Happy Halloween

Halloween Design 2010-11-01 at 8.53.26 AM

Hope everyone had a great Halloween this year! If you missed visiting my blog, then you also missed my Halloween theme!

Thats about as far as my Halloween decorations went (other than dressing up as a pirate) this year, but I saw a lot of great looking jack-o’-lanterns this year and some really great costumes at Moogfest! Had a blast!

Here’s a quick video of this random guy dancing during Massive Attack. :D

We got to see MGMT, Dan Deacon, Girl Talk, Thievery Corporation, Massive Attack, Shiongle, Disco Biscuits and a few others. Overall, it was a pretty amazing Halloween weekend! If only they were all that way…

Demonstration of HTML5 WebM Live Streaming!

If you haven’t seen the new <video> feature that allows people to easily embed video into web pages without the need for third party plugins such as flash then you’re behind the times! Keep up!

If you’re not using a capable browser while viewing this post then you won’t see much (read: nothing special). The web is slowly evolving and minimizing the "drug like addiction" to Adobe’s infamously unstable Flash player which is used for various popular web content including YouTube videos and time wasting Flash games.

One super cool example of WebM, which is the video technology behind HTML5 video, comes from SkyNews and should appear below if you’re using a browser worth your time using. I recommend Opera! ;)

WebM is a video container which allows for a very simple method of embedding video on a web page that will eventually be adopted by all major web browsers. The video above displays an example of live streaming WebM video and goes to show that the new video tag is very powerful and useful!

I’ve been looking forward to HTML5 video for some time now and am happy to see such neat and useful demonstrations pop-up across the Internet to set such great examples!

The next major step that I’m waiting for is for Google to officially replace flash videos on YouTube and Google Videos with new HTML5 WebM videos. Popular video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo have recently shown off demos of the new video format, but neither have made the leap from flash content to relying on the browser. Depending on how long it takes for other web browsers to adopt and perfect support for this feature, it could be a long wait.

Features such as fullscreen mode have yet to make it into Opera’s web browser, but will certainly be added in a not too distant release. Hopefully sooner than later.

Thanks to a friend in IRC for bringing this to my attention (windsong@irc.opera.com).

Google Voice and Video Chat Comes to Linux!

Video chat in action (Source)

Straight off the press, Google announces official native support for Voice and Video chat in Linux.

If you’ve been wanting to use voice and video chat on Linux (our top video chat request), then we have good news for you: it’s now available! Visit gmail.com/videochat to download the plugin and get started. Voice and video chat for Linux supports Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions, and RPM support will be coming soon.

Video chat in action..

That’s one small step for Google; one giant leap for the Linux community. :P

WNC Rides Inaugural Meet (March 13, 2005)

I just came across this video a couple of days ago that I had made over 5 years ago and never posted, so here is my highly amateur attempt at capturing this event on film.

Mostly, people were just socializing, but it was just for car enthusiasts to showoff their rides. Enjoy the music (that I apparently added to the video).

The camera shots from my sunroof and mirrors are pretty cool when we’re rounding a curve, so keep an eye out for those scenes. Other than that its just rides.

After the meet we all took a scenic drive to the nearest Hooters (for the food of course, haha). :P

Compiz Wobbly Windows bug

I recently made a video clip to capture a bug with Compiz in Ubuntu that has irritated me as long as I’ve used it.

Now that Ubuntu 10.04 is getting a new and polished theme, it would make sense to polish the visual flaws that this “Wobby Windows” plugin still presents.

I also opened a thread for further discussion about this. You can also view the bug report and mark it as affecting you as well.

Ubuntu 10.04 and LifeCam VX-1000

If you’re using the same web cam that I’m using, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000, then you may already be familiar with the difficulties involved in the process of getting this web cam to work in Ubuntu…or rather, the difficulties that were involved.

After countless days spent and hours wasted over the past 4 months that I’ve owned this web cam, I had not been able to find a solution to see it work even once.

The problems I ran into were that the few solutions for this camera were specifically for 32-bit Ubuntu, while I’m using 64-bit Ubuntu.

Typically these days, this type of problem isn’t architecture specific in Linux, which means that fewer people have to battle the problems that are unique to x86_64 platforms. In my experience with Ubuntu, x86_64 application/firmware support 4 years ago was a joke. Today, x86_64 support is commonplace and practically a standard.

After upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04, I was able to see this support change yet again! Without configuring anything in Ubuntu 10.04 x86_64 the video feed from my web cam was working flawlessly (I tested using Cheese 2.29.90)!

There is the small matter of getting the mic on the web cam to work, but for now I’ve got an old mic that plugs into the ports from the motherboard. So I will have sound, just not through the web cam just yet. Hopefully I can find a solution to this as well, in which case I will be sure to link you to. ;)

In the future, I’d also like to submit a patch or hack to enable the LifeCam Call Button like I did previously in Windows 7 so that you can configure what the button should do…take a picture, video, start a call or chat, etc.

Screen Capture Tip: Use Jing!

jing1

I’ve been using this little screen capture tool for several weeks now with very positive results! Jing is available to Mac and Windows in both a Free form as well as a Pro (pay for) form.

jing1

Using Jing, you are able to quickly capture a screenshot of a specific window or a pesky little software bug in action, upload it to an online source and paste the link all within a matter of seconds!

If you can’t capture what you’re looking for in a simple image, you might like the option to capture a video of what you are doing on your desktop and share a link to that instead!

jing_header

To use Jing, you simply select it from the top of your screen (where it waits by default) and click capture. You’re then given a selection tool that allows you to pick to screen space that you want to capture….nothing more, nothing less. After selection the area that you want to capture, you simply specify if it’s for an image or for a video.

If you click image, you will have your capture almost immediately  and can pick where to store it! If you select video, you will have 3 seconds to prepare your cursor or anything else you need to do. After the count down, video recording begins. Simply click the stop button when you’re finished and pick a source to upload to!

One feature that I’ve only just started using is the FTP option to upload my captures to kyleabaker.com! Thus far, I’ve used Jing to capture tons of bugs that would have otherwise been nearly impossible to capture.

Aside from the slightly noticeable resource usage and slight hang when it’s first activated, Jing is an excellent tool that I would suggest to anyone who needs to capture a visual from your computer screen!

Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000

microsoft-lifecam-vx-1000-front

I just recently bought a new webcam via eBay for a great price of $5.50 and have been catching up with some of my Skype friends just for fun.

What’s great about this little webcam is that it has an excellent turning radius and can tilt to just about any angle you need it to.

microsoft-lifecam-vx-1000-front

Another great feature that this webcam offers is the ability to be mounted are rest just about anywhere. The base of the camera opens if you need to hang it somewhere rather than resting it on your desk or tower. The clip can be used to mount it onto your desktop monitor whether it’s an old CRT or a new LCD and it even mounts on very sturdy to my HP Pavilion dv4000 laptop screen.

microsoft-lifecam-vx-1000-side

The picture quality of this little camera is great. Not surprisingly, you can pay a little more and get even better cameras such as the VX-3000 or the VX-6000.

With a built-in microphone, I was able to give away my old microphone and maintain the same capabilities. :D

My only complaint is that the focus ring around the lens was never mentioned on or in the packaging so it took me a little while to figure out how to get rid of the blur (just rotate the lens to adjust).

The camera even offers a one-click access button on the top of it that can launch video calls instantly for Windows Live Messenger. I don’t use Windows Live Messenger much myself (read: at all), but I figured I could play around with the drivers in a hex editor and figure out how to make the button customizable…maybe open the Digsby or Trillian contact list (who knows) so I wrote an application to make this button customizable.

I had plug-and-play luck in Windows 7 with this webcam, however, Ubuntu 9.10 x86_64 has been less than forgiving. I’ve been searching around for a little while trying to configure my webcam that seems to be detected, but the video that’s displayed is corrupt. It seems that it’s a small problem with a fairly easy fix, but I just haven’t found it yet. At least it’s recognized! Hopefully I can write a script or a guide to get this webcam working in Ubuntu for others…once I get it working for myself of course. ;)

If you’ve been looking for a webcam and debating whether or not to buy one then I would suggest this one. It’s affordable, has everything you need and extremely good picture quality!