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Comment Re:What is the big deal? (Score 1) 48

"The encryption is in a QR code that's printed on the label, but isn't rewritable."

That seems to be the key point.

My guess is that the handful of bits in the label will be used in different ways by each company that adopts it, and it will be something like "the first three bits indicate which facility was the last to handle it, with 000 indicating that it has been sent to the pharmacy, the next five bits indicate which employee in this production line last handled the tagged object", etc., with the barcode specifying which internal-to-the-company algorithm was used to shift the bits around before storing them on the rewritable tag.

It's not that anyone who had blank tags and the equipment to write to them couldn't exactly copy any particular tag they got their hands on, but that it shouldn't be feasible for anyone to synthesize a valid fake label, so nobody can get a bunch of manufactured-by-flybynightco-in-china fake tablets or even a pile of "legitimate" pills snuck out of the factory in somebody's socks, stick them in a bottle, and label them to look like they've been legitimately packaged and shipped from the company (for example).

Comment "Media" codec = "video" (Score 1) 99

I hate the ongoing assumption that "media" just mean "internet TV".

Anyway, this appears to be specifically about developing a legally-free video codec. Anyone who's skeptical that it can be done should be pointed to the previous similar project to develop an audio codec: opus, which has been done, successfully, for a couple of years now and was developed in a similar fashion by a similar coalition of companies (and driven largely by Xiph/Mozilla's work as looks like this video codec will probably be, with input from other relevant tech). Opus is extremely successful technically (I don't think there is any other general-purpose lossy audio codec - free or proprietary - that opus doesn't handily beat), and has been moderately successful in the market (uptake by forward-looking developers was fast, Google supports it, Cisco supports it, and even friggin' MICROSOFT has committed to it now...)

My only complaint about opus so far is that Google's webm-only video fixation keeps them from remembering to support .opus audio files often. Android "Lollipop" and later has native opus codec support but still doesn't recognize .opus files as media. (VLC for Android does, though...) Chrome had a long delay in getting opus audio enabled for the same reason. Jerks. (Chrome does support .opus now, though, and has for a while).

If work on the video codec goes anywhere near as well for this coalition as it did for Opus audio, it ought to be very successful. Maybe more so, given that much of this coalition was also involved with opus and perhaps have learned some useful lessons on how to run projects like this.

(Admittedly, that's still an "if", but I'm actually optimistic here.)

Comment Re:LibreOffice Online? (Score 1) 59

I'm sure LOOL will be released Real Soon Now! I've already pre-ordered my copy.

(Seriously though - unlike Duke Nukem, one can actually verify that LOOL is being actively developed. I realize they've been talking about LOOL for like half a decade now without a real release, but I actually think they'll really release it now that they have some collaborators working on it.)

Comment Re:Didn't Like Eich (Score 1) 192

"the removal of Brandon Eich because he held a non-progressive belief.

Eich removed himself, and it's a good thing, because his response to the overblown controversy was to try to hide from it and hope it went away. His inability to cope pretty well proved that he wasn't fit to be CEO of Mozilla, whose problem is largely the same (unwillingness/inability to engage with its public any more) to begin with.

On top of that, the last thing I remember about Eich's activity at Mozilla was him enthusiastically cheerleading the possibility of shoving OTOY's special proprietary video codec for remote-desktop use into Firefox. This is the same kind of proprietary 3rd-party off-topic crap that has people throwing tantrums with Pocket right now. Eich was all on-board with this sort of thing, it would seem, and was an active part of this harmful tumor of corporate culture. Having him in charge would not have made things better.

Comment Losers (Score 2) 232

If you can't even command respect from the spirits inhabiting your own equipment, you shouldn't be in IT to begin with.

(I actually used to have a "sacred rubber voodoo chicken" that I'd bring with me when someone was having a problem that had a quick solution that I knew about before I arrived on-site. Wait until they look away, click the button that fixes the problem, and then when they turn back, shake the rubber chicken at the computer. "That should do it, let me know if the spirits get disobedient again.")

Comment Magical Pixie-dust Patents (Score 1) 242

Some years back, I remember seeing a story (I think it was actually here on /.) that one of the big companies (Samsung?) had gotten a patent on teleportation.

Unless there's some sort of game they play with "continuations" of patents to keep them going forever (like at least one of the remaining patents around .mp3 encoding) it seems like most of these sorts of patents should expire before there's even a working prototype. Is this just parasitism by company IP lawyers and associated corporate baggage trying to justify their pay?

(From the link above:)"This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/650,896, filed on May 17, 1996, (now abandoned) which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 08/519,620, filed on Sep. 25, 1995, (now abandoned) which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/977,748, filed on Nov. 16, 1992, (now abandoned), which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/816,528, filed on Dec. 30, 1991, (now abandoned), which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/640,550, filed on Jan. 14, 1991, (now abandoned), which was a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/177,550, filed on Apr. 4, 1991, (now abandoned) as international application serial No. PCT/DE87/00384, filed Aug. 29, 1987, claiming priority to foreign appl. No. P3629434.9, filed Aug. 29, 1986."

Comment My pet conspiracy theory... (Score 1) 307

(Adjusts Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie to block out the Bilderberg mind-control rays)

THEY don't want IPv6 implemented, because IPv6 easily ensures that everyone and their evil twin can have a fully-accessible IP address, allowing them to directly communicate with each other without paying extra rent to the ISP for a "server" or "special" (routable) IPv4 address.

If users' systems can directly communicate with each other, there's far less need for centralized sites for everything where it can be controlled (for example, YouTube for video). Deep packet inspection is an option to spy on people looking for copyright trespassers or subversives, but with encryption becoming more readily available, that gets harder, too.

When anybody who wants to can set up (or even buy "canned") a media appliance running something like "MediaGoblin" to share audio, video, text, photos, etc., or VoIP servers like Mumble or various WebRTC-based systems for conferences and "phone calls" and other audio, servers for federated instant-messaging systems or "social media" platforms, etc. etc., and just assign those systems one of the overflowing bucket of publically-routable IPv6 addresses that everyone can have, it'll remove a huge amount of control that big media and telecommunications corporations (and governments) currently have. They don't want that.

Don't try to tell me it's not true, I can hear 'em talking about it on the radios the CIA implanted in my teeth.

But, seriously, my lazy, cheap, asshat phone company can't/won't give me more than one publically-accessible static IP address, probably really because of the ancient crappy DSL modem/router they force us to use and not being willing to have their executives skip lunch for one or two days to pay for the infrastructure upgrades.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean it's not a secret conspiracy on a global scale overall, though...

Comment Re:What is MediaGoblin? (Score 1) 32

It seems (still) potentially very useful, and the federation stuff seems like a bigger deal that it might initially sound like (instead of needing one person or organization to provide a huge server and mirrors for a big collection of media and user accounts, smaller groups and individuals can "federate" more manageably-sized small server instances that they each run). Also, native (which is more or less a very extensible "microblogging" standard if I understand right) support ought to mean you won't need a special "mediagoblin" client to use it outside of the web interface, you'll be able to use whatever general client software you might already be using on other services at the same time (again, assuming I understood that right).

It's one backend that handles a whole lot of different kinds of "media", so you don't need to install a "photo gallery" and a "video server" and a "document server" and so on separately. It takes whatever supported variety of media you give it and converts it to a "web-friendly" open format as needed. As their wiki currently shows: "In the future, there will be all sorts of media types you can enable, but in the meanwhile there are six additional media types: video, audio, raw image, ascii art, STL/3d models, PDF and Document." (Last I heard, it additionally supports a "blog post" sort of type i.e. HTML text. If MediaGoblin takes off I suspect someone would get around to adding .epub as a supported type as well.)

I'd probably be more familiar with it except of the two media types I could potentially get a lot of use out of it for myself, photos/still images seem to be very well supported but I've already got a much-easier-to-install piwigo instance running for those, and audio support is kind of a kludgy mess at the moment. MediaGoblin would otherwise likely be a great (nigh-ideal, even) system for building a sound-effects library and/or podcast-hosting.

To support audio, you have to install scipy and one or two other modules as I recall (in addition to the rest of the python stuff MediaGoblin needs), though it has nothing to do with the actual audio - from what I remember of what I could glean from trying to poke around in the source (disclaimer, I am NOT very experienced at all at python or even "object-oriented" programming in general) every bit of uploaded audio is currently transcoded twice - once to ogg vorbis, which is only used to generate the still-image "thumbnail" graphic in the form of a spectrogram (that's what scipy et al is for) rather than e.g. extracting "cover art" from the metadata or generating a simple image via gd or something. Then that's discarded and the audio is re-transcoded to "webm audio" rather than .ogg or .opus. As far as I know (see previous disclaimer...) there's no ability to read "tags" from pre-existing metadata, either.

I wish I had a better grasp of python - I know gstreamer has (undocumented?) support for reading and writing media metadata tags, if I knew what I was doing I'd try to come up with some patches for the audio thumbnail/tags support, but since I can't even figure out where one would go in the sourcecode to change the output format (to .opus or .ogg) I suspect the amount of guidance I'd need from the people that know what they're doing would make me more of an irritant than a help...

Comment Re:This seems foolproof! (Score 2) 94

"You propose to replace it with a sole-source, crony capitalist, 'state corporation', to take advantage of the important synergies between the public sector's capabilities in corruption and mediocrity and the private sector's sophistication in financial and organizational malfeasance?"

(No, I'm not going to write it! NO! I said! My will is strong! I cannot...)

In Soviet Russia, State corrupts Corporations!


The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.