Video color problems with trailers from Apple and content from NRK with Ubuntu, Totem, and Movie Player

I have not used my Linux computer that much to watch trailers from Apple and TV from NRK, but I have sometimes experienced problems with a blue-green tint on video content. Since I have not used it that much, it has not really been a major problem. However, it has been a bit annoying.
Mediaplayer/Totem preferences

Mediaplayer/Totem preferences

The fix was relatively simple. It seems as because of some old bug, the Hue in Movie Player/Totem should have been turned off (either to max or min). Now, it seems someone have fixed this bug and the Hue should rather be set to the middle position as illustrated above. Open Movie Player (Applications -> Sound & Video -> Movie Player). Open the display preferences like in the figure (Edit -> Preferences -> Display) and put the slider in the middle position. This did the trick (at least for me).



What it takes to become a computer expert

Being the one in the family with some computer skills, it was in the beginning (early/mid nineties) quite fun to be asked to help people out with the computers and computer problems. Later, when everybody started asking about everything it was not so thrilling any more. Luckily, these days are generally over. Computers don’t break down that often, the software running on these machines is better, and (believe or not) I think the users have become a bit smarter. My parents have for instance had Linux (Ubuntu) running on their computer for almost a year now, without any particular problems.

Tech support cheac sheet

Tech support cheat sheet (from xkcd.com)

However, if you run into problems with people who constantly ask you to fix their computer or any other technical problem for that matter, give them the tech support cheat sheet above. This should at least help them on the way and hopefully save you a lot of work.



BankID and Java plug-in in Firefox on Ubuntu Part 3

I recently updated to Ubuntu 9.10. The new Ubuntu version comes with a lot of new packages, including a new version of Java (6.16). Unfortunately, the newest Java plugin from Sun for Thunderbird depends on version 6.15. As a consequence, you’ll get an error message like the one below if you try to install the Java plugin. In this case when you try to open your BankID (which is a Java application). I have had a few problems with BankID on Ubuntu before as well.

Error message:
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
sun-java6-plugin: Depends: sun-java6-bin (= 6-15-1) but 6-16-0ubuntu1.9.04 is to be installed
E: Broken packages

To fix it, I removed the java implementation through the following commands (thanks to FrostCake):
sudo apt-get remove sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-bin sun-java6-fonts
sudo apt-get autoremove

Then I reinstalled the sun-java6-plugin through the Synaptic Manager. This will also install all packages which the Java plugin depends on.



Flash videos in Firefox on Ubuntu with AMD64

I have for some time had problems with flash videos in Firefox on my AMD64 Ubuntu machine. I normally use the computer for work so it has not really been that much of a problem. However, I hate not being able to use Ubuntu the way you would expect it to work … A Google search later, I found these simple instructions. Just follow the instructions and you will have flash videos working in no time. If you want to test your flash player on your AMD64 Ubuntu machine, you may check of EpicBattleAxe video above.

By the way, the new Ubuntu 9.10 looks and feels quite good 🙂



Why are digitally distributed products so expensive?

Steam - Technology for the future or a ghost from the past

Steam - Technology for the future or infrastructure from the past?

Recently I complained about Canal Plus’ C Sports awfully high prices. Paying close to €20 for streaming a Premiere League game, is in my eyes way too expensive. While I am a very big fan of digital distribution I wonder why so many digitally distributed products have to be so expensive. Digitally distributed products are often sold at the same or even higher price as their retail counterparts. The most recent example is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. MW2 was recently made available through Steam for close to €60. Elkjøp, a Norwegian retail store, is currently selling the same game in a weekend deal for 350 NOK (about €40).

A €20 price difference is quite astonishing. Retail products come on a disk which is put into a case together with a manual. The cases are transported all over the world and sold in stores which need to pay rent and their employees. These are all costs which can be cut if the product is distributed digitally.

Setting up and maintaining a server park for digital stores is obviously not free either. However, it would surprise me if these costs are higher than the costs related to printing, distributing, and selling retail products. Moreover, digital distribution should give the developers and publishers added advantages. First, it is so far not possible to resell digitally distributed product. Hence, everyone who wants to get their hands on a product needs to buy it from the publisher rather than through second hand stores or on the private market. Second, by requiring activation of the games through the digital store, the stores may contribute to reducing piracy. Third, digital stores would make it far easier to sell add-ons, extensions, and other products using micro transactions. All in all, digital distribution seems to be a big advantage for the developers and publishers.

However, this is not the first time Steam charges the price of a kidney for their games. I guess we as consumers should look elsewhere to increase the competition in the market. I hope that stores like Impulse and Direct2Drive will increase their catalogs and contribute to forcing Steam into reducing their  prices.





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