Me, programs, examinations and coursework.

First rule of the day: never, ever, attempt to make an appointment with anyone more than five times. After the fifth time (and you’re incredibly patient if it’s your fifth time), just forget about it. Ask the person to meet you instead. Or something.

Moving on…

I finally got around to scanning up our planning for the music video project. It would probably have been done a lot slower if not for a very real deadline, but anyway…

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I know, I’m no artist, and neither was anyone else who was doing the storyboard for this project. Blame that the entire group happens to be predominately male, and while I have nothing against male artists, I fully confess than I believe none of the males in this set of people are artistically inclined.

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Your Feed is being Piped

 

Image representing Pipes as depicted in CrunchBase

The Yahoo! Pipes logo. Image via CrunchBase.

Yahoo! Pipes is a pretty cool thing that basically allows users to, as they put it, ‘aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web’.

The thing about Yahoo! Pipes is that it’s supposed to be a tool to let users take content from all over the place and then do interesting things with it, and reformat it so that it fits their needs. Like stock market information. Or… blog posts. Or… RSS feeds.

You see, I’m currently working on this website project that has a little tiny widget that is supposed to take my school’s online bulletin system’s built-in RSS feed and display it on the site. It’s a little feature that I like, and I’m hoping it’ll drive more student traffic onto the site.

Here's the little guy, displaying a poor error at the beginning of the project.

Now, this was set up over the holidays, when the RSS feed was empty and there was nothing on it. When I first saw it, I assumed that the error was a result of an empty feed. So I ignored it.

However, later, I soon discovered that the bulletin was being updated, and the RSS feed was, but this little guy was not. So I had a little search. The site is hosted on WordPress.com, and soon enough, I found a little line in WordPress’s support documentation:

Feed URLs that start with “https://” will not work on our RSS Widget.

And I was not even surprised to find out that the RSS feed my school provided was set by the server’s requirements to only send the feed over HTTPS. As a result, I was stumped. There was no way to directly get the RSS feed over to the widget.

Determined to fix the problem instead of just dropping the widget, I began to search for some options. As a result, I came across Yahoo! Pipes, which I soon discovered was just perfect for the widget.

I’m not a fan of Yahoo!, and I certainly use none of their products (preferring Google), but Yahoo! Pipes proved amazing. While the task I used it for (RSS reconfiguration) could possibly also have been achieved by Feedburner, Feedburner refused to load my school’s RSS feed and claimed my school’s server returned 400 errors. (Which is probably likely.)

Yahoo! Pipes uses a drag-and-drop programming method, not unlike Scratch. It’s really easy and intuitive to use and the only problem I ever encountered was that the ‘pipes’ I created occasionally refused to save and I had to duplicate-save my project six times to get it to work properly. Still, it’s a wonderful tool for anyone who needs to take information from all over the Internet and put it in one place, especially if you need to reformat that information into another form.

I haven’t tried all of it out, but I definitely will take a look at the other features offered by Yahoo! Pipes.

What really interested me was that Yahoo! allowed me to sign in with my Google account, through OpenID. I wonder why that is? Does anyone have any ideas?

Hurray! Scholarship program! Too bad that I don’t develop apps… yet. Excited to see what comes out from Apple this year!

Update: Due to the large number of videos involved in this post, I have complied them and created the following playlist.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL17AD75C80B557573

Since we’re making music videos, it seems only fair to do some research among music videos to glean some ideas. While the storyboard and planning continues to be in progress, I have some MVs that I really like.

I also have to say that these songs are Japanese.

This post also sounds a lot like an analysis essay rather than just looking at music videos in general.

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Okay, fine. In my experience, Google goes bonkers over speculative technology, and actually invests loads of resources into developing it. I know that they’ve been developing a self-driving car, but this is practically overboard. It’s something I want.

Augmented Reality Glasses are devices that I’ve been writing about for years, generally in fiction stories. They’re a dream of most science fiction writers — and a couple of days ago, Google announced their intention to develop some and asked their users about it.

It’s amazing. If this technology actually came to the commercial market (and knowing Google, it probably will… just in about 20 years), it’ll revolutionise accessing the internet again, after the iPhone did it by letting us go mobile. Plus, I can already think of a dozen awesome features that couldn’t be implemented on any other kind of device. 

But if Google is really to develop something like this, what would be the cost? And, judging from the video, how many sensors will be on that thing? What kind of battery would they use? (Knowing Google, again, probably a self-developed battery for this purpose). And how successful will it be?

Maybe the fact that Google’s posted this idea before any kind of technical prototype means that they’re trying to get ahead of the rest of the market. And I can think of no other company that might want to build this but Apple.

To be fair, Google’s a great company. It’s developed an amazing self-driving car (that I’m surprised isn’t on the market today). But perhaps Apple’s vision and history make it more suitable to develop such a product. Then again, Apple isn’t that into speculative technology like Google is.

I just know that I’m definitely buying a pair as soon as they’re a reasonable price. (Probably not in the foreseeable future.) Would you?

>> Google Announces They’re Developing “Augmented Reality” Glasses | 404.org.

Lucky (Jason Mraz song)

Lucky (Jason Mraz song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucky to have been where I have been… lucky to be coming home some day…

For our final giveaway, we’ve decided to give away a music video! It took much deliberation, but we’ve settled on covering ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz

Stay tuned!

Having just finished a video editing project, I find it fair to launch into an explanation here.

Video editing suites have changed substantially over the past couple of years. At the beginning, film was edited manually. The special effects of that age were limited and often simple. Even transitions were incredibly easy. 

The film industry term ‘cut’, to refer to a rapid change in scene (no less than 1 frame), is derived from the ancient technique of doing so. Back then, film strips were literally cut by the editor and pieced together again to form a final video. It was crude, and any error on the part of the editor would result in irreparable damage. You can imagine the pressure that they were under at that time.

It also meant that video editing was linear. Editors had to start at the beginning and piece everything together bit by bit. Sure, they could assemble everything outside of sequence, but it still went from the beginning and straight to the end. Nothing more.

A Sony BVE-910 linear editing system's keyboard

These controls were specially designed for linear video editing. Image via Wikipedia.

When computers were invented, they further enhanced the limitability of linear editing systems. At this point, random access still had not been invented, so that the editor had to load pieces up in order and assemble them like so. I have never run a linear editing system, so I can hardly go into the details.

Today, however, the majority of video editing happens on non-linear video editing software, like iMovie, Adobe Premiere, or Sony Vegas. These programs are use non-destructive video editing techniques, rather like how Adobe Photoshop works.

The principle is simple. These editing suites, instead of editing the video, simply write a text file stating the location of the video clip, which sections of the video clip to play, and then where that is placed in the relative timeline. This means that the original video file is never altered or edited — being non-destructive — but the fact it writes the relative position on the timeline also means that they could be rearranged at leisure. After all, you’re not moving about 1.5Gb of video data — you’re simply rewriting one line of text in a 1KB file.

Naturally, this revolutionised the film industry. Now, nearly all video editing takes place on some non-linear video editing software because of its ease.

The downside to using non-linear video editing software was that none of the actual video files were placed together. As a result, the software file itself was meaningless. To share the actual video, the user needed to render the video out, so that each individual bit was converted into a video, and assembled to form the final film. This process often took hours, perhaps even days, depending on the intensity of the editing. In other words, the system traded the time around, granting ease and speed of editing and increasing time needed to produce the product.

Premiere logo.

Adrian loves this program. Image via Wikipedia.

Still, Adobe Premiere runs fine on me, and I’m not complaining. Even if it does drain my RAM a bit. A bit more than a bit. 

Get the joke?