youtube

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.

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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.

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.

CBS says “Merry Christmas” by blocking my treatise on racism

I uploaded a 5 minutes long clip from a Star Trek Enterprise episode, as illustration of a remarkable and to me memorable scene about a healthy way to deal with racism, and my attached extensive commentary on that topic in the video description, that I later extended into the comment section. (video title: “A wise way to approach racism (Star Trek: Enterprise)”)

This should qualify for Fair Use, and it should also be in everybody’s interest to keep it accessible for several reasons, among them for advertising a good show and for educating the public about racism. But, a long time since I uploaded the video, now it got blocked worldwide.
On one hand, I have ads disabled on my channel, but on the other hand this is quite a clear signal that my channel is non-commercial, AND as I said, this is covered by Fair Use.

Now here comes the usual crappy Youtube situation:
If I decide to dispute the claim, I cannot comment on that or ask whether it would do to modify its appearance or such. I can only tick a checkbox, which basically seems to start a legal process, which could end up in a pissing contest between laywers. Youtube states that if a claim is not valid, it will result in a copyright strike on the channel. But who decides whether it is valid, if I can’t even briefly explain my position? Not justice, not right, but a legal battle. Because, even if I was a lawyer myself, even a copyright lawyer, and was 100% sure that said video is covered by Fair Use, I would still have no guarantee whatsoever that I don’t get a strike on my channel. There’s no reasonable negotiating in this process. Automation equals dehumanization. And this is the often-criticized Youtube policy of encouraging corporate intimidation.

Nice implied statement about your views on racism there, CBS. Really skillful! And wonderful timing!

You are dissed by Youtubers and maybe don’t even realize it

I sometimes see Youtubers writing in their video descriptions or saying in their videos things like “Remember to like, comment and subscribe” or “Don’t forget to like”. This is disrespectful. It implies that there is no reason whatsoever why someone might not do that. They might very well not have forgotten, but consciously decided not to. It’s only natural, makes perfect sense and happens way more often than the alternative. It can even feel a little arrogant at times. Imagine you watched a video, closed the page and the channel owner approached you: “Whoops, hey buddy, looks like you forgot to give me a rating there.” It is a mindset that doesn’t signal accepting the fact that the viewer has and should have a choice in the matter; is an individual and not just a means for the channel owner to gain popularity.

It’s worse in the case of asking for comments, because this is even more clearly about raising a video’s ranking through comment activity. A Youtuber should be interested in hearing what his audience has to say, not to get them to comment even if they don’t really have anything to say. And then there’s an even more severe version of this when a Youtuber might even state that he’s mostly just active on Twitter or such, or maybe not really responding at all, usually getting so many comments on videos that he could not possibly read even a fraction of them, but is still asking people to comment. That is slightly deceptive, asking people to spend their time doing something in the belief that the guy asking for comments would read them and/or actually care.

Another thing a Youtuber could do wrong at this point then is to spend video time and thus watcher time complaining and moaning about a minority of people giving negative unconstructive feedback, thus dissing not only the well-meaning watchers and commenters by not dedicating an appropriate percentage of his time to them, but also the negative-intentioned commenters for first basically asking them to always comment and then not liking what they have to say when urged to do so.

What I myself AM doing is asking people to consider giving feedback, as a reminder that support like that is very much appreciated. This in part is fueled by a repeated experience of people telling me how greatly they appreciate a comment I made, but didn’t give it an upvote. Kinda detracts a bit from the quality of their supposed appreciation. Reminding people of an option is a different thing than what I talked about above.

Youtube channel trailers are mostly counter-productive and insincere

Youtube channel trailers have bothered me for a long time, but especially now since it seems Google has removed the channel count link next to a channel name on a video page that you could click on and get right to the video list, forcing me to go to the channel main page first.

But here’s the problem: Many channels have a channel trailer, and while my browser addon prevents regular autoplay, for some reason the channel trailer is excluded from that. If it’s actually what it is intended for, a channel trailer video, that might be fine, but in praxis that feature is mostly used for view-harvesting for certain videos.

The problem is not just the annoying autoplay that I don’t want: The video will be counted as viewed and added to the view history. Now that means that the video received a view, but I didn’t actually take notice of it, since I wanted to navigate to the channel’s video list anyway, and because it is now marked as watched, I very likely won’t actually watch it later either, since my history deceives me into thinking I already have. This might be a problem for channel owners who actually want people to take notice of their work, so this is ironic in a salomonic way.

UPDATE: Unbe-frickin-lievable! Now Youtube is even advertising adding a separate channel trailer for unsubscribed users. I now got that big field on my channel asking me to add one and an unnecessary summary view for subscribed users wasting space. Now I gotta figure out how to turn that new area off… if possible. Because naturally Google wouldn’t tell people to turn something off that they pushed onto them. That would have meant that they learned from the Google+ debacle.

And this happened right after I briefly considered letting the past be the past and publishing my comment activity on Google+. … Alright, no forgiveness for those who won’t learn.