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.

.

Part Description Link Purchase Link Quantity Price Rebate Shipping Total

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

Cords 0

.

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

.

Remote 1 19 19

.

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

.

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

.

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…

Social Oddities.

First odditie: My last post..  Arabella’s comment.  It was not unique, and it was echoed by about 3 different people to me as well in private.  I am just completely confused… when did we get to the point that someone being nice made them a person to be warry of?  I’ve had people saying I need to keep a eye on him because he might be a rapist and.. just all of the most horrible accusations you can think of.

This got me thinking of what sort of phenomenon is going on here.  Historically, and personally, I do not feel that this suspicion should be natural.  (keep in mind though, that I am naturally suspicious of everything).  My first assumption was that perhaps this was brought forth by some subconscious racism, but after further consideration of the character and backgrounds of the people who have advised me off this, I am convinced this is not the case.  The only other reasoning that I can think of, is the “too good to be true” phenomenon. Where people have conditioned to expect that there is always a catch to something.  Kind of makes me wonder if this is part of the reason people are so suspicious of me?  Maybe if i stop doing stuff for free I can gain peoples trust :P.

Second Odditie..  this one was probably my fault.  I was at work, a girl walks in from outside, head red and sweaty, shes completely exhausted, and asks if I have a cup or something I can get her some ice or water in.  I apologized that i didn’t and told her that she might be able to buy something next door, they have cokes cheap.  She left, and I kinda felt bad telling her to spend money, I really hate feeling like I was advertising, specially when she was in need.  A few minutes later she came in and had a cup and asked if I could fill it up with some water for her, so I ran over and did that, but I also wanted to give her a couple bucks so she could buy a drink next door.  I kept reaching in my pocket for a few ones but all I could grab was a five, and since I was in a rush to get her the water, and because I was having a very generous day from other peoples tips, i decided that was fine and made her take that too.  And that’s where it got really awkward, because she asked if i meant for her to have it..and i had to say yes, go buy yourself something.. and then she asked if it was from me.. and I had to confirm that too.. and the whole time i really wish she would have just said thanks so much and ran off, I didn’t want to have to direct the recognition at me so much.  And then to make things even worse she told me i was really sweet and thanks, at which point i couldn’t take it any more and I told her to leave (in a half joking voice so I wasn’t rude), and luckily, was saved by a phone call I had to answer.

Oh, i just got done helping Laura plant 17 trees. Exhausted.

Nicest Neighbor Ever.

So we really have the nicest neighbor ever.  He has been offering to let us use his tools, giving us some really good advice about the neighborhood, helping out Laura change oil, just, really anything he can.

I looked out from my bedroom this morning and he was outside smiling on his riding lawn mower mowing the grass that I have been procrastinating. (Apparently he asked Laura if he could earlier)

Aside from that, he also kicks ass because he has a gold grill, and drives a ice cream truck filled with sub woofers.

Bad People

This is going to be pretty general, and applies to allot of the negativity you see hanging around emerald.

The main thing that I wanted to clear up is that everyone on the emerald team is a separate person, with separate pasts.

We do different things aside from emerald.

Skills does the CDS stuff.
Fractured, Phox, and Skills do the ONYX Stuff.
I do the PAR stuff.

etc etc.

We come together to work on emerald, what other people do outside of emerald is frankly not my responsibility.  We are not each others mother.  Everyone in emerald dev is there because they contribute productive time, and that is what matters.

So if you like to make blanket assumptions like “I think [Person X] is bad, therefore emerald is bad!”;  you really should consider that everyone is in emerald dev who is not “bad”  has the responsibility to ensure that emerald is not “bad” either.

If anyone in dev went crazy and tried to add something to emerald that was harmful, there would be a serious whiplash, it would be exposed immediately by the other devs.

Defence

To make things clear.  If i defend someone, it does not necessarily mean that:

I agree with anything they have ever said.

I am OK with anything they have ever done.

It only means that I disagree with whatever I am defending them from.

Paths

.

I was brainstorming for a while on the way home from class, concerning the paths that humans naturally decide to take to get from point a to point b. I have consciously considered this way back sense middle school, and have tried to make my walking path as efficacy as possible, basically, a straight line.
However after careful analysis I have unfortunately found that as much as a try, the moment I take my mind off of this plan.. my feet start to wander, and ( I assume ) revert back to a natural style of path finding. I move in a slight curve one way or the other.. depending on… lots of parameters perhaps.
Humans, when you get down to it, are more than intelligent enough to be frustratingly random and unpredictable, but the beauty of randomness is that with a bit of statistics, you can actually predict general trends.
I think that when it comes to choosing a path to travel, the standard deviation is much less, because it is considered a simple natural thing to do, almost like… we were born knowing how to choose a path. And when you consider the more basic human trends.. we tend to act more and more similar.. the less we think about something. If you consider that this lower mental state, is one that can be found in most animals, then this tends to agree with my theory as well, as careful study of their paths shows that they all act extremely similar, and most are very predictable.
So here are some basic ideas… I believe that finding out the path that humans will take can be done mathematically and programmatically. We all know that humans don’t naturally make sharp turns, our bodies are not build to move like this, when you come to a hallway, you don’t just stop and make a 90 degree turn, even though it would be more efficient, you instead naturally keep your momentum and move in a arc. However, I do not want to focus on the paths that people take… when there is already a path laid down before them, people tend to follow what others have done before, and this removes the effect that I am interested in.
So consider and instance where humans break away from what is paved down before them, and see how they act. I believe based on the direction they have started facing, and the direction of the location they want to go, they choose a arc based on their velocity and a natural constant to face that direction. Though.. this is not precise. From a long distance away from your target, you only turn enough to get within a certain constant range that makes you feel like you are sufficiently heading towards your target, and this gets more and more refined as you get closer to your target. This effect is based upon our vision and perception.
Furthermore.. variations in the slope of the surface you are traveling across also naturally (subconsciously) affect your path. Humans tend to follow the easier path in a downward slope as much as they can take advantage of it, similar to how race car tracks are tilted at the curves to allow sharper turns.
Now of-course, if you are considering a path that is obstructed, there is also some math that goes into how you naturally avoid running into a tree, without even thinking about it. I believe allot of this is based upon your natural vision horizon, how much you hold your head up and look ahead, and what you believe to be way points in your path.
This is a field that I believe more effort and study should be devoted to understanding. We are in a age where technology and industry are dramatically shaping our lives. Most every path you take is laid down before you, paved sidewalks, straight hallways, roads, etc. For people new to cities, this.. natural effect takes a toll on how comfortable they are, and even more so the longer they remain, they need a way “out”. This natural path being constrained is why i believe people prefer a wide open country to a city. Based on whatever more hard research provides, the level of comfort of humans can be improved by placing objects that feel like way points, or obstructions, or changes in elevation, to help bring together the paths humans feel natural, to the ones they need to take. This also has military advantages as well. If an enemy is moving from one point to another, sure you can take their velocity into consideration and bomb along that trajectory, but if you had a precise way to know the exact curve they would take, you could improve accuracy , reducing the area of effect needed, and thus the cost of weapons used. In guerrilla warfare this would be especially handy, where strategically placing obstructions would naturally allow you to precisely choose the arcs troops take.
More precise math behind natural effects would also greatly improve cinema, making fly overs feel more natural and less dizzy or uncomfortable, or any camera path for that matter. Not to mention the improvements and the feel of reality when programming artificial intelligence.

So yeah… that was my brain this morning.. takes a hell of allot longer to squeeze it out onto a keyboard than I hoped it would.

Surprise Flowers!

So.. we have this old ragly looking tree right outside our kitchen window..

A few days ago.. amazing flowers started shooting out of it!

I love it..

(bonus points if anyone knows what this thing is)
Edit: after a bit of research.. it turns out that this raggedy thing, is actually a sakura tree o.o (cherry blossom)
Just.. clearly one that has forgotten its glory days in the Japanese palace.

Encryption in SL is LEGAL

Way back in the day that the Third Party Viewer Policy was being discussed, it was mentioned (perhaps by an unofficial source) that encryption within second life might be an issue.  The grounds for this being that a side effect of having secure communications, is that it can become too secure, and remove any administrative oversight from Linden Lab.  (A worst case scenario being that LL wouldn’t be able to stop or detect two individuals age playing withing their IMs)

I do regret that privacy can help illegal activity, but I also see that the lack of it can help them much more… (there is a reason any web site having to do with money or personal information uses http-s , and encrypted line to prevent primitive sniffing)

The good news is, that LL has decided that encryption is legal, and does not violate the Terms of Service , or the Third Party Viewer Policy!  Once arguments concerning it were brought to light, it was quickly dropped from the discussion, and it was made sure that no restrictions on its use were included i the TPVP.

Merge Saved Logins Back In

So the meerkat viewer has a great login grid manager that also lets you save user account information.

After noticing there site was down, i was able to get ahold  of Patric (thanks!) who uploaded the source I needed for me.

That’s when I realized that I really suck at coding, and trying to merge in something that you only half understand is hell.

So after about 7 hours of fighting with it each and every way, it works, and I understand it.

It works well, still needs testing, keeps your password hashed up, and also has protections put in place so you can not accidentally send a open sim your sl grid password.

Rage at blind bawwers.

So we released a new version of emerald.  It has tons of fixes, and tons of new features.  Took us about 30% of all the work ever spent on emerald to make it like that.  We did extensive beta testing, and are sure everything is working.

Yet all I get, anywhere, are complaints.

Why didn’t you add this feature?  You guys really need this feature?  Why did you remove this one feature, I can’t read a change log.

Or I get a bunch of people who say it has all these errors when we put the fix in HUGE RED TEXT right were everyone has to go.

I think I’ve gotten about 5 thanks, 3 of which were tainted with a complaint at the end.

Maybe people forgot why we do this.  I go through allot of hell, through support, bug fixes, changes, have to deal with people like neil.  It used to all be worth it when people just said thanks.. apreciated it.

But now it is just taken for granted.

I wonder if this is the same phenomenon that makes people break up with the one they are in love with.  Seems that over time.. depending on what you pay attention to, you take the good things for granted, and all that is left in your head are the bad things.  And that’s all that leaves it too.

Love, Sex, and Porn

love
1.00
sex
2.54
porn
1.56


Direct Link

This is a graph of the total internet tragic of these terms.

I find it somewhat disheartening how porn has shown such a dramatic change recently.

It’s also interesting, that right before the new year, sex and porn spike, but right after the new year, love does.

Perhaps the love part is planned news articles..

Or maybe porn leads to sex leads to love..  maybe after people get porn, they want sex, and after people get sex, they want love.

Protected: Exponentials

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

LoLPatent

So.. after looking at precedent

I’ve decided I am going to patent my kids.

That way when some dirt bag marries my daughter I can sue him.

Edit: Now fiancee approved!

Security and Privacy

When security removes privacy, your doing it wrong.

Furthermore, I hate people who abused privacy and ruined it for the rest of us.  If you are one of the people that have caused the stereotype “only bad people need privacy”, I really hope you suffer greatly for eternity.

“A thief always has the best lock” is total b.s. as well.  It does not take a thief to understand vulnerabilities and weaknesses in security.  Nor does it take a thief to have something meant only for themselves.