February 29, 2008
There seems to be more than meets the eye behind the Stage6 closure than I had assumed in my previous two posts.
Far from a money-losing concern, Stage6 was apparently making DivX millions of dollars. Stage6 required the installation of a player, and along with the installation, users were offered the option of installing a Yahoo toolbar. Apparently, DivX was earning millions from their deal with Yahoo for this. However, infighting among the DivX owners over what to do with Stage6 led to the resignation of the key people running Stage6. Left without anyone competent to take the reins, the site had to be closed down.
The DivX Inc stock has also taken a nosedive. And it’s a pretty dramatic plunge too.
Filed in Opinion, Software.
February 29, 2008
I previously mentioned that Stage 6 was going to close at the end of February. When I moseyed along to their blog, I expected to see a lot of people mourning the death of a great site the way I did. Instead, I saw a lot of vulgar language cursing Stage 6 for closing.
I don’t understand these people. They got the services Stage6 provided for free. They didn’t pay a cent. As far as I know, Stage6 had no paid subscription scheme or anything like that. Why are they cursing and swearing at Stage 6? The behavior is like that of people who believe that the world owes them a living.
I’m still mourning Stage 6’s closure, for the reasons I gave in my previous post.
Upate: more info about the closure in my follow-up post Incompetence of DivX Owners Killed the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg: Stage6.
Filed in Opinion, Outraged.
February 29, 2008
Ars Technica has an article on how Google has told the ISO committee members that OOXML is “an insufficient and unnecessary standard” that “doesn’t meet the criteria required for a globally-accepted standard”. There are also some technical issues with OOXML like its use of Windows-specific binary blobs for printer configuration data (whatever they are). “Google does not feel that DIS 29500 is of sufficient quality to qualify as an ISO standard and we urge the National Bodies to vote ‘no’ on the fast-tracking of this specification.”
Hopefully a call from a big and reputable company like Google will be heeded.
OOXML is Microsoft’s attempt to make sure its proprietary document format gets standardization. It’s trying to prevent ODF, which is the open document format used by many software, from being used by governments and companies everywhere because it wants its Office software to be the only software available everywhere. Once the latter is true, it will have a stranglehold on the industry and control the pricing.
Filed in News, Software.
February 28, 2008
The Drupal 6.1 release is out. Interestingly, Drupal 6 users are encouraged to do a full update – that is, to upload every single file to their server again. They have a patch updater, but that only plugs the security holes. And that updater leaves Drupal “in an unversioned state, confusing the update status module”. There’s no set of files that can upgrade Drupal 6.0 to 6.1 cleanly, the way it’s easy to update WordPress by simply uploading a few files.
Drupal really has a long way to go to get up to the usability of WordPress.
Filed in Web Design, Software.
February 27, 2008
Chris McElroy has filed a class-action lawsuit against Network Solutions for its unsavory practice of secretly buying up domains that visitors to its site search for. The suit says that the “fraudulent and deceptive” practice is intended to “trap consumers into paying its grossly inflated domain name registration fees”.
I’m glad someone is fed up enough to take up a lawsuit against unscrupulous registrars like this. If no action is taken, other registrars will soon start doing the same thing, and it will no longer be safe to check domain names at registrar sites.
Filed in Web Design, Opinion, News.
February 26, 2008
This is really sad news: Stage6, the free video sharing using DivX, is going to close at the end of February. It’s really sad, because it was one of the better video sharing sites around. Unlike YouTube’s crappy video quality, Stage6’s videos are high quality, and you can zoom to full screen without seeing any pixelation if the person who created the video uploaded a good quality version. YouTube’s videos can never be anything but crappy since the resolution is restricted to 320×240.
I guess with the demise of Stage6, I can finally uninstall my DivX. The only reason I installed it was to watch Stage6, which doesn’t work with the free Xvid codec.
Filed in Video, Entertainment, News.
February 26, 2008
Service Pack 1 for Vista, which I talked about before, has not yet been released to the general public, but the word is already out that in spite of all its touted performance improvements, it is still 40% slower than XP on “a variety of basic productivity tasks”.
I’m beginning to think that Microsoft should just give up hope on Vista. Like I said in my post on Vista’s usability issues, the OS is already plagued with a bad reputation. This kind of reputation is very hard to undo. Everyone is looking to SP 1 as the do-or-die magic pill to fix all the annoyances they have experienced with Vista, and unfortunately, it will never be able to fulfil their expectations. You need a huge revamp to do that.
I know this will never happen, but Microsoft should consider returning XP to the shop shelves while it works on the next version of their OS. And hardware vendors should seriously offer XP as an option with all their off-the-shelf computers. I know many people who have decided not to upgrade their computers for the time being because Vista is the only OS available for the new hardware.
Filed in Software, Windows.