With Glowing Screens, We See Thee Words

Watched the beginning of the Kings/Canucks game from L.A. last night, and Twitter lit up like the goal light behind Jaroslav Halak when the anthem singer trotted out by the Kings apparently needed a little technical assistance in order to make his way through “O Canada.” In a fit of nationalist pique, I was moved to create the Demotivational Poster below:

@anthemguy tweets: "Just trying to remember what comes after `O Canada'"

Capturing HD video from PVR on a Mac & WPtouch WordPress Plugin

Two quick notes to add in the “Technical Shit That’s Happening Around These Here Virtual Parts” Department (and no, I have no idea why I’d suddenly be speaking like an ironic cowboy).

First, the last two posts to this blog have included a bit of HD video captured to my new MacBook via a piece of hardware I already owned and a terrific little software package that I found courtesy of teh Intarwebs.  The video was captured from my BellTV PVR via a Haupaugge! HD PVR unit, connected via USB 2.0 cable to my MacBook.  I captured the video on my MacBook by way of Steven Toth’s excellent Mac application “HDPVR Capture”.  That setup may have some redundancy built into it – there’s really no reason to have a set top box PVR connected to another device that itself turns a computer into a PVR, really – but I tend to carry my MacBook around with me a lot and it’s not likely to be sitting next to the TV ready to capture whatever television programs I might want to record, so (in my case) it does actually make a little sense from a hardware standpoint.  The hardware configuration is really unimportant, though: the more interesting bit about this is the software package I used to capture the (HD) video to computer.  The Haupagge unit ships (or at least it did when I bought it) with software for Windows-based PCs, but no applications are provided for Mac users. I don’t believe you’ll ever consider selling MacBook. The Windows-based notebook that I had previously been using to capture video barely fit the minimum specs and it frequently choked on the video capture tasks set for out.  Worse still, the capture process was producing an “m2ts” file on the computer, a file set out in a format (as I understand it) designed to be understood by PVRs, but supported by precious little editing/playback software out there.  The end result was that I found myself struggling to make reliable copies of programs I had recorded, and generally unable to thereafter edit or trim the files (even to do something simple like take out commercials), and unable to archive the files on optical media by burning them to DVDs.

Enter Steven Toth.  Let me say that I don’t know the man and I’m not receiving any compensation from him whatsoever; I am just a very satisifed user of the application he has developed, “HDPVR Capture”.  As I understand it, Mr. Toth knows quite a bit about the Haupaugge device because he’s worked on the inside there;  he knew that the manufacturer was choosing not to support Mac Users, so he filled the void himself and wrote such an application.

My review of this software: It Kicks Ass.  Simply stated, it works.  Easy to install, easy to use, I had it up and running in a matter of moments after my licence key was received via email (there is a demo version available for free download with certain features locked out or restricted, paid licence allows the user to access all features, but the licence is restricted to use with one Haupaugge unit only).

The videos I’ve captured convert easily into .mp4 files, which then import easily into iMovie and may be edited exported like any other captured video, no problem whatsoever.

Second: I have installed a plugin on the site called WPtouch.  The plugin automatically creates a version of the site for iPhones and various other smartphones.  If you have WordPress 2.7 or higher installed, you can install this plugin directly from your admin panel by clicking on the Plugins/Add New link, then typing “WPtouch” in the search box, clicking on the appropriate link when it comes up and following the on-screen instructions that follow thereafter.  The whole installation process took me about three minutes from stem to stern, and – again – it worked like a charm, at least I think.

Would anybody who’s accessing the site from smartphone let me know how the site is functioning for you.  Any thoughts, suggestions as to whether the smartphone specific theme works for you?

Stitching Together Ayr

Panoramic Ayr iPhone 004

This photograph is a composite of at least five separate images taken with my iPhone and automatically stitched together with the application “autostitch”.   It’s a view from the bridge over the pond in Centennial Park, looking west towards Northumberland street.

I am amazed at the job this application did.  I literally just cranked off five photographs, then downloaded the app, put them in its little buffer and clicked one button.  It whirred and gurgled away for a few minutes (actually, it just sat there silently cogitating, but the whirring and gurgling is much more exciting) and bingo bango bongo, you’ve got yourself a beautiful panorama.  Amazing.  The little iPhone is consistently making me want to take a time machine back to 1984 and trash talk my Commodore 64 big time as a worthless underachieving pile of silicon claptrap.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a “time travel” app available from iTunes…

Here’s the satellite photo of the area depicted in the above photo.:

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