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Slashback: Offshore, Oratory, Goals 129

More updates and links below on HavenCo, robots that kick balls, and what can already be said to be one of the millenium's most anticipated movies thus far. Oh, and some nice auditory/textual backup to the recent story about RMS vs. Goliath.

Not asking, not telling. jeffthompson writes: "The Havenco web site says it is now fully operational and open for business." A lot of people seemed convinced that Havenco wouldn't even be around by this time, but sticking around is the best revenge. I'd like to go aboard one day, promise I'll wear a blindfold and not look at anything ...

GNU, Linux, GNU/Linux, Freedom and the American Way. bkuhn writes: "Now, both the electronic audio and transcript of RMS' NYU talk are available."

The audio is in Ogg format, and the transcription is in blessed plaintext. Thanks!

Sign #37 of the coming apocalypse: Speaking of Mundie, software Freedom (and free-ness), Simone Paddock of O'Reilly writes with news that might raise a few eyebrows:

"Microsoft Senior Vice President Craig Mundie set off a compelling debate recently when he discussed Microsoft's Shared Source Philosophy, which blends the sharing of source code with the preservation of intellectual property rights.

Tim O'Reilly invited him to attend the upcoming O'Reilly Open Source Convention (July 23-27, 2001 in San Diego). Mundie not only agreed to attend, he agreed to speak.

Mundie will discuss ways in which shared source differs from open source, and how the Shared Source Philosophy supports a strong software business case for commercial software use."

Michael Tiemann (CTO of Red Hat) will speak after Mundie, and a panel of IP law and software experts (including Tim O'Reilly) will discuss the issues raised. Sounds worth being in San Diego for. If you're interested, there's more information online.

In the Tolkein, not the endocrinological or Snow White sense. SomeoneYouDontKnow writes: "This is a follow-up on the recently-released LOTR trailer. It's now available for download. Two versions are available to suit your bandwidth and patience. Unfortunately, it's still only available in Real format, but I guess we can't have everything."

Semi-alive and kicking. IEEE Spectrum Associate Editor Stephen Cass writes:

IEEE Spectrum , the house magazine of the IEEE is launching an online forum devoted to the noble sport of robosoccer . Robosoccer is different from things like Battle Bots or Robot Wars in that the robots play in teams and the whole thing is completely autonomous once started. There are a number of competitions, the biggest of which is the annual Robocup tournament, which will be held in Seattle this year. Robosoccer is a great reasearch tool for exploring A.I., automous agent behaviour, computer vision, simulation and mechanical and electrical design. It attracts participants ranging from high school students to academic researchers.

Our website (which incidentally runs slashcode) will also be a clearing house for us to award sponsorship money for teams building robosoccer robots as well as a place to exchange information.

Hard to get enough of Robots playing soccer, and prize money means you can buy more marshmallows to roast at your victory bonfire.

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Slashback: Offshore

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    "DivX would be nice."

    The DivX codec is a hacked MS codec. MS doesn't like it at all, and it's probably illegal. No legit site would offer downloads in an illegal format.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you want coverage of even the slightest bit of triviality about Tolkien, then you don't want journalism. The two are mutually exclusive. either you get rumours and news posts about subjects less-than-newsworthy about a horrible author and a slightly less horrible movie, or you get quality journalism about things that matter.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, finally a reason. The perfect weather and good tech economy here is almost unbearable, but finally, a reason to be in San Diego!

    Not that any of you ever go outside any more....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'll laugh out loud if the panel of experts decides, to the shock and horror of the Slashbots, that Shared Source just might be a better software development philosophy for most businesses than all-or-nothing open-your-code GPL-ness. I'm sure, should the unthinkable happen, that Slashbots everywhere will automatically assume the experts were "bought", that O'Reilly is "just an MS shill capitalist anyway," and that Shared Source won't be accepted by anyone except greedy corporations - oh, wait, that's where most consumer, and a lot of business-accepted software, comes from.

    Oh well. Zealotry can't be helped by truth...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You seem to lack understanding of why people don't like Real Networks software. Here's why I don't like it. It stuffs the windows registry full of all kinds of crap, it takes over every file association it possibly can and it installs applications you don't want without giving you the option to say no. Days later, when you've removed Real Player you're still discovering weird "helper" applications appearing when you choose to save something to disk, and they're streaming advertisements at you!

    If you can get the .mov or the .mpg then you can show it to people later when the net isn't available. You can use your choice of player. You can stick it on a CD and archive it.

    For this reason I stopped buying CDs from Amazon - preview tracks only in .rm format.

    I think the slashbots (I don't think much of the brainless Free Software zealots either) would prefer .mpg over anything else.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The original divx was a hack of Microsoft's mpeg4v3 codec, when that CODEC was in beta form. The high motion and low motion variants are from different builds of the MS dll.

    The new divx is currently warmed over MoMuSys (or something like that) reference code; LAME started in a similar way (warmed over refernce code), so there is hope for opendivx yet. It is currently noticeably worse than either divx or the other MS mpeg4 codecs.

    Only some of this is mentioned in the opendivx FAQ. Most notably they neglect to mention their previous code theft entirely.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bored of the Rings Casting:

    Arrowroot (son of Arrowshirt): Martin Short
    Goodgulf: John Goodman
    Lord of the Nozdrul: Leonardo DiCaprio
    Eorache: Rosie O'Donnell
    Legolam: Rupert Everett

    Can't think of anyone for the Boggies, Bromosel, or Gimlet right now...
  • DivX is not a hacked M$ codec, its a modified mpeg 4 codec.. Check your facts..
  • Real is correct, it would be nicer if we had a nice standard compliant Mpeg 4 streaming player, but we dont have one yet. So I'll settle for Real, even if its not free, first because its available on all of the platform that end-user use (those being Mac, Linux and Win).. and it does work quite well...
  • by Tony ( 765 )
    ... or a Xerox laser printer?

    That would be really funny, except RMS was after the print driver code, which was installed on the computer he was using.
  • Wrong.

    There was a backdoor, a secret password in IIS, that was put there by some programmers. It was discovered very recently (say, 3 or 4 weeks ago-- maybe a little longer), and acknowledged by MS as a backdoor.

    I'm hardly a zealot (okay, maybe I am, but I'm a rational zealot, damnit).

    I guess I should have been more specific for you who don't pay much attention.
  • Ha! Your sad porn-to-IIS matching skills have failed you!

    Netcraft report:

    The site is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.

    Fool! Do not tempt the porn gods lest the naughty, jiggley bits of young women be hidden from your view for all eternity.

  • I'd hardly call him a linguistic master. Fantastic story teller without a doubt, but linguistically nothing special.


  • I'd put up some money for this.
  • Some more casting suggestions...

    Frito: Jim Carrey
    Dildo: Christopher Lloyd
    Moxie: Paul Reubens
    Pepsi: Bill Murray
    Spam: Bill Murray
    Serutan: John Lithgow
    Gimlet, son of Groin: John Belushi or (I know, he's dead, but he'd be perfect.)
    Schlob: Rosanne
    Tim Benzedrine: Robin Williams
  • Considering that he developed an entire language for which LOTR was intended as a showcase, plus bits of at least two others, I think "linguistic master" is appropriate. Or did you think he had a copy of the Oxford Elvish Dictionary to refer to?

  • The Real Player for Sparc Solaris is pretty much equivalent to the one for Linux. I watched this trailer with it and it worked fine.

    I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations ...
  • Well, this trailer is available as a downloadable .rm, and not just a stream, so you can download it once and watch it many times.

    I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations ...
  • Let's do the math here:

    Download trailer on cable modem: free.

    Watch trailer in theater: $7.

    For a three minute trailer, which would YOU pick?

    Now, it just so happens that I saw the trailer in the theater and I haven't downloaded it, and that I wouldn't download it in any case until they get it into a rational (MPEG or QuickTime) format. But I didn't go to the theater with the idea of seeing the trailer, and was in fact extremely surprised (and pleased) to see it there.

    I don't watch a lot of movies in theaters, but I certainly WILL go see LOTR if I can.
  • For those that can't/don't want to play .ogg files, the New York IndyMedia Center [] (whose webserver is actually called stallman) has an MP3 available at []. File size is "only" ~34MB, instead of 49MB or 113MB for the .ogg
    // mlc, user 16290
  • Why would the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, organized by Tim O'Reilly, not allow Tim O'Reilly to be one of the panelists?
  • I use a Mac regularly and there appears to be only one ogg encoder for mac and 2 mac decoders. I use SoundJam MP to play my MP3s and do not want to have to run 2 programs to play my music files. Ogg needs application support badly. Apple could be, I think, the one to implement this. Quicktime, which is very popular, can already play MP3s. When/if Apple implements ogg compatibility, every QT enabled application will automatically gain the ability to play OGG files.

    Then the userbase should expand.

  • Quicktime is an open format. The only problem is its CODECs are not. Right now the MPEG4 is probably the closest one to an open CODEC.
  • while havenco is cool, these guys at Sealand take them selves WAY to seriously. Please. Its a fricken little heliopad and a couple cement tubes. Nation? No.
    Thank you
  • I disagree about Bill Gates not having the faintest idea of distributing source.

    I recently read something by him on the web where he talks about the
    early days when he and his friends would read any printed source code
    they could get their hands on. The object was to learn about programming.

    But maybe he could not conceive of returning the favor to future programmers.
  • It allows for the protection of IP *as long as you agree to allow anybody else to use that IP*

    If you use GPL code with your code, you run the risk of your IP expressed as source code will have to be released.

    If you use BSD licensed code with your code, you don't run the risk of having your ip expressed as source code released.

    Micro$oft is painting Open Source with a GPL brush. And, well, BSD based OSes don't have the GPL desire to tear down the walls of IP.
  • I would bet that you could open source a project like this even without it being a real program yet... someone would pounce on it. This is something that a lot of people want.
  • Zeinfeld (263942) wrote: US wackos with guns...Freematt responds: "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." -- Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanlysis (1952) ###
  • Instead of trying to make robots that play soccer, why don't they come up with a better goal.

    Yeah, lets get them playing Rugby instead. Talk about bone crunching defence!

  • Vorbis []... Oh wait.. it's not finished yet.
    It'll be pretty !#$@ cool when it is tho. Completely open. Need a codec for (insert bizarre coice of operating system here)? Here's the tools! Have fun!
  • not that i want to promote the movie Little Licky that much, but on the DVD there's a hidden menu where you can get a halo to appear about his Sandler's head like a Ring - and there's a trailer there for the LOTR movies. watching it on DVD is amazing. you have ot get to the menu option right next to his head and then press left.
  • Please, please do not compare Lord of the Rings to Battlefield Earth, or Tolien to Hubbard. Thank you.
  • Please, for the sake of your well-being and your children-to-be, make sure you include a safety shutoff for your robots just in case a bug pops up in the ball targeting algorithm!
  • RMS famously describes the laser printer episode as a genesis of the Free Software philosophy ...

    But before this happened, I had an experience that prepared me, helped me see what to do, helped prepare me to see what to do when this happened, because at certain point, Xerox gave the artificial intelligence lab, where I worked, a laser printer, and this was a really handsome gift, because it was the first time anybody outside Xerox had a laser printer. It was very fast, printed a page a second, very fine in many respects, but it was unreliable, because it was really a high-speed office copier that had been modified into a printer. And you know, copiers jam, but there's somebody there to fix them. The printer jammed and nobody saw. So it stayed jammed for a long time.

    Well, we had an idea for how to deal with this problem. Change it so that whenever the printer gets a jam, the machine that runs the printer can tell our timesharing machine, and tell the users who are waiting for printouts, or something like that, you know, tell them, go fix the printer. Because if they only knew it was jammed, of course, if you're waiting for a printout, and you know that the printer is jammed, you don't want to sit and wait forever, you're going to go fix it.

    But, at that point, we were completely stymied, because the software that ran that printer was not free software -- it had come with the printer, and it was just a binary. We couldn't have the source code -- Xerox wouldn't let us have the source code. So, despite our skill as programmers -- after all, we had written our own timesharing system -- we were completely helpless to add this feature to the printer software.

    But later on, he considers some exceptions to FS ...

    And the issue doesn't really arise for software that goes in a watch or a microwave oven, or an automobile ignition system. Because those are places where you don't download software to install. It's not a real computer, as far as the user is concerned. And so, it doesn't raise these issues enough for them to be ethically important.

    Now, these excepted examples sound precisely the analogue of the printer episode that started everything off in the first place ...

  • Here I am living in San Diego so I said to myself:
    "Self, why don't you go and see Mundie and Tim speek?"
    I will not be able to do this though because it costs $895 and the reason I was attracted to Linux in the first place (before I even had a computer to run it on) was because it was free/cheep.
    I would loved to have attended even if it ment shelling out $50 to stand in the back or watch it on CCTV and hang out with like minded people. However I have been priced out of Open Souce.
  • I would be very careful ever using the word all on slashdot. I used a sun as a desktop for a long time. The Real Player for that was antiquated and did not play modern movies. I also used BeOS for a while, no Real Player for that.

    Just because it runs on linux, does not make it run on "all of the platforms that end-users use"
  • Try Audion 2 [], which works in OS X and 8.6/later. It's got Ogg Vorbis support built in, supposedly (I have not tried it.)
  • Actually, the server farm is in one leg; the othe leg is accomodation.
  • I wasn't beating anyone up over the indians. Just using them as a nearby example whose history and status I assumed (perhaps wrongly) would be familiar.

    On the original note, the US does not have pre-existing non-agression treaties with, eg, Ghana. Or even someplace closer to home, like Mexico.
  • The Havenco web site says it is now fully operational and open for business." A lot of people seemed convinced that Havenco wouldn't even be around by this time, but sticking around is the best revenge.
    Oh please. They may be "around" but what are they selling? A low-bandwidth server farm on a semi-derelict radar station []. Just because some braindead "Prince of Sealand" claims that the platform is sovereign territory doesn't make it a safe place to park your data.

    No, wait, I'm sorry, this is an excellent venture! Let's all do it! I've just proclaimed the People's Republic of Scotts Valley, with myself as Supreme Guru. To reserve your space in our data haven, please send US$10,000 via Paypal to the above address!


  • Please. Its a fricken little heliopad and a couple cement tubes...

    ...that will probably sink in the not too distant future unless they make a lot of money out of havenco. (sealand the first dot-com iland?)
  • Instead of going to Netcraft, I've been going directly to the porn sites and trying to determine if the server "feels" like Apache or IIS. I've had limited success so far, but I have been able to recycle several empty Kleenex boxes.

    If you achieved "penetration" I can assure you that the server was IIS. Bonus points if you were using a "trojan" at the time!
  • Hmm so you've been recognised as a sovereign territory, by the country that formerly owned the land? Its the British Government recognising it as sovereign territory that makes it a safe place to park your data.
  • Actually, RMS may have said, "Just because it's free software doesn't mean that you can afford it," but if you read just about anything he's written you'll see that he vehemently opposes charging money for software. To RMS, software is a right, not a priviledge. The source code should be published, freely accessable at all times, to anyone, for nothing, always. He's a bit fanatical about it.

    I for one like the idea of openly published source code, but I think the GPL is actualyl too restrictive, as opposed to being unrestrictive. The LGPL goes a long way to help, though. The BSD license is great. I think I may like the MPL/NPL the best though. I think people SHOULD be able to make money on their work, and if they see fit to include some piece of someone else's code to make the project bettr, then they should be able to, but with proper credit (and maybe some profit sharing too) for the contributor.

    But I feel RMS goes too far. At the risk of precious Karma, I somewhat share JWZ's feelings [] on the matter...


  • I think it'll be funnier if you put it like this:
    Instead of robots that play soccer,

    why don't they search for something better,
    Like say robots that can lay fiber?
    9 syllables per line and it rhymes!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If the people who would be interested in actually watching LOTR are the same people who would rather download it than go to a movie theater to watch it, doesn't it stand to reason that this could be a flop as titanic as Battlefield Earth?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's this about snow white and endocrine?
  • They are forbidden to declare war against the US. Does that sound like sovereignty?

    Wow, I didn't know you had to have permission from you opponent before you could declare war on them. Boy, international politics should be a lot easier:
    "I declare war on you"
    "Sorry, you can't do that, I won't acknowledge it"
    "But I really want to, PLEEEASE let me declare war on you"
    "Sorry, maybe next year"

    On a side note. (WARNING: Rant approaching!) Why do we Americans beat ourselves up constantly over the Indians. It's not like it was the first or last time in history a force with a superior military conquered an idiginous people. Why are we as Americans so hung up on this. Sins of the Father (or Great Grandfather in this case) don't carry down to the family, unless you are a society I guess.

    Oh, and before all of the Europeans get high and mighty on us, just remember the Aztecs[1], Pagans, Ottomans, and many others. I don't want to read N posts saying "That's why everyone knows America Sucks" for the umteenth time.

    [1] Technically we should blame the Central Americans for this, but I mostly blame the Spanish since they were pretty much wiping out the Aztecs as part of settling on the land instead of waiting until they needed to landgrab the entire country years later.

    End Rant Mode

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • REALvideo: typically not the best video quality. (it sucks) Also Real is usually streamed which makes it hard(er) to save a copy to cd and show to a friend. When I start up the player it does annoying things like check for updates.

    Quicktime: good quality sound and video, but the player is awfull. In particular I don't like how it does not play videos full-screen. IE if I have a 640x480 vid I want the player to change my screen resolution to 640x480 and play the video. I don't want to see the foolish silver/grey app thingy. My last version of Quick time refused to work as there was a "newer version." I could not dl the new version as apple was hosed. It was needlessly annoying.

    Windows media: I haven't used the the player enough.

    Personally I like mpeg as it has decent quality, and I can play it full screen.
  • I can't believe that Tim O'Reilly is going to be one of the panelists. Or any of their other panelists. Somehow I doubt that they're going to have someone from the FSF or representing free software there at all.

    There's nothing wrong with open source if your #1 priority is the popularity of your application, the user base, and what development model you prefer. But while those are important priorities for free softare, the number one priority is freedom. And somehow I doubt that they're going to have anybody there that's willing to go to bat for freedom. The result is usually a bastardized discussion where "open source" luminaries try to justify their existence to the business world. And while they may sometimes do a good job, they're still missing the point that the reason open source exists is because someone gave a damn about freedom above everything else.

  • Riiiight. We all know how our American Indian brethren have rearmed in recent years; in fact they are suspected to have a nuclear device with which they are holding New York City hostage. And that is why the USA has grudgingly allowed them to win at various lawsuits to gain control of lands illegally stolen from their ancestors by ours, and why the USA is grudgingly allowing them the sovereignty to run gambling operations in spite of the shrill protests of their neighbors. After all, why would the powerful US government do anything nice to mere Indians unless they had some guns? It certainly couldn't be anything like "it was the right thing to do" -- could it? May I suggest that ideas, and ideology, have something to do with sovereignty? There are always guns in the world, and weak peoples, but there is no pecking order of slavery. The naive view of Mao's saying predicts a world order like a henhouse; but we are more complicated than that.
  • I would like to inform you that the following term "Slashbot" is protected as follows: ©, ®, [TM], by the slashdot community. We demand that you stop using this term to refer to your "piratebot" as it dilutes the value of the term Slashbot.

    Slashbot: Slashdot user that exhibits knee-jerk reactions to every news story posted without reading the article or understanding the facts.

    Thank you and have a nice day!


    If you do not comply within 30 seconds we will release a pack of rabid slashbots on your email address/website/fax machine/phone number to discourage it's continued use.

    *sigh* did I really just post that?

  • mpeg-1, mpeg-2 and real video are the only cross platform formats - any of these are fine.

    h.263 or h.263+ would also be fine for interview type low res-stuff, but all the clients seem orientated towards video conferencing rather than simple playing or streaming.
  • divx is useless - it's close to mpeg-4 but isn't, so there's no standard to be able to implement it - only the x86 hacked binary.

    however, mpeg-4 itself will hopefully become more widespread. there are a few mpeg-4 streamers/players starting to appear, so maybe in a year or so it may become a reasonable choice
  • Yeah it would be funny, but joking aside there are MANY alternatives other than "shared" (i.e. read only) source or the GPL. Things like the LGPL or BSD licence are much more business friendly. GPL is best suited to free software, but not necessarily to open software as a whole.
  • Well, all I know is that he got pissed when people wouldn't pay him for his BASIC program.

    And why is this noteworthy? People were stealing his software. Of course he got pissed. Who wouldn't?
  • "BSD OSes/licences and others allow *FOR* the protection of IP."


    It allows for the protection of IP *as long as you agree to allow anybody else to use that IP*. If you are an "original author" that wants to change a license on a large code base, just *try* contacting every single person who touched the source, let alone discover *who* actually contributed *what*. In reality the sheer difficulty of isolating the IP of every single contributor makes the only option to be that people working on an OS project agree ahead of time that any IP they contribute may be licensed differently in the future without notification. In most cases this is true.
  • Bored of the Rings!

    With Dildo, Pepsi, Moxie, Greytooth, the Green Berets and Vee-Eights, Nozdril and all the rest!
  • If i rowed a boat out into the middle of the pacific ocean and found a small, newly-formed volcanic island, are there any international laws/statutes/prior claims over bodies of water etc. that would prevent me from declaring sovereignty, setting up a government and joining the U.N. etc?

    Or is the idea of 'sovereignty' entirely dependent on your ability to defend the territory you claim by economic, diplomatic and/or military force?
  • Well, as Vorbis Video [] is still not here, like others, i believe Mpeg1 is the most open, standard and crossplattform of all the available codecs. It is not top quality; but a least does not require too much complex machines and there is a player for everyone.

    Sure mpeg1 is not very suited for modem streaming; but at least it can be saved with ease. Something like mpeg1 video at 160x120 23.976 fps (lowest available); with mpeg audio layer II at 32 kbps mono (toolame encoder [] to the rescue :) could do fine with 512 something kbps or less, maybe 256kbps.

    I suggest you check out the Tsunami mpeg encoder [] for good quality mpeg1 encodes. Be sure to use a high soften block noise setting and other useful tweaks that improve quality. Oh, and Variable bit rate is there too :)


  • Perhaps you were joking. In that case, well, get funnier.

    In the case that you were not joking, the point of the robots playing soccer is to encourage the development of robot technology. What is learned now will make the robots of the future possible.

    For example, one of the things that is arising out of robot soccer is artificial teamwork. Perhaps you think "so what?" to that, but consider this: perhaps a single piece of equipment that lays fiber would be too massive, to bulky and to expensive to ever be used. Perhaps the solution is to have a team of robots that can take on different tasks and work together. And if the flagman-bot gets run down, another can easily take it's place.

  • Somehow I doubt that they're going to have someone from the FSF or representing free software there at all.

    Lets see, the argument of Microsoft is "Open Source does not allow for protection of IP" and that is wrong. BSD OSes/licences and others allow *FOR* the protection of IP.

    Hopefully at this conference, during the Q and A, someone will stand up and point this out. Point out that Micro$oft's rightful IP \0xBE\0xEF is with the GPL and not Open Source. But the self-love linux press isn't willing to chip away at the edges, point out how Micro$oft is correct about IP and the GPL, then point out how the BSD license, which is Open Source, doesn't ahve the IP-wrecking design.

    Your spritiual leader, RMS has said on many occations that the FSF is not Open Source. RMS doesn't WANT to be associated with Open Source. If this is an Open Source conference, and RMS doesn't want to be associated with Open Source, why should he be invited?
  • No they are not. Again, you are confusing your values with someone else's. You value money. The guys who wrote Apache may or may not, but they choose to make money from other efforts, and not in the coding itself.

    Your values are distinct from others. And even if they were the same as some other people, they may choose alternative actions.

  • I agree. The Porn industry is not contributing back. But you see, Free Software was not made to solve this problem.
  • I don't think the orginal poster was wrong. It is true that we should make this distinction between zero-priced software and free software. But what is less obvious is to the reading of Bill Gate's intentions. I think the poster was right - Bill Gates does indeed believe in the negation of the "free software" ideal. Microsofts actions as a company has always been like this.
  • Generally, when a movie that is still in theaters is released online, it's not very good quality, and is much worse than a rip of the DVD (which you won't find until the DVD itself is out). Pirates might not mind watching a Divx rip, but not as many are willing to settle for a VCD of a videocamera in a theater.

  • DivX would be nice.
    signature smigmature
  • Yes, because we all know that Ogg is easily played on any PC since most people already have support for it installed.

    These Windows platform media players support Ogg Vorbis [] audio: FreeAMP (natively), Sonique (natively), and Winamp (with a plugin []). Winamp [], from AOL Nullsoft [], is the most popular audio player on the Windows platform. A drag-and-drop Ogg Vorbis encoder is also available [].

  • What you said makes no sense. Let me define a few terms for you. :)

    DFT: Discrete Fourier Transform. O(N^2). Breaks down a signal into component real and imaginary waveforms (the "real" and "imaginary" components are really kind of illusory... it has to do with a nice property with imaginary exponents breaking down into sine and cosine terms, making the math easier). In real-world phenomina like images and especially sound, sinous waveforms often have a lot of energy concentrated in certain frequencies and little energy elsewhere - thus, you can kill off the low-energy components to save space.

    FFT: Fast Fourier Transform: An O(N log N) implementation of the DFT.

    DCT: Discrete Cosine Transform: The big problem with using fouriers for compression is that for every piece of data, you get a real and imaginary term back, doubling your amount of data (for compression, that's *bad*). The reason this happens is that, if you look at a cosine, it is symmetrical (so you can't just compress a signal with cosine terms unless the signal itself is symmetrical as well). Sines are antisymmetrical, and fall under the same sort of problem. What the DCT does is builds a new waveform that is neither symmetrical or antisymmetrical, and compresses frequencies 1hz, 3hz, 5hz, etc.

    Wavelet: A concept based on using matrices to split up high energy and low energy coefficients so the low energy coefficients can be thrown away. There are many wavelets. My favorite is the Daubechies wavelet, as it is rather adaptable. An easy way to picture wavelets is this: picture a 1d segment of data. Now, picture "averaging" that data down, so it is half the size it was before. Well, you just lost data there. What data did you lose? Well, it is the difference between the adjacent points you averaged, divided by two. That also is half the size. Together, you have the same amount of data as the original, but the energy distribution is different - the higher energy components are on one half, and the low energy components on the other half. Then, you normalize so it has the same total energy as before. That is basicly doing the Haar wavelet for a 1d signal, minus the nifty matrix math that works into it. Wavelet transforms are, for 1, 2, and 3 dimensions respectively, O(X^2), O(X^2)+O(Y^2), and O(X^2)+O(Y^2)+O(Z^2) - so, extending them into 3d doesn't carry much of a performance hit.

    Block transformation: DFT, FFT, DCT, and the like suffer from an interesting problem (wavelet transforms suffer from the opposite problem, though not nearly as notably): They record smooth transitions well, but when you have a sharp change in data, it causes ripples of energy throughout the whole area being analyzed... on a 1d signal, it looks something like a city skyline with really tall buildings in the middle, and smaller buildings on the outside, spaced at even intervals. Well, we want our energy levels to be concentrated, not spread out - by concentrating the energy in certain signals, we can get away with not storing other signals. So, ripples are bad ;) The solution used (for DFT, FFT, DCT, etc) is the block transformation. You break your signal into blocks - its best if they're 2^N in size, and uniform. You then do your transformation on those blocks individually, as if they were whole images. If there is a sharp change in a block, such as the edge of an object, it'll cause ripples in that block, but they'll be isolated just to that block. As a whole, though, wavelets are a much more elegant solution (though, of course, wavelets are pretty worthless for sound, which is composed mostly of sinous components and few sharp edges, unlike images).

    An additional niftiness of both wavelet and DCT-based compression is the ability to do initial loading, and then image refinements, with simple math. When you break down a signal into sinous components, the energy tends to be mostly concentrated in the low-frequency energy, and is only speckled in the high-frequency. The 0,0 hz signal in an image, for example, corresponds to the average color of that image (so, on a block transform, you can assemble all of the 0,0's into a blocky image). Then, as you get more frequencies in (which tend to be weaker and weaker in strength), you can enhance your image. With wavelets, you store the high energy components first, and then progress to the low energy components (on a wavelet transform with multiple iterations, you take the highest energies, then the next highest, then the next, etc).

    Oy, that's enough of a lesson for now. If you're interested in the mathematics behind all of this, let me know at (remove the _NOSPAM_).

    Enjoy :)

    - Rei

  • They've been up and running for months; someone needs to send a FactCheckerBot over to visit the /. editors.
  • All power comes from the barrel of a gun.

    If you can't keep your sovereignty, you ain't got it.

    Just ask the Native Americans.
  • You are mistaken if you believe the Indians have sovereignty. They have a legal fiction called sovereignty, which isn't real sovereignty. Like I said, talk to somebody who knows.

    Soverignty is not being permitted by your masters to run a casino here and there.
    Sovereignty is deciding you want to run a casino, and not needing permission.
    Sovereignty is not having to pay tribute to your lords. Ask an Indian friend who he pays taxes to.

    The Native American tribes are forbidden to make treaties with any foreign powers. Does that sound like sovereignty?
    They are forbidden to declare war against the US. Does that sound like sovereignty?
    They are forced to seek redress of grievence in the courts of an occupying military power.

    Sovereignty? I don't think so.
  • Funny you should mention Taiwan, which is almost the direct opposite of Sealand. Taiwan has a highly defensible location, a first rate armed service, and one of the world's leading economies. So they prosper even though the legal theory under which they are independent is not widely accepted -- even in Taiwan!

    (I'm not running down the Taiwanese. It's just that their state is the current version of the Republic of China that lost control of the mainland in 1948. The ROC government used to bluster about throwing the commie pirates out, but the current crop of Taiwanese nationalists who run the country could care less.)

    Sealand, by contrast, has a theory and nothing else. Supposedly a British court ruled that they really are sovereign, but what does that get them? If they piss off, say, Iceland, are they going to fend off the invading armies with a court order?

    And what will Havenco's customers do if their service is not as advertised? Suppose you move a bunch of data to Havenco's server farm and they lose it? Who will you complain to, the "Prince" of Sealand? The same one that owns Havenco?


  • I think Seaborga might actually have some legal legitimacy, though I don't honestly know. Europe is full of little sovereign and Feudal entities that never got incorporated into any of the "real" nation-states: Monaco, the Channel Islands, Man, San Marino, etc. They do a nice business selling stamps, operating casinos, catering to tax refugees, etc. Obviously Roy Bates wanted to get into the act when he "seized" Sealand back in 1967.

    Here's another thought: even if Sealand is a safe place to park your data (which I doubt), and its sovereignty stands up in international court (hasn't really been tested yet), does putting your data there really put it out of reach? Since you can't move your own body to Sealand, you can still be arrested and ordered to turn the data over. That still gives you the option of refusing, but you can get the same level of security by encrypting the data and refusing to divulge the key.

    As long as we're discussing pseudocountries, does anybody know why The Kingdom of Patagonia [] tried to seize some uninhabited islands off the coast of France, back in 1998? I don't recall which specific islands, but I do recall they are part of the Channel Islands, which Elizabeth II rules, not as Queen of Great Britain, but as Duchess of Normandy. Didn't know that particular Duchy still existed, did you? Imagine what would happen if Liz went to Calais and started demanding Droit de Seigneur []!


  • Don't forget Helpful Link Bot [], who would provide helpful links to the Slashdot community in a karmawhore-ish manner.

    < )
    ( \

  • The second Lord of the Rings trailer has been available in a number of different video formats (QuickTime, MPEG, Windows Media,...) for a few days now on this Tolkien Movies site []. The site also hosts a number of other interesting images and videos.
  • The "Beyond Computers" tv show, not related to the old radio show(?), has had stuff on the RoboSoccer just this past week.

    I tried to find a link, but it looks like it might only be on locally.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • Interesting bit: the NY Times published an article today [] in which it referred to that OS as "GNU/Linux," as recommended by RMS/FSF (or is that GNU/RMS/FSF?). Interesting, worth a \back entry itself, I would guess.
  • OpenSource makes the world plenty of money, just not necessarily (but certainly not prohibitively, either) for the authors of it.

    Just ask any porn company. Apache seems to be the server of choice among porn companies.

    (Here's a fun challenge:

    1. Go to []
    2. Make up a porn site name. (It's almost certainly taken.)
    3. Enter it into the "What's that site running?" box.

    Let me know when you find an IIS in there. I've tried valiently to find one, but have failed.)

  • Instead of trying to make robots that play soccer, why don't they come up with a better goal. Like say, robots that can lay fiber?
  • Being a stateless platform does not mean that sealand is subject to no national laws, if it were in fact the case (it is not) all that status would mean is that Sealand is not subject to any national protection. The place was taken over by pirates a while back and not surprisingly no government lifted a finger to protect the inhabitants.

    Which reminds me, Sealand - having no natural resources other than salt water and a finite supply of hardened concrete - is particularly vulnerable to siege.

    If I were so motivated, it would not be terribly expensive for me to drive up their energy and food costs beyond what they could profitably afford, just by harassing delivery craft/helicopters.

    The situation is unbalanced because my tactical objective is open-ended and simple (hassle them any way I can) whereas theirs is specific and complex (get particular supplies to a particular place with a particular minimum volume/frequency). This unbalance remains even if they have sufficient funds to hire mercenary protection. Furthermore, failure on my part has no cost, while failure on their part means the end of their operation.

    And that doesn't even get into the fragility of their data link.

    If they are taking the position that they are sovereign, and they have no defense arrangements with any actual governments, then from an practical perspective their position is fundamentally untenable in the face of even halfway-determined adversity.

  • Officially, most countries do not recognise Taiwan as a country

    Who doesn't recognize Taiwan as a country? Everyone who would otherwise have an embassy in a country of that region/size/trade volume/global significance/proximity has either a "trade office" or a "special liaison office" in Taipei, staffed exactly the same as an embassy (the US uses a fictional department but all the people are drawn from State/DOD/Commerce and of the same ranks you'd find in a real embassy), looking just like an embassy, performing the same functions as an embassy, and run by the respective foreign ministries.

    This is not even vaguely similar to Sealand, which retains its unmolested status because it just hasn't been worth anyone's trouble. Taiwan, on the other hand, has been a whole lot of trouble (in terms of difficulties with China) and yet the world's governments have collectively poured billions into their relationship with it. Just no comparison at all.

    From reading Sealand history, the inhabitants did repel an approaching British boat without repercussion. Some legitimacy there...

    That's not legitimacy, it's just another example of "not worth the trouble." If I dance around you at a bar throwing peanuts at your head and saying you're my pet monkey, and you make to punch me and then I start scratching at you like a little girl and then you back off in disgust, it doesn't mean you really are my pet monkey. It just means you didn't find it worth your trouble to pummel me.

  • Its the British Government recognising it as sovereign territory that makes it a safe place to park your data.

    The British government hasn't recognized anything as sovereign until the Foreign Office says so, either explicitly or by establishing formal diplomatic relations.

    Just because some judge somewhere made a goofy decision doesn't obligate the entire government to a position on a matter of international significance.

    If a traffic judge in North Dakota accepts my home-made Seborga [] driver's license, does that mean that the United States of America suddenly recognizes a third micro-state within Italy's borders? I think not.

  • Zeinfeld responds that he wishes freematt would join his whacko friends in sealand and partake of whatever armaments governments feel fit to launch in his general direction.
  • Or did you think he had a copy of the Oxford Elvish Dictionary to refer to?

    Well he did have a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, he edited the OED for many years. If there was an Oxford Elvish Dictionary, he would have written it.

    Someone once questioned his use of the spelling 'dwarves' when the OED specified 'dwarfs', Tolkien replied "I wrote the OED".

    In terms of linguistics, Tolkien was the foremost authority in his day on Middle English and the etymology of the English language. He was responsible for keeping study of Middle English compulsory in the English sylabus (together with C.S. Lewis?). Thus he was infamous amongst the undergrads for forcing them to read 'Beowulf'.

    The LOTR was essentially an attempt to create an English mythology to replace the one lost as a result of the Norman invasion and the medieval christian church.

  • The British government hasn't recognized anything as sovereign until the Foreign Office says so, either explicitly or by establishing formal diplomatic relations.

    Absolutely. The British government has recognized that it has lost ownership of the platform but has never recognized the platform as sovereign.

    A judge did rule a long time ago that the platform was outside English costal waters and was therefore outside the juridiction of the English courts. That does not entail any statement about sovereignty. Glasgow is outside the juridsiction of the English courts but is still under the British Crown.

    The judge's rulling has since been superceeded when the UK government ratified a convention that set uniform boundaries for all the signatories. Under the convention UK sovereignty (and hence English) actually extended to include the platform. The platform is now within UK teritorial waters.

    Incidentally, man made platforms do not count for purposes of sovereignty. Otherwise countries could extend their teritorial waters by building strategically placed barges.

    A man made platform such as an oil rig falls under marine law and has to be registered in a national shipping registry. Otherwise any state that chooses can exercise sovereignty over it.

    Being a stateless platform does not mean that sealand is subject to no national laws, if it were in fact the case (it is not) all that status would mean is that Sealand is not subject to any national protection. The place was taken over by pirates a while back and not surprisingly no government lifted a finger to protect the inhabitants.

    US wackos with guns who are still living in shelters in Montana, convinced the Y2K virus is going to bring down civilization will disagree. I could not care less. As another poster pointed out, Sealand will be permitted to exist up to the point they start to be a conduit for organized crime at which point they will be raided.

  • Let's not spread assumptions about free software or open source by acting as if the gratis nature of many open source and free software projects is the only way to do it.

    I'm seriously confused as to what Microsoft is contributing to this debate. They want to give out their source code under an NDA, and make sure people continue to pay for their product. That's fine, but what's new about this, and why is it considered a 'philosophy'? Why don't they just say "hey, we're giving out our source under tightly controlled conditions, not to be modified and republished." Other companies have been doing this for years, and I must say that it hasn't changed the world.

    This whole thing sounds like an excuse to generate BS hype for a Microsoft business initiative. I seriouly doubt that Mundie is going to say anything new at this presentation-- more likely he'll just flame a bit more, guaranteeing that MS's "shared source" gets a few more column inches. If someone other than a Microsoft honcho were touting this as a philosophy, we'd be paying them absolutely no attention. The only thing that makes it noteworthy is that it's coming from a massive company that has historically been so tight with their software that few people have even seen the source. That, and that they're using the opportunity to take some cheap shots at GPL-style Open Source Software, which really is a genuinely original phenomenon with some pretty amazing results.

  • I third the MPEG motion. Compression is decent and decoders are open sourced.

    Remember, DIVX, Soerensen etc may play on your x86 Linux box with the Windoze libraries, but it won't play on my Alpha, Joe's powerpc or Max' arm.

  • I love the hostname in that link: fruitsofthesea

    As for Sealand or Scotts Valley being countries, that just depends on how well you can defend your plot of land when the stormtroopers arrive to collect taxes. From reading Sealand history, the inhabitants did repel an approaching British boat without repercussion. Some legitimacy there...

    Officially, most countries do not recognise Taiwan as a country, although de facto it really is. If Taiwan set up a data haven like havenco has done in Sealand, and distributed data that every other country took offence at, their connections would likely be dropped, and if serious enough, the directors would be subject to arrest once they stepped onto foreign soil. Not a problem for Taiwanese people maybe, but spending my life on Sealand to avoid arrest elsewhere is not a nice situation I'd like to be in.

  • Wasn't Bill Gates one of the first people ever to oppose open source? I think it was when people "pirated" copies of his Little Basic and he asked for money in return:-P
  • by Tony ( 765 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @05:37PM (#176978) Journal
    Zealotry may not be helped by the truth, but poor logic can't be helped by facts, either.

    Shared Source won't be accepted by anyone except greedy corporations - oh, wait, that's where most consumer, and a lot of business-accepted software, comes from.

    Big deal-- so the most popular software is produced by a corporation. Budweiser is the most-consumed beer, and the Ford Escort is the best-selling car. What's that prove? That advertising beats quality every time.

    Microsoft makes the most-popular software. So what? They also make the most-insecure software, with back doors built in... back doors the corporation didn't even know existed. Yeah, that's a great track record to be proud of.

    They also make the most popular email client (meaning a lot of people don't know anything but Outlook exists, since that's what their computer comes bundled with). Oddly enough, it's also the only email client that allows emails to control your computer by design. That's just fucking stupid.

    This doesn't address your primary point-- that "Shared Source" might be better than the GPL. Let's look at the goals of each license:

    Shared Source
    Shared source allows you to look at certain pieces of MS source. You can't do a damned thing with it, except perhaps send MS some code of your own, which they then own. This seems to me to have these goals:

    1. You can see the code, but not share it. How's that "Shared Source?" Oh, I forget-- you can share your source with Microsoft.

    2. You can't really modify the source, nor do anything with it. Any potential modifications must go back to Microsoft, and if it is worth anything, they benefit.

    With the GPL, you get access to the entire body of GPLed code. You can modify it to your heart's content, but iff you decide to make binaries of the modified code available to other people (either by selling the binary to them, or giving it to them), you must make all the code available to them, as well. Then they recieve the same rights which you were given with the GPL.

    Tell me, which gives you the most rights? Which gives you the most potential to make money (assuming "you" are not Microsoft)?

    Microsoft apologists piss me off when they attack the GPL. Microsoft has the right to make money-- just not the right to steal innovation from people who don't want it usurped. They whinge on and on about "Intellectual property," but they aren't willing to respect the intellectual property of people who choose to use the GPL.

    How fucking naive can you get?
  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:27PM (#176979)
    I think you're seriously confusing the issues of whether or not you have access to the source code with whether or not you have to pay for the application.

    Unless you're not mentioning some detail of that transaction, Bill Gates opposing people not paying for his BASIC program has nothing to do with his opinion on open source or free software.

    My favorite RMS quote is this - "Just because it's free software doesn't mean that you can afford it". Let's not spread assumptions about free software or open source by acting as if the gratis nature of many open source and free software projects is the only way to do it.

  • by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @07:03PM (#176980) Homepage
    It's Tolkien, not Tolkein. For heavens sake, one of the all time linguistic masters, spell it right, please!

    T O L K I E N.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @08:35PM (#176981) Homepage
    Well, if I ever get time, I'll actually write a series of cross-platform players using my N-dimensional signal processing library I wrote last summer, including plugins, and GNU it. I hope I get time... right now I'm working 60 hours a week, and going to surgery next week.

    My the algorithm I plan to use is a 3d Daubechies wavelet algorithm, with effectively infinite iterations (iterates until it's processing a single pixel - its not as slow as it sounds, trust me - its already written, and my test environment was a slow laptop ;) ). Indeo if the only major format out there that uses wavelets, and theirs are only 2d... but the video quality on indeo is still quite nice for its size (they need to work on their audio, though, and their license is the most appalling codec licenses I have ever read (Summary: if you write something in Indeo, Intel owns it)). By using a 3d wavelet transform you can benefit from the ability to eliminate random fluctuations in the video between frames, take advantage of repeated patterns in the time domain, and the like... and, while it can't be encoded while streaming, it can still be decoded while streaming.

    Additionally, for audio, I plan to experiment. One idea I've toyed with is to write a windowing function, and analyze that. Now, at first, that may seem crazy - it adds a whole new dimension to compress! However, if you look at the windowed data, it is almost entirely on the noise floor, with little sections of energy - and both dimensions are smaller than your original single dimension, so its not really squaring the data there. And, then, when you consider that by compressing the time axis on the windowed image you eliminate the need to store the N blocks you would have had to store during that time period, it starts to seem reasonable. And, instead of doing a block transform and losing the advantage of capturing repeating patterns over time, at regular sinous (benefitted by DCT) or block (benefitted by wavelet) intervals, you can simply do low-res time decomposition while maintaining high-res frequency decomposition of the data. And, windowed data is more accurate in the frequency domain to begin with. Its an idea I plan to toy with, amongst others; I very well may just end up going with a traditional time-encoded block-dct 1d signal, of course :)

    - Rei

    P.S. - anyone have any good algorithms to suggest for compressing the data once inaudible (or, in the case of video, unnoticable) signals have been zeroed? I mean, the standard is Huffman encoding, but there has to be something better...
  • by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:52PM (#176982) Homepage
    How about good ole, regular MPEG? It compresses well, it streams, and every OS under the sun can play it.
  • by joq ( 63625 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:23PM (#176983) Homepage Journal
    Now if someone would only use robots for something as useful as teaching Dubya to speak correctly [] we'd benefit.

    Anyways I'd love to see the following 10 robots to be created within the next few years.

    TrollBot -- monitors the ip addresses of /. trolls then sends pissed off bots to their houses to teach em all a lesson

    FairUseBot -- monitors bogus patent claims then visits the companies with bogus lawsuits and teaches them a lesson

    VCBot -- cons more VC companies into dumping money as they did in the mid - late 90's.

    ScriptKiddieBot -- monitors h4x0rs then reveals their entire life's information including SS, Addresses, etc, so webmasters can find the luzers and beat them

    SourcePurgeBot -- monitors Source Forge for incomplete programs people started and never finished, tracks the (l)user and teaches them a lesson

    JerrySpringerBot -- monitors the TV show and teaches all of those retards a lesson

    RIAABot -- greps the Internet for the word Napster and threatens to sue everyone forcing a showdown between RIAABot and FairUseBot which can be televised

    EmbedBot -- searches every single web page on the ner with embedded midi audio files in the source then tracks them and smacks em all silly

    ScientologyBot -- continously posts on every forum around the world maintaining the lie that Scientology is not a cult, and John Travolta is a good actor. This bot also gets into showdowns with FairUseBot, but is the funniest bot to watch

    Slashbot -- visits a site prior to being posted on /. and makes a mirror of an article to reduce the /. effect

  • by iso ( 87585 ) <> on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:19PM (#176984) Homepage's still only available in Real format...

    this comes up just every time a video link is presented on slashdot. i've seen complaints about videos in Windows Media format, Quicktime and Real Video. what i'd like to know is, what format would the slashbots like to see their video in? i know personally as an OS X user i'd like to see videos in Quicktime (and Windows Media is most convenient when i'm using Windows), but are there any decent video formats available to Linux? formats that get reasonable compression rates like the new Windows Media or the newest Sorenson CODECs? if not is there anything that can be done about this apart from continuing to petition Sorenson, Microsoft and the others?

    - j

  • by YIAAL ( 129110 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:04PM (#176985) Homepage
    "Microsoft Senior Vice President Craig Mundie set off a compelling debate recently when he discussed Microsoft's Shared Source Philosophy, which blends the sharing of source code with the preservation of intellectual property rights." It works this way: You share YOUR source code. We preserve OUR intellectual property rights.
  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:16PM (#176986) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:
    When people start shouting that Free Software is about "freedom", then I start getting worried. Free Software is a model that is useful. Drop the ideology and focus on what you are trying to accomplish.
    What if the ideology is what you're trying to accomplish?

    Strong Free Software types maintain that the issue is freedom ... that the software model is itself a statement about human priorities. I don't subscribe to all of their philosophy, myself, but I think I understand where they're coming from. And I'm glad there is still someone out there saying, "Making money is only one human priority and, moreso, it is not the most important one." In the end, that's what's both so frustrating and so exhilirating about the Free Software movement: It's about something... something more than hoarding and sleeping and feeding and knowing not a thing.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra