Driving Blind: One Xbox to Rule Them All

Slim pickings today because I spent so much time research the new #XBone and snarking it up with everyone else on Twitter.

David Bezmozgis describes how he writes, including using Freedom to block the Internet and how “technology is moving inexorably in one direction.”

Alexander Nagel’s new book Medieval Modern examines the anachronistic intersection of two different artistic periods.

Zach Schonfeld takes us over the Reagan Rainbow and beyond Americana.

Congress considers the Unlocking Technology Act, a piece of legislation that would protect people’s rights to bypass “technological measures” (think unlocking an iPhone) on the products they buy.

Is the reason for increased poverty in the suburbs really only because there are more people in the suburbs?

Microsoft released details about its new video game console, including its name, Xbox One, and the bajillion transistors it houses.

Wired’s Peter Rubin goes in-depth about the new media box with an extended profile.

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14 thoughts on “Driving Blind: One Xbox to Rule Them All

  1. The Xbox One is a giant laundry list of things I have no interest in, no desire for, and very little in the whole “why it’s going to be awesome for games”, which is what I want a console for.

    It appears to be AppleTV mated with voice controls and an iPad, only attached to your TV and you shout at it, and sometime play games.

    All for roughly double the price of the 360 at launch, unless you get a 2-year gold contract, where it’s only a 1/3 higher. (So priced in the exact same way phones are moving away from).

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  2. Wait, instead of just turning your internet connection off, you have to pay money for a program that turns it off for you? After you spend more time telling it what to do than you would just turning off the internet? I’m confused.

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  3. Schonfeld makes the same mistake a lot of Reagan’s contemporaries did, underestimating his attention to detail. He had a casual demeanor, but anyone who talked policy specifics with him came away impressed.

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  4. Okay… maybe I’m really, really ignorant here, but I’m not sure I understand the argument in favor of the “Unlocking Technology Act”.

    Maybe I’m too strong a believer in contract law, but if part of the terms of sale of an item are restrictions on its usage, terms I willingly agree to, than I think it fair for the terms of that sale, of the contract of that sale, to be enforced. I don’t know how they are currently enforced, but it’d seem to me that existing laws on contracts and the like should suffice. It shouldn’t be criminal, but if the terms dictate that the sale is null and void if certain restrictions aren’t followed, than revoking the phone seems like part of the bargain. No?

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    • I think part of the issue is that people rarely ever actually “Agree” to those terms.

      They are printed in small type on the back of a receipt, or in an instruction booklet, or as part of a scrolling message that appears after the product was already purchased and (in many cases) can’t be returned.

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      • See, that stuff really bothers me. For much the same reason. If it wasn’t agreed to, it’s not valid. If I pay and sign and THEN you tell me the terms or send me a notice which I “consent” to by not sending it back… that doesn’t work for me either. Both parties should be making an informed decision and agreement.

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    • My feeling on this is that if suppliers want to have the terms of their contract upheld, they should do a lot to make those terms clear and the user informed. If the supplier finds that to onerous, than maybe that should go into informing the upper limit on how much obtuse verbiage and limited arbitration clauses they decide to include in their contracts.

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    • Kazzy, it’s the first-sale doctrine. Which says that in exchange for upholding copyrights and patents on the first sale of a product, it ceases to be the government’s responsibility after that (to uphold contracts, etc.).

      If Verizon is selling me the phone, it becomes my own property and they don’t get to tell me what I do and don’t do with it. I cannot, though, reverse-engineer it and sell duplicates. Because then I am making unauthorized first sales. This is actually unlikely with phones, but it’s rather important when it comes to CDs.

      Now, with cellular carriers in general, I would argue that they have an additional burden because they exist on the basis of spectrum handled/sold by the government. Which is to say that I support tougher enforcement of good business practices because the government necessarily picks the winners and losers. Due to the limited spectrum, if the four major carriers all get together and perform the same bad business practice (they don’t have to collude, they merely have to copy one another), it becomes extremely difficult for someone else to step in and compete on the basis of offering good business practices.

      That second thing is tangential to unlocking phones, because that quite clearly falls into the first category. Verizon has the option of ceasing the sale of phones. Basically, leasing them to us. At that point, it’s not our property. But then they have to stop pretending that they’re selling us the phone. It would change the dynamics, which is why the carriers have never made a big deal out of unlocking.

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      • Thanks, Will.

        But if you went into Verizon to “buy” a phone but the terms of the contract said you were actually leasing it… what then?

        I should note that I’m not necessarily in favor of the practice. I have a lot of problems with the way businesses basically make it impossible for a consumer to make an informed choice. I just think we should be careful not to end the basics of contract law, which I think some people champion without realizing it because the ends they see would be preferable to them.

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