Present Perfect


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Present Perfect


Filed under: Flumotion,General,Travel — Thomas @ 01:42


As we are deluding ourselves here into thinking it's snowing in Barcelona, I thought it appropriate to post some videos from the past few snowboarding trips.

Coincidentally, this is my first foray into the HTML5 video world - more on that later.

Let's start with my favorite, the one where I show off how years of gymnastics in my youth help me keep my body in one piece:

(Also notice the cool new orange snowboard pants that I settled on. Snowboard fashion was really boring this year, mostly grey and black only, with some ugly flashy colours as exceptions. I leave it to you to judge whether orange is one of them).

We spent eight full days in Tignes, France, with only about three days of sunny weather, and the rest filled with clouds and snow.

My goal this year was to learn how to do a 180. With the help of an instructor, that's exactly what I did! Here's an admittedly simple one - all the good ones are not caught on video.

Here's a more aggressive one with a bad ending:

A few weeks before our snowboard trip, we also had a business planning weekend which included one day of skiing. Xavier risked life and limb following me around with his iPhone to record this. It's not the most exciting descent in the world, and he ended up missing my one fall in it, but I was surprised to see how short the whole descent really is if you don't take any time to stop!

And here are Xavi and me relaxing over cheese fondue and raclette the day before the skiing:

Some notes about the HTML5 video part:

  • there is an enormous difference in colour between playing Ogg in Firefox, MP4 in Safari, and MP4 in Quicktime, on the same MacBook. My pants range from a soft orange to a bright red. Something is obviously up!
  • To learn about HTML5, I started with Dive into HTML5 Video, then learned about Video for Everybody, some web code that handles all of the stuff I don't know how to do for me and just makes sure the video can play on Firefox/Chrome/Safari/iPhone/...
  • Then I looked for WordPress integration, and found a plugin with a long name that implemented most of Video for Everybody. I modified it a little to do something more sensible for the poster image in case it's external, and to accept .mp4 as an extension instead of .m4v (which is not suggested by Dive into HTML)
  • I configured our transcoding platform to generate the three types of output file needed to support HTML5: the thumbnail, Ogg/Theora/Vorbis, and .mp4 with H264 and AAC.

The embedded video should work fine in Firefox/Safari/Chrome/iPhone/Opera (except in Aitor's "I plug mplayer into Opera" case), and work fine in Explorer too where it falls back to Flash.

I couldn't get this to work in Android. 2.0 is rumoured to support the video tag, but so far no dice, and I couldn't find a single HTML5 video page online that the Android phones over here can play. If you can see these videos embedded in Android, or know what I should to fix them, please do let me know!


Filed under: Travel — Thomas @ 17:44


Suddenly it's upon me. Packing my bags for eight days of snowboarding in the French alps. It came so unexpected this year.

Found a description of off-piste runs on the net, should come in handy.

I'll be sure to visit this particular spot in La Vallée Perdue that I snapped with my phone last year:


Flumotion streaming Slamdance’s Filmmaker Summit

Filed under: Conference,Flumotion,movies — Thomas @ 18:34


As a collaboration between Mozilla, OpenVideoAlliance, and Flumotion, we're streaming the Slamdance Filmmaker summit.

The stream is in Ogg/Vorbis/Theora, and I'm happy to see an event like this being streamed with an open codec, using our open source technology, on our platform.

Go read the full press release.

And I owe Javier from our support team some Champagne Truffles for setting up the stream between the cracks of our usual process - Javier, the box of chocolates is next to the big pinguin's feet at work!

Streaming Media Europe award and panel

Filed under: Conference,Flumotion,Work — Thomas @ 10:50


So, it's now official: Flumotion has won the 'Best Streaming Innovation' award at last week's Streaming Media Europe conference in London. Thank you for all who voted! I'm surprised to see so many people in total vote, that means that there are quite a few real users out there.

I wasn't there myself to accept the award (our commercial team accepted what basically is a technology award, but we get along well enough :)), but I did go on Friday to replace Julien on a panel about the promise and disruoption about Open Source Video (scroll to the bottom).

This was actually my first panel, but I think we did well, especially considering it was the last panel of the day. There certainly were many more questions from the audience then in the transcoding panel I attended earlier that day. The panel was led by Dr. Tsur from Kaltura, an open source video platform.

After the conference I took the underground with Damien from New Bamboo who was also on the panel. They developed Panda, a cloud transcoding solution with the very catchy tagline of 'video solved'. It uses ffmpeg at its core, which might get them in trouble now that they want people to run it as a cloud service, so I suggested he take a look at GStreamer instead. My first suggestion was that it should be doable to provide a drop-in binary replacement with the same interface, but having looked at the output of ffmpeg -h this weekend, I'm not sure anymore - that binary was already complicated to use way back when and it has only exploded further.

In any case, since it's an open tool, maybe someone at work should take a look and see how easy it would be to teach it GStreamer. Or, maybe instead, we should open our own transcoder solution.

Anyway, back to London and the conference. Since the conference was over after the panel and people didn't hing around, I called Lotte, a friend living there, to go have a drink before taking the Eurostar back. And thus it happened. I felt like a real global cosmopolite, having a drink in London after a conference for my Spanish job coming in from Belgium wearing a Spanish jacket, American shoes bought in London, a Florentine shirt, and New York pants.

London 2

Filed under: Travel — Thomas @ 19:47


Arrived in London this morning by Eurostar, slightly under 2 hours from Brussels Midi. Met Lotte and we went to Le Pain Quotidien. I remarked on another successful Belgian export product, and both girls looked at me and said 'It's French.' No it's not. But they wouldn't have it.

Found postcards inside the place that were in English, French, and Dutch. Why would a French bakery in London have post cards in Dutch ? For tourists, they claimed. They still wouldn't give in.

Took me a while to get online to show the website to make sure they finally accepted that Le Pain Quotidien started in Brussels. Sigh - the women I know are wisenoses.

Spent most of the day walking around Spitfields and Camden. Found the Rough Trade store by chance, and they had guests from Barcelona over presenting themselves: scanner fm.

Between that store and a used store on Camden (the one that has Monday discounts where each CD left goes down 1 pound in price) I bought 20 cd's already. I love the powerful euro, London is basically 50% cheaper than I remember it to be.

So, tomorrow, some more walking, meeting up with a partner, possibly doing a job interview with someone for system administration, and Spiritualized performing their seminal 'Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space' Tuesday evening...

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