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Comment: In an imperfect world... (Score 3, Insightful) 182

by westlake (#47515497) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

Yes, some websites wanted to use H.264 for video encoding, but Mozilla shouldn't have abetted them.

H.264 is here.

HEVC not far down the road.

The geek sees everything in terms of the "open" web.

But there is more to digital video than video distribution through the web.

Which is why the mainstream commercial codecs dominate here.

Why hardware and software support for these codecs are baked into the smartphone, tablet, PC, graphics card, HDTV, video game console, Blu-ray player. The prosumer HD camcorder, medical and industrial video systems and so on, endlessly.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 0) 885

by westlake (#47512711) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Why is this moderated troll?
The very first paragraph of the article says she got a death threat and that they know where she lives. Do people even read the articles before moderating anymore?

Consider how predictably the Slashdot geek responds to stories like this. Embarrassing, isn't it?

There are other words that come to mind.

Comment: Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (Score 2) 391

by westlake (#47491711) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

The Internet was vastly better then by any measure. It wasn't used to commit financial crimes, to dupe people, to invade privacy, or to spy on whole populations. It especially didn't destroy more jobs than it's created and eliminate whole industries

AOL introduced flat-rate monthly billing in the mid nineties - coincidental with flat-rate regional calling plans.

Going on-line had become affordable.

The typical Internet suite of that era had its arcane clients for e-mail, IRC chat, USENET, FTP, Gopher, Archie, Veronica, and maybe a primitive web browser, along with zip file compression and a graphics editor.

The AOL client pushed all the geek's beloved tech far into the background, and put an easy to use GUI up-front.

At that point, the only way the geek could have kept the" old Internet" as his private playground would have been by crippling the evolution of the "open" web browse - and praying there wouldn't be too many defections to the commercial online services.

Comment: Bitcoin Brought Down To Earth. (Score 1) 121

by westlake (#47480459) Attached to: New York State Proposes Sweeping Bitcoin Regulations

Why don't they just change their state flag to the swastika?

The one true faith.

The geek's emotional investment in Bitcoin can be frightening.

Bitcoins, which lost 45 percent of their value after skyrocketing to more than $1,100 last year, are poised to tumble further, according to the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of financial professionals.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said the virtual currency trades at unsustainable, bubble-like prices, according to the quarterly poll of 562 investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers. Another 14 percent said it's on the verge of a bubble. Only 6 percent of respondents said a bubble isn't forming. The remaining 25 percent were unsure.

Merchants including Expedia Inc., Dish Network Corp. and Inc. have decided to accept bitcoins. A total of 63,000 businesses now take the virtual currency, and people have set up more than 5 million wallets to keep their digital holdings, according to CoinDesk, which tracks its use.

That enthusiasm contrasts with opinions expressed by finance-industry leaders. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 58, has said bitcoins probably won't last as a currency after governments subject them to rules and standards akin to those for other payment systems. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, 83, has said he'll be surprised if bitcoins last 10 or 20 years.

A Bloomberg poll in January showed investor doubts in the virtual currency as well. Almost half of 477 international investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers were bearish on bitcoins and said they would sell them. At the time, bitcoins traded about 30 percent above current levels.

Bitcoins Can't Shake Bubble Image in Poll After 45% Drop [July 17]

Comment: Re:Wait for it... (Score 2) 752

by westlake (#47477161) Attached to: Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

Then again, a remarkable coincidence started WWI, so...

I don't know what is coincidental in the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by Serbian nationalists armed and trained by Serbian military intelligence. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Given the political and military alliances forged in Europe before WWI, this was not going to end well.

Comment: Re:Slew of missing business applications (Score 2) 171

by westlake (#47463737) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

once one company creates a really good word processor, we don't need ten more to compete with them. The result is total market dominance for the one who does it first (or markets it the best

Word Perfect had the perfect character-oriented word processor---

which it ported to every OS known to man with customized print drivers for every printer known to man.

But it stumbled badly when small business oriented operating systems --- Mac and Windows ---- began moving towards higher levels of abstraction. The GUI. The printer API ---

and stumbled again when trying to keep pace with the new and rapidly evolving concept of the integrated office suite.

Comment: Re:Meh, Al Gore Proves It True. (Score 0) 708

by westlake (#47456363) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

He probably uses more energy in his mansions than 99.9999% of the people in the world, let alone the energy jetting around everywhere.

In the larger scheme of things, none of this matters.

He is one man among 7 billion men.

The billionaire's mansions are almost certainly not burning wood or coal or kerosene as their primary sources of light and heat. Their mechanical and thermodynamic efficiencies are probably quite good and the systems well-maintained.

Comment: What you want no longer matters. (Score 1) 106

by westlake (#47456143) Attached to: Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

Your choice? The ambulance or the hearse?

There will be other drivers and other systems monitoring your physical condition and behavior on the road.

The Triple Zero call --- 911 in the states --- will go out. The only questioning remaining is whether you will be responsive when help arrives.

+ - Kidnapped by an Uber Driver in DC

Submitted by westlake
westlake (615356) writes "The Tweet says it all:

Was just kidnapped by an @uber driver in DC, held against my will, and involved in a high speed chase across state lines with police


— Ryan W Simonetti

According to Simonetti, his Uber driver panicked and made a run for it when being tailed by a taxi inspector .

''It was like an episode of ‘Cops,'' Simonetti said. ''We’ve all seen the ‘Cops’ episode. This only ends two ways. Either the car crashes or the guy jumps out and runs. And he had plenty of opportunities to slow down and jump out and run, and he wasn’t doing that.''

“It was insane,” Simonetti said. ''I physically tried to force his leg to hit the brake. I ripped off his pant leg. I said, ‘Here's two options. You take this exit, or I’m going to knock the side of your head in. If we crash, we crash, but you’re gonna kill us anyway.''

The driver in question has been ''deactivated'' by Uber.

Man visiting D.C. says Uber driver took him on wild ride"

Comment: It is not about you. (Score 1, Informative) 308

The real problem here is not Amazon or books or even Google, it's the French mindset that things should never change,
Fetishing bookshops doesn't have any emotional appeal to me - they're just buildings stacked with a small and limited selection of reading materials, which inefficiently deploy land and people. Given the rise of the e-book even large chain bookshops will likely disappear over the coming decades, and who will cry for them?

The geek as cultural imperialist.

What has no value for me has no value for you.

The French have all kinds of worthwhile ideas on larger matters. This occurred to me recently when I was strolling through my museum-like neighborhood in central Paris, and realized there were --- I kid you not --- seven bookstores within a 10-minute walk of my apartment. Granted, I live in a bookish area. But still: Do the French know something about the book business that we Americans don't?

For a few bucks off and the pleasure of shopping from bed, have we handed over a precious natural resource --- our nation's books --- to an ambitious billionaire with an engineering degree?

France, meanwhile, has just unanimously passed a so-called anti-Amazon law, which says online sellers can't offer free shipping on discounted books. The new measure is part of France's effort to promote "biblio-diversity" and help independent bookstores compete. Here, there's no big bookseller with the power to suddenly turn off the spigot. People in the industry estimate that Amazon has a 10 or 12 percent share of new book sales in France. Amazon reportedly handles 70 percent of the country's online book sales, but just 18 percent of books are sold online.

The French secret is deeply un-American: fixed book prices.

Fixing book prices may sound shocking to Americans, but it's common around the world, for the same reason. In Germany, retailers aren't allowed to discount most books at all. Six of the world's 10 biggest book-selling countries --- Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Spain and South Korea --- have versions of fixed book prices.

What underlies France's book laws isn't just an economic position --- it's also a worldview. Quite simply, the French treat books as special. Some 70 percent of French people said they read at least one book last year; the average among French readers was 15 books. Readers say they trust books far more than any other medium, including newspapers and TV. The French government classifies books as an "essential good," along with electricity, bread and water. A French friend of mine runs a charity, Libraries Without Borders, which brings books to survivors of natural disasters.

The French aren't being pretentious or fetishizing bookstores. They're giving voice to something we know in America, too. "When your computer dies, you throw it away," says Mr. Montagne of the publishers' association. "But you'll remember a book 20 years later. You've deeply entered into a story that's not your own. It's forged who you are. You'll only see later how much it has affected you. You don't keep all books, but it's not a market like others. The contents of a bookcase can define who you are."

The French Do Buy Books. Real Books.

Comment: Tea-Bagger Click Bait (Score 0) 199

by westlake (#47438385) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

Just tell them you are an illegal migrant operating the drone. Those people are allowed to break any laws and be upheld as the greatest citizens of the country...

There is long history --- back to the very beginning, really ---- of illegal immigrants being employed - or simply being used --- by the middle class ---- and there are few countries in the world who imprison more of their illegals and citizens both than we do.

Comment: Re:Daikatana failed because it was too Japanese. (Score 1) 86

by westlake (#47435847) Attached to: What Happens When Gaming Auteurs Try To Go It Alone?

Really? Have you SEEN western animation lately?

Japan has.

The remarkable 16-week run atop the box-office that ''Frozen'' has enjoyed in Japan has ended, and it took Angelina Jolieâs ''Maleficent'' to do it.
''Frozen'' is the highest-grossing Disney film ever in Japan, and ranks behind only ''Titanic'' as the biggest box-office hit ever in that country.

'Maleficent" Ends Incredible Box-Office Reign of 'Frozen' in Japan

PlayStation 4 ''Frozen'' Limited Edition PS 4 ''Frozen'' case mod. Available in Japan only.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater