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Slashback: TIPS, FatWallet, MPlayer 315

Slashback with words on the demise of TIPS, MPlayer's newest add-in, Revolution OS on DVD, Wal-Mart blinking first in their fight with FatWallet, and more. Read on for the details.

Facts is facts, Ma'am. joebeone writes "WalMart has backed down [AScribe.org] from it's DMCA claim in the FatWallet case[1] after FatWallet countered that facts are uncopyrightable (at least in the US). Let this be a lesson to those who would use the DMCA to unjustly intimidate websites into removing content. I definitely think that Boalt Hall's Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic deserves some major credit for sticking up for the little guys who don't have the litigatory resources that companies like WalMart have.

[1] WalMart claimed that their day-after-thanksgiving sale prices were copyrightable."

Maybe they just changed the drop location. An anonymous reader writes "There was one small ray of light in the Homeland Security Act. A provision inserted in the bill killed the Justice Department's TIPS initiative. You'll recall that TIPS was the DoJ's proposal to create a domestic spy network using ordinary citizens. And I was hoping to join up and inform them that John Ashcroft wears women's underwear. Oh well ..."

Best way to play back "L.A. Confidential." An anonymous reader writes "The best media player for *nixes, MPlayer, has just gotten better with the ability to play Windows Media Player 9 (WMV9 and WMA9) files. When Sorensen playback was added the only remaining codecs were the Window Media Player ones. Now that this is complete, Linux finally seems to have a complete solution for multimedia playback. It just remains for the mainstream distros to include this gem."

Measure three or four times at least, cut once. jdevons writes "The Owner-Builder Book that I reviewed a while ago has been updated. The author reads slashdot regularly and included many of the ideas and suggestions offered in the slashdot comments ..."

Jeff, Rob and Chris in their Hollywood makeup. updog writes "The film Revolution OS, which has been discussed on Slashdot here and here, is now available on DVD at Netflix (btw, it's interesting to note that this Netflix version is sub-licensed under the guise of pay-per-view television, and the director J.T.S. Moore wasn't even aware of its existence until recently.)

A 2 Disc Special Edition DVD will be available in January 2003, and will include additional interviews, bonus material, and better video quality over the Netflix version. You can make sure that you're notified when it's released by requesting info here. Finally, I've written a review of the Netflix version of the DVD, which you can read here."

Next year's stocking stuffer, maybe? An anonymous reader writes "nvmax.com is running a story/press release explaining how Dynamism.com is teaming up with the Zaurus Open Source development community to bring the Sharp Zaurus SL-C700 to English!. I need to get one!"

What I want is C-64 style Aztec. retro128 writes "For all of your old schoolers out there, Tierra Entertainment has released a re-make of King's Quest II, which includes original art, completely redone music, and a few extra things not seen in the original game (some early screen shots hinted at a town, which did not exist in the original). What's remarkable is that Tierra has no affiliation with Sierra whatsoever, and is driven by two developers who wish to remain anonymous. I've played their re-make of KQ1 and it's up to snuff. Check out the main page or go straight to the good stuff."

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Slashback: TIPS, FatWallet, MPlayer

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  • Who needs TIPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dynayellow ( 106690 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:03PM (#4822685)
    When we've got the Total Awareness Network. Let the computers do the work!

    Man, remember when we were worried about Carnivore?
    • Re:Who needs TIPS (Score:3, Informative)

      Man, remember when we were worried about Carnivore?

      Yeah. Good times, good times.

    • What we really need is the Total Information Tracking System program. Yeah, what this country needs is more TITS. And redundant systems to be on the safe side--we should have 2 TITS side-by-side.

      I always feel much better when I'm facing 2 TITS.

      <ob Smirnoff>In Soviet Russia the tits suck you!
  • MPlayer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SquierStrat ( 42516 )
    I'll disagree about MPlayer. MPlayer is a little more fully featured, but I prefer Xine especially for DVD playing. Mplayer has given me nothing but performance fits and well, I don't exactly have a slow machine shall we say? :-) Not to mention the DVD menu support in MPlayer is not quite up to par from what the docs say.

    find xine at http://xine.sourceforge.net
    • I use mplayer just fine on my little pos 1 ghz celery with a dvd drive and a pro savage 4 chipset. It's just a matter of tweaking settings.

      The machine is a Shuttle Spacewalker SV24. MPlayer performance can vary greatly on what X output driver you're using, I think I was using the xv drive. Also if you're playing from a cdrom, you'll want to add something like cache=8192 to your config file.

      Actually I haven't used that machine in quite some time, it's currently collecting dust for me in my room. :)

      What I really want in mplayer now is variable slomotion and frame by frame stuff.
    • Re:MPlayer (Score:2, Informative)

      The reason mplayer appears to perform more slowly in DVD playback is because it does some very aggressive deinterlacing/pulldown (based on evaulation of its video quality alone; I haven't checked the source to see what it's really doing) to 24fps, but it has a hard time syncing that 24fps output to the audio.

      Most DVD menus I've tried worked in a sufficiently new MPlayer.

  • I miss TIPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:05PM (#4822694) Homepage
    Considering what I've been reading the last few weeks about this new Department of Information Awareness, I think I miss TIPS. Bad to worse and all -- TIPS was at least simply a formal structure for Americans to report on one another. DoIA, on the other hand, seems more like a full-out spy organization targetted towards the American people.

    I am perpetually shocked at the willingness of Americans to give away the rights for which their ancestors suffered so much.

    Menace the average modern American with anything halfway alarming -- terrorism, crime or any other of today's various boogeymen -- and in place of their forebearers' bravery, idealism and resolve, they will show cowardice, surrender and an astounding aptitude for cognative dissonence. They will gratefully trade their liberties for even the illusion of security, and will gladly indenture themselves to anyone who claims to offer them safety. How far we've fallen from the day when men like Washinton, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt fought for and to protect the central ideas of American Democracy.

    How we've betrayed the bravery of our heritage.

    I believe that if America stands for anything, it's the rights which it is supposed to guarantee its citizens. Strip that away, and what are you left with? Nothing more than a location on a map and base nationalism. To give away our hard-won rights is disgusting cowardice, and to strip them from others is nothing less than treason.

    • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dynayellow ( 106690 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:11PM (#4822748)
      The political demagogue is powered, today as he was in ancient Rome, by the mob. The mouthbreathers.

      The mouthbreather doesn't care about freedom of speech; his opinions are the popular ones. If the popular opinion changes, so will his. The mouthbreather doesn't care about freedom of the press; he just wants to be entertained.

      What the mouthbreather really wants is to get through his day, safely, and have it be exactly the way it was the day before.

      In "Easy Rider," Jack N's character says something along the lines of "People 'round here will go on and on about freedom, but if you show them a man who's really free, they'll hate him."
      • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ChronosX ( 18644 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @11:22PM (#4824019)
        Your quote got me thinking about something I once read by H.L. Mencken, a well known political journalist, who was active in the first half of the last century. He simply said, "The average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe".

        This prompted me to do a little more research into the man and found he had quite amazing insight into the mind of the government and the people. For example, I found another marvelous passage that seems to apply well to this very situation as it did many decades ago:
        If the American people really tire of democracy and want to make a trial of Fascism, I shall be the last person to object. But if that is their mood, then they had better proceed toward their aim by changing the Constitution and not by forgetting it.
    • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rasche ( 615824 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:18PM (#4822794)
      As an European (non eastern), I'm
      quite surprised Americans allowed something
      like TIPS or the whole Patriot Act to
      happen in the first place.

      Always thought the American constitution
      allow enough power to the authorities
      to defend the country and safeguard the
      freedom of its citizens.
      • It's like this...


        It hasn't been up to the people to insure their freedom for about 200 years. It's up the the courts and ultimately the Supreme Court to strike down unconstitutional laws.


        Congress passing oppressive laws is nothing new. Fortunately, the Supreme Court striking them down is nothing new either.

      • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:3, Insightful)

        by benzapp ( 464105 )
        This is certainly true. The most brilliant system however is the federal system which underlines the republic. Since the FBI was created in the wake of the fraud that was World War I, the federal government has systematically overstepped the boundries placed upon it by the constitution.

        I am not going to spend too much time discussing my personal historical feelings, but maintaining virtually autonomous states seems redundant to most people, including most Americans. But, when the revolution comes, the state governments will continue even if Washington DC is nuked off the face of the earth.

        The founding fathers very well knew the size of the United States, and knew that while they were creating a New Rome, their empire would suffer the same fate. Instead of fracturing in haphazard ways as did Europe with the collapse of the empire, the United States is completely capable of functioning without a central authority.

        What the bureaucrats don't realize is how truly irrelevant they are. Their days are numbered. I believe a violent revolution will not occur in the US, but will evolve much as the evolution of Europe. Soon, Washington DC will become completely irrelevant to the average citizen, just as Rome became irrelevant to the citizens of Gaul as France was born. Any student of US law will realize the radical differences between California and New York will only amplify in time. There is already a radical difference in behavior, speech, mannerism, dress... Hell, California is already larger than many, if not most, European nations. Just a thought.
        • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Friday December 06, 2002 @12:22AM (#4824350)
          But, when the revolution comes, the state governments will continue even if Washington DC is nuked off the face of the earth.

          I'm not sure how you define "function" in this context. If it comes to war-- which is what I assume you're talking about, what with the "nuked off the face of the earth" thing and all-- the several states will be utterly defenseless. An occupying force could march into any state capitol in the country, gun down the legislature, and take control with virtually no organized opposition.

          And let's not forget something that's even more critical than defense: the economy. Our economy is managed-- to the extent that it's managed at all-- from a central bank in Washington. That bank issues all U.S. currency, and backs it. If it disappeared... well, chaos.

          And finally, just to pick one example of many, one that, as a restaurant owner, is near and dear to my heart, we have the USDA and the FDA. There are essentially no state-scale systems for the inspection, grading, and certification of foodstuffs. If the Federal government were to evaporate, we'd be back in the days of unregulated food production. Could we live with it? Sure. But I sure as hell wouldn't want to.

          The Federal government is far from irrelevant.

          Oh, and your thing about "a radical difference in behavior, speech, mannerism, dress?" Utter crap. There are essentially no cultural differences between any two points in this country, notwithstanding differences that are based on factors that transcend geography, such as race or ethnicity. You can get on a plane and go from Miami to Houston to Phoenix to San Francisco to Denver to Omaha to Chicago to Detroit to Boston to Richmond to Atlanta and back to Miami and not find any significant differences between any of them.
    • I would have prefered to email you, but . . .

      Anyway, that's a really great post. Are you a member of the JPFO [jpfo.org]? They are the greatest defenders of the Bill of Right that we have, AFAICT.

      Also, are you aware that your next post will be your 2^10th? Make it count!

      -Peter
      • Ummm, right wing pistol packing rabbis are the greatest defenders of the Bill of Rights? Man we're in serious trouble. Guess what people -- there's and NRA man in the white house, and another as Atty General; the second amendment is not the part of the Bill of Rights under real attack these days.
    • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )
      "How far we've fallen from the day when men like Washinton, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt fought for and to protect the central ideas of American Democracy."

      No. Burr, Hamilton and Davis fought for Democracy.

      Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln fought for a Republic. FDR fought for a Socialist system and broke the Constitution everywhich way in the 30s.

      Lincoln also violated the US Constitution so much more than the last 5 administrations have.

      Maryland under Martial Law, Newspaper Editors thrown in jail or deported, etc.

    • Back in the time of SOVIET RUSSIA, America stood for something.
    • Are friends at 2600 has a good quick article [2600.com] about "Total Information Awareness" and who is behind the department. This is Big government brought to you by Bush.
    • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Omlette ( 124579 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:40PM (#4822929) Homepage
      Every night, good red-blooded Americans turn on their teevees and see their leaders telling them that they are free and they live in the best country in the world. As far as these people are concerned, their "hard-won" rights are still there!
    • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:51PM (#4822980) Journal
      Call John Poindexter at his home:1-301-424-6613.

      Tell him how you really feel by sending him a letter:

      John M. and Linda Poindexter
      10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850

      source 1 [cryptome.org]

      source 2 [sfweekly.com]
    • Roosevelt? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Galvatron ( 115029 )
      Would this be the Roosevelt that forbade private citizens from owning gold, and put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps? Not to mention the fact that he was the first (and now only) president to violate the tradition of stepping down after two terms, to aviod creating a massive cult of personality. FDR actively sought this, and indeed he switched running mates every four years, because he didn't want anyone under him to get too powerful or well known.


      Or are you talking about Teddy? If the latter, I don't really remember him doing anything to promote freedom, except perhaps his whole trust busting thing.

    • Re:I miss TIPS (Score:2, Insightful)

      Bad to worse and all -- TIPS was at least simply a formal structure for Americans to report on one another. DoIA, on the other hand, seems more like a full-out spy organization targetted towards the American people.

      The best way for a totalitarian regime to maintain power is to involve the population in their own oppression. The people in power have the work of rooting out potential subversives done for them, while the people under control believe they're doing something great for their country by rooting out those subversives who threaten the nation's stability.
      • by Blkdeath ( 530393 ) on Friday December 06, 2002 @01:08AM (#4824558) Homepage
        The best way for a totalitarian regime to maintain power is to involve the population in their own oppression. The people in power have the work of rooting out potential subversives done for them, while the people under control believe they're doing something great for their country by rooting out those subversives who threaten the nation's stability.

        This reminds me of that age-old joke about the cold war, set in Russia;

        The police arrive at a man's house, shove him aside, and proceed to dig up his entire garden! The man stands calmly by, watching as they dig and dig, tossing clumps of soil aside and back again in a fervent search. Finding nothing, they grunt in disgust and leave.

        The man walks to his neighbor's house and says;

        "Thanks! So tomorrow I phone and tell them you have secret documents stashed in the logs in your woodshed, right?"

  • MPlayer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lunatik17 ( 91135 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:05PM (#4822695) Homepage
    The most likely reason why most ditros don't include MPlayer is because in order to fully utilize it, you need to compile from source. A lot of the optimizations have to be configured at compile time and the developers are against binary distributions of MPlayer. Even though I prefer it above any other media player, I think they need to address this issue before most distros will adopt it.
    • This is not not true, though it was in the past. They removed this crutch months ago. It was one of the two things (the other being fully GPL) which was preventing it from being so liked by distributions... Note that if you see how they implement some codecs (for example the ones requiring you to d/l windows dlls) makes distribution issues nasty..

      I like mplayer because: speed, features, supported formats, MENCODER (lets you encode arbitrary video sources--save internet streams, DVDs, etc.)

  • MPlayer (Score:3, Informative)

    by dolby2 ( 196255 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:05PM (#4822701) Homepage Journal
    I have tried Mplayer and I must say I find it rather buggy. A good alternative is xine, which has made great improvements in the lastest releases. But as always try for yourself:

    xine: http://xine.sourceforge.net/
    mplayer: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/
    • Re:MPlayer (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have tried Xine, and I must say, I find it rather buggy, quite ugly, user-unfriendly and slow to pick up new features. A good alternative is mPlayer, which supports many modern media formats, handles DVDs better, and makes regular releases with new features. But as always, try for yourself ;-)

      xine: http://xine.sourceforge.net/
      mplayer: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/
    • Re:MPlayer (Score:3, Informative)

      by rendler ( 141135 )
      Define 'buggy'. Over the last year I have had almost zero problems with using it, apart from the fact that it wouldn't play some unsupported file formats. And the only time when I've had it stop playing things on me is when the actual file was corrupted or not encoded properly.

      On a side note I actually got to finally watch the Ellen Feiss ad last week to see what all the fuss was all about. But since I'm using a 166Mhz it was a bit slow, so I just used mencoder to transform the quicktime file into divx5. Got almost double the frames while viewing and no noticeable quality loss. Oh yea and smaller file size as well.
    • Re:MPlayer (Score:3, Informative)

      by MrHanky ( 141717 )
      I agree that one should try both xine and MPlayer. However, I disagree that the latter is buggy. This is, of course, my personal opinion, based on how it works on my computer. The correct answer is: try both, see what you like best (actually xine works better on a few files here too). YMMV and all that.

      The good news is that both xine and MPlayer are far better than any player I've tried on that other platform I boot into for games, although none of them have GUIs worth using. After getting used to using the arrow keys for skipping back and forth, F for full screen, etc., I must say: what the fuck do you need a GUI for in a media player anyway.

      Being able to reconstruct the index of incomplete .avi's is nice too. No longer do I have to wait for the complete porn movie to download before I can skip to the juicy parts.
  • by gupg ( 58086 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:07PM (#4822707) Homepage
    I think its important to point out that avifile was first to get the windows media player 9 codecs to work. Its another great multimedia project. Check it out at:
    http://avifile.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
  • MPlayer in distros (Score:2, Informative)

    by lmfr ( 567586 )
    Not quite. Mplayer is a good piece of software, but in order to be work at full it needs proprietary, limited distributable codecs.
    • by lunatik17 ( 91135 )
      That is true, but it is also true of every other universal media player. It's the people using these proprietary codecs which are the problem, not the players.

      For instance, if I wanted to watch a Sorenson Quicktime file, I have only two options: Codeweavers crossover plugin (which is excellent) and MPlayer. (I don't consider running the quicktime player through wine an option worth even considering. If you've ever done it you'd understand) I'm not aware of any other media players that support Sorenson, but if there are they'd be no better.

      • by Ost99 ( 101831 )
        For instance, if I wanted to watch a Sorenson Quicktime file, I have only two options: Codeweavers crossover plugin (which is excellent) and MPlayer. (I don't consider running the quicktime player through wine an option worth even considering. If you've ever done it you'd understand)

        Huh? What do you think the Crossover plugin is?
        It's a cusomized wine, with some install scripts. Notting more.

        Some of the wine code must have been altered to make WMP 6.4 work, I can't get my wine to do that, but for the QuickTime all there is to it is to copy the QuickTime part of the wine.conf file in Crossover to you wine.conf, and everything works perfectly. I haven't noticed any difference in speed using the Crossover plugin compared to vanilla wine.

        To make wine run QuickTime put this in your wine config:
        [AppDefaults\\quicktimeplayer.exe\\DllOve rrides]
        "ddraw" = ""
        "*" = "builtin, native, so"

        - Ost
        • For what it's worth, I've had a number of Apple employees on the QuickTime team say nice things about Crossover. While it isn't officially supported, they're glad it's there, so Linux users can watch QuickTime stuff. They view the engineering effort of a full, official port to *NIX as WAY too big a project to be worth the results.
  • by tato (and tato only) ( 525054 ) <ejohns.ix@netcom@com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:07PM (#4822716) Homepage
    Is the Revolution OS DVD going to be encrypted with CSS, or is it going to be legal for GNU/Linux users to watch it?
  • by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:07PM (#4822717) Homepage
    Here [mplayerhq.hu] are ALL win32-codecs that the CVS-version of MPlayer can use.. There are a lot of new codecs there that are not in the w32codecs-package provided on the downloadpage...
  • DVD CSS (Score:2, Redundant)

    by joe_bruin ( 266648 )
    is 'Revolution OS' an unencrypted dvd, or is it illegal for me to watch it on linux?
    • I was under the impression that is was potentially illegal to distribute DeCSS (and similar) as circumvention devices. However I didn't think simply possessing it or using it would necessarily be illegal.
    • It's not illegal for you to watch it, if they say it's ok. Bypassing tech measure is only "circumvention" if you don't have authorization. If they give authorization, it ain't circumvention.
    • I asked the Revolution OS site this very question and they didn't get back to me. I would also prefer the DVD to be region-free as well.

      Sucks that I still have to boot into Windoze to play the vast majority of my DVDs.
  • MPlayer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silvaran ( 214334 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:09PM (#4822727)
    It just remains for the mainstream distros to include this gem.

    It won't happen. Red Hat wouldn't even include MP3 support after the recent codec scare. To make matters worse, a lot of the support for third-party codecs are binary-based, ripped-from-windows or other packages (in the form of DLLs). I don't see this happening any time soon, at least.
  • by nezroy ( 84641 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:09PM (#4822729) Homepage
    Actually, I think this was a partial success for Wal-Mart (from their point of view). With the threat of the DMCA, they got the prices removed so their competitors could not undercut them. They then backed down AFTER the post-Thanksgiving sale, costing them little to nothing to do so, and avoided the cost of actually having to pursue the lawsuit. Other than the relatively small press-coverage on /. and the single blurb on WSJ, they take almost no bad press over the whole affair. I'd say they accomplished exactly what they set out to do.
  • QFG2. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:09PM (#4822730)
    As great as the KQ series was I really preferred Quest for Glory II.

    There was nothing like going out and fighting forever until you were SO strong nothing was a match for you...

    EGA games *always* need to be redone... They were our classics.
  • And I was hoping to join up and inform them that John Ashcroft wears women's underwear. Oh well ...

    I'm sure that the FBI/Secret Service/Brownshirts would have taken you into custody until they found out how you knew THAT little tidbit. And probably kept you there for a long, long time, once they did find out. Only those who are closest to him (wink wink, nudge nudge) are supposed to know.

  • KQ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:12PM (#4822752)
    I remember playing kings quest way back when - having to load different floppies etc...

    That game got me so hooked on computer games i still cant pull myself away.

    hmmm.... maybe this isnt a good thing. It's like having nostalgia for my first hit off Whitney's crack pipe. oh wait, she's too rich for crack - and I'm too poor for games these days.
  • by Scooby Snacks ( 516469 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:12PM (#4822753)
    I mean, the damage is already done. These were sale prices from a week ago. They got them removed. (Well, several big-name retailers did.) Then, they decide to give it a go to try to find out who did it. FatWallet showed some backbone, so Wal-Mart backed down and decided to cut their losses rather than have this go to court.

    Pardon me, but I don't think that Wal-Mart's "seen the light" or become a good guy in this regard.

  • Wal-Mart's Bluff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vaguelyamused ( 535377 ) <jsimons@rocketmail.com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:12PM (#4822755)
    One wonders if Wal-Mart's bluff on this was simply a ploy to have the prices taken down before the sale and while planning all along to back down later. Obviously they accomplished their goal, getting the prices taken down from the site before the sale, and even if FatWallet hadn't fired back they would have no reason to expend legal effort and expense of pursuing their copyright claim any further. Obviously the information in question is no longer of any use to anyone.

    It would probably cost Wal-Mart less to just pay FatWallet's legal costs rather than go to court. In the end it seems even if FatWallet wins the legal battle they still have lost the war. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Wal-Mart does the same thing next year supposing FatWallet posts their sale prices early again.

    • "One wonders if Wal-Mart's bluff on this was simply a ploy to have the prices taken down before the sale and while planning all along to back down later."

      If that's true, then they shot themselves in the foot. When the next major retail holiday rolls around, nobody (including FatWallet) will be inclined to take anything down.
      • by vaguelyamused ( 535377 ) <jsimons@rocketmail.com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:24PM (#4822843)
        That maybe true, maybe not, if they can get a federal court to grant an injunction against the site by trying to charge them with DMCA again they will be required to take the prices down. If they settle with FatWallet this year the case will not enter case law as there is no judgement and they may still be able to get an injunction on the same grounds as the subpoena this year. Even if they don't get an injunction any site that is threatened by Wal-Mart and their huge legal department may be advised by their own lawyers to take down the info until the case is settled. And Wal-Mart wins again.

        Hopefully you are right and someone stands up to them next year, we'll see.

    • Re:Wal-Mart's Bluff (Score:4, Informative)

      by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:25PM (#4822847) Homepage
      Everything you said was true, except for the last part. If it happens again next year they probably won't be able to pull the same stunt.

      Whatever that judge is who allowed the subpeona to go through on this patently bogus claim must be pretty red-faced right about now. As news of these kinds of shenanigans gets out into the wider legal community, you'll likely start seeing fewer attempts, because judges can come down pretty hard on frivolous lawsuits.

    • Re:Wal-Mart's Bluff (Score:3, Informative)

      by CerebusUS ( 21051 )
      Everyone is missing this rather crucial point:

      Walmart never backed downs about the prices, they backed down on their demands for FatWallet to turn over the names of the people who posted the prices.

      While that implies that they didn't have grounds for a DMCA claim, it doesn't prove it.

      If FatWallet backs down from their countersuit, the whole thing could just happen again next year. No precedent will have been set.
  • by sulli ( 195030 )
    We see ... some footage of the Red Hat and VA Linux IPO's.

    oops.

  • and this will finally allow me to kill my Wife's Win 2k partition. She likes to watch Korean broadcasts on line. In any case if you are using Debian see this [mplayerhq.hu]
  • They may as well just wire all their money directly to MS, Apple and their lawyers.

    Unless of course you're talking about distributing it without the codecs, in which case it's useless anyway. If people have to hunt down the codecs they may as well grab the most recent version of the software while their at it.
  • I just added Revolution OS to the top of my Netflix rental queue. This may be the first slashdotting of a movie rental. I imagine it could be a while before it becomes available...unless they have a lot of copies.
  • Isn't this illegal? Are Sierra Aware of your activities?
    This is a tricky issue that could be, and already has been, argued to death on both sides. The answer is, nobody really knows. Either way, we have openly stated that we will shut our project down at any time. Sierra, along with many game developers, are aware of the projects existence, yet have refrained from contacting us. We take this as reserved acceptance. Overall, we have remained very respectful to Sierra, and only want to aid in increasing their sales and revive an interest in their products.
    This sounds like my strategy at work when testing new things. "If I don't ask, he can't say no." =)

    Seriously, though, this is cool. My wife loves all of those games--even their mention is enough to spark a half hour nostalgia session about the good ol' Amiga gaming days. Methinks I shall have to surreptitiously put this on her machine at home...

  • by CarlDenny ( 415322 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:17PM (#4822793)
    Are they still countersuing Walmart for damages, purgery, anything?

    This is not a win unless they are hurt for their actions. They still kept FatWallet from getting the word out. They've still used the DMCA to stifle legitimate works. And it hasn't cost them a thing.
  • mplayer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wray ( 59341 )
    WOW! mplayer is doing some seriously wonderful work. Now, with sorensen (1 and 3) codecs, and WMP/WMA codecs, the reasons for havin to boot to windows are diminishing greatly. ...Now if only Intuit would port Quicken, that is last great frontier.

    Before someone mentions it, I know about Kapital and gnucash, they just generally don't connect to the banks, and have all the necessary features, but they're great if they meet your needs. They just don't meet mine yet. I also know about crossover office -- but I don't want to pay more money, when I already have windows.

    Anyway, here's hoping Intuit ports their bread and butter.
  • Perjury? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phanatic1a ( 413374 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:20PM (#4822814)
    So what happens to Wal-Mart now that they've submitted the claim that their prices were protected by copyright under penalty of perjury? Surely even though they've withdrawn the claim, they don't get to "take back" the fact that they perjured themselves?
  • Aztec (Score:5, Funny)

    by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:22PM (#4822824) Journal
    What I want is C-64 style Aztec.

    Gee, if I wanted that, I'd dust off my C-64 and play. They built those things solidly...nearly two decades, and I've had to replace the power supply brick. And that's it. Granted, use has tapered off significantly over the last decade, and the joysticks that have suffered from heavy usage need replacement, but still...

    There's something to be said for avoiding the hard drive as a point of failure.

  • WMV 9 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:23PM (#4822830)
    WMV 9 support! Porn addicts of slashdot rejoice!
  • by Nex6 ( 471172 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:23PM (#4822831) Homepage
    using RH8:

    and apt4rpm i was able to get .mov and all the movie media file to work in mplayer.

    using apt-get install MPLAYER and ALL its plugins including transcode.

    then:

    apt-get install xmms*
    ## this will install xmms and all its plugins which include the codecs that will make the sound work for the quicktime movies.

    have fun.....

    Nex6
  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:25PM (#4822845) Journal
    Freedom is for kooks.

    If you aren't doing anything wrong, why are you afraid of people knowing what you're doing? We need total information awareness - privacy is only really NECESSARY for criminals.

    You've got Monday Night Football. You've got your cheetos. You've even got your lagermeister. What more 'freedoms' do you need?

    Big Brother is going to save us from the terrorists! I'll gladly sacrifice freedom for that!

    Long live Ashcroft!

    (moderators: please spot the sarcasm in this post.)
  • MPlayer on Mac OSX (Score:3, Informative)

    by n8_f ( 85799 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:31PM (#4822871) Homepage
    For Mac users, you have to check out MPlayerOSX [sourceforge.net]. This is my first time using MPlayer and it is awesome! Much better than vlc or the 3ivx decoder, performance is great on my G3/400. Finally, I can watch divxs with WMA audio tracks on my Mac!
    It just doesn't seem fair how easy it is: no compiling, no tweaking, just install the package and it works. Still has some polishing (switching out of full screen stops the movie), but the source is all there. A must have.
  • Does anyone know where we can purchase Revolution OS in Australia? I dont want to purchase from an overseas retailer, and both ChaosDVD.com.au and Ezydvd.com.au dont want anything to do with it.
  • Plugins (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now if only we could get MPlayer to act as a plugin for Moz.
  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:37PM (#4822908)
    MPlayer is a great project. I was absolutely astonished when I first downloaded it and played with its many features. But I'm terrified that any day now, They (you know, MS or Sorenson or Real or the RIAA or the MPAA or possibly all five) are going to slap the MPlayer guys with a lawsuit (yes, MPlayer HQ is in, what, Hungary? But look at what happened to our friend Skylarov (sp.?) in Russia) and b3wm, down goes the project, and it's officially verboten in the US (like DeCSS).

    How will they sue the MPlayer people? Simple. They could sue under the anti-reverse-engineering clause of the DMCA. Or they could employ any number of other recent pro-corporate laws which are slowly making it illegal to reverse-engineer anything, even if it's necessary for you to do your work. (Remember, there is STILL no legal and MPAA-approved solution for playing your DVDs in Linux (let alone more obscure OSes like FreeBSD or OpenBSD)-- unless, of course, you count hooking up the output of your set-top DVD player into the video input of your TV tuner card...

    Personally, I don't forsee any 'mainstream' Linux dists (if there really is such a thing in terms of desktop use ;) ) including MPlayer any time soon, for fear of being named as co-defendants in a possibly gruesome lawsuit...

    Remember: MPlayer was created using reverse engineering. The SPA/MPAA/RIAA/MS/etc. folks are really really pushing (and paying off congresspeople, naturally) to make reverse engineering a criminal offense. It may already be... this is a dangerous area, a legal powder-keg waiting to go off.

    At BEST, MPlayer will be a "gray market" program for the forseeable future-- if not forever. Again, yes, I love it-- but I worry for it. More properly, I worry for its creators...
    • First, they only got Sklyarov when he set foot on US soil.

      Second, as I understand it, MPlayer uses the Win32 DLLs for playback just as WMP/QT/whatever-else does. The only way it could really be considered reverse engineering is if the APIs weren't published.

      I'd say it's unlikely that anyone would try cracking down on MPlayer under the pretense of the DMCA, because it's not actually circumventing any access control mechanisms ... but just like the majority of Slashdot's 600k+ other users, IANAL. But even so I have a hard time seeing how even the best lawyers could spin this to make it look like they're actually violating the DMCA. But maybe I'm just naive.
      • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Friday December 06, 2002 @08:31AM (#4825881)
        The way MPlayer development seems to progress is:

        STEP 1: There is no support for codex X.
        STEP 2: They add DLL support for codec X.
        STEP 3: After a good amount of time spent reverse-engineering, they add native support for codec X.

        It's the step 3 that's gonna really get them in trouble. Codecs only remain "DLL-only" in MPlayer for so long. After a time, the MPlayer guys figure out how to reverse-engineer the codec-- or someone else does, and the MPlayer guys adapt the code to their project...

        Heck, the EULA for many of these DLLs may say "Only on approved operating systems", who knows... no one reads the things. Not even me. ;)
    • I've talked to folks at Sorenson who don't mind at all about decode support in MPlayer. After all, they sell ENCODERS, and having more decoders out there only grows their market.

      Their new, just-announced Squeeze 3 is a really awesome encoding tool. QuickTime, Windows Media, RealMedia, Flash MX, and MPEG-4 support.
  • by Platinum Dragon ( 34829 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:40PM (#4822924) Journal
    ...only renamed.

    This [ala.org] is the relevant section that supposedly eliminated TIPS:

    SEC. 880. PROHIBITION OF THE TERRORISM INFORMATION AND PREVENTION SYSTEM.
    Any and all activities of the Federal Government to implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps known as Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) are hereby prohibited.


    All it does is prohibit the proposed program under the Citizen Corps known as TIPS. A strict reading of the language could leave a way to revive the program under a different name.

    It may seem a bit legalistic and paranoid, but legalities like that are precisely how unpalatable programs are implemented anyway.
  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @08:46PM (#4822965)
    WalMart got what IT WANTED! It managed to throw its corporate weight around and got its prices removed from FatWallet's web site. Now that the sale's long OVER WalMart relents??!! I don't think so... How do you spell B O Y C O T T ?
  • MPlayer/Win32 Codecs (Score:3, Informative)

    by sfe_software ( 220870 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:14PM (#4823126) Homepage
    Now that this is complete, Linux finally seems to have a complete solution for multimedia playback.

    Sorta... MPlayer requires borrowed Win32 codecs in order to play back many formats. This does not make MPlayer any less complete (WMP requires the same codecs as well), but:

    It just remains for the mainstream distros to include this gem.

    While they might include MPlayer, I don't think the Win32 codecs will be included. Considering RedHat pulled all MP3 players from 8.0, I seriously doubt we'll find any DLL's in the next release.

    MPlayer is awesome. I use it on my "media box" using the S-Video output on my ATI card. I use the Win32 codecs, and can play back almost anything I can play on the Windows box.

    But as long as it requires Windows DLLs, it won't be taken seriously as a multi-format player by the major distros, embedded device developers, and so on...
  • TIPS in New York (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bckspc ( 172870 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:29PM (#4823268) Homepage
    Screw the Feds. New York has its own TIPS [thememoryhole.org].

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    September 16, 2002

    GOVERNOR PATAKI ANNOUNCES PUBLIC SECURITY TIPS HOTLINE

    24/7 Hotline Gathers Information from the Public About Suspected Terrorist Activity

    Governor George E. Pataki today announced the launch of a new Statewide Public Security Tips Hotline that will enable citizens from throughout the State to report information about suspected terrorist activity. The toll-free hotline, which will be operational tomorrow, Tuesday, September 17, can be reached by calling 1-866-SAFENYS or 1-866-723-3697. In New York City, residents should call the New York City Police Department's hotline, 1-888-NYCSAFE.

    More... [thememoryhole.org]
  • Beware of the Catch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:43PM (#4823365) Homepage Journal
    On the MPlayer homepage, in the article on Sorenson platback, I noticed the following text about Windows Media 9:
    ``If you didn't know: those codecs use Micro$oft's new API: DMO (its predecessor was DirectShow). The funny thing is that these codecs are still "Release Candidate" according to Micro$oft :))''
    Note the "Release Candidate". This suggests to me that M$ may change the interface, breaking MPlayer's implementation, before the final release. Just a thought.

    ---
    A fool must now and then be right by chance.
  • by Natalie's Hot Grits ( 241348 ) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:26PM (#4823690) Homepage
    "[1] WalMart claimed that their day-after-thanksgiving sale prices were copyrightable"

    According to the text of copyright law added by the DMCA, anybody who unjustly claims copyright in this manner invoking the DMCA is in comtempt of federal court. Depending on the severity of the claim, a judge could sentence walmart's lawyers to suspension of their practice for 30 days or more. This should be a lesson to big coporations to stop making illegal claims just to intimidate the little guy.

    So my question is this: are they going to persue any more legal action against walmart? Or are they gonna let walmart off with a slap on the wrist. If the guy who posted the information origionally had complied, he would be just in the right place to sue for actual damages + compensation for the trouble (could be a big number, depending on the judge). And it would be a open and shut case.
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday December 06, 2002 @09:11AM (#4825979) Homepage Journal
    First: Netflix BAD! Netflix SPAMS! NO USE NETFLIX!

    Netflix has a history of spamming, and when contacted about the spamming does the spammy thing of listwashing the complainer. Obviously, you need to make your own choice, and if you choose to support a known spammer that is your right, but I strongly suggest that nobody use Netflix.

    Second: Mplayer.

    First of all, their site uses Mystery Meat Navigation [fixingyourwebsite.com] - You don't know what the buttons do until you mouse over them (at least, you don't if you don't have Javascript on). I would have hoped for better from a FOSS project.

    Second of all, unless I am mistaken (which I could very well be) MPlayer uses Microsoft DLL's and Wine to play WMAs. Thus the answer to "Why don't the major distro's include MPlayer" - doing so would involve distributing Microsoft copyrighted material, and would therefor make the distro Non-Free (as well as getting the distro vender targeted for termination by the Microsoft lawyer-drones).

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