Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Nov 06 / 2012
  • 30
technology

Video-editing Freed from M$

One of the places touted as a selling-point for that other OS is video-editing. There are a bunch of less than stellar video-editors in GNU/Linux. Now LightWorksTM, a professional-quality video-editor is being ported to GNU/Linux. The reason? Lightworks will not be distributed by M$’s app store for “8″.

Lightworks is free of charge for the standard version but a few extras (professional codecs etc.) cost a bit but are still very reasonable.

see a demo:

The good stuff starts at 43:52

LightWorks roadmap includes these goodies:

  1. Release a free version of Lightworks
  2. Release a full version, which includes the extra professional codecs
  3. Release cross-platform versions of Lightworks for Mac OSX and Linux as well
  4. Release the source code

“With this release, we have reached stage two. It has taken us a little longer to get here, but we’re not far away with phase three – cross-platform support.”

Sadly, the video above is an alpha release for GNU/Linux and is available only to movers and shakers, which I am not. However, we should have a great $free video-editor for GNU/Linux which will also show the code, sooner rather than later. LightWorks for GNU/Linux was demonstrated two months ago.

So, Games and Video-editing are crumbling below M$’s feet as lock-in falls away. Note that the users in the demo are used to various other video-editors and LightWorks can imitate those other user-interfaces so training time should be minimal.

I might be inspired to do more video when this becomes available just to check it out.

  • Nov 06 / 2012
  • 11
technology

And the Best-selling Desktop Computers at Walmart.com Are…

I kid you not. Weeks after the introduction of “8″, “7″ is still the best-selling OS on Wintel PCs at Walmart. Oh there is an XP-refurbished machine and and a few “7″ with “upgrade option to 8″ but the first real “8″ machine is number 22…

seeDesktop Computers : Computers – Walmart.com.

What does that say about market share for “8″? According to Wikimedia, 0.32% of page-views came from “8″ in October. Granted, it was less than a full month, but this is nothing like the advent of “7″ which gained a couple of percent in the first month.

Something tells me the channel from OEM to retailer is regretting investing anything in “8″.

  • Nov 06 / 2012
  • 1
Uncategorized

The Second American Uncivil War

I am interested in politics and have been watching the current election campaign in the USA with amazement. Scarcely any method of self-promotion or sabotage of other campaigns is missing:

In Canada, by contrast, we have one day for early voting and the line I waded through was about 1 person long… That’s why I voted early and there are enough polling stations that lines even on the regular day are just a few minutes long. We don’t bury the ballot with a lot of lower-level government ballots either. It’s just the federal question. If Canada can afford such a crisp and efficient system, why can’t USA?

The answer is states’ rights. The states want the power to be able to control the national agenda more or less. The “electoral college” process might have made sense in the days of travel by horseback so that fewer messengers would converge on Washington but it make little sense now in the Electronic Age. Further, various parties feel they “own” states so they don’t even bother to do more than place a few ads in the majority of states but instead spend $billions on every form of campaign and lawyers in the “swing” states. It is very likely that the party with the majority of votes may not have its candidate chosen to be president. That’s absurd and makes no one happy half of the time. It gives parties tremendous motivation to sabotage early voting or to deny the vote to as many of the other party’s supporters as possible. In Ohio, the state tried to shift responsibility for decoding drivers’ licences on the voter rather than the poll supervisors who would have a lot more expertise.

The result as I see it is an undeclared uncivil war. It’s not turned to bombs and bullets yet but there is nothing to stop it as candidates keep going to greater extremes exhorting the “troops” to greater efforts and electors are in tears with the abuse of helpers. Only a few years ago the entire election cost just a few $hundred million. Now it’s $billions with no limit. The last few $billion are spent just trying to affect ~1% of the electorate. When “the end justifies the means” and people are as motivated and angry/inspired as they are, expect the end-result to be assassination, rebellion, terrorism or at best a deeper malaise of society.

Really, the USA has not been as politically polarized since the first American Civil War. No matter the outcome, 100million+ will feel the election was stolen and the courts will give them no justice because it’s just too big a mess. Imagine that somehow violence is avoided but the courts take years to allow the new president to be chosen…

It used to be said that citizens would not choose violence when they could vote but the present situation is way out of control. The USA can barely hold an election let alone function as a civil society. The motivations for every aspect of the current process is to prevent “one man, one vote”. The votes of no one in the “non-swing” states count at all. The votes of nurses with 12h shifts on the day don’t count. The votes of people who cannot decipher a licence number don’t count. The votes of people who cannot even find the presidential candidates in 10-page ballots don’t count.

One last thing… It seems that no matter who the president will be the congress will oppose every reasonable idea he has. It’s supposed to be government by the people. Why do people vote for folks with an agenda like that? There are other candidates than the Republicans and Democrats offer. Choose them. This may be the last chance to avoid catastrophe.

  • Nov 06 / 2012
  • 0
technology

Already-Impressive Performance of Lithium Ion Cells Dramatically Increased

“The team led by Rice engineer Sibani Lisa Biswal and research scientist Madhuri Thakur reported in Nature’s open access journal Scientific Reports on the creation of a silicon-based anode, the negative electrode of a battery, that easily achieves 600 charge-discharge cycles at 1,000 milliamp hours per gram (mAh/g). This is a significant improvement over the 350 mAh/g capacity of current graphite anodes.”

via Rice team boosts silicon-based batteries.

One of the important lessons I remember from high school physics was scale. By using fluffier particles of silicon, many more lithium ions can be bound to make anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The current technology is already intense turning notebooks into fire-bombs when things go wrong, but OEMs still seek longer battery-life or lighter equipment so this news will be welcomed. I expect it to be fast-tracked into production to prop up Wintel and welcomed in ARMed devices to give ever more performance-hours.

  • Nov 06 / 2012
  • 0
technology

Australian Fire-Fighters Get Chromeboxes

“We thought ‘do we really need a PC for only a single web application?’

He said PCs were expensive and had many moving parts which weren’t ideal for dusty and dirty fire stations.

"We looked around and the Chromebox was perfect.

"It was small, cheap and had no moving parts which won’t wear out," Mr Host said.”

see Chromebox gives firies an extra hand on the pump | The Australian.

Chuckle. That’s about what I have been saying for years. Indeed, they also report, “Secondly, it runs faster than a PC,” he said.

“Thirdly, Google automatically updates it so we don’t have to patch it and all these devices can be managed through a cloud portal.

(And) if one were to ever break, it would be easy enough to replace.”

So, when people are offered a choice, they can and do choose what works best for them and it isn’t always Wintel. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, myself, but each to his own.