Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interview with Wynn Godbold on Hacker Public Radio

In episode 532 on Hacker Public Radio I interview my sister Wynn Godbold who recently starting using Ubuntu Linux. She is a kindergarten teacher in SC. We talk about Wynn's experience as a new Linux user. We also discuss open source software adoption in the education field.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cooper River Bridge Run 2010 - Processing for YouTube

In a previous blog entry I touted that YouTube can process my camera's raw video files. Well it turns out that it doesn't always work. I uploaded some Cooper River Bridge Run videos and they played back at twice the speed. As a rule you don't want to convert your videos before processing. You never want a copy of a copy but this time I had no choice.
Here was my workflow for my Cooper River Bridge Run 2010 videos which can be found on my YouTube channel. My computer operating system is Ubuntu 9.10.

  • Charge camera batteries the day before the shoot
  • Pack gear. Include a collapsible chair.
  • Travel to site and find a good location. To avoid traffic, I parked my truck before the Cooper River Bridge and bicycled the rest of the way.
  • Shoot video (on a tri-pod)
  • Return home and connect camera to PC via USB cable
  • Copy MTS AVCHD video files to PC
  • Search for and then download DRM-free music. I chose Cavanshawn on Jamendo.
  • Review video clips
  • Concatenate video clips using the cat command.
    cat scene1.MTS scene2.MTS > bothscenes.MTS.
  • Use ffmpeg to combine the audio and transcode the video to something YouTube can handle consistently.
    ffmpeg -i bothscenes.MTS -i "/var/lib/mythtv/music/Cavashawn/02 Madison.mp3" -vcodec libxvid -b 18000k -shortest -deinterlace -s 1920x1080 -map 0:0 -map 1:0 bothscenes.avi
  • Copy the AVI file to a USB thumb drive
  • Make a trip to work to upload the video to YouTube.
  • I usually set the videos to Private initially. If the video looks OK on YouTube I then change it to Public. The change from private to public is not immediate. So wait before you publicize.
If you are wondering why I took a trip to work. I have a ATT DSL connection at home. The upload speed is 500kbps at best. Uploading a 3 minute video segment takes hours. If you make a mistake or YouTube fails a weekend project can turn in to a week long project. Upload speed matters when you are publishing video.

My YouTube channel

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nikon D40X Flash Fix

I was miffed last weekend when I went to take some photos of my kitchen demolition. The flash on my Nikon D40X camera wasn't working. After some searching it was apparent that many people have had the same issue. Thankfully in the sea of search results I ran across this video that demonstrates the fix. In the photo below I added a red arrow pointing to the problem area. The copper clip had fallen off the black plastic pedestal. The few steps to fix it were:

  • Remove two screws on front of flash housing

  • Carefully remove the back off of the flash housing

  • Place the copper clip back on the plastic pedestal

  • Snap the rear of the flash housing back on carefully

  • Insert and tighten the two screws on the front of the flash housing

  • Have fun taking pictures in low light

  • Nikon D40X with the flash housing removed. Photo taken with my Google Nexus One.

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Gesture Search from Google Labs on a Nexus One

    Gesture Search from Google Labs lets you search your Android-powered device by drawing alphabet gestures on the touch screen. It allows you to quickly find a contact, a bookmark, an application, or a music track from hundreds or thousands of items, all in one place. It is fast and fun to use. Check out my demonstration video below.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Google App Engine Java System Properties

    I use Google App Engine (GAE) to run http://oggcasts.com. It is an excellent platform for building and running web apps. For historical purposes I'm listing the Google App Engine System Properties as of March 6, 2010. GAE is running a fairly recent version of Java. It will be interesting to see how frequent the Java version is updated. These properties were retrieved via
    Properties properties = System.getProperties();

    java.vendorSun Microsystems Inc.
    java.specification.nameJava Platform API Specification
    java.specification.vendorSun Microsystems Inc.
    java.vm.specification.nameJava Virtual Machine Specification
    java.vm.vendorSun Microsystems Inc.
    java.vm.specification.vendorSun Microsystems Inc.
    java.vm.nameJava HotSpot(TM) Client VM

    Google App Engine logo

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    My Favorite MythTV Feature - Commercial Skipping

    MythTV has a ton of great features but my favorite without a doubt is commercial skipping.

    Gmote Android Application - YouTube Demonstrations

    Gmote turns your Android phone into a remote control for your computer, allowing you to start and control movies and music at a distance. It supports all of the standard remote control features such as play, pause, rewind, volume controls etc. It also has a built-in file browser that lets you view the files that are on your computer and select what you want to play. Gmote can also be used as a wireless Touchpad and keyboard, allowing you to control your computer at distance. Another great feature available in Gmote is the ability to stream music from your computer to your phone!

    Below are two YouTube demonstrations. The first demos the touchpad feature and the second demos music streaming.

    Gmote Music Streaming Demonstration on a Nexus One

    Gmote Touchpad Demonstration On A Nexus One