First Quikscript post

[  ] ,    ?

If caffeine aids reading comprehension, I am undercaffeinated

Dianne Feinstein is running for reelection, and, like most candidates, has a candidate statement in the Voter Information Guide.

She writes:

As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I remain vigilant in safeguarding the civil rights of all our citizens and am unwavering in protecting a woman’s right to choose against all assaults.

I somehow interpreted this as “a woman’s right to decline all assaults”, and imagined it’d go something like this:

“Would you like a garden-variety mugging?”


“Would you like to be bum-rushed by a psycho wielding a meat cleaver?”

“No, thank you.”

“What about five ninjas?”

“I’d rather not.”

Regarding Gruber’s “Simple Questions…Dropping of H.264”

(John Gruber recently asked, in public, five questions regarding Chrome dropping H.264 support. I sent him the following e-mail to help shine a light on the mentality of such people as well as I can.)

Chrome’s impending drop of H.264 support seems oddly parallel to Apple’s dropping Flash support in its various products ever since OS 10.6 shipped with an exploitable version of Flash. Apple’s been trying to distance itself from others’ opaque, buggy, crash-prone technologies as much as it can, and because of this, the Web is a slightly better place for having alternatives to Flash as a video delivery vector. I run Safari without Flash installed per the instructions you posted on Daring Fireball, and I chuckle every time YouTube suggests that upgrading to Flash 10 will improve my playback performance compared to YouTube5.


Viewed from what I imagine is Google’s general perspective, H.264 is similarly problematic. It’s patent-encumbered (and, unlike Apple, they’re not in the patent pool), and money spent on licensing others’/rivals’ video formats is money not spent on things that they have at least an equal say in the development of. This, I strongly suspect, is also Mozilla’s reasoning for not ponying up for an H.264 license.

With this in mind, your five questions:

In addition to supporting H.264, Chrome currently bundles an embedded version of Adobe’s closed source and proprietary Flash Player plugin. If H.264 support is being removed to “enable open innovation”, will Flash Player support be dropped as well? If not, why?

Probably, eventually, if they can get away with it. Especially if there are any patent costs associated with shipping browsers that expose H.264 decoding functionality present in bundled Flash.

Android currently supports H.264. Will this support be removed from Android? If not, why not?

Probably, eventually, if they can get away with it.

As I understand things, Apple’s much more willing to use specialized hardware to keep iOS snappy even though the CPU, by itself, isn’t capable of smooth scrolling or full-screen video playback. Google, by contrast, tends to prefer to keep more processing on the CPU, which means that there’s no hardware H.264 decoder to switch away from.

(One of the reasons why I suspected Apple never bothered to add Vorbis support to iTunes was because there were hardware MP3 decoders for its iPod lineup, but no real Vorbis ones.)

YouTube uses H.264 to encode video. Presumably, YouTube will be re-encoding its entire library using WebM. When this happens, will YouTube’s support for H.264 be dropped, to “enable open innovation”? If not, why not?

If/when it happens, it’ll be billed as an optimization, possibly with some greenwashing.

“By moving exclusively to WebM, our datacenters will emit 40% less carbon, keeping our planet happy! Additionally, uploaded videos will be ready sooner!”

Do you expect companies like Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo, Major League Baseball, and anyone else who currently streams H.264 to dual-encode all of their video using WebM? If not, how will Chrome users watch this content other than by resorting to Flash Player’s support for H.264 playback?

Flash as an interim solution. Maybe WebM will take off enough for dual-encoding, or maybe it won’t. Like Jobs, they’re certainly willing to try jettisoning direct support for things they don’t like.

Who is happy about this?

Anyone who thinks that the proliferation of patent-encumbered standards are bad for the Web, and anyone who thinks that you shouldn’t have to pay anyone one thin dime in royalties to get your message out on the Internet, and nobody else has to do so on your behalf, either.

I suspect there’s at least some overlap between the people who’re cheering on Google’s H.264 support drop and Apple’s Flash support drop. Not because they’re necessarily fans of either Google or Apple, but because they think H.264 and Flash are grotesquely popular piles of poo.

BOSU exercises

In the BOSU manual, the first section deals with balance exercises. Most of these involve standing on the BOSU and then doing additional things to make this more difficult, such as head movements, arm movements, or closing the eyes.

While the manual has a number of decent exercises in it, it doesn't go into all the possible variations for space reasons. What I didn't bank on was that some of these variants lent themselves to better, more memorable colloquial names than one would expect.

The most basic involve raising and lowering both arms, straight up and down, in front of the body:

Two-armed headcrab zombie slash
Raise and lower both arms together.
Raise and lower both arms antisynchronously—when one is raised, the other should be lowered.

Others involve rotating the arms in front of the body:

Floral Arrangement Fluffer
rotate the left arm counterclockwise and the right arm clockwise. Do this synchronously—when one arm is on the inside loop, the other should be, too.
Danger, Will Robinson!
Rotate the left arm clockwise, right arm counterclockwise. When one arm is at the top of its loop, the other should be on the bottom.

That said, nowadays I spend most of my stand-on-a-BOSU time watching TV shows and am less inclined to make large arm movements except during the boring parts.

Team Fortress 2, simplified

I was thinking about an old Onion clip that simplified NASCAR to its core mechanic—drive fast and turn repeatedly. This, of course, can be further abstracted to “press accelerator and turn wheel”. Then I started to think about other pastimes that can be simplified such


Space space; click click.


Click click click click wait.


Click and hold.
Click, press 3, click.


Click click click click wait.
Click click click right-click.


Click and hold.


Press number keys. Click click click click click click click click click. Then, click click click click click click click click.

Repeat three times.


Click and hold. Right-click 40 seconds later.


Right-click. Click.


Press number keys. Click.

CS department critique

colleague My strongest critique of the CS department is they've removed too much of the physical element from the classes.
me like, having students hold hands in class to teach red-black trees for the kinesthetically inclined?