Posts tagged ‘Movies’

It’s not an iPhone. It’s a µMac !

A web forum member asked about “racetracks in the sky” – referring to flight tracks that are depicted in three dimensions. I've had APRS in my airplane since the very first flight.

I answered the forum question but then decided to create a little video to demonstrate how I get those rolercoaster pictures.

Here is why I consider an iPhone to be a more of a computer than a phone.

I fired up DisplayRecorder on the iPhone to record a demonstration video. I started by opening Mobile Safari on the iPhone. I then visited which processes and maintains aircraft APRS data. I showed a map view of a flight. I then clicked on the “Google Earth” link and the website downloaded a KML file. Safari automatically offered to launch the mobile Google Earth app. I then did a little navigating – pan, zoom, and rotate. Finally, I stopped the recording.

I had DisplayRecorder save the video to my camera roll. I then launched Mobile iMovie where I cut out a few mistakes I had made, added some captions and a few fade effects. I had a 1 minute and 15 second video.

Next, I launched Mobile GarageBand, picked a tempo and then did some quick math to determine how many bars of 4/4 music I needed to make 1 minute an 15 seconds. I grabbed a couple loops of Latin rhythm and sequenced an electric keyboard track. I finished by having GarageBand transfer the new music back to iMovie.

iMovie combined the music and the edited video and exported it directly to Vimeo. Vimeo transcoded it and sent me a notification.

I launched Mobile Vimeo and grabbed the web markup from its “share” feature.

I finished by launching WordPress for iOS, pasted in the Vimeo markup and authored this blog post.

At no time did I turn my office computers on. They entire process was complete on my iPhone.


Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold

 dpsJohn Keating: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!

Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold. Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it’ll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.

Dead Poets Society (1989) – Ethan Hawke

Perhaps we still have things to learn from Hollywood or from Tom Schulman.

Popcorn Hour A-100 back in action

My media player ? the Popcorn Hour A-100 ? died about 6 weeks ago. I ended up requesting an RMA as it was under warranty and it just cam back, as good as ? well ? ?can be expected?. In the interim, I was using my backup, the MViX 780. There were a few things about the MViX I liked but it?s older chipset means it didn?t like a number of the encodings used by my videos. One notable example was the H.264 files that I download each night with the NBC Nightly news from their podcast servers.

Classic Elegance Skin for Popcorn Hour Before I get too far into this, I should not that the Popcorn Hour (PCH) is yet another ?Network Media Tank? (NMT) so it shares a lot of its hardware and capabilities with a bunch of other media players. Also, the A-110 is now available and I would bet there will be a whole new crop over the next 12 months.

With the my PCH back, I decided to make it a bit more functional. I moved the nightly news download from the ReadyNas to the media player. I also added a more esthetic UI ?skin?. I had to make some changes to the cron jobs (scheduled program execution). The PCH has three default schedules ? hourly (at 30 minutes past the hour), daily (at 4AM), and weekly (on Sunday morning). I added my fetching of the NBC podcast into the daily schedule. Finally, I wanted to remove the PCH watermark that shows on on all screens but it appears that image file gets loaded before I have a chance to replace it.

The challenge with making any changes to the system files is that they get restored every time the PCH is rebooted. I had to find the a place that did not get reset and then find some file that was executed and add commands to reapply my changes to the system files. With a hard disk installed in the PCH, it persists between reboots and there is a ?start up? file called file in the root of the hard disk. So, I store all of my customized files (cron.hourly, cron.daily, and cron.weekly) in a directory I called ?SystemFiles? in the root of the internal hard disk and then added the following line to the file ?

cp /opt/sybhttpd/localhost.drives/HARD_DISK/SystemFiles/cron.* /etc

Note: If you are on Windows and you create files for the PCH, you will have bad CRLF in your text files. You will need to find a way to create/edit files to be UNIX friendly and only have LF.

Watching old television on a media player

I recently bought a media player. There are basically Linux based two models out there these days each with benefits and flaws. I’ll get into what I am use in a later post. Right now, I wanted to post about how I got my DVDs onto the bloody thing !

Linux may not be for the novice but there is one thing that can be said for it – It’s damn efficient … once you figure out how to do what every it is you want to do. In my case it was to move a bunch of TV shows from DVD to the media device. Originally I thouhgt I needed to convert everything the Xvid AVI files but it turns out most of these media devices can play DVD VOB files directly.

TV series DVDs are a bit different from movie DVDs. The biggest difference is that movies tend to have one big VOB of hte movie and a few small ones of out takes, director’s notes, etc. So for a movie, you want the get the biggest VOB and seldom care for the rest. TV series DVDs have 6 or 7 episodes plus the little bits of fluff. Further, the show is broken up into seasons and episodes but DVDs have “disks” and “titles”. Mapping from one to the other can be easy if there were a small number of episodes and the show was a 30 minute comedy series as opposed to a one hour drama. Fortunately, if you solve the multiple episode problem for the 30 minute comedy and the multiple DVDs per season issue for the dramas, you got all your bases covers. Continue reading ‘Watching old television on a media player’ »

I want you to meet Reta, she’s a contortionist

In 1967 we were introduced to “Hair” by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and music by Galt MacDermot. Music and theater was a way of saying what was controversial. For many, the arts were the only way of expressing what they were feeling. They feared speaking out. They feared the government. And they feared being ignored and marginalized. That time in America’s past is historical for many reasons.

It’s now 40 years later and for some, there is fear of speaking out; fear of the government; and fear of being ignored and marginalized – how things have changed. It’s almost as if we need “Hair” to make a comeback. Perhaps it has with “Across the Universe“.

The music of the Beatles with it’s modern renditions and stunning cinematography tell the same story of the Vietnam war. Analogies to current events are inevitable and likely warranted.

If you have 2 hours and a bit more to sit, listen, and think, then perhaps you will discover this film. I rediscovered what I felt the first time I saw “Hair”. With “Across the Universe” I discovered what I feel about war and what I fear about where things are headed. Will there be a SkyNet ? Will there be another Ice Age ? Is there a chance ?

I’ve seen a number of dud movies over the past couple of months. Thankfully, perseverance has paid off. I’m not inclined to make a significant political post. Rather, this is meant more as a supportive movie review. I’ll let the viewer decide what to make of it. Watch the movie is you can “spare a little change”.

Hasta la vista baby – Skynet launch delayed

astrium_203i We had Terminator 1, 2, and 3. Now we get the real thing.

The launch of the UK’s Skynet 5B military communications satellite from French Guiana has been delayed. The ?3.6bn Skynet project is designed to give British commanders access to more information, much faster.

The Skynet 5B platform is set to join in orbit the 5A satellite, which was lofted successfully in March.

Source: Jonathan Amos BBC NEWS | Science/Nature

You just can’t make this kind of stuff up !