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Mozilla Is Working On a Firefox OS-powered Streaming Stick

Dr.Dubious DDQ Formats supported? (89 comments)

I suspect I can safely assume that it'll be easy for anyone (e.g. MediaGoblin or other projects) to write an interface to it. Can we also safely assume it'll support all media formats that Firefox supports natively (i.e. .ogg [vorbis], .ogv [theora/vorbis], .webm [vp8/vorbis], .opus [opus audio in ogg], and .webm version 2 [vp9/opus])?

(and, seriously, why doesn't Mozilla throw in with MediaGoblin, or perhaps start a similar project to help end-users host their own "content"? It seems like an obvious direction for Mozilla's heavy emphasis on "web video" these days.)

about a month ago

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:Stocks? (404 comments)

I still want a pork-belly-backed currency.

about 3 months ago

JavaScript Inventor Brendan Eich Named New CEO of Mozilla

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:The "Proprietary Codec" guy? (112 comments)

Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to... :-)
(If h.264/mp3/aac was the only issue I wouldn't be all that worried, but the "ORBX.js" followup makes it seem like Eich doesn't really care beyond "as long as 'consumers' don't have to pay money to 'consume', who cares if 'producing' is by proprietary permission only?")

about 4 months ago

JavaScript Inventor Brendan Eich Named New CEO of Mozilla

Dr.Dubious DDQ The "Proprietary Codec" guy? (112 comments)

Wasn't he the one who's been pushing so hard to get proprietary codecs being used in Firefox? (Not just h.264, but also the proprietary OTOY "orbx.js" codec for remote video)

about 4 months ago

Portal 2 Incompatible With SELinux

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:why does a decoder need execheap? (212 comments)

That makes more sense - never mind "why does it need execheap", I was wondering why a game developer would be using mp3 files in the first place. Looks like "Miles Sound System" handles Ogg Vorbis as well, in addition to the various mixing/filtering/positioning functions in it.

about 4 months ago

How Mobile Apps Are Reinventing the Worst of the Software Industry

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:We're fixing this (333 comments)

(Excuse the following mini-rant: the last day or two I've been finding my ability to "get into" FirefoxOS quite frustrating, as described here)

I'm hopeful. I'd like to try it and see, and more importantly, learn to participate directly, but I'm finding it impossible because I'm too cash-poor to pay even $200-300 for a new phone or tablet (e.g. the Geeksphone Revolution), and there doesn't seem to be any other way to get a real FirefoxOS device in the US (where I am), an in any case being stuck in an area with only CDMA coverage, a FirefoxOS "phone" seems unavailable anyway, making that kind of money hard to justify even if I had it available.

I could come up with $25-50 for a device to learn on, but I can't have one. The ongoing announcements of affordable devices seemingly everywhere else but where I could use one feels pretty frustrating.

I also feel like an idiot because I can't seem to find any useful technical information about FirefoxOS at a level between "try to read the raw source code" and the very attractive but not very informative brochureware at .

It's frustrating: I'm too poor to buy a special-order device, and too "rich" (by global standards) to be able to buy the devices most recently announced. I'm too "smart" to get the information I want (from the brochureware) and too "stupid" (from the source) at the same time.

If I don't shut up here this is going to turn into a tedious, incoherent essay, so I will.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re: I know this one... (876 comments)

"Nothing is impossible for someone who doesn't have to do it."

about 5 months ago

Cheerios To Go GMO-Free

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:The corn starch? Gimme a break! (419 comments)

Glad I'm not the only one to spot that. This is like advertising "NON-GMO" salt.

It reminds me of all of those candies out there with big "FAT FREE!" labels on them...

about 7 months ago

Free Software Foundation Announces 2013 Holiday Giving Guide

Dr.Dubious DDQ Well, it's a start... (104 comments)

As I see it, the FSF's biggest problem is that their obsession with "not-proprietary" actually seems to overshadow their focus on "legally free".

However, at least this list has a couple of actual things on it that actually would be generous gifts (Heck, yeah, if somebody bought me that 3D printer, I'd cope with waiting a week or two after christmas to get it, and a nice laptop computer would always be appreciated). I was half-expecting it to be ALL "Give the FSF money and tell then you did it for them!"

Optimist that I am, I actually clicked hoping for a list of hackable routers, toys, phones, etc. Silly me.

about 8 months ago

Ninth Anniversary of Firefox 1.0 Release

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:"Fun"? (153 comments)

It's not just you - this is precisely the word that I was coming in here to comment about.

Firefox is still my primary browser, and I still think it's the "most free" and potentially most "featureful" one left (even Chromium is subject to Google's whims and reluctances - as an example, in my case I find it irritating that Firefox has had native .opus support for <audio> tags by default for over a year, while Google only implemented perhaps six months ago...and still has it disabled by default. Apparently they're not turning it on by default until their glacially-paced project to make "webm2" with opus audio is finally finished.)

Mozilla feels like it's turning more an more into a corporation more worried about "market share" than its original mission. Reading about how it's a "fun" browsing experience seems like those commercials of "fun to eat" junk food. It's marketing crap. I fear their "mission" may soon no longer be "promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web.[...]so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web"[1] but "making the Web the leading platform for the greatest number of users and developers"[2] (i.e. it doesn't matter how open or participatory it is as long as it has the largest number of consumers).

I hope I'm wrong. It's possible I am - Mozilla DID throw quite a bit into development of the opus audio codec, which is the clear winner for performance, quality, AND freedom-of-participation (and seems to have a decent chance to take off as a real standard, despite Google's foot-dragging, Apple's terminal "Doesn't Play Well With Others" problem, and Microsoft's inability to keep up with the times), and they ARE throwing real effort and money into daala to be the video codec equivalent. These are awesome, and perhaps the problem is just that every time they poke their heads out they get shouted at by people who feel changes to the user interface are horrific insults, so they've taken to just listening to each other. ("Hey, General Public, do you think our browser is 'fun'?" "STOP CRAPPING ON ME AAARRGGGHH!!!" "Uh...okay, hey, just everyone who's getting a paycheck from Mozilla, do YOU think our browser is 'fun'?" "Oh, of course! It is the MOST fun, boss!" "Okay, tell marketing to go with that.")

[2] (2013-11-09)

about 8 months ago

Slackware Linux 14.1 Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:packages (136 comments)

For those that otherwise recognize the awesomitude of Slackware but have gotten too old and feeble to track dependencies themselves, I would recommend Arch. (Yes, that does include me...)

To me, it's got a very Slackware-like feel to it (including a SlackBuild-like system called ABS), but also a pretty comprehensive repository.

about 8 months ago

Slackware Linux 14.1 Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:"Award-winning" (136 comments)

How about "Industry-Leading"?

about 8 months ago

Microsoft To Can Skype API; Third-Party Products Will Not Work

Dr.Dubious DDQ Thanks, Microsoft! (330 comments)

I think we should all be thankful to Microsoft for taking this crucial step to help promote uptake of WebRTC implementations to replace Skype.

about 9 months ago

Cisco Releases Open Source "Binary Module" For H.264 In WebRTC

Dr.Dubious DDQ Opus (95 comments)

"In terms of Opus support for the audio element... well, try it out for yourself.[...]load it up in Firefox[...]"

Firefox has supported .opus files in <audio> for more than a year now and it works quite well. (I'm a raving Opus fanboy since over a year ago - I started running what would become Firefox 15 during its "Aurora" stage just because I knew it had .opus support. I've had .opus up on my "HTML5 <audio> Test Page for quite some time. (I still need to add an .alac sample on there - if it turns out that iGadgets will play that, then there's at least ONE legally-free codec they can handle...). I still need to do something productive with one of these days, too.

However, Google has been horrifically lazy about .opus support. Yes, they use it in WebRTC, and for remote audio for their platform-limited[1] "chromoting" VNC-replacement system. Yet, they still, as far as I can tell, refuse to enable .opus playback in <audio> by default, apparently because they only care about it in .webm files and don't want it enabled until they've finalized the specs for vp9/opus .webm2 files. (For the record, if you manually enable it, it HAS worked since at least Chrom(e|ium) 26 or so, but only if you dig up the setting for "enable opus in <video>[sic]" and manually switch it on, or include "--enable-opus-playback" (I think) when starting the browser from a command-line. Even the new Android ("KitKat®") still appears to lack native opus support as far as I can see from the release notes. Very annoying. Anyway, that's where my comment about "if" up there comes from. If Google can enable WebRTC then stall indefinitely before maybe enabling .opus playback in regular web audio, others who implement WebRTC may do the same.

I could easily imagine Apple doing this intentionally, just to be jerks. Microsoft might be more reasonable, but given how far behind they tend to be on the web, their digression with the special "CU-RTC-Web" alternative to WebRTC may stall THEIR implementation of the standard and inclusion of .opus support for years out of shear nonfeasance. (The Curtsyweb digression apparently has nothing whatsoever to do with the Opus codec and apparently Microsoft's Skype division is all on board with it, so at least that much is hopeful).

[1] It's only partially-functional on Linux - no "desktop"-level remote support, as I understand it, but I think you can remote just the chrome browser view itself.

about 9 months ago

Android KitKat Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ Still no native Opus codec support? (358 comments)

I figured Google was "all-in" on WebRTC and vp9/opus, but a year later it looks like they still haven't added support for it to Android.

about 9 months ago

Cisco Releases Open Source "Binary Module" For H.264 In WebRTC

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:Oh, goody, I can "consume" silent movies now... (95 comments)

"You understand what "WebRTC" is, right?"

Yes...but you've got a point. I hadn't immediately recognized that this was really just for "Internet Video-Telephone" use rather than "Internet Television" (i.e. Youtube). There are a lot of people that seem to also be commenting on the assumption that this has something to do with watching TV on youtube (e.g. the <video> tag)...which it hypothetically could, though it seems obvious that's not what Cisco cares about.

The point about not having proprietary-sound-codec licenses still stands, though. The same arguments that suggest we "need" h.264 can be made for e.g. LE-AAC. On the other hand, since I personally am more interested in legally-free audio codec support than in video support online, if this move ends up with all major browsers implementing video WebRTC connections as h.264/opus sessions (and audio-only sessions as opus, of course), the support for opus in all browsers would be a net win, in my opinion. One would assume if the browser supports opus in WebRTC as per the specification, it would also support it in <audio> tags.

Not sure how big of an "if" that is, though.

about 9 months ago

Cisco Releases Open Source "Binary Module" For H.264 In WebRTC

Dr.Dubious DDQ Oh, goody, I can "consume" silent movies now... (95 comments)

If this license and "modules" covers encoding as well as decoding, AND The Motion Picture Experts Group Licensing Association doesn't decide to rescind their moratorium on charging license fees for the amazing innovative "actually sending the video over the internet" parts of the patent pool, at least this will allow some basic participation in online using the lower-quality "baseline" profile (only, as far as I know) without paying a poll tax to use their Intellectual Precious.

However, I would also assume this doesn't include AAC or MP3 patents either, so unless "consumers" start using Opus (preferable - Opus is awesome) for their audio codec [and it's packageable with h.264 video in some legally-usable manner], you'll still be limited to providing "silent movies".

If the MPEG License Ass. was serious about killing VP[0-9]+, they'd explicitly waive license fees for any implementation of the h.264 encoding and decoding algorithms that are implemented in "software" intended to be executed on a general-purpose CPU (i.e. no dedicated "hardware decoding/encoding") and which is released under an OSI-approved license (if they really wanted to troll, they could mandate that it be a share-alike license like the GPL, just to make a subset of people throw a tantrum). This wouldn't cost them anything (people with money who are "selling" software and/or making dedicated hardware for encoding and decoding h.264 would still be paying them anyway), but there'd still be a legally-free path for everyone else to participate using h.264 (i.e. Mozilla et al could implement software encoders and decoders to distribute). This would eliminate the need for any of the current-generation "alternative"/free codecs entirely, leaving them only daala to have to compete with later, and completely undermining what little momentum Google has bothered to get going on the VP* codecs.

Given how much sense this would seem to make, though, I wouldn't expect the MPEG License Ass. to even consider it.

about 9 months ago


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