Archive for November 19th, 2007

Westcott 5-in-1 Reflector Kit

The Westcott reflector arrived! It’s huge and it does make a difference on lighting! 🙂

The Kindle

The Kindle is an interesting concept and Amazon is the right company to push such a product. Google’s Robert Love wrote a good blog post about it. If this thing has PDF support and had better looks, it would have been a killer device. Although some purists will still say that carrying real books with real paper pages all the time in your bag, is still the way to go. I am not one of these purists.

Spyware

Great, all I ever needed was spyware on my iPhone. “Anonymous stats to help the development of the product” isn’t quite so, neither I gave consent beforehand.

Update: Apparently it just sends the identifiers for the applications, so the servers from Google and Yahoo! send special data to your iPhone (these work as browser “user agents”).

Media Player Classic rocks

I have had it with both Quicktime and VLC. None is able to playback fast enough on my 3 Ghz hyperthreaded P4 720p h.264 CAVLC video (and consider that the CAVLC entropy coding is easier to decode than CABAC). WMP is able to playback without a problem .m2t and WMV up to 1080p without a major problem, but when we are talking about h.264, both Quicktime and VLC do a shitty job. Apple’s trailers decode really fast because they encode their videos with the simple h.264 profiles/levels, but when you encode using Vegas or even ffmpeg, it seems that the only machine in my house that is able to decode these is the PS3. I tried Mplayer too, but the Windows port is a complete joke (it plays back my 16:9 videos in cinemascope aspect ratio, or something).

Enter Media Player Classic (MPC). Of course, this is a popular media player in the Windows geek community, but the official version has not been updated for ages. Thanks to Dr Evil, one of the ffdshow maintainers, he built a new version and it works remarkably well! Get this: 720p plays without a hitch! 1080p plays acceptably well too (there are dropped frames, but it’s watchable)! And it even recognizes the new .mts h.264 format from Canon (as found in their AVCHD cameras). And if that was not enough, MPC is able to somewhat playback Cineform files. There were artifacts while playing that format, but given the fact that no other open source app is able to play these, I’d say it’s better than nothing. And lastly, the application does de-interlacing, the RIGHT way! Eat that VLC! If there is only one minor usability problem with the app is the confusing zoom/stretch options it’s got in its menu, but other than that, I could not find any problem with the app.

So, to fully appreciate MPC and fast decoding, download the latest build here, and also the latest “nightly by clsid” ffdshow build from here (they go together). Thank Dr Evil for both.