Couch-oriented video player

Dear Lazyweb,

I'm preemptively worrying about what I'm going to use when Movist stops working. I've been using it for over ten years, but have needed to avoid letting it update since 2008, because after version 1.4.2, they removed "full screen navigation", which makes any later release useless to me.

It is still currently working, but obviously the codecs are not being updated, and it will be running in emulation on M1, which seems less than ideal for a video player. Thus my worry.

Here's what I want out of a movie player:

  • Operable without a mouse.
  • A full-screen folder outline browser, navigable with arrow keys, SPC and ESC, no other keys needed.
  • Control playback and volume with only those keys.
  • Always launch with the full screen navigator, on the monitor I have chosen, regardless of where my mouse is.
  • Play files in order. Keep going.
  • Play every codec. So ffmpeg or VLC inside.

Things I explicitly don't want:

  • Integration with any streaming service.
  • Built-in BitTorrent client.
  • Integration with anything in the Clown.
  • Anything to do with Chromecast, Airplay, Roku, etc.
  • Any other distractions that might have led the developers astray from their core mission, "just play the files, and let me sit on my couch while you do it."


(Note that VLC is very much not this.)

Regarding my insistence on arrow keys only, it's because I really like the Satechi Bluetooth remote. That combined with some USB Overdrive tweaks lets my computer behave like a video appliance.

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So, what's up with monkeypox?

The scene at SF General on Friday afternoon was grim. "There's 200-300 gays here," my friend texted me. "I didn't think there were this many gays left in SF. It's like the worst circuit party ever."

The hospital was mobbed by people hoping to fit into the absurd two-hour window for receiving the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, which San Francisco is in woefully short supply of. Others report still waiting more than a week for a call back about receiving the vaccine.

The U.S. May Be Losing the Fight Against Monkeypox, Scientists Say:

As epidemics go, the monkeypox outbreak should have been relatively easy to snuff out. The virus does not spread efficiently except through intimate contact, and tests and vaccines were at hand even before the current outbreak.

Yet the response in the United States has been sluggish and timid, reminiscent of the early days of the Covid pandemic, experts say, raising troubling questions about the nation's preparedness for pandemic threats. [...]

"Why is it so hard for something that's even a known pathogen?" asked Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who first warned of monkeypox outbreaks more than a decade ago. "How many more times do we have to go through this?" [...]

The obstacles to preparedness are systemic, at every level of government, rather than because of any one individual or agency, Dr. Rimoin and other experts said.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic drags into its third year, the public health system in the United States remains a hamstrung patchwork, an underfunded bureaucracy seemingly incapable of swift and forceful action. Its shortcomings have persisted for decades, through many administrations.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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With Our Rights Under Attack, We Can't Let SFPD Exploit Private Surveillance Cameras


On Monday, the Board of Supervisors will review a dangerous SFPD policy proposal that would allow them to conduct live surveillance of people going about their daily lives by co-opting thousands of private cameras owned by residents, businesses, and organizations.

This dramatic expansion of police surveillance, a formidable new threat to people's right to privacy, should alarm all San Franciscans. [...]

As written, SFPD's proposal would allow officers to use private cameras to monitor people going about their daily lives and to request troves of recorded footage, keeping it for years. It does not set any meaningful limits on how SFPD can share this video footage. So, in practice, local police could conceivably turn over stockpiled and time-stamped footage to prosecutors from other states. It's not hard to guess the potential targets: immigrants, religious minorities, LGBTQ people, abortion seekers, Black people, and any other frequent targets of state violence.

We must be similarly vigilant about stopping the police from using live camera surveillance to target San Franciscans exercising their constitutional right to protest. SFPD was already caught using a network of over 300 private cameras to spy on thousands of people protesting the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020. We sued on behalf of local activists of color, alleging SFPD violated the city's surveillance law when it used these cameras without public input and approval from the Board of Supervisors. Our case will soon be heard by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

With people once again taking to the streets, we also must ensure that SFPD doesn't use surveillance to intimidate and retaliate against protesters exercising their core First Amendment rights. San Francisco has a century-long history of civil protest that this policy jeopardizes.

48 Hills: This is, of course, part of Breed's new attempt to seem "tough on crime."

She's appointed a new DA, who held a "horrible" first meeting with senior staffers and appeared disjointed and unclear on how the office runs and what her plans are (oh, and the mayor sent along a chaperone). She's calling for more arrests and more people to go to jail, even though the Sheriff's Office can barely handle the number of inmates it current has to supervise.

The whole thing raises a big question, though: What is the problem this policy is supposed to solve?

Other than a few looting incidents at Union Square, San Francisco is not in the middle of civil unrest or riots. There have been, as far as I can remember, very few incidents in the past few years where "significant events" have turned violent.

The cops are already supposed to wear body cameras so the oversight agencies can see how they behave.

You can't use this type of footage to stop (or solve) car break-ins or minor property crimes. Other than essentially spying on San Franciscans on a regular basis, I don't see any law-enforcement need for this.

Supes delay SFPD spy policy after alarming presentation by Chief Scott:

The chief explained how the department wants to use cameras in real time to monitor, for example, not only drug dealing but drug use on the streets. [...]

The policy also allows the police to seek access to cameras for misdemeanors. [...]

Sup. Rafael Mandelman: The notion is you think something bad will happen and it's not super useful to have police on hand. But you want to respond in real time because someone showed up and you know when you see that person show up you know somebody will get shot.

So: There is a possibility of a shooting, and "the ingredients are there," whatever that means, but instead of sending cops over to try to prevent it, the chief wants to watch the video so that if someone does get shot, they can move in quickly.

I'm not an expert, but this sounds like a combination of racial profiling and bad police work to me. On a stunning level. The cops apparently aren't there to prevent crime; they are sitting behind a monitor so they can catch someone after a shooting they predict will happen, happens. And they know that because of ... "the ingredients."

Matt Cagle, staff attorney at the ACLU, put it this way:

Chief Scott gave the game away. SFPD wants to co-opt private cameras, apparently to place certain neighborhoods under near constant, preemptive surveillance. Police commandeering people's cameras to spy on their neighbors doesn't reduce crime but it will fuel inequality and invite racial profiling.

I was worried about this plan before the hearing started, and so were 17 local civil-liberties organizations. The more I heard about it, the worse it sounded.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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The Uber Files

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals:

In internal emails, staff referred to Uber's "other than legal status", or other forms of active non-compliance with regulations, in countries including Turkey, South Africa, Spain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Germany, and Russia.

One senior executive wrote in an email: "We are not legal in many countries, we should avoid making antagonistic statements." Commenting on the tactics the company was prepared to deploy to "avoid enforcement", another executive wrote: "We have officially become pirates."

Nairi Hourdajian, Uber's head of global communications, put it even more bluntly in a message to a colleague in 2014, amid efforts to shut the company down in Thailand and India: "Sometimes we have problems because, well, we're just fucking illegal." Contacted by the Guardian, Hourdajian declined to comment.

"Please hit the kill switch ASAP," Kalanick had emailed:

In the period covered in the documents, Uber was embarking on an aggressive expansion in countries which outlawed paid transport in private personal vehicles. [...]

The kill switch helped thwart authorities by locking devices out of Uber's internal systems. Although it was used internationally, the kill switch was controlled centrally by Uber's San Francisco IT department and through another location in Denmark to protect local employees who might otherwise be accused of obstruction or forced to override it, two former employees said. According to the documents, Uber used it to cut access to devices that could have been seized in raids, sometimes while authorities searched for evidence within Uber's offices.

Uber officials eventually began hitting the kill switch as soon as they considered a raid imminent, the documents show. The action blocked the laptops from accessing information held on remote servers, former employees said, making the devices unable to retrieve even email.

Some employees engaged in stall tactics so the kill switch could be activated before police got their hands on their devices [...] "The procedure was, if you have law enforcement, you try to buy time by greeting them, and call San Francisco," said one of Uber's former lawyers in Europe. "Even if it was 2 a.m. in San Francisco, there were people who were supposed to react."

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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