Category: Cyberculture

Blog and online presence

By , 2012-12-29 23:46

Once again, my dear old WordPress blog has been terribly negelected for the past little while. I do however have good reasons for this.

  1. Life and stuff has been busy this past year. This has given me a lot of new material to write about, but I’ve lacked the will to actually spend time and write any posts.
  2. I spend a lot less time tinkering with computers in my free time. When I do, a lot of it has to do with enterprise software and such which is not as fun to write about.
  3. OSx86 is no longer a part of my day-to-day. Since getting a job, and hence having the $ to be able to buy legit Apple products, there isn’t as much incentive for getting Mac OS X running on commodity PC hardware. Also, I’m not sure I like where Apple is going with their 10.7+ OS releases, so my hackintoshes and real Macs remain on 10.6.x.
  4. There are too many ways to post things on the Internet. Twitter. Tumblr. Google+. Facebook. Pinterest. LinkedIn. WordPress. Posterous. Evernote. imgur. reddit. Springpad. the list goes on and on. I can’t decide what medium to use and what I actually want out of the whole thing.
  5. My Internet “image”.  I have a pretty unique name – pretty sure I’m the only “Matthieu Yiptong” on the planet. So, when anyone googles my name, this blog is usually the top result. Nowadays it’s common practice for everyone from parents to employers to new acquaintances to girlfriends to google peoples’ names. Being slightly paranoid, I’ve been over-analyzing every potential idea I’ve had for a new blog post this year.
  6. Platform choice. This blog probably has more technical posts than anything else. One of my colleagues at work has switched to using MediaWiki for his personal technical documentation. This makes sense because it’s easier to organize and format documentation on a wiki than on a blog. There are even wikis designed for documentation. This may be something to consider.
  7. Domain name. I own, and a few other domains. I’m trying to decide what the url for my blog should be –  whether or not changing it would be worth it and should I decide to change it, if there’s anyway to keep my google ranking and permalinks.

Hopefully now that I’ve gotten these reasons written down, I can get around to addressing each of them and streamline my blogging/posting/documentation in 2013!

You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You – Forbes

By , 2012-12-08 19:50

Interesting article from Forbes. This is exactly the problem with media today.

Piracy is not raiding and plundering Best Buys and FYEs, smashing the windows and running out with the loot. It’s like being placed in a store full of every DVD in existence. There are no employees, no security guards, and when you take a copy of movie, another one materializes in its place, so you’re not actually taking anything. If you were in such a store, you’d only have your base moral convictions to keep you from cloning every movie in sight. And anyone who knows how to get to this store isn’t going to let their conscience stop them, especially when there is no tangible “loss” to even feel bad about.

The is of course some degree of “loss”, but it’s hard, if not impossible, to assign a dollar value to it.Who is to say that a customer, who when placed in this hypothetical store took a copy of every movie, would actually have bought a copy of every movie or any movie at all?

The other problem with the movie industry is that every “legal” way of watching a movie is a pain in the a**. For instance:

Buy a Blu-Ray/DVD (assuming you already own a player)

  1. Go to store/Amazon.
  2. Buy disc
  3. Go home/wait for shipment
  4. Insert disc into player
  5. Watch FBI warning
  6. Watch Trailers (or skip trailers)
  7. Watch movie.

Advantages of this method: You “own” the movie on physical media. You can pass it to your friends, look at the box, use the disc as a frisbee, whatever.
Disadvantages: Physical media. Waiting time. Investment in home video equipment.

Watch in theatres

  1. Look up showtimes
  2. (Buy tickets online)
  3. Go to theatre
  4. Buy/pick up tickets
  5. (Pay extra money for an pick up annoying 3D glasses)
  6. Find a seat in cinema
  7. Watch movie trivia
  8. Watch ads
  9. Watch trailers
  10. Watch movie.

Advantages of this method: Gigantic screen. Excuse to go out.
Disadvantages: Excuse to go out. Overpriced food. Crowds.

Watch on Netflix

  1. Get tablet/phone/Silverlight®-capable PC/approved set-top box or TV
    1. If using Linux (Ubuntu or Fedora), check this out: It popped up in my Twitter feed literally just as I was writing the previous line.
  2. Sign up for/log in to Netflix
  3. Find your movie (hope it’s there)
  4. Watch movie.

Advantages: Watch almost anywhere, almost instantly.
Disadvantages: Limited selection, requires active internet connection, don’t own anything – need to keep paying monthly fee.


  1. Get some BitTorrent-capable device. (PC, Mac, Linux, BSD,  Android, your router, NAS, ….)
  2. Find a torrent of the movie you want.
  3. Download
  4. Watch movie.

Advantages: Own movie forever. Works on any device with proper codecs and processing power. No DRM. Free. Huge selection.
Disadvantages: Morality? Need more hard disk space. Some sites are questionable.

Clearly, “Pirate” is the most viable option. Netflix is a close second, but the inability to watch offline and limited catalogue are annoying.

Existing movie distribution channels are dated, inconvenient and expensive. What’s the solution? I don’t know. But there needs to be a big change in the way Hollywood does business if they really want to “stop” piracy. Not that they really need to, movies are still very profitable despite all their complaints about how piracy is killing them.

Some propose a sort of “Steam for movies“. Others would have Netflix’s model. Others still, iTunes.

I’m both excited and apprehensive about what’s to come.

via You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You – Forbes.

NBC Has Decided To Stop Making Great Shows Like ‘Community’

By , 2012-07-29 20:30

The four biggest sitcoms of the last 30 years were all NBC shows, and they were all somewhat broad: Seinfeld, Cheers, The Cosby Show, and Friends. But they were also original for their time: A show about nothing; an after-workplace comedy that dealt with social issues and recurring themes; the first family sitcom to center on an upper class black family; and, of course, Friends, which doesn’t seem novel now because every show is Friends, but a collection of attractive people who did mostly nothing was novel at the time.

via NBC Has Decided To Stop Making Great Shows Like ‘Community’.

Well that’s just wonderful. Let me think of my favourite (currently airing, US-based) comedies right now:

Community, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, How I Met Your Mother.

See a pattern? Excluding HIMYM they’re all “witty”, “sophisticated”, “critically-acclaimed” shows on NBC. Which also happen to have poor Nielsen ratings.

Witty, sophisticated and critically acclaimed.

I was going to ramble on about why Nielsen ratings are dated, but you can just read about that anywhere on the Web.

Hopefully NBC execs will come to their senses and our “sophisticated” comedies will live on. Or perhaps it’s time for a new way to fund and distribute quality entertainment?

“Unlimited” analogies – stolen from Gizmodo

By , 2012-06-01 01:27

I love Internet comment analogies.

Re: “Unlimited” talk/text/data plans

4n7h0ny – Thu 31 May 2012 11:59 AM

I don’t get it, how can a carrier legally say that they are offering you unlimited data when it is in fact limited.

How would you feel going out to a nice Las Vegas all you can eat buffet and after your first plate of steak and shrimp someone comes up to you and says,

sorry sir you have hit the limit on our first tier of food, you can only have all you can eat of grits and buckwheat now.

Edited by 4n7h0ny at 05/31/12 11:59 AM

Benedinho @4n7h0ny

They claim it’s unlimited because you are able to access it whenever you want. So you may have a data cap, but if you stay within that cap, you are free to access the network whenever you please. It’s bullshit, but that’s how they’re able to make that claim.

4n7h0ny @Benedinho

So by the same logic when I fill up my car with gas I can drive unlimited miles, that is until I run out of gas.

Makes zero sense and this practice should be outlawed. Unlimited should mean unlimited and limited should mean limited.

wesfx @4n7h0ny

I absolutely agree. I worked in advertising for nearly 15 years… in fact I QUIT that field because of the blatant and aggressively deceptive practices they use. This kind of word twisting needs to be outlawed. They KNOW that they are implying unlimited bandwidth, but they hide behind sophistry and legalese to get out of being truthful.

via You Can Use the iPhone with a Prepaid Plan Very Soon.

Farewell, Desktop Metaphor

By , 2012-03-04 16:20

We’re living the end of an era. I’m sad to say that as tech journalists have been proclaiming for a little while now, it seems “the desktop is dead” or at least on its last legs. (I would have liked to provide some data to support that but unfortunately big G has killed off their search timeline feature as of a few months ago.)

The original Macintosh Desktop

Now, when I say desktop, I don’t mean the desktop PC. I mean the traditional personal computer desktop metaphor introduced on the original Macintosh in 1984 (- yes, I know Xerox was first). Since then, most personal computers have used some variation of a desktop as their primary UI. Windows, icons, folders, documents, trash/recycle bins have become familiar and nearly universal. The desktop metaphor also includes some important elements that were not really part of a traditional physical desktop, such as menu, status and task bars.

Why do I concur that the desktop is dying? Well, there are a few reasons.

Mobile device sales

Smartphones and tablet sales surpassed PC sales this past year. In Q4 of 2011, vendors shipped just over 100 million smartphones, while PC sales were numbered at 92.1 million. It’s not a huge relative difference, but the trend shows no sign of stopping for now since many consumers are still using feature phones but already own a PC. Tablets are also poised to take a bite out of PC sales, especially with ever-faster processors and slimmer packages. New releases of tablet OS in 2011 should also contribute, with Apple iOS 5 no longer requiring activation using iTunes on a traditional PC and Android 4 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”) replacing the rather underwhelming Android 3 “Honeycomb”.

Web apps

Web Apps running in Firefox

There’s no denying that the Web has come a long way from its beginnings on Tim Berners-Lee‘s NeXT cube at CERN. Web sites have evolved from being essentially online news or encyclopedia articles to being hubs for dynamic multimedia content and information sharing. Take a look at your taskbar/dock/other app switcher (if you’re viewing this from a desktop!). There’s a very good chance a Web browser is running. Even if there isn’t one running, chances are you have already used the Web more than once today. More and more of our daily computing activities are performed using a Web-based tool. Sharing. Word processing. Blogging. Watching videos. Listening to music. Instant messaging. Photo editing. E-mail. CLI shell access. Hell, why not any GTK application. True, there are some things that can only be done using a desktop application. Like OS virtualization. Oh, wait – never mind.  There are probably quite a few computer users who never open a desktop app at all. Even as a network admin, most of my work is done using Web-based administration tools.

Single-purpose, full-screen apps

The new Metro UI in Windows 8

With the new breed of smartphones and tablets that started with the iPhone, single-purpose, full-screen apps have become mainstream. Game consoles and PCs had full-screen apps before, but now, more than ever, “there’s an app for that”. With limited screen real estate, these apps are supposed to be fast, intuitive and immersive. Desktop PCs have hopped on the bandwagon too. During the netbook era, “mainstream” Linux distro Ubuntu launchedUbuntu Netbook Remix“, a special version of their OS optimized for small (typically 1024×640) netbook screens featuring large buttons, automatically maximized apps and minimal user distractions. Ubuntu’s new interface, Unity, is based on UNR. Following the immense popularity of their iOS mobile devices, and the successful launch of the iPad, Apple released Mac OS X Lion with support for full-screen apps and many other features and UI elements pulled from iOS. Over in Redmond, Microsoft is bringing their “Metro” interface from Windows Phone 7 and XBOX 360 to the Windows desktop.

The future

It could be argued that some of these new interfaces are an evolution of the desktop metaphor. I would agree, however, the traditional desktop seems to have its days numbered. The future seems to be a future of full-screen apps, custom web/HTML-driven interfaces and maybe widgets. Windows 8 still has what they call a traditional desktop, however the Start button has been unceremoniously killed off. The next version of Apple’s OS is not Mac OS X Mountain Lion, but simply OS X Mountain Lion, a clear sign that the Macintosh and its once-revolutionary desktop is now a part of the past.

For my part, I feel saddened and almost homeless with the prospect that my beloved desktop belongs to the confines of history. True, I could just continue using Gnome 2, or Mac OS X 10.6, or Windows 7, but that means missing out on the latest and greatest. I don’t like where this is going. Change is not always good. I must be getting old.

On a more optimistic note, I know that there are teams of brilliant designers, engineers and programmers also living through this change. And I know I’m not the only person to feel less than satisfied with current desktop environments. Nothing to do but wait to see what the future brings! (Or become a programming pro and write a new Linux DE from scratch/help out with MATE or Cinnamon.)

A cheaper file transfer method for Canadians

By , 2012-01-15 11:26

Found this somewhere a few months back. Some food for thought.

Checking Gmail on a monochrome terminal

By , 2011-11-11 19:44


is deliciously retro-nostalgic.

Also, e-mail is in a really sad state following the advent of Facebook. Does anyone want to send me a real e-mail? Please?

Join ALL the social networks!

By , 2011-10-29 16:34

It’s true, it’s very hard to figure out what to post on which social network. Between Google+, tumblr, twitter, Facebook, WordPress, posterous and the rest… There are so many places to “share” and yet none of them really is the be all, end all network, and I doubt they ever will be.

The consensus in my group of friends seems to be Facebook, but FB doesn’t really lend itself to long-winded posts or all the random thoughts, images and other media that I collect and want to sort of scrapbook for future reference.

Meanwhile, I’m just going to go ahead and cross-post this to Facebook, G+, my blog, tumblr….

Canada approves UBB

By , 2011-01-30 20:13

Hello. As you may or may not have heard, Canada has approved UBB, that is, Usage-Based Billing for all ISPs. This means the end of unlimited internet for individuals in Canada.

This makes me incredibly angry, because it’s backwards, it’s anti-competitive, and it’s expensive.

“Bandwidth (computing) or digital bandwidth: a rate of data transfer, bit rate or throughput, measured in bits per second (bps)”

I believe it’s fair to charge for BANDWIDTH. i.e. THROUGHPUT. That’s what actually costs money. If these telecom idiots hadn’t overprovisioned their infrastructure in the first place so that they could scam customers for more money, they wouldn’t have to do this to save their asses.

Ever notice how at “peak hours” the ‘net gets slower? That’s because Rogers or Bell or whoever it may be did not bother spending the money to upgrade the fiber to your local hub. In any other business this is unacceptable (taking into consideration interference and other such factors). I have a 100Mbps network, I EXPECT at LEAST 60Mbps out of it.

Once the physical medium is in place, who gives a damn how much data goes through it? It’s not like there’s physical wear on the equipment. Sure there’s maintenance, but like everything else in computing, it makes more sense to upgrade rather than to repair. So why not make network upgrades, and offer higher speeds at higher prices?

Charging for usage is wrong. Plus they’re making up rules while misusing technical terms. =Double angry.

Vancouver says NO to bandwidth caps!

By , 2010-12-17 20:17

Vancouver’s city council says that Internet traffic metering discriminates against video and audio streaming providers.

Finally, some level of government is taking action against Bell and the CRTC’s decision! For those who don’t know, all of us Canadians are being ripped off by our broadband carriers. They impose arbitrary bandwidth caps and require end uses to pay premium prices for extra speed in order to up these limits.

Now, before you get all “well I never hit my cap, it must be all those BitTorrenting pirates. They should stop complaining and buy movies like the rest of us”, let me point out that there are a many ways of acquiring content with high bandwidth requirements legally online. To name a few, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, as well as the websites of every national television network and radio station. Not to mention the loads of freeware/shareware and open-source software, digital downloads of proprietary operating systems and productivity software, SDKs, game demos, benchmarks, software updates, and even data transfer for business purposes. The list goes on and on and I won’t bother or even attempt to list more uses.

Point is, what is the purpose of having an “information superhighway” if some users are faced with arbitrary tolls and speed limits in addition to advertising?

How is streaming media supposed to render optical media obsolete if we aren’t free to consume it? How do we keep our systems up to date if we have to count the bytes downloaded for each update pack? How are we to move to video conferencing, VoIP, and social media with horribly limited upstream bandwidth?

Anyway, enough with the negativity. Thanks to Vancouver and, there is a glimmer of hope for Canadian Internet users!

For more info, check out .

via Canada: We might be America\’s hat, but we don\’t like caps.

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