Lair Of The Multimedia Guru

2022-08-16

Why crypto?

Why Crypto?

With the IPFS support in FFmpeg and the discussions surrounding it. Several people stated their dislike for crypto, for NFTs and stated how its harmful and full of scams.
I disagree, Or rather I think people are seeing the “What” today but are missing the “Why” tomorrow.

Why Crypto?!

For me what i see in crypto is giving power over assets back to the people.
Today, everything is a fight of government vs people. Free speech vs censorship. Privacy vs logging and spying. Self defense vs. outlawing tools to defend oneself. And in the future with advances in gene editing control over ones own body will increasingly also get added. But back today and also with money the people are slowly loosing control to the government. Cash is slowly replaced by fully controllable and logable transactions, money printing and taxes are generally fully controlled by the government already. What you can invest in as a “non accredited” investor also is tightly controlled.
Lets look at money printing alone. That on average causes a 50% loss of value in stable currencies like the USD or EUR every 20 years. That means money literally has a half life time of 20 years in stable western economies. And that doesn’t even account for the recent money printing activities of the last years. You may have noticed inflation recently maybe ? Thats the result not of a war its simply because of all the extra money that was created.
Now with crypto, the government has no control over the inflation anymore. Bitcoin might be worth a lot or a little but is not decaying like USD does. And gold even gold inflates as new gold is mined.
And while with cash, any money you own you can give anyone you choose, as cash disappears and is replaced by government controled digital forms of the USD. You also will loose the ability to do with it what you want. OTOH with crypto you can send it to any wallet. And you can set nearly arbitrary rules with smart contracts. It simply returns the power over wealth and assets back into the peoples hands.

Will it go up

I dont know and I don’t really care. Most of the crypto i have originated from payment for a little FFmpeg work very long ago, ive exchanged some of this in other coins and other crypto stuff but i never took it out of crypto and i have no intend to ever.

NFTs?

Theres 2 things about NFTs, the NOW and the Future
NOW, NFTs are used as a way to raise money, many of the bigger projects are shady. Its expected, the more a project promises the more people want it but also the more its all a lie. I would not be surprised if many of these will go to practically 0 value. Then there are the NFTs from honest people who want to start a business and try to use it for getting initial capital some of these pass 100% of the decisions what to do with the collected money to votes by the NFT holders. There are also art and collectible NFTs and a big overlap between all this. I don’t know what will become of all this. The idea to raise money and then have the investors be 100% in control of the business sounds not fundamentally bad to me. Will this survive regulation? I do not know …
And then theres the FUTURE. NFTs can represent anything, a specific car, a specific house, a specific contract you have with an insurance.
In such a world one could sell, buy, exchange and rent houses, cars, contracts in a 100% secure, 100% undisputed and very simple way. Using the “blockchain” to represent all real world assets is an intriguing future, it has interesting potential. I don’t know if that is something that will ever happen but it surely would be a revolution for alot of things.

Filed under: Crypto — Michael @ 14:26

2021-08-22

Mice quality and linux support

For a long time i used cheap wired logitech or microsoft mice and that was ok-ish. But from time to time one needs to buy a new mouse for a new computer, because the old is so dirty its disgusting or the really rare that it stopped working 100% reliable. So for some forgotten reason i bought a new one and my mistake here is that i trusted the amazon ratings (never do that). So i got a “noname == tecknet” mouse, it was cheap had more buttons than the cheap logitech one. It even was the “Amazon choice” for wired mouse. How it got that rating, i can not comprehend. The problem with this mouse is it simply does not work reliable. You turn the scroll wheel one way and it sometimes registers that and sometimes registers the opposite direction.
So as that thing was just annoying, i picked a new mouse again and using my brain slightly more this time, i concluded that any gaming mouse must be reliable as gamers dont like loosing from lost or misread buttons. So i choose based on specs and price a corsair gaming katar pro xt. Nice mouse nice hardware. linux support well, kind of. It works fine out of the box if you like your computer looking like a Christmas tree.

Switching off that LED

My first thought was of course that there must be a tool on linux to turn this off. I failed to find it though.
So the next was screwdriver / soldering iron but that was really not feeling right.
So i spend several hours implementing enough support in ckb_next to adjust the LED for this mouse. This would have been quite trivial with a windows box running the official driver and listening to it but i didnt had a windows machine, so randomly reading and writing things to the mouse was the way to go. This was especially fun as the mouse remembers its settings when disconnected. So if you successfully set something you have an incentive to undo that if you want it working as before. I didnt destroy the mouse no, basically blindfolded stabbing it with random writes allowed me to identify a few more fields of what seems called the bragi protocol. So the protocol header now lists the fields for the hardware DPI values for the 3 modes and also the corresponding colors. the mask of enabled DPI modes, a DPI index (which the hardware does not seem to bound check at least not the way id expect). And the LED brightness for both software and hardware modes. I very interestingly did not find how the LED color itself is set or how the hardware mode animation is controlled. So there are unknown things left to be found. But for my purpose what i wanted (turing the LED off) i found all i wanted.
Code is here, pull request is also send, so it may or may not end in the official ckb-next

Filed under: Hardware — Michael @ 09:26

2021-03-20

Free rapid SARS-CoV2 tests (in Austria)

Since 15th march, everyone in austria can get 5 free rapid antigen selftests per month. When i first heared of the free self tests i thought, “i wish these where available half a year ago and shiped to everyone, one for every day, that would have safed lives”. One per week is better than nothing of course also now after the vaccines are increasingly available its a bit late.
I dont know if all austriawide are the same but the ones we got are simple lateral flow tests made by JOYSBIO (Tianjin) Biotechnology Co.,Ltd.
They came with 3 leaflets explaining not just how to do the test but also provide details about the tests performance.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 20:42

2020-11-10

Bitcoins and Inflation

Just today on youtube i again heard people talk about how crypto currencies are special as some are not inflationary while everything else fiat (printing), equity (dilution) and precious metals (mining) are inflationary. That is, all loose value over time.
But this is in some sense, not actually true.
Bitcoins require a blockchain to be maintained and the key requirement for that is that any adversary can never have 51% of the computational power. That requires a continuous “payment” of computational resources / energy. Which ultimately has the same effect as payment though someone printing/diluting/mining. If the blockchain is not maintained with enough computational power then at some point it becomes economic for an attacker to do double spend attacks by modifying the blockchain.
Iam sure iam not the first realizing this. But bitcoins kind of suck due to their vast computational blockchain maintaince requirements which also end up increasing co2 emissions or waste energy if it used renewables. Id wish we had some crypto that didnt had this energy problem and properly maintained privacy, it would be cool in a world where governments try to always increase their power over citizens and what they own.
PS: No, this is not supposed to be a prediction of what the bitcoin value will do in the coming years, it could go up alot or down by alot i have no clue.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 13:27

2020-10-04

Checking dependencies from a Makefile

Why would one want to do that? Because its a very simple project that doesnt really need a full configure script.
This is from the FFV1 build which builds the related RFC (draft) documents.

The tools versions are checked before a target that uses them, the tests are done just once and not again until you run make clean. It will put a file ending in version-ok for each tool in the build directory to keep track of what has been checked. These are cleared on a make clean.

Heres the full Makefile with the version checks showing how we ended up doing it. So far it seems working on everyones machiene who wanted to work on the ffv1 docs. Note, none of the authors of this Makefile is a Makefile expert, it certainly can be improved. I am just posting this as it might be a useful inspiration/ starting point to others who dont want a full configure in a small project.

PS: if someone has suggestions for improvements, pull requests are welcome in ffmpeg/ffv1

VERSION := 17
STATUS := draft-
OUTPUT := $(STATUS)ietf-cellar-ffv1-$(VERSION)

VERSION-v4 := 14
STATUS-v4 := draft-
OUTPUT-v4 := $(STATUS-v4)ietf-cellar-ffv1-v4-$(VERSION-v4)

$(info RFC rendering has been tested with mmark version 2.2.8, xml2rfc 2.32.0, xmlstarlet 1.6.1, pandoc 1.19.2.1, pdfcrop v1.38, and pdf2svg 0.2.3, please ensure these are installed and recent enough.)

all: $(OUTPUT).html $(OUTPUT).txt $(OUTPUT).xml $(OUTPUT-v4).html $(OUTPUT-v4).txt $(OUTPUT-v4).xml

$(OUTPUT).md: ffv1.md 
        cat rfc_frontmatter.md "$<" rfc_backmatter.md | grep -v "^AART:" | grep -v "^SVGC" | grep -v "{V4}" | sed "s|^AART:||g;s|{V3}||g;s|SVGI:||g;s|@BUILD_DATE@|$(shell date +'%F')|" > $(OUTPUT).md

$(OUTPUT-v4).md: ffv1.md 
        cat rfc_frontmatter.md "$<" rfc_backmatter.md | grep -v "^AART:" | grep -v "^SVGC" | grep -v "{V3}" | sed "s|^AART:||g;s|{V4}||g;s|SVGI:||g;s|@BUILD_DATE@|$(shell date +'%F')|" > $(OUTPUT-v4).md

%.xml: %.md mmark.version-ok xmlstarlet.version-ok pdfcrop.version-ok
        bash makesvg
        mmark "$<" | sed 's||undated|g' > "$@"
        xmlstarlet edit --inplace --insert "/rfc" --type attr -name sortRefs -v "true" "$@"
        bash svg2src "$@"

%.html: %.xml xml2rfc.version-ok
        xml2rfc --html --v3 "$<" -o "$@"

%.txt: %.xml xml2rfc.version-ok
        xml2rfc --v3 "$<" -o "$@"

clean:
        rm -f ffv1.pdf ffv1-v4.pdf ffv1.html ffv1-v4.html draft-ietf-cellar-ffv1-* merged_* mmark.version-ok xml2rfc.version-ok xmlstarlet.version-ok pdfcrop.version-ok

mmark.version-ok:
        test ` mmark --version | sed 's/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 202080 && touch mmark.version-ok || (echo mmark version 2.2.8 or later is required && exit 1)

xml2rfc.version-ok:
        test ` xml2rfc --version | sed 's/.* //g;s/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 232000 && touch xml2rfc.version-ok || (echo xml2rfc version 2.32.0 or later is required && exit 1)

xmlstarlet.version-ok:
        test ` xmlstarlet --version | head -1 | sed 's/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 106010 && touch xmlstarlet.version-ok || (echo xmlstarlet version 1.6.1 or later is required && exit 1)

pdfcrop.version-ok:
        test ` pdfcrop --version | sed 's/.* v//;s/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 1380 && touch pdfcrop.version-ok || (echo pdfcrop version 1.38 or later is required && exit 1)

Filed under: FFmpeg — Michael @ 09:30

2020-08-01

To be compatible or not to be

A few days ago i wanted to print a page, nothing special here thats a common thing. But this time was different, my Samsung CLP-365 color laser printer did not print, its main LED red, the 4 toner leds all the same and lighting. On the linux side no error message or anything. Paper was in it, no paper stuck anywhere, power cycling did not help. None of the button combinations i could find that where intended to print debug information did print anything. Searching the wide net lead to a service manual and the tip to look at the display which my printer did not had and some windows software which required a windows machine. A youtube video pointed to the waste toner container but that was not the reason for the failure though it was messy.
What finally helped was connecting the printer to a mac, its printer drivers finally provided a useful error message, namely that the yellow toner cartridge was incompatible. It of course was not a original samsung one because the originals cost as much as a new printer. The other 3 cartridges where still the originals, the yellow one was bought from amazon a bit less than a year ago and it worked fine for a few months. (and this seemed not related to a firmware update)
The final confirmation that this was the issue came today as i received a replacement yellow toner cartridge again non original of course. And putting that in the printer, it came back to life, for now at least.
Iam not sure what i should think about this, but this is uncool. First samsung WTF, why if theres a fatal issue with a toner cartridge why do the LEDs for the toners all light up equally that gives 0 hope to one finding the issue. And iam not commenting about the whole toner original vs compatibility thing except id like the CEOs of all th e printer manufacteurs that make it hard to produce compatible toner cartridges to cleanup all the avoidable waste this creates. Go with a row boat please to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and pick your incompatible toners and still good but misdiagnosed printers out and recycle them properly.

Thanks

Filed under: Hardware,Off Topic — Michael @ 14:52

2020-05-27

How to misconfigure the xfce4-panel

  1. install a new xubuntu 20.04, move your stuff to it.
  2. Now you realize the taskbar is a lot crappier than years ago, its extra slow. And going over all GUI accessible options and messing with them does not help. But google will eventually lead you to a .config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css and XfcePanelWindow-popup-delay amongth others. So you copy and paste the example and change the popup delay to 0 or 1 millisecond. Who on earth would intentionally want a GUI to react with delay ?
  3. Now the panel appears quicker but it still doesnt disappear. Theres a autohide feature with 3 settings none really work and 2 opacity sliders, if one sets autohide to always and “leave” opacity to 0 it disappears quickly.
  4. After about 10 minutes of attempted use the panel drives you nuts by behaving in a hard to describe manner, it sometimes appears when you move the mouse to the edge (as it should) sometimes when the mouse just gets close (which is fun when there is something in that area other than the panel you want to click on) but is still far away from the edge. Again going over all GUI options and all text file options known, you find XfcePanelWindow-autohide-size but it doesnt make things better. And then suddenly you realize what is happening. You set opacity to 0%, so you change that to make it vissible, and here you realize the panel auto hides with a random delay (which you didnt see as it was quickly switching to transparent).
  5. Finally? you change XfcePanelWindow-popdown-delay to 0 and think all is well but after another 5min of attempted use you realize the panel is still alot slower than it was years ago and on slower hardware, its also eating alot of CPU.
  6. Setting all opacities to 100% and making sure no fancy effects are turned on (no none where on). Finally the panel is ok and you cant tell anymore if its as it was previously. Sure you could write code that renders that panel many thousands of times before it appears but you didnt write it and also dont have the time ATM and whoever wrote it had different priorities apparently … But you make a note on your todo “try/test window managers” but then again xfce works well enough so maybe you wont …
Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 11:18

2020-03-22

Fake Amazon Gift Card

I bought some rather cheap bluetooth headphones, for listening to the news while doing other work (so sound quality doesnt matter). My normal headphones are with wires for security.
Did not try the headphones yet but in the package there was this card:

For a moment i considered to follow the instructions and after i get some 10 € (or not) edit my review to a accurate score and report them to amazon. But realizing that this card is not personalized at all not to a customer, not a product, not an order nor a seller. Also as the product was shipped by amazon the seller likely doesnt know who got a card and who doesnt of their customers. Maybe anyone has written a 5 star review and wants to try to get 10€ ;)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 21:22

2020-02-16

COVID-19 / Coronavirus / SARS-CoV-2

What i write here is going to be outdated in a few days or weeks likely but anyway, some thoughts about this …
Ive been following the information updates in the last few days, less the mainstream news. And normally i do not pay much attention to either the mainstream news nor any non mainstream stuff. But since about the 13th or so ive the feeling from what iam reading that this might turn into a pandemic. I hope iam wrong, this is not my area of expertise at all.
I hope the dumb extrapolation of numbers one can do is wrong because if this virus is anywhere as deadly as currently predicted and if it spreads widely. A worst case scenario could have many dead. Basically if this infects a significant fraction the world population, and the current fraction of seriously ill patients would apply in that scenario. There would not be enough hospitals, ICUs, … . People could be dieing because of the medical system being overwhelmed by the cases of serious illness.
So, i hope iam wrong. I hope this is successfully contained, people are quarantined everywhere and the virus dies instead of people. And from what iam reading it seems china is successful in containing it, but i have difficulty imagining all countries will.
I hope by isolating the most severe cases the virus will evolve to become more benign. A virus which causes severe disease which causes quick detection and isolation doesnt spread well, one that produces minor or no symptoms spreads much better. This can push the virus to evolve toward being milder. Of course that only works if a milder variant still spreads equally well, evolution is survival of the fittest after all, it has nothing do do with the hosts survival.
I hope a working vaccine is quickly found, tested and becomes widely available.
I hope there will be enough antiviral medications for the people who need them.
I hope that if it does spread, the politicans will direct resources toward preparing the medical system of their country and teaching citizens about Hygiene.
In some countries wearing a mask to protect against spreading diseases is even outlawed currently. (like the one i am in for example)
Also its socially not particularly accepted, people here rather cough each other in the face, or if they are more polite cough in their hand and then touch everything and everyone from food to other people with that hand. Yeah thats why the flu and the cold spreads so well and why this one might too.
And i dont even want to think or be reminded of the general gen-tech-phobia. Without that more laboratories and researchers would exist who could now work on finding a vaccine or other treatments or just testing samples from patients if they have the virus. It is AFAIK very simple to do a PCR and gel electrophoresis or realtime PCR which is AFAIK how this is detected currently. There are YouTube channels where you can see hobbyists doing PCR and electrophoresis in a garage, shed or similar. Sure for the virus one needs a negative pressure glove box and some additional saftey but still it puzzles me a bit when i read that various countries cant test or cant test as many samples as they need.
Enough off topic talk, I hope this virus disappears, and everyone gets well and no more people die from it or any other virus.

Update 2020-03-14: You can donate to WHO to fight COVID-19 via covid19responsefund.org

Filed under: Off Topic — Michael @ 22:20

2020-01-12

Fate boxes 2020-01

FATE strikes back

The Cubox no longer boots, the Panda boards power supply no longer works, it actually literally fell apparent when i unplugged it

The USB stick in my Panda board failed, huge amounts of bad sectors. Ive had it running with the power supply from the dead cubox and the sdcard as storage device.
That lead to out of disk space issues as fate is not just evil but its also big. So today the panda board has a new usb stick (SanDisk Extreme Go 64GB USB 3.1), which was the cheaptest brand name + fast one i found quickly.
Some benchmarks of the SD card vs the USB stick

sd card configure (-O1 gcc-4.4)
real 0m50.546s
user 0m24.523s
sys 0m11.164s

sd card build -j2
real 24m46.453s
user 38m38.586s
sys 3m14.938s

sd card fate -j2 -k
real 75m42.462s
user 104m30.688s
sys 8m33.727s

usb configure (-O1 gcc-4.4)
real 0m47.655s
user 0m24.719s
sys 0m11.297s

usb build -j2
real 21m25.833s
user 38m32.438s
sys 3m5.820s

usb fate -j2 -k
real 57m29.724s
user 103m6.180s
sys 7m30.867s

My i7-5820K box, which runs several fate client VMs also was showing signs of age, its main disk (Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512GB) showed an accelerating increase in number of reallocated sectors. That being after over 5 years of continuous 24/7 use by multiple FATE VMs, reading and writing. Ive a few days ago replaced it by a Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB. That also means theres spare space now for new fate clients if i find the time to setup something …

Filed under: FFmpeg,Hardware — Michael @ 11:12
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