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Comment: Re: this is great news! (Score 1) 92

by BLKMGK (#47514337) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

Then you have to find software that will play it, nothing to this point except Windows software has been capable and many of those player packages required tricks to get them to work. All of my HTPC front-ends are Linux based XBMC and the hassle of mounting ISO and using Windows isn't something I'm interested in. ISO are indeed "larger" - about 3x bigger! Disk space is cheaper sure but not so cheap that I'm willing to triple my storage needs. Compression is the way to go!

Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 2) 92

by BLKMGK (#47512937) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

This. This. This!

Media makes sense for many of us including me. It's higher fidelity, it's MINE so long as I possesses it, and I can transcode it to whatever format. Lend it? Sure! Borrow it? Yup! Watch it (nearly) right away? Can do! Yes, I hate the ads, the forced BS, but I can still watch it - media has value to me any many others. Being able to use the menus and gain access to the extra content and alternate versions of a movie without having to rip it multiple times would be awesome!

This is good news :-)

Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 1) 92

by BLKMGK (#47512907) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

I own lots of them - all of them have been ripped to my server, compressed, and put into MKV containers. However by doing this I cannot get the "branching" that many BluRay have for alternate endings etc. and any additional content on the disk is pretty much wasted too - sometimes I like that stuff. With DVD I rip to ISO and have full access to that stuff!

Now that this is moving forward, finally, if someone can come up with a way to compress the content but allow access to menus, alternate endings, blah blah, I'll happily re-rip to a format or container that allows for that playback. Yeah, this is a BIG deal for many of us.

Mind you, MKV supports "branching" on it's own, it even supports menus! Now, try finding mature tools that can create MKV with the branching properly or tools to create MKV menus. I've seen ONE tool to create the branching files (years ago and I lost track of it's development) but I've yet to see that format supported in my player of choice - XBMC. I think VLC *might* support it but I'm not sure - I'm told Anime files sometimes use this but I'm not a consumer of that.

If the stars align the XBMC folks will take these changes to the BD library and leverage them. Then maybe the community will create tools to support ripping that will play this back. That would be cool - we'll see. People have been working just to get this support for YEARS so this is a pretty decent feat IMO.

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 191

by BLKMGK (#47494987) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I would bet that putting indy author's wares on display would lead to some backlash by big publishers if they found out, not seeing indy publishers who've made a name for themselves on bookshelves doesn't surprise me. As someone who reads books exclusively electronically I've likely lost some touch but the sense I have is that paper is slowly going away and that e-books are now selling well enough that having paper copies produced isn't a "must" in order to make a living. An author's goals play into their choices I think - do they want to see their book in bright lights or do they want to make a living? If you want fame then e-publishing is probably not going to get you to that same level. If you want to be able to support yourself, drop the second job, and not have to travel all over promoting then e-publishing isn't a bad path if you've got talent.

I would point out that Konrath seems to take issue with that 40% figure. He has made far more than 40% and one of his biggest points seems to be that he will continue making money on that book pretty much forever. He has complete control of pricing and availability, something he certainly wouldn't have with a big publisher and 100% wouldn't have if the book were printed. Take a hard look at how long a print book gets shelf space and print runs, if it doesn't take off it's dropped BUT the publisher retains rights a very long time. The publisher can kill your ability to make any money simply by stopping the presses - not so with e-books.

You have to read fairly deeply into his blog but there was a time when Konrath was fighting to get rights back for some of his books that were languishing. He has also made a great deal out of the fact that many of the books he was rejected on have made him a great deal of money as e-books. Certainly he has anger against the big publishers both because of this and because of some truly stupid marketing decisions they've made for him. Mind you, I've not read any of his books as the genre has zero interest to me but I find his blog to have some pretty fascinating insights into publishing.

I won't disagree that there are almost certainly some really bad books out there. Reviews help weed those out and Amazon often allows you to read small portions of a book you're considering. I'm okay with the existence of bad books out there since big publishing houses seem to cull a great deal of wheat with the chaff when they make their publishing decisions. The few authors I know seem to want to go the traditional publishing route, they seem to feel it's somehow "safe" and it's a norm they know vs an unknown leap. As a result they've only dabbled with e-books (if nothing it's a way to get me to read their stuff). If any of them became half as successful as Konrath at it they could be doing what they love full-time. IMO the path to that is e-publishing, the big publishing houses are too greedy and their terms too lopsided. If I were talented enough to author a book I'd have zero interest in the print houses

Comment: Re: The issue is big publishing (Score 1) 191

by BLKMGK (#47492607) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Read the blog I linked above. He self publishes on multiple platforms, Amazon doesn't stop him from doing that and in fact he has offered free downloads on his own site for some of the same content he sells on Amazon. If you told him that big publishing did all of those things he would laugh at you. Most of that can be outsourced and if you think the big publishing houses really do much promotion I've got a bridge you might be interested in. Certainly some authors get promoted but only a very select few. Considering the cost of their services no way would I consider any of the big houses. The worst thing is that when it goes out of print they still own rights, you cannot make money on it and they are now locking in ebook rights too. Ebooks on the other hand have no fee to be stocked and are always available. Read what he and others have had to say about wrestling with big publishing houses to get back their rights. Read about the ridiculous pricing and hugs cuts those same publishers take from authors. Also read about the freelance editors and artists he and others have employed. The guy writes books I'd hate to read but sells them like crazy, publishes his sales numbers, and helps out other authors. He also seems to really hate the big publishing houses and explains why in pretty good detail IMO. Yes, Amazon has gotten big and the big publishers want everyone to assume they will one day start ripping everyone off, maybe they will, but it's a sure thing the big publishing houses are ripping people off NOW. I'd stick with Amazon personally....

Comment: The issue is big publishing (Score 4, Interesting) 191

by BLKMGK (#47490283) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Amazon has done a TON for indy authors and they've shared their profits. When the big publishers tried to force higher prices on Amazon I stopped buying. You would think these asshats would've learned from the music industry - especially since their wares are so much smaller when downloaded and lose no fidelity at all. Now they've all had to settle for big fines but do you think that this will bring readers back into the fold? I doubt it.

This guy has some interesting information about what's going on with out the big publisher bias - other than the fact that his bias is he hates big publishing lol

Comment: Re:Grammar (Score 1) 329

by BLKMGK (#47005961) Attached to: Your Old CD Collection Is Dying

That layer of oxide is normally not present in CDs because they're sealed in plastic. Let air get in there and you see all sorts of funky things. I have some CDs from the 80s and I can see some sort of almost mold looking stuff creeping in from the edges on a few of them. Last I ripped them they all still played fine but I don't expect that will continue forever. Disbelieve if you wish but this is real and I see it occurring with my media as of a few years ago - haven't cracked the box to look since but I doubt it's gotten better. This isn't a plastic issue, it's the aluminum itself oxidizing aka "rusting", you can treat the plastic or polish it and the creeping crud is still there.

Comment: Re: Why not have an in House IT for the work? (Score 1) 143

by BLKMGK (#46955863) Attached to: How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

If you think the developers would be any closer than 8 levels if it were done in house you're deluding yourself. The process in place now would be just as bad with in house because everyone would want CYA "accountability" and that too means reams of paperwork and heaven forbid anyone talk face to face - it has to be "documented". That soul crushing red tape isn't going away when you try to do big systems in house. Try to fire a Govt worker who's screwed up, unless they were appointed and it was a public mess it's near impossible. Fire a contractor? Snap your fingers and they can be gone. Managers are put in areas they have no clue about to get them out of their "box" so hell yes they make mistakes. Want to get promoted? Gotta' spend big money on big projects boss!

Comment: Re:true, but partially because govt pays 10X too m (Score 3, Insightful) 143

by BLKMGK (#46955815) Attached to: How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

Or perhaps he actually has some experience with aircraft. Counterfeit bolts are a HUGE issue as is quite a few other things that are supposed to be specced properly and are built in China. Everything from bolts to beams for bridges have had problems - ask San Fran about the latter. It takes all of 5 seconds to find PLENTY of evidence that counterfeit bolts are a problem in multiple industries. Counterfeit electronics are also an issue and for the military this is 100% unacceptable unless you would like to find yourself in a jet fighter coming apart because of it. If you think that it all comes off of the same assembly line you've got a screw loose yourself...


The Almighty Buck

Can You Buy a License To Speed In California? 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the downside-is-that-you-have-to-be-in-california dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Alex Mayyasi reports that in the parking lots of Silicon Valley's venture capital firms, expensive cars gleam in the California sun and a closer look reveals that the cars share a mysterious detail: they nearly all have a custom license plate frame that reads, 'Member. 11-99 Foundation.' Are the Bay Area's wealthy all part of some sort of illuminati group that identifies each other by license plate instead of secret handshakes? The answer is the state highway patrol — the men and women that most people interact with only when getting ticketed for speeding. A number of the frames read 'CHP 11-99 Foundation,' which is the full name of a charitable organization that supports California Highway Patrol officers and their families in times of crisis. Donors receive one license plate as part of a $2,500 'Classic' level donation, or two as part of a bronze, silver, or gold level donation of $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000. Rumor has it, according to Mayyasi, that the license plate frames come with a lucrative return on investment. As one member of a Mercedes-Benz owners community wrote online back in 2002: 'I have the ultimate speeding ticket solution. I paid $1800 for a lifetime membership into the 11-99 foundation. My only goal was to get the infamous 'get out of jail' free license plate frame.'

The 11-99 Foundation has sold license plate frames for most of its 32 year existence, and drivers have been aware of the potential benefits since at least the late 1990s. But attention to the issue in 2006-2008 led the foundation to stop giving out the frames. An article in the LA Times asked 'Can Drivers Buy CHP Leniency?' and began by describing a young man zipping around traffic — including a police cruiser — and telling the Times that he believed his 11-99 frames kept him from receiving a ticket. But the decision was almost irrelevant to another thriving market: the production and sale of fake 11-99 license plate frames. But wait — the CHP 11-99 Foundation also gives out membership cards to big donors. 'Unless you have the I.D. in hand when (not if) I stop you,' says one cop, 'no love will be shown.'"

Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake? 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the pay-seven-cents-to-agree-or-disagree dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This article makes the case that most gamers treat 'free-to-play' games with derision and scorn when they really shouldn't. The author refers to it as 'snobbery.' We've all either encountered or heard about a game company using shady business practices to squeeze every cent from their users through in-app purchases (a.k.a. microtransations, a.k.a. cash shops), or a simple pay-to-win format. But these stories don't represent all games — by a long shot. It's something endemic to shady developers and publishers, not the business model. Think about traditionally-sold games, and how often you've seen a trailer that horribly misrepresents gameplay. Or a $60 game that was an unfinished, buggy mess. Or a Kickstarted project that didn't deliver on its promises. The author says, 'When something is new, when it isn't aimed at you, when it is created by strange people in strange places, when it breaks established norms and when it is becoming hugely popular... it's scary for the establishment. The ethical critique is an easy way to fight these changes, a call to protect the children or protect the irrational people who obviously can't like these games on their own merits. We begin to sound as reactionary as the ban on pinball or the fears over jazz music corrupting the minds of our youth.'"

Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration 664

Posted by timothy
from the go-ahead-ask-your-car-a-question dept.
New submitter robertchin writes "Michael Barr recently testified in the Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp lawsuit that the likely cause of unintentional acceleration in the Toyota Camry may have been caused by a stack overflow. Due to recursion overwriting critical data past the end of the stack and into the real time operating system memory area, the throttle was left in an open state and the process that controlled the throttle was terminated. How can users protect themselves from sometimes life endangering software bugs?"

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