Marc's Public Blog


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips




More pages: July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980



2012/04/24 Unveiling of the Ferrari F458 Spyder at Silicon Valley Ferrari
π 2012-04-24 01:01 in Cars
For the party, there were lots of Ferrari drivers who showed up :)




lots of cars...
lots of cars...

The F458 Spyder on display:



That said, the 430 Spyder Scuderia doesn't look bad either:



And a classic:


All in all, nice car p0rn :)

2012/04/23 Amazon Prime Videos Starting to be Crippled by Flash DRM
π 2012-04-23 01:01 in Public
I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime, and installed XBMC on my mythtv HTPC since it had an amazon prime plugin. Said plugin is nicely designed in a way that it doesn't use flash (which gives a pretty bad experience) and gets raw video streams directly from the amazon servers.

This works pretty well and gives a good experience, a much better one than all the flash solutions I've seen.

So life was good, right? Well, not really. Amazon just started slowly converting their video collection to add DRM, which in turn breaks the XBMC plugin and forces the use of flash and a pretty crappy experience (in comparison) through a browser.

I'm not expecting much out of it, but this is the Email I sent their customer service:

Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

I am writing you about the DRM you have been adding to your amazon prime library.
I know I am not using a supported way to play your videos and do not need you to tell me what the supported ways are since I am aware of them.

I am contacting you in the hope that you will forward this request to someone in charge of decisions for which formats you stream your videos in and whether or not DRM will get applied to cripple your entire collection, making it useless to me and others who do not use flash to play the videos.

I use XBMC on my HTPC since I like the freedom of controlling my own experience and the flexibility of programming it and having it do just what I need on the hardware that makes sense to me (which includes playback on devices that do not have flash capability).
I'm sure you are already aware of this project:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=108124&page=41

For comparison, all HTPC players I've seen that use flash offer a pretty bad experience. Since flash was never designed for proper integration on computers controlled by a simple remote.

You also know that flash is a soon to be dead technology, it's already abandoned by Appple, and even Adobe gave up on it, mostly killing its future.
By converting your content to DRM, you are putting your content out of reach for us, just to appease some of your content providers with their pretend world that somehow it is protecting their content.

Since you are big, and they should listen to you, not the other way around, please convey to them that:

  • forcing the use of flash DRM in no way prevents ripping the content with a screen grabber. It's not even hard.
  • someone motivated in stealing your content can just reverse engineer that DRM, and in the meantime it only penalizes your customers.
  • your streaming content is somewhat low quality, it's much easier to rip from a DVD or a blueray, both of them have been broken. Even HDCP has been broken so content can be ripped in highest quality from HDMI.
  • Therefore adding DRM to your flash streams just penalizes your legal paying customers, and accomplishes nothing. Please resist further converting your library to DRM, and if at all possible, please revert this useless conversion.

    Not doing so, will just force some of your customers to switch to other options, maybe youtube or other, where the content isn't protected from being seen by its paying customers.
    I'm not going to tell you that losing us as customers will impact your bottom line in a way that will be significant right now, but I am hoping that you'll consider doing the right thing, in a way that is indeed likely to impact your business longer term.
    You are way behind netflix, you need to differentiate yourself in any way possible, and providing easy to watch content for all your customers is definitely a way to do it.

    Thank you for reading.

    2012/04/20 All Foie Gras Dishcrawl Dinner
    π 2012-04-20 01:01 in Dining
    For those who didn't know, some PETA (and maybe also vegan) activists managed to pass a law to ban the production and sale of foie gras in California.
    Of course, the claim is that foie gras tortures poor birds and that anyway it's only for a few select rich people, or something, so it wasn't too hard for them to show a few select bad videos of birds that were likely indeed not treated well, and pass the law.

    This unfortunately happened because not to many people eat foie gras (probably many don't even know what it is), were given a one side story on how horrible foie gras was, so they didn't care if it went away. This totally ignores that:

  • unfortunately beef/veal and chicken can be treated just as badly in the extremes, if not worse, but voters weren't going to vote against the food _they_ eat.
  • foie gras doesn't have to be made by torturing birds. Sure, they are overfed, but so are most other animals bread for food. The misguided people who voted against foie gras probably eat chicken that is kept awake with caffeine, and fed arsenic, prozack and antibiotics. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/opinion/kristof-arsenic-in-our-chicken.html
  • anytime you behave like "oh, I don't care this liberty is taken away, I don't use it", you're not thinking very far and you'll regret it when others do the same to you and your turn comes.
  • Quite frankly, if those people would put their energy into raising standards for animal farms and humane handling, even if they're going to be killed in the end, that would be effort better spent, and supported by virtually everyone (it will likely also raise the price of meat, but so be it).

    So, in about a month, a bunch of farms that make foie gras will be closed and people layed off for no good reason but a few activists' wet dreams. In the meantime, California is having multiple foie gras dinners while it's still legal.

    Jennifer and I had a nice 5 course all foie gras dinners, and are planning to have another one or two before it's too late.





    this was a huge slab of seared foie gras
    this was a huge slab of seared foie gras

    foie gras panna cotta desert
    foie gras panna cotta desert

    It was a great dinner, sooo much foie gras :)

    See more images for All Foie Gras Dishcrawl Dinner
    2012/04/20 Earth Day 2012 at Work
    π 2012-04-20 01:01 in Google
    For Earth Day, google brought in a bunch of EV manufacturers. I tried most of their cars:



    the beamer electric car was quite nice inside
    the beamer electric car was quite nice inside

    this was a converted M3 with stick shift. A bit hackish, but fast
    this was a converted M3 with stick shift. A bit hackish, but fast


    the new Tesla sedan
    the new Tesla sedan

    We also had vendors showing us their earth friendly farming:






    See more images for Earth Day 2012 at Work
    2012/04/13 Very Late Season Dump in Tahoe
    π 2012-04-13 01:01 in Snow
    While the bay got a nice thunderstorm with unusual thunder and lightening. Good excuse to go check out Kirkwood for a late season powder day or two.

    The driver up was "interesting" to say the least. We drove Jennifer's Toyota and I got to Jackson in record time considering the pouring rain. Said rain turned to snow soon after jackson, and we were left with a long drive in the snow, and that snow was quite slippery, making for some 'interesting driving'.


    caltrans plowing was 'minimal' as you can see.
    caltrans plowing was 'minimal' as you can see.

    somehow with flimsy chains and skillful driving, we made it up
    somehow with flimsy chains and skillful driving, we made it up


    We got there a bit late due to both conditions and the fact that Carson Spur was actually closed for over an hour for snow clearly, but by ten, I had one of the first chairs up to the wall with 2ft of fresh dry powder, so it wasn't too bad :)



    Jennifer learned to get under the rope :)
    Jennifer learned to get under the rope :)

    Did I mention powder on the wall? :)
    Did I mention powder on the wall? :)

    That evening, we spent a nice evening in a place I got for us:


    And the next morning, we were joined by Arturo, and spent most of the day on the backside:



    Arturo just had to ride chair 3...
    Arturo just had to ride chair 3...

    Backside had plenty of pow for us
    Backside had plenty of pow for us


    I got down this :)
    I got down this :)

    A bit of a line at 4, but didn't last long
    A bit of a line at 4, but didn't last long





    bit scared :)
    bit scared :)


    This friday/saturday was a great two days in Kirkwood: great snow and few crowds.

    See more images for Very Late Season Dump in Tahoe
    2012/04/06 Visit of the Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte Airport
    π 2012-04-06 01:01 in Flying
    I didn't pay too much attention that Cactus 1549 which had to glide in the hudson after a double engine failure, was going from La Guardia to Charlotte, NC. While I happened to be in North Carolina to visit and work at a google datacenter, a coworker pointed out to me that the museum was there, so I went to check it out on my way back home, going to the airport earlier than my flight.

    This museum became more famous since Shawn, the president and super nice guy who gave me a ride back to the airport gates for my flight after the museum closed, organized for Cactus 1549 to be trucked back to Charlotte, its ultimate destination to be on display in his museum.
    The plane is actually a lot more damaged than what it got from the landing since it has to be pulled out of the water in ways that were a bit crude (it was also hit by some boats that were there to rescue the passengers):




    Here are a few pictures of the temporary display:






    And a few pictures of the rest of the musem:






    that's an interesting missile
    that's an interesting missile

    they had an interesting video showing how the harrier balances and can be controlled in a hover
    they had an interesting video showing how the harrier balances and can be controlled in a hover





    things used to suck before glass cockpits :)
    things used to suck before glass cockpits :)




    those are many fuses to keep track of :)
    those are many fuses to keep track of :)

    2012/04/04 Driving a Portion of Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
    π 2012-04-04 01:01 in Trips
    While in North Carolina, I took a morning off to drive around local scenic roads and to the locally known Blue Ridge Parkway:


    blowing rock (in the town named after it)
    blowing rock (in the town named after it)






    Taking blue mountain road, I went to see local Grandfather Mountain, and its few exhibits:






    they are known for their suspension bridge
    they are known for their suspension bridge


    fun road to get up and down, too bad I had a crappy rental car
    fun road to get up and down, too bad I had a crappy rental car

    I then went back on the road for a few more views:




    2012/04/02 Visiting the LNR DC in NC
    π 2012-04-02 01:01 in Google
    Prodimage-team and msv-team went to Lenoir, NC to work with some of our coworkers and visit our datacenter there.

    so, where shall we eat?
    so, where shall we eat?

    our 'war' room :)
    our 'war' room :)

    [rigimg:1024:104*|]


    The office was nice, with a Nascar theme:




    Aaron arranged a "Shooting at Shane's" outing for our group. We definitely got to play with local toys that are plain illegal in California.


    so was the 50 cal
    so was the 50 cal


    do you have a problem with prodimage-team?
    do you have a problem with prodimage-team?

    he looks so nice in real life :)
    he looks so nice in real life :)



    if there is a war, they're ready
    if there is a war, they're ready


    time for blowing up some cheap soda
    time for blowing up some cheap soda

    water melon got it :)
    water melon got it :)

    soda bottles were fun too :)
    soda bottles were fun too :)

    the owner's son sure has some nice toys :)
    the owner's son sure has some nice toys :)

    the machine gun was water cooled, so vapour came out when it was too hot
    the machine gun was water cooled, so vapour came out when it was too hot

    that ammo is $10 a round
    that ammo is $10 a round

    the machine gun kind of shredded that safe
    the machine gun kind of shredded that safe

    Aaron then invited us at his place for a magnesium VW engine bonfire, which sure made for a nice bright fire:




    magnesium just started burning
    magnesium just started burning



    It was a great trip, thanks to the hospitality of our coworkers.

    See more images for Visiting the LNR DC in NC
    2012/04/01 Another Powder Day trip at Kirkwood
    π 2012-04-01 01:01 in Snow
    Just 4 days after my previous day, kirkwood got another dump, this time on a sunday. Greg, another coworker headed there and was nice enough to pick up Jennifer and I on his way. It was Jennifer's first day snowboarding this year, both due to the late season and weekday trips not being very compatible with her work schedule.



    we weren't the first one with the idea to come that day :)
    we weren't the first one with the idea to come that day :)

    pow
    pow








    there was a bit of a line when the wall was opening
    there was a bit of a line when the wall was opening






    getting down cornice
    getting down cornice



    Then, they had an avalanche on the back side, and shut down all the lifts while all their staff went there to make sure no one was burried (no one was). That was a 2H wait unfortunately.


    and finally we got back up
    and finally we got back up

    Jennifer is not expert at getting under ropes :)
    Jennifer is not expert at getting under ropes :)


    All in all, despite lifts being shut down for a while, it was a fun day :)


    More pages: July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980