Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Quirky error in Google Chrome for Mac (Beta)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

While testing some of my own JavaScript code in the new beta build of Chrome for Mac, i was presented with this error:

Chrome for Mac error

Chrome for Mac error

Updated HE-AAC (aacPlus) reference encoder for Mac OS X

Monday, December 7th, 2009

This is an updated build of the 3GPP group AAC Plus (or HE-AAC) reference audio encoder for Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” or newer.

You can get the binary build (3 way universal binary with PowerPC, i386 and x86_64 architectures) here:

enhAacPlusEnc for Mac OS X Leopard, Binary build with 3 architectures.

Xcode project (3.2 or newer) can be downloaded here:

enhAacPlusEnc Xcode project (3.2 or newer)

For more info visit the original post here.

Download Thingy, a free Download Manager for the Mac

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Download ThingyIm working in a new piece of software called “Download Thingy” (at least for now).

It is basically a Download Manager for Mac OS X. The main reasons why I am doing this are simple: There seems to be not a single Download Manager for the Mac that complies with the following:

  • It is Free.
  • It doesn’t have a lot of features that i will NEVER use.
  • Comes with a simple UI putting the main focus on the Downloads and not on other stuff I don’t care.
  • Allows segmented / multi threaded downloads.
  • Allows limiting the download speed in a “per download” or “overall” basis.

For this project I’m using the amazing libCurl library as the download engine backend.

Anybody who is interested to participate in a private alpha testing of this (yet prototype) app feel free to comment on this post and i will get back to you when an alpha version is ready for testing.

Cheers, Diego.

MediaInfo Mac is now Discontinued.

Friday, July 17th, 2009

mediainfo_macHi there, just a quick note to let you all know that MediaInfo Mac is now officially discontinued.

You can get the latest MediaInfo Mac release by visiting the releases archive but no new versions or bugfixes will be released.

Thanks to the more than 50k people who downloaded, contributed and used MediaInfo Mac.

Why the new tabs in Safari 4 are a shame…

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

So yesterday I downloaded the new Safari 4 beta release from Apple… and yes, it is faster, the new “top sites” feature is kinda “cool”, but I happen to see way too much “Chrome like” UI features here, specially, the new tabs design. Apple clearly wanted to imitate the tabs in Chrome, but they did it wrong, because, if you have 3 opened tabs and you want to reach the 3rd one, the distance between Tab 1 and Tab 3 is more than 2/3 of your screen (or more than 1000 pixels in most standard screens).

Die hard apple fanboys have told me things like “It’s just a matter of getting used to them” or “You have to use keyboard shortcuts to switch tabs”.

Well, let me tell you that i see no reason why i should “get used” to something that I don’t like at all, and let me also tell you that when I’m browsing the web, i usually DON’T use the keyboard at all which is why I’m blaming at the new tabs. Of course, thanks god you can switch back to the old tabs scheme, but right now, the preference is hidden, so i really hope that apple adds this as a standard preference for the final release.

Anyway, a video is better than a thousand words.

Last minute note…. while editing this post, i found that Safari 4 breaks the Rich Text Editor in WordPress, but since it is yet a beta, i guess it’s ok.

[flashvideo file=”/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/” /]

MediaInfo Mac, revisited.

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

As you maybe know, time is a commodity these days, but i took some hours to fix some bugs and update several things in MediaInfo Mac.
Most of the fixes are related to the usability aspect of this little tool, as in, improved open and save dialogs, etc, but there is also some speed improvement in the parsing routines, and, the application is 64bit ready now (for capable hardware).
For the late comers, MediaInfo Mac is a Macintosh version of an amazing tool (called MediaInfo) created by Jerome Martinez, you can find more info about his incredible work by going here.

If you want to download MediaInfo Mac, you can visit the official site by going here… or, if you are lazy, you can just grab the latest version by clicking here.

Below is a little video demo of what the application can do and what kind of detailed information you should expect when processing video / audio files.

[flashvideo filename=/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/mediainfo_demo.mp4 /]

As usual, questions, comments and suggestions are welcome :)

An automated and rock-solid encoding engine solution for your youtube-like site.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

It was some days ago when i was contacted by one of the visitors of this blog in order to create a “black box” solution to solve the video encoding part of a video sharing website similar to

As you maybe know, i have posted some months ago a really basic script to automate some of the tasks, but, what about integration with your actual website framework ? what about queue management, what about multi-server encoding environment ?

Those are all the usual questions when a potential customer calls, so i spent some days developing a complete black-box solution for this issue, using all open-source software, with the following features.

  • Fully automatic video encoding queue management.
  • Support for 1 to n encoding nodes with fully automatic transaction control (still in beta-testing).
  • Support for the following video formats: Windows Media, Quicktime, DV, Avid DV, DivX, xVid and almost any imaginable format (any format supported by mplayer is actually 100% supported)
  • Support for HE-AAC audio (Stereo near-CD quality sound at 48kbps).
  • Fully automatic thumbnail generation in 3 different positions of the video stream, supported output formats are JPG, PNG and GIF.
  • Fully automatic metadata injection, including all the popular “iTunes like” tags.
  • Fully automatic iPod Touch / iPhone compatible stream generation.
  • Support for more than 1 output format (managed from a presets file).
  • Fully automatic Pixel and Display aspect ratio correction for proper video resizing and scaling.
  • Possibility to select how many CPU cores to use for the encoding process (only on multicore cpu’s)

There are a several more features that I’m still developing. If you are interested and you want more details, you can contact me at: diego (at sign here) I don’t bite ;)

Keeping track of your users hardware / Software with Sparkle and PHP.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Some months ago I started using the amazing Sparkle framework to manage the auto-update features on my MediaInfo Mac application, and it wasn’t until today that I decided to update my Sparkle version to the latest one from the SVN and give it a try, mostly because I’m planning to release upcoming MediaInfo Mac builds as 32 and 64bit Universal Binaries, but that’s a different story.

I have found that with the new Sparkle version, you can kindly ask the user if he/she wants to send anonymous information about the system they are using to run your application, like the MacOS version, amount of RAM, number of processors, language, etc. This is specially useful for many reasons (at least for me), first, I’m starting the process of localizing my application, so that gives me a pretty good idea of what languages are the most used so far, and, finally, it will let me now when I could stop caring about Tiger and start a Leopard only version of my Software.

The idea is pretty simple, you have a PHP script that generates the whole AppCast compatible feed, and all the hardware / software information is passed as url parameters, as in feed.php?osVersion=10.2.5&lang=en … etc.

So, by using good old Google, i found a really good script to generate the AppCast feed, but, i also needed a way to store the tracking data into a DB for later usage, and, i came up with this (really barebones, but working) prototype.

So, i did some minor modifications to the original PHP code; first, i changed the way to parse the version number from the file names, so as long as you use the pattern it will work, please note that you can put as much revision or subversion numbers as you wish: should also work.

This is the code snippet as i have it working now on my development server:

// ----------------------------------------------------------- //
// Script to generate an RSS appcast from folder contents
// Version 1.0.1
// (cc) Random Sequence 2007, Some Rights Reserved
// Licenced under a creative commons Attribution ShareAlike licence
// ----------------------------------------------------------- //
// REQUIRES PHP 5 or greater
// Tested with APACHE 1 & 2 on Mac OS X, Debian Linux   

// -------------------- BEGIN CONFIG ------------------------- //

$title = "Downloads";           // Used as feed title in feed readers
$description = "File List";     // Used as feed description in feed readers

// these are the types of files to list in the appcast & their MIME Types. Use lower case.
$fileTypes = array( "zip"=>"application/zip",

// -------------------- END OF CONFIG ------------------------ //

$appcastHeader = "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"utf-8\"?>
<rss version=\"2.0\" xmlns:dc=\"\" xmlns:sparkle=\"\">
    <title>MediaInfo Mac Software Updates Feed</title>
    <description>AppCast compatible feed for MediaInfo Mac Updates</description>
$appcastTemplate = "
            <guid  isPermaLink=\"false\">*guid*</guid>
                length=\"*length*\" />

$appcastFooter = "
$dir = getcwd()."/releases";
$files = scandir("$dir");
$etag = sha1(implode("/",$files));

// support for conditional fetch
if (isset($_SERVER['HTTP_IF_NONE_MATCH']) && $_SERVER['HTTP_IF_NONE_MATCH'] == $etag) {
    header('HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified');

$appcast = $appcastHeader;

$link = "http://".$_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"].$_SERVER["PHP_SELF"];

$appcast = str_replace("*link*",$link,$appcast);
$appcast = str_replace("*title*",$title,$appcast);
$appcast = str_replace("*description*",$description,$appcast);

foreach ($files as $file) {
	if (isset($matches[1]) && isset($fileTypes[strtolower($matches[1])]) !== false) {
		$appcastFile = $appcastTemplate;
		$folderUrl = "http://".$_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"].substr($_SERVER["PHP_SELF"],0,strrpos($_SERVER["PHP_SELF"],"/"))."/releases/";
		$guid = $folderUrl.sha1($file);
		$path_parts = pathinfo($file);
		$title = mb_convert_case( str_replace("_", " ", $path_parts['filename']) , MB_CASE_TITLE, "UTF-8");
		//$description = preg_replace("/^(.*?)([0-9]+[a-z])\.([a-z09]{1,3})$/i","$1",$file);
		$description = getFileDescription("releases/".$file.".html");
		$pubdate = date("D, d M Y H:i:s",filectime("releases/".$file));
		$type = $fileTypes[strtolower($matches[1])];
		$url = $folderUrl.$file;
		$length = filesize("releases/".$file);  
		preg_match("/(\d+\.)+\d+/", $file, $m_version);
		$version = $m_version[0];
		//$version = preg_replace("/^(.*?)([0-9]+[a-z])\.([a-z09]{1,3})$/i","$2",$file);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*guid*",$guid,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*title*",$title,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*description*",$description,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*version*",$version,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*pubdate*",$pubdate,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*type*",$type,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*url*",$url,$appcastFile);
		$appcastFile = str_replace("*length*",$length,$appcastFile);                                    
		$appcast .= $appcastFile;

// Reads a file called filename.html and returns the HTML output

function getFileDescription($fileName) {
	$handle = @fopen("$fileName", "r");
	$rValue = "";
	if ($handle) {
		while (!feof($handle)) {
			$buffer = fgets($handle, 4096);
			$rValue .= $buffer;
	return $rValue;

$appcast .= $appcastFooter;
/*"GET /u.php?UUID=F2958FD0-2EC9-40CA-8171-C63D663AAE90&
		ramMB=2048 HTTP/1.1" 200 575 "-" "MediaInfo Mac/ Sparkle/282"
// Database Functions

$vars = array('osVersion' , 'cputype', 'cpu64bit', 'cpusubtype', 'model', 'ncpu', 'lang', 'appName', 'appVersion', 'cpuFreqMHz', 'ramMB', 'UUID');
$values = array();
$shouldInsert = true;
foreach ($vars as $item) {
	if (isset($_GET[$item])) {
		$values[$item] = html_entity_decode($_GET[$item]);
	} else {
		if ($item != 'cpu64bit') {
			$shouldInsert = false;

if (isset($_GET['cpu64bit'])) {
	$values['cpu64bit'] = html_entity_decode($_GET['cpu64bit']);
} else {
	$values['cpu64bit'] = '0';

if ($shouldInsert == true) {
	$mysqli = new mysqli("yourDBHost", "yourDBUser", "yourDBPassword", "yourDBName");

	if (mysqli_connect_errno()) {
	    printf("Connect failed: %s\n", mysqli_connect_error());

	$stmt = $mysqli->prepare("INSERT INTO stats (os_version, cpu_type, cpu_64bit, cpu_subtype, model, n_cpu, lang, app_name, app_version, cpu_freq, ram_mb, UUID) VALUES (?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?)");
	$stmt->bind_param('siississsiis', $values['osVersion'], $values['cputype'], $values['cpu64bit'], $values['cpusubtype'], $values['model'], $values['ncpu'], $values['lang'], $values['appName'], $values['appVersion'], $values['cpuFreqMHz'], $values['ramMB'], $values['UUID']);


header("Content-type: application/xml; charset=UTF-8");
header("ETag: $etag");

echo $appcast;

As usual, suggestions or improvements are welcome ;)

MediaInfo Mac update released

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Hi there, just a quick note to let you know that a new version of MediaInfo Mac ( has been released, not only it includes several bugfixes and improvements in the Cocoa arena, but also a new build of the MediaInfo engine which features the following improvements:

  • AVC: Count of reference frames.
  • AU: Comments.
  • Some global speed improvement.
  • Id3v2: Unsynchronized frames support (v2.3 & v2.4).
  • MKV: handling of files created for streaming.
  • MPEG-4: Handling of corrupted stream size info with some PCM streams.
  • DVD video: Hebrew patch (“iw” code is mapped to Hebrew).
  • MPEG-4: better handling of bitrate mode (VBR or CBR).
  • AVI: MediaInfo reads now the framerate value from the container rather than the stream value.
  • AC3: TrueHD detection.
  • MPEG-TS (or Bluray): VC-1, AC3+ and AC3 TrueHD detection.
  • AVC in MKV: all SEI userdata infos from x264/eavc in Writing library settings.
  • EVO: Better detection of duration.
  • Dirac: raw files parsing.
  • MPEG-TS: Dirac management.
  • MPEG-TS: DVB subtitles/Teletext management.
  • MPEG-4 Visual (DivX/XviD): writing library name was missing.
  • MPEG-Video: some DTS files with wrong extension were detected as MPEG-Video.
  • SWF: Compressed SWF files support is back.

If you are an actual user, just launch the application and use the auto update feature, or you can get the latest version by visiting the official MediaInfo Mac website.

As usual, feel free to leave any comment or suggestion in here.

Enjoy :)

iPhone’s “Code Signing”: Is there any limit for the ridiculous ?

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Some hours ago i was pointed to an interesting post about the new “code signing” features that Apple is going to implement for the iPhone software developers, and honestly, I am speechless…
There was a time when i used to believe that there was a good reason for Apple to be so closed in some aspects: To keep the user experience as clean and smooth as possible.
That could explain several behaviors in the iTunes Music Store, in the iPod and of course in the whole Mac platform, but after reading several times this great article at Rogue Amoeba’s blog, just one thing comes to my mind… “is there any limit ?”.

I still can’t believe the fact that it is just NOT possible to load an application inside an iPhone unless it’s blessed (read: digitally signed) by Apple, and yes, you read it right, not even for testing purposes, which means that if you want to start writing some code for the iPhone, you have to a) buy a $99 testing certificate, and b) buy an extra iPhone compatible with that extra certificate.
But the story continues….

Apple seems to have a list of things that they are not going to bless, like for example Porn, or “Bandwidth Hog” applications, and there is also the “unforeseen” category, which translated to plain English means “anything that we don’t like at all or we consider bad for our business model”.

I happen to believe that protecting the user experience as much as you can is a good thing, and that is mainly the reason because Mac OS is more enjoyable than any other OS out there, no discussion there, but when a company starts telling me what I am allowed to run (or not) on a device that i OWN, I think that something is really wrong. In my particular case, I don’t own an iPhone (and not even planning to own one, mostly because I use Nextel, and I wouldn’t change it for anything), for the contrary i own a Motorola headset, and i can load any application on it, or even write my own if I feel like.

No matter how much I love Apple and their products, I think that freedom of choice is one of the most valuable things that our society must protect, and while I read a lot of forum / blog posts by the so called “Apple fanboys” saying things like “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it” I just don’t want to believe what could happen if a company with this way of thinking becomes the market leader.

I have yet to see the evolution of this whole thing, but right now this just makes me re-think if some other eternally blamed companies are really sooooo evil after all…