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Author Topic: RANT: High Software Prices!  (Read 30113 times)
2stepsback
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« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2007, 01:27:04 AM »

Quote
Carol - It is a very simple philosophy that drug dealers rely on all the time ... get 'em hooked and then screw them for all they are worth. MS are masters of the philosophy (my opinion).
Those are almost Bill's words as also of official MS spokesmen - "if they are gonna pirate anyway, we want it to be our software that they pirate"

I don't recall where I read it but the substance of it was this: Get your programs everywhere, get the users used to it, then ask them to pay up.

Note well that Macs dont get pirated. Note well also that Steve Jobs realises that today is his chance (Vista woes). See what he is doing? He's used a music player to get word about "Apple" across the world. Computer-illiterates can use the iPod as well. So can kids - who are tomorrow's customers. And when they see the iPod made *so damn well*, they naturally tend to hold "these Apple guys" in high esteem. So, when M$ tries to trouble more, people will switch to Apple. That's Apple's basic strategy. Jobs knows he cannot get people to test Macs for free like M$ who doesn't mind rampant piracy. So, he makes a music player, all sleek and user friendly, to advertise the Apple brand. Majority of PC owners in Asia don't even know that there is a company called Apple.
The praiseworthy thing about Apple is that they keep everything(business games) within limits of common decency. I admire them for that. I've yet to hear about pirated Apple software(might be my ignorance, after all). I'm damn sure the next product line from Apple will be a side-by-side installation of Mac Oses or program suites on Windows machines (NOT Vista).

As also a developer "emulation SDK" which compiles to native Mac code without needing a Mac to run it. Possibly a Grid computing server to run such apps remotely.
They're evaluating all that, I'm dead sure.

PS: Everything Java already runs on the Mac for years now
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« Reply #51 on: April 19, 2007, 01:59:07 AM »

As also a developer "emulation SDK" which compiles to native Mac code without needing a Mac to run it.

You can run Mac OS in an emulator on a Windows PC with PearPC.

One of the developers from my chatroom will be using it to compile a Mac version of a project she is working on.

And yes, Mac software does get pirated...just not as much as Windows software does. But then again, there aren't as many Mac users as Windows users.

I know a guy that has a pirated copy of Mac OS X.

Can he use it? Will he use it? No.

Why did he download it? He had this to say:

Quote
yes, i hate macs with a passion, but pirating mac os makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside
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« Reply #52 on: April 19, 2007, 02:56:27 AM »

Darwin, I hope my comments above didn't seem overly directed at you. If my examples seemed to point at you, I didn't intend them to. I was trying to comment on the 'feel' of the thread up to that point.

I completely agree, anything I can say on the subject has been said before.

If you've been the only person talking about photoshop, I didn't use it as an example so many times to jab at you (Darwin)! I think Photoshop is brought up here so much because it's always been one of those programs that everybody seemed to have, but nobody ever paid for. Everyone always talked about what the exorbitant price of the "real" version would have been... It's on Mac and PC too, which pretty much encompasses, what, ~99.5% of computer users.
Let me put it this way, I've probably seen 100 computers with Photoshop on them, but I've only seen 1 photoshop disc, and it was version 5 or something...

And, I think I may not have worded the "different than intended" remark very well. What I mean is: as far as I know, academic software generally has some clause in the EULA that says that you cannot use the software for commercial purposes. So, if you buy the student and teacher version of Office, then use it to write magazine columns, you're using the software in a manor that is completely different than it's intention. It's like using a tax shelter to pay less on 4/15. You act like you're following the rules, but in reality you're just as bad as the straight-up cheaters.

I didn't say "different than intended" to try to say that using photoshop for, say, making spreadsheets is somehow wrong...

Really, when you get down to it... Using software that you didn't pay for is actually only breaking the terms of the license. If you break the license by using academic software for commercial purposes you're just as bad as any other traditional pirate.

Dear god, don't let this turn into a Mac vs. PC thread! These are more tired than the pro/con arguments on software piracy...
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 03:08:31 AM by Hirudin » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: April 19, 2007, 03:39:09 AM »

You can run Mac OS in an emulator on a Windows PC with PearPC.
Seems you still have to buy a MacOS copy to run the software. PearPC is a hardware emulator, it seems. Anyway, for a moment you had me bouncing around happily smiley smiley
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« Reply #54 on: April 19, 2007, 04:05:19 AM »

So, he makes a music player, all sleek and user friendly, to advertise the Apple brand. Majority of PC owners in Asia don't even know that there is a company called Apple.
The praiseworthy thing about Apple is that they keep everything(business games) within limits of common decency. I admire them for that. I've yet to hear about pirated Apple software(might be my ignorance, after all). I'm damn sure the next product line from Apple will be a side-by-side installation of Mac Oses or program suites on Windows machines (NOT Vista).

You had me double taking on that for a while - iPods are brilliantly designed (in terms of style) but in terms of quality of the device per se I think Jobs may have shot himself in the foot. Whoever thought that a battery replacement was too technical for Joe Public was out of their tree. OK there is a loyalty that attaches people to their iPods and some people are stupid enough to pay for the ridiculous Apple service price for a battery replacement every year or for some every 8 months (~ÂŁ90 in the UK) but for me I would be so totally pissed at their attitude I would never buy an iPod again!

The big issue with MacOS systems (and I have used them over the years professionally) is the huge mark up on system components and the lack of 'enthusiast' hardware market. There also isn't the software choice available to Windows (same true of Linux).

If they released MacOS as a PC upgrade (since they now have Intel based systems anyway) would see many people jump the Windows ship. OK there would be some piracy - but that is precisely how MS Windows (and MSDOS before that) came to dominate the world. I have always thought Jobs was very short sighted to tie up hardware and software into a single package. The tiny Apple market share for PCs and periodic crises illustrate this problem clearly. The same issue is coming back now with the iPods as they find themselves being accused of anticompetitive practices.
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« Reply #55 on: April 19, 2007, 07:32:55 AM »

There seems to be some who believe that it is ok to steal as long as you can get away with it and you 'feel' that you have a right to have the stolen item.  If you carry this to it's logical conclusion then, it is ok to steal anything under the same pretense.  A car, house, or the money out of the bank teller's drawer.  Take it a little further, and you can rationalize murder.  Where does it stop?  It's either wrong or it isn't, no matter what the object.
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« Reply #56 on: April 19, 2007, 07:39:28 AM »

in general i guess i evaluate companies and get a feeling for if i think they are trying to jack up their prices and update charges in order to maximize profits with no real "love" of their customers.  i want to support companies which balance making a profit with having happy users.  show me a company trying to bleed their users dry to squeeze the last drop of potential profits, and i'll show you a company whose users are looking for an excuse to jump ship.

It may depend on who they define as their "customers"...

Edward Cone's article Google's Growing Pains makes some interesting points about how a company's loyalties get split when share holders compete with customers:

Quote
From the start, however, Google has marketed itself on niceness. It trumpets an unofficial motto, "Don't be evil," publishes a detailed code of ethics for its employees, and adds playful modifications to its home page on holidays. Smart business for a company built in large part on consumer trust, but heartwarming nonetheless.

Lately, though, Google has been acting less like a collective of lovable geeks and more like a big, powerful corporation. Not surprising—it is a big, powerful corporation, one with a responsibility to its shareholders to grow ever bigger and more powerful. But it's still somewhat jarring.

But that's what I love about DC: people coding, reviewing, helping, etc for the love of it -- which doesn't take away the need to pay the bills, but it does have a fundamentally different emphasis. It's more like selling the excess vegetables at the local market than hamburger chains taking over the world: I guess it's a much more human scale.
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« Reply #57 on: April 19, 2007, 07:55:57 AM »

Where does it stop?

Moral Relativism doesn't stop, it just keeps evolving
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« Reply #58 on: April 19, 2007, 09:15:24 AM »

Stealing is wrong. Piracy is stealing. Piracy is wrong. If you can't afford it, don't buy it and don't steal it. If you can't afford Photoshop, use the Gimp. If you can't afford Windows, use Linux. Period.

I have no scientific evidence, but I firmly believe that those how say they "need" a feature don't *need* that feature. *Wanting* to touch up a photo for your website and Photoshop having a convenient filter to do that, is not a "need". If you have a client that will only accept documents in PDF format, then you have a true need and you buy software to do that. And if you can't afford it, you raise your prices, or you get a loan. If only businesses can afford it, then only business will by it *AND* this means the market provides an opportunity for somebody to create a "light" version and sell it to individuals. And since the one feature you claim to need is not the same as the feature somebody else "needs", if the developer is smart they build in a plugin architecture, and third-party developers will make the plugin to do what you need. You buy the inexpensive "light" version and buy your "needed" features a-la-carte.

Just to put things into perspective, I am a libertarian. Stealing - and that includes piracy, is one of the very few legitimate reasons that society requires *some* laws - that should be simple to understand and easy to enforce. This also means that even though I am against piracy, I also do not agree with almost all of the ways that it is currently enforced.

And, if you are wondering on my opinion of DRM, I almost never purchase DRM protected music, videos, etc. (When I do it is almost always for a use other than my personal enjoyment.) And if everyone practiced what they preach and did the same, DRM would disappear practically overnight. DRM, like SPAM, exists because "the market" perpetuates it. (Albeit 25% of "the market" are technically below average in intelligence).

P.S. I am tens of thousands of USD in debt, yet, somehow I am able to donate a few dollars here and there to FOSS that I use. Why, because it is the right thing to do. And that means that I occasionally have to skip a cup of coffee or a candy bar. I suspect many people could do so as well. $1USD from thousands of users adds up very quickly. Support FOSS.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 09:22:54 AM by tinjaw » Logged

 
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« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2007, 09:59:50 AM »

Sorry, Hirudin - I'm STILL doing my income taxes (deadline is April 30 in Canada). I don't mind paying taxes - looks like this is a good thing  ohmy - but why does it have to be so complex? Of course, being a geek, I am using QuickTax to do them, but I've  never found sitting in front of a computer so thoroughly UNENJOYABLE. Anyway, it has left me irritable and I overreacted to your post.

Quote
I completely agree, anything I can say on the subject has been said before.

This statement applies to me, as well...

Quote
Really, when you get down to it... Using software that you didn't pay for is actually only breaking the terms of the license. If you break the license by using academic software for commercial purposes you're just as bad as any other traditional pirate.

Can't argue with any of that. This is why software piracy is so complex - nothing tangible has been stolen (ie no box has vanished off a shelf without being paid for) - and I as I tried to point out - in some ways it's difficult to determine how the "victim" suffers from the practice, some even argue (see above) that at least some of the "victims" actually benefit from it! - so it comes down to bandwidth and intellectual property. But even these things are difficult to nail down as having been "stolen" because many developers/vendors encourage prospective end-users to download their products and take them for a test drive, so bandwidth is not an issue (but I know the counter-argument is that if you tie up the bandwidth with the intention of stealing the software in the first place, you are not using the bandwidth as it was intended, and yada, yada, yada) and intellectual property doesn't really fit, either, because if I run a pirated copy of Office, I'm not likely to bother to 1. tell everyone that I wrote the software that I wrote my honours thesis in myself and/or 2. imply either directly or indirectly anywhere in what I have written that I used OpenOffice instead, so your comment about the licence is accurate, I think. And your comment about paying for the right to use an app in one way but using it in another amounting to the same thing is spot on, too - you've paid for a licence but by using it in a manner different from that which you paid for the right to, you're breaking the terms of the licence, which is no different than using software without paying for it at all.

Quote
And, I think I may not have worded the "different than intended" remark very well. What I mean is: as far as I know, academic software generally has some clause in the EULA that says that you cannot use the software for commercial purposes.

No, your wording was fine. All my examples were a bit OTT and my remark about hyperbole at the end of my post was meant to apply to the whole post, not just the last paragraph, so my wording was the culprit, not yours.

Quote
Dear god, don't let this turn into a Mac vs. PC thread! These are more tired than the pro/con arguments on software piracy...

Absolutely! I hate Mac vs. PC flamewars and REALLY don't want to see this develop into one. I also don't want to see this degenerate into a flamewar about software piracy so thanks for your measured reply cheesy

Perry - thanks for the link on moral relativism (I think - my head is still spinning. To paraphrase Steve Martin, I don't know what to believe anymore!).

Tinjaw -

Quote
...even though I am against piracy, I also do not agree with almost all of the ways that it is currently enforced.

I completely agree with this statement.

Right, off to try to find more loopholes in the tax code... hang on, the government of Canada is trying to get at my money so that it can fund running the country and provide services that benefit myself and my fellow citizens and I'm trying to get off with paying as litlle (preferably nothing) for those services as I can... Kind of sounds like a software developer/consumer dynamic, doesn't it! Crud, does this make me a hypocrite?!
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« Reply #60 on: April 19, 2007, 11:31:37 AM »

Quote
Darwin: hang on, the government of Canada is trying to get at my money so that it can fund running the country and provide services that benefit myself and my fellow citizens and I'm trying to get off with paying as litlle... does this make me a hypocrite?!

Just remind yourself that paying taxes is a privilege.  smiley
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« Reply #61 on: April 19, 2007, 06:04:06 PM »

Right, off to try to find more loopholes in the tax code... hang on, the government of Canada is trying to get at my money so that it can fund running the country and provide services that benefit myself and my fellow citizens and I'm trying to get off with paying as litlle (preferably nothing) for those services as I can... Kind of sounds like a software developer/consumer dynamic, doesn't it! Crud, does this make me a hypocrite?!

I don't know about your politicians and their entitlements and perks, but I'd imagine that if you asked the average fellow in the street if he was happy that his hard earned taxes were going towards inflated super schemes, high annual wages, etc etc he'd be a little perplexed. But that's another difficult topic I'd think...

But I think you are right: most people balance the money they've paid in tax in one hand and what they feel the Government deserves in the other. For most people it comes out that they feel they deserve to get some back. Now to me, that's sounding like mouser's Pay what you think it's worth: But isn't it amazing that the biggest tax cheats are the more wealthy people??

Shop lifters commonly excuse their actions when stealing from a big shop with an excuse something like "They're a big company, they can afford it" That's the slippery slide of Moral Relativism. Often doesn't take long to get to pinching stuff from a small shop with the excuse "Look at them, they can afford it"

It's interesting to compare this against Situational Ethics (which I have confused with Moral Relativism for years):

Quote
However, situationism should not be confused with Moral relativism. For the moral relativist, there is no universal moral truth, that there are only beliefs, perspectives, ethno-centric values, none more valid than another. Fletcher's situational ethics finds the foundation of moral truth in agape; therefore it is not moral relativism. Situational ethics rejects both legalism, and antinomianism. However, like relativism, situationism is criticized for lacking a situation-neutral point of view from which to apply its standards.
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« Reply #62 on: April 19, 2007, 06:19:53 PM »

This is why software piracy is so complex - nothing tangible has been stolen (ie no box has vanished off a shelf without being paid for) - and I as I tried to point out - in some ways it's difficult to determine how the "victim" suffers from the practice, some even argue (see above) that at least some of the "victims" actually benefit from it!

During my time in Papua New Guinea it was just about impossible to buy software (that is where the money went back to the people who created the software). When I went to the local (and only) computer supply shop in town to purchase some software, the fellow was dumbfounded that I was trying to insist on purchasing real, non-cracked, non duplicated in store software from SE Asia. In fact, he said it was almost impossible, as MicroSoft didn't even accept registrations from that Country (I don't know if it's changed now).

But, as a People, the Papua New Guineans were just like that: if they came across something that was sitting on the road, they'd assume that the owner didn't want it so they could have it. I say "have it", but ownership in their minds was something completely different to ours: it was more of a borrow.

If the real "owner" turned up (or someone who could argue a strong case of ownership) then the current owner would sum up the situation, the relative merits of the argument, how many friends he had with him at the time, the size of the family back home, who was in debt to the other (Pay Back is a very important concept in that part of the world), etc etc... and do what he thought he could get away with.

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« Reply #63 on: April 20, 2007, 12:07:06 AM »

Hi all,

see this:http://www.smh.com.au/news/laptops--desktops/microsofts-cheap-deal/2007/04/20/1176697051100.html

I suspect that mouser, zaine, carol, app, all of you have some secret communication channel with Microsoft. Especially since they decided to act upon ths thread here, with such a quick response, totally unbecoming of a software giant. At least they ought to have waited for a couple of days after this thread slowed down a bit. But no! They know that we accurately reflect the agonies and hardships faced by the lay-user of computer software and so, inside three days, they've decided to make a $3 Windows version, officially available to students.

Talk of lowering prices!!

Now, the Windows/Linux and Closed-source/FOSS debate suddenly gets a totally new angle, start from square one!

If you haven't still quite got the entire picture yet, read the "halloween documents" and then things add up pretty nicely.

Basically its been Linux Distros, Vista Woes, Openoffice.org, sourceforge, Mysql, most importantly the FSF and the GPL that have forced Goliath to kneel before the little Davids. Possibly also Sharpdevelop.

Oh yes! How do we forget Java! Microsoft's biggest tormentor!

It's essentially opensource and the fight against software patents that is keeping a leash on shareholder-oriented corporations.

It's a reverse Burly Brawl - a 100,000 FOSS projects at sf.net have forced poor (MS) Agent Smith into submission!

I'm waiting till Windows 98 SE is officially made free smiley smiley
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 12:37:04 AM by 2stepsback » Logged

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« Reply #64 on: April 20, 2007, 12:32:53 AM »

Now, read this as well:

http://www.microsoft.com/...pr07/04-19UPLaunchPR.mspx

Quote
“All human beings deserve a chance to achieve their full potential,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. “Bringing the benefits of technology to the next 5 billion people will require new products that meet the needs of underserved communities; creative, new business approaches that make technology more relevant, accessible and affordable; and close collaboration between local governments, educational institutions and community organizations.”
The expansion of Unlimited Potential will focus on three areas, Gates said: education, innovation, and jobs and economic opportunity.
“Computers and connectivity are still too expensive for private ownership by the poor, and applications as well as information resources that are appropriate to this group have been slow to emerge, in part because the poor themselves have not been involved in creating them,” said C.K. Prahalad, author and professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. “In order to help create the applications and start the business dynamo that unleashes their potential, the people at the bottom of the pyramid need to have reliable, affordable access to technology and to learn computing skills.”

I can read just three words: big fat market.
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« Reply #65 on: April 20, 2007, 03:09:56 AM »

Total number of computer users in China: > 100 million
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China#Business

Total number of genuine Windows Vista copies sold in China: 244
http://rss.slashdot.org/~...t/~3/110067690/article.pl

Talk about a kick in the pants. Wake up and smell the coffee manufacturing plant!

Quote
I don't like high prices either, but we don't have a 'right' to low cost software.  The prices will be as high as the market will bear.

Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy that. I'd only expect MS to hike their prices in your neighbourhood.

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« Reply #66 on: April 20, 2007, 03:17:25 AM »

Perhaps the chinese have just, as a people, realized how much Vista blows?  tongue
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« Reply #67 on: April 20, 2007, 04:09:50 AM »

Quite a few articles going around, talk of the One-Laptop-Per-Child program making Gates come up with this.
See, if all kids in developing countries grow up on embedded Linux, with owner/group/admin rights and KDE/GNome/whatever, they're not gonna buy Windows any more. So, Microsoft's greatest asset, their perpetual cash cow - the millions of users of pirated Windows copies, would be replaced by Linux pretty quickly.

One has to admire Gates for some of his methods. Some.

Free Gates v1.0 Wink

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« Reply #68 on: April 20, 2007, 08:26:03 AM »

Many universities have special contracts with Microsoft (and other vendors) for substantially reduced software prices.  These aren't the Academic boxed versions that you may have seen.  These are much cheaper than that.

For example, Texas A&M Univeristy has one such contract and offers these products and more:

Windows XP Pro with SP2 - $10
Office 2003 Pro - $15
Visual Studio .Net Professional 2005 - $20 (also have 2003 and 2002 available at the same price)
SPSS - $30 (a $500+ statisitical package)
Camtasia/Snagit bundle - $20
Vista and Office 2007 will be available in May with an as yet undetermined price point

These products come only with a CD and a license code.  The CDs and code labels are authentic with ACADEMIC plastered across them.  The terms of the license say that the software cannot be transferred, and must be surrendered if the student who purchased them withdraws from school.  If the student graduates, the license becomes a perpetual full license.
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« Reply #69 on: April 20, 2007, 07:08:32 PM »

zaine said:
Quote
By purchasing their [overpriced] software, I've earned the right to gripe about it! If they don't like hearing it, then sell it cheaper.

I think i smell a new software license:

"ComplainWare:
You may use this software freely as long as you don't gripe about it.  If you want to gripe you must pay our licensing fee of $1 per gripe."
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« Reply #70 on: April 20, 2007, 08:02:23 PM »

I think i smell a new software license:

"ComplainWare:
You may use this software freely as long as you don't gripe about it.  If you want to gripe you must pay our licensing fee of $1 per gripe."

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« Reply #71 on: April 21, 2007, 03:51:22 AM »

Ah, that is hilarious, and there's already a great website to aid such a license!
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As for Microsoft's $3 OS/Office offer, the goal is to kill off open source at its roots. Microsoft is seeing that the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative is taking off, and soon, millions of kids will be using a computer for the first time, and their first computer is going to be running Sugar, a very attractive software UI built on top of a Red Hat Fedora-based Linux variant. Asia, Russia, South America, and Africa aren't as addicted to Windows as we are (Western Europe and the US). And in all these countries — especially their governments — there's a real desire not to get locked-in and tied down by Microsoft's software and file formats.

Linux is inexpensive and it works. The last time I checked, Linux, OpenOffice, Opera/Firefox, and Thunderbird were all still cheaper than what Microsoft is dumping [er, selling] for $3! Ubuntu has twice as many users as OS X, but many people are awakening to the realization that they don't need Windows for their computing anymore, and thus you'll continue to see Microsoft pull out every stop to get as many people as possible to keep using it, especially Office (which implies you'll use a Windows OS).
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 03:57:22 AM by zridling » Logged

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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #72 on: April 21, 2007, 03:56:55 AM »

Zaine you're quite right - add to that the average wage (in some places a few dollars a month) in some of these countries/continents and even $3 seems pretty expensive - in some places more expensive than in the US/Europe on a proportion of income basis.
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« Reply #73 on: April 21, 2007, 04:01:33 AM »

QUICK TANGENT: By the way, Carol, I love your link to Richard Dawkins' awesome site. He's made a few videos (available on YouTube). He's also an active partner at Edge.org.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #74 on: April 21, 2007, 04:13:26 AM »

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