Archive for category Media

Linux Desktops Question

I use both GNOME and KDE for different purposes.  I do media work in GNOME but my video editor is Qt-based so it picks up the KDE color scheme (which is nigh unreadable on my GNOME desktop).  Is there a way to have my Qt apps use the GNOME color scheme (or GTK-Qt theme engine) under GNOME without messing up my KDE look and feel?

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VLC multithreads decoding

Note the 4 threads for vlc.

Note the 4 threads for vlc.

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So THAT’s where all my bandwidth is going!

I noticed a significant increase in response times in my httpd logs. So I decided to take a look at what was running. I saw that transmission-daemon was using an assload of bandwidth (and causing a noticeable bump in IOWAIT time). For those not in the know, transmission is a bittorrent client/server. So I fetched a list of torrents and I noticed that one of them had a 771:1 share ratio! Here’s the info on that:

NAME                                                                            
  Id: 4                                                                         
  Name: <REDACTED>                                   
  Hash: 7a617db5464640a5d4c83359c8c0d7fe5156775f                                
                                                                                
TRANSFER                                                                        
  State: Seeding                                                                
  Percent Done: 100%                                                            
  ETA: Unknown                                                                  
  Download Speed: 0.0 KB/s                                                      
  Upload Speed: 238.2 KB/s                                                      
  Have: 15.4 GB (15.4 GB verified)                                              
  Total size: 15.4 GB (15.4 GB wanted)                                          
  Downloaded: 15.5 GB                                                           
  Uploaded: 1204.9 GB                                                           
  Ratio: 77.7                                                                   
  Corrupt DL: 8.0 MB                                                            
  Error: Tracker returned a 4xx message                                         
  Peers: connected to 8, uploading to 8, downloading from 0                     

The name has been redacted for obvious reasons. Note the “Uploaded” stat. In a little over 30 days, I managed to serve 1.1 Terabytes of data from this one file alone! I think I might need to throttle that down a bit.

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Thanks for making my day, Netflix

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A First Look at Carcamaica, the Ferret

I gave my very talented friend Sean this text file to work from and asked him to bring the character to life.  He’s done an amazing job so far and here are the first pictures that we’re both satisfied with:

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Tron

I promised I’d talk about Tron.

IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME.  The effects were damn pretty and the soundtrack (by Daft Punk) was absolute perfection.  It really is a cyberpunk dream brought to life on the screen.  The acting from everyone but Garrett Headlund was pretty good.  His acting was iffy.  But the dialog was great.  Overall, it was just a really sweet experience.  My favorite part was the David Bowie lookalike.  Seriously, I would totally have believed that this dude (Micahel Sheen) was Bowie.  He has the looks, the moves, the voice, everything.  To get a feel for the film, watch this.

 

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Rule 34: A Cautionary Tale

You like something?  Tempted to make Rule 34 of it?  You may not want to after you read this.  The names are withheld to protect the innocent.  And so that nobody googles the name and sees the High Octane Nightmare Fuel.

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Intel Threats

“There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,” said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. “Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.”

What standing does Intel have to sue? If someone uses the algorithm they can effectively create the HDCP authorization, so it’s not bypassed. Now if said device allows someone to output it to a non-HDCP device, would that be circumventing the DRM? To me, circumvention is evasion or overcoming of some measure; if the measure is left in place, you’re not exactly evading it.

Further, there was a case a couple years ago where Lexmark tried to invoke the DMCA against a company for reverse engineering its software. The company won the case for the circumvention because, as per “The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc.”, “(1) they had ownership of a copyrighted work, (2) it was controlled by a technological measure that was circumvented (3) third parties can access it (4) without authorization in a way that (5) infringes rights protected by the Copyright Act due to a product created, advertised, or provided by the defendant…” and in the Lexmark case (Lexmark Int’l v. Static Control Components) the court said “‘Lock-out’ codes—codes that must be performed in a certain way in order to bypass a security system—are generally considered functional rather than creative, and thus unprotectable.” Thus, there’s no copyright claim. As for the DMCA claim the court opined that “Anyone who buys a Lexmark printer may read the literal code of the Printer Engine Program directly from the printer memory, with or without the benefit of the authentication sequence[…]No security device, in other words, protects access to the Printer Engine Program[…]”. Basically, if you purchased a HD media device and you can figure how to read the coding, with or without authorization, it’s not controlling access. Moreover, if someone creates a program, it’s not a copyright infringement if it needs and uses the original program for interoperability.

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An Example of a Good FL Dub

I happened to find episodes from the German Dub of the Penguins of Madagascar. I was amazed at how well the voices, attitudes, and idiosyncrasies of the characters came through in a different language. I’ve seen many FL dubs and most of them aren’t anywhere near as high-quality as this is. The worst I’ve ever seen is the Spanish-language dub of Toy Story. Whoever they got to do Slinky Dog in Spanish is the opposite of Jim Varney’s friendly southern twang – he was high and squeaky and hyper. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Music of Video Games

I remember, when I was a wee little one, playing an old Atari 2600. The sound was nothing more than blips or bloops with no music. Then along came the NES days; now I had blips and bloops for music too! It was a couple years after this when I started playing around with computers (I got my first one in 1992 as a communion present), so I was watching both the evolution of games for the PC and consoles at the same time. The PCs were always further ahead graphically until, I would say, this generation of consoles.

I also remember playing games on my PS and marveling at the fact that it had REAL music. No bloops, BEEEPs, or anything of that nature. One time, I was up at the cottage playing Return Fire and hearing “Flight of the Bumblebee” playing in all its glory. But then along came Final Fantasy 7 and Metal Gear Solid, both of which had music composed explicitly for them; Final Fantasy wasn’t really a surprise, they’ve had Nobuo Uematsu making music for quite some time, but now it was original REAL music. Then along came MGS2 with Harry Gregson-Williams, a full-on movie composer guy, and with a proper orchestra too.

It’s amazing because now music wasn’t just an afterthought, it had its own production team, editing, big names, and soundtrack releases. In some cases they’ve put together shows that highlight that music; we had one at Uihlein Hall not too long ago if my memory serves me right. Uematsu went on tour playing some of his songs from the Final Fantasy series with a complete orchestra, and there has been a release of that soundtrack too. It’s just astonishing that it’s at that level in a relatively short period of time.

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