Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 247

We "played the politics" a few years ago, there was momentum with at one point chrome saying it was planing to ~remove h.264~ from its browser. But in the end that did not pan out. Firefox ended up supporting h.264, and wikimedia was left with very little video participation by its exclusive support for royalty free formats.

Assuming the point of wikimedia is promote free codecs ( not get free information to people that want to access it ) ... Its still too late to say to Apple .. hey if you don't support webm, you won't be able to view the near zero percentage of wikimedia articles that have video content. But when it comes to h.265 and vp9 or Daala, if Wikimedia was a large video player similar to youtube it could help add its weight behind free future free codecs guenteeing they have a prominante home on the web with an active video community.

Submission + - Wikimedia commnity debates H.264 support on Wikipedia sites.

bigmammoth writes: Wikimedia has been a long time supporter of royalty free formats, but is now considering a shift in their position. From the RfC

To support the MP4 standard as a complement to the open formats now used on our sites, it has been proposed that videos be automatically transcoded and stored in both open and MP4 formats on our sites, as soon as they are uploaded or viewed by users. The unencumbered WebM and Ogg versions would remain our primary reference for platforms that support them. But the MP4 versions would enable many mobile and desktop users who cannot view these unencumbered video files to watch them in MP4 format.

This has stirred a heated debate within the Wikimedia community as to whether the mp4 / h.264 format should be supported. Many wikimedia regulars have weign in, resulting in currently an even split between adding the h.264 support or not. The request for comment is open to all users of Wikimedia including the broader community of readers. What do you think about supporting h.264 on Wikimedia sites ?

Submission + - Wikimedia Foundation considering H.264

bigmammoth writes: Wikimedia foundation has been a long time support of royalty free formats. They are now considering a shift in policy. From the Wikimedia RfC:

Video is used widely for educational purposes on the Internet. Online videos can be an effective learning tool, particularly for people who cannot read well. However, video is not widely used on Wikimedia projects. To date, only 38,000 video files have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons — about 0.2% of the 19 million other media files in our repository (by contrast, YouTube now hosts over 6.5 million educational videos).

One of the major reasons why there are so few videos on Wikimedia sites is that we do not support the widespread MP4 standard. Instead, we rely on the lesser-known Ogg Theora and WebM standards, whose user base is vastly outnumbered by the many users of MP4 around the world. As of this writing, about 150 million of our users are still unable to view open video files on their browsers.

The request for comment is open to the public. Readers and editors alike are encouraged to share their perspective on this potential change for video on Wikimedia sites.

Comment techno-deterministic dystopianism; a false premise (Score 3, Funny) 209

I think we already seeing the initial phases of this. Non-totalitarian societies will adjust and normalize to be more accepting of digressions, and otherwise damaging historic and contemporaneous behavior which will be more transparent for more and more people. What seems like absurd levels of privacy violation today / yesterday, will be taken for granted in the future / present.

To the extent of increased personal hardship from these databases; in non-totalitarian societies its unlikely to result in significant transition towards worse ( or better ) treatment of people outside social and political norms. People outside social norms have been "abused" in small circles for ages; in a larger more "anonymous" society the abuse is built into other layers of the social fabric ( id cards; state oppression etc ); Not to say all circles are created equal; but techno-deterministic dystopianism is a false premise. Technological social changes are bound to the societies in which they take place.

Within "our" global "democratic" "free market" capitalism context the macro implications of concentrated power being able to better micro manage public opinion with powerful tools for life pattern recognition models; may be more problematic then direct loss of privacy abuses that the article outlines. That is to say; all our search for "personal" connections with others may be easier to be mediated. i.e an online video chat "hang out" support group which is moderated by an inquisitive supportive digital agent. That in addition to connecting us to exactly who we needed to talk to and giving us heart felt sense of well being in the short term; is simultaneously creating voids in meaningful existence by commoditizing your values towards particular life style choices, entertaining distractions, and consumption habits that don't enable a sustainable social structure.

Where by every piece of information we look for and every social connection we make is mediated towards these "a-political" life style choices bounding political discourse and participation making it impossible to regulate such abuses enabling increasing concentration of power etc.; there-by creating a vicious cycle in which our autonomy is transformed even more dramatically then in the previous century of mass media consumption.

... But this is far from pre-determined, and these crude statistical models geared toward increased consumption of tomorrow; may in the near future give way to more holistic pictures of who we are with the disposal of much more computational resources and vastly more connected data about our increasing transparent existence. Independently of a slide towards totalitarianism; these databases and cognitive pattern recognition systems; could just as well support connections and social bridging of a cornucopia of personal identities; histories with digressions; and everything in between. If we expand access to build these system with human values we wish to amplify; it could just as well increase "freedom" "autonomy" and sustainable"well being" among the techo-societies participants.

Comment maybe "not all bad" (Score 1) 250

The "game" is defined under terms that are illogical, we should not expect logical behavior. They aim to patent as broadly as possible push the boundaries, shift regulations in their favor. An ecosystem supportive for rapid distributions of disruptive technology may be lost... and society has to spend massive amounts of resources on patent absurdities, but we are living in times of absurd levels of innovation.

In other words If you have to find something positive of this whole mess, it does put a bit of a damper on our march towards singularity.

It remains unclear if the global economies can be aligned to play by these rules for slowing down technological progress, in which case we could see rise of more R&D centers in nation with more favorable systems for intellectual property management. Right now the investment trade offs have not been crossed. But at some point global innovation may transition to lots of smaller non-aligned free platforms of innovation. We can see this in non-aligned open source projects that are not subject to the more absurd patent games since they are not centers of economic power. We can see traditional of highly isolated vertically R&D centers having to reinvent the wheel on many layers of their infrastructure, or work around broad patents. This all helps slow down innovation.

Corporations will transition into organizations consisting almost entirely of lawyers that negotiate the legal implications of distributing something that is a commodity or otherwise freely available. We can see this as an extreme version of what Google is doing with android or what pharmaceutical and gene therapy research centers have become and where they are going ... i.e more lawyers.

Its not a positive trend for innovation..But does damper relative investment into massive R&D projects with shared infrastructure and multiple layers of shared global IP, that is the basis of hyper innovation.

All this "unhealthy activity" may not be that "unhealthy" as it could help push singularity back a few years. Maybe even enable some legal and cultural framework for a structured roll out of the total transformation of everything that singularity will entail. Unnaturally stretching singularity out over the course of a few years instead of ripping apart global economies all at once. This may help avoid some serious problems, like total economic collapse in the "free" automation of "everything", that could leave billions of people without way to sustain their existence.

Comment Re:Consoles Done For? (Score 1) 353

Really? I don't think graphics have "leveled off". The state of the art real time gaming engine looks pretty different to me from what we see on consoles today: Sure you can make the "game play is worse or the same as before" argument, but to say there are only marginal improvements in graphics does not seem accurate.

Comment callus disregard for what mozilla is trying to do (Score 1) 245

I am surprised at the callus disregard for what mozilla is trying to accomplish. Its like 5 years ago why did they bother with this open standard, royalty free, patent unencumbered html stuff, they should have just shipped a free Microsoft doc "reader" by default, or why bother with javascript standard, when Microsoft had perfectly good active X systems to tie into native windows apis.

Mozilla knows what they doing, yes they may lose market share, but that is the nature of taking a principled decision that many people don't understand. The web will be better by getting people used to the idea that they need to support WebM in addition to H.264. As today smart phones become tomorrows calculators we won't have to pay taxes on the math that mediates contemporary conversations. Thous removing one small barrier to entry for anyone that wants to design or create audio visual communications systems.

Comment Re:Hello NAT (Score 1) 85

Again its not about piracy where you need near 1:1 ratios for seeds to leaches. Its about supplementing http distribution, so its fine if 60% comes from the http it still reduces distribution costs. Its fine if only a few dozen institutions or upload nodes to donate a few mbs here and there, rather than every visitor contributing an equal amount to an upload.

Comment Re:it will not work (Score 1) 85

it spawn a separate process that stays open and seeding as long as your computer is on and you don't close the application. It has a small indicator in the lower right of your browser and a system tray icon. If you want to 'turn it off' you can disable uploading which is recommend over complete removal since you can still help reduce server load by using the extension even if you upload nothing.

Submission + - Wikmedia and BitTorrent Video Distribution Trails (

bigmammoth writes: One potential problem with campaigns and programs to increase video on Wikimedia sites is that video is many times more costly to distribute than text and images. The P2P-Next consortium has created an HTML5 streaming BitTorrent browser add-on to try and help experiment with ways to reduce the costs of video distribution. As described in a Wikimedia tech blog post, once the SwamPlayer add-on is installed, and when using the multimedia beta, video on the site will be streamed via the hybrid HTTP / BitTorrent SwarmPlayer. For smooth playback the Swarmplayer downloads high priority pieces over http while getting low priority bits from the BitTorrent swarm. The same technology is available for experimentation with any site via the stand alone version of the Kaltura HTML5 Media library

Submission + - First video of "A Digital Video Primer For Geeks" (

Ignorant Aardvark writes: " just released the first installment in its video series "A Digital Video Primer For Geeks", whichcovers digital audio and video fundamentals. The first video covers basic concepts of how digital audio and video are encoded, and does so in an understandable fashion. The video is hosted by Monty, the founder of (the people who brought you Ogg), and explains a lot of concepts (FourCC codes, YUV color space, gamma, etc.) that many watchers of digital video have long been exposed to, but don't quite understand themselves. The intent of the video series (in addition to general education) is to spur interest in digital encoding and get more free software hackers involved in digital audio/video. As Monty explains, the basic concepts aren't nearly as complicated as most people seem to assume. Give it a watch and see if you agree."

Submission + - Firefogg in Browser Encoder, Adds WebM Support (

bigmammoth writes: Firefogg the open source in browser video encoder has recently added WebM support. The release includes updates to the multilingual web interface to encode webm and ogg theora files directly to the users local hard drive. For developers, firefogg includes an api for web apps to request specific encoding settings from clients saving on transport time and avoiding multiple re-encodes. With Chrome, Firefox and Opera all shipping vp8 in the near future, in browser tools such as firefogg are proving to be valuable for quick experimentation with free web video formats.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM