More Ramblings from a Los Angeles Programmer

December 27, 2006

Vista makes me slightly angry

Filed under: technology — Josh DeWald @ 4:01 pm

This analysis of Vista’s “Content Protection” (dis)functionality is a bit disturbing and makes me wonder if that’s why my wireless card refused to work reliably when I used the demo of Vista (yeah, yeah).

I work in a company that makes (legal) use of DVD video and CD audio to produce content and this analysis is worrisome enough that I hope those in the group carefully look at what Vista does before doing and “standard” upgrades as this could potentially prevent the job from being done in the best way possible.

I’m really not sure what all this paranoia gets to anyone, people will find ways around any sort of protection offered. Those who just want to legally watch their content on whatever hardware they have will now have issues, even if they have no intention of hooking anything up between the content and the hardware to capture the content. So it’s basically lose/lose except for Microsoft, which gets to look great to the content providers for making users jump through hoops to “protect” their content.

Shameful.

December 21, 2006

Slashdot | Autodesk Suing to Keep Format Closed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Josh DeWald @ 4:00 am

Apparently, AutoDesk is rather angry that the Open Design Alliance in adding what is essentially an AutoCAD ‘watermark’ to AutoCAD DWG files produced by it’s libraries.  When I first read the headline to the /. article, it implied that AutoDesk was directly trying to step the reverse-engineering for the format itself. On further reading (of the article itself as well the comments on the /. article), it’s more that AutoDesk doesn’t want the ‘TrustedDWG’ data to be applied.

Now, this does effectively mean that you can’t produce files outside of AutoCAD because apparently it will only read DWG files that are marked in this way. And that’s the real issue in the matter. For people using AutoCAD, all is fine because obviously all the bits will be properly set and encrypted. However, if you’re working with somebody who isn’t using AutoCAD, but another program capable of producing DWG files, both you and he lose out because the files will be unreadable.  The files may be exactly the same as what would have been produced by AutoCAD but still won’t be readable.

So, even though they are apparently fine with people reverse-engineering the format, they are still saying that if you are using AutoCAD, then every person or company you work with better be using it as well.

Keep in mind that the OpenDWG is capable of producing the ‘TrustedDWG’ data, but is no longer making that code available out of respect for the lawsuit. This really makes me want to obtain the code (if it was already available) or attempt to reverse the format myself.

What AutoDesk should do is add a dialog when opening the ‘open’ files that says ‘Warning: This file was produced outside of AutoDesk’. But whatever.


December 20, 2006

“standing in line” vs “standing on line”

Filed under: linguistics — Josh DeWald @ 6:45 am

I definitely prefer and use “in line”, and based on user comments on here as well as other bits I’ve looked at it seems that “on line” originated in the New England area of the US.

Using the Google counting method of voting:

quoted phrases:

41K results http://www.google.com/search?q=%22standing+on+line%22

1M results http://www.google.com/search?q=%22standing+in+line%22

I don’t know when people starting using “on line”, but I actually think it was before the web became popular (I’ve seen it in books that are pretty old) but I started noticing it a couple of years ago and it still sounds rather awkward to my ears.

What’s your preference?

Update: I just woke up and noticed that the 2nd entry for the “stand in line” search was a “Dialect Survey” by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Lingustics Department showing that most people prefer “in line.” Yeah, that’s right.

Update (11/29/2007): Reader Brendan pointed out that I didn’t quote each of my queries, which was especially important because “on line” is hugely popular. After doing that, “standing in line”clearly wins with about 1.4M results vs 32K for “standing on line.” Yeah, that’s right 🙂

Update (9/30/2009): Many commenters have pointed out that this seems to come up a lot in New York (and New England). I was just watching 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanely Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, released in 1968. I noticed “on line” being used and looked up and it turns out that Kubrick was born in New York. So take of that what you will. This also is evidence that it is definitely not a new or recent phrase.

Update (11/10/2009):  Added the actual quoted version of the links. This replaced the old versions that didn’t have the quotes:

114M results: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=standing+on+line&btnG=Search

53M results: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=standing+in+line&btnG=Search

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