Campaign Signs

Some busybody ratfucker keeps throwing a Ralph Becker campaign sign in my yard. I suppose they think it’s mine, when in reality it’s the neighbor’s. He’s got a small path to his lot that adjoins my property and he’s got the sign there.

So – to whoever keeps putting this in my yard, piss off.

I hope that I don’t have to put up with this until the general election or that sign is getting shredded.

Media Defender

The funniest thing about all the leaks from Media Defender is that their own technology can’t stop them. The very service they’re selling to large corporations to help keep their materials out of the hands of pirates can’t restrict their own “private” information from
leaking all over the place.

In fact, they’ve fallen back to the old media standby – issuing legal threats.

So far we have 700 MB of email
A phone call between MD and the state of New York
And now the very software that MD uses to “protect media assets”

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The powerful pull of stupid

Check out this idiot Sherri Shepherd. Apparently she is a new co-host of a morning talk show. In the clip below she claims not to know if the world is flat or not – because she really hasn’t thought about it.

Seriously, how the fuck did this nitwit get on TV? How does she dress herself in the morning? She probably needs help to remember to breathe. She goes on to say that she absolutely doesn’t believe in evolution. Because she apparently thought about that.

The stupid is thick with this one.

Update: A partial transcript from The Daily Background:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)


SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child–

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go…

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

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This is why I dropped my subscription

This kept happening, and still happens today. Can’t read the article because of a broken ad server or something.

And no, none of the links actually worked.

Picture 1-3

And what’s up with the three Next buttons and no article content? This happens all the time too. They are there even when everything is working right.

Picture 2-2

And here is some more fun. If you have flash disabled, you end up with this ad (click for full size):

Picture 3

And no way to get back to the article I wanted. All you can do is click on the ad or login as a Premium user.

Why even have ad-supported content if you’re going to fuck it up this badly? Just go back to a paid subscription-only service and be done with it.

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Toppler Updated to Universal Binary

I’ve updated Toppler to a universal binary, using the same source tree as the previous 1.1.1-1 version. This, unfortunately, requires it to be run under 10.4.x. If you’re still running 10.2.x or 10.3.x, you can still download the previous PPC version (works great under Rosetta as well) from the same page, just under the main download link.

One quick thing to note – if you have any high score files left over from a PPC->Intel conversion, these won’t read properly with this version. The high-score code is very endian dependent, and I didn’t update it to properly handle all cases. No biggie, but if you see some strange high scores in there, get rid of your /Users//.toppler directory.

I’m getting ready to post new binaries for Fillets and Freedroid as well, so stay tuned.

Update: One more update to 1.1.3-4 to include some language fixes and new levels. Check the toppler page for details.

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According to the police, some local punks lit three homes on fire, one of which was across the street from me, and one immediately next to our house. Fortunately, we had no damage, smoke or otherwise, but the two homes in the neighborhood were a total loss. The third didn’t have any real damage (made of brick.) Pics:



Why Joost Sucks

Man, I really wanted to like Joost. They have a very pretty interface and the idea to watch mainstream TV right off the ‘net is a winner. That is, unless you screw it up like Joost did.

First, let’s get what they did right out of the way:

1. Nice Peer-to-Peer network for content, reducing bandwidth bills for the servers, and potentially increasing reliability.

2. Beautiful interface appearance.

OK, now that that is done, here’s what’s wrong.

1. Damn P2P network sucks huge donkey balls.

I sit on a huge pipe at work (and a relatively large one at home.) I can regularly pull 1.5 MB/s from just about anywhere from home. With all this bandwidth, I can’t get a reliable stream from Joost to save my life. It works just as well as most other P2P networks – sometimes huge downloads, sometimes nothing. This is OK for file transfers, but sucks for real-time content.

And I never get tired of the sudden “This program is unavailable right now,” right in the middle of a program.

2. Video quality at least as good as YouTube!

Seriously, most of the video you get looks like complete crap. Literally, it IS as bad as a YouTube video, but blown up full screen. Oh, and combined with the network issues, it stutters every few minutes. So somehow, it’s even less watch-able than YouTube.

3. Fucking annoying commercials.

You know, I can stand watching commercials to an extent. But who was the poor idiot who thought that replaying the same damn unskippable commercial every 4-5 minutes needs a beat-down. The real kicker is that the commercials invariably play flawlessly and have the best video quality of anything you may be watching.

4. Beautiful but broken user interface.

I like the look of the interface, but overall it’s almost universally bad when you actually go to use it. How do you bring up the playback controls? Clicking does nothing, moving the mouse sometimes does it, sometimes not. How do you get them to go away? Apparently, you just have to wait for them to disappear.

And what’s up with that channel/program selector? It keeps loading content dynamically, and you can never figure out where you are in the list because it wraps endlessly. Lots of time there is no text or images loaded and you scroll around with a pile of blank entries and one that’s filled in. Just suck all around.

5. Content is the lamest of the lame.

The onlything I could stand to watch for more than a minute there was the Top Gear seasons. Everything else was some serious B-roll crap that even the ‘torrenters wouldn’t touch. There hasn’t been any significant content added since I was in the closed beta months ago. Oh, yeah, they added WBTV and ten episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Yeah.

6. Widget platform? WTF?

As if we needed yet another desktop clutterer. How about fixing everything else above before the onslaught of ten thousand weather lookups and stock checkers. Yawn.

I really don’t understand how people can stand using the thing. As it is, I hadn’t fired the thing up in weeks until today. I then realized that nothing had changed.

Bye Bye Joost. Let me know if you ever become useful.

Update: Funny – last night I had a power failure, so no TV. I was using the last of the battery power running the network to get some stuff done, and decided to take one last look at Joost. It launched, did some sort of version check, then told me it was out of date, but couldn’t contact he upgrade server to download the latest version. Then quit. I drug the app into the trash. Buh Bye.

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NBC/Universal Can Suck my Schlong

What a bunch of wankers – if Apple’s press release is correct, these arseholes wanted the price of their single-episode shows to be $4.99. Five dollars. Give me a fucking break. They’re just looking at an out to get people to use their own Hulu service (no link – they don’t deserve it.)

WTF is Hulu? A POS YouTube competitor with their own embedded player. So I guess actually watching shows on the television or on a portable player is right out.

Guess the money they got out of me will end. Back to BitTorrent. At least there I get what I want and can use it how I want.

Fuck ’em.

Update: WTF? NBC says their launching yet another site with “free” content – with commercials you can’t skip. Nice – make it even less useful guys!

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Elgato turbo.264 – partial turd sandwich

Well, I picked up the Elgato turbo.264 a week ago at the local Apple store. I was hoping to use my now aging G5 iMac to help encode some of the video I’ve been pulling from my old DVDs and use them on my Apple TV. To save you some pain (and another trip to the store to return it) let me tell you where this little device will help – and surprisingly, where it’s actually a detriment.

What’s a waste of time

To start with, running the thing on just about any Intel-based Mac is a complete waste of time. The ONLY situation where it will save you time is if you’re still stuck using Quicktime to encode. Using anything else, such as Visual Hub or Handbrake, encoding times with turbo.264 are almost identical. Of course, it sort of frees up your processor (though still running at 80% of 200% in most tests), so if this is important to you, you can still get somebenefit from it. However, see the What’s Craptastic section for situations where it Just Doesn’t Work.

What’s Craptastic

On both the Intel and G5 platforms, I ran into some video where it just totally bogged down the hardware, getting three frames a second. I thought it was just a data transfer limit, but similar sized videos didn’t have the same problem. This happened pretty consistently with videos already in “higher”-def H.264 (960×540, 2900 kbits/s), and oddly enough, playable on the Apple TV. It was still faster than Quicktime (but slower than Visual Hub on either platform.) So don’t expect everything to be speedy.

Again, on both platforms, using the turbo.264 to select and encode unencrypted VIDEO_TS video resulted in some strange behavior. On both platforms it ran at near real-time (22fps on average, just a little slower on the Intel platform using Handbrake, much, much faster than the G5’s 3fps.) But on every damn video, it doubled the run time shown for encoding. For instance, a 1:24:30 video showed up as being 2:49:00 long. It appears that this is a problem with multiple audio tracks. With a single track, everything showed up correctly. This didn’t seem to affect the actual encoding time, nor the resultant movie.

In addition, on the G5 platform I did discover that on certain DVDs, the turbo.264 would have BAD audio drift. At the 60 minute mark, it was off by seven seconds. When I saw this occur, there was also a point in the movie where the video went to hell, being completely scrambled. What was weird about this was that when I re-ran the encoding on the same video, it worked, no audio synch issues or video problems. Nice. Using the same files run through Handbrake it worked every time.

What Works

The only place where I could find where I would potentially use this thing was as a speed-up for encoding stuff from EyeTV. Since EyeTV uses Quicktime for encoding, it’s unnecessarily slow, even on the Intel platform. This thing brought their encoding up to par with Visual Hub. However, at least for me, $99 isn’t worth it since I can easily just drag the raw .mpg files to VisualHub manually.

Really, very little works well enough to be relied upon. On the G5 platform, most video (see above caveats) encoded pretty freaking fast, at least compared to just using the main processor alone. On average, I’d say it was consistently five times faster. However, don’t expect to get any work done while it’s encoding – the main processor was pegged at 100% usage at all times, unlike the Intel platform.

But the random encoding problems with DVD video, the slow encode times with certain video types, and the general unreliability of the platform just made me wish I didn’t spend the $99 on this. It went back to the Apple store.

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