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Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

ThePhilips Re:Never could get into Star Trek (103 comments)

3. Badly done aliens, with a lame explanation.

After watching the Japanese "Fafner" TV animation, I was quite intrigued by the whole "assimilation" idea. Tried to watch the Star Trek version of it - and was largely disappointed.

The "Q" are one hell of a plothole - but still pretty much the only "true" aliens in the Start Trek.

yesterday
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Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

ThePhilips More of the same (103 comments)

intent on keeping true to the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's television show.

That's just another way of saying "more of the same".

I can understand why the entertainment industry is so obsessed with the canons: to not dilute value of the original.

But I still can't grasp the why the fans are so obsessed with the "more of the same"?

P.S. I like how Japanese animes often parody and make fun of themselves. I like how they sometimes shuffle the roles and characters. Occasionally the shenanigans are way too transparent and shallow - but sometimes very brilliant and deeps ideas come out of it.

yesterday
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Tor Network May Be Attacked, Says Project Leader

ThePhilips Re:BitTorrent Maelstrom (84 comments)

Still.

Dismantling the centralized institutions one by one - DNS, IANA/RIRs, hosting providers - whatever Maelstrom is capable of - is a step in the right direction.

If sufficient number of decentralized alternatives appears, one can try to nest them like a russian dolls. More layers of the nested services - higher the privacy (at the potential cost of reliability).

2 days ago
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Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

ThePhilips Re:Case insensitive file systems were a bug (146 comments)

I dont know if its a bug, it makes navigation more simpler.

Any evidence to back up the claim?

When 10+ years ago I was moving from Linux to Windows, the case-sensitve file system was one of the major risk factors.

But even in the beginnng, I have encountered precisely zero problems with it. And I'm the type who works mostly on the terminal and should be directly impacted by the case-sensitive file names.

The thing is, these days, nobody types the filenames manually: it is either click in GUI with the mouse or filename completion on the command line. And even if the filenames needs to be typed manually, literally everybody universally uses the lower case. (That even on Windows. And I have helped in past correct the case handling in several Windows applications so that they create files with consistent upper/lower case names. Because users were complaining that it is inconvenient and kind of fugly that sometimes output filenames are upper case, sometimes lower case.)

As such, I consider case-insensitive file names to be a redundant feature.

2 days ago
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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

ThePhilips Re:Waaaaa.... Whaaaaaaaa. (594 comments)

It has nothing to do with wealth.

A quiet, kid-friendly neighbourhood street becomes literally a meat grinder.

I have lived twice near such streets. Once - juat as the street was transitioning from the "quiet, kid-friendly" to "meat grinder". Two kids were killed by speeding cars. Road bumps had only limited (and largely negative) effect: an idiot crashes his car on the road bump, traffic jam forms on both sides of the street and the whole city quarter is effectively blocked: no car can get in or get out.

The final solution community found was to cut the one "through" street in the middle, making out of it two dead-end streets.

5 days ago
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Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

ThePhilips Re:Holy Fuck! (270 comments)

And the poor customers gets duped into buying a counterfeit pods without even realizing it!

That must be stopped!

Think of the customers!!

about two weeks ago
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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

ThePhilips Too much smoothing (377 comments)

There is a reason why JPEG is blocky. The blocky nature of the encoding preserves details better.

BPG blurs everything heavily. Small details and fine textures literally disappear.(*)

JPEG is definitely outdated and web could gain from a worthy replacement. But BPG IMO doesn't appear to be "it".

(*) I wonder how JPEG would fare on the images, decoded from BPG. Since fine details are removed by BPG, the JPEG would be smaller too.

about two weeks ago
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BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

ThePhilips Re:dynamic sites ? (67 comments)

Most of the web might be dynamic.

But most of the interesting content is quite static, changing relatively slowly. Consider Wikipedia or YouTube. Wikipedia updates relatively slowly. YouTube only adds new videos (and after Google's touches the comments and the recommendations are pretty useless anyway).

Search and the comments might need to stay dynamic - and centralized - but hosting costs would drop significantly if the bulk data transfers would be handled by the P2P network.

about two weeks ago
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Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

ThePhilips Re:Google engineers... (239 comments)

I have found a very good job near where I live and I have simply "canceled" their hiring "process" in the middle. Imagine: dozens phone calls to organize dozens of "interviews", scattered around the world. I have stopped around 5th or 6th "interview", which was around 9-12 month into the "process". In other words, I wasn't hired by Google on technicality that I got bored waiting (and found good job ~20min walking distance from home!)

All in all, I was pretty surprised to find that the hiring process in Google is so badly organized and is so poor in communication. Just like any other other employer, they let you wait and dangle, but the difference that they need 4-12 times more interviews and 4-12 times more waiting and dangling for weeks and months.

That whole thing doesn't make sense, unless your goal specifically is the magic "Google" badge on your CV.

about two weeks ago
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Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

ThePhilips Google engineers... (239 comments)

Google engineers are just bunch of narcissistic douchebags. (Hey, I went through their hiring process - I know the types who would fit perfectly!)

GMail was one of the first indicators.

They fail to understand the purpose of e-mail, and as such we would never ever get the most basic and oldest of the e-mail client functions: folders.

But they would go on "reinventing" e-mail forever, with colors, tabs, bars, circles, ovals, shapes, and probably in far future odors. Because sitting down and making a finished product takes a commitment. But the only thing Google has ever apparently committed itself to.... Squirrel!

about three weeks ago
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Debian Forked Over Systemd

ThePhilips Re:All right, allow me to expose my ignorance (647 comments)

Just do the "pulseaudio -k" to restart PA.

Since Pottering has left the PulseAudio project, at least the serviceability side of things has improved.

about three weeks ago
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Debian Forked Over Systemd

ThePhilips Re:All right, allow me to expose my ignorance (647 comments)

"monolithic in architecture" - that means its a single binary with no dependencies [...]

No. Single binary with no dependencies means monolithic design.

For example Linux kernel : single binary with no external dependencies, but internally its architecture is still modular. And the implementation of modules in Linux is still largely "monolithic", since kernel are just pieces of the live kernel, not compatible between different kernel version, which reside on hard drive, not in memory. And when they are loaded into the memory they pretend to be an integral part of the kernel.

[...] which is wrong otherwise every single binary with depending on a library is a monolith. this smart-ass mis-definition of "monolith" is one used by detractors of any system they don't like.

You seem to fail to grasp the difference between design and architecture. Your CS education has failed you. Pick a copy of Booch's OOAD and read it up.

about three weeks ago
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Debian Forked Over Systemd

ThePhilips Re:All right, allow me to expose my ignorance (647 comments)

Or I forgot to add "beardy" to "*NIX guys"? Who knows.

What people do not understand, do not grasp yet, is that SystemD brings Linux closer to the *BSD. Pretty soon, SystemD would start dictating kernel version and kernel configuration, turning the whole Linux ecosystem upside down, and making it just like the BSD: a system which contains not only the kernel, but also the whole shebang of userspace tools and libraries.

But it does it the Windows way, instead of the traditional *NIX/BSD way, and that is what provokes most of the protests.

Slashdot crowd is special and doesn't see that modern "Linux admin" is not much different from "Windows admin". RHEL and SLES already lock down the system (both with semi-proprietary software and support contracts) to the point where admin can only press the button to accomplish something. If there is no button - then it is impossible. In other words: just like the Windows. (In part, of course, because these days Windows too, similarly to Linux, allows some level of automation from command line or (Visual Basic or PowerShell) scripts.)

about three weeks ago
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Debian Forked Over Systemd

ThePhilips Re:All right, allow me to expose my ignorance (647 comments)

I used to be a sys admin, but that was years ago and currently I only use Linux on the desktop. I don't suppose that someone could explain to me (or just give me a link to an explanation): what is systemd exactly, what does it change, and why do people both love and hate it so much?

Systemd is a piece of software, modular in design, monolithic in architecture. It is, on top of being a replacement for init and the init.d scripts, replaces basically everything touching kernel and whatnot. It is also a service management and monitoring framework.

It is authored by the same guy who created PulseAudio and Avahi. Think a guy with enourmous ego and the GNOME attitude ("my way, or the highway").

I've seen enough of these stories now to kind of get the feeling that it's mostly admins who hate this, and they mostly hate it because it's change and it screws up their configs. Is that right? Is there any other reason to hate it? I have no idea what the motivation is on the other side.

It takes what worked and everybody knows (mostly written in shell), and replaces it with binary blobs (binary programs, written in C).

The majority of admins (think: ex-Windows white collars) are overjoyed to have a new toy. They never knew how init worked - and now they do not have to care anymore. Because anything written in C is magically better than everything written in shell.

The minority of admins (think: *NIX guys) are royally pissed that something they were taking for granted - the total control over the system *NIX always provided - is now basically locked down and given away to some guys from interwebs about whom they never heard before. All for the sake, wait for it, that GNOME can shutdown or restart computer smoothly.

about three weeks ago
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How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

ThePhilips Wait? For how long? (438 comments)

We'll have to wait and see on that.

What's wrong with you people. We are waiting already for 5+ MORE THAN FIVE fucking years. Still hasn't happened.

1TB HDD - 60-80€, 1TB SSD - >350€.

The problem is that once PC is turned on, there is not much use for the SSD speed. It's not like I'm moving terabytes of data around everyday. And even if I have to, I do not have to wait for it: I simply leave it overnight.

Another problem is that (some) SSD have the nasty habit, once failed, to deny you access to the data at all. I hoped that at least those jackasses would straighten out the SMART support and finally standardize the monitoring parameters. But few moronic manufacturers even proclaimed that their drives are so good that they don't need no stinking SMART support...

All in all, SSDs are developing too fast. And have pretty bad history of firmware bugs. And literally all manufacturers, instead of strengthening their stance of data safety, all like one doubled down on the "oh but look how fast it is!"

P.S. And TRIM support is still in shambles. After all the years, some drives still require a proprietary application/driver installed.

about a month ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

ThePhilips Re:Yes. (330 comments)

So buy a 4K/UHD display and regard it as two 1920x2160 portrait-mode displays? There are plenty of options, even up to 39" before you get into TVs, and then the sky's the limit.

Aspect ratio fanaticism is nothing but neo-luddism.

"Well, that escalated quickly." (c)

about a month ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

ThePhilips Re:Yes. (330 comments)

Think of them as two portrait-mode displays side-by-side with no annoying bezel.

Those are two *very* *small* portrait-mode displays.

I know some people do not mind squinting at monitor whole day - heck, some even like the light background. But I like my bgs dark and fonts large. And you can't fit that on a small display. Even if you have two of them.

about a month ago
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Samsung Seeking To Block Nvidia Chips From US Market

ThePhilips Re: I mean this respectfully (93 comments)

P.S. - Samsung, in no way, is a good company. They are bribery committing, price fixing, colluding, thieves - all convictions in a court of law.

Name one company which isn't.

All companies do it.

If found, pay fines, downplay it in media, and then proceed with the business as usual.

about a month ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

ThePhilips Yes. (330 comments)

Would a square display be of any benefit to you?

Most definitely yes.

WA displays are simply too wide. And in portrait orientation, they are too narrow.

I want my 4:3 or 5:4 back. 1:1 seems like a good compromise.

But I doubt that I will get one. For home, I want a WA for movies/etc. For office... I have little control over what junk IT buys. I bet the monitor would cost premium, and as such ordering one would be out of the question.

about a month ago

Submissions

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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  about 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  |  more than 6 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  |  about 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 6 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  |  more than 7 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  |  more than 7 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  |  about 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  |  about 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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