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Comment Wow, my uncool new camera is suddenly more cool... (Score 3, Interesting) 457

I recently scoffed at the 720p MJPEG codec used by my shiny new Pentax Optio camera.

Who knew that its ancient and inefficient CODEC is its saving grace when it comes to the topic of TFA.

But seriously, this is a case of Moores law making old stuff (mjpeg) work even for modern resolutions. I lacks the elegance of modern compression, but as long as the camera has fast/huge storage and fast raw processing power, we can use it and probably be happy with it too. The place where the fancy compression is always going to be key is distribution where the bandwidth is limited, be it spinning off a disk or streaming off the net.

Submission + - Amicus brief filed on behalf of YouTube (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: As the partial summary judgment motions in Viacom v. YouTube, concerning YouTube's compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, draw to a close, a coalition of organizations has filed an amicus curiae brief supporting YouTube's position. The participating organizations are American Library Association, Association of College and Research Libraries, Center for Democracy and Technology, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Home Recording Rights Coalition, Internet Archive, Netcoalition, and Public Knowledge. The 23-page brief (PDF) argues, among other things, that Congress passed the DMCA for the purpose of reducing the legal uncertainty to which online service providers would otherwise have been subject, and to encourage the growth of the internet and e-commerce.

Comment Re:So XP users will be stuck with IE8 forever.. (Score 1) 454

Just nit-picking here, but that's a bad assumption. Opera is just a bit more picky than firefox is. For example, recently didn't render in Opera because during an update, they forgot to close their title tag.

Because of how unforgiving Opera is, I tend to test in it first. The end result usually runs in firefox first try.

Comment Re:Correlation/causation (Score 1) 378

Also it's unclear whether the webpage problems were due to bugs/limitations in Opera, or because of poorly written webpages that are only written for IE and Firefox.

As a web developer, when my pages are 100% valid XHTML and CSS, work properly on IE 7+8, Safari 2-4, Chrome, and Firefox 2-3.6, and they still break on Opera (which has a visitor rate of less than 1%) I'm not going to do much to support Opera. At that point, the ball is in their court to fix. I don't care if you get 100 on the Acid3 test if your browsers still chokes on things when surfing real sites.

I'm an Opera user, and I very rarely have problems with real sites. So I'd tend to think your problems say more about your code than about Opera ... Did you report these bugs to Opera, by the way?

Comment Re:Even if they exist... (Score 1) 281

A similar conundrum exists -- where are their tools? Any sufficiently advanced civilization should be able to create self replicating probes. Even without FTL, they should be able to spread to all the stars in the Milky Way in under a half million years.

Of course, even if someone did spread probes, would those probes broadcast in a way we'd hear? If not, even if they aren't "stealthed", how hard would it be for us to build something to detect them? And wouldn't stealthed "hunter" probes overwhelm any "broadcasting" probes?

Comment Fast BIOS done before. (Score 2, Informative) 437

This is hardly some major breakthrough.

Asus came up with a nice hack on their EeePC dubbed "Boot Booster". It dumps the system state right after POST on a HDD partition, and on subsequent boots it reads that straight into memory, so you have 1-second "POSTs" going straight to the bootloader.

And then you have coreboot, which is as fast as the machine it runs on: without taking any shortcuts, it can do all the grunt work in 3 seconds or so.

Maybe the breakthrough is Windows booting fast, but that's a different story.

Comment Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 693

If you think "High Quality" and "Most Expensive in World" are synonymous, then perhaps it is you who are mistaken.

In all reality, extremely high-quality headphones can be had for a few hundred US dollars. Beyerdynamic DT 880s are very well-regarded, and cost only $275. Perhaps you can construct a better-sounding stereo system for a hundred times as much, and hopefully your $5,000 headphones sound slightly better. However, listening to something on $500 headphones is closer to a perfect listening experience than most people will get in their entire lives.

Double-blind testing is a magnificent thing. A shame so many audio nuts don't quite understand the practice.

Feed Techdirt: Nobel Prize Winning Economist Explains How IP Rights Are Part Of The Globalizati (

Kevin Donovan writes in to point us to the transcript of a fascinating speech by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on Making Globalization Work. We've written about Stiglitz in the past, for his explanation of how patents often do more harm than good economically. In this speech, which is covering a much broader topic (globalization), he makes a few really good points about why what politicians put in place as "globalization" isn't matching what economists say should happen in a globalized economy -- and intellectual property comes into play. The main point is just that most "free trade" agreements have absolutely nothing to do with free trade. While they're labeled as such, they're usually filled with restrictions on trade that benefit the bigger countries. A true free trade agreement would, as he notes, be short and sweet and easy to write: basically, there are no restrictions on trade. Instead, what we get are supposedly "free trade" agreements that are really pushed by industry representatives for certain industries to benefit themselves.

In particular, he points out how this is done with intellectual property. This is something we noted last year when we couldn't understand why a "free trade agreement" would guarantee monopolies on intellectual property. That seemed like the opposite of free trade. As Stiglitz notes:

"The Uruguay Round TRIPs Agreement, which is Trade-Related Intellectual Property, has nothing to do with trade. They just put "trade-related" because they had to put that in there to have it in a trade agreement. That was the real ingenuity.

There was already an intellectual property organization, called WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. But they wanted the trade ministers to do it because the trade ministers didn't know anything about intellectual property, and that meant they were much more vulnerable to the influences of the special interests."

They put in provisions that were explicitly designed to reduce access to generic medicines. Just to highlight why that's important, a generic AIDS medicine, for instance, costs under $300 for a year's treatment. The brand name is $10,000. If your income is $500 a year or $300 a year, or even $5,000 a year, you can't afford $10,000 a year for the brand name. So when they were signing that agreement in Marrakesh, they were signing the death warrants for thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa. That was the consequence.
The entire piece is a good read, but as Kevin pointed out, it's interesting to see how Stiglitz fits some of these pieces together to show why globalization hasn't lived up to its promise.

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Submission + - Details of Liquid Bomb Plot Revealed

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Remember that liquid bomb plot that lead to TSA rules requiring you to throw out your water bottles and buy new ones past the security barrier? They've finally released the details on what those terrorists actually planned to do. They planned to mix a half liter bottle of hydrogen peroxide with Tang and detonate it using disposable camera parts. While hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous, it seems to me like they'd have better luck replacing the Tang with Mentos or Diet Coke."

Submission + - Ruby Scripting Speed Problems (

Josh Kehn writes: "I've been working on a google interpreter. Basically it take google results and filters out everything but the plain test links. I've been caching results in a sql database, and this has proven to be most efficient when I run a query in php. However, if I have not cached the results, I use a Ruby script to pull everything in real time, adding the results and then displaying them. Sometimes this takes more then 15-20 seconds from start to finish. Is Ruby simply a slow language? What other scripting languages compare? Python and Perl are two that I've heard a bit about, but can they compare to the flexibility of Ruby? Is there a way to optimize Ruby code? I find scripting in Ruby enjoyable and fun, and I'm glad I've learned it as a language, but the performance is lacking in several areas that I find necessary. You can check out the site here: and compare the speed for yourself."

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