromolecular Crystallography"

Whatever that is.

Books / Re: Fan Fiction: Good or Evil
« on: February 01, 2008, 10:24:57 PM »
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about fanfiction. On one hand, the overwhelming majority of it is terrible. Poorly written, poorly thought out, completely unreadable junk.

On the other hand, every now and then, a good story gets written.

But the existence of fanfiction tells me something: Either the people reading/writing it absolutely love the world and characters, and can't part with them, so they read/write more adventures, or that the author didn't do his or her job and bring real closure to the series. If people feel like the ending of a story "left them hanging", I think it's natural that they should seek satisfying closure.

So I think I can understand the why, but most of the times the result is quite poor. In concept, I can support the idea. In actual practice... I would think, more often than not, it is a poor idea.

Books / Re: Books you dislike or used to dislike?
« on: February 01, 2008, 10:20:51 PM »
I wouldn't recommend Terry Brooks to anyone. I felt like every book of his that I read was actually the exact same story with the exact same characters and exact same locations, except the names were different, the fat people were skinny, the skinny people were fat, the mountains were valleys, the valleys were mountains, etc. It's like all he did was polarize every unimportant aspect, and then leave everything else the same.

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