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Comment: Re:How about ... (Score 1) 526

by xarragon (#49754557) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users
You accuse us of being childish, yet the advertising industry has been acting childish and condescending to its "audience" for ages. Loud noise, flashing images; anything to disturb and get a measurable, short term reaction, even if the reaction is one of disgust and rejection.

For all the talk of "personalized" ads, what is being shoved at us is typically corporate propaganda, shown in poor context and without any finesse. Intercut into any media which people DO care about, it can little more than detract from the value of that content. Most disturbingly of all, the industry representatives seems to reject this notion altogether, throwing up the aforementioned defense of "it pays the bills!" as one would a cross to a vampire.

But now they HAVE the solution, and that solution is basically advertisements disguised as "legitimate" journalism. Because deceiving your audience is a surefire way to create a long-standing, trusting relationship.

If you want an example of what the future of advertising will probably look like, head over to the show "Triangulation" at Twit.TV. They have made time for their sponsors inside the show proper. It is integrated as any other segment of the show, but with full disclosure.

I used to fast forward past it. I don't any more, because once I got used to it, it did not offend me any more. And it is far, far more effective on me than I would like to admit. It creates a trust between me, the consumer and the author of the show. It is the future for advertisment. A future where no global tracking networks and excessive off-site resource loading is required.

And probably a lot less dedicated advertisers.

Comment: Nice photos, awful school? (Score 2) 374

by xarragon (#49746695) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos
I have read the article and the associated Flickr post by the kid being the target of the school. The article features some of the photos; they are breathtaking. This kid got a knack for it, I tell'ya!


The kid started to sell the pictures to parents, having confirmed with his teacher that he indeed held copyright to the pictures. Apparently the school did not take lightly to him earning money using school equipment and first incorrectly claimed that they owned the rights to the images. The kid knew more about copyright than they did, so they then changed their allegations to him invading peoples privacy by publishing photos where they could be identified on his Flickr page.

IANAL, but that might actually have some standing as opposed to the intial copyright claims. Funny how copyright has turned into a general-purpose, first-line-of-offense tool for media control these days. Anyway, the school itself actually did the same thing, by allegedly posting similar images on their social meda pages.

It should be possible to post images where the models can not be identified or where they have signed a model release form. Selling pictures to the parents should never be a problem.

I find it rather surprising that such an enterprising artist would not be supported. I can understand that the school might not want him to monopolize the equipment or similar but I doubt that was the case here.

The threats about being 'reported to the IRS' are also dubious; as long as he declares that income I doubt it would be any problems? In Sweden, where I live, you can earn quite a bit of income on the side, as a hobby, as long as you report it and pay taxes. Which you just do on a field in the income tax form.

Is there more to this story? We have no comment from the school (they have not responded). Maybe the school expected to be able to use these photos for free? Or maybe someones buddy sports photographer felt threatened by this kid's artistic merit and sent the principals after him?

CAPTCHA: disaster

Comment: Re:A computer monitor is too small (Score 1) 243

by xarragon (#49728671) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

I agree fully; I recently bought a 48" Samsung 5000-series HDTV without any "smart" features for this reason. Basically I would be happy to remove the tuner and speakers as well, since it will be hooked up to a PC and external amplifier and speakers. However, we are a minority; this is the reason most TV stores still display some compressed, crappy TV signal on their exhibition screens.

To me it would make the most sense to display a fully uncompressed demo movie which could test/show all the different TV sets image quality fully. However, in practice most people just view the same old SDTV signal, and to a large degree what they care about is the scaling ability and motion compensation features. Or at least that what the store clerk wants them to look at. My experience is that even an old crappy, cheap laptop will outperform most TV sets in terms of output quality. Just feed the TV 1080P with 1:1 pixelmapping and do all the processing on your Linux box.

What further amazes me is how crappy your average remote control is these days. Back in the day we had a VCR remote that you could literally bounce of two walls, from another room and it would still register with the receiver. The ones sold today is more like a laser-tag gun when used. I mean, yes the old remote was larger and it was a more expensive piece of equipment. But have you seen the end user experience with a crappy remote? It is like tryng to eat a steak with plastic, single-use cutlery.

Comment: Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 198

by xarragon (#49705091) Attached to: European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google
Most likely they are after money from the advertisement networks for guranteeing that their advertisments will be let through. It is all about acting as a "facilitator" to all activities taking place on their network. Third parties have to pay to get access to their customer base.

It could also be a move to get some sort of SSL/HTTPS MITM scheme into place, allowing inspection of traffic previously invisible to them. Certain governmental agencies would probably like that as well, since it allows "passive" interception without deploying software at the end points.

The reason ad-blocking is interesting is because it is something your customers will applaud you for doing; however, it might be to the detriment of the customers in the long run. It could also lower the customer charge, if advertisement agencies are forced to bear some of the costs.

It would be interesting to see how the CA infrastructure for mobile devices looks. Can carriers tamper with the CA remotely, using privilieged access to the device either during factory preparation or via OTA/(U)SIM-card access?

It will be an entertaining show, since some advertisers in Germany has already sued Adblock Plus: Or maybe it won't and they are all in on it! Tinfoil hats on!

Comment: Re:Why Not (Score 1) 304

by xarragon (#49548187) Attached to: Microsoft, Chip Makers Working On Hardware DRM For Windows 10 PCs
Sure you can. But remember, from the TFS: "The new hardware-based technology will know who you are". Watermarking has been used for a long time in the content industry. A unique watermarking signal will be included in the final, visual output, traceable back to the source. Invisible to the human eye, hidden inside the hardware blackbox. To make policing easier, they could also mandate registration of your "playback device" with a central licensing authority as part of whatever new standard this will be pushed as.

If you want to go all-out paranoid, remote-access and hardware-based authentication for online banking is already moving into chipset and CPU. That could possibly help identifying and tracking down crackers. Tracking physical media at the point of sale is another long shot. Today it is mandatory for stores in Sweden to inform a special collecting agency (for Public Service television) whenever someone buys a television, for example.

Comment: Dubious Article (Score 5, Insightful) 363

by xarragon (#48688289) Attached to: Trees vs. Atmospheric Carbon: A Fight That Makes Sense?
The linked article is a plug for the Arbor Day Foundation ( and comes complete with "inspirational music" from John Denver. There is no research or even coherent presentation of facts at all, but rather a thinly veiled attempt to get readers to join the foundation by emotional manipulation. All the usual suspects are here, touching music, stock photos of old and young saving the Earth together and the excuse that, "while the foundation might not be the solution to all problems, I feel good doing something, and so should you!". I read the TFA; now someone please explain what reason is for this article has to even be CLOSE to Slashdot. It has no scientific value, presents no research, does not inform the reader in any meaningful way and does not try to systematize the idea of capturing carbon through planting trees. I guess the domain name "" should be a warning in itself. My guess is that this is simply the new face of advertising; paid link-bait articles.

Comment: Re:If you can't beat us, let us join you. (Score 2) 102

by xarragon (#46887295) Attached to: The Million-Dollar Business of Video Game Cheating
Very well written entry on the topic. I agree on almost every single point you have made, esp. the "control fuckery" part. From my experience modern games are even less effective at keeping cheaters away than games made 10 years agoe. Tools like PunkBuster allowed you to vote out players even without the presence of an admin, perfect for servers without constant monitoring. The weird thing is that when I have asked more recent players about these features, it scares them; "I do not want to vote anyone out of the server!".

Comment: Reminds me of the Timberjack (Score 5, Informative) 84

by xarragon (#43377511) Attached to: Inside Mantis: a 2-Ton Hexapod Robot With a Linux Brain
This sort of technology has been available for some time, I remember seeing this six-legged forest machine complete with crane and cutting machinery back in the early 2000s: Apprently it was developed in Finland by John Deree, and was only displayed rwecently (2012 press release):

Comment: I have used it since the beta (Score 5, Informative) 372

by xarragon (#43054453) Attached to: Steam For Linux: A Respectable Showing

I have actually used it since the beta invite popped into my inbox. For those of you who havn't tried it here is a short summary:

I run Arch Linux, which is not supported. Valve only supports Ubuntu and provides the software as a .deb file which contains the "bootstrapper", basically a "netinstall" version if you were to make a comparision to the average Linux distro. The bootstrapper is easily taken apart via a script in the custom installer program that some of the Arch Linux folks whipped up and ends up installed system-wide by default.

This caused some problems for people like me, who are too paranoid to install untrusted software system-wide or even in my own home directory. I gave it a separate user account and denied the installer root access (which it asked for every time it tried to auto-update). It cried and bugged out, but you could run TF2 from day one. As they continued to improve the software they actually listened to the complaints at github (where they keep their Linux issue tracker) and made the software runnable as a regular user. It now resides completely inside my 'steam' users directory and the bootstrapper is long gone from the system-wide install.

If you are like me, and only run ALSA, hating PulseAudio's tentacle guts, you can actually run Steam anyway. They are using SDL as the backend, so when launching Steam you just export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa before running it, and you'll get sound! Even in-game voice is operational, but you still can't permanently disable it to get rid of all the jackasses screaming into the microphones.

Steam itself still uses the look from it's Windows roots, the ugly custom-skinned UI. And it can't be resized on my machine, which runs PekWM. It is also slow as molasses to start, and so is TF2. That might be in part to me using ONLY a 3G modem for my gaming though. The store also works like a charm.

An interesting feature is that you can actually switch between the OpenGL game window and the rest of your desktops seamlessly, with no apparent bugs or performance loss. Faster and more painless than on Windows. This wasn't always the case though, as early versions would switch to your desktop as soon as you got an archievement and completely screw up your mouse input once you switched back. This has been long since fixed though.

The only recent bug I came across was an apparent lack of support for multi-user environments, where I once started the bootstrapper as my regular user by mistake and let it install, thinking it was an regular update. Once it was up I figured what was wrong, uninstalling it and starting up as the 'steam' user, whereas it sefaulted hard. It took several hours and a lot of support ticket reading to figure out that leftover temporary file descriptors left from the first session screwed up the second one. Kinda stupid bug for a modern software, but that's what beta testing is for I suppose.

For me, Valve has really made my Linux experience a lot better. Hat's off to them. Now I just need to find some TF2 servers with players that are as beligerent and offensive as me!

Comment: Re:Why would they want to innovate? (Score 1) 378

by xarragon (#33255992) Attached to: Startups a Safer Bet Than Behemoths
As a small inventor vs. a large company you're screwed anyway. You are right in that they will copy it and kill your business, but you are wrong to think that patents will protect you as a small-time inventor and business. The large company will simply dig up a couple of existing patents from their portfolio which your original invention MIGHT infringe upon, and all of sudden it's you that are the infringing party. It doesn't even matter if they are valid patents or not, because few small developers can afford to fight the large corporation in court in order to find out.

It is not well to be thought of as one who meekly submits to insolence and intimidation.