CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?

Wednesday, August 27

Geek

Changes

Back in the misty dawn of time, when I was still at school, I spent two weeks at Hewlett-Packard on a work experience program. (This was when HP was still renowned for their engineering, rather than cursed as a pusher of expensive ink cartridges.)

At the time, HP was having a sale on disk drives. You could buy three 400 meg drives - and these were serious drives, with 14 inch platters stacked into cases as large as washing machines - three of these for just $250,000.

"But", said one salescritter to another, "how many customers do we have that need 1.2 gigabytes of disk?"

I downloaded 1.4 gigabytes of stuff today. Episodes 17 to 20 of Kodocha, and epsiodes 6 through 9 of Saikano (Saishuuheiki Kanojo). Fortunately, this didn't require me to buy $250,000 worth of disk to store it on. Though I did pick up a couple of DVD-RWs on the way to work. 4.7 gigabytes each. $8 a pop.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:59 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, August 24

Geek

Daily SCO

SCO has accused IBM of orchestrating a consipiracy [Uh, how do you orchestrate a conspiracy, exactly? — Ed.] against them. This, perhaps, is what inspired someone to create WeLoveTheSCOInformationMinister.org. So... WeLoveTheSCOInformationMinister.com was already taken?

Update: It so happens that yes, WeLoveTheSCOInformationMinister.com was already taken. Must be something in the air...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:19 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

You're All Going To Have To Upgrade

I've been working on a re-design of Ambient Irony. It looks wonderful on my monitor at 2048x1536.

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite fit on the screen at 1024x768. I can see only one solution...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:03 AM | Comments (17) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, August 22

Geek

Daily SCO

More hilarity in the ongoing SCO saga.

Bruce Perens got his hands on the full SCO presentation, and provides a detailed analysis here. He traces one of the alleged infringements back to its original published form in 1968, through its release as open source - first by AT&T and then by Caldera (the company that now calls itself SCO) - and explains how it in fact entered the public domain during the '90s.

He also points out that SCO is claiming ownership of IBM's JFS and SGI's XFS filesystems - purely because they are part of those companies' Unix distributions.

Linus Torvalds is more direct. He says:

They are smoking crack.
There's a short interview with the creator of Linux at eWeek.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Allison and the Samba team (Samba provides Windows file services on Linux and Unix) are just a little upset with SCO. They note that Darl McBride, chief weenie at SCO, recently said:

At the end of the day, the GPL is not about making software free; it's about destroying value.
At the same time, SCO proclaim the inclusion in their operating system of such applications as GCC, Squid, and Samba.

Guess what license GCC is released under? The GPL. So are Squid (a proxy server application) and Samba. So why are SCO deliberately destroying the value of their own product? Investors need to ask this question.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:04 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, August 21

Geek

Codec Cooties

The Ulead video editing software just plain doesn't do what you tell it to. Give it precise codec settings, and it ignores them. Change the settings radically between two attempts, get identical output files.

Bah.

DrDivX seems to do the right thing, but all it does is encode. So I have to load the encoded file into Ulead, edit it, re-encode it, save it, load the file into DrDivX and re-encode it again.

This is not a recipe for high-quality output.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:54 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, August 20

Geek

Codec Chaos

Foo.

My new DVD burner came with a library of video and DVD editing software from Ulead. This prompted me to try something I've wanted to do for a while. I have all these anime files on my computer, and I'd like to put up some little video clips to show people just what it is that I'm talking about - without them having to download entire episodes at 200 meg a pop.

The program found my collection of codecs just fine, which was a relief. Most of the files are in non-standard formats such as DivX (unrelated to the failed attempt at selling pay-per-view DVDs) and Xvid, which are variants of MPEG-4. The program read the files just fine, and allowed me to select from these and other codecs for my output.

However, the file produced for a 90-second clip came out to 25 meg. No matter what I set the bit rate to, it comes out at 25 meg. Except sometimes when it's even bigger.

The one success I've had was with RealMedia format, which produced a 1.5 meg file for the same clip. The picture and sound quality was... About what you'd expect. Awful.

I'm sure there's a trick to making this work, but I'm not going to find it tonight.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:53 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

No Go, SCO

SCO, the evil and irrelevant company that's been suing IBM for $3 billion and trying to extort money from everyone from yours truly to the U.S. Government, has finally shown their cards, that is, the code they allege to have been stolen.

They showed it in Greek.

No, really. At the recent SCOforum, they presented some of the claimed infringing code. It was printed in the Symbol font, so all the Latin letters were replaced by their Greek equivalents, rather like the menu Susie found on Mars. Someone took a photo of the presentation, and it was translated.

Turns out that the code in question dates back to Unix System 6, first released in 1976, documented (and indeed printed in full) by John Lions in a book that has since had SCO's official blessing, and apparently released into the public domain. At the very least, it is open source as part of BSD Unix.

SCO's case seems to be weaker - if more amusing - than even I expected.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

New Toy

I went out to lunch and came back with a DVD burner. Oops! The Pioneer DVR-A06, to be precise. Yay!

In fact, I bought it from the same store that's advertising the Pressit CDestroyer. I should have asked them about that.

Now all I need is a hundred or so blank DVD-Rs and I can back up my 3.4 million files...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:00 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, August 19

Geek

Then You Need...

Too many CDs? Too many CDs that work? Not enough time to ruin them yourself? No kids to do it for you?

Then you need the Pressit CDestroyer!* Designed specifically to destroy your valuable CDs!

Act now and we'll throw in this valuable bag of dirt!

* As far as I can tell, this is a real product.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:33 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, August 16

Geek

No Wonder...

No wonder I can never find anything.

I was looking for a particular file - a rather nice picture of Benten from Urusei Yatsura that I used to have as my desktop - and I was having trouble finding it. (It isn't called anything sensible like Benten.jpg, unfortunately.)

So I did a wider search across my home network. I still haven't found the picture I'm looking for, but I have learned that I have over 3.1 million files. No, hang on, I missed one computer... 3.4 million files.

I wonder what's in them...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:17 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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