Tuesday, 30 May 2006

macdaily: Microsoft wants to replace JPEG with Windows Media Photo


Microsoft wants to replace JPEG with Windows Media Photo
Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 12:46 PM EDT

Microsoft has spent their time and money creating something "useless," Justin Powell writes for The NET Results Blog. It's a new digital photo format called "Windows Media Photo."

"In case the folks in Redmond weren't aware, we already have JPEG for Internet and consumer applications, plus RAW and TIFF for professional applications. Adobe Systems even threw their hat in the ring to create the Digital Negative (DNG) format for digital cameras and professional imaging workflows and lest we forget the essentially defunct PhotoCD format from Kodak. There's also other raster image formats with varying degrees of usefulness: GIF, BMP, PICT, etc.," Powell writes.

"I'm not exactly sure why Microsoft believes we needed another digital image format. I haven't personally heard anyone complaining about the
available formats or begging for Microsoft to step in and save them. Could it be that Microsoft didn't control these other formats and likewise couldn't make them exclusive to Windows users? Microsoft's new Windows Media Photo will work in Vista and XP, but there's no mention of making the format available to older versions of Windows or other operating systems," Powell writes. "Microsoft calls the overall functionality 'digital memories,' but they didn't mention that you'll forget everything if you switch to a non-Microsoft product. No thanks, I'll stick with JPEG and RAW."

The pain of mp3 metadata cleanup

I have spent at least two weeks already trying to tidy up all my mp3 files before loading up everything back to my iPod. And it's still not finished.

The main issues I've had relate to metadata and file formats. Such as:

1. incomplete metadata. In a lot of cases the only information available is the filename, which always has the artist and song title, but occasionally has instances of track number, album title and genre. I've started using the excellent mp3tag, which has the "filename to tag" function, allowing metadata fields to be filled in based on information in the filename. Just right-click on the file, select the function you want (it also does "tag to filename", etc), select or enter the format of the filename info (eg, "%artist% - %track% - %title%"), then it will fill in the relevant fields. It works not just on mp3, but also on m4a, and FLAC formats.

2. inconsistent information. In some cases it can be as simple as some files missing a '.' at the end of the name, ie, N.E.R.D vs N.E.R.D. In some cases some files in the same album are tagged with a different genre. Or some, but not all files have a particular field filled in.

3. audiobook mp3s not identified as audiobooks by itunes/ iPod. This could be just because I've been to lazy to actually read up on the iPod documentation - which is probably in the CD that came in the iPod box - but I didn't know that your files need to end in *.m4b so iPod treats them as audiobooks and excludes them from any song shuffling that might occur. I've just been putting up with getting the occasional audiobook track mixed in when I select Shuffle Songs and just clicking to the next song. The problem is, the audiobooks I have are in mp3 format. So I need to convert them to AAC, then rename their file extension to *.m4b.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Interesting linkies

Stateful programmatic web browsing in Python -

Using Wikipedia and the Yahoo API to give structure to flat lists -

Building bubble up folksonomies -

Yahoo Term Extraction Service -

Constructing Web Services with the Globus Toolkit (grid related) -

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Okay, let us start collating our linkies

Til Opera is able to export a session and save it online somehow, I'll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.. create a blog entry for the links.

Top 10 OSS Games you've never played - http://akaimbatman.intelligentblogger.com/wordpress/

So maybe Al Gore did kinda invent the Intarweb - http://www.sethf.com/gore/


Kinda like serverside.com - Info Q

The latest thing to catch my fancy - Self help stuff ala-Anthony Robbins and subliminal messages. Yay

I still haven't been able to download the damn thing - but Starlords is just geek dream come true -- LOTR AND STAR WARS mashup

BBC Podcasts

Google Video Top 100 -- check out Alizee at - -arrrgh!! I think she's dropped out of the list.. anyway, find her stuff at http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=alizee

Interesting essay about contemporary design - much noise signifying nothing - kinda like what happened to surrealism, which was originally rooted in the subconscious. But now everyone's a surrealist!

Clean up that metadata before loading your iPod! You won't regret it and mp3 tag is one of the best

While you're at it, add some cover art to your albums as well.

Additional iPod linkies - http://www.gudlyf.com/2004/08/19/obscure-ipod-audiobook-issue/, ripping audiobooks, converting audio formats, importing audiobooks. I should really read the iPod instructions one of these days. At least set it up so Richard Clarke doesnt intrude on your shuffled songs, dude! "President Bush and Condi Rice stood in the Oval Office..." -- bla bla... Aaaargh! really destroys the mood you've just gotten into after hearing The Cramps' "She Said".

Gad. Doncha hate it when geeks start posing like they're in GQ? Those WROX Books set a baaaad example!! I hope O'Reilly never ever gets rid of the animal line drawings. =)

Someday, I will fill in this big gap of blog posts between February and May, when a lot actually did happen to me, including:

  • Philippines Trip, BenC's wedding, getting drunk for the 2nd time in my life (though didnt get photos of myself)

  • Girlie and Jasmine going home (wah!) and hopefully coming back later this year or next year

  • getting my wisdom teeth out, surviving on porridge and pumpkin soup for the first 4 days

  • reassembling and slightly upgrading my PC

  • oh, almost losing my hard drive and all my goddam photos

  • major RAID plans for the new PC, as a result of the hard drive scare

  • had the degustation dinner at Quay restaurant for my birthday

  • then Billy Kwong's for Lani's last nite (we got postponed last week as they were closed for a private function)

  • making the move to ADSL2+ and getting a 10x jump in bandwidth

Of course, these are in no order at all, and are just the first things to pop into my head!

Okay, time to go. This will make sense later, after much editing.