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Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:it is not, probably doesn't exist (213 comments)

"That's what they say..."group of heritable disorders" reminds me of when I studied Mendell in HS science and fruit flies and hemophilia."

"Heritable" doesn't mean exactly the same as "genetic".
"Heritability" refers to how much of the variation of a trait in a population is due to genetics. The number of heads or legs a person has is most definitely "genetic", but not really "heritable" at all; if you meet someone with one leg or two heads,the reason for that is almost certainly NOT because of a mutation in some "number of heads/legs" gene they inherited.

Writing that types of schizophrenia are "heritable" just reflects that there are genetic factors that influence how likely it is that someone will develop a variety of schizophrenia, not that schizophrenia is "caused" by genetics (nor necessarily that schizophrenia symptoms can't potentially be caused by environmental factors alone sometimes).

2 days ago

MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:Linux. (73 comments)

It's getting hard to tell whether posts like this are serious but just in case:
Yes. Linux is the main platform. Hypothetically, any platform with python, gstreamer, and whatever other add-ons are needed ought to be workable too, but I know it works on Linux.

Otherwise: Yes, but you need a beowulf cluster of linuxes.

about three weeks ago

Scientists Craft Seamless 2D Semiconductor Junctions

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:Two dimensional? (49 comments)

"Nope. It's common knowledge that 2D fab (which uses little circles as opposed to spherical atoms) is much cheaper than 3D."

I wouldn't trust anything made on circular-atom technology these days. The only factories that still make the little electron-dots for them are all in dodgy neighborhoods in China, and half the time once delivered they turn out to just be a few photons glued together and painted black...

about three weeks ago

MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ An attempt at a better description (a bit long): (73 comments)

It is still kind of hard to get a sense of what this project is. To be honest, I didn't even fully get it until I'd managed to get it installed and play with it a little. This is my understanding of the project, someone who is more closely involved can probably correct any errors I might be making here.

MediaGoblin is a backend system for hosting "media". Part of the big idea is that "media" potentially includes any kind of thing you want to host. It's first incarnation was really just for photos/still images (like piwigo or gallery), but now also handles video, audio, "raw" images, PDF, .stl 3d models, Ascii Art, and apparently blog-style HTML text. I'm not sure if it's planned, but I'd expect it to also end up with support for .svg graphics, additional document formats (.odf, etc) and various others as interest develops. I, personally, would love to see .epub support.

MediaGoblin's main purpose is to take uploaded media and catalog it, tag it, generate "thumbnail"images, and perform any additional processing needed (such as producing legally-free format media for streaming and/or download - this IS a GNU-affiliated project after all.) It also handles authentication, access control, generation of the HTML for the pages that present the media, and so on. It is NOT (really) the frontend - they assume you have your own webserver. (There is a minimal python web-server script included can be used but it's not really intended for more than basic testing.

There is currently a focus on developing federation, meaning people can run their own individual hosts with their own login accounts, but be able to use and share media between different hosts without needing separate accounts on all of them. This will make it easy to spread out the hosting and mirroring of media across different servers in different places, which will be useful for load-spreading (like bittorrent) and for "censorship-resistance". (For a large organization with a worldwide spread of MediaGoblin instances, it could be like a Streisand-effect amplifier...)

The buzzword version of the description goes something like this: it's a unified (because this one system handles more or less all types of "content"), decentralized (because multiple independent servers can allow data-sharing and authentication with each other to prevent loss of one server from stopping access to media), federated (that's the buzzword for "one server can be told to trust another server's authentication" thing) system for hosting any "content" (or "media" if you prefer) that you want.

The short version is that it does the same sort of thing as flickr(/piwigo/gallery/picasa...), youtube(/vimeo, etc), soundcloud(/jamendo etc), wordpress, and various others, but it does it all in one interface in a way that the owners have control over so that (for example) some buttnugget can't shut off your video by just telling Google that the sound of birds in the background of your video is pirated music.

It'll currently mostly be of interest to people who are capable of operating their own servers rather than "end-users", though it seems obvious that the expectation is that people will end up using this system to set up hosting for said "end-users", whether for the general public or for use by members of some organization or other. I could imagine a university using it for inter-departmental or inter-campus media sharing and hosting, or an activist organization setting up federated instances in several countries for storing and sharing media, or a commercial start-up basing a multi-media Jamendo-style hosting company on the platform, for example.

My personal opinion: in its current state it's still too difficult install to be worthwhile for, say, a photo-gallery site (piwigo was a much simpler install on my existing webserver), but I don't know of anything similar for hosting video, audio, etc. (I suspect some projects for each on exist, I just don't know of them), and if I wanted to host several of these media types it might be worth it. My main complaints right now are that audio support is limited to offering "webm [v1] audio" (Vorbis audio in a limited Matroska container) as the output format (it can accept any kind of audio as input that gstreamer can handle i.e. just about anything), which is pretty well supported in browsers but not really widely used for audio files. (I'd like to see at least.opus support. .flac and .ogg [vorbis] output as well would be ideal. WebM v2 [opus audio in the aforementioned limited Matroska container] will probably also be handy if Google maintains their commitment to the format, and maybe alac ".m4a" as the only legally-free(?) media format Apple allows people to use as far as I know, besides possibly ".wav"), and that installation is currently quite laborious, especially if you don't want to set up a dedicated server just for MediaGoblin (i.e. if you already have a webserver hosting other things that you also want to serve MediaGoblin-hosted data through at the same time), but what I saw of the last version I tried out it looked promising. I'll be trying it again once I think I can get it to serve .opus audio.

about three weeks ago

MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:Is this spam? (73 comments)

I'm not sure being an active participant on an open-source project like this counts as "undisclosed relationship".

about three weeks ago

Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:bad vs bad (162 comments)

That's just unfair, if your Bose(tm) and/or Beats(tm) headphones sound bad, you're probably just using cheap cables. They'll totally sound awesome if you make the necessary investment in Monster(tm) cables for them instead.

about 2 months ago

Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

Dr.Dubious DDQ Re:bad for standards (194 comments)

It also still doesn't give anyone permission to generate their own h.264 video files (outside of webrtc "video-chatting" inside the browser) legally without paying someone a patent "poll-tax" for permission, so this is still "consume-only".

I'm also under the impression that there are,absurdly, potential patent-license issues with the .mp4 file format that h.264 video is most often stored in.

Finally, of course unless the usual obstructionist Apple and Microsoft ever implement opus codec support, this also doesn't give you the legal ability to include sound (mp3 or aac, typically, for h.264 videos) with the video. Hope everybody likes silent movies...

about 2 months ago

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 3 months ago

Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks

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

I still want a pork-belly-backed currency.

about 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 7 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 7 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 8 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 10 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 10 months ago


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