Archive for ‘June, 2008’

nerdlogger stumbls into tumblr….

datePosted on 23:24, June 30th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

I’ve been hanging around for the last couple of days and I’m quite impressed. My buddy brad — — would love this. He — and a lot of others — use and to keep track of stories they want to either read or blog and socialize. Well that plus a lot more is what tumblr does. The difference being that is a hell of a lot more stable and allows for different types of media to be posted (Text/Blog, Picture, Video, Audio, Quotes, Chat’s and URL Links). also supports interleaving RSS feeds into your tumblr page, so I for example, have my blog here at, but also use it’s RSS feed to feed stories to and everything gets married seamlessly by tumblr’s backend services. So if you want to see the madness behind head over to and If you haven’t tried tumblr head over to and sign up for an account. It’s FREE :-).

Holidays, and I’m back in the Studio…..

datePosted on 23:14, June 30th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

We’re having a extended long weekend, and I was working on my new photography site — — when the studio bug bit me :-). Yeah everything was happy, I was customizing my new tumblr based photography site, when a couple of ideas started running through my head. Cassette Tapes, you know those magnetic beasts that used to store your music. I searched around the house and tried to document the last analog music storage medium. Check out more pics over on flickr.Flying CassetteI wasn’t done yet, I had always wanted to shoot my small collection of wrist watches. So after experimenting a bit I found the black background to be more dramatic. Below is a sample, more can be found on flickr.Avro Arrow Anniversary Watch is here….

datePosted on 23:13, June 30th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Well I finally broke down and did it. My new Photography site can be found hosted on tumblr at I’m using a modified museum theme by Paul Giacherio.The nice thing about having the site on tumblr is that I can host the physical photos on yahoo’s and just link them into‘s pages. It keeps things very tidy and makes it easy to maintain. Tumblr really rocks.

Some CLI tunes…..

datePosted on 20:52, June 28th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Just when you thought your command line life was getting boring, we discover these happy tunes for your cut/paste pleasure. Just select the entire line, copy it, open a terminal window, paste it followed by Enter and marvel at your Mac. Yeah it’s a OSX thing and works best under 10.5, so if you’ve got Vista/XP/Linux, this might be a good enough reason to do the switcheroo :-).say -v Good oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosay -v Bad oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosascript -e 'say "Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum he he he ho ho ho fa lah lah lah lah lah lah fa lah full hoo hoo hoo" using "Cellos"'osascript -e 'say "Dum dum dee dum dum dum dum dee Dum dum dee dum dum dum dum dee dum dee dum dum dum de dum dum dum dee dum dee dum dum dee dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" using "Pipe Organ"'osascript -e 'say "oh This is a silly song silly song silly song this is the silliest song ive ever ever heard So why keep you listening listening listening while you are supposed to work to work to work to work its because i hate my job hate my job hate my job its because i hate my job more than anything else No its because youve no life youve no life youve no life and you better go get one after forwarding this crap" using "cellos"'Who said you can’t have fun on the commandline?

JumpBox: Super simple way of getting web services deployed.

datePosted on 15:48, June 27th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

If you read our “Open Source Lovin’ for your Server” earlier this year and thought “that’s too much trouble”, here is an even easier way to sample preconfigured Open Source Application Servers at your own leasure. Be it for developement, fun, backup or even production, you can not beat JumpBox at simplicity. What they’ve done is basically created a virtual machine running linux with all the preconfigurations done for you. What this means is that I can — just by downloading a ~160MB file — run a full blown, preconfigured WordPress site in 2-3 minutes — of which 1-2 minutes are used up by parallels to boot the JumpBox virtual machine. You can even jump over to their blog and check out how you can setup your JumpBox to run off Amazon’s EC2 service…..Cloud Computing for the masses……yeah baby :-).

I used their parallel configuration on the Mac — JumpBoxes will run on all of the popular virtualization platforms including VMWare, Parallels, Microsoft Virtual PC/Server, Virtual Iron and Xen — and the static IP was all I had to configure to get the server up and running. If you have DHCP on your subnet/homerouter it’s even easier… thinking involved.

Well kids are you ready for todays lesson in transcoding DV video. So first you need a decent machine. I’m using a P4 2.4Ghz oldie that has Firewire on-board and am chewing up 50% CPU for NTSC encoding. Then you need to get Ubuntu 8.04 installed. Once that’s done use the following command to install vlc (Video Lan Client):
sudo apt-get install vlc
Then either follow this guide or if you’re using 8.04 (Hardy Heron) ONLY, use the following command to add Medibuntu to your repository sources.list:
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
followed by
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
to add the GPG key for Medibuntu Repository. You may be asked to accept this package even though it cannot be authenticated. This is normal; typing “Yes” means you trust Medibuntu.
Now do the following commands to get libdvdcss and other codecs installed on your machine:
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
sudo apt-get install w32codecs (for i386 architecture) OR
sudo apt-get install w64codecs (for amd64 architecture)

Now that we have all the goodies installed and ready to go you can go ahead and connect that DV camera to your Ubuntu box using Firewire. Make sure it’s in Camera mode (NOT VCR) and open up a command line and type in the following command to get the encoder setup:
sudo -i (This will put you in superuser root account)
cat /dev/dv1394/0 | vlc - :demux=rawdv -I dummy --sout '#transcode{vcodec=mp4v,vb=1024,acodec=mpga,ab=192,scale=1,width=720,height=480}:duplicate{dst=std{access=udp,mux=ts,dst=IPAddressofDestinationMachine:PortNumber}}'

You could also run the above command from your user account by adding sudo infront of it and supply your password followed by Enter key.

The above command (in case you’re wondering) will literally open device zero on the firewire chain and redirect it’s raw output into the VLC program. VLC is told to accept input from a pipe in rawdv format and to transcode it to mpeg4 Video @ 1Mb/s with mpeg1-layer3 audio @ 192 Kb/s.

Once the above command is running you’ll need to go to your receiving machine (the machine who’s IP you supplied in the command above), run VLC and from the File menu choose “Open Network Stream” and go with the default UDP/RTP on port 1234 (or whatever port you chose in the encoder command line).

Another neat thing you can do with your new found opensource goody bag is capture DV from your camera/settop box and save it in mpeg4 format for archival purposes (or mpeg2 for editing maybe). I’m not gonna get into the details, but assuming you’ve done the above commands, skip the encoder command and issue the following command to get your DV stream saved:
sudo -i
cat /dev/dv1394/0 | ffmpeg -f dv -i - -f mp4 -s 720x480 -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec aac -ab 128 -ar 44100 -deinterlace -b 3000k -y yourfilename.mp4

This command will take rawdv from the camera, pass it to ffmpeg, which will chew on it and spit it out as mpeg4 video @ 3Mb/s with AAC audio @ 128Kb/s into a file named yourfilename.mp4 (if the file exists it will overwrite it). Stopping is accomplished by CTRL-C. More info on this command can be found on ffmpeg’s man page.

Have Fun….

Head over to and try your hand at creating a work of art using only words. It’s fun and if you’re lucky will only entertain you for a couple of hours (not days). Now back to WRDL for more ANMTD WRD PLY FN.

Styrobot….Something creative my mind never came up with

datePosted on 15:12, June 26th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Yeah, now I know what I am gonna do with the packing foam that comes with the purchase of our next 50 Dell Servers. Michael Salter’s creations can be viewed at San Jose Museum of Art, Robots:Evolution of a Cultural Icon, up thru 10/08. Totally cool and creative. Definitely one for the “I wish I’d thought of that” category :-). You can also watch Michael build the behemoth from the ground up below.

giant styrobot from michael salter on Vimeo.

Just came across Idée’s new baby, TinEye. Have you ever wondered why it is that you can’t just go to google images (or similar image search engine) and look for images based on image content and not tags, names and such. Well it’s because it’s damn hard to do and frankly until now I haven’t seen one that actually worked properly. That said, I think the guys at TinEye have it figured out quite nicely. Their system does NOT use keywords, text, names or tags. They have developed a proprietary image identification technology that creates a image finger print for a given image. This allows them to do amazing partial matches, even if the image has been cropped, resized or modified. Although their database of images is not as large at google, their algorithms run circles around pretty much every other technology in this field.
If you don’t believe me head over to, sign up for a e-vite and once you get invited get a beta account and try it out. You’ll be amazed and how cool this technology is. They even have a firefox plugin :-).

Toronto Strobist Group meets at Ryerson

datePosted on 13:29, June 22nd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

PortraitYesterday TSG (Toronto Strobist Group) had their 3rd meeting at the Rogers Communications Centre. Lots of new faces, lots of new ideas. I definitely learned alot and generally had a blast. Got to try some of my homemade equipment which was kinda cool and also got to try my hands at shooting some fake kick boxing :-). The full gallery can be found here. And you can always check out our members contributions.