Goodbye Stage 6 - What will happen to Joox and Quick Silver Screen

As pretty much everyone knows by know, Stage 6 is being shut down on February 28th. This is truly disappointing but what can you expect from a high quality / high bandwidth site like that. I truly cannot imagine what their hosting costs must look like month over month.

There are few things that come to mind here:

1) Download the Veoh player, because when it comes to quality Veoh may be the best bet for user uploaded content. Most likely Veoh will become the new player for copyright infringement. I've used Joost & Miro (democracy player) BUT Veoh takes the cake as the superior IPTV content provider. Its really tough to find anything enjoyable on Joost / Miro but Veoh already hosts syndicated content from sites like ABC and NBC etc. Just wait on a My Veoh site launching that caters toward finding syndicated (illegal) copyright content in Veoh. This may be Joox, this may be Red Curtain Movies - infact Joox which was predominantly a Stage 6 deep linker has already declared they are revamping their site. It was amazing to see how users reacted to stage 6's closure by uploading links to pretty much their entire video library to Quick Silver Screen in Veoh format.

2) Bit Torrent sites will see traffic boosts. I can't watch a streaming movie on Google nor many of those other stupid video sites because the quality is terrible. My bet is people wanting to download content will switch to torrents (which are notoriously slow on many high speed networks due to packet shaping / throttling). If you live in Toronto Bell is faster than Rogers for torrent BUT is still nowhere near streamable speeds.

3) What will occur from the increased posts of illegal copyright content in these other movie sites? Google has yet to settle it's billion dollar copyright suits and with Stage 6 being shut down, they are likely to see an increase of illegal content on their servers and many more law suits. Being a Microsoft developer, and having watched Google revamp the internet dev vertical, (making it harder for everyone) I have every interest in seeing them get squashed by these claims.

4) The studios are playing around with digital markers in video which identify the video as being copyrighted. The technology basically read frames and look for strange shapes / overlays of shapes to be determine the source - and thereby can determine if the content is copyrighted. Moreover - they are digitally stamping screeners with unique imprints to identify the shop that leaked the film. It is just a matter of time before the USA legislates that the loophole in DMCA which provides for "take down notices" is changed OR more likely the free market will dictate that change based on the reduced costs of automation (hold on for recession everyone, it will be the next step in automation ... sorry). If I was Veoh, I'd rather automate this process than have a department that responds to take down notices. Keep in mind, torrent sites, while they may be able to determine where the leak is, they won't be able to stop the torrents from being shared.

Now if only I could run bit torrent to a video stream, then I'd be happy.

Losing Stage 6 is like losing the love of your life, no matter how hard you try to win her back, the reality is they are already gone.

Over and Out


Queen West 6 Alarm Blaze Photos

For anyone wondering just how close the fire was to my building, here are some pictures: click here

You can see my building in the foreground, yellow brick double wide. My unit is in the bottom right corner.

This is what we woke up to. First, total
smoke filled darkness. Then enormous
plumes of smoke appeared. It was
a tremendous specticle

DreamSpark: Free Microsoft Dev Tools For Students

As I look at a $2500 MSDN Subscription fee, this makes me very jealous. Got any friends that are students?:

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Who can get this right now?
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You can access DreamSpark here: https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com/


Queen West 6 Alarm Blaze - My Eyewitness Story - Toronto

Holy Smokes, I think the super was banging on my door for about 5 mins at 5am trying to wake me up to get out of the building.

The six alarm blaze just took out pretty much my entire block - every building between Queen & Bathurst / Richmond & Portland with the exception of the Big Bop (thank god!!) and my super sweet hard loft building (and a couple others).
Apparently my building has no emergency lighting. Let me tell you, waking up alone in a big loft at 5am in the PITCH black to escape a raging inferno really sucks. Couldn't find my lighter (hmmm), barely tracked down my smokes & laptop (minus power cord) before the smell of real smoke had me cruising out the door at full limp. Without those precious items in hand, escape would have been frivolous!

I took the back stairs down to Richmond, pushed open the door to a small infantry of firefighters working overtime to hook up their hoses. Noticing me they started to scream “get out of there, someone get this guy out of here”. I limped over to Bathurst to see the rest of my building flooding the street. People in pajamas, house coats. People like me filled the street with their valuables in hand, dogs, cats, birds – every pet imaginable were ordered outside in the nearly minus twenty degrees - on direct evacuation order from the fire department.

The intersection was a mad house. Fire engines and pumpers screaming around the corner every couple minutes, as an ordinary street would be lined with parked cars, both Bathurst and Queen were flooded with cops, ems workers and crazy paparazzi. One officer apparently came all the way in from Scarborough to help out.

Walking to the north side of my building I took my first glimpse down the alley to see what the commotion was about. Although it was still almost pitch black outside a faint glow from the rising sun illuminated the enormous plume of smoke that seemed to ascend endlessly into the predawn sky. We walked up to Queen to see the rest of the fire ravaging the top floor of what looked to be the entire row of heritage shops. The flames ascended so high into the plume of smoke it even looked like the sky was on fire. Smoke billowing out of the buildings almost like an inverted river rapid – as if it was being forced out at high speed – possibly due to the amount of steam. It was truly shocking at how completely blanked the entire area was in smoke. For a couple minutes I couldn’t even see more than fifteen feet in front of me – definitely not good for the lungs.

The firefighters sprayed the blaze in vain with their water turning into snow in mid air as they tried to get things under control. It was truly a pity to see flames burning the top side of wood as icicles gathered beneath – natures little paradox. There were an unimaginable number of hoses, pumpers, engines and firefighters on the scene. Truly a spectacle.

For a few hours the property our building stood on was off limits to the public. We were rushed across the street and all waited in the frigid wind before a TTC bus showed up to provide some temporary warmth. At that point, the fire reaching its climax, I had absolutely no interest in being out in the cold so I jumped in a taxi and went to visit my parents for a good old dawn social - but mostly to follow the rest of the story from the warmth and comfort of a luxury condo.

All in all, apparently 14 addresses were destroyed by the fire. One building has totally collapsed sending debris into Queen Street (see pics), a couple more look like a strong wind could push them over. It’s a real shame – and it’s been rumored all day that some crack head drug operation may have started the blaze. Everyone knows everyone down here so it will be interesting to find out what really happened.

It’s also nice to know that the city is here for us. As it was just after 5am I think it may be a bit much to ask for temporary shelter to be provided immediately, but at minus twenty, the fire fighters may want to reconsider how prematurely buildings are evacuated with respect to having pets and small kids out in the cold. Having said that they did have an endless stock of freezing cold water – exactly what I’m looking for in the middle of a freezing cold fire. In hindsight I think all the right decisions were made and I have to thank the fire fighters for saving our building from the fire. They are truly amazing people and deserve a ton of credit for not letting this spread even further than it already did. Great Work!!

I’m back home again, exhausted from the night of the fire. I didn’t light it but I tried to blah blah … Our building is OK but my place really smells like smoke. Thanks to everyone who sent me concerned messages. Everything is OK and back to normal.

My girlfriend took these pictures of the aftermath of the fire (http://picasaweb.google.com/thaconlan/QueenStreetFireFeb2008). My neighbor took a bunch of pictures of the early morning hours when the fire was raging out of control - I will post as soon as possible.

Now if only my ankle would get to 100%. Stupid cube vans. I bet this fire was started by a white cube van – think about it.

Over And Out


Personal Search Engine + hmmm = Personal Web Crawler

Just another thought today. Search engines are built on extremely complex grid like infrastructures. At this point, with the given technology it is not feasible to miniturize these applications so they may run with the same power on our disconnected little lonely laptop or desktop PC. blah blah blah ...

With all this talk about Google saving my search history and relating it to my email and so on and so forth I got to thinking about a Personal Search Engine (PSE). Sure my PSE would probably still rely on Google, but it would do this in a much less trackable way (say by building custom high level indexes on my PC and using a shared Personal Search Engine tracker cookie to agg all PSE user search content). In essence PSE would be a privacy proxy to keep your personal information personal - and a free search history tracker.

The catch would be that PSE could be enabled to auto download content. As such, I could download all .pdf files on a topic to be explored when offline, I could automatically download any .flv file etc. This could all be done VIA Regex patterns the user could build in a slick interface.

Further, this PSE wouldn't be a start page like destination site, it would actually copy content to your hard disk that is shared in any HTTP ring. I mean, at the end of the day, we use the web for content, not for the funky look of a page with all it's advertising.

I like the idea of having a search bar embedded on my desktop for web, or local search. I don't care if you think they have this now, it isn't a proxy and it doesn't auto download stuff.

Calling on the MPAA! Do you want to reduce copyrights

I wrote an application that could tremendously reduce copyright infringement on the www. However, I'm really caught between selling this as a service to the MPAA and making it an open source Web Media player.

While I need to make money to eat, to sleep, to live, I also don't want to be a part of the solution as it means no free high quality DivX movie downloads. But better that than be part of the problem. Or something like that.

Is anyone aware if the MPAA is working on copyright reduction / copyright propogation reduction technologies?


C# - Get Regional Date Settings

Heck, I don't know if this works in all circumstances so please let me know if you use this and are or are not happy with it.

string RegionalFormat = (new DateTime(2008, 2, 29)).ToString().Split("/".ToCharArray())[0] == "29" ? "d/M/yyyy" : "M/d/yyyy";

Over and Out


RE: BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway


Mom, do I still have my old stereo in storage somewhere?

Behold RIM Genius ... God bless the two CEO's who let this idea roll ... RIM in all of it's success has finally developed a 21st century device to support the increasingly plummeting 20th century technology base. About 8 years too late, but good work I guess. I honestly can't remember the last time anyone I knew bought a stereo or a component device and hence would like to reinforce this being a "pivotal moment in the history of the BlackBerry franchise," .... gotta keep these trade secrets close RIM, never know when someone will make a UHF/VHF antenna to output their iPod / Zune to a rabbit ear (read VHF/UHF) based COLOR TV from the 70's ...

What really rattles me timbers is: there is something called WiFi that pretty much does all this stuff VIA standard interfaces. Hmm, why not use a 1998 Blue Tooth based connection ... we have 802.11n but why not use 802.11a ... good idea!!!

I tip my hat to your engineers who have obviously outdone themselves with this over engineering effort. Didn't Apple do this in the form of an FM Transmitter you plug into the headphone jack of an ANY DEVICE WITH A HEADPHONE JACK? I mean, i can play an ANY DEVICE WITH A HEADPHONE JACK and listen to it through my Zune Radio or 20th century
stereo. Anything that has a radio (not even a headphone jack or any hardline input device) can play the music. Oh, but this is high fi - well then look at the bitrates in MP3 and say that again, HiFi doesn't exist in this realm, and to be frank, how many dusty 1900's stereo's can actually play hifi??

Remote control, wtf... this has to be a joke or the marketing people are just illiterate. RIM may want to actually look that one up in the dictionary: REMOTE: __ CONTROL: ___. There is nothing remote controlling anything!!! All you're doing is playing songs on your Blackberry and streaming them to the air. So what you've developed is a local control with a wireless data stream and a name that makes absolutely no sense.

Better Ideas:
Develop a base station like all the iPod Docks? How about a set of wireless speakers you can stream media to over 802.11n? Native support of MP3, DivX, and even wmv or flv? How about a PC to TV device, a freaken trackball that lasts longer than 6 months, or a base install of Firefox Mini on the device? I mean sweet baby JC, imagine how far ad hoc wireless networks could go for Blackberries creating wireless LANs on the fly?

You guys basically pioneered the smart phone and now your happy to announce a hybrid 20th / 21st century device? Holy crap that's backwards ass backwards.

Over And Out