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Comments

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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Article misses the point (569 comments)

Or are you advocating now that Google goes back and releases an update that dramatically changes and breaks components of 2.x?

Of course not.

What they should do, is to mimic all other companies which take development processes and security seriously:

cd ~/src/android-repo/
git co android-2.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a
git co android-3.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a
git co android-4.0.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a
git co android-4.1.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a
git co android-4.2.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a
git co android-4.3.x
<fix the shit>
make all
make test
make release
git cm -a

They have to repeat it for all the 4.x branched, because the idiots managed to make API breaking changes there. In literally every point release.

Then, they should send the changes to the OEMs, organize press conference, and announce that they did everything they could - the OEMs are tag now.

yesterday
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Article misses the point (569 comments)

MS changed H/W requirements only ONCE and only for the Vista.

Horseshit, Try running XP with SP3 on a computer which had the minimum hardware requirements for XP 6 years earlier. I won't even describe it for you. It is something that needs to be experienced and you will be met with plenty of personal reflection time as you do.

You missing completely the point.

OEM can install XP on a system with minimum H/W requirements - and he would get the MS blessing and support.

OEM can NOT install Android on a system with less than minimum H/W requirements - because he would not get approval from Google.

Oh you mean like they already did by pulling these core components out of Android and into the Play Store so they could update them on the run as they went?

But where is the update in the Play Store which would bring that to the Android 2.x-4.x?

Those are all solvable problems ISVs routinely have to deal with. Except the Google.

yesterday
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Opera Founder Is Back, WIth a Feature-Heavy, Chromium-Based Browser

ThePhilips Re:Yet another webkit-based browser (157 comments)

Presto may have been a quality engine, but so many sites didn't render properly on it (or simply refused, necessitating user-agent hacking) that it's hard for me to miss it.

Modern web is so broken that it doesn't render "properly" in any browser. There is no "proper" rendering. Not anymore.

Since I still use Fx 3.6 as the main workhorse browser, I use Fx Alpha (aka the rolling release shit #2) and Chrome (another rolling releases crap #1) for the occasional pages which do not render properly.

Funny thing. The sites which are most certainly broken on Fx 3.6 are often most certainly broken in the other browsers too.

Even some high-profile web sites are quite broken in many places.

The most infamous example is the imgur which causes every browser (I tried all: IE, Chrome, Fx, Opera and Gecko/WebKit clones) to go quickly above 1GB RAM consumption, eventually either crashing (typical for Fx) or going into heavy unsufferable swapping (typical for Chrome).

2 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Article misses the point (569 comments)

MS changed H/W requirements only ONCE and only for the Vista.

That was pretty much the only time ever MS changed the H/W requirements for a released product.

They have done it ONCE in the whole MS Windows history. And that was because they have set H/W requirement too low to satisfy demands of few large OEMs.

MS sucks on many fronts - but software release and support process they have nailed at least 1.5 decade ago.

Google really has to sit down and realize that they, as the Android platform supplier, have responsibility to their users. They can't just do whatever the hell they want and expect the whole world to follow them. When shit hits the fan, they can't just pretend that they have nothing to do with it.

2 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Article misses the point (569 comments)

and now it's all Google's fault?

They have changed API, degraded functionality, and changed H/W requirements - in a point release.

Point release for adding and fixing features, NOT changing and removing features.

But basically with 4.x, Google simply given up to have any release strategy. Because 4.x series (and 5.x onwards) are most definitively rolling releases.

Alpha and beta testing using the paying customers? As if Google lacked money to hire testers or simply outsource the testing...

2 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Use trunk or it is not my problem. (569 comments)

If they had developed a small patch for the problem, I'm pretty sure OEMs wouldn't have a problem pushing it to the users.

Hahahahahahahahaha, seriously? This is fixed in 4.4 [...]

It's not really a fix, if the H/W requirements have been changed/increased.

Android 4.3 vs. 4.4.

Check this for more.

Or more to the point: how do you know that your device is compatible with official golden blessed Android 4.4? CyanogenMod guys can do whatever the hell they want - except calling it "Android".

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Article misses the point (569 comments)

The WebView code was originally tied directly to the android version and HW manufactures aren't willing to deploy 4.4 since it would take effort on their part.

4.4 changed WebView and that broke a number of apps.

And not simply broke. Google has removed sizable chunk of WebView functionality because it is not really WebView anymore, it is small Chrome browser window and the features everybody was relying upon where never part of Chrome and as such... tough luck.

To the company with the resources of Google, lame excuses like that are just unacceptable.

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Gioogle is Irresponsible (569 comments)

4.4 is not the "patch". Not only it contains major redesigns of the software, but also it has different hardware requirements compared to previous 4.x versions.

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Use trunk or it is not my problem. (569 comments)

The OS trunk no longer has WebView.

Of course it has.

There is such thing called "backups".

All my employers, including the most technologically handicapped, always *always* did backups of all releases sent out to the customers. Most did both binary and source code backups, with somebody performing a build/regression tests about once per year to see that the backups are still valid and working. (Though the reasons often was more pragmatical: test not the old release, but the old build environment and that it still works on new hardware/OS/etc).

Usually, to fix an old problem, one has to get the backup, extract the sources and fix the damn problem. (And create new point-point release and new set of backups for the release.)

If Google had fscked up such a routine part of software development, my trust in them just sunk to even lower level than it was before.

And if they use the same methods to develop the self-driving car....

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Re:Their excuse sucks (569 comments)

Hipster developers do not do such lowly menial tasks as maintenance!

3 days ago
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Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

ThePhilips Use trunk or it is not my problem. (569 comments)

The explanation I read elsewhere (RTFA quotes from different interview) sounds alot like the excuse of some incompetent developers: use trunk or it is not my problem!

If they had developed a small patch for the problem, I'm pretty sure OEMs wouldn't have a problem pushing it to the users.

But it seems they can't because as all developers working exclusively in the trunk, they have rewrote everything already several times, and looking at the old stuff is... wew! It's old! It's absolutely horrible! Use snapshot from the trunk!! We fixed everything!! It's all better!! We promise!! Honestly!!

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

ThePhilips Seed7 (484 comments)

The last Pascal-like language I have seen which was more or less interesting is Seed7.

Cursory look at the Free Pascal shows that it has gained lots of useful functions. Bu is that *the* Pascal? The Pascal was standardized by ISO in 1990 and as far as I know there were no new version of the standard since then. The Object Pascal is not standardized at all. And differs between the implementations (Free Pascal vs. Delphi).

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

ThePhilips Re:Mouse settings? (425 comments)

That highly likely requires installing Logitech software which would then break something else entirely unrelated to the buttons.

Logitech's ever broken software is why I stopped buying their hardware. Under Linux I can do something about it - but on Windows it is a lost cause.

4 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

ThePhilips Re:Alladin? (420 comments)

Alladin - Han Solo, the good bad guy.

Jasmin - princess Leia.

Jafar - Dart Vader.

Genie - Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Iago & Abu - c-3p0 and r2-d2.

And so on.

They are already half way there. Basically, all they need is to change the character names. And, of course, add more princesses.

5 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

ThePhilips Re: Good news (420 comments)

If it would have some story, plot and action, I would definitely watch it.

The problem is that most Star Wars fans (ditto Star Trek fans) want more of the same, being stuck in the loop of few memorable characters and few distinct fetishes of the original show. Change the characters and/or the fetishes - and it becomes a different show. And fans will not accept it.

That's why IMO JJ should just ignore the fans altogether and concentrate on making a "good movie", not a "good Star Wars movie".

5 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

ThePhilips Re:Too Many Ewoks (420 comments)

Not sure if this is insightful, informative or funny. Or all three.

Lucas scripts for the prequels sucked badly. But modern Disney scripts are not much better.

5 days ago
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Is D an Underrated Programming Language?

ThePhilips Re: Perl, my favorite language is rated higher... (383 comments)

[...] in the same way broken Engrish can get a message across.

Which is kind of the whole point of the programming languages: getting the message across. Telling computer to do the job.

It's still not the same as knowing the language, and using it well.

Knowing language != being able to write good program in it. Real programmer can write good program in any language.

And "using the language well" is just meaningless statement, highlighting the modern focus on the form rather than content. AKA good program as beautiful programs vs. good program as working/useful program.

Why write several lines that do the job - when we can create beautiful class hierarchies spread across numerous libraries, use modern concepts and paradigms to accomplish the same?

about a week ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

ThePhilips Re:"Half Baked"? (241 comments)

The fact is hasn't been on any significant number of devices in the real world would be a big flag, [...]

There is a significant number of Tizen devices in the real world. Several car manufacturers use it for IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) systems.

[...] there's alot of refinement that comes from *actual* use in the wild that you don't get from lab development.

MS Windows? G+? Refinement from the actual use in the wild: zero.

about a week ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

ThePhilips Re:It will be a mistake (241 comments)

Samsung would never become Tizen-only shop. They would go on making all possible devices, Android and WinPho included.

Otherwise, Nokia lost its #1 position because they have failed to adapt their devices to new markets. That is precisely what Samsung tries to avoid with the Tizen. Since there is no Google to set the rules what can and cannot be an Android device and OS, Samsung (and others) can tweak Tizen to fit pretty much any device they like. After all, Tizen is larger than Samsung and is not exclusively a phone OS.

about a week ago
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Could Tizen Be the Next Android?

ThePhilips Re:Well if that happens, it'll be bye bye Samsung. (241 comments)

How much an Android device is worth without the Google Play store? Not much.

If you disable all the accounts/etc, pure Samsung device wins hands down over the Google one, because most Google apps these days are crap. While Samsung's apps for the most part try to be simply useful.

And if you wish to have the up-to-date with the Android version, the Google account and oftentimes G+ account are strongly suggested. Because occasionally Google forgets that not everybody is a Google/G+ user and in absence of the account some basic features simply do not work. That was experience of some of my friends who updated their Galaxies to the Lollipop, only to find that some stuff simply doesn't work because they are do not have the G+ account.

about a week ago

Submissions

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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

"
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop
No scoops, just botherdom of real world."
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

"

Journals

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Debian as a "working" model for democracy

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fun to watch "democracy" at work at Debian. Now 2+ years old social bug Please decide on Python interpreter packages maintainership opened by Python DDs, complaining about poor communication skills of the Python maintainer and request for his replacement, is still open. After two years, lots of emotions, personal involvement of the DPL and total silence from the actual Python maintainer being discussed, the CTTE seems to be reaching consensus that maintainer shouldn't be changed: because situation somewhat eased over the two years, but mostly because he is good guy, esp when talking to important Debian people, e.g. CTTE members. And he's also maintainer of many other important packages in Debian so pissing him off is quite dangerous. The most ironic part, is the last message (last as of writing) mentioning that the Python maintainer is again at it.

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More choice is less? PC market, I'm looking at you!

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interview with Barry Schwartz on Colbert Report, where he "explains why people are paralyzed with indecision when they're offered too many choices."

In a way, an eye opener. I started scratching my back trying to recall when/why that happened to me. Because I had immediately the feeling that it had been happening to me more than often. And then I have recalled.

Buying the computers and PC parts.

Why I bought an Apple MacBook? Because I spent too much time trying to configure a perfect notebook for myself from HP and Lenovo. Way too many choices. Impossible to pick one. Went to the online Apple store: two product lines (plain v. pro) further differentiated by a screen size. Input screen size, input amount of money one's ready to spend - and you get the deal.

Building a desktop was similar experience. Went with cheapest (of recently released) dual-core AMD because figuring out best deal on more expensive Intel CPUs started slowly driving me nuts.

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EULAs reaches new low

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

As was posted on BoingBoing (originally on BoingBoing Gadgets by John Brownlee):

[...] watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.

And Cory Doctorow has a bit more to add on other EULA abuses from Disney:

Disney has a sickness when it comes to abusive EULAs and contracts. I once had to cancel a speech at Imagineering because the legal department wanted me to sign something saying that I'd never use the word "Disney" in print again without permission. The Laugh Factory attraction at Disney World's Tomorrowland had a ridiculous EULA on a sign (you agreed to the terms by passing under the sign) (!) in which you promised that any jokes you suggested were your own and that you would indemnify Disney from any copyright suits arising from the telling of the jokes (the sign was not a joke). As though eight year olds can form contracts (they can't), by standing under signs (they can't), and as though most jokes people tell are original (they aren't).

What's next? Jokes with EULAs requiring you to laugh? And hearing the joke means that you agreed to EULA automatically?

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Six Nations "Just Say No" to ISO/IEC

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Fresh very informative entry ConsortiumInfo.org blog:

The latest blowback from the OOXML adoption process emerged last Friday in Brasilia, Brazil. This newest challenge to the continued relevance of ISO and IEC was thrown when major IT agencies of six nations - Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, South Africa and Venezuela - signed a declaration that deploring the refusal of ISO and IEC to further review the appeals submitted by the National Bodies of four nations.

Seems, the saga isn't yet over. Andy also linked to the new initiatives Civil ICT Rights and The Hague Declaration aimed to protect privacy and free speech rights in digital age.

Main question is: might ISO be an organization governments can trust on sensitive standards? Or new body, vendor neutral, dedicated to IT standards, should be established?

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Are Linux File Systems poor performers?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Found fancy article which is lambasting Linux File Systems as being unsuitable for servers and big loads. It is even hard to debunk article which starts like:

And what was Linux's initial target market? A Microsoft desktop replacement, of course.

and then goes into some theoretical technical problems - theoretical because no real world task is given as an example of what is affected by the problems. Since article is presented as being written by "industry consultant with 27 years experience in high-performance computing and storage" and contains unproven load of facts, it is pretty hard to swallow. Especially after many I/O intensive tasks I have accomplished on Linux. What will be /. judgment of the article?

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The 2007 International Privacy Ranking

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  about 7 years ago Fresh report from Privacy International is in. From key findings:

The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance o privacy safeguards. Surveillance initiatives initiated by Brussels have caused a substantial decline in privacy across Europe, eroding protections even in those countries that have shown a traditionally high regard for privacy. The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada. The 2006 leader, Germany, slipped significantly in the 2007 rankings, dropping from 1st to 7th place behind Portugal and Slovenia. The worst ranking EU country is the United Kingdom, which again fell into the "black" category along with Russia and Singapore. However for the first time Scotland has been given its own ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales. Despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike.

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10 illegal job interview questions

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting (and rather old story) on Tech Republic: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=229:

Although HR departments should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees, some hiring managers aren't so savvy. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewees about their age, race, national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities.

List of innocent questions and small talk stuff is in the article. Enlightening read.

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Open source video editing still has a long way to go

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Here is Roblimo's take on Linux video editing state of affairs:

Kino captures video (although not high-definition video) competently through a FireWire port, and Cinelerra can do most video editing tasks if you are willing to spend three to ten times as long doing them as you would with Vegas or Final Cut.

I do not have a high opinion of Cinelerra. If you are accustomed to Sony Vegas, Final Cut, Avid or other high-end video editing packages, you will find Cinelerra painfully clunky. Of course, once you've gotten used to really good video editing software, you won't like most proprietary consumer-level video editing products, either, not even MainActor (for Linux or Windows), which costs more than three times as much as the much more capable Magix Movie Edit Pro (for Windows only).

I have had no luck using Jahshaka, and although I have downloaded GStreamer-based PiTiVi from the Ubuntu archives, so far I have not gotten it to start up successfully, let along do anything useful with it.

Bugs. Crashes. Clunkiness and over complication. We've seen it before.

"It's OK to spend money to make money":

I did my first "video" edits with film and razor blades, so I am often amazed at how easy it has gotten -- with high-level proprietary software -- to turn out professional-quality video work, and I am especially amazed that it now can be done on an inexpensive desktop computer instead of requiring a special, high-powered workstation. Beyond those miracles, asking for my video editing software to be free (in either sense) almost seems like too much.

Linux's state of muiltimedia support seems to be always on catch up - with three-four years lag compared to Mac/Windows solutions. Now authoring became a hot topic - and Linux development community again is seen as bunch of amateurs. What is kind of true in the context.

RTFA worth reading - if like to know that you are not alone with your video editing problems under Linux.

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eBay security conspiracy catches on with readers

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting RTFA - in comments from readers section - posted on ElReg.

One of the quotes:

It looks like the hacker gained VPN access to the internal eBay network. That, along with the fact that they don't stored hashed passwords but plain text ones is a very likely explanation of what is happening. So it's just plain old fashioned hacking which leads to disastrous results because eBay's bad security design.

Seems like eBay got itself compromised. I doubt that so much of eBayer computers' got 0wned. And the fact that crackers started immediately posting scam/auctions seem to point into direction of organized criminals who penetrate eBay's intranet or buy client accounts from its employees - to sell fitting account information to scammers. Original ElReg's story here is also worth reading. Quote:

A month later, Auction Guild was back, this time with evidence that a Romanian hacker going by the name Vladuz had developed and was circulating a sophisticated tool that reads confidential information residing on eBay's internal network, allowing attackers free reign of virtually any account and a trove of information that could be used in phishing attacks.

In short: stay away from such lucrative scam target as eBay.

P.S. Screen shots of the aforementioned tool from Vladuz.

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Korea: EA "started giving away the game" FIFA Online

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  about 8 years ago

Interesting report on IHT:

"FIFA 07," a video game for soccer fans, costs around 50 in Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free -- yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on.

Realizing that it was impossible to sell "FIFA Online" in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

Not that EA can helps its margins with such numbers, but yet the practice - of competitive pricing - still seems more plausible one than misguided anti-piracy onslaughts. (*) I know that similar practice was used by several publishers to sell games in Russia: games were officially priced at 2-3 times what they cost on black market: $5-8 against fixed rate of $2.5 for CD/DVD of black market. It's stupid to expect people to pay they monthly income for a mere computer game.

(*) Misguided, because most of the "pirates" - consumers buying games on black market in 3rd world - are largely not affected by the anti-piracy measures: sellers are stripping them before pressing bootleg copies. It's only customers - honest ones - in main markets like US/EU/Japan struggle through the all copy-protection bumps.

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EMI is in trouble

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  about 8 years ago

Funny article on Bloomberg: EMI Ousts Top Music Executives, Forecasts Lower Sales. Quote:

EMI Group Plc, the U.K. record company that signed the Beatles, ousted its two top music executives and forecast lower revenue after disappointing holiday sales.

Alain Levy will leave after five years as chief executive officer of the recorded music division. David Munns, the unit's vice chairman, will also step down.

Key quote:

EMI's revenue has declined as downloads failed to make up for business lost to piracy.

Not that we beleived the crap before. But what's interesting - is the timing. The anouncement comes as follow up to another article discussed on Slashdot recently.

P.S.

Downloads accounted for 8.5 percent of EMI's revenue in the fiscal first half, up from 5.4 percent in the previous year. That wasn't enough to make up for losses to piracy.

Notice they quote percents - not raw money numbers. Nearly 60% rise of sales, what is not that bad. $0.70 from each song sold isn't making up for $10+ they made on every CD before. Does that surprise anyone?

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Re: MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

From MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux:

MySQL now supports only two Linux distributions -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Read between lines: MySQL had given up on vanilla Linux kernel and all its pesky VM bugs.

Well, at least that was my experience of MySQL on vanilla kernel: trying to rebuild index for table of size several times bigger than RAM brings system completely down. Though miraculously it did worked ok when booted into RH shipped kernel. Go figure.

Edit1. Well Okay they clarified the issue. There is no problems of supporting MySQL on other Linux system. Mea culpa for not waiting for official news.

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Case GPL v. anti-trust regulations concluded.

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

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ODF Interoperability

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

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OpenDocument Format - How portable it is?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

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Nintendo DS Lite

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Recently bought Nintendo DS Lite - just for fun and distraction from my usual heavy duty Unix programming. Two games we purchased: Tetris DS and Mario Carts DS.

I spent about 0.00 hours installing/updating Windows. I spent less than 0.00 hours installing fresh nVidia drivers. DS doesn't support (nor requires for proper functioning) apt-get, what was bit disappointing. ;)

And guess what? Regardless device is working great: plug cartridge, press 'A' key and here you go. I wish someday PeeCee software would reach that level of usability.

Games are fun. Tetris is real official Tetris (since that [bad guy] Pajitnov sold the Tetris game invented by his colleague to Nintendo) and well made. Carts are fun too: all tracks are made so that most of the races are about 3 minutes long - precisely time I need to make a break hacking sockets and pipes.

Overall, I'm impressed. It was hard to imagine that the appliance (which sadly doesn't run Linux) could be that well made and provide only good experience.

I think Nintendo might have sold much more of them, be they priced here in Europe more sanely. 140€ for DS Lite and 20-40€ per game is bit too much for something targeted at kids. Many games are rated "3+" - but I wonder how much parents would even think about spending that much for toy for their 3+ kids.

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Good quotes on West

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.

-- Gary Zukav

P.S.

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

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