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Posts Tagged ‘flash’

Google opens up VP8 with WebM Project

May 20th, 2010 2 comments

You kind of knew it was going to happen but the mighty Google has open-sourced On2’s VP8 codec and set it free (in the form of a BSD-style license). Don’t forget to read an intro to the WebM VP8 SDK and get the code (the files). Some of the companies backing it and the ideas behind WebM are posted on the first blog entry.

So what is WebM?

WebM includes:

  • VP8, a high-quality video codec we are releasing today under a BSD-style, royalty-free license
  • Vorbis, an already open source and broadly implemented audio codec
  • a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container

Wonder what MSFT and Apple are going to do? In either case, interesting times ahead for video.

Oh hai, I almost forgot, from their FAQ, some interesting points – besides the Licensing bits.

If I have a video card that accelerates video playback, will it accelerate VP8?

The performance of VP8 is very good in software, and we’re working closely with many video card and silicon vendors to add VP8 hardware acceleration to their chips.

Will WebM files play on my TV, set-top box, PVR, etc.?

Stay tuned! The WebM community is working with hardware manufacturers to bring WebM support to a wide range of devices.

When will other Google products support WebM and VP8?

WebM support in Android is expected in the Gingerbread release (currently planned for Q4, 2010). We expect many other Google products to adopt WebM and VP8 as they prioritize it with their other product requirements. Keep an eye on the WebM blog for announcements.

Man, Google rocks!

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The Gospel according to Jobs: Thoughts on Flash

May 3rd, 2010 2 comments

Got to give it up for Steve Jobs, he responds to his followers when things are a muck in his church. But putting aside my dislike for Apple antics, I do agree with most of his comments.

Flash was great in the early days, we had the birth of the XaoXao videos and interactivity on the web, but in the past 5-6 years, the hip cool designers of the world have transformed the browsing experience to be  fully Flash driven – which drives me nuts. Do they not realise that content would not be indexable by search engines nor useful for anyone who doesn’t have Flash? Whats more, I’m not after their fancy dancy effects, I’m after content – the exception of Flash being used for animation in addition to content (like slideshows, video presentations or marketing bits) or navigation around a site.

One recent (2006) example is the Eclipse home page, back when I got the AVN6000 installed, I wrote a little blurb on the (then) DeveloperFusion blogs and sure enough took the bulk of the traffic for the keyword AVN6000. The entire site was flash driven up until 2008 and no-one had indexed the content of the site.  As the unit was installed a week after release, it got quite a bit of traffic – nice for me.

I have FlashBlock installed to avoid uninvited flash content (especially annoying opening up a bunch of news articles and one of them is playing a video!) and have no _real_ need for Flash on my mobile devices – youtube works. Android 2.2 (Froyo) will ship with some flash support but it doesn’t excite me as much as the JIT functionality. Gotta JIT that, Gotta JIT that

There are a few points you can criticise Jobs on (HTML5, CSS+JS is no where near the functionality of Flex nor Silverlight – gasp! but it has time and momentum to grow) and everything about Apple is proprietary (sure they have a few good open-source projects – DTrace & WebKit) but their business nature to lock you into fruity loops. I still haven’t got a decent way of avoiding installing iTunes if I want to use an iPod which is the only device my (ironically) AVN6000 supports. As for the latter, overall a job well done I say and well justified move for not having Flash on their devices.

Just like to point out one thing having come from working with the On2 VP6/VP7 bits whilst at Vividas.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.

What he’s talking about here is that Adobe utilises the On2 VP6 for their video rendering in Flash (as of Flash Player 8) and as such there’s no standard accelerator for the On2 codec (yet!) – its all CPU bound (and prior to 2008 quite intensive to decode!). The VP6 and VP7 codecs (though quite differently utilised) powered (or still powers) the Vividas format (could be different now, I left in 2008). Compared to Flash Player 7, the enhancements that On2 VP6 brought to Flash Player 8 effectively meant that a lot of media was encoded optimised for VP6. Newer versions of Flash Player 9 Update 3+ support h264 however.

Don’t forget that JavaFX also utilises VP6. While you’re there, checkout Gosling rant on Android and his thoughts on the Apple OS X Secret API hooks for the JVM.

With Google having purchased On2 Technologies earlier this year, there’s a bit of excitement and worry about the future of VP8 and whether it will become open-source and what will happen to h264 or Theora (a derivative of On2 VP3 which On2 open-sourced).

Having said all that, I can’t leave you without leaving something to ponder about when it comes to Apple and its many evangelists enthusiasts – maybe you’re one of them?

It’s funny because its true (!), don’t Think Different. Be different 🙂

I guess its time for Adobe to chime in and see their take on things, it better be something flashy!

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Microsoft releases Silverlight 2, and OpenOffice 3.0 goes out the door!

October 14th, 2008 No comments

A few days ago OpenOffice 3.0 got released after 3 long years of development. You should download a copy and give it ago. To be perfectly honest, because of my MSDN suby’s I never really needed OpenOffice nor did I particularly like v2.x, but v3.0 is a breath of fresh minty air with a ray of bright Sun light beaming down from the heavens. The only times I’ve ever tried was under Linux, and even then I’ve often gone for Abiword instead to avoid the bloat.

It feels far more responsive than the 2.x versions I’ve tried, heck it even loads a helluva lot faster too and doesnt seem to chew up the resources 2.x did.

The Office Word compatibility has improved greatly. Learn more about OpenOffice 3.0 on the Linux Format article.

Then if that wasnt enough, Microsoft today launched Silverlight 2, which finally heads out of beta. Havent had a great deal of time to play with Silverlight but from the demos it looks kickass.

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COOL TOOL: Throwaway the CDs & DVDs, use your Flash Drive + UNetbootin to install Linux!

October 11th, 2008 No comments

I’ll admit it, I still have a floppy-drive attached to my maturing beast, which is primarily used as my day-to-day development box. Floppies come in handy for that odd install of XP or below that require RAID drivers (though you can just use nLite and bundle it by default).

But what about the CD-R’s and DVD-R’s in the days of Cloud Browser based Operating Systems (funny)? I recall burning ISOs like no tomorrow when new versions of Ubuntu were released – and I’m sure everyone else who has gone down the Linux or BSD route has had similar experiences.

But before you go burning that ISO at the next install (maybe Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex at the end of the month) you might want to consider an alternate route – and whats more, I’ll bet you it will install faster on newer systems.

I bought a Corsair Voyager GT 16Gb (pdf info-sheet) flash drive a few months back, whilst I’ve been fairly disappointed that its advertised speed fell short of expectations due to the Samsung manufactering process changes, I still kept it dear to myself having paid about AUD$109 for it. (I name things, the drive was dubbed DrSporky). Even though its rated at about 34MB/S read (so realistically it should do about 25-30MB/s) I’ve managed to clock about 19-21MB/s copying a 500Mb file using Teracopy – a real benchmark not a synthetic test and 8Mbp copying it back to the drive (see below). Nothing to sneeze at, but the difference between the GT and the non-GT was the 30MB/s+ read-speed I figured.

I use it almost daily and it carries around a bootable version of Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) thanks to the multi-platform utility UNetbootin.

UNetbootin is written in C++ using the Qt4 Toolkit engine (full information is available on the Universal Netboot Installer page on Launchpad) so its compatible on Windows and Linux. Simply download the latest version, insert your USB drive and either let UNetBootbin download the distro you’d like to try _or_ browse to the Disk image to one you’ve already grabbed.

Give it a go and see what you think, installing Ubuntu 8.04.1 on a mates system (ASUS P5KPL-CM & Core E2180) took less than 10minutes (at most 20 if you inlude boot and configuration)!!! The best part is that you can easily reuse it easily formatting etc *AND* store your own things ready to utilise whenever you need it.

So the next time you got install _anything_ give UNetbootin ago and make use of that fast USB Drive instead of wasting CD/DVD writables that you usually endup throwing away.

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