Category Archives: Misc

Marvel Digital Comics

Earlier this year in a post titled Screen Reading I wrote:

“Now that I’ve found FFView I only wish more comics where available in digital (cb[r|z]) format. If some of the larger comic publishers would offer their publications in digital format I would gladly subscribe to and/or purchase them.”

Thus it was, at first, with great joy that I saw the /. post which informed me of Marvel Digital Comics. That was, until I went to the site and saw the first “feature” of the service: Instant access over the web (no need to download)”.

It’s a shame, for a paltry $60 USD a year I could get “unlimited access to thousands of Marvel comics online”. The shame is the fact that I can only access these comics through a Flash application which I had absolutely zero success in running on my x86 Linux machine (even with Adobes flash plugin) and that ran much too slowly to be usable on my iBook (less than instantaneous page transitions).

Even had I managed to actually run the player I’d still be disappointed with the service, when I saw the /. post I thought (hoped?) that Marvel had made a huge leap towards embracing the digital age and giving their customers more freedom by allowing them to download digital versions of the comics. Apparently not.

While I can understand certain arguments for implementing the service as they have I think the arguments are awfully similar to those of DRM and the outcome is just the same. Anyone who doesn’t want to pay for comics will just download them from alternative sources anyway but people who are happy and willing to pay for comics in a more convenient digital format are restricted in their use in a futile attempt to prevent piracy.

It’s a shame, I hope Marvel (and DC) embrace a more open service model so that I can use the likes of Comix and FFView to read their comics regardless of whether I am actively connected to the internet (long journeys on public transport perhaps). $60 USD a year is a small price to pay for the service I describe, hell – I’d gladly pay the subscription fee to both Marvel and DC if I could get the comics in a more friendly way.

Perhaps DC will try to beat Marvels offering by allowing download of their comics? I think this would be enough to encourage Marvel to rethink their strategy, I wait for DC’s offering with bated breath.

Working 9 till 5 !

What follows is a mixed bag of discoveries made while at work over the past month or so.

WMP GUI Toolkit

I’m not sure what GUI toolkit the latest version of Windows Media Player 11 is using but I was extremely disappointed when I discovered the following recently:

gah_wmp.png

In case you don’t see it, the only way to discern whether WMP11 is the front-most application window is by looking at the task bar. Most of the controls in this UI have a mouse over effect, these too are activated even when the application is not front-most. I’m not yet sure whether this is a good thing? Certainly I expect it of the window management controls (minimise, maximise and close) but the playback controls?

I don’t want to be a Windows basher so I’ll leave it at disappointment that this wasn’t noticed and fixed. I hope this is not also true for Vista…

Of SSH and Tunnels

I can get a VNC connection to my work box from anywhere in the world (with internet). Yay!

I’m using ssh tunelling which is no way near as arcane as you’d assume, especially if you have the relevant ports open on your firewall. Windows Firewall prevented me from being connected the first time I tried. I’m not too angry at this because I’m pleased that i)Windows (as of XP) ships with a firewall and that ii) it seems to work quite well!

Not a Windows Guy

I’m sure that this post makes it entirely transparent that I only use Windows at work. My tunnel to work is opened by an OpenSSH client and utilised by Chicken of the VNC (on OS X).