DivX on the Mac has finally matured

These kids in France have written an entire cross-platform video streaming solution that supports MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, and DVD. Stream video live from one system to another, regardless of platform, or just use the client to view files locally. It supports Windows, Linux, iPaq Linux, BeOS, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc., etc., and it’s open source. Best of all, there’s a client for the Mac written in Cocoa, and DivX movies play flawlessly– no avi2mov or DivX Doctor conversion required.

Why are you still reading this?!?! Go try out VideoLAN Client right now!

OSU Faculty Senate: “We Oppose War with Iraq”

Today my Dad, a professor at Oregon State in the Forest Science Department and former President of the OSU Faculty Senate, sent me a copy of a letter he sent to the editors of The Wall Street Journal and The Barometer. I have to agree with him (note: we often disagree politically), the OSU Faculty Senate grossly overstepped their bounds by issuing a statement that they oppose war with Iraq. What’s disturbing is the way in which they came to the conclusion that the faculty of OSU objected to war:

“…the OSU Faculty Senate has 132 voting members (Article V Sec 1). The vote included only 62 members and some 40+ of those voted for the resolution. This is a meager one-third of the OSU Faculty Senate. Under NO stretch of the imagination could this vote be considered “representative” of the entire faculty at OSU, regardless of the by-laws of the Faculty Senate. …it is highly disturbing that the vote came close to or after 5 o’clock when the meeting normally adjourns. …in more honorable times it was the practice of the OSU Faculty Senate to give such issues a rest until the next meeting, giving everyone on campus a chance to dialogue about an issue, then meet under more reasoned circumstances to vote. There seems to have been a premeditated purposeful rush-to-judgement reason for ignoring that “rule” since war might occur any minute. No one has gone to war and the United Nations still seems to hold all of the big cards. Any one of the above events does not seem like much in and of itself, but taken together there appears to have been the “high jacking” of the OSU Faculty Senate by select members of the Faculty Senate itself! Votes like this do NOT get rammed through without a tremendous amount of help from some group privy to the inner workings.”

I had the following comments to make on the subject:

In the case of the faculty senate, they’re using the war to “test the bounds� of their legal system in pushing through issues like this one. They may not be consciously aware of it, but as you elude to in your letter, they may use this new flexible boundary again in the future on something that actually does matter.

I hope [Dad] you’re not taking the “opinion of the faculty senate� too seriously. I don’t think it holds any weight anywhere outside of OSU campus… Everybody (should) know that it’s not their place to state an opinion on such a thing anyways. If a few faculty want to get together and state that they oppose the war, that’s great, more power to them, but they can’t say they represent the interests of the entire faculty. People should know that.

The Civil War Inside Sony

From Wired:

Within the music industry, Sony is regarded as the technology leader, the one the other labels look to on issues like peer-to-peer distribution – if anyone can figure out how to adapt Napster-like technology for authorized downloads, the thinking goes, it’s Sony.

Rogue Nation of Eastern Montana

I created my own country on Jennifer Government: Nation States. Hehe! Pretty neat:

The Rogue Nation of Eastern Montana is a tiny, devout nation, notable for its absence of drug laws. Its hard-nosed, intelligent population of 5 million are free to do what they want with their own bodies, and vote for whoever they like in elections; if they go into business, however, they are regulated to within an inch of their lives.

The large, corrupt government juggles the competing demands of Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, and Commerce. The average income tax rate is 28%, but much higher for the wealthy. Private enterprise is illegal, but for those in the know there is a slick and highly efficient black market in Beef-Based Agriculture.

Crime is a problem. Eastern Montana’s national animal is the badger, which frolics freely in the nation’s many lush forests, and its currency is the rogue.

EFF takes comments on your experience with the DMCA

Ever tried watching a non-US DVD in a US DVD player and weren’t able to? Ever been blocked by a copy protection scheme with your own software or media? Let the EFF know! My comments:

I bought a copy of Unreal Tournament 2003, a video game for the PC. It comes on 3 CDs. After you load it onto your computer, in order to play it, you need to insert the 1st CD. Every time you want to play it you have to shuffle through your CD collection to find that 1st CD.

* You can’t disable this CD check without using a “no-cd crack” program, which is illegal under the DMCA.

* Using a “no-cd crack” program prevents you from being able to update the software because the update mechanism checks to see if you’ve modified the original binaries.

I play a lot of games, and a lot of them have similar “cd checks” built into them. It is EXTREMELY annoying to have to search through my CD collection whenever I want to play a game, however I would be breaking the law if I modified a game that I owned to not check for the CD upon startup.