This is kind of a big deal for me. No, this shouldn't be on OSNews, and no, at this particular moment, I really don't care that you're right about that. All our silly stupid pointless discussions about Windows iPhone Galaxies and patents and whatnot - no matter how angry it sometimes makes me, how much energy I spend on it - it all becomes so trivial and meaningless the moment I realise this beautiful world still produces things like this. I'm going to enjoy the sunshine for a moment. And I'm leaving my phone on vibrate in the kitchen.
Multimedia, AV Archive
I recently delved into the world of hand-drawn comics-style animation, after a lifetime of just sketching on paper. While I have a long experience with video editing, I had no experience with video animation of that kind. When I first got the idea to do the video it felt like a mountain to me, excessively complex. But the steep learning curve got easier with time. This is my top-5 cheat list to get you up and running.
"When I started working on a no-DRM, open-standards-based solution for distributing high-definition video on fixed media ('Lib-Ray'), I naturally thought of Theora, because it was developed as a free software project. Several people have suggested, though, that the VP8 codec would be a better fit for my application. This month, I've finally gotten the necessary vpxtools and mkvtoolnix packages installed on my Debian system, and so I'm having a first-look at VP8. The results are very promising, though the tools are somewhat finicky."
"XBMC 11.0 Milestones include Addon Rollbacks, vast improvements in Confluence (the default skin), massive speed increases via features like Dirty-region rendering and the new JPEG decoder, a simpler, better library, movie set scraping, additional protocol handling, better networking support, better handling of unencrypted BluRay content and structures, adjustable display refresh rate in OSX (to match the already available feature in Windows and Linux), AirPlay support, an upgraded weather service with geoip lookup, and much, much more. Check out the highlights in the summarized changelog."
By reading various media news in the last year or so, a very disturbing pattern appeared. When media providers like Amazon, Apple, Google, Netfix, Microsoft tried to license content off of Hollywood, they were either given extremely high prices, or they were being rejected altogether. Microsoft even canceled a finished XBoX360-related video product recently because they couldn't license content easily, Netflix is given harder and harder time as time goes by (notice how only a few good movies were added to their streaming service in the last few months), and even the almighty Apple had the door shut on its face numerous times.
An interesting anecdote at MinimalMac about television being broken. The author's young daughter, who is growing up in a Netflix/Hulu/iTunes/etc. household, was confronted with actual TV for the first time, and wonders why she can't pick what to watch, why the shows are being interrupted all the time, and so on. Clearly - TV is broken.
On my mark... Get set... Start not caring! Adobe has announced it plans to discontinue the stand-alone Flash Player for Linux, instead focussing all its effort on the version available through the Pepper API - which, besides Chrome, no one else is going to support.
VLC 2.0 has been released. "With faster decoding on multi-core, GPU, and mobile hardware and the ability to open more formats, notably professional, HD and 10bits codecs, 2.0 is a major upgrade for VLC. Twoflower has a new rendering pipeline for video, with higher quality subtitles, and new video filters to enhance your videos. It supports many new devices and BluRay Discs (experimental). Completely reworked Mac and Web interfaces and improvements in the other interfaces make VLC easier than ever to use. Twoflower fixes several hundreds of bugs, in more than 7000 commits from 160 volunteers."
Boxee released version 1.5 of its free multimedia streaming software for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops today, but simultaneously announced that it will cease offering the Boxee desktop software after January 2012. Thereafter, the company will limit its focus to devices such as the D-Link Boxee Box.
"Yesterday, Logitech hosted an Analyst and Investor Day and during his remarks, CEO Guerrino De Luca pulled absolutely no punches in describing the 'mistakes' the company made with its Logitech Revue Google TV set top box. Calling the company's Christmas 2010 launch 'a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature', De Luca told investors that the company had 'brought closure to the Logitech Revue saga' by making plans to let inventory run out this quarter and that there are 'no plans to introduce another box to replace Revue'."
While Adobe previously said it would support Google's WebM video format within their Flash Player software, it doesn't look like this support will be arriving soon. Adobe's MAX 2011 conference took place last week in Los Angeles. During a Q&A session, WebM support in Flash was talked about. After Adobe was questioned about the WebM support, the response was, "Yes, on the priority list it's not very high because we don't have a lot of customers or real customers who want to do production with WebM. The problem on the production side is that encoding WebM is simply too slow, it's not real time. And it's not JDI too (just do it). Yes, it's a lot of work for us."
ABC.net.au has published an article titled "The Case for Piracy". The writer shows how copyright has been hijacked by corporations and that publishers are their own worst enemies. "One of the main reasons we all have anti-piracy slogans embedded in our brains is because the music industry chose to try and protect its existing market and revenue streams at all costs and marginalise and vilify those who didn't want to conform to the harsh new rules being set."
So, anyone remember WebM? A reader emailed me about a pilot study (in English!) performed by a collaboration between the NPO (the Dutch version of the BBC, basically) and TNO (the largest research institution in The Netherlands, often employed by our government) into the viability of using WebM and associated tools instead of H.264 and associated tools, including the perceived quality of VP8. The outcome of the pilot shouldn't surprise anyone - the toolchain needs work, WebM itself isn't there yet, but the future looks bright.
In a blog post, John Luther, the Project Manager of Google's WebM Project, has announced that Skype now supports the VP8 codec. The VP8 support is already available for Windows users who are using Skype 5.5. VP8 will be used to encode and decode the Skype video call if both the caller and receiver have clients that support the codec.
Ah yes, the MPEG-LA, the company that patent-trolled before it was cool (now every schmuck like Apple and Microsoft do it too). Remember how they once called for companies to step if they had any patents Google's VP8 might be infringing upon? After almost a decade of empty threats against Theora, the MPEG-LA finally started actually doing something. Now they claim (in an interview with streamingmedia.com) twelve companies have stepped up - but, in true MPEG-LA fashion, which patents VP8 supposedly infringes upon remains shrouded in mystery.
This is a problem I hadn't yet heard of, so it fascinates me to no end. We all know VLC, right? It's one of the best video players out there, and while I myself generally just install the K-Lite Codec Pack, VLC is definitely a good alternative - and pretty much the norm on Linux. They're having a problem, though: malicious folk are bundling VLC with malware, offering it up for download as the official VLC, and misleading users in the process. Not only does this violate the GPL - it's pretty damn low, too.
A few days ago Sony released the 11th version of their consumer "Movie Studio HD Platinum" version of their popular PC video editing platform, Vegas. A variety of new features can be found in it, most importantly 3D stereoscopic editing support, and a faster h.264 decoder for AVCHD/digicam/dSLR footage.
"Apple have been processing refunds for Final Cut Pro X as complaints flood in from grumpy pros - and it seems they are taking a lenient approach. Although the iTunes/App Store terms and conditions state that 'all sales are final' , when an application does not meet the expectations of a user, like in the case of a 59p iPhone game, Apple have been known to refund the purchase. Now it seems they are doing so with Final Cut Pro X to the tune of $299."
" Gourdol confirmed tonight would get the full WebM support, which also includes the Vorbis audio encoding technology and a container to bundle the data together. 'We don't have a timetable for it,' Gourdol said of WebM support in Flash. Important factors include hardware support, just getting under way today, and broad use of the technology, he said."
"Music service Spotify has decided to target iTunes users by introducing iPod syncing capabilities to its own software. That's not all, though: Spotify is introducing its own MP3 download store, and can now wirelessly sync MP3s to iPhones and Android devices." Well, if they manage to build client software that's better than iTunes, then more power to 'm. Ah what am I saying, it would be a bigger achievement to write client software that's worse than iTunes.