Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Windows codecs and codec packs

It has become more and more difficult to find windows codec packs that do not include adware/spyware/bloatware. It is perhaps best to get things from their source, it is not too difficult. Most movies that cannot be played by Windows Media Player (WMP) may include one or more of the following media types:
  • Some MPEG-4 encoded video stream (DivX-style), which is almost always playable by xvid. Windows installable packages can be found there. Also FFDshow has become quite popular for that. [99.9% of movies need this]
  • An MP3 encoded stream. WMP can deal with that, you should have no problem. [80% of movies need this]
  • An AC-3 encoded stream. The AC3Filter takes care of these high-quality audio streams. Beware of the volume level!!! Usually one should give significantly more gain from the AC3 control panel entry in order to achieve good volume levels. [>15% of movies need this]
  • An OGG-Vorbis audio stream. The Ogg-vorbis decoder can be found from Xiph.org here. [<2%>
  • Other codecs are significantly less common (i think), like theora, or are of course supported by WMP inherently (all WMVs, MPEG, WMAs fall in this category).
  • The Adobe Flash video files (FLV) can also be played by certain players, and there are also tools to save flash video streams (youtube, myspace) as FLV files.

It is usually important to support loading of subtitle files from WMP in an automated way. This is the job of VSFilter/DirectVobSub, which can be found from the guliverkli sourceforge project. This is a significant aspect, do not ignore this.

In order to obtain audio/video codec information for a file, it is usually sufficient to right-click on it and select "Properties". The last tab shows important information, like dimensions, codecs and data rates for the stream.

The good old codec packs (Nimo, KLite) become constantly more bloated and infected with adware, spyware, and other useless junk. I am going to check out the X-Codec-Pack, which seems to have important stuff and work with minimum intrusion. In addition - and in contrast with most cases - prefer installable downloads (*.exe, *.msi files), which do write useful registry information automatically.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Install linux without burning CDs/DVDs

The fundamental part of the process of installing linux without burning CDROMs or DVDs ALL the freaking time, is booting your machine into linux from within windows, with GRUB for NT.
This new loader allows booting a linux image using the NT boot loader. Now, selecting the right linux kernel and initrd image is something else. The UNetBootin project claims that it automates this process in an easy way...
My experiences on using these tools will follow....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Embedded Project

Mini-Box Embedded Hardware
This site features many products suitable for developing an embedded (Linux?) system.

Linux Devices

This is actually a news site for embedded linux systems. Quite interesting implementations.

Slashdot: ZFS and NAS
A /. discussion about Network Access Storage (NAS) and cheaper implementations. This is only one part of the picture.

LAMP stuff

Tuning LAMP systems [IBM]

A comprehensive (but simple) article for optimizing PHP with Apache.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Graphics, Games and Drivers

THG's comparison of Nvidia and ATI drivers

2006, mid-July comparative test. Quite intuitive. Conclusions can be:
  1. Nvidia drivers are more feature-full, slightly easier to install and provide more functionality (overclocking, SLI)
  2. Tests showed no significant performance difference (ATI slightly better, Nvidia more consistent)
  3. Gamins is not only for Win32