Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Going down under

Leaving for Australia tomorrow to surf for a month (in the ocean). So I won’t be thinking of any of this Interface Development stuff and probably won’t write anything on this Tech Blog of mine either for a while...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Is *{ the new Black?

Maybe you knew about this little trick before but today my life got a lot easier to live due to a little CSS trick!

Removing all paddings and margins defaulted by the Browsers! It might even be the new Black of CSS for me (atleast this week)!!!

Mindprint. Everything you need Gadget for your sound studio

I really need to get one of these: Mindprint

1Kb Flash Game

A simple yet addictive flash game that only weighs 1kb gBlog: Tiny addictive Flash game

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Google Maps

Joel Webber have posted a good dissection and analysis of GMap on his blog and Sylvain Wallez is not impressed feature-wise but say Google Maps reveals an impressive architectur. A post on Yahoo Groups talks about GMaps use of VML
Google Labs releases another beta. The Google Maps. Like always the Google approach to things look a little bit cleaner than the competitors, a little bit faster too perhaps. Better? I don't know! I have no chance to try it for real since I don't live in the U.S. For Europe mainly use But it's nice to see many new projects in the pipe... by the way, I tried Yahoo YQ Contextual Search yesterday and it does ROCK!

But I really have to stop blogging search engine stuff. I'm supposed to write about the now and future of web and mobile Interface Development!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Information-carrying JavaScript triggers

It often feels impossible to separate XHTML, CSS and JavaScript completely. Mainly because you need to trigger JavaScript events from inside the markup to pass information to your functions. Here is a good article trying to solve this problem: JavaScript Triggers: A List Apart

More search engine war...

Look Out MSN Search, Here Comes Gbrowser, Yahoo YQ Contextual Search Rocks... Any improvement by any actor is very welcome.

Some more Google news...

Monday, February 07, 2005

jdb cyberspace: Google Mail cranking up the invites

Google Mail cranking up the invites : jdb cyberspace. On Gmail invite a friend moved down to the right column and now you can invite 50 users... Post a comment with your email here if you want an account from me.

Google vs A9 Image search

a9SearchThe Google weblog reports that: "...if you search for certain terms, it displays some images and a link to the equivalent Google Images search". Some example words are listed but when I try them I don't see any images or references to the image search. Maybe it's regional, I get the .se domain.

It would be nice though to be able to do simultaneous searches for Web, Images, Groups, News and Froggle on Google like on A9. On A9 you can also search simultaneously in the Yellow Pages and what's really cool are the Street level photos... Google’s biggest advantage has always been it's simplicity but now I'm turning more and more to A9. I even traded my Google bar for the A9 bar in Firefox. It's a time saver to use it. History and Simultaneous searches... but unfortunately no Groups... I would rather see Google implement features like these though. First of all because they would probably make it even better and second of all A9 is owned by Amazon and put up A9 to sell more on their online store (and Google is a Time-Warner company now I heard)...

Friday, February 04, 2005

User specified Google AdSense Ads. Is it useful?

I love Google, we all love Google. We love Google Labs, Gmail and the AdSense program (cuz - In theory - we make money on our Blogs) but I have some thoughts (not doubts) about some issues.

Google is currently Beta Testing a new AdSense function that allows the user to specify a subject of interest See it here on the left is a "skyscraper" block with the feature. Ok that's really Cool. I can choose to see ads about other related subjects... after the first click I can even specify whatever subject I want to see ads about. And that's when I start questioning it! Some discussions about this I've seen have emphasized on the control needed by the webmaster from their AdSense admin area. See Google Testing True User-Specified Ads.

Many others have been more positive:
"This is a just unbelievable idea. Google is truly pushing the idea that its ads are more than just ads, they're useful, and I commend it."

My biggest question and concern is if it's useful. Unless the personalization goes further this feature is cool but useless! Just like the Google Suggest! Because if I'm to interested in "Personal injury claims" and "Claims Court" and want to now more about lets say "Auto Insurance" I would probably Google for it ... not navigate in a little ad Space...

But both "choose youre ad" and Google suggest could be very useful if they where merged with the Google Labs Personalized Search project and perhaps also with some logging of people’s history of searches... Like A9 Search. But now we are in deep, dark waters when it comes to internet privacy. But let’s not think about that for a minute. Google suggest was only a cool feature testing the XmlHTPPRequest object. But combined with personalization it can be a wonderful feature, just like Gmail's auto completion of addresses. I think this is even truer for the Choose Your Ad feature. If the Ads (and suggested other topics) were chosen by a mix of the page content and my personalized preferences and history they would potentially be dynamite effective...

The good people at Google have probably already thought about this and they can’t close their eyes for the privacy problems, third party cookies and Microsoft’s wish to block them out.

External Related Links:
User specified ads in action!
Google Labs Personalized Search
A9 Search - Remember what you’ve seen—and when!
Microsoft Aims to Block AdSense
Google's innovations are popular and effective. So why does the company find it so hard to pronounce them finished?
Google Testing True User-Specified Ads

The Google AdWords API beta program
"The AdWords API beta program is an open invitation to developers to explore new concepts (and then write great software) for managing Google AdWords advertising campaigns. Large advertisers can use it for their complex ad management needs, like tying product margins to optimized keyword bids. Third parties can use the API to build new interfaces to manage their client accounts. Best of all, an API enables the creation of all sorts of unanticipated ideas. In our experience, it's better to wear "Not Invented Here" as a badge of honor than as a chip on your shoulder. Come sign up for a developer token and show us what we've been missing."

AdWords API developer blog!
The Google AdWords API beta program

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Google Suggest Dissected Follow-up...

FLV to other... Revisited

A comment states that the flw2swf app has the same problem with nellymoser.
Another lead worth checking might be AVISynth that is a scriptable frameserver.
The German site Translated version offered a broken link to download a cgi or command line flw to swf converter. On I found what I suppose most be the same file flv2swf.exe. I don't have the time to try this now. Will get back when I have tested it.


Lowtech Solution! Rewire Soundmeowmeow has a suggested solution: one way to do conversion is use Action Script Viewer

Brian commented/added this Rewire solution

Was able to get the sound by using doing the following:

1) download audacity from

2) Select Wave Out Mix (middle of the screen just under skip forward).

3) Press Record (red round button).

4) Play the flash video.

5) Press Stop (beige round button) in audacity.

6) In audacity edit the clip and export (need to download lame extra).

As far as automating the process might be possible on linux if you can pass flv file to a process that can play up the flash video and then read from the sound card (directly from /proc probably). Should be possible to automate with a little/lot of work.

As for rivavx this is defintely a way to expand their product by taking the sound indirectly from the flv and merging it with video format that you want. Support for this type of merging is availible in ffmpeg so it's really a matter of waiting to see if they can make a product of it.


It seems like the war is lost. Had I seen this forum-discussion earlier it would have saved me two days of work and research! Didn't search for audio-codec when i A9'nd it before.

Some saples from the discussion

quote: Brandon Purcell @ Macromedia

> After some research I found no solution to your specific problem.
> Flash/FCS/Flash Player use a number of different audio codecs, but
> the two primary formats that audio in which audio is stored in a FLV
> are Nelly Moser format and MP3 format. However, there is currently
> no way to extract or convert FLV files into any other audio format.
> Thanks
> Brandon

quote: meowmeow70
We decide fold our solution based on macromedia FCS due to above reason. Stay away from FLV as much as we can.

quote: dlorenso
We contacted Sorenson regarding the NellyMoser codec to see if they'd sell us the decoder. Response was something along the lines of several thousand dollars plus restrictions that required profit sharing and/or more thousands. In addition, we would be unable to share the technology we build or make available as a service online...
...Perhaps we can ditch the FCS server soon too...
...Wouldn't it be great if macromedia could adopt formats like MPEG and MP3 into the FCS product? I'd pay for that. Meanwhile ... FLV ... come on Macromedia, open it up, gimme the tools, or it's useless.

It's like I was told from start. It's not a bug it's a feature... But we spent alot on the Flash Com Server and we have an flash webcam app that works very well. So we will try one more thing! My colleague Frank will create a drop folder on our MacOSX server and use Apple script to open the FLV in Flash MX and then export a SWF that I can convert to other formats...

The Video Kiosk on (in swedish).


There were some questions about why I wanted to decode FLV files to other formats. On JD on MX. The thing is we use Flash Communication Server to produce flash video from web cams. A lot of times we would like to present this content on other platforms, like on TV, even though the quality is low...

I could of course import it into Flash MX and Export a SWF and the convert it in any of the million of programs that can convert from SWF (I can actually import that file directly in Avid or AE) … But there’s no time for this and I want the Editor to be able to do it himself.

Then Tinic Uro told me about FFmpeg: A command line tool to convert one video file format to another. It’s an open source project and I couldn’t find any binaries for Windows or Mac OSX. I’m not really that deep into "hardcore programming" so I had some help compiling it and running it on Solaris. It felt like there were thousands of Options to mess with and we just couldn’t get them right... conversion failed.

Then I found Riva FLV Encoder that is like a GUI for FFmpeg and LAME (LGPL MP3 encoder). If I rename the file extension to an Extension of my choice, like AVI I’m able to convert the file from FLV to AVI… But only if I have unchecked Enable Audio! With Audio I get:
The encoding of your video file has failed. This can be caused by a not supported combination of parameters or by a not supported video codec.
I have tried different settings but can’t convert the file with sound.

But wait, lets try converting an AVI to FLV and back again... maybe it’s just something wrong or strange with the sound codec in the file created by Flash Com Server. Yes it worked! But oh, it had no sound. Lets try a MPEG with sound... created the FLV fine... coming back... No...

Must and will take time to read some documentation about the format and about FFmpeg. unless someone else can solve my problem...

A file produced by the Flash Com Server can be found here:

«Earlier idtech post on this topic

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

onedotzero in stockholm

onedotzero is arranging a festival in Stockholm, sweden 11-13 februari at Moderna Museet (in swedish)
"onedotzero returns to stockholm for a full, three day festival partnering with the prestigious moderna museet and the acclaimed music focused festival popcorn.

the festival presents a series of current onedotzero screenings including a special swedish - focused programme featuring the best in swedish motion graphics, music videos and short films. special events include a live performanace event from u.k a-v pioneers, the light surgeons, vj pranks from stockholm's own stylewar and other very special guest djs.

special guest speakers include music video director adam smith [uk], architects / designers neutral [uk] and directorial collective lynn fox [uk]."

New MSN-Search, hardly a Google killer! The interface is clean, although a little broken in Firefox, and the search results seem ok, except for the Image search that is much better elsewhere. Google is a Verb and this Search Engine has no special features and no apparent benefits! But still... it’s Microsoft so most normal users will probably end up using this one anyway... The only truly innovative new Search Engine I know about is that comes with history, simultaneous searches on different content etc.

And I eagerly await Google Video Beta to graduate from their Lab. The Result pages say: ”Video is currently not available”. I really hope that means it will be available online... meanwhile my favorite "media search tool" is (and for football/soccer webcasts).

Flash Engineering Blog

Tinic Uros - Pricipal Engineer at Macromedia - blog about Flash graphics, video and audio. Very interessting and useful!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

FLV to other video formats

» .flv to other continued on new post
I’ve been looking around for a couple of days now, trying to find something that can convert Flash Video (.FLV) to other Video formats. There’s a lot of products that can convert .SWF to any video format and a lot of info about creating .FLV files... For the project I’m working on I don’t have time to import the .FLV’s to flash and export it as .SWF and then convert it.

When asking on Macromedias General Flash forum a guy called urami_ replied:
"There is no any other really because FLV is not any video standard, it's macromedia standard only.
It is to force you continue getting their products for stuff like online streaming , like the COM
SERVER because no other well know technology will support it. Afraid you have no choice."

Discussion: .flv to avi or .mov or .mpeg or ...

Then I thought I hit the jackpot this morning when a colleague of mine emailed me about Canopus Procoder 2.0. The Technical spec said in there Source Formats: Macromedia® Flash™ video to be one of the supported input formats. Yihaa, finally found it I thought and were about to buy it when my Colleague called me up. He had bought it and discovered that it – as usual – only supported .SWF and not .FLV

Doesn’t .FLV to Video converters exist. Doesn’t anyone but me – and my colleague – need this? Is there legal rights etc? that usually never stops developers in the internet community.

Chris Justus - Server Side Guy: Google Suggest Dissected...

Study this! Javascript has a future! Chris Justus - Server Side Guy: Google Suggest Dissected...

Take a look at Dynamic HTML and XML: The XMLHttpRequest Object.

Much more about this later on... XMLHttpRequest is the new Black! ...or is Site Mesh?

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