29 April, 2008

Old School Meets Open Source

I recently mentioned that our division moved office location. As part of the move, we adopted our divisions computer security policies. My employer, a monolithic corporation focusing on government military contracts which they perform at a modest competency.

Given our current decade, it's nearly impossible to ignore the relevance of open-source software. Our company is no exception, and has tried to adopt capitalizing on open-source developments to maintain a competitive edge. For this, I find no fault.

Our recent adoption of our division's computer security policy seems counter productive in the pursuit of utilizing open-source software however. The main handicap is the disallow of visiting blogs of any nature. News flash....many, many, many open-source technical references are published in....wait for it......BLOGS!

The rationale for blocking blogs...to restrict time-wasting websites. Riddle me this caped crusader...if you employ people who spend significant time on non-productive work (wink, wink) why in the name of all that's good are they still working for you! Rather than employ preventions to keep people from doing bad things, just eliminate the people who do said bad things. How damn difficult is that?

23 April, 2008

Avi Frame Decode

fmpeg -i small.avi -r 25/10 -f image2 out%03d.jpg

Yes, if you input AVI is 25fps and you want one of each ten frames then use as output rate 25/10

ffmpeg -i /media/cdrom1/video_ts/vts_01_1.vob -i /media/cdrom1/video_ts/vts_01_2.vob -i /media/cdrom1/video_ts/vts_01_3.vob -vcodec mjpeg -f avi tmp.avi

Makes a motion jpeg video from the 3 unencrypted vobs

20 April, 2008

Breakin' The Law, Breakin' The Law

The imortal words of Rob Halford, front-man of Judas Priest.

Copyright infringements are a delicate matter. As a professional, you should avoid infringements. After all, some day you're own product may find its way to the store shelves and you wouldn't want anyone to steal it without compensating you for it would you?

No, seriously; this post is aimed at identifying a couple products that I have heard (wink, wink) to be quite useful in duplicating production dvds.

Many commercial dvds have some form of copyright protection, restricting many duplication products from working. DVDFab HD Decripter 4 http://www.dvdfab.com isn't such a product. Fact of the matter is that it will work on most dvd's to date. I've heard many people use it to duplicate the dvd contents to their hard drive. The paid version can duplicate the contents to a dvdr, however being a cheapskate I've elected to duplicate it to the hd and used another product to burn it.

DvdShrink http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/dvd_rippers/dvd_shrink.cfm works directly for older dvds, duplicating the contents dvd to dvd. It however is not up to date on many of the improved copyright techniques. So I've heard that duplicating a dvd to hd, and burning the harddrive contents to a dvdr works quite well.

I've heard that these two products combined let you duplicate most of the commercial dvds on the market.

18 April, 2008

Technologies to Minimize Geekhood

Alas my fellow geek our time has come!!

My wife no more than an hour ago underwent Lasik eye correction eliminating her dependency on glasses. She will soon realize all the advantages of those before her with perfect vision. But I ask you.....where was this procedure 20 years ago?

As a boy, my down-spiraling story began in the 4th grade. As a small, skinny kid from the trailer park I had little going for me. My shoes a step down from Converse, my jeans from K-mart, my facial features from centuries of down-beaten Polish/German ancestries, and my hair a step up from collie, or Bovidae. In short, not a lot going for me.

While 'getting the ladies' is not impossible in the 4th grade under those circumstances, throw on a pair of spectacles and you've just signed yourself up to a long decade of virginity...a 10ft boobie free zone following you late into your teens.

Today however we have technologies that even the playing fields. Lasik removes our NF glasses, pec implants giving us a chiseled chest, Alli meds for our belly minimization (read that diet pills), steroids to bulk up, and Viagra to ensure our sexual prowess.

I hesitate to think how my adolescent life would have changed had these been available to me. I probably would have spent every dime on a tackle box full of medications rather than a black beasty hot-rod. I'd have probably got more play with the ladies, and been too tired to study....leading into a long career of "...would you like to supersize?" rather than software engineering.

Eh, maybe it worked out for the better; I loved that car.

16 April, 2008

Software Quality Assurance -- SQA

This posting is aimed at you individuals whose career velocity brought them to a career in SQA:

Your job is a joke....your career a farce...your respect undeserved and absent. No one outside your department respects your job nor opinion.

I say this not to hurt, nor instigate a rebuttal but to point out the large gray elephant in the room, the one no one talks about. Think of me as your mother...tearing off the bandage to let the healing begin.

Some of the nicest people I know work in SQA. That doesn't change my opinion on the matter, it only pushes it to a region where no one talks about it. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the people working in SQA are genuinely nice people, intelligent people, and all around good fellas (in a unisex means). They aren't what I would call motivated people, or driven individuals. No, SQA groupies are typically 9-5'ers....9-3'ers when they can get away with it, 9-5'ers with long lunches when they can't.

I've been involved in professional software engineering going on 11 years now. SQA has had a role in each program that I've been involved in, so I have a working knowledge of their impact on the development process. The fact of the matter is that it has no positive impact on the process. It never has a positive impact. It has yet in 10 years proved to identify a relevant issue or flaw. The little known fact is that SQA is informally responsible for hampering the development process in a form of white-collar unemployment. We literally pay the entire department to push paper, author obsolete processes that don't even casually reflect reality. Only monolithic programs like defense contractors can even afford to employ such wastefulness, sadly because it is your money to burn and not theirs.

So if, my fair reader, you find yourself currently employed in SQA rise above it, grab a firm grip on your bootstraps and give a good yank. Retrain yourself, motivate yourself, do whatever it takes to get out of your career purgatory. You may find a career as an escort (read that as hooker) commands more respect...at least you'll be providing someone a service.

09 April, 2008

Finding Networked Video Cameras

Just seen a vlog entry on Google videos stating how to search for networked video cameras on the Internet.

Simply submit a Google search for:

You'll find some are password protected....boo, but many will be open...yeah.

Have fun.

06 April, 2008

Vietnam Hippies Revisted

As I drove home from work today I passed a sign in some meatheads yard reading "Support Our Troops - End The War". As a true supporter of our troops I am disappointed and enraged at such displays. I have yet to meet a person who genuinely likes war, probably because I don't spend time with psychos. The fact of the matter is...we are in, and we need to finish the job. Vietnam was a prime example of the moral of our country and our troops when we don't give our troops the support to complete the job.

I'm sure idiots like our yard sign poster would have fit in quite nicely with the hordes of draft-dodgers, drug doping hippies, and the protesters that spit on our troops on their return. I wonder if such meatheads admire the hippies and protesters of yesteryears, or if they believe that they are any different.

These proud soldiers have put their American dreams on hold, and lives on the line to defend those of us that have stayed behind. The absolute least we can do is not embarrass them or stand in the way of allowing them to complete the task at hand and return proud of their accomplishments.

A final note to our yard-poster, Canada is just a quick trip north...I'll help you pack.