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back to article Microsoft hosts Feynman lecture series

Forget Windows 7, the most useful thing that Microsoft will do this year is host the videos of a famous lecture series given by Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman back in 1964, so anyone can watch them and see a brilliant man engaged with the workings of the physical world and the people he is trying to get hooked on …

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FAIL

Silverlight

It is obviously very good news that these should be available.

But why do I need to install Silverlight to see them? I don't want to do that (though this is one of the few things which might make me).

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Cod
Gates Halo

Got me interested...

I remember reading the transcripts of the lectures when I was a physics undergrad in the 90s - some incredibly tough ideas presented with such enthusiasm - certainly brought the subject to life for me.

Can't fault BG for this....can we?

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GT
Gates Horns

Hah! Sucks to you Mac-owning physicists

So you have to download an IE plug-in to watch this? Serve you physicists right for buying Mac.

Putting it in Flash, WMV or MP3/4 would have been technically impossible, I guess.

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Anonymous Coward

@silverlight, and additional thoughts

Siverlight isn't the problem, and I think that, that comment is just distractional from what the story is about. After all you've probably installed Flash player from Adobe, countless times, if you go do different sites and get told you need the latest version of Flash installed to play the content.

Gates'y in his philantrophic mode has IMHO, done something very worthwhile, and I don't care if he monopolises all of those lectures if he provides them for fre, albeit even if you need to install Siverlight.

Perhaps he could do the same for all of the Beeb's Christmas science lectures, which have also been a valuable contribution to increasing the popularity of science.

If your only beef about this story is having to install Silverlight, then I feel sorry for you. The focus should have been on the science part of the story, not attached to the link you obviously clicked to find that out. I know, especially in this day and age, how increasingly hard it is to not be cynical, but I honestly believe, this is a story without any cynicism intended.

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FAIL

I wondered what the price would be.

"This being Microsoft, you have to install its Silverlight plug-in for Internet Explorer to view the lectures."

Yes. Physics can be fun, but (M$) business can still be cynical, manipulative, divisive and shit :-(

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Gates Halo

Nice one Mr G.

Kudos to BillG for doing this. Okay, I'm not so happy to have to bung on MS's latest piece of bloat to be able to enjoy the lectures, but hey maybe it'll work with Moonlight just as well.

Don't suppose he'd be able to get a hold of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" TV series and do the same - okay not as key as Feynmann's lectures, but darned interested nevertheless.

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g e
Silver badge

Sorry your browser is not compatible

Guess I'll have to wait for King Bill to adopt a cross-platform policy or Hell to freeze over.

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Coat

Try Google Chrome

And you get the message "Sorry, your browser is not compatible." I guess this is how M$ will fight off GoogleOS.

Mine's the one with IE in the pocket, in case all else fails.

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Gates Horns

Free to the Public, eh?

Quote:

'Gates recently bought the rights [...] with the intent of making them available free to the public.[...]'

Really, Bill? Then give the video to archive.org, or Wikimedia Commons, or to YouTube. Or just give links to downloads of the files, or seed a torrent of the files. The Feynman lectures are good stuff, but this is a just a way of forcing people to care about Silverlight.

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WTF?

Research?

"This being Microsoft, you have to install its Silverlight plug-in for Internet Explorer to view the lectures."

You have to install Silverlight, granted. But the Silverlight plugin is available for IE, Firefox and Safari on Windows and OSX. It even works on Google chrome (albeit unsupported). And you can get the moonlight plugin for firefox on SUSE, openSUSE, Ubuntu and Fedora.

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FAIL

Fail - Look at the site on Chrome - browser is not compatible

Class.!

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Anonymous Coward

More of the Same

Too bad he wasn't more concerned with Scientific activities when his company was busy bashing the TCP/IP protocol as "uncontrolled, GUIs as "not needed" and insisting that everyone should run DOS and NetBui. Now that he is rich he wants a different image.

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Thumb Up

"Beeb's Christmas science lectures, "

Your age/ignorance may be showing?

I'd agree the Beeb's lectures weren't bad at all.

These days they are on Channel 5. I don't watch them any more. The last one I saw seemed like one long Microsoft advert. Which leads us right back to Mr Gates and his business practices.

Back to Feynman: he also played a very important role in the investigation of the Shuttle O-ring catastrophe. Well worth reading about (or watching, if you can find something a bit more substantial than a 30second clip on Youtube).

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dek

@AC 15:46

There is nothing philanthropic about on the one hand offering something that should have been truly free for all to watch *without restrictions* and on the other imposing a marketing driven constraint. I'm now more interested in how much or little the BBC porned away scientific heritage which after all had already been paid for by the licence fee and should have remained publicly accessible (and that doesn't mean via the i-is-a-dummy-Player).

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FAIL

Where else can I get this

I've installed Moonlight and changed my user agent string to IE, but MS still don't let me in. Anyone know where else I can get these lectures in some format that works?

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work for you?

Can anyone get it to work. It freezes on the dialogue box "Preparing Content...." in both firefox and IE 7,8. On more than one machine. Grrr.

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Feynman

I knew Feynman in the last 1970s, sat in on a series of lections he was doing on field theory (which was only about 25% comprehensible to me). His speaking style was still very similar to what you see in the 1964 lectures.

I was struck by how often Feynman understood the practical ramifications of theories, while the graduate student only knew the math. A student would propose some matrix, and Feynman would say "That can't be true, because it would add a new degree of freedom to electrons. So besides having plus or minus charge and up and down spin, they would be red and blue. But that extra degree of freedom would manifest as an unseen macroscopic change in thermodynamics, so it can't be." To the students, it was just a matrix. To Feynman it was red and blue electrons.

Can we please shut up about bashing Microsoft for promoting their player. If Adobe and Apple can do it, so can Microsoft.

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Pirate

Is It possible to extract Silverlight video?

And if so, how long until these are on a Torrent?

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Flame

Erm...

can anyone get this thing to work? I've tried it on 3 separate machines with 4 different browsers and it screws up every time.

Silverlight? Silversh*$%, more like.

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Dead Vulture

typical reg FUD/ignorance

*sigh*

silverlight is not a "ie plugin"

its a plugin for firefox/safariie on windows/mac.

its no less propriterary than flash witch has a far far larger market share, worry about flash antitrust. not silverlight. fyi, silverlight is smaller that flash, call out bloat where its appropriate.

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Gates Halo

bunch of moaners!

erm... Silverlight is also available for Firefox and Safari on Windows and MacOS. On Linux there is/will be Moonlight. No reason to moan...

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C-N
Linux

Sigh

Fortunately, I have already purchased the series on DVD. It's a shame they didn't simply use a real standard for sharing the videos. Have they given them over to the public domain, or are they merely allowing MS users to have a peek?

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Silver badge

Any idea...?

Why the BBC no longer has the rights to them?

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Bronze badge

The true Feynman

This guy was one of my few heroes as a physics undergraduate back in the mid 1970s. There was no doubt of his brilliance and the unique nature of his outlook and character.However, he's a man almost as well defined by his image than what he did. To find out a little more about the truth about Feynmann, the people he worked with, and how his achievements contributed so much to post-war theoretical physics plus a little of the complexity of his character, then I can heartily recommend "Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics by James Gleick". Not all James Gleick's books are so good (well, some can be down right disappointing). But that one is superb.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Surely your'e joking Mr Gates?

If you think that the world and his dog are going to install Silverlight to view these.

Reading RF's books inspired me as a youngster and with his well documented efforts to make science understanable by all, I would like to guess that he would not like this totally artificial impediment to everyone sharing his wit and wisdom about the world of Science.

With all apologies to the author of "Surely your'e joking My Feynmann".

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Linux

Sorry, your browser is not compatible.

You're using Feynman to send a great message there, Bill.

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FAIL

Fail

Well, I found a Windows machine.

Aaaaaand.... Lecture 1 stopped playing 36 minutes in.

"Sorry, Tuva cannot connect to the necessary online content. Please check your internet connection, or try again later."

Fail.

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Gates Horns

Sudden surge of angular momentum...

...on the part of the sadly deceased Mr Feynman, who would undoubtedly have wanted these to be seen by the largest audience possible. It feels just like Browning or Colt sponsoring your local primary school nativity play.

Just wrong. Open information on open standards please.

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Silver badge

This is why we need Windows7

Finally it's only with Microsoft's revolutionary .net technology that lots of people in different places can see a grainy low resolution black and white moving images in their living rooms.

This is going to revolutionise entertainment and may be the end of the kinescope industry.

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Gates Horns

The Brave New Monopoly

Nice to see that Billy G.'s new monopoly Corbis is bearing fruit.

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Thumb Up

Awesome

Feynman is one of my favourite physicists and I will be defintely be watching these later tonight.

Who cares that I have to install "another" piece of software to run it, turns out it was already installed anyway.

In the words of The Fast Show

Briiiiilllllllliiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnntttttt!

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Linux

Bah Silverlight

I guess I'll emerge moonlight and see if it works, 'cause I really want to see these, but I'm also tempted to wait out a torrent that's in a different format...

rofl at the "No restart is required" sales pitch on the link. I don't remember what it's like to have to restart after installing anything. (Oh wait, yes I do; I recently installed Firefox 3.5 for a Windows friend.)

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm, this being the BBC

one has to wonder why it's not on iPlayer, free for all and without Bill's paws getting in the way.

@ GT: Silverlight runs happily under Safari and Firefox on the Mac. I hope you enjoy your 14th birthday.

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Terminator

@myself

Nope, no dice. Sucks for us Linux users (and I guess Mac users). Now to purge moonlight from my system...

@AC Since we don't have the option of "click here to install! and all will be well", Silverlight is indeed the problem.

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i would like to see Mr. Richar Feinman free lectures but not on Internet Explorer

Dear Microsoft,

I would like to see free lectures by Mr.Feinman and I would like for you to release them on Adobe Flash for Firefox.

Please make this valuable information free,

Thank you

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Gates Halo

Some people..

If Jobs did this and forced people to use quicktime would people be complaining?

Firm makes video available using firms own video software. Shocking isn't it?

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Lectures also on youtube

This is good PR for Bill Gates to push both Silverlight and his philanthropy, but if you have issues over either one or both just go to youtube.

As for the 'Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation' lovers, you do realize that choosing private and charter schools over public schools is a trend that breaks one of the strengths that used to be an important part of America's foundation -- every child is entitled to an education. Our current shift to every child with money or contacts gets an education is a dangerous social path. Another B&M Foundation PR statement is all the money they've pledged to African health care, with the added 'read the disclaimer in fine print' -- the majority of medicinal contracts are earmarked for Big Pharma corporations. Generics lose out, so do the people who need those meds. The big dollars go to the ones who need it the least. The list goes on and on about Bill's philanthropy, but

once you start examining each one there's a lot going on between the lines.

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FAIL

Stop whining

Gates puts the lectures up there for all to watch for free, and you buggers still find a way to insult him for it. Fuckwits, all of you.

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Unhappy

Bummer

I don't even want to use Internet Explorer, let alone have to download an add-in.

"(M$) business can still be cynical, manipulative, divisive and shit " --- I don't imagine that this is going to change the pattern of browser use, or make a big mark on the uptake of Silverlight, but the MS-exclusive attitude still stinks.

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Silver badge

The BBC bought the rights..

with my (or my dads) license money and now I have to buy a gig of ram and download a load of technically unnecessary software to watch something I've already paid for,

This kind of philanthropy makes the mafia look charitable.

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WTF?

Damn...

I was so ready to praise Bill Gates too... But Silverlight, just to see videos?

Nice of him to make it available. Although I think nobody should have the rights to such things, to begin with. Why should Bill Gates (or Steve Jobs or Mark Shuttleworth or whatever rich person you name) have the rights to Da Vinci's works, for example? Or for Feynman's lectures?

I thought these rights were supposed to "protect the authors" (and, at a stretch, their families, although I myself don't see why someone's family should be making money out of of the work of some guy dead for, say, decades).

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FAIL

Not such thing as a free MS lunch

Oh, I need to install your Silverlight plugin? *sigh* I was probably going to have to do that at some point anyway. *click*

OK, Silverlight installed - now can I has Feynmann? Whoops, it seems my browser (Opera) isn't capable of streaming video content. Strange, all that Youtube and iPlayer stuff must have been my imagination.

Switch to backup browser (Chrome). Damn, seems Google (the people behind Youtube and the guys touting HTML5) didn't bother to write video playback into their browser either. Silly Google.

Internet Explorer it is then! Time for some Feynma..."Internet Explorer has encountered an error and needs to close".

Thankfully, for people lumbered with inferior browsers or those of us too dumb to run IE for more than 5 minutes without it crashing, bittorrent is there to help with higher-quality versions to watch at our convenience.

This could have been a nice philanthropic gesture garnering some praise for Microsoft but they just couldn't resist the chance to wrap it in a clumsy attempt to push IE onto more people.

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RW

Gates will suborn anything to his lust for money

That he'd use Silverlight, which has pretty low uptake, undoes any "charitable" aspect of putting these online. Why not YouTube if the object is to make these available?

Shame on sleazy Bill Gates!

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Thumb Up

Why don't you all STFU?

Feynman lectures for free on the web .... this is just a plain great thing.

Stop the moaning ... install Silverlight ... watch it .... remove Silverlight.

Or just get with the fact you've already (as noted above) installed Flash and fuck knows what else and get off your high horses.

HTH

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Flame

Whaaa....

So you gotta install a Microsoft browser plug-in to view content provided by Microsoft? BFD... if you want to watch videos on Apple's website, you gotta install Apple's Quicktime. I don't hear many complaints about that.... if you want to see the content on Adobe's website (and just about every other website with rich content) you gotta install the Adobe Flash plugin; again i don't hear much sreaming there. But since it's from MS, it's automatically gotta be crap, huh? I've actually downloaded and installed Silverlight to be able to watch videos on Netflix... and you know what? It worked fine.

Even El Reg's own review of Silverlight was positive: "...Silverlight is shaping up to be what client-side .NET should have been from the beginning: lightweight, high-performance, cross-platform, and supported by a rich GUI framework that takes a sane approach to layout. There is room for this alongside Flash."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/10/microsoft_silverlight_3_review/

I seriously doubt if Steve Jobs had purchased the videos and made them available for free online but the 'catch' was you had to install Quicktime that anyone would say anything at all...

P.S. Silverlight is supported on Intel-based Macs.

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A treasure

Without this man, I would never have passed my Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering as our physics lecturer was - well, he was clever and keen but not a good lecturer !

Is Silverlight available on Mac and Linux ? I've installed it on my PC but there are lots of Mac and Linux users who will be very interested in seeing this. I'm sure some clever person will work out how to capture the video and convert it...

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Bronze badge

@AC:I wondered what the price would be

My thoughts exactly.

Still Richard F is one of my heroes.

More stuff for those who like this kind of thing.... All free, a choice of formats and not a SilverLight in sight:

http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/Outreach/Public_Lectures/View_Past_Public_Lectures/

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