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[QUOTE]FISA compromise passes with Obama, Clinton on opposite sides

By Julian Sanchez | Published: July 09, 2008 - 04:11PM CT

By a lopsided 69-28 vote, the Senate has passed the so-called FISA compromise bill, extending the power of the executive branch to authorize warrantless interception of international communications, and effectively granting retroactive amnesty to telecoms that participated in the extralegal surveillance program authorized by President George Bush after the attacks of 9/11. Efforts to amend the legislation to delay the controversial immunity grant pending completion of an investigation by the Inspector General's office, to condition amnesty on a finding that the underlying surveillance was constitutional, or to strip immunity altogether, were soundly defeated—‚as expected—under threat of presidential veto.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) voted in favor of the amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to the dismay of many of his own supporters. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) were among those who broke with their party's standard-bearer to vote against the bill.

Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, almost immediately issued statements condemning the vote. Both organizations pledged to challenge the new legislation in court. The Fourth Amendment will provide the probable basis for any challenge to the provisions permitting the executive branch to authorize electronic surveillance of overseas targets, even when in communication with Americans, without obtaining a probable cause warrant. The Supreme Court has already ruled unanimously that a warrant is required for domestic surveillance, even when conducted in the name of national security, but has never provided decisive guidance as to what the Constitution requires in the case of foreign intelligence surveillance that implicates the privacy rights of US citizens.

The legal grounds for a challenge to the immunity provision, which directs a federal court to dismiss the lawsuits against any telecom that received a written directive from the government authorizing surveillance, are somewhat less clear. But one possible approach was outlined earlier this year in a column by law professor Anthony Sebok. According to Sebok, the abrogation without compensation of a vested tort claim could be seen as a violation of the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause. Similar sentiments were expressed on the Senate floor yesterday by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). "I am aware of no precedent for the Congress of the United States stepping into ongoing litigation, choosing a winner and a loser, allowing no alternative remedy," said Whitehouse. "And I believe the constitutional problem with doing that as a separation of powers matter is particularly acute where the cause of action that is being litigated in the judicial branch is a constitutional claim." Whitehouse predicted that the immunity provision would ultimately be found unconstitutional.

While the legislative battle is over for the moment, the consequences of Sen. Obama's support for the bill, deeply unpopular with much of his "netroots" base, remain to be seen. Obama had previously pledged to oppose any bill containing retroactive immunity, but later committed to support compromise legislation even if amendments to strip that provision failed. The "Get FISA Right" campaign, which now boasts the largest user-created group on Obama's own social-networking site by a wide margin, will continue to exert heavy pressure on the candidate in the months to come. The group is circulating an open letter urging Obama to pledge to revisit the FISA bill as president.

Obama likes fisa,yikes!, of course it could be pass it get the "protections" from it and have the court fix it alter...bu they US dose not work liek that....dose it?
[QUOTE]Is free the future of PC gaming? Not in the US anytime soon

By Ben Kuchera | Published: July 09, 2008 - 12:20PM CT

PC gaming may not be dying, abut it is in a state of flux. We're seeing developers and publishers blaming piracy for all the ills of PC gaming, but attempts to rein in pirates with the help of DRM only annoys and mobilizes the legitimate customers of your games. The solution? According to David Perry of Shiny Games, PC games are going to be free.

He points to the Asian market as an experiment in this model. "They had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game," he said in Belfast, according to the BBC. Companies are to make their money through microtransactions. "Your character might have a plain white T-shirt. If you wanted a nicer one you could have it for a dollar. Or perhaps you could buy a magic sword for a knight for a dollar."

For examples of how this model works, look no further than Korea's Nexon Corporation. Located in Seoul, it specializes in developing these free-to-play games, with a high level of success. Take Crazyracing Kartrider: the game itself is free, but you can pay for licensed karts or new paint jobs. Maple Story is a top-down MMO title that is likewise free-to-play, with certain items being available for purchase using real-world money. It has to be noted that these games exist to allow profit for Nexon only, for-cash trading between players is prohibited; only virtual currency is traded when a player sells an item.

The first attempt at this market by a western developer is EA's Battlefield: Heroes, a free-to-play version of the company's popular Battlefield titles that is geared for a casual audience. The game features simpler graphics in order to work on all machines, and will feature for-pay aesthetic upgrades for your character. Advertising fills the web front-end of the game, but refreshingly none can be found in the game. Is this is a new direction for EA, or simply a way to try to monetize a market segment the company hasn't yet reached?

KartRider is a massive hit in Korea

Ben Cousin's, EA DICE's executive producer, seems to think Heroes has a more targeted audience. "The marketing guys love to come up with snappy titles for market segments. The market segment they came up with for us was 'frustrated restricteds'—people who really want to play full games, and aspire to be gamers," Cousins told Gamesindustry. The idea being that not everyone is going to pay $50 and spend hours to learn the skills and tactics to excel in the full Battlefield titles, so Heroes gives them an easy access point to multiplayer gaming.

The game looks great, and anecdotal evidence says that many members of the hardcore gaming community are looking forward to at least trying it—what do they have to lose?—but it seems aimed squarely at the casual gamer. Even if the casual gamers get hooked however, it's unknown how many of them will be willing to give EA their credit card information for a new hat or T-shirt.

The games that seem to thrive on this model don't feature the latest graphics, and they certainly cast a wide net to find an audience in order to turn a profit, but it's hard to take claims for a "free" seachange seriously. No matter how many people pirate, there will always be a market for companies who want to invest in new engines, or even games with complex peripherals, and those things don't fit well into a game that's given away. In fact, American audiences are often skeptical about anything sold for under retail price, much less given away; it's possible that a simple matter of culture may keep the free games from spreading to anyone but the casual gamers.

With the ongoing success of World of Warcraft and the newly minted hit Age of Conan doing good business on the PC, and American audiences gaming in their homes instead of gaming cafes, it could be a while before gamers ditch their monthly subscriptions for the price of a pair of shoes. Western developers will surely be eying experiments like Battlefield: Heroes in the meantime to see how the American gamer reacts.
interesting idea but it dose not work for most game types IMO unless things are mostly cheap and it only takes 50$ to ax you out.

For instance take FF12 remove most of the fancy weapons,armor spells then add some really traditional heavy hitting FF stuff like full on dual wileding, multi accessories and some evily over powered weapons,ect have all that pay for stuff, thentis not so bad.


Ah modern gaming its like modern film only the watering down of fiction and characters is replaced with shallow and watered down mechanics, gimmicks and shiny-er "people".
Incoherence is my friend and grammar my bane, which is the fulcrum of suffering I place upon others!:ZippyDSMlee

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