market

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.

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Selling your soul becomes closer to literal for businesses

Blizzard runs World of Warcraft.

They have their own website and a game forum specifically for World of Warcraft and the game’s login screen features an optional news window if something’s important.

It seems they maneuvered back a bit now (probably because of significant negative feedback), but a while ago you had to look for important info about stuff like unscheduled server offtime on Twitter. They really want people to go to Twitter. And they have Twitter integration in the game now, so I suspect marketing whoring to bring about the new world dominance.

Daybreak Gaming Company (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) runs Planetside 2. That game, too, has its own game forum, and just like in the case of World of Warcraft, you use your game login, which means that if you want to talk to the player community, there you will find the people who are actually playing the game.

Yet the go-to place for the devs to communicate with players is Reddirt. ( That was a typo I decided to keep. 😀 )

In other news, one of the big German internet providers (the privatized formerly national one in the form of the telephone company Deutsche Telekom) – T-Online – now decided to sell their own website.

Yeah, you heard right. T-Online.de. The company’s website. Where you can log in and do customer service stuff, web mail etc and where they offer their service packages, and also run it as a combined new portal. They sell it. The website that dons their name won’t be theirs anymore.

And it’s probably because of the news component, and not deciding to separate that, but keep it tied to the name, shows how highly names are valued in business, as a brand.

If this continues, selling your own grandma might soon become more than just a figure of speech.

And you know that this is all touching the topic of slavery, right?

When you are no longer in control of your own assets. When more and more that you thought is yours becomes owned.

Are you sure your name is still part of you and not just a legal person? Maybe it has been sold without your consent. (This is what happened to that German telephone company. Important things are not decided democratically here, but sufficiently indirectly to allow the plutocracy to rule over their subjects.)

Speaking of control: When businesses become so big that they consider the small stuff not lucrative enough, they dump that; leave the bread crumbs to the small businesses.

Amazon seemed to have realized that the small crumbs add up, so they decided to gain control over that, too. Can you still afford to run small online distribution without Amazon Marketplace? And Amazon gets their cut. This is the hybrid-solution of total dominance. It’s related to politics when you control and lead the dissent against you in order to crush or drown out any non-approved dissent.

Amazon might have a relatively good service for a huge corporation, but I don’t give them credit for that. Because they can easily afford it. It’s not like there’s still another big competitor like it’s so often the case when corporations wage a war and lose customer-orientation. Amazon now tries to intercept all potential competition and put them under their umbrella. They take all the benefits and reject the inconveniences. Amazon Marketplace is no benefit for small businesses because it only appears to be an advantage because it exists. It’s a bit of a mafia approach: You pay money for protection. Which would be a legit service contract if we didn’t talk about what it is that you need protection against.
This might end in what people who are afraid of socialism think is socialism but is actually a capitalism that they should be afraid of. Concentration of power is never a good idea. It has to be rooted in the people.

Encore
——
Wondering why so many businesses sell out? – It’s like a 3-layer system:
1) Some created their business to sell it once it gets attactive.
2) Those who didn’t might get an offer to sell it that is attractive enough to put money before the business. (Might also be due to special circumstances like with Mojang where Notch wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a fast-growing business.)
3) Those who refused to sell might be either signaled that if they don’t sell, the potential buyer will just push them out of the market with their greater might, or this step happens without communicating that course of action to them.

This chain can be broken by courage, resolve and skill. You gotta be smart enough to, when losing in a shitty game, step out of the game and create your own rules. It’s all mostly just a mind game anyway. The good thing about out-of-the-box thinking is that then you no longer live in a box. 😉

The lack of a proper solution for PC game capture

(UPDATED 2015-04-17)

It is quite frustrating when I need proper equipment to get certain things going, and am willing to pay a fair price, but sometimes solutions seem to be missing.

I checked all the game capture devices (for recording gameplay footage as video) that I could find, but – as so often – it’s a mix of up- and downsides, and generally they’re all primarily designed for gaming consoles, for standard entertainment.

Here’s what I am willing to pay for:

Playing games on my PC, in the native resolution of my monitor, which is 2560×1440. The screen data being grabbed hardware-side, latency free, so basically via the standard video cable. I chose a monitor that doesn’t have an HDMI input, only DVI and DisplayPort, so that would have to work, too. And then the device saves the video data via USB onto an external storage – harddisk or flash card or even USB stick.

And here are all the problems:

1) All devices I could find are capped at 1920×1080. One can at least record this in 60p, but resolution is still limited. Apparently they also don’t support higher input resolution and downscaling for the video compression. So I’d have to play games I want to record in 1920×1080.

2) They all operate based on HDMI as digital interface. I suspect this is some kind of legal mandate so that people cannot use such devices to record HDCP-protected content – because if you use DVI or DisplayPort, if copy protection is there, it cannot be obeyed. I guess we have to thank that whole movie and music industry lobbying for this technical limitation.

3) You can adapt DisplayPort down to HDMI and HDMI down to DVI. But I’d have to first figure out whether this is also handled well by the recording devices. And even if that works, then the next problem arises…

4) I have connected my monitor using DVI because that interface causes Windows to reserve active desktop space for it, to always keep the device registered as present. When I initially connected my monitor using DP, I noticed that whenever I turned it off – only with the button on the front, not with the power switch, the display would immediately get removed as system component, and because I am also using a digitizer display and have arranged both a certain way, this will (and it’s a Windows fault) eventually lead to mixup of the numbering and the alignment of the two displays. It would be even more hassle than what I already have anyway.
(If I have the nerve, I might eventually experiment some more and see whether I can find a compromise.)

5) So even if all that works: It seems people using game capture devices are typically the invested gamers with a very powerful gaming PC. Mine isn’t weak, but it’s also not super-powered, and what bothers me is that while the CPU load for the video compression is then taken off by the capture device (or in some cases just most of it), based on past experience I would almost bet that transferring several MB/s of data via USB and then burdening the CPU with the I/O interrupt load of saving that stream onto local harddisk will cause noticeable interference in my games. Because it has always appalled me how even today, harddisk work can have such an interfering influence on unrelated processes.
To give you a comparative example: Remember how when you used an optical disc drive and every time you put in a CD or DVD, the whole frickin system would pause until the media had spun up? This is the kind of crap one still has to expect to happen.

6) And then you’d think that the immensely valuable feature of having a hardware button on the device for starting and stopping recording would be mandatory, but only some devices have it. More generally, even if all the previous problems were resolved, then there would be the whole pile of the usual potential issues with electronic products: bugs in software, inconvenient handling etc..

This is really a crappy situation, but I don’t take fault with my end just because I like to use modern technologies that don’t fit the bread&butter mainstream.

Even equipping my old PC with a video recording card would not be a good solution, because then I’d have to have that one running all the time so that the video signal can be passed through.

    UPDATE:

I now figured out that apparently harddisk I/O is not or only a minor problem. The issue is that the hardware encoding, at least when performed with Open Broadcaster Software, is optimized for 1080p. 1440p is larger, but not extremely so, yet a demanding game like Planetside 2 runs really unplayably when recording it in 1440p, but when in 1080p and recording, you rarely notice any interference. That distinct difference doesn’t seems to be just the computing load difference. Encoding bitrate doesn’t affect the results. I even recorded in 720p and had worse results. It’s all a bit confuse, but that only further underlines the point I’m making about the lack of proper hardware solutions.

    UPDATE 2:

I was willing to give nVidia Shadowplay a try, since it supports the (fullscreen only – which is fine) high performance mode with low system impact. But for that, I’d have had to install geForce Experience, which turned out to be a Big Brother total data collecting and activity tracing software, and I’m not willing to pay that price for a software that might not even be better than OBS in game capture mode, for example.
For recording 1440p I probably simply would need a more powerful PC that can run a recorded game in around 60 fps all the time. This of course could save the investment in a game capture device, but I’m not willing/able to experiment with money like that.

    UPDATE 3:

I now tested recording to replay buffer, meaning that there’s no harddisk writes involved during the recording. It just captures and encoded and stores it in memory. And even there, the same happens as with conventional game recording with any codec in OBS: Jaggy motion. Interuptions in video fludity. The game itself is not affected except showing a slight framerate reduction and less-than-perfect fluidity based on framerate fluctuation. But it’s nowhere as bad as the video output, which studders and sometimes even hangs, having dropouts. I’m tiring of this lack of a proper solution. I’d love to just connect a hardware device to one of my free graphics card outputs, connect a USB harddisk to that one, and then record 1440p 60 fps just as it looks in the game, without any interference or hassle.
I’m beginning to suspect that the hardware encoding assistance gets overloaded and then doesn’t share the burden software-side. Because when I play a game in 1080p and get constant 60 fps, I can record nearly flawless 30 fps video from that. But once I record to 60 fps, it is mostly fluid with some nasty dropouts during fast movements. And this even happens in old and unburdening games like Half-Life 2, despite the CPU load for recording 1440p 60 fps being a mere 38%, which should not be a problem in combination with such an old game.