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Exit ArchiveArchive for October, 2009
Permalink Comments Off on Neutralize THIS, McCain and Blackburn!Comments Off on Neutralize THIS, McCain and Blackburn! By

Thanks to an Ars Technica article, I got a bit sidetracked today.

Two bills have been introduced, one in the Senate and one in the House, that prevent the FCC from “regulating the Internet.” The fake front argument is that “no one wants the government regulating the Internet!” Because, you see, it’s so much better to leave that regulation in the hands of the people who provide the service in the first place. I hope you’re not missing the subtle sarcasm there.

These bills are really meant to allow your Internet provider to filter, restrict, or censor Internet content as they see fit if they feel it is in the best interest of… themselves. The argument that the companies need to do these things to protect their systems, their businesses, and the economy of the universe at large are so retardedly illogical and false that it gets me fuming. You could smoke gouda on my head.

The Senate bill S. 1836 by our friend John McCain and the House bill H. R. 3924 by some hack legislator named Marsha Blackburn (I base her hack status solely on this bill) are eye-rollingly named: “Internet Freedom Act of 2009” and “Real Stimulus Act of 2009,” respectively.

Internet Freedom Act, Mr. McCain? If you must believe that a handful of greedy douche bags with profits as a sole motivator are in need of freedom, fine go ahead. It must mean you’re ignorant or a complete douche yourself.

If the providers get their way, within the next decade, I guarantee you (really, it’s a guarantee), we’ll see limitations on our Internet access. “We have to limit the speed because speed is expensive and you don’t want to pay $400 a month for speed, now, do you?” “We have to limit P2P access because it’s stealing the Internet from others who need it!” “We have to make sure you don’t download .m4v files over 200Kb because, hey, we’re not here for your convenience!” Whatever the arguments end up being, I’m absolutely certain Time Warner will make sure I am not able to get fast download speeds from sites they deem “hostile to Time Warner’s interests.”

I am so pissed at this, I wrote to my congressfolk! You can do it, too. You can find your Senator here, at the top right of the page, and you can find your Representative here, at the top left. Write them if net neutrality is important to you. It should be, unless you’re a greedy douche bag.

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My e-mail to Henry Waxman:

I am flabbergasted at Representative Marsha Blackburn’s irrelevantly- and deceptively-titled Real Stimulus Act of 2009 (H. R. 3924).

It is ignorant to believe that cable companies and telcos have the true interests of their customers at heart when it comes to making sure we are all allowed to access what we want when we want on the Internet. These companies have to be TOLD that it will never be okay to limit our access. Money will always be the excuse for why speed has to be throttled, or why the amount of data we can download every month has to be limited, or why certain kinds of files have to be discriminated against.

We should all appreciate the money it’s taken to install the infrastructure capable of bringing such a phenomenon as the Internet into our lives (though it lags behind much of the rest of the technologically-blessed world), but claiming “too much” Internet will hurt profits and the economy is an insulting and specious position.

Real stimulus is letting the Internet continue to be an open, unburdened frontier, passing all data through at maximum possible speeds at all times. Business is not capable of monitoring itself, only the FCC can do so.

Please vote against H. R. 3924 and work to convince others of your colleagues to do the same.

Thank you!

I sent some feedback to Apple regarding the new UI for QuickTime Player. Here’s what I had to say. Notice I didn’t once mention York Peppermint Patties. York! The Freshmaker!

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The new QuickTime Player X interface is very cool on the surface, but it has some unfortunate limitations when compared to QuickTime Player 7 that make it less useful. I find myself opening most of my movies in QuickTime Player 7 so that my video is not invaded by UI elements, and so I can use some of the features now missing in QuickTime Player X.

1) Putting the title bar and controls inside the movie frame is not very logical for a computer screen-based interface. This is not a TV or iPhone I’m using where the elements have no choice but to appear over the video. It’s a Mac, and as such is capable of a better, more useful, non-frustrating UI. I was able to see the entire frame of my movies in older QuickTime Player interfaces without cruft. Now, if I want to see the entire frame while paused or take a screen capture, I can’t without the controller and title bar littering the frame. If I want to go frame-by-frame through the video, I have to move the silly player control around to find out where it will be the least obtrusive. And if anything is in the top of the frame in my video, forget being able to see it through the title bar. Likewise, having the Trim bar inside the movie frame is ridiculous, doubly so because it can not be moved. If I need to see anything behind that trim bar, I’m out of luck. There is no reason other than “gloss and flash” to have the controls where they are in X.

2) I used to be able to use standard key strokes for multi-speed playback in either direction. The J, K, and L keys no longer work in QuickTime X. If there is a practical reason why they have gone missing, I can not think of one.

3) Doing away with the half-size (⌘0) and double-size (⌘2) shortcuts makes no sense. Cycling through sizes with ⌘- and ⌘+ is a nice addition, but it can also be like TVs that don’t let you get to the input you want right away, forcing you to cycle through every input until you get to the one you need. The current solution is a weaker choice. There’s no reason the older shortcuts and the newer shortcuts can’t both be available in the new player.

4) The fixed-size timeline slider is much more difficult to use than the older, variable-length slider. In long movies, it was easy to get finer control in the timeline by expanding the size of the QT window. But now, no matter how big the window is, the timeline slider remains the same size, and becomes fairly useless for fine-grain control on long videos.

5) The vanishing title bar means no more playing multiple movies at once and being able to tell which one is which with a quick title-bar glance. A small hindrance, but I point out that there was no such hindrance until it was created for QT Player X.

6) Rounded corners? Why? Just because all Mac windows have rounded corners? But video does not have rounded corners. If this is not putting the sow before the silk purse, I don’t know what is.

Nothing has been gained by making the changes I’ve mentioned. Not a thing. Having all controls on the outside of the video is common sense, and vastly improves on the human interface of QuickTime Player. Again, this is not a TV or iPhone I’m using for watching video, and so there’s no need to make the video window behave as such. If you are really hot to have the controls and frame vanish automatically during playback, the same thing can be accomplished with controls outside the frame and a simple preference option to let users choose to turn that behavior off if they want to. A keyboard shortcut can be added, too, so we may make the controls appear and reappear at will if we choose. It seems to me, however, that the vanishing controls are only necessary because of the unfortunate addition of intra-frame controls. Hmmm!

Apple has set the standard for good, logical design and UI for decades, with certain exceptions, of course. Hockey puck mouse, anyone? Sadly, QuickTime Player X trades usability for coolness, and it just doesn’t work.

Thanks for reading!