Archive for ‘Opensource’ Category

Sugar interface on a USB stick…..

datePosted on 23:25, February 18th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Thanks to Sugar Labs you can now have your Ubuntu 8.10 or Fedora 10 linux distributions with sugar on it…..Shweet :-).  Yep you heard right, go here and grab your OLPC XO inspired 1GB USB stick image and boot all those old PC’s into sugar. According to Walter Bender (the creator of Sugar OS) a new version dubbed Sucrose 0.84 is on its way soon. Complete article (including interview with Mr. Bender) is over at XConomy.

LaserTouch….Multitouch using a projection TV and Lasers….

datePosted on 22:52, February 18th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Yep you heard right….freaking lasers…..yummy. These guys have managed to turn a rear-projection TV into a multitouch surface using IR lasers. Absolutely fantastic as it (using lasers) makes the whole design a lot simpler and gets rid of the the tracking problems associated with regular IR LED based tables and ambient IR light. Although the original laser idea comes from gang, stuffing everything inside a 16″ deep tv is a nice touch :-).

Below is a good rundown of the pros and cons of this setup vs. FTIR:


  • Excellent tracking results, even with lots of ambient IR light.
  • Zero-force: Feels very natural to work with.
  • Comparatively easy to build.
  • Comparatively cheap to build.
  • Comparatively fast to build.


  • Already “sees” the finger slightly before it touches the surface (since the laser light plane extends to about a millimeter above the surface).
  • It is very sensitive.
  • Availability of infrared lasers*
  • Lasers are dangerous for the eyes.
  • Potential problems with occlusion.

*As long as you are careful with the lasers, your eyes will be safe: Just accidentally looking into the laser for a second won’t do any harm, it’s just that you shouldn’t stare into them for long. However, since the infrared lasers also emit a bit of (red) light in the visible spectrum, you’ll notice immediately when you’re looking into a laser by accident, so you can turn your head away. It’s really nothing to worry about too much, but it’s most definitely not an ideal setup if you want to work with children, for example!

Their blog page outlines everything…..and I mean everything.

Disk for Iphone….Turn your IPhone (IpodTouch) into a portable HD.

datePosted on 13:48, February 13th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

MacFUSE project has grown a lot since we last covered it here and here. MacFuse 2.0 is here and it’s looking really nice. MacFUSE is the mac implementation of FUSE (File-system in USEr space) filesystem originally developed for Linux. For those of you who’ve not heard of this gem before, MacFUSE allows you to extend Mac OS X’s native file handling capabilities via 3rd-party file systems. Pretty much anything that has some order to it can be turned (viewed as) into a filesystem (ie: sshfs, youtubefs). As a user, installing the MacFUSE software package will let you use any 3rd-party file system written atop MacFUSE.

Disk for iPhone is a MacFUSE based filesystem that allows you to read and write files on your iPhone. It uses the MobileDevice API (like iTunes) to access the filesystem of the iPhone over USB. You need to install MacFuse base system on your machine first and then grab Disk for iPhone module.

DIY PS3 Cluster Howto…

datePosted on 15:11, December 24th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: ATMC Physics Professor Gaurav Khanna and Principal Investigator Chris Poulin have created a great step-by-step guide that shows you how $4000 and a bit of elbow grease can get you a nice supercomputer cluster. They use Fedora Core 8 distribution, due to the prevalence of Fedora and its Cell SDK (3.0) compatibility

Synkron, because syncing can be such a pain….

datePosted on 17:12, October 26th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

I know, rsync is the answer to all my prayers, at least as far as syncing data is concerned. I agree, BUT sometimes you just want a simple GUI (yes pointy/clicky) application to do the job. Well that’s were synkron comes in. A simple applications that does one thing and it does it well, synchronizing your files/folders. It’s multi platform and works really well. It uses tabs to setup multiple synching jobs. It supports 1-to-1 synching or what’s known as multi-sync were synkron synchronises the sources one by one with their representing folder in the destination. This can be used for backups for example. It also has a scheduler/filters/blacklist and the ability to restore as well. The analyze function is also very useful as it can tell you what will be backed up before its backed up. Oh, and it’s open source/free software, so no excuses :-).

FFmpeg commands for ipod video encoding…

datePosted on 12:04, September 25th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

So I found out the hard way that the new ipod’s (with video out) can actually play 640×480 video and also figured out how to get iTunes to accept the encoded files (so that I could sync them with the device)…….here is the run down:

  • “TV-Out” mode – 1.5Mbit/s 640×480 H.264 videos
    • BIT_RATE <= 1500 kbps
    • 640×480
    • Up to 30 fps
    • “Low-Complexity” H.264 Baseline Profile
    • 1 reference frame
    • Up to H.264 level 3
    • 640 pixels maximum frame width
    • Sample Aspect Ratio (SAR) must be 1:1
    • UUID atom must exist containing the following hex data: 6B 68 40 F2 5F 24 4F C5 BA 39 A5 1B CF 03 23 F3….This allows you to add the video into iTunes. You need AtomicParsley for this which can be checked out from their subversion repository . See below for usage.
  1. For 1-pass encoding use:
  2. ffmpeg -i INPUT -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions +parti4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -me umh -subq 5 -trellis 1 -refs 1 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 300 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 10M -bufsize 10M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 30 -aspect WIDTH:HEIGHT OUTPUT.mp4AtomicParsley OUTPUT.mp4 --DeepScan --iPod-uuid 1200 --overWrite

  3. For 2-pass encoding use:
  4. ffmpeg -i INPUT -an -pass 1 -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions 0 -me epzs -subq 1 -trellis 0 -refs 1 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 300 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 10M -bufsize 10M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 30 -aspect WIDTH:HEIGHT OUTPUT.mp4 ffmpeg -i INPUT -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -pass 2 -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions +parti4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -me umh -subq 5 -trellis 1 -refs 1 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 300 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 10M -bufsize 10M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 30 -aspect WIDTH:HEIGHT OUTPUT.mp4AtomicParsley OUTPUT.mp4 --DeepScan --iPod-uuid 1200 --overWrite

  • “Standard” mode – 768kbit/s 320×240 H.264 videos
    • BIT_RATE <= 768 kbps
    • 320×240
    • Up to 30 fps
    • H.264 Baseline Profile up to level 1.3
  1. For 1-pass encoding use:
  2. ffmpeg -i INPUT -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions +parti4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -flags2 +mixed_refs -me umh -subq 5 -trellis 1 -refs 5 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 250 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 768k -bufsize 2M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 13 -title SOME_TITLE OUTPUT.mp4

  3. For 2-pass encoding use:
  4. ffmpeg -i INPUT -an -pass 1 -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions 0 -me epzs -subq 1 -trellis 0 -refs 1 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 250 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 768k -bufsize 2M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 13 -title SOME_TITLE OUTPUT.mp4 ffmpeg -i INPUT -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -pass 2 -s WIDTHxHEIGHT -vcodec libx264 -b BIT_RATE -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -partitions +parti4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -flags2 +mixed_refs -me umh -subq 5 -trellis 1 -refs 5 -coder 0 -me_range 16 -g 250 -keyint_min 25 -sc_threshold 40 -i_qfactor 0.71 -bt BIT_RATE -maxrate 768k -bufsize 2M -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 10 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -level 13 -title SOME_TITLE OUTPUT.mp4

      ffmpeg command line quickies…..

      datePosted on 11:05, September 25th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

      Here are a bunch of ffmpeg command lines that will do just about everything you need.

      1. Getting info from a video file
      2. ffmpeg -i video.avi

      3. Turn a sequence of images into video
      4. ffmpeg -f image2 -i image%d.jpg video.mpg

      5. Turn a video into a sequence of images
      6. ffmpeg -i video.mpg image%d.jpg

      7. Encode video for Ipod/IPhone
      8. ffmpeg -i source_video_file.avi -acodec aac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trell 1 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320x180 -title X output_file.mp4

      9. Encode video for PSP
      10. ffmpeg -i source_video_file.avi -b 300 -s 320x240 -vcodec xvid -ab 32 -ar 24000 -acodec aac output_file.mp4ORffmpeg -i "OriginalFile.avi" -f psp -r 29.97 -b 768k -ar 24000 -ab 64k -s 320x240 "OutputFile.mp4"

      11. Extract audio from a video file and save it as mp3 format
      12. ffmpeg -i source_video_file.avi -vn -ar 44100 -ac 2 -ab 192 -f mp3 output_file.mp3

      13. Convert a wave file to mp3
      14. ffmpeg -i original_audio_file.avi -vn -ar 44100 -ac 2 -ab 192 -f mp3 output_file.mp3

      15. Convert a avi video to mpeg
      16. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi output_file.mpg

      17. Convert a mpeg video to avi
      18. ffmpeg -i original_movie.mpg output_file.avi

      19. Convert a avi video to uncompressed animated gif
      20. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi output_file.gif

      21. Add audio to an existing video-only file (mix audio and video)
      22. ffmpeg -i son.wav -i original_movie.avi output_file.mpg

      23. Convert a avi video to flv (flash video)
      24. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -ab 56 -ar 44100 -b 200 -r 15 -s 320x240 -f flv output_file.flv

      25. Convert a flv video to mpeg
      26. ffmpeg -i myFile.flv -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320x240 myFile.mpg

      27. Convert a avi video to dv
      28. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -s ntsc -r ntsc -aspect 4:3 -ar 48000 -ac 2 output_file.dvORffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -target ntsc-dv output_file.dv

      29. Convert a avi video to mpeg specifically for DVD creation
      30. ffmpeg -i source_video.avi -target ntsc-dvd -ps 2000000000 -aspect 16:9 finale_video.mpeg

      31. Compress a avi video to Divx
      32. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -s 320x240 -vcodec msmpeg4v2 output_file.avi

      33. Convert a Ogg Theora video to mpeg specifically for DVD creation
      34. ffmpeg -i original_movie.ogm -s 720x576 -vcodec mpeg2video -acodec mp3 output_file.mpg

      35. Convert a avi video to mpeg2 for SVCD creation
      36. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -target ntsc-svcd output_file.mpg

      37. Convert a avi video to mpeg2 for VCD creation
      38. ffmpeg -i original_movie.avi -target ntsc-vcd output_file.mpg

      UNetbootin takes care of all your USB Linux installtion blues….

      datePosted on 11:46, August 28th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

      I’d covered Fedora’s Live USB creator a while back. But for those of you wanting to install other flavours of linux on a USB stick (or a HD even), the process was lengthy and cumbersome. That was before UNetbootin, the Universal Netboot Installer. You see UNetbootin can be run from Linux or Windows and will enable you to install a fully functional linux distro to a USB stick or even a spare partition.

      The current version has built-in support for the following distributions:

      So go ahead and try some of those acquired flavors of Linux, or that FreeBSD you always wanted to install, but were too scared to. After all it’s only a USB stick, if it screws up just format and reinstall in 5-10 minutes using UNetbootin again.

      UNetbootin can also be used to load various system utilities, including:

      • Parted Magic, a partition manager that can resize, repair, backup, and restore partitions.
      • Super Grub Disk, a boot utility that can restore and repair overwritten and misconfigured GRUB installs or directly boot various operating systems
      • Backtrack, a utility used for network analysis and penetration testing.
      • Ophcrack, a utility which can recover Windows passwords.
      • NTPasswd, a utility which can reset Windows passwords and edit the registry.
      • Gujin, a graphical bootloader that can also be used to boot various operating systems and media.
      • Smart Boot Manager (SBM), which can boot off CD-ROM and floppy drives on computers with a faulty BIOS.
      • FreeDOS, which can run BIOS flash and other legacy DOS utilities.

      So have fun and happy installing…..

      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.

      Suse 10.1 to 10.3 upgrade Episode 3

      datePosted on 15:31, May 7th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

      Well in Episode 3 of our saga Many goes bald (again) and (almost) drop kicks the server out the window. After going through the pain of installing 10.1 and updating everything I proceeded to upgrade to OpenSuSE 10.3. The upgrade went okay as far as the boot DVD was concerned (no errors during boot), but the dreaded SCSI errors from Episode 1 came back when I finished the upgrade and rebooted the machine. After about 10 minutes of repeating the F-word to the machine I decided to check on the net again, this time not at, but at their linux centric search page Well I have to admit, google is really god :-). Someone there had suggested an upgrade to the Adaptec PERC 3Di raid scsi card that comes standard with the PowerEdge 2650 and guess what, that solved everything. I’m not gonna bore you with the details of my 90 minute hunt for 3.5″ floppies around work to put the disk images on. Let’s just say I’ll be glad when someone invents the “Network Upgradeable Firmware”…..aka ‘NUF :-)

      So it looks like there are two ways of getting the latest linux kernels to barf when it sees this type of configuration (Dell 2650, PERC 3Di scsi raid card). Installing a “XENified” kernel and/or not having the most up to date firmware. The symptom is excessive error outputs from aacraid driver.
      aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,1,1,0)
      aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,1,1,0)
      aacraid: Host adapter reset request. SCSI hang ?
      aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,1,1,0)
      scsi 0:1:1:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery

      The cure is to find yourself 3 floppies and upgrade and don’t install XEN. The known working config is BIOS version A21 and PERC 3Di firmware 2.8-1[7692]. Hopefully this is not going to be the last of it. THE END….FIN. :-)