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Media Software

Democracy Player Is Dead, Long Live Miro 296

MrSpin writes "Democracy Player has relaunched today as Miro. Developed by the Participatory Culture Foundation, Miro aims to make online video "as easy as watching TV", while at the same time ensuring that the new medium remains accessible to everyone, through its support for open standards. The open-source application combines a media player and library, content guide, video search engine, as well as podcast and BitTorrent clients. But why the name change? According to last100, who have published a full review and guide to Miro: "When Democracy Player launched back in February 2006, the feedback received was that the name evoked different, yet equally negative responses. For many Americans it conjured up an image of yet another left wing media project, and to the rest of the world it was, rather bizarrely, being associated with the policies of the Bush administration. In contrast, the new name is purposely abstract.""
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Democracy Player Is Dead, Long Live Miro

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  • by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:14AM (#19900481)
    So now Bush has tarnished Democracy as badly as Stalin tarnished socialism.

    Particularly sad, since neither one practiced either doctrine.
  • Re:Creepy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:16AM (#19900505)
    Is it any stranger than associating "communism" or "socialism" with bad things? The ideals are generally good natured, it's the context attached to them that has become corrupt.
  • Republic! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pentalive ( 449155 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:17AM (#19900511) Journal
    Remember, the United States has a "Republic" -

    A Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting for "what's for dinner".

    (hmm, I wonder how you relate a republic to two wolves and a sheep...)
  • Bizarre? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:21AM (#19900613) Homepage

    For many Americans it conjured up an image of yet another left wing media project, and to the rest of the world it was, rather bizarrely, being associated with the policies of the Bush administration.

    Not 'bizarre' at all. Actually I and everyone I know expected exactly those reactions, and were therefore puzzled by the name choice of 'Democracy Player'. It was just a half-step better then 'Freedom Player' (to make the comparison to 'Freedom Fries' even clearer, not that there is any need).

    The project itself is a nice idea. Hopefully the misguided name choice didn't set it back too much.
  • by Oscaro ( 153645 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:21AM (#19900615) Homepage
    s there any reason to use Miro rather than VLC or BS Player?

    No. Actually, I switched back to VLC almost instantly. It's totally unusable and awfully bloated.
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:24AM (#19900647) Journal

    has cleared their trademark with Joan Miro's [] estate?

    If not, queue intellectual property lawsuits in 5..4..3..

    It's happened before. []

  • Re:Creepy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:28AM (#19900719) Homepage Journal

    Creepy that so many people associate "Democracy" with bad things. Actually scares me...

    Well, Bush and friends have done to the word "democracy" what Stalin and comrades have done to the words "socialism" and "communism"

  • Accurate name? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:31AM (#19900751) Homepage Journal

    For many Americans it conjured up an image of yet another left wing media project...
    Uh, isn't that exactly what this project is? Don't get me wrong, I'm a lefty. If you have something small scale and open to anyone, then by definition there is going to be more working and middle class voices on it. The traditional media that requires a lot of capital to produce and distribute, such as newspapers, television, and radio, will, by definition, be the voice of its wealthy owners.
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:31AM (#19900761) Homepage Journal
    Get a sense of proportion! If we add all of the highest estimates, and then assume they're all gross under-estimates we still can't hang 1,000,000 deaths on Bush. (Please note that I'm not saying that his policies are swell, just establishing an order of magnitude.) The most conservative estimates put Stalin's body count at 3,000,000, and it is almost certainly greater than 10,000,000. This number ignores WWII related deaths!

    Bush's policies are indefensible. Every human life is precious. But for the love of all that is good, have a sense of proportion! Comparing Bush to Stalin is simply frivolous.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:35AM (#19900803)
    The problem isn't the lack of a good PLAYER. The problem is the lack of good CONTENT.

    So how about we focus instead on getting some free resources for the production of decent content? Right now, there is a VERY sharp divide between professional studio productions (that are heavily DRM'ed and can only be accessed by paying $ at sites like iTunes) and crappy home videos/video podcasts that look like they're made in a junior high AV room.

  • Re:Creepy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:45AM (#19900929)
    Currently our democracy is a shining example of bad things. Its broken in every way, and that is why people around the world are down on it to an extent. It's not democracy itself, but our form of democracy, which is really a corporate driven government full of corruption with little real progress, change, or responsibility. We do scary things because power is unchecked. Our election system is broken and corrupt. Our sense of governing is broken and corrupt.

    Our idea of political debate is standing in an empty house of congress, with a sign that says "let us vote". Our idea of public discussion and debate is 2 idiots on the news argueing talking points back and forth. Its the same thing everyday with little change, little progress, and its just not taken serious by either party or the voters. The voters have mostly given up because of this nonsense. The voters know that we only get 2 choices. Just because 10 democrats debate for candidacy, doesnt mean any of them are really any different. They are the same. REAL, political new comers.. are not allowed "IN". The chances of entering these debates is none. The chances of getting on ballots in every state, is virtually impossible and its getting harder and harder.

    And we go to war over lies and bullshit. We kill people because we want to. That is why democracy isnt so loved these days. We cant even provide healthcare for our people, and we're in serious fucking debt and we refuse to tax the corporations that now have the highest dow jones ever... SOMETHING is serverely broken... and by something, i mean everything.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @10:48AM (#19900987)
    Everytime you hear crap about "saving our democracy" you ought to cringe. Democracy and freedom are not the same thing. You can have a monarchy and have a free society. You can have a democracy or representative democracy and have a society that is all but a police state. The abuse most commonly occurs when leftists criticize actions by regimes like the Bush Administration.

    Truth is, America was a lot freer when we weren't even a democracy in name. When our founders created our country, only 1/3 of the federal body politic was directly elected. We had the lowest taxes, fewest regulations, our federal civil service was actually serving, rather than ruling, the people and federal police powers were few and far between. Today, well, speaks for itself.

    I'm glad they changed the name. Their project has a lot more to do with freedom than democracy.
  • Re:Creepy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @11:15AM (#19901463) Homepage
    Essentially, the Bush administration has twisted and perverted the term. "Spreading Democracy" now means "We're gonna invade your country and enforce our will."

    Similarly, before Hitler adopted it for his own nefarious uses, the swastika was seen as a symbol of luck in the west.
  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @11:17AM (#19901489)

    This number ignores WWII related deaths!
    As it should. But, have you compared Bush to Stalin over time? According to the Arab press, Bush has already beaten Saddam Hussein for bloodyhandedness - once you adjust the figures for relative time in power. Stalin was in power for decades, and Bush only has eight years to get his slaughtering done. If you divide both by the days in office, what happens to the numbers then? How does Bush score on a level playing field?

    There's no such thing as an "inappropriate" comparison. The results of the process of comparing two things reveals the level of resemblance between them - which might be zero, of course, but that's still a comparison. Granted, either you compare things fairly or you don't. The oft-repeated mantra "you can't compare Bush to Hitler" is bullshit, though - I can compare fish to the Dirac Sea if I want to.
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @11:39AM (#19901871) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but B and D are both major systems of government. (Though socialism is really in tension with capitalism, not democracy . . .) Since B and D are so directly comparable it is reasonable to assume that the original poster intended to compare A and C.

    It isn't as if B was democracy and D was the rules at my apartment's swimming pool.

  • Re:Creepy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:02PM (#19902281) Homepage

    At this point, I'm personally willing to suspend Godwins law for discussions about American politics. The more that people look at fascism and the USA next to each other, the more likely it is that we'll be able to fix some of the disturbing similarities.

  • BTW, can you name one Communist country that wasn't totalitarian? You said they're 'mutually exclusive' however I have yet to see an instance where a Communist country was NOT totalitarian.

    That is my whole point. Communism is the antithesis of capitalism, which are both economic ideologies, not political ones. Totalitarianism is the antithesis of democracy, which are political ideologies, not economic ones. But the general public is always grouping these things together when really they have nothing to do with each other than the fact that up to this point all communist societies have turned out to be totalitarian.

    It is perfectly possible for a communist socienty to exist democratically if all residents endorse it. The problem lies in the transition because you have all these wealthy and/or powerful individuals who don't want to give up that power for the benefit of everyone else.

    I should say so. If the State came along and said I had to operate an engine lathe because the State needed it thus, what do you think I would do?

    This is a straw-man argument because in a true democratic communist society YOU would elect the people who run the state and local governments, so in effect it would be YOU who decide you want to operate the lathe.

  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:58PM (#19903183)

    The problem is, people confuse communism with dictatorship and/or totalitarianism when really, they are mutually exclusive.

    There has never been any modern communist government in the past few hundred years.

    A real communist country WOULD BE a democracy; in fact if you take democracy to it's logical course (where everyone has a say) you inevitably end up with a communist state.
    It doesn't matter what "real" communism is. Every attempt at Communism has turned into vicious totalitarianism. "Real" Communism is an abstraction. The fact is, there is something about either the Communist system, or the people who are attracted to Communism, that makes any real world attempt at "real" Communism impossible.

    It would be kind of like I started a philosophy called "Chocolatism" that said "If you eat nothing but chocolate, you will live forever"... Then, when people ate nothing but chocolate and inevitably died, I said "That isn't real Chocolatism... In real Chocolatism people live forever".
  • Let me explain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:50PM (#19904051) Homepage Journal
    According to the story, the media player had to be renamed because the word "democracy" now has negative political connotations.

    The media player itself is the product of a non-profit which has a political, although non-partisan mission: "to build tools and services that give people more ways to engage in their culture."

    So it seems to me that this story is very much about the issue of power in a democratic society. Naturally, whenever this comes up, the people who like to make a distinction between a "republic" and a "democracy" also appear -- and they are in fact on topic here. To them "democracy" means "direct democracy" which in turn has negative implications of mob rule. Bringing this full circle, this is precisely the complaint of the mainstream media about YouTube and the blogosphere. These remove the media's cultural gatekeepers, creating an immense crush of material unfiltered for any property, whether it is taste, factual accuracy, or pleasing orthodoxy.

    This trend is one that the program is intended by its sponsoring organization to accelerate. The trend can be called with equal truth the democratization of media, or the undermining of media standards.

    So, on the whole, a discussion of power, democracy and egalitarianism is equally if not more on topic in this than a discussion of the player's technical and artistic merits (e.g. whether the player's skin sucks, neat features in play list management etc.).
  • by Arterion ( 941661 ) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @07:10PM (#19908155)
    All wrong. I don't even know where to begin.

    "Poor" people in the US aren't really all that poor. They usually have vehicles and jobs, and aren't starving.

    They may not be starving, I agree, but many do not have vehicles. Here in Nashville, we do have MTA (Metro Transit Authority), but the schedules make it difficult to get to work and get back home. I know I had a job once about 15 minutes away by car. I could take a bus there, if I left three hours early, but I couldn't get back home. None of my co-workers could give me a lift, and I couldn't find anyone to carpool with. The poor here DO have a lot more money than people elsewhere in the world, but consider the cost of living is also much, much higher.

    They just can't afford the new flat-screen TVs the rest of us can. These are called "working poor". They might support richer people in a way through their efforts, but they're really supporting themselves. They work, get a paycheck, and live off of that.

    They make just enough money to get to work every day. I'm not kidding you. The cost of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation JUST to get back to work is dead even with that they're paid, and sometimes even then, it's not enough. If the "richer people" decided to take a little pay cut, these working poor (which is probably most poor people) could have a much higher standard of living.

    They don't get a big paycheck because their work is menial and not highly-valued, or else they could go somewhere else and get more pay.

    No! Absolutely wrong! Imagine if every cashier decided not to work. Retail would go out of business in a day. Just because their work is 'menial' or doesn't seem to require much skill doesn't mean it's not highly-valued. It's this sentiment that's caused "customer service" in general to take a nose dive. Do you really think someone making six bucks an hour is going to care if they made your sandwich correctly, or if they smile, or if they say "thank you come again"? They have nothing to lose here. Just as easily as there's another employee waiting to replace them, there's another company that pays shitty wages waiting to hire them. Smiling, or paying attention to detail, or anything else they can do isn't going to get them out of the poor house. The only thing that might is education, and that's not going to be available to someone who can barely afford food.

    They also usually stay poor because they constantly make stupid decisions, like maxing out their credit cards, having kids they can't afford, not getting an education, getting involved in drugs, etc.

    You realize that SOMEONE has to work those shitty paying jobs, right? SOMEONE is always going to be pushed into that wage bracket because there aren't enough 100k a year jobs for every American to have one. Most of them max out their credit cards because they have unexpected expenses and bills. Not flat screen TV's. An education is expensive. Even with all the programs out there to help you, it's expensive. You have to have support from somewhere in order to be able to do it. You can't work for $6 an hour, have to fully support yourself, and go to college all at the same time. Sure, there might be some rare exceptions to that, but for the majority of the "working poor" it's just not possible.

    As for the kids, I agree with you there, actually. People who can't support themselves shouldn't be having kids. As for drugs, I can't say I blame a lot of people for turning to drugs. If you life sucked as much as theirs, you might, too. And once that process starts, it's vicious. What people who are addicted to drugs needs is -- wait for it -- medical care. Which you know they won't get because they have no heal insurance. Rince. Repeat.

    The people who support the "people on welfare" are the middle class, who also contribute most of the tax revenues. Now why anyone would want

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky