On media broadcasting and Aereo

Capitalism has its strength, but American capitalism should be aptly named ‘corporatism’. The governments serves the interest of big corporations, and they alone. They prioritise media before the rest of society. We have seen absurd cases like NASA’s mars landing video get taken down by a local station that reported the news because f-ing news itself “violates” that  station’s copyright. And Youtube is not at fault because it took down that video. The local station requested that, and they may have done that on an automated basis, abusing their rights and impose their greed on every video that even remotely resembles their content. And the local station didn’t even get fined for disrupting millions of viewers!

My favorite internet radio service, Pandora is struggling financially even though it did its job fantastically: It allows user to listen to music they like most, categorizing music and expanding our knowledge. But they have to pay 50% royalty on their revenue while terrestrial radio stations pay only 15% simply because they are… old technology, limited to a local area and belongs to bigger media corporation. What sort of retarded environment that penalizes innovation, adaptation and quality of service?

In today’s news Aereo, startup focused on bringing terrestrial over-the-air programming to internet users won a lawsuit because Fox news want them to pay for making their program more accessible to viewers. Specifically, Fox news want Aereo to pay for rebroadcasting free content. Actually Fox got what they wanted before, arguing that every video streaming service is a public performance (sorry, what?) and thus have to pay royalty. Aereo work around this stupid law in a roundabout, but efficient way to circumvent this stupidity:

Here, briefly, is how Aereo works: You pay $8-ish a month, and get assigned a mini-antenna, roughly the size of a dime, that is located in a warehouse in Brooklyn. Aereo has thousands of these antennas, each of which is assigned to a single user and connected to a single DVR-like device. When you want to watch, let’s say, “The Voice,” Aereo’s app pulls the show from your antenna, streams it to your device, and makes a copy that is only viewable by you. If 40,000 other Aereo users are watching “The Voice” at the same time, there will be 40,000 dime-sized antennas streaming 40,000 identical copies of the show onto 40,000 devices and into 40,000 DVRs.

If that sounds absurd, it’s because Aereo’s entire business model is based on a legal head-fake. Under copyright law, 40,000 people with their own antennas can watch TV at home for free, but if you want to have one giant antenna that picks up TV shows and distributes them to an audience of 40,000 people, the law calls that a “public performance,” and you have to pay a copyright fee to do it. Aereo didn’t want to pay those fees, so it figured out a way to make what is essentially a simultaneous mass broadcast look like lots of little broadcasts.

Or that’s what they say. This may be entirely fictitious and the explanation is just there to please lawyers. Yep, there you have it, free content with ads is not free, and you have to pay to see it. Also, you have no choices because every f-ing media company operates on the same model: Trying to attract more viewers by limiting access to some viewers and make people pay for free-by-law content. What kind of logic is this?

Playing sound over HDMI on a Samsung TV

When I tried to connect my HP laptop to a Samsung TV via HDMI, I expected sound to work out of the box, but unfortunately this is not the case. After making sure that my laptop output sound to the ‘HDMI adapter’ and that it was not disabled per the HP support forum, I came to the sudden realization that Samsung treat the input port differently on how you tell it. I registered the HDMI input port as ‘DVI PC’ and usually I use a separate 3.5mm audio cable, so I tried to fiddle with the option (via the input menu -> context menu button -> edit device)

Because DVI cannot convey sound, I had to select ‘PC’, which is a little weird since ‘PC’ is also the term Samsung applies to VGA input, but well, if there were a separate ‘HDMI PC’ category it would have been clearer

How to write an email to your developer boss/team leader

Hello Mr. Clark,

Summarization

  • State the problem
  • Why we couldn’t do it last time, list as many reasons as you can
    • Technical constraints, limitation of the language
    • Time constraints
    • Something we didn’t know how to do

Solution

  • What this solution solves
  • How you came to the solution
  • What are similar problem that can be solved

Implementation

  • Demo and screenshot from your implementation
  • Evaluation
    • Testing, bugs, errors, stability in general
    • Speed
    • Pros and cons of this implementation

Asking for input

  • What should I improve
  • What other function do you need
  • What should I focus on if there’s many other problems to solve

Say thanks

Installing subversion support for Eclipse on Linux

You have two choice: subversive (Belongs to the Eclipse project) or subclipse (hosted on tigris.org).

Even though Subversive is the more ‘official’ option, I find it prohibitively confusing to install. You have to go to an external site (polarion) and download a bunch of stuff nobody told you what. It took me 2 hours fiddling back and forth between Eclipse site and Polarion site only to install the wrong stuff. Highly not recommended! Agrh!

I have a better start with subclipse. The only URL from their site worked perfectly with eclipse’s ‘install new software’ dialog. Better still, you don’t really need to install JavaHL (which is also ridiculously hard to install), you can use the SVNKit package in the same repository and everything will work.

To install subclipse, go here

 

For those of you who prefer JavaHL, here is how to install JavaHL on Fedora 16. JavaHL is another middle layer required between any Eclipse plugin and SVN (I don’t know why things are so complicated when it come to designing on Linux). Most of the sites on the internet recommends you to install that by

sudo apt-get install libsvn-java

But there is no such package on Fedora, so I tried to use add/remove software and searched for various part of the name. I finally found it when searching for ‘JavaHL’, the correct package name is

subversion-javahl

Documentation and tutorial and another thing the Linux community didn’t do well!

How much banking has become absurd (at least for individual customers)

Spending most of my life in a cash-only economy and only got touch to the modern word of banking for the last few years opened my eyes on a range of problems. I once thought banks was a great idea, giving risk management tasks to the most capable people, earning me money while I rest instead of having them just lying around; I don’t need to carry cash and don’t have to worry about thugs rampaging the streets; and I have nothing to lose, banks shouldn’t charge fee to keep your money, after all, I am giving them my money, and banks ought to be nice to me or I will go somewhere else.

And now I think it’s a ridiculous idea. Really!

They do charge you money for keeping your money, lots of it

I work all week, and when I went out to play in the weekend, I find myself short on cash and some small shops I often visit on those trip don’t like cards very much (reason to be covered later), I came to the ATM to withdraw my money, and greeted with a screen that I will be charged extra fees because I’m withdrawing on a public holiday.

Seriously?

It’s understandable when you have to pay fees withdrawing from other banks than the bank you made the card with because of connection fees and such (to be frank, banks should be able to deal out this with each other without inconveniencing the customer, since it’s their responsibility), but charging their own customer for taking their own money? What kind of world am I living in? I can’t use my money without paying fees? Why am I depositing in the first place? I can just keep all my money under my pillow and use them any good day I want! It’s not like they are hiring someone to stand at each ATM booth, counting and handling the money to you at weekends when their money-crunching networks went out for no reason on weekends! Everything is automated, run 24/24 (Wait, that’s not true either); machines don’t have days off (they don’t know better) and the banks don’t have to pay machines extra for working on holidays, so why are the fees?

They have a huge sum of interests from our money to begin with, and they just can’t offset the operating cost themselves? If they just can’t take care of the money well enough that it cover their operating cost, why do it anyways?

Remember when I said some shops don’t like cards? Oh yes, they charge the business owner fees for having customer use their money. Are you kidding me? Why get everyone to use your stupid blood-sucking credit cards in the first place? We’ve had better time dealing with each other for free you know?

Overdrafts and other hideous practices

Things doesn’t go well for the poor, and if you have a low balance on your card, well, you are as good as bankrupt.

The good thing when keeping your own money is, you can’t spend what you don’t have? You thought that was a bad thing? Let’s say that you purchased lots of things with your credit card, you thought “hey, may be it will just overdrawn a bit, I will be able to pay it back with no trouble!” and your check came several days late and boom! Overdraft fees, processing fees, interest, stacked up all at the same time, and the best part: they compound with a rate much higher than the rate you got with a positive balance!

If you think using a check card or debit card is fine because in theory, you can’t come into overdraft, right?

As you read, in theory. Did you read that you can’t overspent with these cards in the card contract? I guess not! In the real world and not Wonderland, they allow you to go on a spending spree all you want, and at the end of the month send you a short notice that you owe them money, plus interest, and fees, and congratulates you on having the equivalent functions of a credit card to mess your life up!

Banks in the US even charge something called “overdraft protection fee”, which is basically another way of sucking your blood to the last drop: you think you are safe when one account goes into the red and having two accounts to manage your funds will protect you? Wrong! With this great service, you can pay them money to have all your accounts linked together  and uses your money to cover the overdraft. That is, when you really ran out of money you can still fall into the overdraft trap!

LOL

Judging the main cause of the last global financial crisis is fat bellies selling debt to each other and got off on our tax money with big bonuses, I think now they have become the last people on the world that you should ever give your money to!