Sunday, August 21, 2005

Google Video requires Windows??

I just tried to watch a video on Google Video... a somewhat new beta-level (preview) service offered by Google. I picked up a link to a video from a friend's blog and when I clicked on it... nothing. You see, I'm running MacOS X. And, Google video requires you to download the Google Video player... which only runs on Windows. Or so it would seem...

So: I have to ask a few questions: first off, why do we need yet another video format? And, in particular, why not use the highly acclaimed mp4 format? In particular, I guess I'm talking about the amazing compression available with H.264, ratified as a part of mp4. Apple's Quicktime 7 supports playback of mp4 on Apple and Windows platforms... and Quicktime 7 Pro allows you to create H.264 mp4 videos from either platform. (The Windows version of Quicktime 7 Pro is in "preview 3" as I write this). I'm sure there are other H.264 authoring environments on Windows, as well...

Now: back to Google Video... I'm not sure what they're trying to achieve yet... but other video archive sites have sensibly included lots of mp4 video. For one thing, it looks really great. For another, you can achieve much larger (on the screen) video images for a given amount of bandwidth. Unfortunately, the whole world doesn't have 20+Mb/sec internet connections like they do in Japan.

Ok... as I dig into this... it's getting more interesting... I'll probably have to split this post into several more somehow... apparently, Google Video player is based on the VideoLan VLC 0.8.2 player which is available for both Windows and MacOS X... the key is "based on"... apparently, there are patches which have been applied to this player... so far, I haven't found a link where somebody is offering a MacOS X port of the VLC with the Google enhancements... but I'll keep looking and maybe work on it myself.

Now, interestingly, it appears that VLC is a video player to end all video players... (!) It supports all sorts of video formats... that is, it transcodes from one format to another... and provides a sort-of universal streaming server...

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Choosing blog site names is hard.

So, I've just renamed this blog from to "blogspout". Somehow, I thought that would be funny. It turns out that an amazing number of other names that I tried were already used... things that I didn't expect would have been thought of... had been.

Among the list were: "noncents" (this was my favorite at the time)... and "blogopoly"... and "blogocity"... and "nonon"... and "noton"... and "linear"... and "nonlinear"... and "grok"... and "grokthis"... and "grokme"... and "grokit"...

Given that I'm somewhat new to blogging, maybe "blogspout" is a bit pretentious... we'll see how it goes.

Let me know what you think about the name. Should I keep it or keep looking?

Continue reading "Choosing blog site names is hard."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Apple's new "Mighty Mouse"

It strikes me as strange that much of what is written seems to tell history badly. And also misrepresents the current state of affairs.

Various articles are claiming that "it's long overdue" that Apple support a multi-button mouse. That's just plain misleading. Apple's MacOS has supported a multi-button mouse for years. I have a 3 button mouse installed on my iMac. It works great - all of the buttons do what I expect. I have a scroll-wheel. It works too. Fantastic. So: what's the problem?

The "Mighty Mouse" is the first multi-button mouse that Apple is selling for their computers.

Multi-button mice were most likely introduced long-ago on Unix computers. I remember using a 3-button mouse on SunOS 1.1 back in 1985. It appears that X-Windows, developed at MIT in conjunction with DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation, later bought by Compaq, later bought by HP) first supported three-button mice for the widespread public.

Continue reading "Apple's new "Mighty Mouse""