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Comment Re:It is absolutely possible (Score 5, Interesting) 412

The main change in the past year has been the psy optimizations that were added; before the psy optimizations, x264 was roughly on par with Mainconcept, one of the better commercial encoders. The psy optimizations--adaptive quantization and psy-RD (both on by default)--put x264 way over the top. Recently, the new MB-tree algorithm (also on by default) has boosted quality quite a bit as well. The main catch with psy optimizations is that they're nearly impossible to measure mathematically, and in fact, unless you disable them, they will make the "mathematical" measures of quality (mean squared error/PSNR) much worse.

It's always nice when free software solutions trash the commercial alternatives.

Comment Does it really matter? (Score 1) 316

If person A and person B both contribute significant code to a program, and person B decides that he wants to sue Company C for infringing his copyright, how does Person A have the right to stop him? Even if Person A doesn't care about Company C infringing his copyright, Company C is still infringing Person B's copyright, and Person B can still sue them. (IANAL)

Comment As long as you can dissociate from the music (Score 1) 1019

I find that music is fine as long as your mind doesn't focus too much on it. If I listen to similar music long enough it becomes a bit like breathing; it's there but I don't really notice it. It's actually quite odd; if my mind is properly defocused, I can listen to a mix containing 10 songs, all of which I know, and then be unable to pick more than half of them after the fact!

As for benefits, I'm not sure; I think it keeps me from going insane, which is probably a good enough reason.

Though sometimes when I have to focus really hard on something very difficult to visualize, I end up having to turn off the music.

Comment If you really care about Linux performance... (Score 5, Informative) 193

There's been an enormous improvement in the Linux scheduler in recent months--in some cases the performance improvements are as high as 60-80% with simple multithreaded apps like video encoders. The instant 2.6.32 comes out officially, expect to start seeing some completely absurd results in stupid "comparisons between Linux distros" like these, where the distros that happened to update to .32 trash the ones that haven't yet.

Comment Missing the point (Score 5, Insightful) 468

Murdoch seems to think that people use Google to search Murdoch's sites.

By Murdoch's logic, clearly if he withdraws his sites from Google, people will stop using Google to search his sites. But hardly anyone using Google has the intention of "searching his sites". People just want information--most people don't care which site has the information as long as it's good information. If Murdoch pulls out of Google that just means fewer people will visit Murdoch's sites. Nobody is going to give a toss about the fact that Fox won't show up on Google. This entire strategy suggests that Murdoch misunderstands his own readers.

Comment Already been done (Score 3, Interesting) 291

Japanese amateur (doujin) artists have been self-publishing professional-quality albums for years now. No RIAA, no middlemen: they set up a booth at a convention and sell it. And then, afterwards, they sell extra copies from their website. It seems to work well enough: some single fandoms have produced hundreds if not thousands of albums.

Isn't it amazing what you can do when you prioritize actually making music over trying to get rich?

And don't think that the Japanese have it easier with regard to music copyright enforcement: the problem is actually so great there that file-traders have been forced to use anonymous P2P systems like Share and Winny.

Submission + - FFmpeg finally releases long-awaited version 0.5

An anonymous reader writes: After many years of release-free development, FFmpeg, the most widely used audio and video codec library, has finally returned to a regular release schedule with the long-awaited version 0.5. While the list of changes is far too long to list here, some high-profile improvements include the reverse-engineering of all Real video formats, WMV9/VC-1 support, AAC decoding, and of course vast performance improvements across the board. To commemorate the "lively" discussions predating the release, 0.5 is codenamed "half-way to world domination A.K.A. the belligerent blue bike shed." The new version can be downloaded from the official website.

Comment It's the encoder, stupid. (Score 5, Informative) 575

There are pretty much three choices for streaming video right now:

1. Crappy encoder, low bitrate. This is what Youtube went with originally--they used FLV1 (Sorenson H.263) video, which at the time was the only real option (other than VP6, which wasn't much better). They went with 350kbps video. The result was pretty awful, but it worked for Youtube videos. It's free, so people will tolerate it. But for a paid service, such quality is absurd.

2. Crappy encoder, high bitrate. This is what Stage6 did; they used DivX, which, while better than FLV1, wasn't too much better. But what they did was allow absurdly high bitrates; I saw bitrates over 12 megabits per second for standard definition video! Of course, we all know what happened to Stage6; upon realizing the sheer amount of money that such bitrates cost, they went out of business, sort of like Wile. E. Coyote falling to the ground only after realizing that he was standing on air.

3. Good encoder, low bitrate. Facebook does ~600kbps standard definition video, and it looks great. Vudu does 1080p video on demand at 2.8mbps. Youtube now does 720p HD at 2 megabits. What do they have in common? They use x264 for encoding.

NetFlix chose to use VC-1 instead, and as a result they have 1.5 megabit standard definition streams that look like crap. And they don't even have an excuse anymore, because Silverlight supports H.264. Which is rather odd, actually, as Microsoft has been pushing for years to try to replace H.264 in the marketplace with their vastly inferior VC-1. Maybe they've given up because their campaign just isn't working.

Submission + - Guantanamo deleted detainee IDs from Wikipedia ( 1

James Hardine writes: The New York Times and The Inquirer are reporting that Wikileaks, the transparency group that published two manuals leaked from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba earlier this month has now caught US armed forces personnel there conducting propaganda attacks over the Internet. The activities uncovered by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as "an admitted transexual". Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one "mass communications officer" by name, who has since received death threats for "simply doing his job — posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo". In response Wikileaks has posted independent confirmation of their analysis by security expert Bruce Schneier.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Latest EVE Online Patch Destroys Windows Systems

Smoke2Joints writes: The latest EVE patch is a big expansion of the game, introducing new environments, missions, ships, an overhauled graphics engine supporting DX10 effects, deleting your system boot.ini file, numerous bugfi- hold on, what? Apparently they have withdrawn graphics update patch because a vast crowd of people have been unable to boot up again after applying the patch. Vista is apparently unaffected, but XP users and below have had a nasty present left for them. Official statement here. Nice work guys.

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