best of june 2011

Continuing with the monthly video theme, I managed to spend some time this weekend working on the video for June.  In this video, you’ll see a family camping trip to Grover Hot Springs (mainly the nearby falls), painting a clay pot in the backyard, the zoo and one quick photo of C and Suzy at a friends wedding.  A fairly short one this time, but action packed.

Again, if you’re interested in the technical side of things, I decided to give Kdenlive a spin this time, creating the entire clip with that software.  It is yet another outstanding video editor that has come to Linux recently – and I am thoroughly impressed with its capabilities.  It’s definitely got more of a learning curve than OpenShot, but it’s still reasonably intuitive.  I found that it is better at handling Pan & Zoom type effects (Ken Burns style) than OpenShot, with a much smoother result.  However, tiling photos and video is still something that I’ve found difficult to do – and has resulted in several crashes.  I eventually gave up on that effort.  The title generator is not as snazzy as OpenShot either.  But it seems to be snappier, and renders on the fly better than OpenShot.  I’m really torn between the two and may ping pong between them until I can decide which I like best.

July is going to be a much bigger video.  Until next time…

video is up

I’ve finally posted the video in all it’s glorious distorted choppiness.  And I kept the audio, because let’s face it, YouTube is just going to make me take down any copyrighted music content.   It’s embedded below, or you can go straight to the YouTube here.

elmo gets tawdry, or violent, or innapropriate…

Short post today.  I just wanted to share with you this fine Tuesday, a tid-bit of e-mail I received from RedBox.  I get these e-mails every Tuesday informing me of the new releases that are available at my local kiosk.  Today I noticed that Elmo is going green in “Sesame Street: Elmo Being Green”, which is a bit of copyright infringement on the Muppets in my opinion.  But more interestingly, according to RedBox, Elmo’s new flick is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. Here’s what I saw…


Wow.  What could Elmo be doing get get so harshly rated by the MPAA?  I may have to rent this just to see what makes this so objectionable for the 12 and under crowd.  The way Elmo is grabbing the globe there, one might think he was “Loving the Earth” a bit too much.

you tube called me out

The jig is up. I got the following note from YouTube today:

Video Disabled

A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video What’s Inside: Continuous Spray Bottle. The audio content identified in your video is Crimewave by Crystal Castles vs. Health. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.

Replace Your Audio with AudioSwap

Don’t worry, we have plenty of music available for your use. Please visit our AudioSwap library to learn how you can easily replace the audio in your video with any track from our growing library of fully licensed songs.

Other Options

If you think there’s been a mistake, or you have other questions, please visit the Copyright Notice page in your account.

The YouTube Content Identification Team

It seems a big corporate recording company doesn’t like people using their copyrighted material in our personal YouTube videos. Even if those videos were only viewed a total of 50 times by probably only a handful of unique visitors. Well, big recording company, I’m sorry – truly. I should have gotten your permission first. I suppose there was some blatant copyright infringement here, but isn’t it good marketing in the end? Please, please don’t sue.

Oh well, I’ve swapped out the audio with some creative commons licensed music from NIN. All is right with the world again.

catastrophic hard drive failure

It happened over the weekend. I can’t precisely say when, but I know when I attempted to reboot my machine on Saturday morning, I was greeted with hard drive failure. The first sign that trouble was lurking was that my BIOS stalled for a moment, the screen went black and then printed “A problem has been detected with your Hard Drive. Press any key to continue.”. At this point, I was taken off guard and was still in denial. I pressed a key and the normal GRUB popped up and began the boot process. The familiar Ubuntu splash screen popped up and everything felt normal.

My confidence was almost restored, when the screen went to rapidly scrolling text with things like “Unable to find \root\ inode”, etc. And so, it went. My OS was hosed. I downloaded the latest Western Digital Diagnostics CD, booted with this and discovered (through the SMART protocol) that my drive had finally given up. It had simply quit. As it turns out, as a drive begins to fail, it will attempt to remap the bad sectors to known good sectors on the disk that are allocated just for this purpose. But when you run out of good sectors to remap to, then catastrophic failures are eminent. My drive had reached this point… with really no warning whatsoever. Lesson learned – check the health of your drives regularly. Linux has some free tools to check the SMART attributes (smartmontools) that can even e-mail you when they detect a problem. And backup regularly.

On another subject, I do not “recycle” my hard drives. That is, I don’t ever re-distribute my old or broken hard drives back into the wild. Depending on the drive, I will not sell my old HD on e-bay or even give it away. There may be sensitive personal data on these drives that I don’t really want to get into the wrong hands. I have a “best-known-method” to dispose of my old and/or broken hard drives. Because I feel like sharing, I decided to film the process and post it here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

UPDATE 12/8/2007: This might be a less destructive and less satisfying method.

wheel’n video

I took some time to put together a video of the extreme wheel’n we did last weekend. Here’s the YouTube version. Or for the supremely lazy, you can check out the vid embedded in this page.

Oh yeah, and check out the pix of our adventure in the gallery here.

spider-pig, spider-pig…

Suzy and I will be amongst some of the first people to see the Simpsons movie tonight. The instant that the movie is released (midnight) we will be there to see it. I’m super-pumped about it. I’m sure that I’m building it up in my mind way too much, but after watching the Simpsons for years and years – finally seeing it on the big screen is a pretty exciting thing for us. Hopefully it doesn’t suck.

Spider-pig, spider-pig. Does whatever a spider-pig does.