Friday, November 25, 2011

How Software Ruins Ratings

I'm a long time Harry Potter fan.  It's part of my childhood like most people my age.
 I'd gone to the theaters to see every single movie, except for 7P2.  I read today that Amazon was having a
rental sale on the movie (apparently it normally costs more than $1.99 to rent it on Amazon?).  Either way,
I went to the page and I was absolutely surprised to see the rating for the movie was only 2 and a half

Even if the movie was terrible, there would clearly be such a massive amount of
fans rating the thing that it'd probably hit four stars.. but two and a half?  Not even a full three?  What
was going on here?

A quick glance at the "customer reviews" told me everything I needed
to know.  The full copy included some software called  "Ultraviolet," the main cause of over 200 1 star
Ultraviolet is another feeble, doomed attempt by some dinosaur brain
Hollywood execs to restrict the use of your legally bought digital purchase. Ultraviolet is NOT a digital
copy that resides on a device of your choice to be used on a device of your choice. It is a streaming
service, for which you have to sign up and maintain an account, at the expense of your bandwidth, compatible
with some but not all mobile devices. If you're willing to wait another 4 weeks, order this disc set from
Amazon's UK website you can do this with your current US account). Not only are you getting a REAL digital
copy, but the Blu-ray disc is region free too!! Price + shipping is the same as the price in USD with free

- href="">John Dettingmeijer

that wrapped up that mystery.  Horrible software is murdering ratings.  A damn shame.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Great Scott, I've discovered something delicious

Truthfully, I've tried my best to make a difference in programming, in code, trying to
learn, trying to be amazing.  I never thought I'd just randomly happen upon a chance discovery that would
turn out to be amazingly delicious.

Late August, I went to my friend's house in Toledo.
 There, we picked some pears.  I took home some for myself and placed them in my fridge, unfortunately never
stopping to think to eat them.

Late September, I place a Sunkist can I had not had time
to finish beside the pears, leaving it for later.

October 1st, I pull the pears out of
the fridge, giving them up to inspection by Rebecca.  They look as if they haven't aged, possibly frozen by
sitting beside the freezer inside the fridge.  I pull out the sunkist and set it on top of the fridge to
deal with later.  Rebecca declares that the pears, although not yet rotten, would be as soon as they thawed
as their cellular structure would not be able to survive being frozen and thawed.

that evening, I accidentally take a swig of the sunkist left on top of the fridge.  It has a delicious taste
of pear to it, despite its flatness it does not taste bad.  It is delicious, but sickly sweet.  But amazingly

Now that I've learned this, what should I do about it?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Web Needs a Federated Payment Protocol

When it comes to paying for good and services on the Internet, the consumer has many
choices - Paypal, Amazon, Google Checkout, their respective Credit Card...

However, you
rarely see all of these accepted in a single place - and for very good reason: Its gorram difficult to
implement so many different APIs and systems, and have to deal with tracking each of them.

the Web needs a way to deal with this - and having a Federated Payment Protocol would solve it.

about it: A vendor website would easily communicate with a payment processor through this protocol.  They
wouldn't have to know who the Payment Processor is, or even care for that matter.  The vendor would issue a
request to the payment processor.  The processor would be in charge of authenticating the user, and would
send back their "terms" (out of the requested amount, *this* much will be dispersed and *this* much will be
taken as a processing fee).  The vendor will agree, disagree, or change the payment amount based on what the
processor sent.  The processor would then submit this change to the user, if the user accepted the processor
would send the new details and the vendor would accept or deny.  The processor would send the money through
whatever system they need to, notifying the vendor how long it should take, and if its a short enough time
the vendor can hold the user until the payment has cleared (or if it is a trusted source not hold at all)
and provide the promised goods or services, after confirming the transaction with their receiving service.

solves a few key issues:

  • Vendors have to trust that they are
    receiving the money for their services.

  • Credit Card details would never have
    to be provided to the vendor, as the service would be directly through their credit company's payment

  • Vendors would not have to implement different APIs for different
    payment methods.

  • "Credit Card Fraud" liability would be the burden of the
    Credit Company, of whom authenticated the user.  A vendor would no longer be required to make sure a person
    is who they say they are.

  • Banks could offer their own payment services
    ("Debit."  Possibly with No Fee, resulting in a reduction of prices from vendors, hopefully).

this is a good idea, and I wish I had the know-how to put it together myself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lack of "Security" May Hinder Future Google Adoption

I better make this clear: I am not talking about encryption, password, hashes, etc.
 Not that kind of security.

No, I'm talking about reliability.
 Something Google has had for a very long time, and one of the many reasons I'm such a Google fanatic.

recently, at least as far as I can remember, Google products that existed did not see the end of the tunnel
very often.  (The question and answer service excluded).

Recently, however, Google has
been trying to expand into many markets.  From what I can take away, Google wants to be the hub of
information exchange on the Internet.  After all, knowing all of that powers their search - and their search
powers their ads.

Recently though, several Google services have announced that they
will be discontinued.  Among these: Wave, PowerMeter, and Health.

PowerMeter and Health
did not see large enough adoption for Google to continue putting forth the funds for them.  To me, this is
disappointing.  Being able to get this information so easily and readily through Google was really exciting.
 After all: Google has the technological know-how to keep my data secure and provide at least decent user
interfaces to said data.  In fact, I used Google Health - although since I don't have many issues it was
currently just to store my insurance information.

Now though, these services will be
disappearing.  Who is to say that other less-mainstream services won't disappear in the future?  Buzz?
Voice?  Google+?  Well, there's no way that last one could disappear... right?

If I'm
going to rely on Google to provide a service, I'm going to need the security of knowing that the service is
going to continue to exist.  I might be asking a bit much as a free user, but its still a very important

If Google loses this trust; this security; this reliability - won't it
hinder future adoption of Google's services?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So I Came Up With This Really Great Idea

Not too long ago, Gabor came up with an idea - href="">Throw out IMAP.  As anyone
that has ever had to fiddle with email settings should know, IMAP is an email transfer protocol.  It allows
a client to communicate with a server and keep email data synchronized between the two.  It was a good idea
for its time (1994), but now its old and is no longer as well suited to email tasks as it should be.

about it.  How much has email changed in the last twenty years?  Not a lot, if any.  The most revolutionary
features are GMail's labels and Gmail/Outlook's server-side email rules/filter settings.  To me, this is
ridiculous.  I was born in 1991, played around on the internet when it was on dialup, and had a free Juno
account when I was old enough.

Since then I'd moved through Yahoo, Hotmail, and finally
rested on Gmail.  But all-in-all, everything is still pretty much the same.  It was because of this that
Gabor's idea to scrap IMAP really intrigued me.  I wanted this.
 Google and Microsoft had both come up with newer, proprietary synchronization standards, and creating a
new, open protocol would be the way to usher in a new age of compatibility and extensible feature sets.

this initial bit of intrigue, I've spent some time working on protocol documentation whenever I can get a
bit motivated and have some spare time to do so.  I continue to push my creativity and find new things to
throw in to the protocol, ideas that wouldn't have to be there when the first part hits, but that its
extensibility would make possible.  Ideas such as receiving push notifications from web services, that could
also be synced to mobile devices through the protocol, or using OpenID as a base and creating a new
single-login/password system that uses your email address., or even ideas such as being able to query an
email server for a person's contact information, and store/update it in a syncable address book.

we leave the defining bounds of IMAP and proprietary protocols like Exchange, we can really start work on
building something terrific that would allow a flood of innovation that email has never seen before.

my voice is small - and is very largely unheard.  I can't even get Gabor, the original creator of this idea
to @mention me on twitter regarding it anymore, and so I've been stuck working on it by myself.

yes, this is a call to action, and I do so hope that you'll oblige me.  I need help
revolutionizing email
.  I can't do it all on my own, and the protocol being open is the
important part.  I need other people's ideas, not just my own.  I need their thoughts and their knowledge.
 I'm only a college student after all, and as much as I'd like to do this all by myself and use it as my
claim to fame - I'd much rather just be a person that helped start and organize it and get things moving.

please, join me in discussing my ideas, submitting your own, and if you feel like it even work on defining
the protocol!

join the discussion on 'MSAP' at Google Groups

Thank you for your time, and
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


So, despite the fact that I know excessively little about how to work Node.JS,
especially when coming from a PHP background - I am beyond obsessed with the language.

it thrills me to no end that there is now a Node.JS executable for Windows.

Of course,
things kind of suck when you don't have the super simple power of NPM, but that's life for ya.

understand the basics of Node.JS (If you've ever touched JavaScript, its hard NOT to);
but some fine details such as templating elude me.  Maybe you're not supposed to template?  Maybe you're
just supposed to serve up some static HTML that then queries the Node.JS server for the information it
needs?  Oh.. now there's a thought.. program a single frontend that just talks back and forth with the
backend.  Kind of like Google+, actually.

Is that what I'm supposed to do?  God I love
this language.

Friday, July 22, 2011

First Play with ChromeOS

I recently managed to have my first attempt at playing with ChromeOS - and it was
definitely not the way Google would have preferred my first experience with it go.  For this test, I managed
to load a bootable image of Hexxeh's Flow onto a 4GB SD Card and booted off of it.

booted up faster than anything ever before (except maybe resuming Windows out of sleep), and then it was
slow.  Its probably because my ancient graphics card isn't supported by bloody anything these days.

to say, I quickly left it and booted back into Windows 7.  I'd love to play around with a Chromebook, and
know just the everyday apps I'd use.

  • - Instant Messaging.
     imo allows me to connect to Skype, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, MySpace (lol), and Google Talk all from a
    single client.  It is by far the best multi-client I've ever used, and is constantly improving.

  • Google Docs - There are very few reasons for me to use Google Docs, and if I'm lucky such reasons
    will become even fewer.

  •  Google Voice - Text Messaging on Any Platform.  I
    love it.

  • Cloud 9 IDE - So far the best IDE I've found.  What I really need
    is a free web-based IDE that allows me to work on private projects without them being
    Open Source.  Sometimes I have things I want to work on in secret.

saying.  I'd really love a Chromebook to play around on.  It might encourage me to put more apps/extensions
in the WebApp Store too.  #justsayin

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Programs I Want to See Made Into (Browser) Web Applications

Sunday, April 10, 2011

YouTube Audio Player

While I was procrastinating on my essay for GSW, I’ve made a couple slight changes to
the YouTube
Audio Player
that should make it a little better.

Firstly, I’ve given you the
ability to allow YouTube to set cookies.  I’m not sure why anyone would be interested in doing this for a
Music player, but its there.  I guess the primary reason I set this is because youtube-nocookie wasn’t
working properly the other day, as I soon found out from a comment on my blog.  So if it isn’t showing up,
you should allow YouTube to collect cookies.

The second, and by far the more important
change is embedding the link (in the event that neither the object nor the embed shows) in a <noembed>
tag.  I’m not quite sure how I didn’t know about the existence of this tag, but I’ve gone ahead and
programmed it in properly, which should get rid of the annoying duplication some users have been seeing on
any players generated from this point forward.

And one last change I made while working
on this blog post, I created an API!  So now you can generate them on the fly if you want to and get just
the HTML for the player.  I’ll document the API below:

  • &q=

    • The URL to the YouTube Video or Playlist

  • &a=1

    • Only Add if you want the music to AutoPlay

  • &loop=1

    • Only Add if you want the music to Loop

  • &js=1

    • Only Add if you want to be able to use the
      JavaScript API with it

  • &s=on

    • Add if you want to enable the Progress Bar on the video.

    • &psize=
      This is the progress bar size, acceptable variables are below

      • s –
        Small, This will set the width of the video to 150px

      • m – Medium, This will
        set the width of the video to 187px

      • l – Large, This will set the width of
        the video to 224px

      • &tc =1

        • Only
          Add if you also want to show a timecode.  Only works with progress bar.  Changes the follow sizes to the
          corresponding pixels:

        • s – 225px

        • m – 262px

        • l – 299px

  • &invis=1

    • Add if you want to make the player
      invisible.  Note: People hate this.

  • &html5=1

    • Add if you want to use YouTube’s HTML5 player. You shouldn’t use this.  Its VERY buggy.

  • &cookie=1

    • Add if you’re okay with YouTube
      setting cookies on the user’s computer.

that’s all!  Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Something Chrome Needs

There is a very common type of extension for Google Chrome, and that happens
to be the “Notifier” type.

You have GMail Notifiers, Google Voice Notifiers, Google
Reader, Google Docs, OWA, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Google Chrome just
had a single Notification Center with a fantastic User Interface for showing notifications from whatever
services register themselves with it?

I think it would, and over the summer – if I have
spare time – I think I’m going to program an extension that will can accept additions for showing
notifications.  I’ll then ask around for help and/or program some basic services for it to use, and
post it to the Chrome WebApp Store.

My next questions are:

  • Would
    you use this?  Is it a good idea?
  • Would you code for this?
  • Would
    you purchase this for $1?

At the moment, I’ve got plenty of cool
programming projects, and I’m not making money with any of them.  GVOMS is almost entirely free (no
companies have purchased a license to use), and anything else I’ve done so far has been free and open

So unless people are going to start donating to me – which I’m pretty sure you
aren’t – I need to find some way to make money.  I’m a college student, after all.

I don’t think $1 would be too much to ask for a unified notification center in Google Chrome, do you?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I hate Terminal on Macs

Ugh.  Just ugh.  I had a lab in my Computer
Science 202 class today.  The computer I sat down to was already booted into Mac OS X, and I didn’t
want to restart it just to get into Windows, so I just logged in and opened up terminal since I’d be doing
the whole thing over SSH anyways.  I should have basically the same experience, right?

Wrong.  So wrong its insane.

I had
pleasantly forgotten that even when using SSH terminal doesn’t send nice commands like “Pg Up” and “Pg Dwn”
to the server, nor does it send “End” for some reason.  I can’t remember, but I’m also pretty sure
it refuses to send “Home” as well.

This is why I hate working on a Mac.