It’s been awhile

Haven’t blogged for about 6 months, really haven’t been creative for 6 months. With the updates to WP 3.8, it’s a lot easier to work with WP via the iPad. That said, I’ve a bit of work to do.

More to come.

Forget about WebM

For the past 6 or 7 months, I’ve attempted to provide video to all types of platforms by encoding videos in both H.264 and WebM. WebM is the encoder of choice for Firefox, Chrome etc in other words “not-Apple” (though Microsoft has thrown in with Apple on H.264). I haven’t had much success. Most of the time, I was not able to play WebM encoded video in Firefox nor Chrome and it was an additional step in my workstream.

Over the weekend, I did two things; I re-encoded all of the videos using the x264 encoder and I deleted all of the WebM video. Hopefully, this hasn’t caused too many issues with my viewing public. Please contact me via the Contact page if so.

A coupe of quick notes:
1) I used x264 in Compressor by adding the x264 component to the Quicktime components in Library. Larry Jordan has a nice explanation of how to do this.
2) For most of the HD videos, I created half-size videos then upscaled them on playback. This results in a moderately small file size with nice quality.
3) The trick on using Compressor is to follow Larry’s advice of creating .mov files which is a Quicktime container. Most browsers will play a Quicktime container but my Nexus 7 had a problem. The key is to use Quicktime 7 to convert it from .mov to .mp4. Larry states one can do this without re-encoding but fails to advise how.

There is a “pass through” option when using “File -> Export -> Convert Movie to MPEG-4”. This will simply copy the file from .mov format to .mp4 format without re-encoding.  Click on Options on the Save window and select MP4 from the drop down menu at the top of the box and click on the Video button right below the dropdown. Below the Video button is another dropdown and on this one, select Pass through. Click OK and Bob’s your Uncle, you will have a file that has broader compatibility than the Quicktime container, .mov.

Using Kaleidoscope to sync iTunes

Like many of you, I have multiple iTunes Libraries. One for the laptop, one for the house and another for my media center. Keeping these in-synch with almost 6,000 songs and over 1100 TV shows as become more than laborious.

I have tried to use Supersync in the past and while attempting to use it yesterday, I ran into a “must download Java 6 SE” issue that I really didn’t want to solve. (Hint: google “Java zero day”)

So I considered for about 10 minutes, exporting the Library in XML format, converting to SQL and using Base to analyze. (yeah, overkill but it would have been interesting and fun!)

It dawned on me that my favorite new programming tool would be perfect for this activity. Kaleidoscope!

Kaleidoscope is a folder and file diff tool that is quite capable and very smart. The new version 2.0 is what I’ve always wanted in a diff tool.

So my work stream is the following:
1) Use “Export Playlist as Text” script from Doug’s Applescripts for iTunes. Install into your iTunes Scripts library.
2) Use the Export… on both machines (or libraries) to create a text file listing the Songs, TV Shows etc. I used ## as a delimiter as the “,” can appear in song titles and the script doesn’t recognize “\t” as a tab.
3) Drag both text files to Kaleidoscope and examine the results! Kaleidoscope is quite smart and will show you blocks of songs that might be missing between the two databases.

Have fun!

Plug for a plug-in

Why can’t everything work as well as Akismet?

Admittedly, my blog is not the most well-read hence well-traveled site but I do get spam. Not a lot but enough that I thank my lucky stars for Akismet. It quietly traps all spam, doesn’t make any mistakes and then advises me “Excuse Mr. Koepsel, you seem to have some spam to throw out.” I do. We both sigh and go back to our day jobs.

Nice work, Akismet.


WordPress 3.2 is lovely! I like the look of the new Dashboard, very clean and easy on the eyes! I had a brief delay in upgrading as I was on a older server and needed to upgrade to new one at my hosting facility. (note to self, 12 comes after 5)

I’m not as wowed by the Twenty Eleven theme. I like the idea of a new theme a year but I’ll wait til Twenty Twelve, thank you very, very much.