44 posts • joined Thursday 17th June 2010 15:43 GMT
This kind of behaviour brings Robert Heinlein to mind
"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
I've seen it working, and I liked it
Last September at IBC I saw a HEVC demo of a 4k x 2k video loop. The picture was flawless, and the bitrate was ~12Mb, which is what a standard 1080i HD channel via satellite will take up. I had a nice chat with a man from NTT DoCoMo about it.
Also at IBC Sony had a 4k x 2k stream coming from Astra. The picture was not perceptibly better (subjective of course, the source material was different) but the bandwidth was ~50Mb, which I will never see off a satellite unless I install a dish bigger than my back garden.
This doesn't address the current cost of 4k screens of course, but that's only a matter of time. The first TV I ever watched was 405-line monochrome, now it seems that in my lifetime (my word in God's ear) discernible pixels will cease to exist.
All the concern about patents is understandable, but the net result is a much better way of imaging the world. Now if we could only enhance the standard with blockers for advertising, party political broadcasts, soap operas and reality TV then we'll be getting somewhere.
Re: My Prediction
I saw that documentary and it was hair-raising. Systematic, brutish abuse of staff. Every conceivable loophole in the law being used to cheat and rob people who were in no position to argue.
In my forty-odd years of dealing with them one thing I have learned is that the Germans believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, so these sorts of shenanigans (which have been standard practice in the UK for decades - see recent pieces on UK TV news about zero hours contracts) did indeed cause revulsion amongst the populace there.
Not to mention disgust in my house. My opinion of Amazon was radically influenced, not in a positive way.
Re: Still a great film
Tom 38 already listed 12 Monkeys, which is Terry Gilliam's feature-length remake of the half-hour La Jetee.
Amusingly, Bruce Willis has done the time-travel paradox twice: 12 Monkeys and Looper. Compare and contrast...
Primer, of course...
...in fact, I would argue that it''s better than any of the ten apart from 2001: A Space Odyssey. One of the downright cleverest films ever made.
A Boy And His Dog
and a bunch of others that I'll remember as soon as I hit "Submit".
You're right, of course about the difference between Great Britain and the UK (not to mention the British Isles). But nonetheless the ISO code for the UK is "GB", and almost all other countries use their ISO code.
Now if the ISO code isn't to your liking, that's a conversation to have with the ISO...
Here's a thought:
There's this thing called the ISO. They have standards for all sorts of things. Whatever you might think of that (or them) there's something to be said for consistency.
So practically the entire world uses its ISO country code as its TLD. Apart from a couple of places which are well-known for being "above" international standards...
So if you want to make a TLD available to everybody in the UK, how about ".gb"?
No confusion, standards compliant, problem solved, At least the TLD problem.
As for the other problem (already clearly identified by previous posters) namely "how do we get milk out of this bull we ended up owning", that's a tough one. But subterfuge doesn't seem to be helping, does it?
Re: There's the Kool-aid...
Umm...the first GUI I ever used on a DOS PC was called Gem, and it worked a lot better than Windows 1.0 which came about a year later as I recall.
What happened to it? Apple sued, and that was that...
Re: Wow, just wow!
Better still, the Segway is actually a natural replacement for the wheelchair. There is already at least one (German) engineer who has designed a Segway-based wheelchair which offers a change-up for those who need it: completely hands-free operation, climbs stairs and kerbs, offers the possibility to be at eye-level with standing "walky-talky's"*. Yet I haven't seen one in real life, and AFAIK it's still only a prototype.
The only people I have seen with Segways are soldiers, policemen and people who can spooge that kind of money on a toy.
Mr Kamen's heart is clearly in the right place (viz the Slingshot water purifier). It's just a shame that the fruits of his cleverness are not automatically available to those who might derive the greatest benefit from them.
I'm guessing that if Mr Kamen had presented the Segway to his backers as a help for the disabled it would still be on the drawing board.
*According to Ian Dury this is what children in wheelchairs call the rest of us...
...I've had absolutely no interruption in service from my Gen2VDR system.
Gen2VDR gives you Klaus Schmidinger's excellent PVR software VDR, plus XBMC, Freevo, a KDE desktop, Firefox and more over a Gentoo installation. Installs off a DVD in half-an-hour or less.
What is this "Windows Media Centre" of which you speak?
Re: Two words
Well, sort of. It's not the brain per se but the ability to learn language that's crucial. Every child will learn to speak between the ages of one and five. During that window they learn (by imitation and emulation) the sounds and words that make up their language. This is an involuntary process and it's on a timer - if the process has not been kicked off by five or six years old, then it becomes harder and harder. This is why many deaf people who have been taught to speak sound odd to us. It's also where accents come from, because the sounds that you learn to use to make language become unconscious. This is why many continentals have such trouble with the English "th". They have to work to learn it as older children and most of them can't or won't. (Disclaimer: I speak four languages, have a German wife and live in the Netherlands, so this is not Euro-bashing - it's experience).
Cochlear implants have a huge advantage over hearing aids because they are more sensitive; they have a huge disadvantage because the "sounds" that they generate in the wearer's head are not sounds that we would readily recognise. If they are the first sounds that children hear then yes, they can form the basis of learning to speak. My daughter grew up in an environment where German, Dutch and English were spoken interchangeably, and so she speaks all three without accent, as does her (hearing) younger sister.
With adults who have never heard, results of implantation are almost always disappointing. Hearing adults deafened by age or misfortune are better at adapting because they know what to expect and they can adapt to it.
The fact is, this is a game-changer for the human race. When we were still in the diagnostic phase a German doctor said to me "From now on, no German child will ever need to learn sign language". The doctor who implanted my daughter describes the CI as "die einzige Sinnesprothese"- the only sensory prosthesis. During the last ten years I have seen serious effort being put in by the deaf community to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_and_Fury_(film)">turn back the tide</a>, and I have seen with my own eyes children who could have learned to speak being crippled by withholding implantation until they were five years old. The difficulty the child then has learning to speak is held up as an example by defenders of sign language that "these things don't work, see? Sign language is better".
My daughter attends a normal secondary school, although she is a year younger than the rest of her class. That's not attributable to the CI, but the opportunity that she has to complete a regular education is. As is the fact that she has a clear speaking voice even when she's not "plugged in". A relatively small investment by my medical insurer (40k Euros) has made the difference between a future taxpayer and a charity case. It's a no-brainer.
BTW sorry about the trumpet-blowing but I'm proud of my daughter and I'm not ashamed of that.
My daughter was as good as deaf when she was born in 2000 . Being implanted when she was a toddler means that she functions as a completely hearing human. She has a skull-mounted interface under her scalp which connects to an externally-worn RISC-powered device. She can listen to an MP3 player via wireless, transmitting straight to her inner ear.
This is now.
If I had been born with the same disability, I would be deaf.
Re: Apocalypse in 9/8
The late Dave Brubeck (who I had the pleasure of seeing live when I was a schoolboy) was releasing albums ten years before "Time Out", so that is in no respect his first album...
It's quite clear what this company's product is...
...it's an "eierlegendes Wollmilchschwein"!
Be afraid, Compuware..
The stunt mentioned in the first post is (as one might surmise) merely one example of the alleged behaviour that has earned Paul Singer his reputation.
In other words, if I were associated with Compuware I would be thinking "timeo danaos et dona ferentes".
Re: Digital babelfish, how I miss you
An interesting fact: there are no English words for "Schadenfreude" or "Blitzkrieg". And there are no German words for "fair play" or "gentlemen's agreement".
Make of that what you will...
This stuff predates the Web...
Anybody heard of Personics?
In the late 80's a company called Personics invented a system which allowed visitors to a record store to make their own mixtapes from a list of tracks displayed at a kiosk in a record shop. (The tapes were made from special CDs mastered at 4x speed, recording on tapes at 4x speed, so a C-90 took about 25 minutes to make). You could thus sample tracks, make your own compilations and try out stuff over days rather than the minutes an in-store listen gives you.
Just like taping from your friend's record collection except everybody got paid.
The problem was that the record business was about selling pieces of plastic. Personics wasn't pieces of plastic. So the major labels didn't license their music to Personics and because of a paucity of content Personics died.
I remember being extremely impressed by it and making a tape just because it was a cool thing.
Already then, it was clear that the record business was the buggy-whip business with lawyers. If there had been anybody with clout in the major labels who could see the benefits of decoupling the content from the media Personics would have thrived, and there would have been a precedent and a model from the first days of the commercial WWW. But of course if the Queen had balls...
The European indie label I was working for at the time was distributed in the US by Epic, so we were blocked from getting involved.
Later during my time in the record game, an extremely well-connected person once told me that the true power in the US record labels lay with the bean-counters who juggled the margins on the wholesale prices of the records and tapes, and that to them the content was irrelevant. The experience of Personics, together with the subsequent RIAA monkey-business against consumers would seem to bear this out.
Re: Cool, but...
http://www.nieuwbouw.amsterdam.nl/nieuwsbrief/nieuwsbrief_winter/in_de_schijnwerpers has a picture of that model about half-way down. You can't make out the individual pieces, but you get the idea.
...about fifteen years ago when the city of Amsterdam was starting work on the suburb of Ijburg, they had a visitor centre with a model of the finished suburb where they used old semiconductors to represent the buildings.
OT: Ijburg was, in classic Dutch style, built on reclaimed land. (I sailed over it before they reclaimed it). It nowadays gives me the opportunity to shout as I drive past it "I remember when this was all just lakes!".
Ad-supported is not "free", please don't pretend otherwise
In the scribbler game it is necessary to pretend that advertising is simply sunshine rendered into little pictures and films to bring joy to us all. The scribbler must maintain this fiction in order to keep his whisky-vouchers coming. You will not see a journalist criticising advertising - hand that feeds and all that.
The proof that it is a fiction is the use of the word "free" to denote content slathered with intrusive and unwelcome lies. These lies use bandwidth and screen real estate and frequently obscure the content that they are "supporting". These are costs that I must meet. This is plainly not "free", so to tell me that it is is contemptuous.
Please developers: take my money. I am happy to pay you. Just let me know what your software costs. Don't soil your efforts by grovelling to the takers.
Please scribblers: enough with the grotesque, gratuitous and offensive untruths. Denote "ad-supported" software as such, so that I can make an informed decision. Don't deliberately mislead me.
I put my phone into flight mode if I need to run an ad-poisoned app anyway, so the notion that advertising "supports" the software is a non-starter with me, and I suspect that I am far from alone in this.
Klaus Schmidinger's VDR. Excellent software. Build it yourself, get it from a repository or use one of the ready-made distro's with it built-in. Watch, stream, record, stacks of plugins. It has even achieved a WAF* of 0.9 in our house. Well, 0.65 at least.
Men who buy their home media centres instead of building them out of old PCs and Linux sit down to pee.
*WAF: For those not familiar with build-your-own-HTPC, "WAF" is the Woman Acceptance Factor, expressed as a value between 0 and 1.
"The Institute warned that USDA's thoroughly un-American proposals would have increased the cost of the average school lunch by 14 cents, and breakfast by 50 cents."
So, in other words, feeding children with additive-packed junk food is desirable because it saves money, notwithstanding the copiously-documented links between diet and behaviour, intelligence, happiness and (obviously) health.
It is obvious (to any suit-wearing, trough-snuffling banker's catamite) that healthy, well-fed, well-behaved, attentive and happy children are a luxury rather than a desirable outcome for society as a whole (which, as any fule kno, does not exist).
Fortunately a group of disinterested benefactors, with only the best interests of the food-processing industry in mind, have heroically jumped in to demonstrate that poisoning children is OK because it SAVES MONEY!
I am reminded of a nameless British politician forcing a hamburger down his unwilling daughter's throat, pimping his own child to the agribusiness lobby in order to prove that British beef was safe to eat.
As a parent I am half-responsible for ensuring that my children get the nutrition that they need in order to thrive, just like any other parent. Measures like this, which are called into being in order to put a few cents in an undeserving parasite's pocket, actively militate against my efforts . Furthermore I gain nothing when my children's contemporaries are abused like this, and my children bear the brunt of the consequences.
Pusillanimity, misanthropy, avarice and callousness have become virtues amongst those whom we permit to administer the logistics of our daily lives. This is self-evidently wrong. It's time to change things. Let's start with putting the severed head of the creep who did this cost-benefit analysis on a pointed stick outside the offices of the Italian social club he/she works for.
There are those who may protest "But that's happening in America, it could never happen here!"
My riposte is that if it can make some MP's "friends" money, then happen here it will.
When I was a boy...
...I was told that the reason people paid for subscription television was that it didn't carry advertising. So to see a broadcaster claiming proudly northwards of UKP10 per week per head subscription revenue for programming that is 25% advertising (is that revenue included?) makes me feel very sorry for the consumers of the UK who clearly have absolutely no idea of how they are being rooked.
Amusingly enough, I read this week that in the UK the average person watches 40% more television than the average Dutch person. Given that watching UK television seems to be a never-ending succession of advertising for ambulance-chasers, loan sharks, hard liquor, and insurance, presumably the extra 40% of time is what is necessary to ingest the same amount of 'content' as the Dutch. Or maybe the Dutch have lives...
How Sky operates may be legal, it may be licensed and it may even be popular although who knows why.
But it is wrong. Doesn't that matter any more?
Re: Facebook is a scam
Your analysis is valid, up to a point. However I remember back in the 90's that the killer idea for the WWW was the "portal". Like so many other IT notions ("cloud", "client/server") "portal" meant whatever the would-be vendor meant it to mean.
But just because the dogs bark and the caravan moves on doesn't mean that the portal was a bad idea, or even that it went away, because it didn't. It changed, it grew, and now Facebook is the portal that everyone was dreaming of back then.
I once had a conversation with a car designer, who told me that he thought the SGI workstation that he designed cars on was an "Alias machine", because he only used it to run Alias software. He didn't realise that it could do other things as well, but he wasn't interested in finding out anyway.
For the vast majority of people who use computing devices nowadays it's about the function. Not how it works, but what it does. If you are a complete beginner and want to use the Internet for digital communication then Facebook will have you up and running in minutes, seconds even.
So IMHO the valuation of the company for the debt-money parasites is based on that fact. The technically-savvy and the quick learners have already been on-line for years, but Facebook opens up the web for the next set, those who haven't had the patience, or couldn't see the benefit or were intimidated by the jargon or whatever.
Plus you don't need a PC any more - it's on phones as well these days. But whether it's a phone or a PC, for the new recruits it's a "Facebook machine".
And if you own a piece of Facebook then all these newbies are belong to you...
This was foreseen long ago...
"Every gimmick-hungry yob digging gold from rock'n'roll
Grabs the mike to tell the world he'll die before he's sold.
But I believe in this, and it's been tested by research,
He who fucks nuns will later join the church."
Now if only I could remember where that came from.
Actually, I can. Can anyone else?
Erm...that's exactly what he was doing. His attitude was that, since (statistically speaking) there were a limited number of years left for her to enjoy, she should enjoy them as she saw fit.
His words to my gran: "Don't listen to them. You're nearly 90. When the time comes it won't be drinking and smoking that did it."
And, when the time came, it wasn't.
For crying out loud! Mind your own business!
My brother-in-law is a doctor. On the day that he became my brother-in-law he met my late grandmother who was at the time 89 years old, and still rolled her own Golden Virginia smokes, as well as regularly enjoying more than the odd "dirty glass".
Egged on by other wedding guests to issue a medical opinion he said, "If she still enjoys these things then she should continue to do so. She doesn't need to worry about long-term consequences". This is wisdom.
Amusingly, though we see a reversal of the expected positions here. The normally-abstemious septics promote drink, whilst the British scorn their own maxim of "a little of what you fancy does you good".
...Wikipedia gets the rebound.
Tea-bagging? Yes! Drinking tea-bag water? Not so much!
My wife is German. When we were first together, I schooled her carefully in the correct procedure for making tea and she in turn showed me how to make drinkable filter coffee, something that one simply didn't get to learn in the UK in the 70's. It's a rich exchange it seems to me, it's a warm arrangement. (Anybody recognise that?)
In any case, the correct way to make tea is to use first flush Darjeeling* leaves, place them in a warmed china pot, add freshly-drawn, freshly-boiling water, cover the pot with a cosy or tea-towel and leave to brew for five minutes.
My wife's initial reaction when I showed her this was suspicion that I was pulling her leg. Only the quality of the final result convinced her that it was worth the effort.
Much like the Japanese, the British require a measure of ritual in the preparation of tea. Otherwise, well, it's not tea.
As for all those correspondents who admit to indulging in "tea-bagging", I aver that that is a practice best indulged in in private...
*Or your choice of suitable tea, bearing in mind that Darjeeling is the best...
The Leidseplein is one of the focus points for a night out in Amsterdam, and is also the venue of choice for celebrating returning Dutch heroes (and for Sinterklaas every year). It's also a significant bus/tram interchange.
The Hirschgebouw is also directly across from the taxi rank, which at 5am on a Sunday morning is teeming with people, as I remember fondly from the days before I met Mrs hamsterjam.
Having what amounts to a billboard the size of a city block next to a part of town which draws large numbers of both locals and tourists (not necessarily simultaneously, mind) as well as a large retail outlet directly behind the billboard makes perfect sense.
For my part I was never able to forgive Apple for demolishing the Alhambra cinema on Frederiksplein a dozen years ago to build an earlier emporium. Actually I don't know if they were the ones who demolished it but as a non-fanboi penguin I'm inclined to give them the blame.
"Ghostbusters" wasn't based on "Pop Muzik"...
...it was based on "I Want A New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News.
I recall the story vaguely from when the film was new. Apparently the film's makers had edited some sequences around the song because it was a big hit when the film was being made. However, the plan for the film was that it should address a family audience and so "ixnay on the ugdrays". Which made it necessary to hire a competent musician who could create something which would fit the completed sequences but not turn the youth of America into slavering substance abusers. As to whether that last part succeeded...
Off the top of my head I know of two other examples: one where a film used a David Bowie piece in a sequence which was then replaced by a piece of "original" music which is practially identical (hands up the five of you that saw Nic Roeg's "Insignificance") and one where clearly P Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" was the model but didn't make it into Luc Besson's "The Big Blue". More? Cole Porter's "Be A Clown" vs Freeman and Brown's "Make 'Em Laugh".
Fact is, music is made from only twelve notes. Also music is very often developed from other music. The "Kookaburra" lift in "Down Under" made me laugh back then, because it alluded to the sardonic attitude many Ockers demonstrate towards their own culture, and it fit beautifully into the song.
On the one hand this decision is an indefensible example of greedy rent-seeking scumbags using lawyers to steal somebody else's money. On the other hand EMI's "unrecognisable" claim is not disingenuous, it is mendacious, as the musical quote was clearly intended to be recognised at the time.
One last thing: I learned the song "Kookaburra" in a primary school music lesson in the 60's. We were told that the song was inspired by the call of the eponymous bird. Aren't there any avian lawyers that can step in here and get the money to the *original* composers?
In the interests of accuracy...
...be it noted that "Take my wife - please!" was not said by Les Dawson, but by Henny Youngman.
Is this a belated response to "U-571"?
Offspring of right-wing politician suspected of vote fraud? Wasn't that George H. W. Bush's son (allegedly)?
And plus: Why would anyone believe that a vote on a TV show was honest? What would make it so? The audience is in dead last place in the order of things behind the management, the talent, the guests, the creatives and the advertisers. So much so that the likelihood of the game *not* being rigged is frankly incredible.
Finally, not to put too fine a point on it, who gives a fsck?
Why are we surprised?
Don't forget that Lidl is a German organisation.
OTOH, perhaps the preponderance of such toys amongst the German young is the explanation for the success of their football team (and their F1 drivers).
As they themselves say: "was nicht toetet haertet ab".*
* "That which does not kill us makes us stronger"
Ah, the joys of ignorance and self-loathing!
It's a shame that tuppeny-ha'penny iconoclasm has no market value. Otherwise Fuckoff Island would be full of millionaires, instead of embittered, negative wage-slaves.
Here's the thing. Any record you hear on the radio bears audible traces of three crucial musical forebears: The Beatles, James Brown and Kraftwerk.
The Beatles are a musical and social phenomenon. De gustibus and all that, it remains that they changed music, the record business and British society.
They also realigned the UK with respect to the rest of the world. If they had come from another country they would be viewed with pride and affection.
However, pride and affection aren't cool, are they?
It should also be noted that The Beatles incorporated Apple as an company not just as a record label but also as a technology company (although nothing came of it). So they could have strangled Apple at birth, but they didn't. IIRC the deal was that Apple Computer could use the name as long as they didn't do anything related to selling records.
So the reason that the Beatles catalogue wasn't with iTunes is because the remaining Beatles (or their representatives) were under the impression that they had been grossly betrayed.
That being so, the appearance of the Beatles music on iTunes should have coincided with Hell freezing over. So let's see whether it's real or not, shall we?
The successor to DSL...
...is TinyCore Linux. Super small (CLI version ~6MB, desktop ~10MB) plus your choice from heaps of apps that can run direct from the repository or be locally installed, fast, great on old systems, good forum.
I used it to convert a Neoware thin client into a music streamer for a friend. Base install plus NFS and mpd and a couple of other bits and bobs came to 22MB and fit comfortably on the Neoware's 200MB DOM. My mate picks his music via an iPod Touch app.
Hours of fun, Lego for propellerheads...
Fos those who don't seem aware of the fact:
Jeff Mills has made some of the most interesting music of the last couple of decades. The man is a genius. To dismiss what he does as "techno" is akin to describing the oeuvre of Bob Dylan as "folk". It might work for many, but not for me.
It fits well with his work and his approach that he has done this; he is an avid proponent of analogue synths and drum machines.
A live recording was made of his DJ'ing in a club called the Liquid Room in Japan in 1995 which still sounds startling and innovative today, if you can find it.
And ten years or so ago he played in my town and it was astounding.