1st Free (as in Freedom of Speech) DVD

Last weekend I was able to use my accumulated knowledge of Free Software and the free software itself to produce a 30 minute DVD of my son's first basketball game of the season. I followed my own previously elaborated instructions (cf. http://gratefulfrog.net/). This worked perfectly, almost. Yes, folks, depite all the effort of documenting the procedure, there was one step that I hadn't fully documented: the usage of dvdstyler.

The result was that the DVD's title page spilled slightly over the TV screen. So, next time don't forget that the background image size must be equal to the TV image size. The picture should be resized before using it, with the GIMP for example. Ideally, a larger picture should be chosen and cropped. If a smaller picture is used, then the difference in aspect ratios of digital photo (4/3) and PAL-TV (5/4) will cause distortion.

Another minor error was that the sound recorded using the camcorder's spike mic was mono, left channel only. During the editing process, I should have copied the left channel to the right channel to have a result in mono both channels. Oh well, you live and learn.

Despite these slight defects, the result was Cinema quality - mostly due to the quality of the original footage shot by a pro who prefers to remain anonymous, even though we'd like to put a picture of her right here for all the world to see!


Another day, another dive...

Well folks, after flooding at the house and loads of cleaning up all night long, today I voluntarily took to the water to dive! And it was a pleasant dive at that: 2 exercises completed, no incidents of any kind, and we even saw a sturgeon! But the best part was as always surviving...

Diving is so dangerous, I wonder why I do it...

In other news, the house has dried up, to a great extent at least, after last night's flash flood and newly discovered leaks. There seems to be no end to annoyance here at the ranch.

More news is coming, stay tuned.


Ubuntu GnomeMeeting Eureka

Yep, more gratefulness and good news from the GF!

Today I did my first Video Conference on 100% Free software, free as in Freedom of Speech, that is. Not a bit of you know who involved! And of course, all running across the ADSL IP connection at no extra charge.

My configuration:
  • Ubuntu Linux 5.04,
  • GnomeMeeting,
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 4000 webcam.
There's a trick to getting GnomeMeeting to work on Ubuntu 5.04: Don't use the default V4L2 plugin, instead download and install the package: libpt-plugins-v4 . Then select the V4L codec on the video configuration tab of the preferences for GnomeMeeting.

After that, it works perfectly.

To make a call, find the person you want to contact and get his/her 'callto', for example, I am 'callto:ils.seconix.com/gratefulfrog@gmail.com'.

Put that in the address bar and you're in business. Don't forget to check the 'view' menu for options allowing to see receiver and/or sender video feeds!

Isn't the 21st century a great time to be alive!


From the dark

We're not alone! Yes, despite overwhelming disdain from the local public, the truth is that when you share information over Internet, someone somewhere may actually use that information and the world can be a better place for it.

Naturally, this probably won't happen very often, but every time it *DOES* happen, that little bit of betterness created can go along way.

All that to say that after trying to help some of the local public into the 21st century, wasn't I pleasantly surprised to see that someone was actually interested in my common-lisp sudoku solver (look for sudoku.lisp here)!

So in one week I was able to show several people that the world has evolved since the days of Impressionism, and help a potential lisper find his way through the dark moments of lisp-newbiedom.

I think that's pretty good and am grateful to have had the chance to do both.


Excitement, grateful too, for a frog

Today I had some excitement showing nice people at work some of the wonders of the 21st century, in particular, Internet wonders.

It makes me incredibly happy to bring enabling ideas and/or technology to people who can use it to improve their lives. Maybe I should think about doing that professionally? mmm. No response from the masses makes me wonder if I'm dreaming again, which everyone knows is bad for long term health....

In other news, I saw an interesting article about digital art on wired.

I'll keep y'all informed as to the profession "enabler".

See ya round'ere,


something new!

This is yet another good idea!