4 posts • joined 9 Aug 2009
Too much harddisk grinding noises with Firefox
In my experience over the past couple of years, Firefox almost never crashes; and on the very rare occasion when it does, it's no big deal. It is a big deal to me, on the other hand, that it frequently makes a lot of annoying noises on the harddisk. Partially those noises are for maintaining a written record of current state so the state could be re-created after a crash. I would much prefer the peace and quiet. Firefox 3.6 is noisier than Firefox 2.0.
The very frequent writes to the profile database and consequent noise, with no disablement option, is the biggest defect of the program. What's coming in version 4.0 is stuff that I either don't want or couldn't care less about.
Lossy & lossless - both too minor
The man (or woman) who works for Ocarina says "we keep the files on disk in their native format", which means they're looking for "peephole optimizations" in the encoding of the MPEG format, while fully complying with the MPEG specs. The MPEG specs have some features that most encoders don't bother to make use of because they're too much work for too little benefit. That's especially true of MPEG4's H.264.
When you reduce the filesize by 20% using commonplace free software for MPEG and JPEG today, the visible degradation is usually negligible. You'll be able to see differences between the two images compared side-by-side, alright, but you'll have to scrutinize with great concentration to be able to convince youself that the smaller of the two is inferior looking. The differences are very subtle.
In my opinion, the stuff he (or she) is talking about is not worth paying money for because it's too minor.
Adblock Plus is brilliant
I regard Adblock Plus as the number one best and most revolutionary piece of software of the last decade. But I've been genuinely surprised to find that most people don't see it the same way, including people I personally recommended Adblock Plus to. They prefer to let the ads stand, apparently. This strengthens my expectation that people like me will never be forced to go back to an internet experience with advertising in it. What a wonderful world.
Compression-rate improvement in video codecs has been very modest
Cliff says: "For those who don't get why codec choice is so important, the last few percent in filesize reduction for a specified quality can make a huge difference when streaming videos...."
On the contrary, a few percent filesize reduction is just a few percent and this is simply very little and arguably practically negligible. To put the same thing the other way around, when you have a specified filesize, the improvement in picture quality from using a VP6 (or VP8) encoder is barely perceptible against VP3, and you'd have to concentrate carefully to see it. It's worthwhile if it's free, but I'd argue it's not worth paying for. More generally, over the past decade the improvement in the compression rate of the state-of-the-art video codecs has been very modest, whereas there have been major improvements in bandwidth and more major bandwidth improvements are coming.
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