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Android

Journal: Even Caffeine Is Failing Me Now 1

Journal by ackthpt

Who wants post caffeine withdrawals? Not me. So I drink watered down coffee. It only takes a small amount of caffeine to kick-start someone, anything after that is wasted and makes coming down off it that much more regrettable. I also like to sleep at night, not twitch and throw all my covers on the floor.

I'm tired. Bone tired. Caffeine can't do anything about that. Need to hit the hay earlier. Stop eating junk, too.

Gonna be a challenge though. Got an Android tablet today. Want to try all sorts of fun stuff. Install Apache and PHP on it. See if I can make it wireless server. That'd be killer fun.

Ah. But need sleep.

Decisions. Decisions.

Anime

Journal: Warner Media Group butchers audio from AMVs on youtube

Journal by Spy der Mann

if you're a fan of the AMV Hell series, here's another reason for you to hate the RIAA:

They subpoenaed youtube to remove the audio from the AMV Hell 3 deleted scenes 2 clip. Currently we get a message:

NOTICE
This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.

Really, what's the limit to the stupidity of these guys?

User Journal

Journal: I'm ashamed of myself... sayonara? 4

Journal by Spy der Mann

Sigh. Today I feel like an idiot. I screwed up in this thread, not knowing exactly what I was talking about.

The worst part is that I really tried to help. I really was convinced I had found a solution, but it was the wrong solution. So now I'm ashamed of myself and I don't know what to do.

I'm sincerely sorry. Maybe I won't post again on slashdot... it's no use, karma is useless if you get praised for the wrong things and then end up looking like an idiot.

Am I being a coward? I really don't know. But it makes me wonder... what was my reason for joining slashdot? To find other people's approval? To find a place to be with other people like myself? To find a refuge from my loneliness? Or just to try to help people with the little knowledge I might have?

Frankly, I don't know, and I really don't know if I care anymore. It feels like a lot of wasted energy.

Maybe I'll come back here posting one or two jokes - that's what I'm really good at... sometimes. It's just really hard to lose a reputation based on one single post. I know I shouldn't think that way... but it still hurts. Maybe it's because I'm really an antisocial type and I really have no real world friends.

Sucks, isn't it? Well, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and realize it wasn't that bad after all. Because that's how humans are. Fragile and stupid.

Whatever happens, just be careful what you say in front of others. I guess that's what karma really is.

Music

Journal: Pastafarians were right: More pirates = less global warming!

Journal by Spy der Mann

In a recent blog by ecogeek, we have seen that music devices consume 25% more energy when playing DRM-ed music than when playing non-managed music. And then he makes an interesting observation:

The real problem here is that the easiest way to get an MP3 that isn't crippled by some kind of DRM is still to buy the physical CD. What's worse, when DRM systems go offline (as they are at Wal-Mart) people are going to be extremely hesitant to go digital again. Basically, Wal-Mart's servers going offline is like saying "Oh, that song you bought, well, you didn't actually own it because it wasn't really real...sorry."

Wal-Mart's suggestion? Burn it to a CD, that way you'll have it even if after we take your official ownership away. BURN IT TO A CD! I thought the whole point was that we weren't using those clunky petro-disks anymore!

So what's the solution for this? PIRACY!

If you pirate your music over the internet, people will download them instead of having to purchase more environmental garbage called "CD".

So, if you become a pirate, you're really helping the planet, yarrrrrr!

Or alternatively, you could purchase the original songs via itunes or whatever, AND THEN pirate them. In any case, the planet still needs a pirate who can distribute the original, non-DRM-encumbered music.

Or alternatively, the RIAA could stop playing stupid and simply get rid of DRM (so we DON'T have to ACTUALLY pirate the music). ... yeah, right.

User Journal

Journal: Most hilarious 419 scam I've received. 1

Journal by Spy der Mann

Dear Sir/Madam.This is for your attention We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of £5,600,000.00GBP (Five Million Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the intent of the deceased (name now withheld since this is our second letter to you)It is like this because bad people in the internet this time arround. We contacted you because you bear the same Surname Identity [ emphasis mine ] and therefore can present you as the Beneficiary to the Inheritance since there is no written Will. Our legal services aim to provide our private clients...

Just so you know, my e-mail account ends up in "dermann.slashdot". I wonder who was the idiot who named his kid that way... :)

And maybe the boy died in embarrassment, and left no will, hoping for someone bearing also his unfortunate name to claim his fortune.

Funny fact:

from Mr Ahmed M*** <mrahmedm***x1@yahoo.com>
reply-to mr_ahmed_m***2@hotmail.com

Wow. PRETTY legitimate :P (note: Asterisks were put in there to protect the scammer's fake identity)

Thank you Mr. Ahmed Musa, your 419 scam just made my day.

Censorship

Journal: MSN censoring youtube links over IM? 1

Journal by Spy der Mann

Recently i've been experiencing problems with Pidgin over MSN. If I post a link of google, or any other website (including msn or microsoft.com), the link gets passed without problems.

However, if I post *ANY* link to youtube (including videos of course), I get this message:

Message may have not been sent because an unknown error occurred:
http://www.youtube.com/

The curious thing is that if i change *any* leter in the domain, the problem doesn't appear. It only happens when the domain is www.youtube.com .

Update: I talked to a friend using aMSN, and he's experiencing the same problems.

Has this happened to you?

Portables (Games)

Journal: My disappointment with Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Journal by Spy der Mann

I've always been a Castlevania fan. Last week I had the opportunity to play (and complete) Dawn of sorrow, the sequel to Aria of Sorrow.

Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed. Here's why.

For starters, the trailer shows some very interesting scenes. At 00:15 we see Soma being invaded by the darkness. This was just like the beginning of the second part of the AoS game, where Soma realizes that he *is* Dracula. Then, at 00:35 we see Julius using the Cross ability. Does this mean we'll get Soma and Julius to duel again?

Don't count on it. They don't. This was a major disappointment for me. Come on! The Belmont vs. You battle had become a classical element of Castlevania series: Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance (if my memory doesn't fail me), and finally Aria of Sorrow (IMO with the best battle). So what about now? Well, there's a Soma vs. some hero battle, but you play the other hero and it's not quite as entertaining (you play Alucard). It's just the typical Giant Dracula shoots things at you then teleports kind of battle. Where's the melee, the jumps, the subweapons? I had expected Soma to battle Julius but this time with Julius being more dexter at dodging your attacks (i.e. having a more advanced AI).

But Dawn of Sorrow failed at this - and miserably.

What other disappointments did I have? Secret areas. Yes, there is a secret area of the castle that is only accessible if you manage to get the "good" ending. OK, two areas, but one is the Abyss and we saw something like that already in Aria of Sorrow (the chaos realm). The other area well, it wasn't really a deep area.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but something really bothered me in Dawn of Sorrow. The areas are in the majority, corridors with at most two levels. This is PLAIN BORING. A very good joke is the abandoned town, there is a part where you have to move in a zigzag-like sequence to reach the other room. But that doesn't add any more fun of it, only more boring gametime.

This wasn't the case with classics like Symphony of the Night - where the Ice caves (I forgot their name) were deep, and if you weren't careful, you could die because of the water (unless you got the Holy Scuba - er, symbol). But this meant that you could explore a second part of it and keep exploring. The most interesting part was when you reached the abandoned mines, and then the catacombs. This was really an exploring adventure.

Something similar happened with Aria of Sorrow. The watery area was big - no, it was HUGE. You would need the giant bat soul to keep exploring some parts of it - what I liked was that a part of this area was like some underwater roman city, and the other was completely wild. The background with the fossils near the waterfalls captured my imagination.

With Dawn of Sorrow the hidden areas were a disappointment. Yes, I know that there's a hidden area that connects the town with the alchemy lab, but that was still disappointing, very boring (more straight passageways).

Seriously, what happened with the level designer? Did he quit or what? When I finished the game I felt so... underwhelmed. Is that it? Is that all you got?

OK, I haven't played the game in the Julius mode, but a very important part for me is the exploration. If there were areas that were only accessible with the Julius mode, I'd love it. But man, the map is so messed up. There were many areas, but all of them short.

I miss the mystery and secrecy atmosphere of Symphony of the Night, in the abandoned mines. There was this huge snake pillar that made me imagine that this part of the castle was built by some ancient egyptian cult adepts or something. What mysteries did those mines kept hidden from outsiders' eyes? I wanted to go to those mines and start exploring them room by room. And don't forget the lizard sounds in the background. It was so captivating. Dawn of Sorrow just... failed.

Another disappointment was the easiness of winning the game. It wasn't as challenging as Aria or Symphony. Oh yes, except for the annoyance of the darn magic seals. I would have preferred the seals to do some magic spells like Alucard had in Symphony (i.e. Soul Steal!). That would have been much more entertaining. The seals are either boring or frustrating, depending on your dexterity with the stylus (or with the mouse if you're using an emulator - I don't recommend it tho).

So, In terms of replayability, I still prefer Aria over Dawn.

Your thoughts?

Programming

Journal: 10 years ago... wxWidgets and the QT vs. GTK division.

Journal by Spy der Mann

I stumbled upon this gem that was written almost 10 years ago. It's a plea from the wxWidgets developers to start a QT port of wxWidgets (then wxWindows).

The following is a proposal by the wxWindows developers. We hope to
attract some interest and help for this project, to ease the situation
for application developers who are currently in the difficult decision
to chose whether to support KDE or GNOME.

Please understand that we do not favour either of them, nor do we want
to get involved in a discussion about the pros and cons of KDE vs
Gnome. We are simply interested in helping application developers
(such as ourselves) to live with the existing situation. If you are
not interested in that, just ignore this post.

        Proposal for a port of wxWindows to Qt - wxQt

            Following the recent discussions
            and flamewars about KDE vs Gnome, we got worried that we'll see a
            repetition of the same damaging infighting from which Unix has
            suffered before. Competition is a good thing, but the current
            situation leaves application developers with a difficult decision to
            make: Write for KDE, using qt/harmony or write for Gnome, using GTK?
            Whatever happens to these projects, we will end up with a lot of
            duplicated efforts and a mix of applications written for either of the
            two environments. The result will not be the consistent look and feel
            that both projects aim for.

            The people on the wxWindows developers team thought that we might have
            a solution for this problem, if we can get some outside help to get it
            done. Let us explain: wxWindows is a cross-platform development
            toolkit, a library of C++ classes which provide GUI concepts as well
            as other cross-platform issues such as container classes, debug
            features or configuration management. It has been around since 1992
            and started by supporting Motif, XView and MS-Windows, with a direct
            X11/Xt port added later. Last year, a major rewrite was started and we
            now have a much advanced library, available for MS Windows, with a
            Motif port under construction. Later last year, Robert Roebling set
            out on a one-man project to build wxGTK, a gtk-based implementation of
            wxWindows which in less than a year has become sufficiently stable to
            use it as the main development platform of rather large
            applications. The wxWindows license is a variant of the LGPL,
            which should meet no objections from the free software community. In
            fact, this has been an open source project long before the term became
            commonly used.

            Our idea is, that if this is good enough to work across different
            operating systems (a MacOS port is under construction, too), it could
            easily bridge the gap between KDE and Gnome. The quick evolution of
            wxGTK has shown that a new port based on an existing widget set or
            toolkit can easily be created by a small team within a few
            months. Therefore, we would like to start a project for a Qt/Harmony
            based wxWindow library, wxQt. It would then be possible for
            application developers to write the same source and compile it either
            for KDE, Gnome or even any of the other supported systems.

            But for this we need help. The core developers are all pretty busy on
            the existing ports, but we could provide significant help and support
            for any such effort. A wxQt port could also recycle lots of existing
            code from the other ports.

            Please, join us in this effort and, if you feel that you could
            contribute, join the wxWindows developers mailing list for further
            discussions. Just send a mail containing "subscribe" to

                              wxwin-developers-request _at_ x.dent.med.uni-muenchen.de

And 10 years later, due to licensing issues (the wxWindows license is a derivative of LGPL, while QT is GPL licensed, so the "L" is clearly a limitation here) and software complications (nobody has dared), there still isn't a common widget platform/wrapper for Linux. Wow... ten years. Imagine that. Personally, I would enjoy having such a wrapper, this way we could write cross-platform apps that would run on Windows, GTK or QT and adapt to our favorite Window manager.

So, what do you think? Would it be possible to do this with Qt 4.4? Would it be healthy to have such a wrapper? Or actually... is it even relevant?

User Journal

Journal: Direct Note Access + Compression = Super compression!

Journal by Spy der Mann

I just read this digg article ((original source) and I realized how easy it would be to compress music digitally with this baby.

You only need to find similar samples and sort out the differences with the originals. Then the whole melody is translated to a MIDI score, and maybe even use transformations for individual note compression (i.e. this note sounds like this one but amplified twice).

I'm sure that if this system was implemented, we could achieve a compression ratio 10 times better than MP3.

Music

Journal: Online mp3 stores: No wonder there's so much piracy. 4

Journal by Spy der Mann

I finally decided to purchase a piece of music (an OLD piece of music from an OLD 60's movie). First I tried Amazon. Is the song there? Check.
99 cents pers song - check.
Requires a VISA account - check.
Secure - check.
International orders - FAIL.

Yahoo! music store.
Requires Microsoft Windows - FAIL.

Apple iTunes.
Requires itunes for Windows. FAIL!

OK so where the heck can I purchase a song online if I don't live in the US? This is nuts. It was going to be my FIRST FRIGGIN' PURCHASE. Screw you, RIAA, Amazon, Yahoo, and Apple. I'm going to remain a pirate again and it's YOUR FAULT.

Oh, look, there's this music store called Magnatune (supported by Amarok!). Let's see if they have the song I'm looking for...

NOT FOUND.

Alright... we can't do it the legal way, we do it ... the only way.
www.google.com...

voila.

Downloading torrent file... done.

Downloading file... aw crap, tracker not available. Let's try youtube now.

SUCCESS!

Any questions?

Anime

Journal: You SUCK at AMV 1

Journal by Spy der Mann

OK I have to get this out of my system. I just want to ask: Why do people keep making AMV's with subtitles and with that stupid "DivX Video" logo on the bottom right?

It's not professional. The heck, it's not even amateur. It SUCKS! Specially if it's not an english fansub.

Here's a hint for you: Cut the bottom part of the video so that it'll display nice on 16:9 displays, and you'll get rid of the subtitles at the same time. Voila!

Of course, there's a little problem with 16:9 fansubs. But look, if you could find a fansub, I'm pretty sure you could find a bootleg around if you put a little effort on it.

And what's with the DivX logo? Did you know there's something called XVid that does NOT add that logo?

Allow me to prove my point: Is there *ANY* fansub in the awesome "AMV Hell" parody collection? No. Why? Because fansubbing SUCKS in an AMV.

Don't believe me, believe these guys.

Media

Journal: The pirate dilemma: To compete or not to compete?

Journal by Spy der Mann

It's hard for large organizations that move at glacial speeds to compete with individuals taking their content and creating new distribution systems, revenue streams and business models, but the fall of the major record labels taught the rest of the corporate world a lesson. Matt Mason from Torrentfreak did a keynote speech (video) at The Medici Summit, telling us that in many cases, piracy is helping people to innovate and create new legitimate market spaces.

Particularly I found his speech very interesting for one powerful reason: The businesses that fight pirates now, were pirates themselves when they were starting. Including Hollywood and the Music Industry. If you want to convince someone that piracy is not as evil as he claims, show him this video and he'll have his world turned upside down.

Music

Journal: Unofficial Linux song: "Do not fear the penguins, v2.0.2" 1

Journal by Spy der Mann

# Do not fear the penguins, v2.0.2
# Author:
# Spy der Mann
# License:
# Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
# If you use this in your works, just credit me with an "original song by Spy der Mann", or something similar.
#
# Recommendations:
# If you want to put music please give it a tune similar to "Tin can hitman" from Robotronica.
# Just a suggestion.
#
# Acknowledgements:
# Thanks to Rick (he knows who he is) for helping me out with the lyrics.
#
#
main(){
        This is the story of an angry Joe user,
        got tired of his vermin-infested computer.
        The crap we call Windows is what he had used,
        but all of its bugs just left him confused.

        Thought was cream of the crop, that's what he had been told,
        but the truth is, buggy software is what he really was sold,
        cheap salesmen from Redmond, the brand gained his trust,
        he would learn the hard truth, but not without disgust!

        He had many problems, things both you and I know,
        the PC kept freezing, video discs played too slow;
        incompatible hardware, see, the network was dead,
        couldn't get it to work, bought a new card instead!

        chorus() {
                Stop getting angry man, stop getting mad,
                It's not in your style throwing chairs at the wall.
                Do not fear the penguins cuz' you too can smile
                GNU/Linux fears no virus that could screw up your files.

                GNU/Linux is open, and it's completely free,
                every bit of it's legal, there's no royalty fee.
                But don't just believe me, you must try it and see,
                join the penguin revolution under Freedom's decree!
        }

        When Joe got to the tubes, his PC felt much slower
        it had caught nasty spyware but he yet doesn't know it,
        but that wasn't the worst, oh no, sir, I'm afraid,
        because much bigger problems were awaiting ahead!

        One day the virus perpetrated an assault:
        His ID got stolen, Ballmer said "not my fault,
        it's the hackers and pirates that are making a brawl",
        better get an antivirus, and slow down to a crawl!

        chorus();

        Joe then decided that he should get an upgrade,
        bought himself a faster PC that could better be played,
        but he had to reinstall: his OS wouldn't start,
        then the registry got broken and he had to format;

        Antipiracy measures got stricter with time
        "I have genuine advantage", he thought he'd be fine,
        the activation had failed him and all had been in vain,
        didn't know that computers could be such a big pain!

        chorus();

        Well that does it, Bill Gates, Joe said in his disdain,
        I'm sick tired of your traits, it's all loss and no gain,
        I still cannot believe I paid for all this bull,
        between software and service, you're no better than NULL!

        Now I'm switching to Linux and I'm not going back,
        One more minute with you will give me a heart attack.
        So good bye Bill and Steve, there's no more soup for you,
        you should get a class action for what you made me go through!

        chorus();

        The first step was the hardest, now, where do we start?
        Which distro to choose, sounds like an arcane art.
        Joe had tried Ubuntu, didn't like how it tasted,
        but a friend recommended PCLinuxOS.

        It was friendly, it was fast, unlike what he believed,
        "there's a world outside Windows and the hell that I lived!"
        it's scary at first, but it's worthy, trust me,
        when you do make the switch you'll begin to be free!

        chorus();
}

Wine

Journal: Asking Microsoft to release their DirectX source code? 1

Journal by Spy der Mann

I was reading a page on LinuxGamers about installing DirectX 9 under WINE. It listed some steps on how to make DirectX work with Wine. But here's the problem: Other users listed compatibility problems in the same blog, and unrecommended the measure. (That blog article was a link to the full DirectX 9.0c on Linux article)

So I thought: Perhaps there could be a legal way to make Microsoft release their DirectX9 source code to the public domain? Because:

a) it's NOT a core component of Windows, but more like an Add-in.
b) It creates an unfair competition situation between Windows and Linux, specially when Microsoft is a monopoly - therefore, releasing the source code will leverage the market and promote a healthy competition situation which will encourage innovation.

Think about it, Microsoft was successfully ordered by the European Union to release some of their communication protocols specs. Why not do the same with DirectX? (Because it is, in a way, a communication protocol).

Of course, the ideal case would be asking game manufacturers to make all their games cross-platform. But I wonder if they'll really listen, and who's going to backport the old 3D games to Linux? Who's going to pay for them?

Another alternative would be to start an open source project called "Direct-X-Platform" or something, that would be essentially a cross-platform version of DirectX9 that can be installed either on native Windows, or Wine, or even native Linux! (think about it - directx.so - wouldn't it be interesting?). But, can it be done only knowing the DirectX specs and not the source code? I'm thinking... if MONO is dotNet for Linux, why not have a similar project equivalent to DirectX?

Updates:

* Apparently there's a sourceforge project called DirectX for Wine, but the website seems outdated. Is the project still active? It seems not, but Wine has a status and to-do page dedicated exclusively to DirectX.

* A couple of months ago, a student began the implementation of DirectX 10 in Wine.

It seems the project is being HEAVILY developed, so what they need now, is our help!

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.

Working...