I find it hard to imagine a Google employee releasing an ad blocker, or Popcorn Time raising a Series A round, or startups shipping crypto that breaks the law, or a startup selling offensive security software (there's a reason that business has been pushed overseas)
Today, startups that push the boundaries on bad laws and regulations are more likely to be roundly criticized than praised.
DMCA notices are automatically complied with without question via automated systems. The tech companies have become the media companies. Founders in file sharing or media make a point in investment pitches that they'll be conformist. YouTube's ContentID system means thousands of legal satire and parody videos are removed every day.
Not to mention whatever is/was happening between SV and the intelligence agencies.
It's pretty hard today to find projects or communities that have similar levels of energy and disregard for rules. When you do find them it's no coincidence that they're usually on the periphery of what SV touches.
 Brian Kennish quit Google and released Disconnect, a privacy plugin for browsers.
"You wouldn't be able to get away with the same jokes today."
"You wouldn't be able to publish the same story today."
I agree that time changes, but this is discarding the merits of those who did it then.
Believe it or not, at that time it was not easy either. The people that did it had huge balls.
Geeks were considered less that nothing by society. The working world didn't trust them, believe in them or value them. They were basically rejected, as something annoying you had to have somewhere in your closet. My father actually told me in 2003 that he was disappointed I choose to work in such a boring field.
Technology didn't exist. You couldn't google your way out of anything like today (now if you google, SO answer everything!). Networks and computer where slow and expensive (we now got unmetered VPS for 3€/month, come on!). Less libraries, less frameworks, no crazy powerful API (can you believe making uber before google map ?) and no proof whatsoever that what you wanted to do was achievable.
The market was unproven (the 2000 bubble killed so much). We had no experience in it. Not tools to recruit, sell, build...
It's was not easier to do anything. The constraints were just different.
The constraints of tomorrow will be also different.
Let's not use the change as an excuse.
Doing something that matters is ALWAYS HARD.
Exaggerating a bit? By a bit I mean a lot? I know that some geeks had hard childhood and were bullied, but way more others were not. Plenty of fathers were disappointed over children choosing various professions.
The way you people talk about it makes it sound as if all people who ever went into tech were bullied outcasts and that is simply not true.
At best you had an "ok" situation. Nothing like the "rock star" attitude you get today.
Not only geeks where the less popular in school, but the media mocked them. And this snowballed into the workplace where the only people threated like the IT department was the accounting one.
The pay was not nearly in the same area. Nobody would consider buying a dual screen for their IT dev a minimum requirement.
I can recall people dreading to call the sysadmin to deal with anything. Talking to them was considered a chore.
The best way to defend this is that before the ipod existed, noone would ever say "I'm such a geek". Today somebody playing too much on iphone would say that. We call girls with cute glasses "geeks".
Not being rock star is not an oppression. The ok treatment is what majority of people have. I mean, not being treated as something super special is not "considered less that nothing by society". It is being considered normal.
"And this snowballed into the workplace where the only people threated like the IT department was the accounting one."
There is nothing wrong with the accounting department. In pretty much all workplaces I have been at, they have been treated with respect. In any case, if that workplace treated accountants badly too, the workplace was shitty for more then one group.
"I can recall people dreading to call the sysadmin to deal with anything. Talking to them was considered a chore."
I have seen such behavior towards admin, but then again I did not liked talking with that particular admin either. I dont doubt that there were groups of great admins that were not treated fairly despite acting all polite and all that. Bad workplaces happen.
However, admin I considered chore to talk with was condescending too often and it was hard to get what I needed from him. He was good in tech, but talking with him was a chore.
"The best way to defend this is that before the ipod existed, noone would ever say "I'm such a geek"."
Yeah, I find everybody is a geek culture annoying too.
"We call girls with cute glasses "geeks"."
Guys with pretty much zero technical skills used to be called geeks just for liking a tv show or play videogame.
From my first job to my current one, I always made sure I was in good stead with the IT department (whatever its size) - it was where I could get cast-off hardware for my computer junk pile!
Because the dot-com bubble had recently burst...
The impression i have is that the geek label came into effect during the dot-com era as a way to be a web guy without the "no social graces" stigma.
These days you get geeks appropriating nerd elements as a element of their self promotion, resulting in hipsters...
I'm not just being nostalgic. Before quick money ruled over all a lot more actually beneficial innovation took place. Now that the Balkanization is in full swing and the battle lines are drawn we've regressed: realtime chat is fragmented, non-corporate online entities are sidelined everywhere and any attempt at widespread integration and change goes crashing headlong into shortsighted gold rushes. Why do something that works for everyone? You can't monetize that. You can't fight Facebook with that. You can't impress your financial suitors with that.
We could do so much more than we're doing today - and we did. The most painful part of being embedded in Silicon Valley this long is seeing so much potential and momentum sacrificed on the altar of shit like G+.
Please shitcan the hyperbole and grow some perspective. Until geeks are systematically denied fundamental civil rights, until their very lives are routinely under threat because of who they are, they have nothing on the average gay person, let alone the average Muslim, black, or transsexual person.
By the standards of society, most geeks enjoy very privileged lives indeed. They just lack the social wherewithal to play by society's rules.
If you've read the "Life in the Boy's Dorm" series by Nancy Hauge, the power dynamic was very different then. Sun's engineers refused to stop smoking pot for the visit of the President (or Vice President, I don't remember which) of the United States. They promptly put on a protest against The Man when asked to cut out the potheadery. Completely unreasonable, and downright hilarious in their adherence to their principles, as illegal as that may be. That's not an engineering thing but it's emblematic of the wild seat-of-your-pants approach that characterized the Gold Rush years.
It was inevitable it wouldn't last, though. The market learned to harness this unbridled power and direct it along the appropriate channels. And that combined with a greater spread of information means that non-standard actions will meet the weight of the community.
Sun's cannabis-powered engineers unwilling to give up their fuel source weren't a well known thing and that may have helped. The thing with "break the rules" mode is that everyone wants you to follow the rules. If everyone knows you're willfully breaking the rules (often just for the sake of it) you will be hammered down. The justifications come afterward, and they're always easily accessible. After all, you _are_ breaking the rules. The broader the reach of news, the more conformist the reported must be if they are to get away with their actions.
Cormack and Romero ghost shifted on computers at their daytime employer. Philippe Kahn started Borland while illegally in the United States. How much of this would you tolerate? Probably little. Probably neither of those actions.
Definitely fine with both those. And had that happen at a less exciting circumstances but they were comparible. I like to cultivate people that take stands and believe in something instead of berate them. As I know the latter will only end up in those people doing it anyway but then in secret.
That's a very timely example given the Oculus lawsuit verdict...
There is element of idealism in pushing for open crypto which is simply missing from what (for example) Uber is doing. Uber behavior is closer to what Microsoft used to be doing (not in power, just in ethical considerations) then to what crypto pushing projects were doing.
"Not to mention whatever is/was happening between SV and the intelligence agencies. It's pretty hard today to find projects or communities that have similar levels of energy and disregard for rules."
What is happening between SV and the intelligence agencies is oftentimes disregard of the rules. The only difference is that their disregard for rules does not benefit you - but lawbreaking being done for benefit of random strangers is rather exceptional thing.
it's pretty hard to be innovative and not be illegal somewhere. Difference is many today see being illegal in China, Turkey, Iran, or wherever as a good thing while being illegal or borderline illegal in the USA is a bad thing
The USA has regulatory capture that is just as bad as ideological or dogmatic religious capture is in those other nations. It just happens that the largest markets with monopolies or cartels that are super profitable and ripe for tech disruption also usually/sometimes also markets that have built a moat via government regulation.
The reason Uber and AirBnB are the subject of scrutiny is simply because the difference between them and any other business is non-discernable except that they have the money to stall out legal issues. Just from a "feel" perspective, they don't really feel like they're fighting the fight for everyone, they're just trying to line their pockets. There's a world of difference between what they do (offer a service at cost) to something like bit torrent or gnutella.
I can't really say where or what the limit is on something like this, when a software maverick stops being a maverick and starts playing the game, but admittedly I haven't really carefully analyzed it beyond just "here's why I see a difference". Uber and AirBnB (and quite frankly, many other SV start ups) don't really have that hacker feel to them like we'd see with older projects - instead it feels much more like they're rooted in business and business alone.
No, no it is not. One party making lots of money is not the same as something benefitting everyone.
Companies ignoring environmental regulations could make more money, but it wouldn't benefit everyone, as an example.
If a startup disrupts a high margin industry, especially if that industry is also inefficient (which often goes together) and replaces it with a more efficient lower margin business model, then consumers will benefit.
If a startup disrupts an industry by finding loopholes in government regulations, the question of who benefits is much more complicated. I do believe that finding loopholes or even breaking the law to some degree is a necessary part of the democratic process. It's also unavoidable given the global nature of some businesses.
But whether or not regulatory arbitrage benefits anyone other than founders and investors very much depends on the specific business model and local circumstances. It's extremely complicated and varied. Finding out what all the effects are will probably produce a couple of nobel laureates in economics.
If before you had independent smaller businesses or individuals, and now all that has been captured by a single company, then a job has just gone down the drain, and the road is open for monopoly.
The assumption, beginning with Marx I think, was that monopolies have a self reinforcing element. That's true, but there is also a self defeating element. The more a monopoly absuses its power, the more complacent it becomes and the greater the incentive to disrupt it.
The problem is that governments sometimes collude with monopolists instead of making sure that markets are actually functioning as they should.
I didn't explain my point well now that I've re-read it but the idea is more than the early maverick hacker projects felt more like just a project, something that was made to make sure everyone's lives got better. Uber, AirBnB, et. al., were business from the beginning. Their interests look to be making money, not providing a service or making it better. The focus isn't on making transportation or hospitality better, it's about controlling a market with their system and earning a profit. Motive matters, and it just doesn't strike that they are really benefitting anyone but themselves.
This isn't saying their services can't be useful - heck, I have an AirBnB reservation for my holiday the next 3 weeks. But I also don't doubt that if AirBnB would change their service in an instant if it suited them. They're only doing hospitality because there's money in it. That's not really the same spirit and it's not really with our benefit in mind, it's with our wallets in mind.
So, thinking out loud... a billion dollars at $10 a ride, so lots of transactions, lots of customers. Theory says a transaction will only happen if both sides feel they will profit, so lots of people must have benefited, right?
But no, because you were talking about the total benefit, not total number of people who benefit.
Trivially, if the customers got a ride plus a share of a billion dollars, they'd be better off than if they just got the ride. More benefit would be delivered to customers if Uber had zero revenue, so using a massive revenue figure as a measure of value delivered to customers is meaningless.
But, the guy might still be on to something, since Uber benefiting lots of people only a little may still be more total benefit than some free software that hardly anyone uses, he just needs to back that idea up with something more substantial.
The fact that I have to explain this makes me wonder...
This is by far the strangest thing I've ever heard.
This is so myopically capitalist. It's like the argument for the free market distilled into a single sentence.
People would not just rather have the good or service than the money; people have no use for money. Money isn't a real thing. It's an artificial construct designed to allow us to exchange goods and services freely and to avoid loss.
Exchanging money has nothing to do with a benefit for the consumer. It is simply an exchange. There is no law of nature that says all exchange is fair, or a benefit. Quite often, the buyers are at a disadvantage. The entire idea of providing for a "need" precludes that someone can be taken advantage of.
If you sell me cancer drugs at $800 a bottle, it benefits me in that my cancer is staved off for a month. But then I have no more money, and can't buy the drugs, and die. Who did it really benefit?
Why are you making the exchange if it doesn't benefit you?
>There is no law of nature that says all exchange is fair, or a benefit.
Fair has nothing to do with anything. I never used that word. Don't put it in to my mouth.
Sure there's no law that says an exchange has to be beneficial to you. Do what you want. But most people choose their actions based on self interest and make trades that are beneficial to them.
>if you sell me cancer drugs at $800 a bottle, it benefits me in that my cancer is staved off for a month. But then I have no more money, and can't buy the drugs, and die. Who did it really benefit?
You benefited by a month of life. How is that not incredibly obvious?
A benefit is a profit or an advantage. People often have no choice in what they buy, or are forced to buy something. Like with the cancer drugs, if their only other option is to die, it really isn't a choice.
People can also be sold things that are bad for them that they need, like heroin. Buying heroin is not a benefit. Then there's buying things that are more unintentionally harmful, like blankets full of smallpox sold to American Indians, or overpriced half-faulty weapons sold to resistance fighters. Sometimes nations are forced to buy and sell goods at an inflated price only to later be accused of not supporting local goods more for political gain, making their transactions only beneficial to the banks that hold their money or the multinational corporations that provide the goods and services in the first place. At the far end, a grocer paying protection money to gangsters results in losing money, but no benefit.
In the real world, people do things for a variety of reasons, and not always good ones. I believe your argument is a facile generalization that completely ignores the reality of trade.
Extending their life by a month doesn't result in the long term disaster though. They already have cancer. I don't follow extending life = slow poison at all.
>People often have no choice. Like with the cancer drugs, if their only other option is to die, it really isn't a choice.
So the benefit to performing the trade is so great that they wouldn't even consider not making it is somehow an argument against the trade being a benefit?
The rest of your argument appears to just boil down to "there are exceptions". Cool, checkmate on that one. You found exceptions. Bravo.
Big pharma - regulatory capture.
Health insurance - mostly regulatory capture in the US.
1 billion USD revenue => benefiting everybody
Benefiting everybody => 1 billion USD revenue
I stand by the first but not by the second.
"Here are some Bs that are not A"
If you had said the definition of a kangaroo was "a big marsupial from Australia" and I pointed out many kangroos that weren't actually big marsupials from Australia, It would suggest that the definition was flawed.
Yes, and I pointed out that the two are unrelated.
> If you had said the definition of a kangaroo was "a big marsupial from Australia" and I pointed out many kangroos that weren't actually big marsupials from Australia, It would suggest that the definition was flawed.
If I had said that the definition of an A (kangaroo) is a B (big marsupial), and you pointed out that many As (kangaroos) aren't Bs (big marsupials), I would have been proven wrong.
However, I said A (companies making a billion dollars in revenue) implies B (they benefit a lot of people) and you pointed out some Bs (companies benefiting everyone) that aren't As (companies making a billion dollars in revenue), which is irrelevant.
This is basic logic, I learned it in fifth grade. A => B is not a commutative operation.
Old companies needed 1000s of workers to make that money, so money were indeed somewhat distributed.
Automation and computing means a company can make that with 50-100 people even, and huge profit margins on that billion dollars.
And then with the right schemes, you can also avoid paying taxes.
Is this satire?
Well, it's not like breaking laws is enough to make you both disruptive AND a good guy.
One, like Uber, can break laws and be a petty, exploiting, company.
Also, projects like Plex, Kodi, Radarr, CouchPotato, - these projects still exist. They're not companies, like Nullsoft was, but they are definitely projects!
The late 90's was a wild time in MP3-land. Does anyone else remember:
1) Sonique vs. Winamp vs NAD debates?
2) The vqf audio format?
3) One of the big "hubs" was DimensionMusic (DMusic). Whatever happened to them?
It's easy to identify the successful companies 20 years hence, but the graveyard is littered with bodies.
Perhaps those companies should move to countries with less strict rules then, perhaps in Asia. For example, I know that many biotech companies are looking for Singapore because of less strict ethical rules. In the field of stem-cell research, see e.g. .
Another option is Mexico.
He's obviously wealthy enough to never need to work again. It's clear Frankel just loves music, and wants to make meaningful contributions in the field. So, I think that's pretty cool. (I've also been a very happy REAPER user/customer for many years.)
I said a very audible "holy shit, this is that guy?" when the link to jesussonic took me to Cockos.
I first learned of it from a young QA at a company I previously worked at, and I am so grateful I met him and was able to learn from him.
But if you do, for the love of God make it as short as possible. When I'm browsing through the tickets using some stock web browser, and the anigif runs for five minutes before reaching the point, it is such a pain to have to grab the gif and either dig out a tool than can track through an anigif, or have to cast it into some other format and then track through that. Then, I'm stuck either doing that every time, or attaching another file to the ticket; the same animation, but in a format that we can track through so I don't have to watch the entire five minutes.
Anecdotically, I have been producing electronic music as a hobby for many years now, and while I own much more expensive programs (e.g. Ableton Live Suite which cost a staggering AU $999) I find REAPER to be an extremely enjoyable piece of software and I have found myself using it often.
The term "DAW" has too many uses, and it can be confusing. REAPER is a Pro Tools competitor (and a good one). Ableton can be used for multitrack recording of live musicians, but I don't know of any studios that use it for that, unless their focus is on electronic production with some live music added on top. And, REAPER can be used for electronic productions and loop-based composition and live performance (and there's even a UI for REAPER that makes it act more like Ableton), but it's not its raison d'être.
If you're composing and performing predominantly electronic music in-the-box, then Ableton or others might be a better choice. But, if you're recording live musicians, REAPER is amazing. There can be some useful interoperation between them, as well. Live can plug into REAPER, so you can sync up your Live performance with your REAPER tracks, and produce a hybrid work. REAPER may be stronger for mastering, as well, depending on how you like to work.
Traditional recording engineers, who learned in a studio with tape and hardware mixers and patch bays, will be quickly comfortable with REAPER. The same can not be said of Ableton Live (or FL Studio, etc.). But, musicians who grew up on synths, sequencers and beat machines with sequencers (like 303, 808, etc.), may find the Ableton approach more intuitive. Both are high quality tools doing a very good job in their niche. REAPER just happens to be so good at such a low price that it stands out as exceptional and worth praise, IMHO.
But, it isn't obscure. The GUI is clear and simple and well-documented. And, I didn't find the learning curve steep at all; it was almost instant. I mean, I literally don't remember a period of "learning to use REAPER", I only remember starting to use it, and having it Just Work. I went to school for audio recording, and have worked off and on professionally as an engineer, so I suppose that may have shortened the learning process. Which is why I say it's a tool for engineers who want to work with a traditional recording studio environment. REAPER is exactly that. If REAPER has a learning curve, it is merely the process of learning how to record in a multitrack studio workflow.
REAPER is much more limited than Pro Tools or Nuendo out of the box, but it's vastly more powerful overall. You can use REAPER without learning it, but you'll miss out on most of what it has to offer.
But, again, I use other tools for my MIDI sequencing and composition tasks. The MIDI and sequencing and loop-based composition side of REAPER is weak. But, the multitrack recording capability is quite strong, IMHO, and very easy to use. Maybe with extensions and going deep on scripting and such you can make it work well for those other tasks, and perhaps that's where our communication is breaking down. For me, REAPER is a super reliable, super fast and efficient, multitrack recording DAW that works exactly the way I expect a multitrack to work. I rarely need docs, I rarely need to fumble around looking for what I want to do.
I did note, in the distant past, that REAPER wasn't really competitive with Pro Tools for broadcast and film production work. While it had SMPTE sync, it was missing some other stuff...that I can't remember now. I guess R128 fits into that category of film/broadcast stuff that REAPER doesn't do well. It's cool that there's a set of extensions that covers some of that. But, by the time you're doing advanced stuff like that, it's always gonna require scaling a learning curve, right? I mean, Pro Tools isn't easy to use for advanced stuff (or for any stuff, really...I find Pro Tools somewhat unintuitive, when I haven't used it in a few years and sit down to poke at it again).
But, the comparison to vim or emacs only seems apt once you're doing hard things with it. I stand by my assertion that for the simple stuff, REAPER is very easy to use.
Thanks for bringing SMS to my attention! Looks cool.
I was just stating that REAPER's software quality, as I perceive it, is as high as much more expensive DAWs; I mentioned Live Suite as a comparison, purely because is the most expensive piece of music software that I own.
Yeah you can randomize play in iTunes or Zune, but you have to make arbitrary playlists explicitly. You can drag tracks around in VLC but the UI isn't helpful.
I would say I knew 90% of the songs in my music collection then and probably know 10% now despite it being about the same size, purely because of a few 'helpful' UI constraints.
People sort of suggest that music changed when MP3s and Napster bloomed, but the 'end of an era' in my mind, the time when my experience of music definitely changed, is when I was obligated to stop using Winamp and start using iTunes etc in the mid 2000s.
I used WinAmp the same way you did, one big list of everything I had. I use iTunes the same way. I only create playlists to transfer music to my phone because it can't hold the whole library.
You could also just conjure up any song with the "J" keyboard shortcut that would search the entire path as well as the ID3 tags. It was so good that one weekend night in high-school, my friend and I decided to put an old desktop in the back of my Jeep on foam and power it with an inverter. We ran aux wires to the stereo and I literally just had a full-on keyboard that I could pull up while driving and get any song in my library with a few slaps of one hand without looking down even once (I knew one-handed typing skills would be useful someday). (I even tried voice command with Dragon Naturally Speaking but it only worked when the engine was off.) To this day, I haven't had such an agile interface to my music. I just use a phone now but it has a fraction of my old library and searching for things while driving is dangerous, illegal, slow, and miserable.
At least now your car can have bluetooth and Siri integration...which lets you play music from Spotify...when you have reception...or tracks from your $500 16gb iPhone which can store a few albums...ugh.
You could probably re-make that project pretty handy these days, with Raspberry Pi's and hard-drives being cheap and so on
Two years ago I worked on an Electron-based app for Windows. I tested* it right on my dev machine in Electron for Linux _and_ the whole build process, including the NSIS-based installed also ran on Linux via makensis utility, so I didn't even have to touch Windows until the final QA phase. This was very nice.
I seem to remember the scripting language was a bit... eccentric, but it got the job done for us in the mid 2000s distributing a cross platform C++ app which was cross compiled on Linux.
I used this in a couple of projects, and it was one of the easiest to use (still, it had good scripting possibilities)
What kind of snot-nosed brat takes millions from AOL and
then publishes software perfect for ripping off Time
Warner's entire catalog? Frankel, a grunge-dressing slacker
from Sedona, Ariz., was a teenage college dropout in 1997
when he wrote Winamp, the first program that made playing
MP3s on a PC point-and-click simple.
Most people wouldn't dare to release software that might get them fired because they just wanted to make it, and thought it should exist. Of course, it's well within the rights of a company to fire an employee for doing so, but pretty sure most tech workers these days just stay in line, relegate open source work to when they're told they can do it (nights and weekends), and gnash teeth but ultimately submit when a company shoves something they don't like down their throat.
Then again, he did have "fuck you" money after the acquisition so...
The following year, AOL officially killed the Winamp product.
Shoutcast still working is a little miracle. Though I am quite pleased with the Podcast Downloading feature w/ RSS. ( for example you can pull stuff from soundcloud )
WASTE was written in Java and was sort of tricky to setup / understand. At one point about 10 years ago, I had a small 8 person "dark net" running with WASTE, shit was so 1337 for its time.
Bit torrent was just making waves around this time and made downloading WAY faster, but was more risky then sharing directly over WASTE.
Edit: Can't find a mac client/server of WASTE. And some of those download links seem to be down.
I cannot recommend Foobar enough, the tools for fixing up dodgy mp3s are very useful. It isn't so hot with mp4 tags though.
What do you mean exactly? mp4 tags in all variations, including various iTunes oddities, are fully supported.
You should've gotten a progress dialog, very briefly, because the process is quite fast. Did that step just take a while due to a slow disk, or did it hang? foobar2000 does scan the metadata and tags for all files on adding, so "search" and "jump" will work correctly when it's done on metadata that is not reflected in the file name or path. Winamp does not do this - it scans metadata and tags only on playback.
There's a few more differences like foobar2000 being able to scan inside archives. Winamp can't do this.
So the difference you saw is likely exactly because "search" and "jump" functionality is not actually guaranteed to work correctly in Winamp if you do what you say.
Personally, I prefer the second definition, but it's the harder of the two to satisfy. I don't really understand why the approach Perian undertook was abandoned when Perian itself was. It'd be very nice to just have macOS "natively" support every media format+codec under the sun, and then just play media files in Quicktime or iTunes or any other player GUI you prefer.
It should not try to categorize my music library by genre/artist/album/whatever. It should not try to "visualize" the audio with crappy abstract art that look like a screensaver. It should not connect to a remote service to download metadata about a song. It need not even support ID3 tags. No, I don't need yet another equalizer. Playlist support would be nice, but not terribly important. Just pipe the damn song to the speaker, period.
I'm pretty sure that if you do this and nothing more, you will end up with a small binary with minimal dependencies that starts playing before you can even lift your finger off the button. Modern music players spend most of their CPU cycles doing something completely unrelated to parsing the actual audio file.
The level of 'it just works' for those 2 products is just not comparable to anything else. Plus they are cross platform, works on pretty much anything in existence.
That is the reason I tollerate UI and use them every day. Also, while it lacks audio management, SMPlayer is the best video player, period.
One example of many :
Type CMD-E (on Mac, or whatever the equivalent is on Windows) to get the video effects window.
Select "Geometry". Now check "Magnification/Zoom".
Notice how you get a picture-in-picture in the upper left corner, with a white rectangle showing the zoomed area, that you can move around by clicking. But if you press and hold, it also drags the entire windows (on a Mac -- I haven't tried on Windows -- VLC's UI and behavior on Mac and Windows diverges widely so I won't try to predict what happens).
Now look underneath the picture-in-picture and notices some ugly upper case pixelated text that says "VLC ZOOM HIDE". See how it's jaggy and rendered at the resolution of the movie you're playing itself, not at screen in a full resolution overlay with readable text?
Now look at the triangle with a jaggy curved hypotenuse below the jaggy words. That is the zoom "slider" (which also drags the window when you drag the mouse, so it's more like a clicker than a slider). See how it gets narrower and narrower in a succession of jaggy stair-step chunks, until it's merely one jaggy pixel wide? Well guess what: the TARGET AREA also gets narrow to match the width of the slider, so it's almost impossible to click on the bottom of the slider, to select the larger zoom sizes! Since the zoom slider is not very tall and its pixels fat and jaggy, you don't have fine grained access to very many zoom sizes at all, either. The zoom pixel steps are much bigger than screen pixels, depending on the video resolution!
What possible purpose could that serve? Why would any user guess that the lower narrow part of the slider represents a wider zoom showing a bigger rectangle over the picture-in-picture, while the top wider part of the slider represents a tighter zoom showing a smaller rectangle over the picture-in-picture? And what slider have you ever used that gets narrower from top to bottom, with a jaggy curve, and an impossibly narrow hard to click target area at the bottom?
This single facet of VLC's terrible UI deserves to be front and center in the User Interface Hall of Shame  -- it's even worse than Apple's infamous schizophrenically skeuomorphic QuickTime 4.0 player , from 1999! The latest version of VLC in 2017 is still much worse than the shameful QuickTime player was 18 years ago!
Who could have possibly gone so far out of their way to design and implement such a terrible user interface on purpose, then smugly brushed off and ignored 16 years of bug reports and cries for help on the VLC message boards, without harboring a malicious contempt for their users?
That's not even the worst of it. Now check "Transform" and pick one of the transforms like "Rotate by 90 degrees". Guess what? The magnification interface itself is rotated 90 degrees, because it's drawn on the video before it's rotated, so now it appears at the top right of the screen, rotated 90 degrees itself.
And guess what else? The mouse clicks are not even transformed properly, so clicking on the magnification interfaces does NOTHING, rendering it completely useless! Depending on the aspect ratio of the video, you can't even click in the upper left corner where it USED to be and SHOULD still be to operate it, because it is clipped off the right edge of the window.
Are those ugly cosmetic and impossible usability problems not bad enough for you? Then make a playlist with one item. Select "Repeat" mode. Play the movie. Now go to the finder and remove, rename or move the movie you're playing, or just unplug the USB stick containing the video. Not an uncommon occurrence, right? Now VLC will hang up, consuming 100% of the CPU time, often times seizing up the entire Mac, turning on the fan, locking out all user input, and forcing you to reboot! This happens to me all the time.
These bugs have been around for years. The more you fiddle around with it, testing out the edge cases and trying to combine various poorly designed and implemented features, the more bugs you find.
File a bug report, they say. People report these problems again and again. The developers just ignore them and brush them off. I've tried reporting these and other bugs, describing them in meticulous detail, which is frustrating because once I start writing step-by-step instructions to reproduce one problem, I keep finding more and more problems, each worse than the last, and then they just brush me off and ignore my bug reports too.
VLC's user interface is maliciously terrible in so many ways, the developers are careless and arrogant towards their users, and there's no hope of the developers ever changing their ways, acknowledging the problems, and improving it. Instead of improving usability for everyone, they're more interested in adding yet another obscure anime decoder feature so they can watch their AMV cartoon porn  .
FOR ANIME FANS
New 6.1 downmixer to 5.1 and Stereo from MKV/Flac 6.1.
Correct YUV->RGB color matrix in the OpenGL shaders.
Improved MKV support for seeking, and resiliancy.
Editions support in MKV.
Better subtitles and metadata support from MKV.
Various ASS subtitles improvements.
Now, if you are an AMV (Anime Music Video) creator and want to edit the video directly, the MKV is your best friend since it's a lossless video-content container due to the fact that you will find yourself adding effects to the video frames/audio. In this case you will want to lose as little as possible in your video, so MKV compression best suits.
TOPIC ANSWER: The reason why MKV is popular for anime is because of it's noted lossless compression. Anime show creators most likely notice this fact and use it to contain their video frames and audio tracks for maximum quality. - it has nothing to do with HD.
Mind you, FOSS is contributed to by people scratching their own itch. It's not so much that VLC has a lot of otaku developers; it's that a lot of people who watch (or subtitle) "AMV cartoon porn" see a problem with, or missing feature in, VLC, and think "I'm a programmer; I can fix that", and dash off one-off patches.
Perian's approach was to implement additional codec/container support as a QuickTime component. QuickTime has been deprecated for several years, and AVFoundation doesn't provide any component or plugin interface for 3rd parties to add codecs.
i think the kids these days just stream everything...
its not on github yet but if anyone is interested in helping out shoot me a line! (stack is js/web audio/electron) -- perhaps not super "lightweight", but its not bad, and its what i know ;$
These days I'm using Clementine though...
While development has slowed to a couple of commits a year, it's a lovely, lightweight, open source MP3 player that has much of the simplicity that I miss from Winamp. Drag files in to the main playlist window, reorder them, click on them, easy.
Not to mention stuff like VOX Agent, and their system preferences panel - why do I want or need either of those things taking up space and resources on my machine? Why is my MP3 player connecting to the internet at all?
Why do so many developers insist on bloating up their software with so much crud that it becomes necessary to use much older versions? Hell, Nullsoft itself was guilty of that exact issue once AOL squeezed out the massive turd that was Winamp 5 - the last sane version was 2.81.
I used to have winamp on my android phone and when I got a new phone a few months ago I discovered that they had removed winamp from the store. Which is unfortunate because winamp was surprisingly great on android too.
Click the llama's ass.
Can anyone comment on what the scene was like when it was new?
Or is file sharing just now obsolete now? A bit out of the loop :/
Somehow appropriate for a decade old article about 90's vintage desktop MP3 software.
Now go and try to locate rips of episodes of AMP from MTV and complete your electronica collection.