Archive for January, 2009

Windows Media Encoder – loss of conection

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

When using WME (look at the title) common problem is that out-of the box application doesn’t handle connection problems when using PUSH method. We adressed that problem with VideoPhill Recorder and made so it reconnects automatically every time connection is lost. So you won’t lose any effort for reconnecting to the server mannually if your connection is shaky.

So, if you have VideoPhill Recorder, and want to do streaming from the same computer, give us a call.

Bitrate Calculator

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

In contact with customers, or prospective customers, hard drive capacity questions are most common ones.  To that effect, I prepared two tools: one being PDF file with various bit rates, days, and hard drive spaces, and other being this little calculator that you can use on-line to help yourself see what hard drive you need.

One comment though: manufacturers of hard drives usualy have 1000 where should be 1024.  That means that 1G is 1.000.000.000 bytes for the manufacturer, and in reality it is 1.073.741.824 bytes.  So, after making a calculation with tool below, please add 7.3% to the hard drive space calculated.

Please note: you should enter all values EXCEPT the one marked with radio button.  That values will be calculated when you press ‘calculate’ button.

Here is the table: hard-disk-bitrate

Calculator below can be used to calculate all combinations of values – for example, if you have fixed hard drive space, and fixed days that you need to record, you can use it to estimate bitrate you should use. Just click on the radio button left of bitrate field, and fill all of the remaining fields. On the other hand, if you need to fix your bitrate, and you have disks of fixed capacity, and want to see how many days of recording that will come to, just click on radio button left of days field, fill in rest of the stuff and click calculate.

When experimenting with various drives/bitrates/days etc. you can make yourself a table of values for comparation. Any time you want you can press ‘add’ button and small table will appear at the bottom of the calculator summarizing your choices.

If still are not sure how to use it, click here to see short movie of it’s usage.

 
 
 

Windows Services to Kill

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

VideoPhill Recorder is a dedicated software, and it should have it’s own machine.  So, bare Windows XP, all the updates, all the right drivers, and that’s it.  By default, if you open Services in Computer Management, you’ll see that many of them are started, and they also have start-up type set to Automatic.  Which means they start with Windows, regardless of their usage.  They eat memory, and some of them eat CPU and other resources.  So I went further and compiled a list of services that VideoPhill users could and should kill, thus freeing about 400MB memory when system is running.  Other Windows XP user could do the same, but maybe to lesser extent.

Here’s the list:

  • Automatic Updates
  • Cryptographic Services
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client
  • Error Reporting Service
  • IPSEC Services
  • Net Logon
  • Print Spooler
  • Protected Storage
  • Remote Registry
  • Secondary Logon
  • Security Center
  • System Restore Service
  • Task Scheduler (if not used)
  • Themes
  • WebClient
  • Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
  • Wireless Zero Configuration (if you don’t use WLAN)

I also plan to make a script, batch file that will make all the services have start-up type = manual.  On this page there is some useful information on how to do it.

Idea overload

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The main thing in the (business) world is to have an idea.  Or maybe you should have The Idea.  That is what people with ideas think.  Mostly they wait for the ideas to spring to life all by themselves.

But what when there are many ideas.  And all of them are like beautiful fruits hanging somewhere in the sky.  So you push one of them, give it a nudge, maybe it’ll ripe and fall.

Enough with the metaphor, and back to the real stuff. I needed an idea about ideas.  So called meta-idea.  I needed a way to nurture my ideas and allow new one to come.  I needed RentACoder.com.

If you know what to do, and how you could do it, but don’t have time on your hands, outsource it.  Every accomplished manager will tell you that.  Some rich guy said it like this: “You cannot get rich by being smart, you can get rich by employing smart people”.

Some will say that in order to outsource something, you have to have some money.  No body will work for no money.  How to solve that?  Build a prototype.  Use your power of speech to find a sponsor.  Be a conduit and try to add value between two parties.  That is what I am think I am doing right now.

Some examples: currently my partners on RAC come from Ukraine, Macedonia and Russian Federation.  In recent endeavours, I had great experience with people from Argentina, France and of course Croatia.  So you see, every coder speaks the same language, and it’s easy to do something there.

VolumGuard feedback

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I recently released VolumGuard application prototype to few trusted colleagues that I know that will give me proper feedback on it.  VolumGuard is an application that is used in radio broadcast environments and which monitors live audio input (vocals from speaker/talent) and when it goes above certain trigger level drops the output level on selected wave output devices in the PC machine.

Here is the screenshot, but please, I know it’s ugly, and I’m trying to concentrate on functionality first…

VolumGuard Screenshot

VolumGuard Screenshot

You might already notice – application function is trivial, and user interface looks complicated.  I know that is horrible way to go.  It was supposed to be other way around.  So, some phone calls were concerned about it…

One thing I can do here is to remove all of the sliders from the ‘main screen’ of the application and make another main screen that will be very simple and will show that application is running fine.  From that screen, user could select ‘options’ and be given this beautiful and scary window.

Whole application is made in MFC, which is something I got used to many years ago, and for small apps I find it great.  I made graphing control myself, and it’s rather flexible, is able to scroll to the left and draw various real-time data.  It also supports various markers, both horizontal and vertical.

What can be done here to improve all this?  Here are some user suggestions:

  • to be able to turn the volume monitoring on and off
  • to be able to switch profiles with the hot-key
  • to be able to switch volume monitoring with the hot-key
  • to run program in the system tray – pulling it out with the hot-key

For that, I’ll need some kind of global hot-key hook.  I don’t know how dangerous are they to the system, but since there are many programs that use them, I guess that it will be ok for me to use them as well.  Here is a good article on keyboard hooking, but then, how will I protect my program from being recognized as a virus?

Medianet visited

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

In our continuing mission to find new customers and enable them to remove their VHS bases video archives, we found medianet.hr company.  They do their press-clipping and media-clipping work and they really need video, audio, and other types of archives.  So, we engaged to provide video services for them.

I can say that guys there were really interested in our work.  You can’t really know how motivating that is.  Their main concern is their enormous archive that goes several years in the past, and is stacked onto the shelves of their office.

One repeating issue was brought up on the meeting.  That is our renown DVD export for VideoPhill player.  So, with so many interested parties, it seems like we are obliged to make it.

On to the Internet we go…  to find something that will enable us to do so.  I can take two roads here: GPL road and fully commercial road.  One leads to ffmpeg with dvdflick (or parts of it), and other leads to MainConcept.

Also, something that has troubled me for many times, is that they pay massive fees annually to the company that provides software for video clip recognition.  Since that feature lies exactly on my interest path, I guess that I will try to hit that road also.  I am thinking that some basic clip recognition could be build, but to fully test it we’ll need massive archive.  So another curious task, to build one.  My flat/office already is starting to look like a hi-tech warehouse, who know where it will go from there.

And at the end – it’s now very clear that stream logger project that I started as a pet project needs to be produced commercially.  There really is a strong need for such a product, or a service that we could provide to them.  Again, to test it and develop it massive storage space should be provided.  I found out that Addonics has very interesting gadgets to that effect.  But their shipping is expensive, so I’ll wait some more until I will really need something big from them.

Softing-eu comes to Zagreb

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Since the days I started cold-calling my future customers and searching for future customers and partners, I stumbled across KapitalNetwork web site, which is also Internet TV.  I was searching for a customer that will need my companies video logging services, and since there was an video publishing company already in the signature of their web, i proceeded to contact them.

That occurred last year and their director came to Zagreb today, and we had a very interesting meeting.

He found our company to be very interesting, I guess because that we are small and flexible, and technology oriented.  At the same time, I found that his company is one of the perfect corporate-mates that Informacija d.o.o. should have.

We introduced, we talked, and we found that we really have some major connecting issues.