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Comment Other way around. (Score 1) 120 120

They announced an app for XBox One that lets you stream you PC games to your console.

Huh, no. It's the other way around.

- The thing anounced, that's coming is a way to stream games from the Xbox to windows 10 powered devices like tablets, laptops and/or desktops.

- The reverse direction PC tower streaming to living-room console (the same as stream) doesn't exist yet. It's not even being really developed yet.

Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has revealed he likes the idea, and when we put the concept to a Microsoft representative at the Windows 10 launch, we were told that, while there is no release date, such an app is "in the pipeline."

For those who haven't been around for the last ~3 decades, that's usually MS-marketing speak for "We didn't see that one comming, but we'll pretend we're consider to evaluate public interest for that. Let's pretend that we'll make one to see if we can catch back the lost attention. If press and general interest seem to catch on, tell everyone that we actually did develop it and that we're about to publish it, any time soon.".

Comment "Don't buy it yet" strategy (Score 5, Insightful) 120 120

Somebody at Microsoft trying to breed a FUD strategy ("Don't buy SteamBoxes now, there's better 'planned in Microsoft's pipeline', it's gonna be much better: you'll see once it's there (eventually) you won't regret this, you're going to like it !).

Hmm..... I'm sure I've heard such stratgies before....
Where did it come from last time? Oh, yeah, from microsoft!

Comment good luck with that if you do agile / scrum (Score 1) 120 120

This idea sounds great... do the right thing, convince management of your brilliance. Except, with the "agile process", particularly with scrum, you are managed almost minute by minute... certainly hour by hour. The only way you are going to have time to do any cleanup work, prototyping, etc is if you starting padding your estimates. If your manager is remotely good, he's going to smell a rat.

In general I like the concepts of agile... do things incrementally, rethink priorities, get early feedback. But it does tend towards micro-manangement and that can kill any chance you have to improve code.

Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 285 285

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 285 285

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment PalmOS (Score 5, Informative) 168 168

However, current operating systems and programming techniques aren't up to this yet. It will take a long time.

PalmOS has been 100% RAM-only from the original Palm Pilot all the way up to Palm Thungsten III (Palm T5 with Flash, and Palm Live with a micro drive where the first to actually have a permanent main storage).
Everything is in-RAM, everything is stored in in-RAM databases. Data saving is immediate, etc.

(Also, although not so extreme:
lots of embed system, usually Linux-based, only have a minimal amount of ROM as sole storage and mainly work using RAM. Though they aren't completely in-RAM oriented and still use the concept of "files" and "storage", and thus make use of ramdisk (usually tmpfs) to hold files.
Still, that also machine which mainly count on RAM storage).

Comment Vorbis in video games, etc. (Score 1) 184 184

Now if you convinced Netflix, Google, Apple, Microsoft etc. to replace all their codecs with Xiph codecs, you would see patent lawsuits rolling in.

Because they are BSD licensed, various Xiph codecs like Vorbis are popular for storing soundtracks of video games.

FLAC is a popular audio codec in high-end HD-based digital autio players aimed at audiophiles.

Google did provide Thoera variants at some point in time (I don't know if they still do).

Nobody ever lost money following suit due on thr gound of these codecs.


The reason that Theora isn't that popular, is that currently H264 does provide a better image quality for a given bandwith and as most of the target audience already have a hardware chip supporting decoding (e.g.: in the tablet they use to watch Netflix) licensing doesn't matter much for them.

By asking for more money, H265 / HEVC is losing part of its attractiveness to H264. It compresses video better / gives more quality for the same compression. BUT costs more money.

On the long term all these are argument in favour of Daala : not only will it eventually produce even better compression (simply on the ground of being based on technology even more advanced), but is not covered by patents.

Comment Vorbis vs. Licensing terms of WMA (Score 3, Informative) 184 184

Flash the US device with the European ROM (which involved tricking the ROM installation program by switching ROM files after it did its check and before it did the install) and just like that the US device could play Vorbis. How MS bullied or bribed the manufacturer to omit Vorbis from the US ROM I don't know.

The bullying was done as part of the PlaysForSure program.

That was microsoft's attempt to counter music stores like iTunes and co. They had a platform for selling DRM-ed music in WMA format. OEMs had to undergo a certification to be able to advertise "Microsoft PlaysForSure". That mandated certain formats (support for DRM, support for WMA). It was worded in such a way that it basically forbid manufacturer to put any other codec on the device (see the "Criticisms" section. According to MS that was due to a junior employee who wrote it. Yeah. Sure.). It think the controversy was talked about back then here on /.

My opinion is that this probably started as an attempt to initially close loop-hole to avoid consumer playing non DRM-ed / unlicensed music (i.e.: pirated), but at the hand of MS executive quickly evolved as a way to attempt crushing competition.

That severly limited the spreading of non-WMA formats (free like Vorbis or FLAC. Or alternative licenses like Sony's ATRAC, etc.) because OEMs probably feared that including extra formats would exclude them from WMA certification and they would lose market share to manufacturer who didn't.
(Specially since back then, Vorbis didn't have any markets, it was mostly used for higher quality home rips. Whereas WMA had Microsoft's store and OEMs were hoping to have something against the iTunes behemoth).

Or mostly so in the US.

The rest of the world didn't give a damn fuck about microsoft's market (was is even available outside US ?) nor play for sure. People wanted mainly MP3 because that was the most widespread format, and adding extra formats was a way for OEM to put more tick box on their feature list. As such adding Vorbis was a win-win: it doesn't cost anything (and even had a BSD licensed integer implementation for embed available for free) and was one extra feature that they'll advertise to gain attraction. Every single asian no-name manufacturer did add it.

In Europe nearly every player I've seen in store did have Vorbis support.

That explains the dual ROM:
- one ROM to placate microsoft to get access to PlaysForSure in the US market.
- one ROM with as many features as possible cramed in to gain visibility everywhere else.

Comment More than one way.... (Score 1) 184 184

More than one way to do thing with compression.

But when you're designing your codec with one hand tied behind your back, it's not going to work as efficiently.

Yup, your hand is tied behind your back, but just as you try to work anyway, standing in another corner there's this other guy with an hindu name asking you if you need a hand. or six.

It might not work as efficiently if you try to achieve the exact same thing but are restricted in the methods you use*. But you can obtain very efficient result if you try something completely different. Then the patents won't even matter.

The realm of DCT it a patent mine field? Try something else.

Dirac/Schroedinger by BBC has show that you can use wavelets instead.

Daala by Xiph is on the way of showing that lapped transforms + perceptual vectors + range coding work too.

*:And even then in that situation, there might be efficient way to do the same thing while doing it differently enough to not be patented.
On2/Google/Xiph have repeatedly shown that with the various VPn codecs being close to the MPEG/H26x, with the patended bit swapped out.

Comment Xiph and lawsuits (Score 5, Informative) 184 184

Like that ever stopped patent lawyers.

Total number of lawsuits lost by Xiph for Vorbis, Opus, FLAC, Tarkin, Theora, etc.: 0

Yes, lawyer won't stop simply because it's different. They would dream to lawsuit Xiph into the ground. But so far they haven't found anything on any of the other technologies developed or taken over by Xiph.

The people at Xiph know their shit and if they say that a codec is using a non patented alternative technique, it is non patented.

Any program which runs right is obsolete.