Friday, January 27, 2012

KDE volume resets (pulseaudio)?

Recently I'd face a problem with KDE + pulseaudio. On reboot, the volume would reset every time to maximum and the headphone volume reduced, it had to be set every time using pavucontrol or alsamixer.

The solution to this was to set the output to analog headphone or analog speakers (flipping the current output) in system settings > Multimedia > phonon > Devices

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Benefits of piracy

The law and companies openly claim that piracy does no good; the opinion of the companies is bound to be obvious since they're concerned about sales; this's similar to a politician saying the other party is bad and they are good.
However I've a different approach to this.
The no. 1 beneficial of piracy is the end user; it's tempting to download something which has a market price of $200 (or even $4000) for free by just paying for your Internet connection.

This's beneficial in another way to the end users – the companies wont hike up prices like crazy, cause if they did people wouldn't simply buy their product, bankrupting the company. This works specially well with monopolies like Microsoft and Adobe, otherwise your copy of Windows would start at $500 forcing you to pay it if you wanna use a computer, maybe people had to pay in installments cause of this.

Piracy controls the prices of these software to be reasonable; and if it is, people will not even download pirated instead buy software/movie/album; there's a critical price at which the profit will be maximum. Every businessman knows that.

Equalize distribution of finance – If piracy stops, the rich will get richer; people will be forced to pay for their movies and software breaking the distribution of the economy. Economy is good when everyone has money instead of all money being at one hand; this makes a more of a 1 man rule instead of democracy. Thus stopping piracy completely is bound to do harm.

Following the above stated facts of increased rates of multimedia/software, it'll make the conditions still worst since the price will also be a lot higher which means more profits.

Next comes ISP – they're rather silent on this cause they know it's not good, but good for them. More downloading means more work for ISP, and more profits. Clear and simple.

The pirates – Traffic to a website with ads generates revenues, that's why there're so many websites offering pirated content.

crackers – You know Windows infection. Pirated stuff and websites is one of the best sources of these. Then with compromised Windows systems comes spam > fraud and stolen private content. I believe, in Bittorrent networks, crackers attack Windows computers to compromise them.

Antivirus companies – If the world didn't have piracy of any kind the probability of you having infection (though a pendrive, or the Internet) will be very less; thus less work for antivirus companies and less profit. On the other hand, it's a bad idea to download pirated antivirus software cause it might be infected and with the level of access the infected antivirus software has in your system, your PC can turn into a bot and you can turn to another Windows victim.

Software companies – This might be hard to believe, but if a software comes free of cost a lot of people are willing to adopt it making a monopoly of the software, transforming it into a de-facto standard simply cause everyone can afford it. This's popular is countries with poor cyber laws or bad enforcement of the same. If piracy wouldn't have been there, Windows and Adobe wouldn't have a monopoly in Asia, Africa, South America, and some countries of Europe (I'm not sure about EU) cause people couldn't afford these software; they are less willing to 'buy' a software, instead they would've simply used free alternatives even if they were less in features (like Gimp, Blender instead of Autodesk or Adobe products). Thus, even though Microsoft and Adobe claim they wanna kill piracy, they also know doing so will take away their monopoly, and if this monopoly breaks in one country, it'll break worldwide. This's the last thing MS wants – they solely rely on their monopoly for revenues, otherwise there's no reason to buy any rubbish MS product.
Also, as I've stated before in this Blog, propriety software is bound to always do harm to the masses in the long run. Similarly, software companies too claim that piracy harms people in the long run but they ignore the fact that they are themselves doing harm to the world by 'selling' their propriety software. So software companies are loudmouth on piracy and silent when it comes to dealing with disadvantage of selling their monopolistic software. I smell politics here.

Ground truth is, most companies want money and they'll do anything to get it, they're least concerned about people and lie to the public that piracy is bad for everyone not cause they care about people, but care only about money. Here I'm writing how it's not.

Helping the poor – Although poor people do not deserve too much entertainment, but what's the use depriving the same when you know they can't/won't buy it?

The concept lies by the fact that, if you know that your multimedia/software will never be bought by Alex, why not give it to um for free? There's no harm to the vendor/producer and no harm and benefit to the end user (since the end user won't give you a buck for it till the infinitely of time – nothing can be gained form um).

Search engines – No piracy means less things to search on the Internet, which also means less use of search engines. That's why Google is silent on this, and if they do apply preventive measures, it's usage will downgrade exponentially like the case with Bing, Yahoo. There're plenty of search engines to search the same content in.

File hosting businesses – Want to download your free movie faster? Join today!! Although a report abuse might remove the video within a few days, but a lot of stuff goes unnoticed, so you 'joining in' will still reap benefits off their database of pirated stuff.

It's unnecessarily to mention that a lot of revenues of the likes of rapidshare, 4shared etc... comes from piracy.

So what should be done?

The current state should remain the same.

Piracy shouldn't persist in real life – it's easy to get that cop after that pirate and teach um a lesson; this's done in most developed nations.

Now, the question lies what can be done online?

Many governments like that of the US of A will even go forward to crush people's fundamental rights to make Hollywood richer (or maybe with the intention of extracting more tax from them, no one else benefits); this method is similar to China's – a communist nation which uses the same tactics to crush rebels instead of piracy.

If countries adopt for it, they won't be letting access to sites hosting pirated stuff; so what will be the difference remaining between this country and China? China prevents people from outside it to gather information and form a thinking to rebel again the government – this's a solid reason to restrict access to information which would otherwise be a thread to the government as a whole; but doing the same just to make the likes of Madonna, James Cameron, Spielberg and Clooney to become richer from what they already are seems like an excuse.

What guarantee do you take that instead of blocking just piracy sites, they start blocking anti-government sites too? If they do, how will you know?

Blocking any kind of information from entering a country could be one of the reasons for a country to be taken over by a dictator, seeing this threat, it's sheer stupidity to do such a thing to make the rich Hollywood richer.

On the other hand if the producer is intelligent and better than one of those management/finance guys, he can seal his IP from piracy if he ponders a bit harder to understand what I mean.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

SBS/polarized/stereo 3d to alaglyph/red, blue 3d

If you have a SBS (side by side)/polarized/3d video, and you want to get the 3d effect without owning a 3d monitory (capable of producing polarized light), you can do so with the classic red-blue anaglyph 3d glasses; but first you have to convert the video to red/blue 3d format. You can use ffmpeg to do so.

ffmpeg has the capability to use mplayer/mencoder filter with -

ffmpeg -vf mp=[the mplayer filter]

The stereo3d filter of mplayer does the trick here, it converts sbs to anaglyph 3d, and I have to say conversion is good!

e.g. -

ffmpeg -i sbs.mp4 -vf mp=stereo3d -acodec copy -threads 10 -b:v 10000k -preset ultrafast -vcodec libx264 ~/test2.mkv

You can also use mplayer to play the SBS video by converting it to anaglyph in real time using the same video filter -

mplayer -vf stereo3d -vo gl_nosw/gl/gl2

The video driver has to be some form of gl for this to work. If you want to use xv, use the scale filter also -

mplayer -vf stereo3d,scale -vo xv

To get this working in smplayer, in the advanced options > options for mplayer > video filters

add -


to the filter chain.

Also you need to change the video output driver to gl/gl2 etc... if you're not adding the scale filter.

You need the latest mplayer for conversion to be fast. If it still doesn't work, you may try out mplayer2.

Monday, January 2, 2012

L420 on Debian Squeeze.

Even if you have all the firmware installed, things wont work out of the box.

You have to install linux-2.6.39 and xserver-xorg-video-intel from the backports to get the right resolution.

For the wireless, you have to install firmware-realtek from the backports. Even after that the wireless LED won't work, but the wireless does work.

Bluetooth works out of the box.