Archive for September, 2007

HE-AAC Plus encoder for Mac (Universal Binary)

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

This post is outdated, for a more up to date version of both the binary encoder and the sources, please visit this new post.

I needed a native solution to encode HE-AAC Plus audio on a Mac, but there is not any native solution so far right now, so i compiled the reference encoder (enhAacPlusEnc) published by the 3GPP group.
I also created an xCode project to make it easy to manage future builds.
This is an “Universal Binary” build, meaning that it will work on both, Intel based and PowerPC based Macs.

You can download the universal binary encoder by clicking here, and you can download the xcode project by clicking here.

Keep in mind that i had to make some minor modifications in order to make it compile as Universal Binary, so you wil find some minor diferences when comparing with the original source code released by the 3GPP group.

If you have any question, leave a comment here.

The art of being a troll (or why Wikipedia lacks common sense)

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

It is happening to me right now, that some Wikipedia user called HU12, seems to believe that i am a spammer, and that the high quality Apple TV commercials that i posted on this site (almost impossible to find anywhere else) are not OK for the wikipedia users.
So the actual situation is that I go and update the video links on the “Think Different” and the “iPod Advertising” articles with the ones on this site, and this user sistematically goes and remove my updates, it has been like that for the last 3 days.
After some investigation of the facts, I found that this is one of those users with Wikipedia “awards” for removing SPAM, so it looks to me as if this user believes that the fact that i have adsense running on this site is reason enough for my site to become “not good enough” for Wikipedia’s standards.
In conclusion, this user is replacing my links with lower quality ones from YouTube.
Now, if my eyes are not failing, I CAN SEE FAR MODE ADS and “Punch the monkey” on YouTube, compared to the little adsense block that i have below each post, plus, visitors don’t need to click on ANYTHING in order to watch the better quality video… So what’s the deal dear HU12 ?

Let me tell you, i am NOT, and i have never been a spammer, but if you continue deleting the links to my videos from the page, i swear to you that i will code a program just to be sure that you are not prohibiting users from watching BETTER QUALITY versions of the material.

Regards, Diego Massanti.

Creating good quality h264 video for the upcoming Flash Player and Flash Media Server

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Important

This tutorial has been updated (and improved) a lot, for the new version please follow this link.

UPDATE: I realized that when i read a tutorial about anything, in most cases, i want to first see what result im going to get so then i can decide if the tutorial is worth reading (or not), so here is a head by head comparison: 

This is an h264 file encoded by the guys at apple.com, it’s the TV Commercial for the brand new iMac: ORIGINAL VIDEO

This is the same file re-encoded using the steps on this tutorial: RE-ENCODED VIDEO

Obviouisly, there is an small quality degradation, but keep in mind that apple’s original movie is 14MB in size, while mine is 1.5MB ;).
You can play my MP4 video with almost any video player out there, but remember that not all video players out there support HE-AAC audio (or aacPlus) and b-frames, so if you play the file with a player like QuickTime, it is NOT going to work.
I recommend mPlayer or VLC media player to play this kind of video, and obviously, Flash Player will play the file perfectly too.

Update for Macintosh users:

I updated the bash script on this post so it can be used also by Macintosh users, so instead of using the NERO Digital AAC Encoder, Macintosh users can take advantage of the native 3GPP AAC Plus V2 encoder that i just compiled. Visit this post for more information about it.

Like a lot of people out there, i was really happy when i found the press release from Adobe, stating the addition of h.264 video support and HE-AAC Plus audio to their upcoming Flash Player versions, and also, to the upcoming Flash Media Server.
After following several “Tutorials” all over the web, i found that there was not any single one that gave me the results that i wanted; that is, good video quality, with the less possible file size, so after a lot of trial and error and after a lot of help and optimizations by the guys at the ffmpeg and x264 IRC channels, i decided to create this tutorial that will most probably help you a lot to encode good quality h264 video, with HE-AAC Plus Audio, and all this inside an MP4 container with tags and all ready to deliver to your visitors.

There are several things that you will need in order to do this:

Some friendly bookmarks:
SVN checkout for x264:
svn checkout svn://svn.videolan.org/vlc/trunk vlc-trunk
SVN checkout for ffmpeg:
svn checkout svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/ffmpeg/trunk ffmpeg

First of all, I’m assuming that you are running Linux, Mac-OS X or any other UNIX variant. I never tried this on windows because I am pretty sure that there are lot of really nice programs that you could buy to do the job.
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The first ever iPod commercial by Apple

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

This is the first ever commercial for the iPod released in 2001.
Not really a lot to say about this one, i personally don’t find it really “creative” when compared with other Apple campaigns, but i think it deserves a place because it was “the first”.
The song used for this one is “Take California” by The Propellerheads.
Enjoy one of the very few high quality versions available on the web.

Please note that you will need a 512kbps internet connection (or faster) in order to watch this video without interruptions.

[vidipress mode=”rtmp” rtmpserver=”rtmp://plusmediaserver.com/media/” rtmpid=”iPod/1st_ipod_2001″/]

CSSEdit 2.5, a visual CSS Editor that doesn’t suck.

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

CSSEdit 2.5 screenshotOh my God, some weeks ago I bought a license for this amazing piece of software made by the guys at macrabbit.com. This is not just another CSS Editor, this is **THE** CSS Editor.
Not only you can edit each and every aspect of the css code in a visual manner, but also, every change that you do is reflected in the display window in real time! Yay!
One of the features that i really love about this software is the “X-Ray” function, where you basically click on the different elements of the webpage you are working on, and it tells you all the CSS classes that are affecting it, you also see the full inheritance tree and you can, obviously create new CSS Classes with full inheritance control thanks to the “inspector” window.
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Illacrimo WordPress theme: validated and fixed.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

As you maybe noticed, i am using the excellent Illacrimo theme for wordpress on this blog because, basically, i was lazy to code and design my own theme, but most importantly, because i just loved this one.

In any case, there were some minor problems about this really wonderful theme:

  1. It was not Valid XHTML
  2. It was not Valid CSS
  3. There were some minor discrepancies around different browsers (specially in the search box)

So i just fixed the whole HTML and CSS code to be 100% valid, and i also corrected the minor CSS related problems in regards to the search box.
I also did some other minor modifications regarding the line and letter spacing on the fonts to make it “easier to the eyes”.

Please note that this theme includes MY OWN ADSENSE code on it. In order to remove or replace the adsense block with your own, you MUST edit the files single.php and sidebar.php and replace the adsense block with your own. I added adsense directly inside the template to avoid the use of an extra plugin.

Also, in order to create the “info” box (like this one) or the “quote” box, you need to use a span with “info” or “quote” as the class name:
<span class=\"info\">the text for the info box goes here</span>

If you want, you can download the “fixed” version by clicking here.

Apple’s Think Different TV commercial, in good quality…

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

As many of my friends already know, im working on an online archive of Apple related commercials and institutional videos, so well, some days ago i received a series of uMatic tapes, and i found this inside one of them.

This is, in my humble opinion, one of the better (if not the better one) examples of clean institutional advertising & branding, and one of those commercials that “touch your heart”.
Quick Tip: In recent pre-releases of Mac OS X Leopard, you will find the whole narration for this commercial in the high resolution icon of the “Text Edit” application.

I hope you enjoy this, because you wont find a better quality version in the whole web ;)
Please note that you will need a 512kbps internet connection (or faster) in order to watch this video without interruptions.

[vidipress mode=”rtmp” rtmpid=”massanti.com/td_hq” /]

 

Quote from Wikipedia: “Think Different was an advertising slogan created for Apple Computer in the late 1990s by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. It was used in a famous television commercial, several print advertisements, and several television advertisements for Apple products. Apple’s use of the slogan was discontinued with the start of the Apple Switch ad campaign in 2002. The slogan may have been a play on the venerable IBM Think motto coined by Thomas J. Watson.”

What the hell is going on with TV Tuner card manufacturers ?

Monday, September 10th, 2007

OK, so i live in Argentina, and our TV Standard is PAL-N. Actually, there are just 3 countries using this standard:

  • Argentina
  • Uruguay
  • Paraguay

Some months ago, i decided to build an HTPC with a relatively old computer that i had laying around here, so the obvious buy was a TV Tuner Card that was also compatible with Windows Media Center.

After several hours of searchs at different manufacturers’ sites, i concluded that the best one to buy was the ATI eHome Wonder, mainly because it was cheap (around U$S 40 at ebay) and because it had a hardware MPEG-2 encoder (that means that when you record a tv program to your hard disk, the processor inside your computer is virtually “free” to do anything else).

So great, around 10 days later, my brand new TV Tuner card arrived, and it worked great, except for the fact that it doesn’t supports PAL-N, in other words, the tuner is hardware locked at the NTSC/M norm, mainly used in USA and Japan.

I was really dissapointed about this, not because of the lack of support for PAL-N, but because of the lack of correct and accurate specifications in almost all the manufacturers websites. In most cases, they claim “WorldWide standards support”, but what they fail to tell you is that they are talking about the LINE or S-Video inputs, but not about the TV Tuner itself.

So what is the deal here ?… pretty simple, 90% of TV Tuner cards out there use really old “tuners” in order to get the RF signal (that’s what comes from the antenna or from your cable provider), and those tuners are usually locked specifically to a prefixed norm (usually NTSC & PAL-B).

Thanks god, after some more search (and after trying several other tuner cards), i found the answer to my prayers: There are new manufacturers that are using silicon based tuners on their boards instead of the old “steel box”, those silicon based tuners dont have any limitation when it comes to the standards they can tune, on top of that, they are amazingly small and the image quality and input sensibility is just better.

Actually, i found the guys at MSI, AdsTech and AverMedia using those silicon based tuners for their new cards, and most probably all those cards are compatible with almost any standard out there, no matter where you are.

So what did I bought finally ?

I found an AverMedia AverTV Purity 3D MCE 500 for a really low price at eBay (brand new).

(Please note the lack of information about the supported standards at their page)

This is actually a pretty high end card, it comes with dual tuners (you can watch one channel while you record a 2nd one), it also comes with Hardware MPEG-2 encoding, it uses a silicon based tuner so it is worldwide standards compatible, and it is compatible with Windows Media Center 2005 and Windows XP (i have found that it is also compatible with Linux and some Linux media centers, but i didnt test that myself yet).

So yeah, if you want to watch TV at your computer or you want to build an HTPC and you live in a country where NTSC or PAL-B are not the TV standards, this is probably the best buy you can make.