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Comment: Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 274

by The New Andy (#42365637) Attached to: GNU Hands Out Trisquel At a Microsoft Store

Ubuntu is a tough enough sale and that's with some proprietary stuff added on. Don't even want to know if Trisquel can play DVDs out of the box or not.

Well since Windows 8 can't play DVDs out of the box, I'm guessing they are going to be even on that one. But I think putting Windows 8 "out of the box" up against nearly any Linux distribution is going to look bad for Windows 8. Can Windows 8 read pdfs out of the box? Word documents? Excel spreadsheets?

Comment: Re:Pointer typedefs (Score 2) 394

by The New Andy (#34471958) Attached to: Programming Mistakes To Avoid
The obvious reason you might want a typedef like that is for a mostly-opaque data-structure, where you have several different implementations, some of which require a level of indirection, some of which don't. (The "mostly" in "mostly-opaque" is there to mean that calling code never accesses the type directly, but the type is complete, so the compiler can put it on the stack).

In short - pointer typedefs are good for the times when you really want to say "this is data of some type, maybe a pointer, maybe a struct, maybe an int".

(oh, and to add to your complaints about that code - _FOO is also a reserved identifier...)

Comment: Re:This is impractical (Score 1) 625

by The New Andy (#33766816) Attached to: Senate Votes To Turn Down Volume On TV Commercials
It actually is non-trivial to do it correctly.

Have a look at the Fletcher-Munson curves and think what happens to sound when you apply a uniform gain/attenuation to it. If sounds at all frequencies move by the same amount, then adjusting the volume will change the character of what you are hearing. Try turning down the volume on your music and see how you lose the bass and treble, and all that remains is the stuff in the vocal region.

Comment: Re:No, it is practical (Score 1) 625

by The New Andy (#33766762) Attached to: Senate Votes To Turn Down Volume On TV Commercials
RMS doesn't tell you how loud something will be perceived though. A sine wave at 1kHz with the same RMS as one at 15kHz will be perceived to be a lot louder.

If this is really the full text of the bill, then it is way too vague. It uses terms like loudness without defining them. If most of the population can't hear above 12kHz because they listened to their iPods too loud when they were younger, then does the definition of "loudness" change? If it doesn't, then expect a lot of treble in the programs and bass in the ads ("When listened to by people without damaged hearing, they are equal loudness").

Comment: Re:Hmmm... (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by The New Andy (#32715258) Attached to: VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg
... or alternatively, it means that Google has found that it owns patents to bits inside H.264. So then as soon as someone sues Google (or "any entity") for stuff in VP8 they lose the right to use the bits of H.264 which are covered by patents that Google acquired when they purchased on2.

I wouldn't be surprised if the ace up Google's sleeve is a patent on something which is key in both H.264 and VP8.

Comment: Re:I Am Shocked! (Score 1) 362

by The New Andy (#31546712) Attached to: UMG To Price New CDs Under $10
There are still very good reasons to avoid buying mp3s:

1) Postprocessing (e.g. a graphic eq) might raise the volume of bits the encoder assumed were quiet enough to skimp on bits for.

2) For mobile devices, you might want to optimise for battery life. For my player, this means FLAC, for others it might be a different format... I don't want to be re-encoding an mp3 as something else lossy (or even just dropping its bitrate)

3) Getting gapless playback support isn't quite mature enough yet in my opinion (lots of players don't get it right).

Comment: Amazon link (Score 1) 190

by The New Andy (#30236382) Attached to: CIA Manual Thought Lost In 1973 Available On Amazon
Amazon link (from the article, which shows that the Huffington Post guys took it from boingboing... so if there is a referrer code in there, then it isn't mine).

I much prefer a link to the book on amazon than a write up about how it exists there. Given that the book is "In Stock" for $15, I'm guessing this isn't the one remaining copy for sale :)

Comment: My experience (Score 4, Interesting) 378

by The New Andy (#27090121) Attached to: Timetable App Developer Gets Nastygram From Transit Sydney
I recently had a dialog with them about this stuff. Here is how it went: Me:

I would like to put a program on my laptop that will hold the cityrail timetable information, so I can check when trains are coming without needing the internet. I understand that the timetables are protected by copyright law, and that without your written permission I can't do this. So, could you grant me permission to create and distribute copies of the timetable? I don't have any intentions to do this for commercial reasons, but I would want to distribute the work I've done under a licence that allows others to do so if they choose. Thanks for your time.

Them:

I refer to your email requesting to use the CityRail timetable. Copyright of all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches such copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp. RailCorp is not currently entering into licensing arrangements for its timetables for the purpose specified in your enquiry. I trust this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely

Me:

I was surprised to receive the answer I did about timetables. What exactly are you trying to achieve by preventing people from using your timetables? Is there any reason why you don't want to make it easier for people to know when trains are due? The information I would like is just the information already on your website, made available for free to anyone. I just want to put it in a more useful format. Thanks for your time.

Them:

I refer to your further email requesting permission to reproduce CityRail timetables. To address your question, CityRail is not preventing the public from accessing its timetables. The fact that timetables are readily available at stations, and published on the CityRail website, should more than answer your query. While I appreciate the motives behind your request, I can only reiterate our organisation's previous position, namely, that we are unable to accede to your request for reasons of copyright. I am sorry that I am unable to answer you in more favourable terms. Yours sincerely

Me:

Thanks for getting back to me, it is much appreciated. Sorry to keep bothering you, however you seem to have misinterpreted my previous message. My first message asked for permission to use the timetables. To this, you said no. My second message asked why you said no. To this, you restated your original response. So for my third message, I'm restating the question from before: Why can't/won't you allow timetable information to be copied and used? Thanks for your time.

Them:

I refer to your further enquiry regarding the use of CityRail timetables on internet sites other than the www.cityrail.info and 131 500 infoline site. Please accept my apology on behalf of RailCorp if our previous responses have not dealt with this issue with sufficient clarity. Copyright of all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches such copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp. RailCorp is not currently entering into licensing arrangements for its timetables for the purpose specified in your enquiry. As explained in a previous response, this is because RailCorp wishes to ensure the information provided to customers is the most up-to-date and includes warning of trackwork. This is not currently possible even on our CityRail site until further internet and web management projects are completed. CityRail also runs several special timetables over Christmas/NYE, Easter etc. and for special events which, by our experience, are rarely updated in a timely fashion on unlicensed third party applications. This tends to cause confusion for our customers. I trust this response will be of assistance in explaining RailCorp's position on the issue of using RailCorp intellectual property on unlicensed sites. Thank you for your continued interest. Yours sincerely

Lovely people. Dumb policy.

The official position is that they don't want to confuse customers when timetables are out of date. I don't see why they don't just publish timetables along with a date saying how long it will be valid.... but that would require someone to actually take responsibility and make a decision, rather than just keeping things the way they have always been.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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