SunSpotter's recent activity

  1. Comment on What do you collect? in ~hobbies

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    Historical computers and related hardware/software. Probably the most interesting things I have are: A complete IBM PC/AT with 16 color EGA display A complete IBM PC with 4 color CGA display An...

    Historical computers and related hardware/software. Probably the most interesting things I have are:
    A complete IBM PC/AT with 16 color EGA display
    A complete IBM PC with 4 color CGA display
    An Apple II+ with 8" floppy drive and controller
    A boxed copy of Windows 1.0

    And I guess all four items encapsulate my reason for collecting. It's partially for historical value, partially because it's funny in an absurd way playing with such completely obsolete media, and partially because it's fascinating learning what you can make certain computers do, even with hardware as primitive as theirs.

    8 votes
  2. Comment on WHO urges fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks as delta Covid variant spreads in ~health.coronavirus

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    Personally, I'm worried about what would happen if I managed to get COVID twice. I'm not sure if it's verifiably happened to a non-immunocompromised person yet, but it's becoming clearer and...

    Personally, I'm worried about what would happen if I managed to get COVID twice. I'm not sure if it's verifiably happened to a non-immunocompromised person yet, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that COVID is just something we're stuck with now. What happens if I let my guard down now, and then 2 years later when my antibodies have all but forgotten about COVID, I get whatever the current strain is? Will it mostly be the same experience, whatever that may be? Will the effects compound and result in a more severe reaction? I don't think anyone really knows, but COVID is weird enough that I'm not going to simply assume the former.

    Perhaps just as importantly, I'm registered as an organ donor. I feel like there's a strong likelihood that organs (specifically hearts and lungs) which have never been infected with COVID will be preferred or perhaps outright required, and they will become rarer and rarer as time goes on. If something ever happens to me, it would be nice to at least know a part of me will go to good use, and won't be spoiled by COVID.

    Maybe I'm just paranoid and I should just live my life, but it's hard to shake the thoughts from my mind.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on A 55% majority of Republicans now support same-sex marriage in ~lgbt

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    Since they specifically reference Democrats, Republicans and Independents, I'm going to assume they mean voters registered as Republican rather than people who self identify as Republicans. Which...

    Since they specifically reference Democrats, Republicans and Independents, I'm going to assume they mean voters registered as Republican rather than people who self identify as Republicans.

    Which makes me wonder how much of that 55% is actually Libertarian voters (who typically aren't concerned with social/religious issues like this) aligned with the Republican party. If that's the case, then perhaps there is more room for Republican support. Primarily because this really is a religious thing; I can't think of a single non-theistic person I've met who had a problem with gay marriage. So if there's more non-theistic conservatives out there, they may be willing to voice support if they perceive that they won't be criticized for it.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more in ~tech

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    To be fair, OP did specify that W8 was the worst they had personally experienced. Which makes me wonder how many people actually used Windows ME. I think most techy people are aware of it's...

    To be fair, OP did specify that W8 was the worst they had personally experienced. Which makes me wonder how many people actually used Windows ME. I think most techy people are aware of it's infamous legacy at this point, but it was current version of windows for all of 13 months. Not to mention, up until December 13, 2001 all previous versions of Windows were still technically supported by Microsoft, including even Windows 1. So the same buying pressure that exists today (eventual drop of support) didn't really exist at the time.

  5. Comment on The state of Arizona is preparing to kill death row inmates using hydrogen cyanide, the same lethal gas that was deployed at Auschwitz in ~news

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    I wondered about that too. Specifically, I wondered if death by hydrogen cyanide was particularly gruesome or if it just made for good headlines because of the association with Nazis. Turns out,...

    I wondered about that too. Specifically, I wondered if death by hydrogen cyanide was particularly gruesome or if it just made for good headlines because of the association with Nazis. Turns out, it not great. It works by blocking the absorption of oxygen, and organs which are usually oxygen rich (like the lungs) are hit the hardest. It doesn't just displace oxygen, it actively prohibits your cellular intake of oxygen. Inmates killed with the gas seem to suffer, choke, cough and display general signs of suffocation before eventually slipping unconscious and dying. It can take seconds or minutes, depending on the individual and how quickly the gas fills the room. It can take a while for the gas concentration in the room to reach lethal levels, and up until then you're just slowly being choked. I'm sure this could be solved with better engineering, but honestly the ways in which the article described them testing the chamber don't leave much room for confidence there.

    For the life of me, I don't understand why they don't use something like carbon monoxide. It's supposed to just make you feel really sleepy before killing you, no choking or suffocation required. You can't convince me it's a legal thing, they're already using a chemical proven to cause undue suffering and the article says they didn't even buy the right kind of cyanide the law requires them to but that they intend to use it anyways. That only leaves the possibility it's a just to throw someone a sweet contract, or they actually want people to suffer. I detest both possibilities.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on How to design a sailing ship for the 21st century? in ~enviro

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    Yeah. There's a lot of emissions in the manufacturing and ore processing required for nuclear power. So from that alone, I'm certain its more emissive than even a lithium-ion battery powered ship...

    Yeah. There's a lot of emissions in the manufacturing and ore processing required for nuclear power. So from that alone, I'm certain its more emissive than even a lithium-ion battery powered ship would be. I'm just as certain it would be less than that of a fossil fuel powered ship though, given reactors tend to live fairly long lives with proper maintenance. But it wouldn't be zero.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on You got a one way ticket to 200 years into the future. Do you go? in ~talk

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    This is pretty much how I feel. I would want to go so bad, but I don't think I could leave my boyfriend either. I'd probably just feel sad and guilty every time I thought about all those years he...

    This is pretty much how I feel. I would want to go so bad, but I don't think I could leave my boyfriend either. I'd probably just feel sad and guilty every time I thought about all those years he spent missing me, how he's long gone now, all the moments of ours lives I missed out on, etc...

    2 votes
  8. Comment on You got a one way ticket to 200 years into the future. Do you go? in ~talk

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    I choose to believe FTL is possible, not necessarily for any rational reason, but because it gives me hope. FTL is kind of like religion for me in that sense. It follows though that if you believe...

    I choose to believe FTL is possible, not necessarily for any rational reason, but because it gives me hope. FTL is kind of like religion for me in that sense. It follows though that if you believe some form of FTL is possible, that some form of time travel is also possible. It could very well be that 'time travel' in this sense could just be a form of time dilation which is already well understood and naturally occurring. But it could also be something entirely different. It's quite hard to say, because realistically we don't really have a solid grasp on what the underlying scientific principles of FTL travel would look like. Right now the best we have is warp theory, but it has many problems and unknowns.

    Regardless, to address some of your concerns regarding teleportation: I don't think many people take the Star Trek interpretation of teleportation very seriously. It's an interesting concept, but it's innumerable problems have been talked about to death at this point. Not the least of which being that you technically die every time you use one. A more realistic way to think of practical teleportation is to imagine a boat being dropped into a body of water. Where does the water go when the boat appears? Does it go inside the boat? Does it disappear? The obvious answer is of course, no. The water is displaced;it's pushed out of the way and redistributed. If teleportation is at all possible, this is most likely how physics would take care of things. Except instead of water, a little bit of space time itself is being displaced.

    As for the ethical concerns regarding teleportation, it doesn't seem unreasonable to imagine a global society where teleporters are treated much the same way as airports. They're bound to be highly sophisticated pieces of technology with high power requirements. So you're probably not stealing one or DIYing one in your garage. You can't even really DIY a modern x86 CPU and almost everyone in the world has one in their home or work computer. It's important to remember that the world is usually quite boring. We don't have Super Heroes or Villains inventing these things in their labs for nefarious purposes.

    Moreover, there'd necessarily be tons of security at any given teleporter station, and they'd probably be restricted to well developed nations (just because they would be the ones able to afford it) and secure diplomatic areas. As for the weaponization of teleporters, this really only makes sense if teleporters are one way, or act like gates that can be dialed from anywhere. If not, it doesn't seem like much of a strategic opportunity. Even if teleporters did behave that way, most countries already have nukes, or the ability to make dirty bombs of some kind. People have long said even a large enough conventional explosion + nuclear waste would be a huge catastrophe were someone to pull off such an attack. But it hasn't, and I think MAD is probably a large part of that, but I digress. The point is, if everyone can just teleport a bomb to your desk, no one can.

    There are other societal implications for teleporters beyond war and crime though. Larry Niven, though famed for being a misogynist, addressed this quite well in his Known Space series. It's bound to royally screw with tourism, and real estate for starters. Additionally, In much the same way that car and plane travel have eroded local cultures and smoothed out accents, teleporters are bound to have the same affect, but on a larger scale.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Humble Bundle creator brings antitrust lawsuit against Valve over Steam in ~games

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    Well...sorta. I get where you’re coming from but so far it hasn’t really worked out like that. You can already buy Steam keys from random people on the internet and the marketplace for that is...

    Literally no reason not to buy a secondhand game

    Well...sorta. I get where you’re coming from but so far it hasn’t really worked out like that. You can already buy Steam keys from random people on the internet and the marketplace for that is called G2A. How it usually works is someone buys a humble bundle game that comes with an activation key for Steam, and they later decide they’d rather sell the key than activate it on their own Steam account, so they go to G2A.

    The problem is that it’s rampant with fraud and scams. Straight up fake keys, and illegitimate keys generated with a key gen have become common place. It’s bad enough that the site strongly recommends you get some kind of insurance with your purchase.

    You’d likely need a whole new platform to sell these keys and it would need to be policed fairly well.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on Good electronics repair shop? in ~hobbies

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    For future reference, I wouldn't recommend turning on the recorder anymore until it's been fixed. A seized motor can be repaired, but a motor that's been burnt out will have to be replaced. Kinda...

    For future reference, I wouldn't recommend turning on the recorder anymore until it's been fixed. A seized motor can be repaired, but a motor that's been burnt out will have to be replaced. Kinda wish I had more free time for myself because I'd be willing to fix it for you if I did. I dabble with repairing all kinds of older electronics for fun and if you're calling shops in LA, you're probably not too far from me.

    If you don't want to repair it yourself, I understand and won't argue that you should. But you should be aware that the repairs probably aren't that serious. At worst you might need to replace some capacitors. You'll definitely need to unstick and re-lube the drive motor, or order a replacement if needed. Most likely you would need to replace the drive cable which transfers motion from the motor to the spindle, if there is one. Some earlier floppy and cassette drives had these, others were directly driven by the motor. Probably wouldn't hurt to wipe the read head with some isopropyl and a q-tip either. 30 years of dust gathering in your attic could have deposited some dust on the read head, which would impair playback quality and scratch the media.

    So you're looking for someone (anyone really, maybe even friends or family) with soldering skills just in case, and enough free time to clean/service the drive and order replacement parts.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on What does analog have that digital doesn't? in ~talk

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    In terms of formatting discrepancies, probably a fair assessment. In terms of the longevity of the disc itself...well. Suffice to say there's a lot of debate on the lifespan of CD and the answer...

    There are no 100-year-old CDs or DVDs, and there never will be

    In terms of formatting discrepancies, probably a fair assessment. In terms of the longevity of the disc itself...well. Suffice to say there's a lot of debate on the lifespan of CD and the answer isn't really clear yet. The first CD-ROM meant for a digital computer came out in 1984, and the first IBM compatible (basically the architecture that went on to become the PC standard we use today) CD-ROM came out a few years later sometime around 1986-1987.

    Microsoft Bookshelf was actually one of the first well known pieces of software to come out for early CD-ROM, and copies in good condition still work if you pop it into any run of the mill CD or Blu-ray player under the appropriate (real or emulated) environment. Much like Vinyl, CDs only last as long as they're cared for. If you get it dirty, bang it up etc it will stop working. And it's pretty well accepted that eventually CDs will start degrading from age, but we don't really know when that will start happening, because even the oldest discs haven't started suffering from this yet. This is opposed to basically all forms of magnetic media, which have half lives which are not only measurable but easily observed.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on Zemo and New Cap: Lawful evil or lawful neutral? in ~tv

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    My honest opinion is that they're both Lawful Evil, just for different reasons. Usually NE characters commit evil because it benefits them and only them; they aren't guided by gleefully sowing...

    My honest opinion is that they're both Lawful Evil, just for different reasons. Usually NE characters commit evil because it benefits them and only them; they aren't guided by gleefully sowing chaos, or working within the confines of a moral code.

    It's hard to gauge how much Zemo is motivated by revenge, and how much he genuinely buys into his own dogma. If he leans more toward revenge, he's definitely a more NE style character. I think choosing not to take the serum, and instead smashing it makes a case for him being LE though, and this was in fact the scene that got me thinking.

    Cap on the other hand...hoo boy. Captain PTSD is probably a good way to put it. Honestly I'd agree that if he wasn't already LE, he probably is now. He's basically being setup to become exactly what Zemo warns against.

    1 vote
  13. Zemo and New Cap: Lawful evil or lawful neutral?

    Warning: this post may contain spoilers

    Episode 4 of Falcon and Winter Soldier had me contemplating the architypes these characters represent. If you haven't seen the latest episode, I recommend watching it first because it actually does a lot to develop their characters (also spoilers are bound to come up).

    Anyways, both characters show a clear commitment towards a guiding set of morals. Zemo with his unwavering commitment against super powered individuals. Cap with his fight against terrorism in the name of justice. Cap obviously believes himself to be good, but his actions don't always reflect that. Meanwhile Zemo seems to be aware that his zealous actions are morally problematic, but doesn't really care.

    I realize it's kind of a silly question, but the ambiguity of the actions these characters take has me wondering where they would traditionally fit on the good ole' alignment chart.

    7 votes
  14. Comment on 7% of Americans don't use the internet in ~tech

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    This is an interesting question. Keep in mind it's not just people willing to accept cold calls though, it's people willing to accept cold calls and actually complete the survey. For the purposes...

    a demographic I assume, but have no data to support

    This is an interesting question. Keep in mind it's not just people willing to accept cold calls though, it's people willing to accept cold calls and actually complete the survey. For the purposes of laying out my case here, I'll say that the people most likely to answer and complete the survey are most likely to be both more trusting and patient. As an example, an elderly person might be more likely to be both trusting and patient. By comparison, someone who takes a lot of calls from potential clients (lawyer, real estate agent etc) would be more trusting of phone calls but not likely to be as patient if they perceive such a survey to interfere with their business. With that said, I'm not so certain we are dealing with a specific demographic in the traditional sense.

    Without specific data on who is most likely to pick up these calls, it becomes a hypothetical based upon the original criteria. Is a person with greater than average trust and patience in a general sense, more or less likely to use the internet? A study also from Pew indicates that people who are white, married, rural, higher income, middle aged or elderly are more likely to be trusting. That's not to say we can conclude only wealthy, older white couples living in the sticks are likely to respond, merely that belonging to one of those groups would make you more likely to respond. Patience was harder to quantify, but the idea of patience in an economic sense does seem to come up, and the consensus seems to be that there's a correlation between higher income and patience, which agrees with the results obtained from demographics who are more trusting.

    This actually paints an interesting picture for the study, because it means that groups of differing internet usage, as according to the data provided by the study itself, are more likely to respond. For instance, families whom are older, or live in rural areas are determined by the study to be less likely to use the internet, and this idea is already commonly held by the general populace to be true. But with wealthier families, the opposite is true, and it is a phenomenon corroborated by other studies. As to whether or not single vs married individuals are more or less likely to use the internet with all other factors accounted for, it's hard to say, and made more difficult by the fact that the study in question didn't actually survey that. If I had to guess though, I would say that married individuals are more likely to use the internet because of their children pushing them to adapt, and because having a partner introduces more spontaneity, which could lead to the development of broader skills and interests. Moreover, couples are more likely to be wealthier due to their combined income. In regards to the affect of having a partner on broadening interests and skills, it comes purely anecdotally from my own observations about my parents, and from working estate sales and noticing the difference between people who lived very insular lives vs those who were married most of their lives. However, I'm not sure how to find reliable data to prove the correlation.

    Overall, it's still hard to comment on the efficacy of the study without digging into the raw data and trying to look for bias in the demographics that responded, but I think that from the above points I've laid out, that we can at least conclude that the data is representative of the truth. Which is to say, even if it's not perfect, it provides a close approximate of the number of people who don't use the internet, and gives good insight into which demographics are less likely to use the internet. If anything, it's possible that the study may be biased in favor of those who use the internet.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on If humankind left Earth and came back after 100 years, how much of our digital files would still be readable? in ~talk

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    I think HDDs are more prone to long term failure than people may realize. I've dealt with lots of old hard drives, and with mixed results. Some of this may be fixable (or already fixed) with...

    I think HDDs are more prone to long term failure than people may realize. I've dealt with lots of old hard drives, and with mixed results. Some of this may be fixable (or already fixed) with modern technology, but here's just a few things that can go wrong with hard drives only 30-40 years old.

    1. Bit-flip: People mostly talk about bit flip in the context of copying errors, or in environments with high radiation where passive bit flip is more likely, but it happens in all magnetic media given enough time.

    2. Head sticking: If a hard drive doesn't move for a long time, as in the span of decades, there is a possibility that one of the heads will become physically stuck to the platter. This can sometimes be fixed, but will always result in loss of data wherever the head became stuck to the platter. Most modern HDDs shouldn't be affected by this because they're supposed to 'park' the head away from the platter, but you never know. It's possible that some cheaper drives, or older drives still in use today don't have such functionality.

    3. Material degradation: This is a big one that flies under the radar I think. Seals, O-rings, anything that could be used in the construction of a hard drive and which is made of rubber will degrade over time. If you've ever picked up an old piece of plastic or rubber that's become sticky or gummy, this is what I'm talking about. Not only are you no longer guaranteed to get a perfect seal when this happens, it can also seize up the motor, or other moving parts.

    4. Low-level format degradation: When you format a drive, you're performing whats known as a high level format, but there exists an even more fundamental type of formatting that tells the disk controller how disk sectors are laid out, and it has to be calibrated very precisely. Modern drives have this low-level format performed at the factory, and consensus seems to be that attempting LLF on a modern drive would destroy it. Which means that if the controller either forgot, or could no longer read where those sector boundaries exist on the disk, the data would be irrecoverable.

    Worth a mention that it's uncertain how suitable CDs are for long term storage since as a plastic, they can degrade as well. It's difficult to say how much of a problem that will be though. I only know that it hasn't become a problem with vintage CD media yet. Still, it really only leaves ROMs as the only surefire traditional media to survive as far as I'm aware.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Why use old computers and operating systems? in ~tech

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    If you're willing to do the legwork, it's possible to snag such a system (or a similar one) by searching through Craigslist, Offerup, FB Marketplace, Estatesales.net, or similar sites depending on...

    If you're willing to do the legwork, it's possible to snag such a system (or a similar one) by searching through Craigslist, Offerup, FB Marketplace, Estatesales.net, or similar sites depending on where you are in the world. There's no guarantee you'll get anything dirt cheap, but anyone with experience on those platforms is well aware they can't compete with eBay prices, so it'll be a little cheaper at least. You might have the best luck parting something together through a combination of watching eBay listings, and loose items that show up on Offerup or CL.

    Not sure how much I recommend it in the pandemic, so obviously take precautions and use your best judgement as far as that goes, but it's how I've managed to collect some of the older systems I own.

  17. Comment on Why use old computers and operating systems? in ~tech

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    Oh look It's my time to shine I actually collect and restore vintage computer systems as a hobby. Some of them I end up selling once I fix them up if I decide they're not something I can enjoy...

    Oh look
    It's my time to shine

    I actually collect and restore vintage computer systems as a hobby. Some of them I end up selling once I fix them up if I decide they're not something I can enjoy them long term, and I've occasionally been shorted on a system that's basically trashed, but for the most part I have a neat little collection of historic machines that are in good condition. It started partially out of curiosity since my dad had some older stuff laying around from when he first started using computers, and partially as a learning experience.

    What kind of learning experience you might ask? Well, in this day and age, vintage computers require a lot of work to be usable, especially if you didn't grow up using them (like me). I've taught myself some extra coding skills, research skills, soldering skills and also learned a great deal about computer history along the way. I'd also like to gain some skills with an oscilloscope, but those are fairly pricey. In all honesty, while I've learned a lot, I still have a ways to go because school and work have prevented me from really putting as much time into my hobbies as I would have liked.

    Anyways, once you have a nice little system set up, it really is surprising how much you can do with it. Sure you can't use the latest games or programs, but most software you would demand of a computer today was still available back then. If you're coming at it from a programmer/development point of view you will probably be disappointed, but if you think about what you would demand from say a library computer then you'll find you can still do most everything you need. MS Office type products have been around for a while now, as have mice, printers and games to keep you occupied. Sure you probably wouldn't want to run any complexed calculations or excel macros or the like, but it's fine for casual use. Plus, if you're not a fan of the hum or eye strain of an old school CRT, most things can be adapted to display on a modern display anyways. You can even adapt old hard drive standards to an SSD these days so that you don't have to worry about limited storage space. Really, the only thing you can't easily do, in the sense of there being a program you can just run, is browse the modern web on a vintage computer. It's not that it can't be done, from my understanding the problem is that no one is willing to support continuing development of a browser that runs on 30+ year old systems with limited specs.

    I'll finish off by saying that I have a couple systems I'd like to showcase on Tildes in the future once I have them where I want, but I don't know when that will happen due to my tight schedule. If anyone has anything specific they'd like to see out of such a showcase though, let me know!

    6 votes
  18. Comment on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier | Episode 1 Discussion Thread in ~tv

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    None of the new Disney shows have been perfect in that respect. Tbh The Mandalorian was fairly enjoyable overall but still stumbled a lot with logical and internal consistency. WandaVision maybe...

    But a little more effort into respecting the logic of the fictional universe would make the show more enjoyable for a lot of people.

    None of the new Disney shows have been perfect in that respect. Tbh The Mandalorian was fairly enjoyable overall but still stumbled a lot with logical and internal consistency. WandaVision maybe not as much, but it was also much more self-contained.

    I'm fine with overlooking nitpicky background level issues as long as the show makes sense and is enjoyable overall, but this first episode gives me mixed feelings. The intro felt like it was trying to be a proper Avengers movie too much, just over the top action and an unbelievable amount of resources being thrown around all at once even though the premise seemed like a simple terrorist kidnapping. I'm hoping that they'll continue to learn and adapt in future episodes/series rather than embrace the cheese as part of the style though.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What kinds of content are you hoping to see on Tildes? in ~tildes

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    Seconding more interest in ~hobbies. I know there’s a lot of programming related projects that people talk about on here, but as someone with only basic programming skills they only appeal to me...

    Seconding more interest in ~hobbies.
    I know there’s a lot of programming related projects that people talk about on here, but as someone with only basic programming skills they only appeal to me so much.

    I’d like to see a more diverse collection of hobby projects, because I enjoy seeing what people are passionate about.

    6 votes
  20. Comment on Apple subpoenas Valve as part of its legal battle with Epic: Valve fights back in ~games

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    It could be that the intention is genuine and just extremely arrogant, but it almost feels more like legal haggling to me. Ask for way more than you need, compromise and end up with what you're...

    It could be that the intention is genuine and just extremely arrogant, but it almost feels more like legal haggling to me. Ask for way more than you need, compromise and end up with what you're really after but might not have snagged otherwise.

    Regardless, it would seem crazy to me if the courts completely caved to Apple. Sounds like Valve doesn't even have the data Apple wants, and it would be extremely costly for Valve to put it all together. That would seem pretty unreasonable for a party that's completely uninvolved.

    6 votes