DRM and Visual Impairment

I was happy to discover Rupert Goodwin’s blog today, thanks to Cory’s post on BB about the terrible situation that the visually-impaired have with DRM on ebooks.

I’d say that for at least the next 25 years or so, our best bet is on improved machine assistance rather than a biological solution, so things such as DRM really cause an undue hindrance to folks who just want to read a book. I’m hoping DRM will meet the Americans with Disabilities Act in court and get its ass kicked someday.

gzip by default

In my last post on gzip, I discovered that gzip can compress data in a more sync-friendly way. This totally unrelated blog entry from nginx discusses a new gunzip filter that decompresses compressed data for clients that don’t support gzip.

I was thinking about this the other day. Why not store all your content compressed, then you can just quickly use sendfile() or some other fast method to deliver data directly to a client, and decompress the compressed data for clients that don’t support it?

  • Decompressing is always faster than compressing (apples to apples).
  • You get to save storage space.
  • You could potentially reduce your IO by a large margin (over the network obviously, but also inside the box).
  • Since nearly every web browser in use today supports compression, you’d use it almost all the time. It’s the default case now, not the edge case.

There you have it. Compress to impress. Maybe we’ll see a return to the days of using compressed filesystems, but with multiple entry points depending on whether you want to get the data in a compressed or uncompressed form, like mounting a block device from /uncomp to retrieve a decompressed file, and a /comp mount point to get files in the native compressed form.

Gzip and Rsync

Gzip and Rsync were sitting in a tree, k-i-s-

Ok, I’ll stop. I just wanted to mention that I came across this little nugget in the gzip manpage the other night:

That, I think, is pretty cool.

Controlling the Debate

I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher yesterday, and I empathized with Maher’s frustration at not being able to communicate with people because we can’t agree on facts (Maher refers to this as being “inside the conservative bubble”). In the context of the show, one of the panelists denied climate change, and said that because there are opposing views on climate change from some scientists, it shouldn’t be regarded as a fact. Continue reading “Controlling the Debate”