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||The EU has hashed out a compromise on the hotly debated
telecom legislation package - apparently now the anti three strikes
paragraph requires that any Internet cutoffs have to be ordered by
an impartial and independent tribunal - but
striking reference to a judicial ruling. There whole thing is
likely to pass by mid next week - and it could put France in an inconvenient
situation as their three strike law conflicts even with the current
wording (and France has been lobbying to strike the passage for a
1.10.1b support AAC and MP4 input and handles bold and italic
flags in SRT files.
If you live in Sweden and are looking for an ISP that doesn't keep
data for the copyright industry, Tele2
has emerged as another alternative.And speaking about ISPs -
at least one ISP seems to be more interested in offering people
speed without compromise - how
does 101/15mbit für $99.95 sound? Though the provider has
at least throttled users in the past and there seems to be conflicting
opinions as to whether this still happens.
Some might say Blu-ray is the last disc based format - yet apparently
people are still busy figuring out new ways to put more data on
a 5.25" disc - GE
just announced a 500GB disc (or rather, the technology that
should make it possible), based on holography.
Tomorrow, France's ruling party will once again try to shove three
strikes legislation through parliament. Time to contact your representatives
again and let them know where you stand when copyright cartels try
to do away with due process.
Almost unnoticed by the public, the process between Real and the
MPAA is under way, but now reporters
are being excluded as the case involves 'trade secrets' - secrets
that haven't been a secret since DeCSS.
3.4.3 fixes yet another bug.
While Blu-ray players are perfectly capable of being quite powerful
streaming boxes (they support high bitrate 1080p content in all
major codecs out of the box, and with BD-Live Ethernet is also onboard),
the number of players that do both has been surprisingly low. JVC's
XV-PB1 is one the first major brand player to support high def
content from the popular MKV and MP4 containers. Strangely though,
the specs specifically state that DivX is not supported.
3.4.2 fixes a crash caused by missing ODS/PDS.
And if you can't get people to agree to bandwidth caps, you
just cut them off if you don't agree with how much of the "unlimited"
service they use. Welcome back to bandwidth caps 1.0 ;) Let's
put those 40 gigs into perspective, shall we: unlimited with a 6
mbit Basic subscription means 1810 GB a month for 24/7 downloading.
So, those 40 GB a week that are apparently too much represent a
mere 8.8% from that unlimited. That might be higher than he average
and I'm not in favor of wasting resources just because you can,
either, but it's still a single digit number for crying out loud.
And 40 GB a month would be a mere 2% - and that in the HD age? Let's
suppose a meager 5mbit for an HD stream - that's more than 2 GB
for one hour. You get the picture..
Here's another interesting box that could serve as a HTPC - Asus'
B208 sports a dual core Atom processor and Radeon 4530 chip.
Or if you rather do it yourself, Zotac
has some atom based mini-ITX boards coming up - they're all
passive so you just need to find a nice enclosure with a fanless
PSU and there goes the noiseless bliss (provided you throw in an
Apparently, the members of the EU parliament didn't get the memo
that copyright should last 14 years. Instead, they approved
an extension of copyright protection for performers to 70 years
(from currently 50 years). Of course, it's "all about the
artists" but as usual, the labels win out. And I keep wondering
why I could invent the cure for cancer and my patent would run out
after 20 years whereas if I wrote a piece of music, it would keep
on paying for 70 years. Sure I'd probably be rich beyond my wildest
dreams, but still..
Why this hasn't come up during the process has me scratching my
head: apparently, the judge in the Pirate Bay trial should've recused
himself for being
a member of a pro copyright lobby organization. I guess that
significantly increases the chances on appeal.
supports SVP visualization, contains a reworked Internet radio module
and a new French translation.
Hot on the heels of having to withdraw data caps due to public
outrage, Time Warner is now acting like a little child that got
spinach instead of ice cream - if
we can't restrict your bandwidth consumption to our liking, we won't
upgrade our network either seems to be the motto now. Of course,
starving the Docsis cells effectively caps your bandwidth usage
as well - at least during peak hours.
And speaking of broadband, if the above weren't enough, Time Warner
is also engaged in a fight to prevent
that citizens of a small North Carolina city get cheap broadband
as part of a municipal network. And speaking of municipal networks
and the state engaging in providing the technology that enables
cheap high speed access to every home, I found an interesting look
high speed Internet can be so cheap in certain countries. The
answer: the government provides the network, and allows every interested
ISP to offer service on their architecture while not competing in
that market themselves. We see the advent of FTTH in my home country,
too, and sure enough, the communities that get the highest bandwidth
are also communities where the network isn't provided by a private
entity (prices are more in the Amsterdam region though but still..
100mbit is 100mbit) and if you don't have to dig and lay cable,
your choice of ISP goes up rapidly.
So, changing EU telecom legislation to become more three strikes
friendly was turned down again yesterday (or actually the vote went
in favor of requiring a court of law to disconnect you from the
Internet), but copyright industry friendly France
is once again throwing rocks into the gears of the entire process.
Ars has some more
background on the whole issue.
If you're still sitting on a large stack of HD DVD discs but have
gone purple in the meantime, perhaps this might interest you: Warner
has a HD DVD for Blu-ray
trade in program. It's not free ($4.99 per disc plus shipping),
limited to 25 discs per household, but I'm seriously considering
swapping out a part of my collection.
3.4.1 fixes two bugs.
When Barack Obama first picked his running mate, his stance on
copyright matter was already worrisome, and it seems that those
fears were fully justified. At an industry gala dinner, the Vice
President promised that the "copyright czar" position
created by industry friendly legislation passed last year would
right person for the industry. So, what are the ideal qualifications
for the job? Recognizing that the ideal
duration of copyright protection is 14 years would be a good
start. Having kids at home that ruin your store bought discs making
backups a necessity would be another (or at least having a close
relative who's in that situation so that you'll get to hear it enough).
Realizing that copyright was never meant as a money printing machine
but to encourage the release of creative works is yet another -
and how about not changing copyright law to the detriment of one
(and the overwhelming majority at that) of the participants in the
game? Did I miss any of the basics?
I also found this interesting article in the NY Times on bandwidth
caps - it points out that while providers actively try to charge
you more for the same service, their
costs are actually going down.
A recent study by Norwegian school of management BI comes to a
conclusion the music industry cannot believe: those
most avid downloaders are more likely to spend money on legit download
offers than those that do not use P2P.
Last but not least, the Pirate Bay trial is over but the site is
still up - and having to shut down wasn't among the list of penalties.
So, the industry is plotting
away for an injunction to sink the ship.
3.4.0 supports a variety of scaling filter modes, improves quantizers
used to create palettes, uses the image palette if possible when
importing PNG files and fixes a crash that could be caused by quickly
jumping through captions.
Tonight, we might see another attempt by the copyright industry
to bring back three strikes legislation to the EU. It seems efforts
are under way to get rid of an amendment that passed with a 88%
majority last September and which rules out any Internet cutoffs
without due process. So, if you catch this in time, call
up your representative in Brussels and let them know what you think.
3.3.2 supports import/export of Sony BDN XML/PNG format, has
a new commandline option to use the source frame rate as target
framerate and fixes some issues.
0.4.1 should fix the framerate issue in scenarist xml files
as well as a coordinate issue with trimmed images.
Yesterday, I needed to get a new gamepad (when you're always crashing
into walls because suddenly the steering goes out of whack it's
time to trade in that el cheapo pad for another cheapo pad ;) and
so I ended up looking at the BD rack at the local CE superstore
and I was very surprised to find that at first glance, BD pricing
had finally come down to acceptable levels. Many titles could be
had for around $20. However, the nearer I got to the top 10 titles,
the more titles I saw that are still way overpriced. I'm sorry,
even if we're not in a recession, prices above $30 (and it went
as far as $35 for titles like Babylon AD) are an open invitation
to people to go look elsewhere.
||A long while after the Pirate Bay process has ended in
Sweden, the 4 people whom the prosecutor claims run TPB, have
been found guilty of facilitating copyright infringement and sentenced
to pay $3.6 million in restitution and spend one year in prison each.
They've already vowed to appeal the ruling and take it all the way
up to the highest court. Meanwhile, tech publications all over the
web are asking the same question: if a torrent search engine is guilty,
then what about general search engines like Google? Put in the name
of the latest movie you're looking for, append torrent and search
and you know what I mean..
ShaPlay - the free DVD-Audio software player - version
0.4a has a long list of additional features and bugfixes.
It seems I wasn't the only one thinking bandwidth caps have no
business in the 21st century. Under public pressure, Time Warner
Cable had to put
their bandwidth cap plans on ice - for one that's good news
but let's keep our eyes open in case they try again (and try to
play the good guy when they increase the caps .. even a 100% increase
still doesn't make it okay).
I missed that until now - on April 1st (no, no joke), copyright
law changed in Sweden and as usual, things went squarely towards
favoring the industry. Now, copyright holders have the right to
get your personal info from an IP address so they can sue you. And
unfortunately, the "proof" that is acceptable standard
be fabricated within 10 seconds by anybody with a computer.
The law seemed to change downloading habits of many Swedes overnight
- the question is how long until it gets back to normal or everybody
is using anonymizing services which are popping up everywhere now
(even the infamous The Pirate Bay has one). Anyway, it seems the
need to retain records still isn't mandatory so certain ISPs have
discovered that not bending over for the industry is gaining them
points with prospective customers. Take Bahnhof (I take it the name
comes from the German word for train station) for instance - they're
not keeping any logfiles so whatever requests the industry makes
with regards to their customers, they cannot help because they have
nothing to hand out.
The Canadian DMCA is certainly far from dead (in fact I think any
country that doesn't have such legislation will face time and again
attempts to get such legislation passed - and the industry won't
stop until it gets their wish or is permanently put out of business)
- Michael Geist has a timeline
of their lobbying efforts.
2.7.0 adds support for the forced track flag in the GUI, keeps
aspect ratio information from AVC video streams, supports drag &
drop in the header editor, reads track languages from QuickTime/MP4
files, supports MLP and TrueHD audio and there are various bugfixes
1.9.9 drops the beta status - and while the changelog contains
quite a few items, it only lists items changed since the release
1.9.7 but looking at the list I'd say we're looking at bugfixes
related to DTS HD-MA audio and interlaced VC-1 streams.
Probably fueled by recent events in the US, Canada's Bell, who
if I recall correctly is already throttling P2P for their own customers
as well as resellers, is trying to introduce bandwidth caps for
all resellers by introducing
usage based billing. Here's an idea from our time: if you cannot
provide the bandwidth you're selling, maybe it's time to nationalize
the infrastructure? That'll have them quaking in their boots ;)
But I think it should be the standard reaction by politicians in
response to any telecom company trying to squeeze more money out
of their customer - most companies built their network under monopoly
protection so if they cannot play nice now, it's time to teach them
a costly lesson.
So, according to consumer advocacy groups, the
UK has the worst copyright laws - yet when reform is under discussion
it's always about more rights for rightholders?
Talking of the worst copyright law and also not an April's Fool,
copyright law has fallen into the hands of the RIAA - so expect
Internet cutoffs to go into effect later this year.
Finally, from the "they just don't get technology" department,
Internet users in the US just barely missed from becoming
more advanced criminals by using a proxy server. Did somebody
point out that you might be involuntarily using a proxy to go online?
1.9.8 has an option to add a short black video before the main
video which resolved the green bar for cropped video on some players,
then there are options to add mpls and m2ts offsets and the video_format
field in the MPLS file is always filled.
3.2 creates the BD-SUP palette by default when scaling, reduces
the number of log message in default mode and fixes some bugs.
And, finally region free is making it to Blu-ray without hardware
BDP-899 can be switched to the different Blu-ray regions by
remote code - which reminds me of first generation codefree DVD
players but at least it's there out of the box.
Finally, here's a draft
of the actual ACTA treaty. Included are anti P2P paragraphs
- the parts about three strike legislation is still under discussion
- still it already sounds like an RIAA/MPAA wishlist.
1.4.1 improves handling of VC-1 streams and incorrectly mastered
Finally, somebody is doing something about data caps for broadband
Internet subscriptions. A freshman New York congressman plans
to introduce legislation to stop download caps that seem to
be all the rage in the US these days. Personally, I'm not affected
as I'm fortunate enough to live in a place where caps do not exist
(except for a low performer PAYG subscription that they only introduced
to try and get people off dialup - and it doesn't really work) -
however, we're also far away from what's available in leading broadband
countries like Japan or South Korea. However, those caps really
don't make sense - neither economically, nor are they sane. The
speeds ISPs are selling are one of the greatest frauds perpetrated
in modern society anyways - providers often oversubscribe their
lines by a significant two digit number. Suppose a factor of 20
- all it takes now is one person out of 20 actually using the bandwidth
they pay for and the other 19 go with zero bits per second. Real
life makes it less drastic, but still - imagine a couple people
looking at a Youtube video simultaneously and you get the idea.
Economically speaking, the last mile makes out the largest percentage
of cost of broadband (80/85 % are some numbers I've read by people
in the industry). The rest is operational cost and uplink. Nowadays,
uplink bandwidth is really cheap - a mbit costs next to nothing
and the price has no relation whatsoever for the price metered plans
have for "overuse". So, get the last mile in place and
you're golden. Now if too many people use your oversubscribed infrastructure,
you need to put more bandwidth in the area that costs a lot - hence
the cop-out with data caps. However, data caps do not reflect actual
cost. Take two users - one "all I can eat" subscriber
who downloads several hundred gigs a month and basically maxes out
his line between midnight and 4pm, and another one "surf, email
and Youtube" user who uses up his 20GB allowance a month, but
only uses his Internet connection between 4pm and 10pm. I picked
the time on purpose - rush hour on the last mile starts at 4, 4:30pm
and ends some time after 10pm. Outside those hours, even heavily
oversubscribed networks usually have no trouble carrying the load.
So, even though the first user generates more than 10 times the
traffic of the second user, it is done at a time where the provider
has plenty of bandwidth on the last mile and since the uplink is
cheap, for the provider this isn't necessarily a bad customer. The
second customer, while staying inside the cap, is much more costly
because he uses his allotted quota at a time where it costs the
provider more. And, to make matters worse, a reasonable customer
would demand that if he faces a cap, he can use his quota whenever
he pleases and that'll be full speed please - but he's using it
at the time it costs the provider more and so we enter a perpetual
loop with lower caps or higher fees but the problem still remains
- and the problem is broadband rush hour, which may or may not have
something to do with the actual GB amount a subscriber transfers.
Thinking ahead a little - we already see Fibre to the Home offers
and in a few year's time, having FTTH won't be so uncommon. And
with FTTH we have a line capable of carrying 10Gbit - but it costs
the same regardless of how much data we transfer over it. The only
thing that varies with speed is the equipment in the home (Gigabit
GBICs cost more) and in the place where the fibres end - but high
speed switching is already common in corporate environments so that
equipment isn't that pricey either. And for cable providers, Docsis
3 isn't that expensive considering and it gives providers a lot
more flexibility so that with smart channel management and freeing
up more channels by going digital you can avoid costly cell splits
for a longer time. And ars confirms that providers' infrastructure
costs have gone down over recent years (thus is costs them less
to build up their network to allow for higher end user speeds),
so raising prices for subscribers basically just means increase
your profit margin without doing anything about your oversubscription
Alright, enough of the techno babble and back to reality: I work
from home quite a bit and I some times monitor my data usage. I
like to listen to music when I work alone, so between the Internet
radio and the VPN connection to the workplace, 1 GB a day is normal.
Nowadays I have a VoIP client to make phone calls via the office,
plus that thing also does desktop sharing which we use every now
and then so needless to say that means more traffic. Say 1.5 GB
a day, just for work. Let's suppose for arguments sake that for
a month I work exclusively from home - simplify that to 20 work
days times 1.5GB - that's 30 GB. Let's suppose that this includes
personal 08/15 websurfing and emailing. Now am I a power user? Hardly..
there's no downloads, no YouTube and Co., nothing really bandwidth
consuming. Now add some reasonable Internet use (say TV) and suddenly
you're quite a bit higher. Who's to say that 50GB means you're downloading
illegal stuff? Now add Hulu, Netflix, Amazon video, iTunes video
and the likes - and then repeat after me: data caps are from the
stone age and should be sent back there.
P.S. Besides reading the article at ars the reason I went into
this lengthy topic was that I'm trying to get a relative who's currently
staying in New Zealand a reasonable Internet connection so that
we can have video from halfway around the world. So I looked up
ISPs in New Zealand and boy, I feel like I felt when I came back
from living in Sweden - back to the stone age. For starters for
video you need a decent uplink which already puts you in the higher
price bracket, and when you come from a no cap background, going
capped is a serious challenge so you'll at least want to have a
couple GBs in reserve just in case. I suppose the relative is not
a bandwidth hog, but having the connection might still give them
ideas (I know I watch TV from my home country some time when I'm
abroad.. but that's without a bandwidth cap) so I'm getting kinda
frustrated. We had metered access back in the modem age - and we
ought to have left that in the 20th century.
||tsMuxer 1.9.7b always fills the video resolution field
in the CLPI files.
3.1 selects the colorspace conversion standard in function of
the input, assumes symmetrical cropping, has better anti-aliasing,
sets the minimum delay between two captions at 200ms and all edit
boxes select the last valid value if a given value is out of bounds.
I suspect some of those MPs read that they've been conquered by
the Americans and thought "ça va pas" and went
ahead to vote
no to the RIAA's three strikes law. So, for now the law is off
the table. However, with President Sarkozy firmly into the RIAA's
packet, we'll see the same text come up for vote again shortly.
In yet another example of copyright enforcement gone mad, Associated
Press is sending
cease and desist letters to their own affiliates for linking to
A.P.'s official YouTube channel. Hmm.. why'd you put something
online if you don't want anybody to link to it?
3.0 supports multiple objects per epoch and can split per epoch,
allows colorspace conversion according to BT.709 and support cropping.
is a tool to downscale BD subtitles (for 720p Blu-ray backups).
is a .NET based media player which the author hopes to eventually
turn into a fully fledged media center software.
is a hardware assisted high quality video renderer.
Acer is the first company to launch
an nVidia ION based mini PC. Unfortunately, Acer didn't keep
either dual link DVI nor DisplayPort so that's it for those of us
with the big PC screens :(
Last but not least, under public pressure, the US government has
parts of the ACTA treaty it is currently working on in secret
along with industry lobbyists.
2.9 should improve muxing results of exported SUP streams, should
have better handling of problematic SUPs, handles palettes better
and is more flexible in handling of CLI parameters.
tsMuxer 1.9.1b supports mkv chapters and Sony wav64 input.
||After years of resistance, the US has finally conquered
those pesky French. At least when it comes to copyright law. Lead
by the RIAA, France's parliament voted for a bill that gives the industry
the power you cut
you off from the Internet by merely accusing you of sharing illegal
files three times.
2.8 now has drag & drop support, uses a single parameter that
doesn't contain a ? or help as input file for the GUI and no longer
runs endless loops when dealing with HD DVD subtitles.
That one wasn't a joke - ImgBurn 126.96.36.199 was released and kept
the tradition of having an excessively long changelist :)
amazon's mp3 shop launched
contains an experimental decoder for RealVideo 3.0 and 4.0, has
an improved MacOS port and fixes various issues.
In serious news..
VIA has announced a 1080p
capable mini ITX expansion board - turning a lowly 1GHz C7 processor
into powerful enough mini box to serve all your HTCP needs. I'm
not sure about the "integrated HDTV Hi-Def encoder technology"
though.. does it really contain a real-time 1080p encoder, too?
Heise is also reporting
about the latest dealing regarding three strikes legislation
(article is in German - it's not the language bothering me though
but the back and forth shuffle and who's doing what) in the EU but
after reading the article multiple times, I still cannot quite figure
out what the current state of affairs is - the only thing that seems
certain is that apparently some people try to ram certain unpopular
directives through at the eleventh hour when most of the MPs aren't
even around and it's easier to get a majority vote - so much for
And of course, iTunes goes almost DRM free today.
And then there's the RIAA dropping all lawsuits and going for a
voluntary 5$ P2P flatrate, the BDA dropping AACS and region coding
from Blu-ray, Fox dropping BD+, Sony stopping to push their own
technology over others and trying to shut down decrypter software,
CSS and region codes being dropped from DVDs, Microsoft dropping
WGA and forced activation, the end of DRM on games and all the other
things that are only going to happen once hell freezes over ;)
Older news can be found here.