Technology

This video’s message sounds great, but it is painfully naive/foolish

I’ll mostly write my Youtube comment here. It is important to not happily stumble into more of the same folly, and that video bothers me a lot. It’s like a bullshit indoctrination commercial for more of the same insanity. I guess that it was basically funded by Bill Gates speaks for itself.

0:59 Everything changed with the industrial revolution? LOL! Zero sum/positive sum is all in the mind and it never changed because the people with power were and are still craving more, more, MORE as always. And it’s still zero sum if there’s just a temporary growth, if the sum cannot grow indefinitely and sustainably. This is exactly the mind’s folly that keeps perpetuating the problems. The solution is not “positive sum”, but ‘doesnmattersum’. Transcending the thinking that creates the problem.
1:50 More of this BS, claiming the growth of prosperity is continuing today when we see violent conquest and mass theft of all kinds as a way of life for certain countries. (Also, I guess once someone dies, they fall out of the statistic of how many things people own, hah.)
3:03 And there we see that what’s called “positive sum world” is just a choice of what speed of change to label as such and what not. Again, it’s an attitude and perception thing. With the speed of change came more pressure by the limited ‘confines’ of this planet and more total power of greed, so guess what the bottom line is: same. No change to society if it’s all external. But back then we had the same problems, and since there were less people living on the planet, it was just as foolish and sick. Or did we forget the rule of monarchs in their lavish castles and the miserable poverty among the People? Without that crap you could go and call those times a positive sum world. But since we still have that crap today, I don’t see a distinction as valid.
Videos like this emerge from minds too enamoured by science and technology and not enough by spirituality. (And I don’t mean the label, the mass culture, I mean the looking inwards, the very personal, the part where you actually discover your own bullshit.)
4:30 Oh yeah of course, now the cancer cure clichée. – Billions of dollars have been flowing and are still flowing into developing new lucrative treatments while dodging the cures. Raising people’s financial power against cancer doesn’t drive cures, but treatments, unless the People stop being tools, which I don’t see happening because the masses are way too emotionally convenient and are sometimes rather willing to die than to give up a convenient belief that makes them sick.

Gist of the video: ‘We need more money for the existing system! More money for everybody will solve everything!’ – so frickin’ naive and insane. In part because it is imagining a reality that cannot even come to pass because of the very system that is being glorified in the video.

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Do not fill black bars on vertical video!

The black bars fill where you duplicate the video content onto a lower layer and magnify and blur it is one of those very stupid effects that are used because to a toddler’s mind they seem like a great idea. But it provides zero benefit. It reduces compression efficiency by leeching off bitrate and generates a constant distraction for the watcher’s attention through pointless movements over the majority of the picture, which is especially bad because human vision is more sensitive to movements towards the periphery and because the zoom amplifies the actual movement energy of the source video. It also blurs the perceptual boundaries, making it more difficult to clearly and easily identify where the actual informational video content ends. This is even worse on videos that are intended to be fully informational and not artistically playful, like for example this one:
 

In short, it is added effort to make a video a PITA. (In German this is called Verschlimmbesserung. Could be translated as worseprovement.)
Here is a good video demonstrating how easily attention can be diverted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay4
(It is a somewhat different case, but it is about moving elements drawing attention.)

UPDATE: I recently encountered a typical result of when people follow some trend thoughtlessly; a 16:9 video with mixed media content in which all 4:3 (so not even 9:16) aspected concent had black bars fill, but cinemascope content did not have it for the black bars on the top and bottom. Suddenly black bars are totally fine. Why? Because everybody leaves them black.
This is just one example for many common inconsistent habits that show how people can be programmed into behaviors if they don’t question them.

UPDATE 2: Related issue with what Twitter has been doing for a while now: https://twitter.com/Dowlphin/status/973490387443769350

I also made a short clip pointing out the somewhat arbitrary, inconsistent behavior and how it has to do with herd following and how it’s not happening if no one starts it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okkIOgqki50

New Youtube interface yet another example of the growing madness

Youtube did it again. “Polymer” looks very much for mo’bile, and naturally, LESS space-optimized, no visual section distinctions, and less info in that more space used.

“Clean, fresh, new, going with the times”, these are words marketing people always use to describe beauty-less shit. Just recently I encountered exactly this with Störtebeker beer bottle labels. Boring white rectangular fields introduced where there was a parchment style before, less theme-appropriate beauty, and those words used, while proudly bragging about what an eye-catcher their unique bottle-surrounding label format allegedly is and how everybody loves their new design.

Youtube, too, now did the step we always see with the Grey Gentlemen taking over more of the world. The pleasant red gradients I see in my bookmark bar and tabs has turned into an eye-burning intense monochrome red and the website itself is stuff thrown into a sea of white.

As it is reported, ‘plenty of white space allows you to focus on a site’s content instead of its interface’. The idiocy! Suddenly visual helpers for distinguishing content sections and types, those white boxes on a gentle light gray background, are seen as DISTRACTIONS!

It is very depressing to see this deranged shit happen more and more wherever you look, especially in web design. Verschlimmbesserung everywhere.

UPDATE 2017-09-07: And the bits of genius keep coming. Now Youtube informed me I got early beta access to the new Community tab, which replaces the Discussions tab. So my first thought is: Review and maybe archive all the old Discussions content before it’s gone. Where can I do that if the new tab replaces it. And those eternal numbnuts point me to my comment history, as if that helps in any way. The comment history can’t even be searched, let alone filtered by date, and it’s definitely not useful for finding people’s more or less old comments on my Discussions tab and my responses to it.
Youtube – the 24/7 fucking joke
If they offered me a paid job to bring some brains into their conduct, I might see hope, but I’m smart enough to know the problem lies elsewhere, not in intellectual resources. At least not only.

Are the mids the music’s heart?

I had this thought when I considered the strong mids that music has and had in times and areas that ‘have heart’. Look at where and when you find music that very much focuses on anything but mids. Powerfull bass, aggessive highs. Electronic music, often. Electronic being more based on machines, logic, technology. All digital. Zero and one.
And I thought how this could match the visual scale of frequencies and thus also relate to the chakra model. The heart is in the middle. Its color is green. Green is the color of that powerful, defining part of nature, the ego-less sun-drinking plant life, and it doesn’t seem to be very popular if I look at trends like car paint colors and such. All kinds of strife to focus on other phenomena, as long as it avoids the heart.
In music, you could say the mids are unspectacular. They even don’t work if you intensify them a lot. They are like the epitome of boredom. But without them, something is missing. Maybe not to the mind, but to the heart. They are not the show-stealer, but the crucial support to make it well-rounded. The slow, deep breath.
You can see how frequency always matches a spiritual state. Powerful bass puts emphasis on the primal, the foundation of life, the power from below, felt with the whole body. Powerful highs are all about the mind, perceived with the ears only, and only if that chakra is healthy.
You could say the heart is the most elusive force. Naturally, since its domain cannot be fathomed by the mind. But the mind can allow it to be, or not to, and that might not be the ideal situation.

I won’t make a refined essay out of this. Use it as food for meditation if you like.

Why do game designers do incredibly idiotic things?

You can watch my detailed video about it or read the summary below.

I recently got an SSD and only now realized the full magnitude to something that bothered me a while ago.

The game: The Witcher 3
This game featured plenty of eyebrow-furling things. Some of them got fixed later, but the really stupid stuff actually kept coming. I’ll only focus on one issue here though that has existed all the time since the game was released.

When you load a savegame, you get a simple 2D-animated sequence and a speaker recounts the story position at the time of the savestate. That animation looks a lot like scripted to eventually end in a loop state until the load process has finished.
When it does finish, for a brief moment a regular loading screen pops up, with a nice picture and a loading animation, which looks kinda sloppy, but shows that there actually is an alternative mode for this.

Well, here comes the kicker: To use one example, you watch a loading process where the speaker talks for 18 seconds and the whole process takes 43 seconds until the game has finished loading, with the animated sequence looping for the rest of the time.
Damn, this game has long load times!

No, actually not, it’s just trolling you by deliberately wasting your time. While the devs for some reason decided to later add subtitles to those sequences that you cannot turn off even if you want to because you’re not deaf and have seen that story bit plenty of times anyway, what they never did is AT LEAST add an info telling you when the loading process has finished and you can now enter the game if you press a key. That would be the MINIMUM. That could actually be an optional feature, but not really that important when the loading process isn’t of patience-testing length, which it wouldn’t be without this artificial delay.

Here is another minor example of bad design decisions: The game has super-beautiful graphics, but taking screenshots without UI requires (not-so-ideal) fan mods, while a low-budget indie game shows how it’s done.

Why it is OK to negatively criticize a free game

You’ve probably read it a couple of times. There’s a free game, say, on Steam, and people complain about stuff and then others talk down to them, claiming since it’s a free game, they are bad people.

So let me widen the perceptual horizon here.

Justified critique is totally fine, especially considering that a freely published game, especially on a highly-frequented platform like Steam, is often a promotion instrument, a skill demo, so it’s not exactly for the pure love of the world. You’de be surprised how many people are way more egoistically motivated than they pretend to be. But you’d only be surprised when you find out, and you only find out when you can manage to put them to the test. (I’m digressing slightly here.)
Furthermore, critique is free consulting, so they’re actually getting a good deal. I mean, there are game devs who are totally inept design-wise, publish a piece of crap of a game, then collect the tons of critique and get to work implementing the suggestions and thus don’t need to be anything but a hacker monkey who is being force-fed with game design training. That business scheme seems especially popular with early access. People will even pay for crap and on top of that give you free consulting services, all fueled by the hope that the game becomes great one day.
In the most extreme case, an early access game is little more than: “OK, I made an empty world space. Pay up, then I’ll allow you to tell me what you want in it and I’ll put it there. (Unless I don’t want to.) Isn’t that great? Your own personal ideas implemented in a totally not generic game. Your ego must be so st(r)oked right now. Buy your own little piece of immortality today!
And the next day there’s an empty space with a pickaxe and a zombie.

I was inspired to write this when I learned about a free Steam game (Serena) that had some issues related to Steam being crap and Valve not caring (the usual), and I read up about the game, and it’s advertised as “…the result of a massive collaborative effort between dozens of fans and designers of adventure games.” while when you press ESC that story-progression-type game immediately quits, without so much as a confirmation dialogue. Unbelievable? Well, I’ve seen some wacky things. Totally justified to go “Dude! What the hell?!

Speaking of incompetence: Is there any major internet business that hasn’t made it its mission to destroy any usability? As I am writing this, I have to switch between Visual and HTML view, because HTML view doesn’t have quick formatting, but requires me to add code manually, while Visual doesn’t know what a line break is (!), yet in HTML view it doesn’t even need/show the code for it.
I’m not even gonna explain how to do it more elegantly. They need to figure such basics out themselves. My consulting services aren’t for free, since my expertise is apparently scarce.

The silliness of consumers purchasing M-DISCs

Clever business move to offer archival-tech optical media (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC) to the consumer market. But I have to chuckle/facepalm when I read people mentioning how their 10 years old burned CDs aren’t readable anymore, so now, in the year 2015 where optical media are close to suffering the same fate that the floppy disc once did, people are paying insane prices for optical discs that will reliably last hundreds of years. What a comedy. For much less they could have transferred their data to fresh media if it’s so important to them to not just store them on a flash drive or hadddisk. And who knows? Maybe their old discs would still be alright if they had bought quality ones back then.

BTW this isn’t even relevant to people who still play their music from CDs, because M-DISCs are available for DVD and BD only. And pressed CDs have good longevity anyway, so you’ll have your originals as archive for a long time.

Even in the area of professional archival storage there are good technology competitors to optical M-DISC media. This is a niche technology, very useful for a very small number of applications. And not a surprise that such things come towards the end of a technology’s life. Because it’s business – focused on profit, not on usefulness. Shows how well it works to sell people stuff they don’t need.

And not that it would be relevant due to what I just pointed out, but even their marketing is deceptive, too. (As marketing so often is.) They advertise more than 1000 years of data storage, but if you dig a little for details, you learn that that doesn’t mean error-free. The time span in which you can call it virtually guaranteed that all data is still safely readable is significantly lower. … Yeah, the horribly truth is that in 100 years from now you might have to go through the hassle of transferring all your M-DISC data to quantum crystal storage, haha. What a drag. … Oh wait, in 100 years you’re dead! … And in 1000 years your distant offspring won’t even remember there ever was such a thing as M-DISCs, because even the few organisations who once made use of them will have switched to a different technology long ago. If the organisations still exist.

The losing battle of combating crappy web development

I used to use Flash player 11.5 so I could watch up to 60 fps on Youtube, but then they changed several things. First, they prevented that feasible method from working. Then they enforced HTML5 (a player with various usability downsides that I also didn’t use because back then 60 fps worked with Flash 11.5) so that I had to cripple my browser to default to Flash. (That also disabled Vine playback.)

And now, since recently, the Flash player’s bottom bar that shows video length and such is not there unless the video plays. I use an addon for disabling autoplay of videos (since Youtube and such steadfastly refuse to allow it), so maybe that’s a factor, but maybe not. I thought it’s because of my ancient Flash player version, but I should have known better. Even with the newest I don’t have it, so if I want to check lengths of videos I have tabbed (which I do a lot), I gotta play-and-page-reload it.

One would think that with all these obstacles, they’re done because HTML5 now plays 60 fps on Firefox, but at least when they set default to HTML5 it didn’t. I could reconfigure some stuff and check whether it does now, but why go through the effort if I know in advance that it very likely still doesn’t? I’m tired of this!

Youtube prevented the one means for watching 60 fps for my browser, so that kinda speaks for itself.

Same with IE by the way. That one I left to default, without modifications or stuff, and it uses Flash and thus can’t play 60 fps.

You know why all this shit is happening this way, right? Do I have to spell it out?

Google Chrome.

When that browser entered the scene, I knew exactly how it would go. That the power-hungry Google corporation would use it in order to conquer ‘market share’ and thus gain control and then focus on their browser so that others would be at a disadvantage. That’s pretty much what Microsoft tried in the past with the IE, too.

And now the (gradually less) intelligently designed Opera browser is basically Chrome, too, and even Steam has been based on Chrome.

Chrome is the corporate browser. Firefox might go through some bullshit dev ideologies, too, but THAT should be the free, independent standard used by most.

Back when I used Opera (up to version 12), I was the rare-case odd power user. When I finally saw no choice but to change to Firefox (actually Waterfox), that one had already become a minor figure.

If developments of this kind continue, we might eventually be using crappy ports of mobile operating systems on PCs, and “PC” then means gaming-console derivative multimedia computer. Also, private Linux users will be classified as potential domestic terrorists by the CIA, since they won’t be able/willing to imagine that anyone would use it unless they’re a hacker, while, in typical double standard, for business purposes it is considered a smart way to reduce expenses.

Yeah, you’ll have noticed, I’m really fed up with this shit.

People should have woken up years ago when Google dropped their motto/guideline “Do no evil.”. I mean, how much clearer do you need it?

My thesis is that people tolerate so much corporate bullshit because they are afraid of having their own personal bullshit be stripped away.

Round avatar pictures – The new stupid trend

They keep popping up. The stupid trends that do something the stupid way which used to be done the smart way and everybody jumps on the idea.

Examples from movie-making would be immersion-breaking circular explosion pressure waves and lens flares.

One of the more recent web design trends is to make avatar pictures worse. (There is no English word for Verschlimmbesserung, the act of changing something to make it worse.)

Picture files are rectangular. Web design is profoundly rectangle-based, and for a good reason. It makes efficient use of screen space. Now you create your avatar picture for a web service, cut it so that it includes what you want to see, upload it, and then the web service just cuts off a good bit of the picture all around, thus wasting all the space that has been cut off, since there’s no use for the free space around a circular web element like that anyway. Your whole avatar now looks like it has been squeezed into a balloon, with no advantage, only downsides. Why? Because some marketing-drunk fools think rectangles are so last year?

The world is going crazy. I see the process at work every day.