Emerald Reassessment

This post is one I have needed to make a long time ago. This is totally in my eyes, my personal perception, as very few things were ever written down.

Emerald is no longer what It was for me, I have been dedicating a ridiculous amount of my time to this project for near two years now, and It’s been difficult to see it go the way it has.

It started off as a joint effort to bring talented people together to make something that people could really appreciate it, something that I could work on and give as a gift to my friends. All sorts of people have worked on it over the time, some people whom I trusted and respected, and some that I took things as they came. The similar thing was that it appeared that we were all working to be productive and helpful, to make an amazing viewer. Trust was never a critical point in the project, as everything that was done was transparent to everyone. Every code change was easily viewable by everyone, including the public, so there was really no issue with worrying about someone adding something nasty. Back when there were questions of the viewers integrity, I personally put my support behind it, promising that I would double and triple check code commits as much as I could to ensure that everyone was secure.

Unfortunately, I do not feel confident enough to support it any more, for a number of reasons. I did not realize at the time that emkdu was added, that it could be used to add in code I was not able to see. These things were done behind my back, it was found out by others that code was placed in that braodcasted your viewers title bar and executable path in a obfuscated manner. This was addressed, promised to be fixed, and (luckily) people broke through the now encrypted layer to find out that it was not.  Of-course, it has been promised to be fixed a third time, but now with an encryption level too high to be broken.  Although replacing or deleting emkdu would resolve this issue, I also have to consider that this was hidden in the code for months without anyone knowing..

Regardless of the intentions of those who placed this code there, It has made one thing inescapably clear. I am not able to double check everything any more. I tried to find a solution to resolve this matter, but it appears that most people do not care about this to the level that I do. I made sure the other emerald devs were aware of what is going on via this.   As mentioned there, closed source, hidden designs and single developer licenses have no place in emerald.  People can make mistakes, but it is important that others can double check without having to break through encryption.  Nothing has changed however. This issue of being able to transparently check up on everyone is only to get worse in my opinion, as all new builds are planned to be done from a central build server, where access is cut off from the other developers.  I consider trust issues with any binary of the highest importance, as even small library like this can have access to every file or memory on the computer, the same care must be taken with them as everything else.

Furthermore, there has been a issue with money, donations, advertisement profit, that has not been resolved how I felt that it should. Instead of the money being treated as a group project, and used appropriately (transparently to the other devs), it has been handled privately instead.

Additionally there has been some playful talk by a few developers to add services to emerald that would be used to profit certain developers. I have always felt that emerald should be a free project, both speech and beer, and that adding ways to make money off others free work was wrong in some way. Though, this is my personal opinion, and it is most defiantly not part of the GPL.

There have also been issues with public appearance and ignorant association. Although most intelligent people understand that the people who work on emerald do so separately, and that for the most part it is the only thing they work on together, this is not always clear, and there have been numerous times when I have had to fight to make it clear who participates in what, even on our own website. Before hand I could point out that what other devs have/are/will do is unrelated to me, but now even emerald now is moving in the direction they want it, to the extent that I feel it is important to distinguish myself from it.

I have had a few people ask me why I did not do something about this, something sooner, and the reason is that this is not my project more than it is all of the other developers, in my opinion. I have done my part to make sure that they are aware of this, but their decisions are their own.  I would have said something sooner, but I was trying my hardest to get this resolved internally.

This seems to have mostly been a misunderstanding on my part. I had assumed emerald was what I wanted it to be, when now it is very clear that it is not on a number of issues. Therefore I feel that it is my responsibility to make a few points clear from now on.

  • Emerald is beyond my ability to verify the integrity of the code involved.  For people concerned about spy-ware, adware, backdoors, etc, I strongly encore you to do your own research, as you should with every program you install, and make this decision yourself.  I am aware of two instances of what I consider bad code in emkdu, and have given instructions on how to remove this part from emerald, however in the future even that will not be enough.  A decent solution is to compile the viewer yourself, and only include components that you trust.
  • The money made by emerald has not, and will not ever go to me.  It has always been important to me that my work has been completely for free on this project.
  • The actions behind emerald, and other developers other projects, and any implied moral implications have nothing to do with me.  I personally disagree with the points in emerald that I have mentioned here, and for projects that I am unrelated in (like onyx, cds) I don’t have anything to do with them!

Furthermore, as you can probably guess, my involvement in emerald will be much less in the future, unless something is done to address these issues.  I would still love to help people as I always have with emerald support, and I will still be adding any features I think would help people out to emerald (though i think a good patch for other viewers will also be provided), but as far as the direction emerald is going, I am out of it.

It is very distressful to have to sever some ties to a project I have put so much dedication and time behind.. it has postponed this decision for a long while, but there is a time for everything, and I think I can find new ways to be productive better than working on emerald.

To the people who have took my word on emerald’s credibility, I apologize deeply for my claims.

It’s been fun, I have learned allot from people who code better than I probably ever will be able to, and there are times when it has been great, thank you very much to all the other developers, and supporters. I hope you understand.

(edit: no, i really don’t feel like forking or doing my own builds or taking anyone’s money to do so, im quite sick of emerald right now, if one were to do so, the code you can see in the svn is clean last i checked, the rest, i don’t know)

(edit: for the people who believe that I am doing this to cause drama, or that I am trying to destroy emerald, please reconsider.  This post was made to clear my conscience and bring the truth as best as I saw it to people who were relying on me.   I wish no harm on anyone, I am sorry that things came to this, but it was all stuff I could have fixed long ago, I do not hate anyone.  Please beware of people misquoting me or adding on to what I have said here, I have made this long an thorough for a reason, I do not need drama people corrupting it)

(edit: to be extremely clear, most devs in emerald do not have anything to do with emkdu.  The code was for a single developer, and it was passed around to no more than 3 devs that I am aware of, the rest of them are all in a similar boat as me afaik)

(edit: so apparently someone got my access removed from the svn and a few other things for posting this, sorry to the people who have pointed out the few last minute things I should have fixed, looks like they will have to wait)

(edit: to the other developers who feel like I have betrayed you and was foolish by making this public, I am very affected and would please ask you to consider my position.  I have tried every way I know of to get this resolved before hand, but I have been left in a position where I have people relying on my public words on this, keeping this to myself or trying to whisper it to all of them would have been betraying the rest of these people, and there wasn’t any other way to correct this)

New Computer o.o

So, picking out a computer takes ALOT of time for me. There is actually a decently complicated web of aspects to consider when you are trying to meet a budget, and still have everything work with each other.

I have also had a few people ask me to pick out and build a computer for them, so maybe this can help you in your decisions as well.

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Part Description Link Purchase Link Quantity Price Rebate Shipping Total

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Case http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/p_photo.php?pno=tj10&area=usa http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163091 1 299.99 20 0 279.99

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Processor http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001H5T7LK/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used 1 219.99 5.49 225.48

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Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500157&cm_re=directx_11-_-14-500-157-_-Product 1 329 30 0 299

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Mother Board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186170 1 149 149

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Ram Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227461 1 129 10 119

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Ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231358&cm_re=12gb_1600-_-20-231-358-_-Product 1 449 449

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Blue Ray + CD + DVD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136181&cm_re=6X_BD-R_2X_BD-RE_16X_DVD%2bR_6X_BD-ROM-_-27-136-181-_-Product 1 129.99 0 2.99 132.98

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Fans http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835200021&cm_re=fans_120mm-_-35-200-021-_-Product 2 7.98 0 2.99 18.95

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Cords 0

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Power Supply 700w http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817226006&cm_re=power_supply-_-17-226-006-_-Product 1 79.99 15 9.99 74.98

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Remote 1 19 19

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OCZ Mount http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817995010 1 8.99 8.99

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CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103055 1 59.99 59.99

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Remote http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.394703.13-186-170 1 0 0

Oh, and I had to buy this fan splitter after the fact, as the motherboard didn’t have enough slots http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=25413

SO basically, i wasted a ton of money on the case, but that was to make sure Laura was happy enough with it to be in the living room, brushed aluminum looks pretty cool too.

There is no monitor here, as I am going to be using my TV, and there is no mouse or keyboard, as I got a nice wireless set from a garage sale.

The hard drive is only 60GB, but its made to be fast, not for space , (I have the 2Terra external drive for that)


Hard Drive Failure Update

So if you remember this post about my hard drive needing to be recovered, its still not over.

For starters, the brand new 2TB hard drive laura bought me brand new had bad sectors in it as well…  what are the odds of that?  That’s a total of three hard drives toasted in a matter of days with nothing stupid happening.

I took it back, and got a working one.  Laura’s computer got a new hard drive, so I go that back.

Recovery failed though.. because my cat hit the plug and disconnected the hard drive.. and this programs save states don’t work correctly (took about a days worth of trying to see that they suddenly had bad file start offsets)

Over the past week I kept running into the same problems, something would always happen and stop the hard drive from being able to stay connected long enough to be backed up.

So the solution… while laura is away, set up her computer in a safe spot of the house, vnc into it, and control the backup process from there.

Seems to be working good so far, I need about 20 more hours

Real Ink Verifyable Signatures

So I saw someone sign a credit card slip today with a smile face and a star, they mentioned that this was a light security feature to make it real easy to tell if someone was trying to forge their signature (without seeing theirs first at least).

I thought that was a pretty neat idea, and to be honest, any excuse to legally draw smiley faces is cool in my book, but it got me thinking…

We live in a day and age where we have some REALLY good hashing functions and cryptology avilable to everyone… and signatures would be a nice place to make use of them.

Suppose you had a small application on your phone, it could generate a number between 1-100 based on a key, and what day it is, such that it would be completely impossible for anyone else to be able to know what it was or do the same, without having your key.

You could essentially have a signature that no one else could reproduce, just by writing down the correct number after your signature.

(and then my mind started thinking about how that should be a genetic implant in your hand to have a key generator , or maybe in your pen, phone, etc etc)

There is a serious limitation to it though, you could never prove that you DIDN’T sign anything, as people would just say you left it out that one time on purpose.  You could only prove that you DID sign something.

Anyhow.. i still think it would be pretty cool, and sense I’m a bit of a geek i think it would be totally worth the effort of always having the gadget on you..

And if you think.. instead of a number 1-100, if it had a database of 1000 awesome symbols.. you could just draw one of them instead.  Maybe Egyptian glyphs… hmmm

yes.. in my head i do foresee myself being extremely important, and there being a life and death situation pivoting on the argument “Greg didn’t sign this! he never would have!  You forged it just to try and save your puny rebelion!”  “Stop the execution!  I have undeniable proof!”

Onyx Bots

Who are they, what do they do, why are there here! are they evil? are they good? will they take my info! HALP

I don’t know!  I’m not involved with the Onyx stuff.

Look, if you don’t like them, I made a Free GPL script that will let you get rid of them.

https://xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=2289184

The script

Hard Drive Failure…

On a side note.. i just turned 1000 today.

Hard drive has bad sectors… being doing everything i can to fix / recover it..

for a while there it was a lost cause.

Laura’s hard drive fried a day later.

And the new one is already making clicking noises.


notice the elapsed time on that…


at least it found 93%…

now i just have to recover it.. and i cant do that till i get a working drive!

1 Mouth – 2 Notes (at the same time)

So most concert instruments can only play one note at a time, this includes trumpets, saxophones, vocal cords, etc.  (some examples of instruments that can play more than one note at a time are the guitar or piano).

However, with brass instruments.. you produce the sound vibrations by buzzing your lips at the desired frequency… which means your vocal chords are inactive…

So with a little bit of practice you can buzz one note, while you sing another, ( i think that is called double buzzing.. cant remember)

It’s interesting because the length of the tuba (based on what valves you press down) determines what harmonics you can resonate at, and when you are singing along with it, its interesting to feel the resistance as you are in between these pitches.  It causes a neat overlap as well.

If you forgive the fact that i haven’t played tuba in over 4 years… and that the instrument is a POC…  an that my microphone is the built in one on a laptop (not good for low frequencies) … and that my room probably has the worst resonance possible…