14:25 March 24, 2013

...and the funny thing is....

Re: http://k0s.org/blog/20130324133130 , it was written concurrently with getting netflix-desktop working due to "the hard work of programmer extraordinaire, Erich Hoover". No, I don't know who he is, haven't even googled him yet, but figured that since I'm quoting the excellent instructions at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/opensource/how-to-get-netflix-streaming-on-ubuntu-1210/4019 and his software actually worked for me, he deserved to be in the quoted material.

The coincidence was pure coincidence. I've looked before (like, more than a year ago) about if netflix + ubuntu was possible (e.g. without a windows install or a desire for one) and... it wasn't. But thanks to the perseverance of people like this Erich Hoover guy I don't know, retarded proprietary stacks fall to ingenuity. It is protection of IP through idiocy, but though its both hard and painstaking, idiocy will fall to the flame of a bright torch if its bearer so persists.

I have been getting caught up across the board (which is a very very wide board, as far as such things goes) this weekend. I was recently gifted a netflix account! Yay! And Thank You! ...that I have sadly underused because this quarter has been busy as fuck (and I haven't been dealing with that well either). Since streaming is such a great part of their service -- that is, if your operating system is supported and all corporate-approved -- I figured I would google again. Bingo. The link above, and here again:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/opensource/how-to-get-netflix-streaming-on-ubuntu-1210/4019

So I set that in motion awhile ago ("It does, however, take some time." - ibidem). While that was all happening, I was cleaning out my gmail inbox which of course had suffered due to the high expansion coefficient of my work inbox. And...I came across the letter which I posted together with my reply as a blog entry . Not planned to be karmic, or coinciding at all. Just happened.

And to be fair, as amazed as I am that netflix-desktop works for me, let alone worked with the said instructions, no improving or nothin' (despite two mysterious "failure" messages, for the wine mono and gecko installers somethin' and somethin' -- I should have recorded them, but figured that this meant it wasn't going to work anyway; being perfectly honest, after the whole blindly-follow-instructions-to-something-I-want + apt ppa add, I was wondering if the whole thing was just a scheme to jack netflix accounts of desperate linux users), it is clunky. Its running stuff under wine on a system with no native window$ via silverlight, which I wasn't joking about being a dying piece of technology and there are reasons for that. If it was performant, perhaps it would be, though to my chagrin. I can't manage it like a desktop-native program. There are rendering issues. There is slowness. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy and astounded it works as well as it does...and it works!

But no, that doesn't contradict anything I was saying in my reply, which towards the end was being written to a badly buffered "Downton Abbey" in the background. The amount of time people like me, and people like that unknown guy Erich Hoover (after all this praise of an anonymous hacker, I hope I don't google him and find out he is diametrically opposed to me on all axes save netflix-desktop), have lost because yet-another-company made a yet-another-proprietary-stack choice that will end up costing them time and grief in the end and which, in the stack-sense, takes them right out of the running of innovative tech.

IANAL (no, google it, its not a porn term if you don't already know it), but I intend my usage of correspondence to me with no explicit confidentiality clause and about nothing that should be confidential is fair for me to quote here. If not, then fuck it. It should be. I deleted the name of the netflix employee that contacted me and everything else was very generic.

Now, why did I do this? Well, I don't know. I don't expect netflix to change their ways. It was the right thing to do, but in a present where there are so many right things to do and so little time, was it worth writing, let alone writing this commentary (and this meta-mise en abyme commentary on the commentary on the parenthetical ... )? shrug I don't know. I felt like speaking up. I don't expect to change anything, but ultimately the power to shape the internet's and humanity's future is forfeit when we say nothing and watch idly while greed and entitlement are fed from the flesh of the giving. There is the reverse, which is not untrue, but "Power is given, not taken" has always resonated with me (probably ultimately unknown in true origin, but I'll cite http://community.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1109436 since I agree with the arguments and it is about the same theatre, different battle; its symmetric duo, "Power can be taken, but not given" seems to be Gloria Steinum ). Yeah, its much easier from behind the shield of email than the many times I should have defended myself, for which I regret, not for my sake but for that which actually matters to me: the freedom that is worth eternal vigilance.

I hope this doesn't sound like I think I did some great thing. I really don't think that. I'm just (over?)analyzing it because I am both amused and am learning from the analysis. My most likely impact, if any, is upsetting and confusing the poor recruiter that wrote me from netflix. S/he probably doesn't care about their job save as a means to make money. Who knows? I do think this sort of "being a dick" is entirely appropriate, though, and in fact a Really Good Idea.

And, to be fair, it was much more fun to write the original letter and this follow-up than cleaning out my inbox for the past several hours has been. But back to it. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get to program today! Or write a fiction or what not. I see "Downton Abbey" has buffered a bit...so maybe it is watchable now. While in the vein of calling shit out, that rate I'm supposed to be getting from Comcast? Yeah, um....more bandwidth please. It is a joke in this part of the Mission (my old, also in-the-Mission apartment was fine). Pay for the infra so that I'm not paying more for bandwidth than I was 15 years ago (not a joke!). 'Cuz you're going to have to anyway...and you don't want me to go all Michael Moore on you and shit.

Do you?