PROTECT IP Act Follows In COICA's Footsteps
Exactly. Why should a non-american trying to search a access *outside* the U.S., limited to a list of sites approved by the U.S. law? Just because he's using an american search engine?
This sucks. It seems it wasn't enough for the U.S. to destroy the global economy, they want to destroy the internet, too?
Is Process Killing the Software Industry?
I completely agree. I've come to believe that Agile development is a fad invented by some marketing genius to get big loads of buck from gullible enterprises. While TDD might be useful for, say... a linux kernel module, there's very little use for it in your standard "make me a module which reports in detail our budget surplus and deficits" project.
It's much more efficient to hire a small team of beta-testers available on-demand ("Jim wrote this new model, can you test it please?") than wasting hundreds of man hours per-month in "agile" development.
Why the New Guy Can't Code
It doesn't compute because they're brainwashed by Enterprise flim flam. "Degree this! Company that!" They don't understand shit except for whatever a company shows them with nice colorful pie charts. But here's a hint: There ARE good companies who exactly know what they're looking for. At the company where I work at, we give candidates a skill test: Make a blog application in PHP without using any external libraries (except if you've developed them yourself). So, you got a degree in web development, huh? Let's see if you really know what your title says you should know.
The Companies Who Support Censoring the Internet
Diversified investment portfolios make boycotts virtually worthless.
Wrong. The diversified investment portfolios only give money to the current shareholders and the "financial advisors" (read as: investment salesmen). When you buy stock, you don't buy it from the company, but from the previous stockholder (unless it happens to be from a current company associate). The companies whose stock is public, ALREADY got their money from their Initial Public Offerings.
Boycotts do affect companies, as you don't affect their initial invetment, but their cashflow. Boycott a company long enough (and with enough people), and then they'll start worrying. By the way, with negative publicity, their stock values will decrease, and the stock the current owners are already holding will see their investment in jeopardy. The trick is to have your boycott reach enough people.
Alternate suggestion: Publish the negative stuff on twitter (I am not a lawyer, so be careful with libel lawsuits).
Some Hotmail Accounts Wiped
Get it while it's hot!
Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?
I think the only part that I got interested in was Quorra becoming human. They could make a WHOLE movie about that, did you know? What does it mean to be human? Why is pain so awful? What are these things called emotions? Et cetera.
I expected to see more stuff about "the user has superpowers" that Flynn displayed in the original TRON (after all, he's the USER). But I guess they chickened out from being compared to Matrix just because the user can do things that programs can't.
Anyway, the 3D was awesome and I got out of the theater with a smile. It was a nice weekend.
The Case For Lousy Passwords
In addition to salting the password, I design my systems to sleep for one second after each failed password attempt, and for 3 seconds before booting the guy off. That should take care of brute force attacks.
DNSSEC Comes To .Net Zone Today
I was thinking more or less the same thing.
The point is that a good domain name system implementation needs to be secure against protocol attacks. DNSSEC secures it against hackers, but makes it more vulnerable to political attacks. Because DNS was designed to be centralized.
The problem with currently emerging alternatives is that they're designed to be decentralized, making them vulnerable to protocol attacks. However, a good p2p implementation would use an underlying hierarchy based on the anonymity of the name authorities, and they would be able to establish further authority points. But that protocol isn't even invented yet as far as I recall, and it would require a hell lot of thought and encryption.
In any case, more cryptographic security is better, not worse. If you want someone to blame, it's the inventors of DNS for establishing a US-based name authority. Oh wait, the Internet was invented in the US, by none other than the DARPA. Go figure.
PayPal Withdraws WikiLeaks Donation Service
I guess this is the time when the veil's opened and we realize that the web designed by Tim Berners-Lee, is dead.
The Internet has stopped being the land of free-speech as we know it. At any time that corporate or government interests are against free speech, they just hit the political off-switch. If someone decides to install internet routers and domain systems in another country, expect that country to be labelled "terrorist" and invaded by those with power.
Expect peer-to-peer information sources and services to be outlawed. Guess the cyberpunks authors got it right after all.
Hong Kong Team Stores 90GB of Data In 1g of Bacteria
I read TFA, and they're storing the data in the Bacteria's DNA. I assume there is a minimum chance of this happening, but if somehow the bacteria mutate and reproduce, perhaps with horizontal gene transfer, I don't know what could happen to existing species. What if suddenly one gene is changed and suddenly harmless bacteria become harmful?
Seriously, have they done a study on the safety of this method? Worst of all, we're not talking about a species which can easily be handled and captured if it ever escapes. We're talking about freaking bacteria.
Life Found In Deepest Layer of Earth's Crust
RTFA. (Or the summary, for that matter). The oil there is produced ABIOTICALLY. i.e. from chemical reactions that have nothing to do with dinosaurs, OR bacteria. That, and the bacteria found there don't produce, but eat the hydrocarbons.
Swedish Court Orders Detention of Wikileaks Founder Assange
That's what this is. When he gets arrested, the news won't say "The swedish authorities have finally captured wikileaks founder Julian Assagne, using 'rape' and 'molestation' to get an arrest order".
They'll say: "Wikileaks founder Julian Assagne has been convicted for rape. " Then they'll make a story of how corrupted wikileaks is and how its founders are a bunch of criminals. Of course, I'm sure Fox News will add some spice to please the masses.
Would You Take a One-Way Ticket To Mars?
At worst you'll get pings of 1.6 million. All you can download, but your TCP requests will probably have timed out.
Not if you send a repeater system of satellites using laser communi- ok, that's it. I need a life.
Would You Take a One-Way Ticket To Mars?
Sheldon Cooper would disagree.
Where Do I Go Now That Oracle Owns OpenOffice.org?
LibreOffice has the spanish word "libre" in it. I can't use that either because I strongly condemn the actions during the Spanish Inquisition.
Java, OpenOffice, MySQL are all GPL or better and no one can change that.
Good point. We might persuade them to name it in Esperanto. Libera-oficejo all the way! :D
80% of Daily YouTube Videos Now In WebM
The problem with H.264 isn't Mozilla. It's patents. The Mozilla guys are just being cautious (remember Unisys' GIF patent?)
In Praise of Procrastination
About your anecdote 1, obviously there's bad management. That's what project managers are for, you know, to keep track of to-dos and if any of them require contacting the client. Arranging meetings, etc. Have you arranged that meeting yet? No? Well do it, now. How many projects are there? Does the company have a list of todos for each project? You know, like using Microsoft Project (TM) to keep track of each one of them?
The company I currently work for has weekly meetings for each single project. Don't get me wrong, these aren't "meetings with powerpoing presentations etc.", but operational meetings. How much we've advanced, if there are any problems with development, unknown bugs, need feedback, things that really concern us developers.
As much as those meetings seem to be a pain in the ass, they're necessary to keep the engine going. Sometimes I've found that my approach to a certain project was going in a completely wrong direction. True, it's good to let developers work, but don't give them the full responsibility for the project. Programmers have so many things to work in that we lose track of things like customer support.
In other words, if a worker ends up procrastinating and delaying a project, here's some advice for the company: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but sometimes I have to get these things out of my system.
UK Wants ISPs To Be Responsible For Third Party Content Online
You need to think of this from the child's point of view! We are doing this to protect THEM!
Scrap that. We need to protect the internet FROM them!
Building a Telegraph Using Only Stone Age Materials
I was just thinking the same thing. Take a look at this:
In the stone age, you can have fire. So with a little animal grease or wood, you can have torches. SO far, so good, right? Now, make up a good semaphore code and easily to transmit numbers. Maybe you'd need to use three torches instead of two. Hey, with a little rope, wood you could make a mechanism to make the torches spell binary. (Up: One, Down: Zero. Perhaps you need a "ground" torch to show the zero signal).
So what happens when you can easily transmit numbers over a certain distance? Assume you have enough friends with semaphore towers. You could transmit numbers over a really long distance.
But let's not stop there. Assign each tower a unique number and certain flags for "give me your id", "acknowledge", etc. Now you got a fucking protocol.
Now invent some signs to tell the operator to give the message to a certain tower's id. Now give the operator a series of tables (you can provide them stone tablets or something) telling which towers can send a message to which towers. Congratulations, you just invented routing.
Given enough operators and towers, and train the operators to handle the protocols, and congratulations! YOU JUST INVENTED THE FUCKING INTERNET.
How's that for stone age?
Given one free trip to the past in a time machine, I would..
How about this idea: Instead of stopping the holocaust, you bring back all the people you can who died in the holocaust to the present. Of course, you also doom them to live in a future where most of their friends are dead now. So, technically, you didn't change the past and everything will be more or less, the same. Hey, how about this - you bring them back to the time just before the Nuremberg trials! But then again, things would get somewhat complicated and everything will focus more on the time machine than on the holocaust itself. Man, this is difficult!
Warner Media Group butchers audio from AMVs on youtube
if you're a fan of the AMV Hell series, here's another reason for you to hate the RIAA:
They subpoenaed youtube to remove the audio from the AMV Hell 3 deleted scenes 2 clip. Currently we get a message:
This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.
Really, what's the limit to the stupidity of these guys?
I'm ashamed of myself... sayonara?
Sigh. Today I feel like an idiot. I screwed up in this thread, not knowing exactly what I was talking about.
The worst part is that I really tried to help. I really was convinced I had found a solution, but it was the wrong solution. So now I'm ashamed of myself and I don't know what to do.
I'm sincerely sorry. Maybe I won't post again on slashdot... it's no use, karma is useless if you get praised for the wrong things and then end up looking like an idiot.
Am I being a coward? I really don't know. But it makes me wonder... what was my reason for joining slashdot? To find other people's approval? To find a place to be with other people like myself? To find a refuge from my loneliness? Or just to try to help people with the little knowledge I might have?
Frankly, I don't know, and I really don't know if I care anymore. It feels like a lot of wasted energy.
Maybe I'll come back here posting one or two jokes - that's what I'm really good at... sometimes. It's just really hard to lose a reputation based on one single post. I know I shouldn't think that way... but it still hurts. Maybe it's because I'm really an antisocial type and I really have no real world friends.
Sucks, isn't it? Well, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and realize it wasn't that bad after all. Because that's how humans are. Fragile and stupid.
Whatever happens, just be careful what you say in front of others. I guess that's what karma really is.
Pastafarians were right: More pirates = less global warming!
In a recent blog by ecogeek, we have seen that music devices consume 25% more energy when playing DRM-ed music than when playing non-managed music. And then he makes an interesting observation:
The real problem here is that the easiest way to get an MP3 that isn't crippled by some kind of DRM is still to buy the physical CD. What's worse, when DRM systems go offline (as they are at Wal-Mart) people are going to be extremely hesitant to go digital again. Basically, Wal-Mart's servers going offline is like saying "Oh, that song you bought, well, you didn't actually own it because it wasn't really real...sorry."
Wal-Mart's suggestion? Burn it to a CD, that way you'll have it even if after we take your official ownership away. BURN IT TO A CD! I thought the whole point was that we weren't using those clunky petro-disks anymore!
So what's the solution for this? PIRACY!
If you pirate your music over the internet, people will download them instead of having to purchase more environmental garbage called "CD".
So, if you become a pirate, you're really helping the planet, yarrrrrr!
Or alternatively, you could purchase the original songs via itunes or whatever, AND THEN pirate them. In any case, the planet still needs a pirate who can distribute the original, non-DRM-encumbered music.
Or alternatively, the RIAA could stop playing stupid and simply get rid of DRM (so we DON'T have to ACTUALLY pirate the music). ... yeah, right.
Most hilarious 419 scam I've received.
Dear Sir/Madam.This is for your attention We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of £5,600,000.00GBP (Five Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the intent of the deceased (name now withheld since this is our second letter to you)It is like this because bad people in the internet this time arround. We contacted you because you bear the same Surname Identity [ emphasis mine ] and therefore can present you as the Beneficiary to the Inheritance since there is no written Will. Our legal services aim to provide our private clients...
Just so you know, my e-mail account ends up in "dermann.slashdot". I wonder who was the idiot who named his kid that way... :)
And maybe the boy died in embarrassment, and left no will, hoping for someone bearing also his unfortunate name to claim his fortune.
from Mr Ahmed M*** <email@example.com>
Wow. PRETTY legitimate :P (note: Asterisks were put in there to protect the scammer's fake identity)
Thank you Mr. Ahmed Musa, your 419 scam just made my day.
MSN censoring youtube links over IM?
Recently i've been experiencing problems with Pidgin over MSN. If I post a link of google, or any other website (including msn or microsoft.com), the link gets passed without problems.
However, if I post *ANY* link to youtube (including videos of course), I get this message:
Message may have not been sent because an unknown error occurred:
The curious thing is that if i change *any* leter in the domain, the problem doesn't appear. It only happens when the domain is www.youtube.com .
Update: I talked to a friend using aMSN, and he's experiencing the same problems.
Has this happened to you?
My disappointment with Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
I've always been a Castlevania fan. Last week I had the opportunity to play (and complete) Dawn of sorrow, the sequel to Aria of Sorrow.
Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed. Here's why.
For starters, the trailer shows some very interesting scenes. At 00:15 we see Soma being invaded by the darkness. This was just like the beginning of the second part of the AoS game, where Soma realizes that he *is* Dracula. Then, at 00:35 we see Julius using the Cross ability. Does this mean we'll get Soma and Julius to duel again?
Don't count on it. They don't. This was a major disappointment for me. Come on! The Belmont vs. You battle had become a classical element of Castlevania series: Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance (if my memory doesn't fail me), and finally Aria of Sorrow (IMO with the best battle). So what about now? Well, there's a Soma vs. some hero battle, but you play the other hero and it's not quite as entertaining (you play Alucard). It's just the typical Giant Dracula shoots things at you then teleports kind of battle. Where's the melee, the jumps, the subweapons? I had expected Soma to battle Julius but this time with Julius being more dexter at dodging your attacks (i.e. having a more advanced AI).
But Dawn of Sorrow failed at this - and miserably.
What other disappointments did I have? Secret areas. Yes, there is a secret area of the castle that is only accessible if you manage to get the "good" ending. OK, two areas, but one is the Abyss and we saw something like that already in Aria of Sorrow (the chaos realm). The other area well, it wasn't really a deep area.
Perhaps you haven't noticed, but something really bothered me in Dawn of Sorrow. The areas are in the majority, corridors with at most two levels. This is PLAIN BORING. A very good joke is the abandoned town, there is a part where you have to move in a zigzag-like sequence to reach the other room. But that doesn't add any more fun of it, only more boring gametime.
This wasn't the case with classics like Symphony of the Night - where the Ice caves (I forgot their name) were deep, and if you weren't careful, you could die because of the water (unless you got the Holy Scuba - er, symbol). But this meant that you could explore a second part of it and keep exploring. The most interesting part was when you reached the abandoned mines, and then the catacombs. This was really an exploring adventure.
Something similar happened with Aria of Sorrow. The watery area was big - no, it was HUGE. You would need the giant bat soul to keep exploring some parts of it - what I liked was that a part of this area was like some underwater roman city, and the other was completely wild. The background with the fossils near the waterfalls captured my imagination.
With Dawn of Sorrow the hidden areas were a disappointment. Yes, I know that there's a hidden area that connects the town with the alchemy lab, but that was still disappointing, very boring (more straight passageways).
Seriously, what happened with the level designer? Did he quit or what? When I finished the game I felt so... underwhelmed. Is that it? Is that all you got?
OK, I haven't played the game in the Julius mode, but a very important part for me is the exploration. If there were areas that were only accessible with the Julius mode, I'd love it. But man, the map is so messed up. There were many areas, but all of them short.
I miss the mystery and secrecy atmosphere of Symphony of the Night, in the abandoned mines. There was this huge snake pillar that made me imagine that this part of the castle was built by some ancient egyptian cult adepts or something. What mysteries did those mines kept hidden from outsiders' eyes? I wanted to go to those mines and start exploring them room by room. And don't forget the lizard sounds in the background. It was so captivating. Dawn of Sorrow just... failed.
Another disappointment was the easiness of winning the game. It wasn't as challenging as Aria or Symphony. Oh yes, except for the annoyance of the darn magic seals. I would have preferred the seals to do some magic spells like Alucard had in Symphony (i.e. Soul Steal!). That would have been much more entertaining. The seals are either boring or frustrating, depending on your dexterity with the stylus (or with the mouse if you're using an emulator - I don't recommend it tho).
So, In terms of replayability, I still prefer Aria over Dawn.
10 years ago... wxWidgets and the QT vs. GTK division.
I stumbled upon this gem that was written almost 10 years ago. It's a plea from the wxWidgets developers to start a QT port of wxWidgets (then wxWindows).
The following is a proposal by the wxWindows developers. We hope to
attract some interest and help for this project, to ease the situation
for application developers who are currently in the difficult decision
to chose whether to support KDE or GNOME.
Please understand that we do not favour either of them, nor do we want
to get involved in a discussion about the pros and cons of KDE vs
Gnome. We are simply interested in helping application developers
(such as ourselves) to live with the existing situation. If you are
not interested in that, just ignore this post.
Proposal for a port of wxWindows to Qt - wxQt
Following the recent discussions
and flamewars about KDE vs Gnome, we got worried that we'll see a
repetition of the same damaging infighting from which Unix has
suffered before. Competition is a good thing, but the current
situation leaves application developers with a difficult decision to
make: Write for KDE, using qt/harmony or write for Gnome, using GTK?
Whatever happens to these projects, we will end up with a lot of
duplicated efforts and a mix of applications written for either of the
two environments. The result will not be the consistent look and feel
that both projects aim for.
The people on the wxWindows developers team thought that we might have
a solution for this problem, if we can get some outside help to get it
done. Let us explain: wxWindows is a cross-platform development
toolkit, a library of C++ classes which provide GUI concepts as well
as other cross-platform issues such as container classes, debug
features or configuration management. It has been around since 1992
and started by supporting Motif, XView and MS-Windows, with a direct
X11/Xt port added later. Last year, a major rewrite was started and we
now have a much advanced library, available for MS Windows, with a
Motif port under construction. Later last year, Robert Roebling set
out on a one-man project to build wxGTK, a gtk-based implementation of
wxWindows which in less than a year has become sufficiently stable to
use it as the main development platform of rather large
applications. The wxWindows license is a variant of the LGPL,
which should meet no objections from the free software community. In
fact, this has been an open source project long before the term became
Our idea is, that if this is good enough to work across different
operating systems (a MacOS port is under construction, too), it could
easily bridge the gap between KDE and Gnome. The quick evolution of
wxGTK has shown that a new port based on an existing widget set or
toolkit can easily be created by a small team within a few
months. Therefore, we would like to start a project for a Qt/Harmony
based wxWindow library, wxQt. It would then be possible for
application developers to write the same source and compile it either
for KDE, Gnome or even any of the other supported systems.
But for this we need help. The core developers are all pretty busy on
the existing ports, but we could provide significant help and support
for any such effort. A wxQt port could also recycle lots of existing
code from the other ports.
Please, join us in this effort and, if you feel that you could
contribute, join the wxWindows developers mailing list for further
discussions. Just send a mail containing "subscribe" to
wxwin-developers-request _at_ x.dent.med.uni-muenchen.de
And 10 years later, due to licensing issues (the wxWindows license is a derivative of LGPL, while QT is GPL licensed, so the "L" is clearly a limitation here) and software complications (nobody has dared), there still isn't a common widget platform/wrapper for Linux. Wow... ten years. Imagine that. Personally, I would enjoy having such a wrapper, this way we could write cross-platform apps that would run on Windows, GTK or QT and adapt to our favorite Window manager.
So, what do you think? Would it be possible to do this with Qt 4.4? Would it be healthy to have such a wrapper? Or actually... is it even relevant?
Direct Note Access + Compression = Super compression!
I just read this digg article ((original source) and I realized how easy it would be to compress music digitally with this baby.
You only need to find similar samples and sort out the differences with the originals. Then the whole melody is translated to a MIDI score, and maybe even use transformations for individual note compression (i.e. this note sounds like this one but amplified twice).
I'm sure that if this system was implemented, we could achieve a compression ratio 10 times better than MP3.
Online mp3 stores: No wonder there's so much piracy.
I finally decided to purchase a piece of music (an OLD piece of music from an OLD 60's movie). First I tried Amazon. Is the song there? Check.
99 cents pers song - check.
Requires a VISA account - check.
Secure - check.
International orders - FAIL.
Yahoo! music store.
Requires Microsoft Windows - FAIL.
Requires itunes for Windows. FAIL!
OK so where the heck can I purchase a song online if I don't live in the US? This is nuts. It was going to be my FIRST FRIGGIN' PURCHASE. Screw you, RIAA, Amazon, Yahoo, and Apple. I'm going to remain a pirate again and it's YOUR FAULT.
Oh, look, there's this music store called Magnatune (supported by Amarok!). Let's see if they have the song I'm looking for...
Alright... we can't do it the legal way, we do it ... the only way.
Downloading torrent file... done.
Downloading file... aw crap, tracker not available. Let's try youtube now.
You SUCK at AMV
OK I have to get this out of my system. I just want to ask: Why do people keep making AMV's with subtitles and with that stupid "DivX Video" logo on the bottom right?
It's not professional. The heck, it's not even amateur. It SUCKS! Specially if it's not an english fansub.
Here's a hint for you: Cut the bottom part of the video so that it'll display nice on 16:9 displays, and you'll get rid of the subtitles at the same time. Voila!
Of course, there's a little problem with 16:9 fansubs. But look, if you could find a fansub, I'm pretty sure you could find a bootleg around if you put a little effort on it.
And what's with the DivX logo? Did you know there's something called XVid that does NOT add that logo?
Allow me to prove my point: Is there *ANY* fansub in the awesome "AMV Hell" parody collection? No. Why? Because fansubbing SUCKS in an AMV.
Don't believe me, believe these guys.
The pirate dilemma: To compete or not to compete?
It's hard for large organizations that move at glacial speeds to compete with individuals taking their content and creating new distribution systems, revenue streams and business models, but the fall of the major record labels taught the rest of the corporate world a lesson. Matt Mason from Torrentfreak did a keynote speech (video) at The Medici Summit, telling us that in many cases, piracy is helping people to innovate and create new legitimate market spaces.
Particularly I found his speech very interesting for one powerful reason: The businesses that fight pirates now, were pirates themselves when they were starting. Including Hollywood and the Music Industry. If you want to convince someone that piracy is not as evil as he claims, show him this video and he'll have his world turned upside down.
Unofficial Linux song: "Do not fear the penguins, v2.0.2"
# Do not fear the penguins, v2.0.2
# Spy der Mann
# Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
# If you use this in your works, just credit me with an "original song by Spy der Mann", or something similar.
# If you want to put music please give it a tune similar to "Tin can hitman" from Robotronica.
# Just a suggestion.
# Thanks to Rick (he knows who he is) for helping me out with the lyrics.
This is the story of an angry Joe user,
got tired of his vermin-infested computer.
The crap we call Windows is what he had used,
but all of its bugs just left him confused.
Thought was cream of the crop, that's what he had been told,
but the truth is, buggy software is what he really was sold,
cheap salesmen from Redmond, the brand gained his trust,
he would learn the hard truth, but not without disgust!
He had many problems, things both you and I know,
the PC kept freezing, video discs played too slow;
incompatible hardware, see, the network was dead,
couldn't get it to work, bought a new card instead!
Stop getting angry man, stop getting mad,
It's not in your style throwing chairs at the wall.
Do not fear the penguins cuz' you too can smile
GNU/Linux fears no virus that could screw up your files.
GNU/Linux is open, and it's completely free,
every bit of it's legal, there's no royalty fee.
But don't just believe me, you must try it and see,
join the penguin revolution under Freedom's decree!
When Joe got to the tubes, his PC felt much slower
it had caught nasty spyware but he yet doesn't know it,
but that wasn't the worst, oh no, sir, I'm afraid,
because much bigger problems were awaiting ahead!
One day the virus perpetrated an assault:
His ID got stolen, Ballmer said "not my fault,
it's the hackers and pirates that are making a brawl",
better get an antivirus, and slow down to a crawl!
Joe then decided that he should get an upgrade,
bought himself a faster PC that could better be played,
but he had to reinstall: his OS wouldn't start,
then the registry got broken and he had to format;
Antipiracy measures got stricter with time
"I have genuine advantage", he thought he'd be fine,
the activation had failed him and all had been in vain,
didn't know that computers could be such a big pain!
Well that does it, Bill Gates, Joe said in his disdain,
I'm sick tired of your traits, it's all loss and no gain,
I still cannot believe I paid for all this bull,
between software and service, you're no better than NULL!
Now I'm switching to Linux and I'm not going back,
One more minute with you will give me a heart attack.
So good bye Bill and Steve, there's no more soup for you,
you should get a class action for what you made me go through!
The first step was the hardest, now, where do we start?
Which distro to choose, sounds like an arcane art.
Joe had tried Ubuntu, didn't like how it tasted,
but a friend recommended PCLinuxOS.
It was friendly, it was fast, unlike what he believed,
"there's a world outside Windows and the hell that I lived!"
it's scary at first, but it's worthy, trust me,
when you do make the switch you'll begin to be free!
Asking Microsoft to release their DirectX source code?
I was reading a page on LinuxGamers about installing DirectX 9 under WINE. It listed some steps on how to make DirectX work with Wine. But here's the problem: Other users listed compatibility problems in the same blog, and unrecommended the measure. (That blog article was a link to the full DirectX 9.0c on Linux article)
So I thought: Perhaps there could be a legal way to make Microsoft release their DirectX9 source code to the public domain? Because:
a) it's NOT a core component of Windows, but more like an Add-in.
b) It creates an unfair competition situation between Windows and Linux, specially when Microsoft is a monopoly - therefore, releasing the source code will leverage the market and promote a healthy competition situation which will encourage innovation.
Think about it, Microsoft was successfully ordered by the European Union to release some of their communication protocols specs. Why not do the same with DirectX? (Because it is, in a way, a communication protocol).
Of course, the ideal case would be asking game manufacturers to make all their games cross-platform. But I wonder if they'll really listen, and who's going to backport the old 3D games to Linux? Who's going to pay for them?
Another alternative would be to start an open source project called "Direct-X-Platform" or something, that would be essentially a cross-platform version of DirectX9 that can be installed either on native Windows, or Wine, or even native Linux! (think about it - directx.so - wouldn't it be interesting?). But, can it be done only knowing the DirectX specs and not the source code? I'm thinking... if MONO is dotNet for Linux, why not have a similar project equivalent to DirectX?
* Apparently there's a sourceforge project called DirectX for Wine, but the website seems outdated. Is the project still active? It seems not, but Wine has a status and to-do page dedicated exclusively to DirectX.
* A couple of months ago, a student began the implementation of DirectX 10 in Wine.
It seems the project is being HEAVILY developed, so what they need now, is our help!
Runing windows apps with WINE is NOT the answer.
I was writing a comment the other day on GNU/Linux apps and competition against proprietary software. In my signature I have added: "Fight Microsoft. Donate to Wine". But later I realized that, even when it's necessary, it's not the answer for Linux adoption.
Supporting proprietary Windows applications so they can run in Linux is a temporary approach. The real goal is replacing those applications with Free/Libre Open Source Software. We know that proprietary software will always appear, but WINE won't solve things by itself.
Why? Let's suppose WINE reaches version 1.0 and all Windows programs can run in Linux. There will be still a problem: It's not the NATIVE, TRUE way to run programs in Linux. Software developers won't see any incentive to develop Linux versions of their programs. "Why? They can run through WINE".
So the only permanent solution to being tied to a proprietary (or as Stallman calls 'em, "privative") application is to make an equivalent FREE application. And optionally, make it cross-platform so it can compete with the proprietary one. Just like Firefox.
Let's use another example. Ever heard of Krita? It's a painting / image editing application, much friendlier than the GIMP, and with multiple color spaces support (like CMYK and 16 bits color depth). Now this app has the potential to compete with Photoshop, but it's still in early development (i.e. no unsharp mask filter). Oh well, at least it's a start.
Eventually, I think Krita will reach the "competition" status, just like Mozilla did vs. IE. Then it'll be one less reason to stick with Windows.
So what do we need to help Linux reach the people out there? APPLICATIONS! We need to support developers and encourage them to develop clones for existing apps, or at least copy the existing features in them. And how to encourage them? $imple. Give out donations, do bug reports, feature requests and all that.
Sigh, we need a Mecenas to give out money to Open Source developers and start new projects.
Consoles, Emulators and DRM
I was trying out the latest install of EPSXE for GNU/Linux. My goal was to prove myself (and the world) that gamers don't need Windows.
And then I realized the freedom that emulators give, and how this fits also in the Free Software philosophy.
According to Richard Stallman, there are 4 freedoms that software must give to someone:
* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
In emulators and games, we're talking about Freedom 0: The freedom to run a program (in this case a game) for any purpose. Whether you want it or not, every console system you have is a little DRM machine, defective by design, just waiting to break so you can stop enjoying your favorite games.
Now think about that little copy-protection included in your PlayStation2 DVD's, so you can't back them up. Oh no, you need a modchip to be able to play them. And what happens when people sell you that modchip? According to the DMCA, you're breaking the law.
Breaking the law just to be able to back up your games and play them? So, what's the alternative? The alternative is spending some extra money to buy another original DVD because your old one broke. Who's going to pay you that money? And let's not talk about consoles. What happens when your favorite console breaks and stops working (*cough cough* red rings of death in XBOX 360 *cough cough*)?
All the games you purchased are useless. You can't play your favorite game in another system (like the PSP) because it's not compatible. Even if it's the same title. Why have to purchase two different licenses-of-use for different consoles, if it's the same game?
And so we realize that the console sellers, just like the RIAA and MPAA, have become intermediaries. The console they sold to you no longer works, in other words, the license to use a game that you didn't buy from Sony, depends on the durability of the product Sony sold to you.
But I don't want anything to do with Sony, I already paid Konami for their game!
But Sony doesn't give a damn. The software is RESTRICTED to run on THEIR PLATFORM. Stupid exclusivity agreements.
Emulators to the rescue! If you have purchased a copy of say... Castlevania Symphony of the Night for the Playstation 1, you shouldn't have any problem playing it on another system, even if your PSX broke, right?
You just have to install a PSX emulator on your Windows or GNU/Linux machine, set up the plugins, the BIOS (ah yes, more copyrighted stuff - let's hope it's not illegal to use the BIOS in an emulator, provided you still own the console you used), and voila.
See? It wasn't that hard. But here's the catch... the catch is that console manufacturers don't want you to realize that you CAN play your favorite console games on a general-purpose Personal Computer. Otherwise, their market would break down.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, consoles are DESIGNED to become OBSOLETE. Just think about ALL the games you have purchased since you were young. Think of all the money you gave away to Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft... all the games that you had to resell cheap because they devaluated. Who's gonna give you back all that money? You can't play those games now, can you?
Ah, but if you have an emulator, you can play your SNES, Dreamcast, etc. games on your PC.
So why is the industry so fed up about emulators? You're only exercising your right, am I correct?
Now there's another issue with Consoles. Due to the excessive copy-protection they have imposed on their hardware, hobbyist programmers can't enter the market by publishing their own games. No, they have to sign an agreement with the console companies so they can authorize and press their DVD's.
What does that do to creativity? In the end, only a few, the rich and powerful, are the ones who decide what content (read: games) you can put on "your" box.
The game publisher associations have become another RIAA.
How to end this madness? Simple - by promoting an open platform for games. Until then, we'll have to stick with Mednafen and Epsxe, and enjoy the luxury of backing up your favorite games and playing them on your friend's computers when you're visiting. Simply because you already paid for them.
Don't you think?
YOU can make a difference!
Good evening, all of you who want to change the world. Did you know that you can change the world?
Have you ever wondered why people complain about the world's problems but nobody seems to do anything about it? Well, I've been thinking about that. A lot.
The first step is WANTING to change things. It's not enough to complain. You need to TAKE A DECISION and ACT UPON IT. So far, I've taken the following decisions, perhaps you can add to my list:
- Be as green as possible by using energy-saving light bulbs, disconnecting cellphone chargers when i don't need them, disconnecting the TV's instead of putting them to standby, and separate the garbage at home, when possible
- Boycott the RIAA and MPAA by not purchasing a single movie or music record from them.
- Boycott the Scientology cult by not watching any Tom Cruise or John Travolta movie (what, you didn't know he's a scientologist, too?)
- Promote a SPAMless internet by not sending chain letters ("OMG ponies! send this to your friends!")
- Promote a healthier life by not consuming junk food (McDonalds, I'm staring at you)
- Boycott Microsoft by switching to Linux
- Prevent my PC from becoming a SPAM zombie by either:
- Scanning my PC regularly
- Using Linux 100% of the time
- Or at least run Windows inside a virtualbox to prevent getting infected by a virus
- Promote the presidential candidate that I believe will stop the war nonsense (in my case, I believe it's Ron Paul - it doesn't matter what I believe, but what YOU believe. Have you promoted your candidate, or are just sitting around, not voting and just being another sheep?)
- Donate money to honorable causes (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, or your favorite opensource project (hint: Donating to the WINE project is a very good cause ;-) ), or charitative associations
See, there are so many things that you can do to change the world... and these are BASIC ONES. More advanced ones could include helping and giving tech support to people wanting to try out Linux (instead of sending them to RTFM), teach math for free to someone who needs it, praying at least a few minutes a-day, if you believe in God, visiting your lonely grandma once in a while...
Why am I so upset about mankind? Because I've realized that ONE- even one person can make a difference... what would be of computers without Linus, the GPL and Stallman? What would be of the web without Firefox? (And this goes back to the founder of Netscape)? What would be of black people (or color, if you prefer) without Martin Luther King?
Think about it. It takes one person to screw up the whole world at least in one area: George Bush. Need I say more? Well, it works both ways. One person can fix the world in at least one area. And that person COULD BE YOU. Maybe not in politics, but perhaps in ecology, or something more "down to earth".
See, sometimes we run away and hide from our problems and drown them in alcohol, drugs, porn, just food, whatever... but we have to remember that we could help other people solving their problems. And by not doing ANYTHING, we're letting the bad guys get away with it!
So, do you want the world to change, yes or no?
Well, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Finally, I'd like to share a good news: Wine 0.9.49 just got out. Perhaps you are good at programming and might give the guys a hand. YOU can help destroy the Microsoft monopoly! OK, so you're not good at programming, how about this: Donate 5 dollars to the Wine project. Don't tell me you can't do that... if you live in the US, either you or one of your parents got a credit card. You can dedicate a weekend to send a money order.
So, instead of feeling miserable about yourself and why you're too weak to change things, you can get up, and change them.
What do you think?
Or if you don't want to do anything about it, you could at least distribute this text, unmodified among your friends - but NOT in chain e-mails, please! - to wake up their consciousness. Right?
So, stop complaining about the world's problems and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! NOW!
Hackles - an IT webcomic
Hackles is a very nice webcomic for geeks. The comic seems to be stopped already (i.e. no more strips), but it's worth very nice laughs. My favorite strip: The penguins return home - tension is in the air.
The year of the Linux Desktop: Why it still hasn't arrived
It's even become a recurrent joke. Every year is 5 years away from the year of Desktop Linux. Despites the fact that Linux is getting better and better every day, still very few people switch. Why?
There were excuses, or valid reasons for not adopting Linux. Some of them have been slowly addressed.
Driver Support? Check.
User friendliness? Check.
Lack of applications? Check.
Compatibility? Uh oh...
Perhaps it would be good if we analyzed why Vista isn't becoming a success. Windows XP is just "good enough", and people don't want to spend another hundred dollars to upgrade.
"But Linux is free", you may say. Well, I have a surprise for you: It isn't.
Actually, it's applications support. Do you see Flash Professional for Linux? Do you see Photoshop CS for Linux? Do you see Adobe Premiere Pro or Sony Vega for Linux?
"Oh, but you can use Wine". Well, not all professional applications work on Wine. "Well, there's Crossover". Yeah, but is it free?
What about gamers? There's Cedega, which allows you to play your DirectX games on Linux.... for a price.
See... people already spent money on Windows. They have already spent money on the games. And the apps. So why the heck do they have to spend EVEN MORE MONEY on buying a compatibility suit *JUST* so they can switch to a (fingers quoting here) "Free" operating system? Don't make me laugh.
Sure, The companies behind Cedega and Crossover have done wonders to aid the Linux community. But the software remains proprietary.
Yeah yeah, it may be GPL licensed or whatever, but the companies are already discouraging compiling it on your own. In other words, to keep the money flowing, they're hindering the Linux community from a wonderful weapon which is Windows compatibility for professional applications... AND games.
If my uncle Joe won't switch to Linux because he likes using Photoshop and video editing programs (professional ones, I mean), and I can't assure him that they will work on Linux (most probably they won't), how will he Switch (Specially if his whole business depends on using those apps)? And if his son has to buy some compatibility software to run his Windows-only game, how will he switch?
So here's my proposal: Google or another powerful company, like IBM or Novell, should PURCHASE these companies, and release the code to the community. Or at least pay them a good bunch of dollars to release their code every 4 or 5 months, and to keep developing the stuff.
Wham! Instantly, the next distributions of Linux will allow us to run our favorite Windows applications without complaining.
But it hasn't happened. And there aren't good Free alternatives for Flash Professional or Adobe premiere (there are, but I said good). And until some company decides to start paying a hundred volunteers to build these FLOSS alternatives, there will be a vast majority of people who won't switch.
I am an example. I didn't want to switch to Linux unless there was a good alternative to MSN messenger. In the end, I switched, but I lost my ability to store and send custom emoticons (at least until Pidgin 2.2.3 which comes out in 2 weeks). But just as there's MSN messenger, there's this online game, or my favorite office application, or my favorite ActiveX control for Internet explorer which is needed to visit this or that website (or to make our company software work), etc. etc. etc.
Users need to be guaranteed that their favorite apps will run on Linux. And we can't do that without Cedega or Crossover. And, unfortunately, the companies' futures depend on NOT releasing their code.
So, what to say about TransGaming Technologies, or CodeWeavers? Are they beneficial to the community? Or have they become parasites? And why do the images of the symbiotes in the Spider Man comic, suddenly come to my mind?
(And speaking about comics, here's a good one - i know, it's inaccurate, but you get the point)
My experience with Linux is improving each day :)
Since I had installed PCLinuxOS, I've been doing great improvements in customizing my desktop. And I don't just mean changing the background. I'm talking about usability.
Here are some of the improvements I've made to my Linux machine - in no particular order:
Usability improvement #1: QuickLauncher applet.
This allows me to start my favorite applications with the touch of a button. I still wonder why it wasn't enabled by default. (Or was it and I accidentally deleted? I think so, because I remember that tiny lifesaver icon before).
Usability improvement #2: Multiple Desktops.
It may appear as nothing important, but saving a click is really relieving for your ached fingertips if you got RSI. Did you know that if you move the mousewheel over the desktops switcher, the desktops change? Also, you can make a certain application occupy ALL desktops. I have winamp er Audacious (having the original winamp skin still fools me :P ) and the Buddy list on all desktops.
Also you can use one desktop for slashdotting and tech stuff, another for buddies (so you can have all buddy conversations visible) and another for installations etc. I also modified the desktops applet to use 6 instead of 4 desktops (but maintained the number of desktops to 4). This way the icons use less horizontal space.
Usability improvement #3: Changing the behavior of desktop icons from double-click to single-click. Anything to save my precious fingertips from excruciating pain (Ow, I shouldn't have played that much with my PS2)
Usability improvement #4: Windows-key-behavior for Shortcuts.
This made me use ctrl-alt-del and my favorite windows shortcuts in Linux. For example, If I press Win+R, a "run" dialog appears.
Usability improvement #5: Windows keys compatibility. KDE allows you to use the numpad keys as in windows, but some shortcuts need to be added manually, like ctrl-alt-keypaddel to bring up the task switcher. The only annoyance is a bug in GTK which makes ctrl-numpadright behave like ctrl-left, but that'll be fixed in the next upgrade which I'm anxiously awaiting.
Usability improvement #6: Windows commands emulated
Using my 1337 h4x0r 5k1llz (lol), I created custom shell scripts that emulate windows commands. For example, explorer replicates konqueror & (the & is important, because it sets it as a background process). I don't recommend replicating the basic DOS commands like copy and ren (because that's a bad habit), but "explorer" and "notepad" scripts (which opens kwrite) help me do things faster.
Usability improvement #7:Bells and whistles.
Winamp Skins for Audacious, changing the desktop background, setting semi-transparent taskbar,changing the annoying start button for a nicer one (this required some commandline hacking), those things make my Linux experience more enjoyable and less boring - choosing a tropical and sunny desktop background makes me feel calm and more joyful. And that's also a usability improvement.
I'm planning to download Irfanview and add it with Wine(tm) as a quicklaunchable icon. It's a must-have for me.
With these usability improvements, I've made my Linux to be MUCH BETTER than Windows. And with software like Compiz Fusion (not available for my distro... yet), I've come to believe that Linux has NOTHING to be envious about Vista.
OpenDocument Format NOT in danger after all
Rob Weir did Slashdot a great favor by exposing the cracks in the OpenDocument Foundation. The Foundation's statement to abandon ODF sounded like a tragedy for the ODF Format, but in the end it turned out to be just FUD - why? Because the Foundation just happens to be completely isolated from the ODF community. From Rob's blog:
The "OpenDocument Foundation" sounds so official. Although it has no official role in the ODF standard, this name opens doors. The ODF Alliance , the ODF Fellowship, the OASIS ODF TC, ODF Adoption TC (and many other groups without "ODF" in their name) have done far more to promote and improve ODF, yet the OpenDocument Foundation, Inc. seems to score the panel invites. Not bad for two guys without a garage.
In other words, this means that no matter what Gary Edwards or anyone from the "OpenDocument Foundation" says, ODF will NOT be abandoned by either the industry or the community. ODF is NOT in danger. Just relax, take a deep breath, it was just a bad Halloween scare.