Amazing HTML5 Video/Canvas Demo

One of my developers picked this up at WWW2010 yesterday in the Media on the Web Developer’s Track session.  Amazing what modern browsers can pull off:

This makes me really eager to see some standardization on video codecs and streaming protocols.  Note to google: please open VP8 and back it up with your muscle to give the world a true open video standard!  If you can wire a town for gigabit fiber, surely you can foster the adoption of an open video standard.

WWW2010 – Vint Cerf Keynote

So WWW2010 is finally upon us here in Raleigh, NC.  As a Raleigite, it’s a little intimidating to see a rundown of past cities where this illustrious conference has been held, and then to see Raleigh in that mix.   Major props to the conference committee for bringing this to Raleigh.

Vint Cerf gave his keynote address this morning.  I thought I’d post some of his interesting observations.
Continue reading “WWW2010 – Vint Cerf Keynote”

AMD vs. Intel for video encoding with ffmpeg

I’ve always been an AMD guy.  I’ve often thought that the bang for the buck was better with AMD-based systems.  That’s probably still true, as there’s quite a premium to pay for an Intel Core i7 processor versus the AMD Phenom II processors.  But when it comes to real-time video encoding, you need to pack as much CPU horsepower as possible onto a single system bus.  In this context, the Core i7 really won me over.

Continue reading “AMD vs. Intel for video encoding with ffmpeg”


I’ve had this ridiculous user manual sitting around for months now, and I couldn’t stand the thought of such an amazing piece of literature wasting away in the data closet.  I just had to scan it in for the world.  I’ve seen some bad documentation in my life, but this goes beyond bad.  Most people who have little command over another language will try to write as little as possible to reduce the chance for errors.  This guy just kept on going for 8 pages.  Mind you, this is for a USB disk enclosure!  How much freakin’ documentation does that require?   Maybe 4 bullet points?

I now present to you in its entirety, the USER MANUAL for the USB PORTABLE HARD DISK (some no-name product I bought from Tiger Direct last year).

Continue reading “Docu-FAIL”

Backing up USB-connected drives on an Airport Extreme

I love the fact that my Airport Extreme can serve as a “poor-man’s NAS” by making USB drives available as Samba shares.  But when I wanted to back up one drive to another, I ran into terrible problems.   Here’s how I solved these problems.

Continue reading “Backing up USB-connected drives on an Airport Extreme”

High bitrate real-time MPEG-2 encoding with ffmpeg

In my previous article, I discussed good ffmpeg options for encoding MPEG-2 video.  This worked great when encoding relatively low quality clips, like the 3 Mbps example in my article.  When you want to encode much higher quality (like full 1920×1080 HD video at 20 Mbps or more), you start to run into some performance issues that you have to address through selection of the appropriate command line options.

Continue reading “High bitrate real-time MPEG-2 encoding with ffmpeg”

Pre-downloading packages from RHEL for faster updates

If you’re like me, you don’t like to do hundreds of tiny updates to live servers.  We batch up our RHEL updates so that we perform them every couple of months (or whenever a serious security issue crops up).  When you take this approach, you may end up with hundreds of packages requiring updates.  Just downloading those updates can take a long time, and if you’re trying to update systems in a small off-hours maintenance window, this can present problems.


Continue reading “Pre-downloading packages from RHEL for faster updates”