EFF: EFF's Review of Elgato's EyeTV 500

copyright, DRM

Link: http://www.eff.org/broadcastflag/eyetv500.php

Lest you believe that Apple isn't evil:

The EyeTV software relies on no hardware acceleration for mpeg playback, which explains the processor load. The entire burden of decoding and displaying the high-def mpeg2 file falls on the CPU. When I asked EyeTV why it did not take advantage of the hardware acceleration included in the graphics cards installed in modern Macs, they explained that Apple has not made those interfaces easily accessible to third party developers. Enabling hardware acceleration is thus not likely to be in the cards for EyeTV's software in the near future.

UPDATE: More from SIMS student Dave Schlossberg... (you should be reading him):

I recently learned about Podzilla -- a Linux distro for the iPod. iPod already has some recording support, but here's the kicker -- you can pay the $50 for the iPod recording hardware and get 16-bit recordings at 8kHz (telephone-ish quality) or you can install Podzilla for free and record whatever you want at up to 96kHz (DVD audio quality).

Why is recording crippled on the iPod? Well, part of the answer is that the market for voice recording hardware is pretty small. Dedicated voice recorders are incredibly expensive, and Apple is not at all in that market. They're out to sell their iPods and get people to use iTunes. Furthermore, voice recording doesn't need amazing quality, so the low audio rate is sufficient for most.

However, this is not a market issue. If Apple really wanted to make an iPod capable of high quality recording, they could have. Their competitors, such as Creative, Archos, and iRiver, have MP3 players full quality MP3 and WAV recording (44kHz, CD quality). My Creative Jukebox 3 even has digital recording inputs. In fact if Apple was concerned about being competitive, they would have included high quality recording in the iPods from the very beginning.

Displaying Recently Played Tracks on Blogs

system, music, blogging, feeds, copyright, hacks, open source, p2p

(I think this will work for any PHP blog like wordpress or b2evolution.)

So danah (via various posts) has got me really into Last.FM (and the associated Audioscrobbler plugin for iTunes). Last.Fm stores what people are actually listening to and allows you, like the original Napster did, to look at what other people are listening to.

Avast! The Audioscrobbler page for each user even publishes a feed (for example, my profile publishes this feed)!

So much am I enjoying Last.fm that I've even wrote a quick hack using magpieRSS and EdB's _magpierss.php to display the most recent tracks I've listened to on NQB's sidebar. Take a look over there to see what I'm listening to!

(I'll post my hack here tomorrow.)

UPDATE [2005-01-08 20:10]: Well, the side panel for my music wasn't updating. It turns out that you need to have a directory in the same folder as MagpieRSS for its cache (that is, it needs a place it can put stuff until the target feed has been updated). In short, you'll need to make a directory in this folder called cache with the proper permissions. The following (from the command-line) should do the trick:

mkdir cache
chmod 755 cache

UPDATE [2005-01-09 09:50]: Alright, so here are the details of this sidebar audioscrobbler plugin hack based on [EdB]'s magpieRSS hack for b2evolution.

  1. First, I listen to a lot of music... which means that I need the sidepanel to update itself more often than once an hour (the magpieRSS default). However, I also don't want to contribute to slamming the Audioscrobbler servers. MagpieRSS has a built-in cache feature which will check the time on the remote RDF/RSS/ATOM file and update the feed information only if this file is new and only after a minimum amount of time has passed (default is one hour).

    You'll have to change EdB's hack to _main.php (or your main PHP file) to redefine how often magpieRSS should check for updates to the field. Find this part of EdB's hack:

    < ?php   
    require_once( dirname(__FILE__).'/rss_fetch.inc' );
    ?>
    

    and include a line that redefines the update time. Here, I use ten minutes (600 seconds):

    < ?php   
    // define a time to check for RSS updates (in seconds)
    define('MAGPIE_CACHE_AGE', 600);
    require_once( dirname(__FILE__).'/rss_fetch.inc' );
    ?>
    
  2. Next, I did some not-so-complicated but easy-to-fuck-up modification of EdB's _magpierss.php file. So I've created a patch file _magpierss.php.patch that you can apply to EdB's original file via the following command (make sure that the patch file is in the same directory as _magpierss.php):

    patch < _magpierss.php.patch
    

    (Here are the two files (save as .php): _magpierss.php.orig.txt and _magpierss.php.new.txt) What changes did I make? Well, a few things:

    • I added a switch to not display item descriptions. For Audioscrobbler, the descriptions are the same as the titles, so this was redundant.

    • I added a switch that toggles shortening of titles. EdB had titles being shortened to 20 characters. I set this as a switch, the "unshortened" case shortens titles to 80 characters and the shortened case acts just like EdB's original. UPDATE: I actually had to increase this to two-hundred characters to accommodate long metadata for some classical music... like so:

      a screenshot of a really long classical music title

    • moved the site title to the end. I also hard-coded in "Joe's Audioscrobbler profile" as I can't change the dumb title that Audioscrobbler defaults to ("Audioscrobbler Music Profile: Joebeone"). You'll have to change this on your own. (Now that I think about it, it would be easy to pass in a site title from _main.php. Screw it.)
  3. >

Trade Secrets and the "Cherokee Nation Open Source License"? Yeah, right...

copyright, open source, wtf?, secrecy, policy

As seen on the Interesting People list ("You Can't Make This Stuff Up"), a former chief scientist of Novell, Jeff Merkey, is planning on releasing a new operating system (GaDuGi) under an open source license, the Cherokee Nation Open Source License, which purports to include trade secrets:

Cherokee Indians Encircle Open Source Or How the GPL Might Wind Up with Arrows Sticking in It

by Maureen O'Gara

[...] Merkey has rewritten NetWare and merged it with Linux to create a distribution called GaDuGi, a Cherokee word for the work crews that used to engage in what we might call community service for the good of the whole tribe.

He says he has turned GaDuGi over to the Cherokee Nation, which will hold the copyright. GaDuGi will be distributed under a new Cherokee Nation Open Source License that is still being written, but reportedly differs from other open source licenses in recognizing trade secret rights in the underlying code.

In anticipation of the move, there is also draft trade secret legislation pending before the Nation, due to be submitted for ratification by the Full Tribal Council on February 14, that would recognize individual as well as corporate trade secret rights. Otherwise it reportedly apes the Uniform Trade Secret Act in effect in the United States. [...]

Later, a grad student from CMU, Patrick Wagstrom, points out a few problems with calling such a license Open Source in a follow-up posting to IP, "more on You Can't Make This Stuff Up". He notes:

  • The OSI has a strict definition of what constitutes Open SourceTM.

  • Linux is GPL'd, so any distribution of the two would be tricky and likely illegal in the US.

Not to mention the most fundamental flaw: once a trade secret is published in public with good faith, it ceases to be a trade secret (conditions for trade secrecy protection require that a piece of information in question must, indeed, be secret and protected as such).

From Section 1 of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (which is mentioned in the story as possibly being enacted in the Cherokee Nation):

(4) "Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:

(i) derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and

(ii) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

The plan to distribute software source code would fundamentally run into both parts of this definition: 1) once the source is known, the secret is now likely "generally known" and even more likely "readily ascertainable" under (4)(i) and; 2) releasing the code to the public would definitely undermine secrecy under (4)(ii).

They could encapsulate the "trade secret" parts in obfuscation or purely as binary modules, but this wouldn't be open source nor Open Source and certainly not compatible with Linux. BSD, yes. There's a way to protect trade secrets in open source software: don't release the source code of the secrets! That's what Apple is doing.

Caitlin and Roger are "Missing" in Thailand

friends, research

Wow, it's amazing what a Google News Alert can deliver... I'm not so sure I wanted to know this.

My undergraduate adviser, Caitlin Griffith, and her husband, Roger Yelle, are traveling in Thailand and haven't been heard from since the tsunami ("UA profs in Thailand stir concern" from The Arizona Daily Star).

Two faculty members in the University of Arizona's department of planetary sciences who are on a cycling trip in Thailand have not been heard from since a tsunami hit southern Asia last week, killing an estimated 150,000.[...]

Roger Yelle, a UA professor of planetary sciences, and his wife, Caitlin Griffith, an associate professor of planetary sciences, left Tucson at Christmas, flew to Bangkok and took a bus into rural Thailand. [...] They are scheduled to return Jan. 17, but colleagues would like to hear from them sooner.

"We've confirmed that they were planning to be in the north of Thailand in the interior, far away from the problems, but we've not heard from them," said Joan Weinberg, manager of academic affairs for the department of planetary sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I just hope they didn't change their plans at the last minute (I know Caitlin loves the beach and scuba, etc.). I hope they were more fortunate than many over there, and that this fortune sees them home safely.

(I guess, neither of these two planned to be in Darmstadt for the Huygens probe descent on January 14... other LPL faculty (Lunine, Lorenz and Tomasko) will be there.

UPDATE [2005-01-11 08:42]: Yay! Caitlin sends an email:

Yes, indeed all is well. We've been biking the northern hills of Thailand where there are a lot of "tribes" or villages of different ethnicities and cultures. It's pretty remote (no coffee, no flush toilets, no english and no email). In fact, we only found out about the tidal wave several days after it happened.

And they will both be in Darmstadt for the Huygens descent.

EMIGRATE vs. IMMIGRATE

wtf?

Link: http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/pairs2.html

  1. EMIGRATE vs. IMMIGRATE

He who emigrates also immigrates. As he leaves his country of origin, he emigrates from his homeland, in order to immigrate to another country. Leaving his old country, he is an emigrant, but arriving in his new country, he is an immigrant.

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And a few words about the structure of the eye . Everyone " retina ". Especially often we hear it buy clomid online in the phrase " retinal detachment ." So what is the retina ? This - the front edge of the brain, the most distant from the brain part of the visual analyzer. The retina receives light first , processes and transforms light energy into irritation - a signal that encodes all the information about what the eye sees . The retina is very complex and in their structure and function . Its structure resembles the structure of the cerebral cortex. The shell of the retina is very thin - about 0.14 mm.