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Comments

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Wikimedia Community Debates H.264 Support On Wikipedia Sites.

bigmammoth Re:Why? (247 comments)

We "played the politics" a few years ago, there was momentum with at one point chrome saying it was planing to ~remove h.264~ from its browser. But in the end that did not pan out. Firefox ended up supporting h.264, and wikimedia was left with very little video participation by its exclusive support for royalty free formats.

Assuming the point of wikimedia is promote free codecs ( not get free information to people that want to access it ) ... Its still too late to say to Apple .. hey if you don't support webm, you won't be able to view the near zero percentage of wikimedia articles that have video content. But when it comes to h.265 and vp9 or Daala, if Wikimedia was a large video player similar to youtube it could help add its weight behind free future free codecs guenteeing they have a prominante home on the web with an active video community.

about 3 months ago
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Meet the Stampede Supercomputing Cluster's Administrator (Video)

bigmammoth hmm video not html5 compatible? (34 comments)

Was browsing on my nexus 7 android chrome browser, surprised to see the video not load. Figured the whole HTML5 thing had caught on by now ;) Full Disclosure; I work with a competing html5 supporting OVP ( kaltura ) but still annoying I have to hunt down a browser with flash :-|

about 9 months ago
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Don't Build a Database of Ruin

bigmammoth techno-deterministic dystopianism; a false premise (209 comments)

I think we already seeing the initial phases of this. Non-totalitarian societies will adjust and normalize to be more accepting of digressions, and otherwise damaging historic and contemporaneous behavior which will be more transparent for more and more people. What seems like absurd levels of privacy violation today / yesterday, will be taken for granted in the future / present.

To the extent of increased personal hardship from these databases; in non-totalitarian societies its unlikely to result in significant transition towards worse ( or better ) treatment of people outside social and political norms. People outside social norms have been "abused" in small circles for ages; in a larger more "anonymous" society the abuse is built into other layers of the social fabric ( id cards; state oppression etc ); Not to say all circles are created equal; but techno-deterministic dystopianism is a false premise. Technological social changes are bound to the societies in which they take place.

Within "our" global "democratic" "free market" capitalism context the macro implications of concentrated power being able to better micro manage public opinion with powerful tools for life pattern recognition models; may be more problematic then direct loss of privacy abuses that the article outlines. That is to say; all our search for "personal" connections with others may be easier to be mediated. i.e an online video chat "hang out" support group which is moderated by an inquisitive supportive digital agent. That in addition to connecting us to exactly who we needed to talk to and giving us heart felt sense of well being in the short term; is simultaneously creating voids in meaningful existence by commoditizing your values towards particular life style choices, entertaining distractions, and consumption habits that don't enable a sustainable social structure.

Where by every piece of information we look for and every social connection we make is mediated towards these "a-political" life style choices bounding political discourse and participation making it impossible to regulate such abuses enabling increasing concentration of power etc.; there-by creating a vicious cycle in which our autonomy is transformed even more dramatically then in the previous century of mass media consumption.

... But this is far from pre-determined, and these crude statistical models geared toward increased consumption of tomorrow; may in the near future give way to more holistic pictures of who we are with the disposal of much more computational resources and vastly more connected data about our increasing transparent existence. Independently of a slide towards totalitarianism; these databases and cognitive pattern recognition systems; could just as well support connections and social bridging of a cornucopia of personal identities; histories with digressions; and everything in between. If we expand access to build these system with human values we wish to amplify; it could just as well increase "freedom" "autonomy" and sustainable"well being" among the techo-societies participants.

about a year and a half ago
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Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google Chase 'Got Milk?' Patents

bigmammoth maybe "not all bad" (250 comments)

The "game" is defined under terms that are illogical, we should not expect logical behavior. They aim to patent as broadly as possible push the boundaries, shift regulations in their favor. An ecosystem supportive for rapid distributions of disruptive technology may be lost... and society has to spend massive amounts of resources on patent absurdities, but we are living in times of absurd levels of innovation.

In other words If you have to find something positive of this whole mess, it does put a bit of a damper on our march towards singularity.

It remains unclear if the global economies can be aligned to play by these rules for slowing down technological progress, in which case we could see rise of more R&D centers in nation with more favorable systems for intellectual property management. Right now the investment trade offs have not been crossed. But at some point global innovation may transition to lots of smaller non-aligned free platforms of innovation. We can see this in non-aligned open source projects that are not subject to the more absurd patent games since they are not centers of economic power. We can see traditional of highly isolated vertically R&D centers having to reinvent the wheel on many layers of their infrastructure, or work around broad patents. This all helps slow down innovation.

Corporations will transition into organizations consisting almost entirely of lawyers that negotiate the legal implications of distributing something that is a commodity or otherwise freely available. We can see this as an extreme version of what Google is doing with android or what pharmaceutical and gene therapy research centers have become and where they are going ... i.e more lawyers.

Its not a positive trend for innovation..But does damper relative investment into massive R&D projects with shared infrastructure and multiple layers of shared global IP, that is the basis of hyper innovation.

All this "unhealthy activity" may not be that "unhealthy" as it could help push singularity back a few years. Maybe even enable some legal and cultural framework for a structured roll out of the total transformation of everything that singularity will entail. Unnaturally stretching singularity out over the course of a few years instead of ripping apart global economies all at once. This may help avoid some serious problems, like total economic collapse in the "free" automation of "everything", that could leave billions of people without way to sustain their existence.

more than 2 years ago
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Sony Won't Invest As Heavily In PlayStation 4

bigmammoth Re:Consoles Done For? (353 comments)

Really? I don't think graphics have "leveled off". The state of the art real time gaming engine looks pretty different to me from what we see on consoles today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgS67BwPfFY&hd=1 Sure you can make the "game play is worse or the same as before" argument, but to say there are only marginal improvements in graphics does not seem accurate.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Is Releasing an H.264 Plugin For Firefox

bigmammoth callus disregard for what mozilla is trying to do (245 comments)

I am surprised at the callus disregard for what mozilla is trying to accomplish. Its like 5 years ago why did they bother with this open standard, royalty free, patent unencumbered html stuff, they should have just shipped a free Microsoft doc "reader" by default, or why bother with javascript standard, when Microsoft had perfectly good active X systems to tie into native windows apis.

Mozilla knows what they doing, yes they may lose market share, but that is the nature of taking a principled decision that many people don't understand. The web will be better by getting people used to the idea that they need to support WebM in addition to H.264. As today smart phones become tomorrows calculators we won't have to pay taxes on the math that mediates contemporary conversations. Thous removing one small barrier to entry for anyone that wants to design or create audio visual communications systems.

more than 3 years ago
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Wikimedia Trying P2P Video Distribution

bigmammoth Re:Hello NAT (85 comments)

Again its not about piracy where you need near 1:1 ratios for seeds to leaches. Its about supplementing http distribution, so its fine if 60% comes from the http it still reduces distribution costs. Its fine if only a few dozen institutions or upload nodes to donate a few mbs here and there, rather than every visitor contributing an equal amount to an upload.

more than 3 years ago
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Wikimedia Trying P2P Video Distribution

bigmammoth Re:it will not work (85 comments)

it spawn a separate process that stays open and seeding as long as your computer is on and you don't close the application. It has a small indicator in the lower right of your browser and a system tray icon. If you want to 'turn it off' you can disable uploading which is recommend over complete removal since you can still help reduce server load by using the extension even if you upload nothing.

more than 3 years ago
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YouTube, HTML5, and Comparing H.264 With Theora

bigmammoth Re:Theora FAIL (361 comments)

ah dude... chrome is shipping theora support. If Google is not a big pocket target than what is?

more than 4 years ago
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Theora Ahead of H.264 In Objective PSNR Quality

bigmammoth Re:bullcrap (313 comments)

my reading was $10,000 per year per local market service... assuming your internet services hits many thousands of local markets you would hit the maximum royalty for Participation ie millions. This may be an inaccurate reading. Your reading seems logical as well.

more than 4 years ago
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Theora Ahead of H.264 In Objective PSNR Quality

bigmammoth Re:impeding? (313 comments)

typo :( ..meant impending

more than 4 years ago
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Theora Ahead of H.264 In Objective PSNR Quality

bigmammoth Re:bullcrap (313 comments)

I think it by definition bait and switch. It is offered for free right now ... once it more widely adopted and all your infrastructure is organized around using it you have to start paying in 2010. Which is not exactly heavily publicized. This may surprise people that already purchased the encoder only to find that because their site is popular they have to pay once again.

more than 4 years ago
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Mozilla Donates $100K To the Ogg Project

bigmammoth some source links and information (334 comments)

hmm not the post I would have chosen for this news... Could have pointed out some of the source post announcements and avoid perpetuating a few misconceptions.

I have heard about Theora is that it is technically inferior to many other video codecs

Hence the need for funding the Thusnelda enhancements. Theora is a pretty solid codec and can be greatly improved with a few enhancements on the encoder side.

I wonder if wouldn't be better to direct effort to Dirac, perhaps putting Dirac into an Ogg container

Dirac is best at high resolution high bitrate video and not so good for standard definition low bitrate video, hence an enhanced theora is the optimal way to hit the low bandwidth target. Enabling theora to be competitive or better than others codecs in the low bitrate range in the intimidate future with relatively small investment.

Furthermore dirac is planed for inclusion and will be explored in the tail end of this grant. (once liboggplay is more solid). Making liboggplay playback library solid will enable Dirac support to be solid as well. Since Dirac already has a maturing decoder/encoder library (Schrodinger) and already been mapped to an ogg container (what liboggplay plays).
It's relatively easy to add in additional free codecs with ogg mappings. if( FLAC, Speex or Dirac) and will not be the primary use of the funding so its not focused in on the announcement or secondary coverage of the announcement.
More info on the announcement here and the above mentioned links.

more than 5 years ago
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Theora 1.0 Released, Supported By Firefox

bigmammoth Re:the new HTML5 element (310 comments)

you should take a look at the mv_embed script. Once included your embed line looks like this:

<video src="my_video.ogg">

This then gets rewritten to java cortado for IE clients. Or if you don't like cortado and would prefer flash fallback:

<video>
<source type="video/ogg" src="mymovie.ogg" />
<source type="video/x-flv" src="mymovie.flv" />
</video>

Or if you want to make the video accessible with multiple downloadable video formats and multiple timed text tracks (annotations, multiple subtitle languages and what have you) all pulled from xml via JSON request (to support remote embedding) all auto-scrolled/updated with javascript based on whatever underlining playback system your browser supports:

<video roe="my_roe_file.xml">

(uses ROE for the xml format) presently in use in blogs such as this one

more than 5 years ago
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Theora 1.0 Released, Supported By Firefox

bigmammoth Re:Uh? (310 comments)

yea ofcourse its a BSD license but given how our US patent system "works" its near impossible to "prove" that any piece of software does not have submarine patent risk.
I did a post on this issue a while back.
Key point is that even mpegla does not protect its clients from being sued..

more than 5 years ago
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Theora 1.0 Released, Supported By Firefox

bigmammoth Re:Free Is Good, But Quality Is Lacking (310 comments)

The fact that the quality improvements for theora 1.1 put it on par with a base mpeg4 implementation while not on par with the most recent h264 encoders is not really relevant in the larger sense.

Once a free codec becomes widely adopted the chance of some proprietary codec coming along afterwards is near zero. Its just like today we can't imagine someone coming out with a proprietary image format and expecting people to adopt it.

Its relatively easy to add in support for Dirac or some future free codec once there is support for a free codec ecosystem. No one will pay h264 licensing costs when quality free alternatives are vibrant. The entrenched proprietary systems are being pushed aside for free alternatives. This 1.0 release is a step towards that direction, not as big of a step once firefox 3.1 ships but an important step ;)

more than 5 years ago
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Theora 1.0 Released, Supported By Firefox

bigmammoth Re:Horray (310 comments)

its #4 now.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Wikimedia commnity debates H.264 support on Wikipedia sites.

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  about 3 months ago

bigmammoth (526309) writes "Wikimedia has been a long time supporter of royalty free formats, but is now considering a shift in their position. From the RfC

To support the MP4 standard as a complement to the open formats now used on our sites, it has been proposed that videos be automatically transcoded and stored in both open and MP4 formats on our sites, as soon as they are uploaded or viewed by users. The unencumbered WebM and Ogg versions would remain our primary reference for platforms that support them. But the MP4 versions would enable many mobile and desktop users who cannot view these unencumbered video files to watch them in MP4 format.

This has stirred a heated debate within the Wikimedia community as to whether the mp4 / h.264 format should be supported. Many wikimedia regulars have weign in, resulting in currently an even split between adding the h.264 support or not. The request for comment is open to all users of Wikimedia including the broader community of readers. What do you think about supporting h.264 on Wikimedia sites ?"

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Wikimedia Foundation considering H.264

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  about 3 months ago

bigmammoth (526309) writes "Wikimedia foundation has been a long time support of royalty free formats. They are now considering a shift in policy. From the Wikimedia RfC:

Video is used widely for educational purposes on the Internet. Online videos can be an effective learning tool, particularly for people who cannot read well. However, video is not widely used on Wikimedia projects. To date, only 38,000 video files have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons — about 0.2% of the 19 million other media files in our repository (by contrast, YouTube now hosts over 6.5 million educational videos).

One of the major reasons why there are so few videos on Wikimedia sites is that we do not support the widespread MP4 standard. Instead, we rely on the lesser-known Ogg Theora and WebM standards, whose user base is vastly outnumbered by the many users of MP4 around the world. As of this writing, about 150 million of our users are still unable to view open video files on their browsers.

The request for comment is open to the public. Readers and editors alike are encouraged to share their perspective on this potential change for video on Wikimedia sites."

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Wikmedia and BitTorrent Video Distribution Trails

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bigmammoth (526309) writes "One potential problem with campaigns and programs to increase video on Wikimedia sites is that video is many times more costly to distribute than text and images. The P2P-Next consortium has created an HTML5 streaming BitTorrent browser add-on to try and help experiment with ways to reduce the costs of video distribution. As described in a Wikimedia tech blog post, once the SwamPlayer add-on is installed, and when using the multimedia beta, video on the site will be streamed via the hybrid HTTP / BitTorrent SwarmPlayer. For smooth playback the Swarmplayer downloads high priority pieces over http while getting low priority bits from the BitTorrent swarm. The same technology is available for experimentation with any site via the stand alone version of the Kaltura HTML5 Media library"
Link to Original Source
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Firefogg in Browser Encoder, Adds WebM Support

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bigmammoth (526309) writes "Firefogg the open source in browser video encoder has recently added WebM support. The release includes updates to the multilingual web interface to encode webm and ogg theora files directly to the users local hard drive. For developers, firefogg includes an api for web apps to request specific encoding settings from clients saving on transport time and avoiding multiple re-encodes. With Chrome, Firefox and Opera all shipping vp8 in the near future, in browser tools such as firefogg are proving to be valuable for quick experimentation with free web video formats."
Link to Original Source
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Theora ahead of h.264 in objective PSNR quality

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bigmammoth writes "Xiph hackers have been hard at work improving the theora codec over the past year with the latest versions gaining on and passing h.264 in objective PSNR quality measurements. From the update:

Amusingly, it also shows test versions of Thusnelda pulling *ahead* of h264 in terms of objective quality as bitrate increases. It's important to note that PSNR is an objective measure that does not exactly represent perceived quality, and PSNR measurements have always been especially kind to Theora. This is also data from a single clip. That said, it's clear that the gap in the fundamental infrastructure has closed substantially before the task of detailed subjective tuning has begun in earnest.

Momentum is building with a major Open Video Conference in June, the impeding launch of Firefox 3.5 and excitement about wider adoption in a top 4 web site. It's looking like free video codecs may posed a seriously threat to h.264 bait and switch plan to start charging millions for internet streaming of h.264 in 2010."
Link to Original Source

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Mozilla and Wikimedia Join Forces on Open Video

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

bigmammoth writes "Mozilla has reaffirmed its commitment to open video on the web announcing a $100k grant to the Wikimedia Foundation to help coordinate improvements to ogg Theora. Specifically the grant will include enhancement and integration of the new Thusnelda encoder, improved Ogg network seeking & language selection, and improvements to the core playback libraries used in firefox.

As noted in the wired coverage:

Monday's news is sure to cause a heap of worry at Adobe, Apple and Microsoft. The giants own the web's leading media playback and streaming technologies, and collect the lucrative licensing payments for their use.

This announcement on the heals of archive.org's 200k ogg theora video transcode effort, and improved archive interoperability, should all bode well for open media on the web."
Link to Original Source

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Xiph Fights Back for inclusion in the HTML5 Draft

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bigmammoth writes "Last night xiph.org has issued a press release responding to changes made in the HTML5 draft that remove references to ogg codecs and container.

The W3C has expressed a clear intention to officially define video as an integral part of the web by introducing the <video/> tag. Up to this point, video on the web has been presented primarily using a fragmented array of proprietary extensions powered by encumbered formats. Those who cannot use them have been made second-class citizens. Failing to standardize on an unencumbered, reasonably-performing format is a failure to advance beyond this state.
They also point out that Ogg has triggered no litigation to date even though it is very widely used. The same cannot be said for MPEG-licensed codecs.

The MPEG-LA's own sublicense disclaimer warns that licensees are not protected from patent-related litigation nor are they protected from submarine patents.
"

Link to Original Source
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Principles for Open Government Data RFC

bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dale writes "This weekend, 30 open government advocates gathered to develop a set of principles of open government data. The meeting, held in Sebastopol, California, was designed to develop a more robust understanding of why open government data is essential to democracy.
The Internet is the public space of the modern world, and through it governments now have the opportunity to better understand the needs of their citizens and citizens may participate more fully in their government. Information becomes more valuable as it is shared, less valuable as it is hoarded. Open data promotes increased civil discourse, improved public welfare, and a more efficient use of public resources. The group is offering a set of fundamental principles for open government data. By embracing the eight principles, governments of the world can become more effective, transparent, and relevant to our lives."

Link to Original Source
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bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bigmammoth writes "Today, C-SPAN has steeped into the digital age and announced the liberalization of their copyright policy. Now online bloggers, citizen journalists, and any non-commercial entity with something to say about their representative can post federally sponsored events as covered by C-SPAN online without fear of copyright reprisals.
From C-SPAN.org

C-SPAN is introducing a liberalized copyright policy for current, future, and past coverage of any official events sponsored by Congress and any federal agency- about half of all programming offered on the C-SPAN television networks-which will allow non-commercial copying, sharing, and posting of C-SPAN video on the Internet, with attribution.
C-SPAN's liberalized copyright policy is good news for sites like metavid and anyone that is posting C-SPAN's coverage of our government online."
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bigmammoth bigmammoth writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bigmammoth writes "C-SPAN bid to "liberate" the House and Senate floor footage has re-emerged and been shot down. In an aim to build support a recent New York Times editorial called for reality TV for congress. But what is missing from this editorial is the issue of privatization and the subsequent restriction of meaningful access to these media assets. Currently the US government produces this floor footage and it is public domain. This enables projects such as metavid to publicly archive these media assets in high quality ogg theora using all open source software guaranteeing freely reusable access to both the archive and all the media assets. In contrast C-SPAN's view only online offerings disappear into their pay for access archive after two weeks and are then subject to many restrictions.
If C-SPAN succeeds reusable access to floor footage will be lost and sites such as metavid will be forced to stop archiving. Because of C-SPAN's zealous IP enforcement metavid has already been forced to take down all of already "liberated" committee hearings which are C-SPAN produced. Fortunately, the house leadership sees private cameras as a loss of "dignity and decorum" and will be denying C-SPANS request"

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