macbroadcast´s blog

‘Occupy Flash’ Wants Adobe’s Plugin to Die Now, Not Later
November 21, 2011, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Decentralization, freedombox, Hacking, Softwarepatents | Tags: , ,

It wasn’t enough for Adobe to put the kibosh on the mobile version of its Flash media plugin—a group riffing on the Occupy Wall Street movement wants to see Flash buried six feet under.

Flash Player is dead,” argue the site’s operators in a manifesto. “Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology.”

Occupy Flash describes itself as “the movement to rid the world of the Flash Player plugin.” Its site certainly looks the part, an art deco-style fist thrust high in the air above a banner framing Adobe’s Flash logo beneath a “no” symbol. The site’s goal: “To get the world to uninstall the Flash Player plugin from their desktop browsers.”

(MORE: Hey Adobe, Thanks for Seeing the (Flash) Light) Read more:


Chatroulette Enlists Shawn Fanning In The Fight Against The Masturbators

Russian website Chatroulette, founded byAndrey Ternovskiy, is perhaps most well known as a place to watch men expose their genitals.

But that hasn’t stopped up to a million people a day from visiting the site. And it has been featured on both the Daily Show and South Park.

And wow has Ternovskiy been courted by Silicon Valley and other investors. SGN founderShervin Pishevar helped bring him to Palo Alto and get set up in an apartment. In May theNew Yorker talked about how Russia’s DST was having him followed when he first visited the U.S. And we’ve heard rumors of angel investors and venture capitalists circling Ternovskiy like a hawk.

The problem is the site is quickly losing its appeal as more and more people are turned off by the sheer number of people exposing themselves or worse on the site. The brand is becoming permanently associated (with help from those Daily Show and South Park features) with the more disgusting parts of humanity.

Can Chatroulette become something more? Look for feature changes soon that will try to send all those penises to the background. The service may add software that can quickly scan video to determine if a penis is being shown. And users that are consistently quickly skipped over (presumably because they are exposing themselves or otherwise being disgusting) can be flagged as well. With those and other changes Chatroulette may be able to put people who actually want to talk to each other in touch much more often.

And that’s where real growth might happen. “There just isn’t anywhere on the Internet for you to meet new people anymore,” says one investor that wants in on Chatroulette. “The potential for online dating, which is largely what pushed early Facebook growth, is unlimited.”

But Ternovskiy’s caution may doom the site. He has rebuffed most offers for help, say our sources, and investors and advisors are starting to give up. “If he doesn’t make a dramatic move soon to clean up the service, the brand will be permanently tarnished,” says another interested investor.

One person that Ternovskiy does seem to trust is Napster founder Shawn Fanning, who is currently hard at work on his most recent startup Path. Fanning is an advisor to Chatroulette, he confirms, and has been working closely with Ternovskiy for the last month or so. “I’m fascinated by Chatroulette and Andrey,” he told me yesterday, “and I want to help him any way I can.” Fanning stresses that the advisory role is informal, uncompensated and that he works with a number of other entrepreneurs as well.

It isn’t clear yet what happens next for Chatroulette. Ternovskiy will either push on independently and try to grow and clean up the site on his own, or he’ll embrace the Silicon Valley ecosystem and get other people and investors involved.

It’s clear that people are fascinated by the concept of talking to strangers from the relative safety of their computer screens, and Chatroulette satisfies some basic human need to connect to others. But sadly it also satisfies the basic human need of some people to show the world their penis. And that parade of penises is driving everyone else away. Chatroulette needs to decide what it wants to be when it grows up, and it needs to decide soon. Otherwise it will be nothing more than the punchline of a joke, and even that will grow old quickly.

Watch our interview with Ternovskiy here.

Open Letter to Steve Jobs
May 3, 2010, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Softwarepatents | Tags: , , , ,

update 16:00: Steve Jobs answers to my open letter, see below.

Dear Steve Jobs,

Having read your Thoughts on Flash, I could not agree with you more. Flash is not the Web, and I am glad Apple seizes the opportunity of open standards to build better products for their customers.

But I am not so sure about your definition of the word Open in general. I will not argue here that it is ironic you find the Apple Store more open than Flash. I will not complain either that you like Openness so much that when you use “Open Source” Software to build your Mac operating system, you keep all the openness for yourself and don’t give it to your customers, nor to the developers whose works have been very useful to you.

I figured that writing an open letter was an appropriate way to remind you of a couple of things that you may have forgotten — maybe in good faith — about open standards.

It is true that HTML5 is an emerging open standard, and I am glad that you adopted it (well, did you really have the choice anyway?). However I have to say I am impressed in the way you succeed in saying how Apple has been doing great with open standards against Flash… while explaining Flash videos is not a problem, because Apple has implemented another video codec: H.264.

May I remind you that H.264 is not an open standard? This video codec is covered by patents, and “vendors and commercial users of products which make use of H.264/AVC are expected to pay patent licensing royalties for the patented technology” (ref). This is why Mozilla Firefox and Opera have not adopted this video codec for their HTML5 implementation, and decided to chose Theora as a sustainable and open alternative.

Free Software Foundation Europe have been raising consensus and awareness on Open Standards for some years already. I am sure we would be happy to help Apple make the good decision. So, to begin with, here is the definition:

An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is

subject to full public assessment and use without constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;
without any components or extensions that have dependencies on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an Open Standard themselves;
free from legal or technical clauses that limit its utilisation by any party or in any business model;
managed and further developed independently of any single vendor in a process open to the equal participation of competitors and third parties;
available in multiple complete implementations by competing vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to all parties.
Hugo Roy
April 2010

Another interresting article:

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA