Sunday Feb 03, 2008

Rotating Videos in the World of Images

Tonight, I discovered that the works extremely well with Sony-Ericsson P1i. The quality and rendition far exceeded my expectations.

Some P1i users have complained on the internet that does not work well with their P1i even when using WiFi but it worked fine for me when the device connected with my WLAN at home, which runs on a 6-year-old NetGear MR314 wireless router.  In fact, I was able to watch the mobile version of the video to the left, which could not be rotated, at least not trivially, either by youtube, by my camera or by my home iMac. However, it could still be viewed on the P1i in the correct direction—just turn the mobile device 90 degrees!

I should note that it appears encodes and streams the video using 3gp and  RTSP. Either the P1i does much better at rendering the 3gp format with its Media Viewer or it has a much better RTSP stack than the RealPlayer (on my iMac). The image quality is much sharper and jitter almost non-existent with with Media Viewer on the P1i! In fact, the image quality on the RealPlayer on iMac pales by comparison. Who would have guessed?

Finally, and again as can be seen in the embedded video here, I shot it with a simple mobile camera (DSC W-30), but in the "wrong" direction.

It is so much easier to rotate a mobile device that it is to rotate a desktop screen! 

Monday Jan 14, 2008

Getting off LH601

This was LH 601, Jan. 6, scheduled to depart at around 3 am Tehran time from the IKIA airport. We got on board and the snow started and it did not let go. Visibility was quite poor and roads to the airport were later closed.

We got off the plane at around 10 am and taken to a "transit" area for another 10 hours or so, and later to a hotel. (It stopped snowing at around 7 pm on that day.)


I've written about the problem earlier.

Press TV reports the dismissal of the IKIA airport managing director.

Saturday Aug 04, 2007

Aljazeera on the Net

As far as I know, no major U.S. cable carrier currently offers Aljazeera English, but if you are in the U.S., you can still watch Aljazeera English programs on YouTube or directly from

Friday Apr 27, 2007

Comedy of Book as Technology

Back in April of 2005, Robert MacMillan of The Washingtoon Post commented on a blog entry I had written earlier praising paper and books for their "user-interface" qualities and the durability and mobility of content they transmit. Even farther back, in 2001, Knut Nærum wrote a little comedy about the book as technology (of medieval times) performed by Øystein Backe (helper) and Rune Gokstad (desperate monk). You can find the 2001 act, originally taken from the Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) show, "Øystein og jeg," on Youtube and on Boreme.

Thursday Mar 08, 2007

Shiraz, 2003

Shiraz 2003 

In July 2003, I visited Shiraz with my family on holidays. I've finally posted all the digital photos from that trip on my flickr gallery. I also have some video clips which I might venture to post on YouTube later.

In the meantime, you can watch this low-resolution video of my younger daughter (then five) running in the courtyard where we took the photograph above.

Monday Jan 29, 2007

Growth Path

Financial Times on video and film downloads: (a) Growth from now until 2012: 10 folds. (b) Worth in 2012: $6.3 billion. Chad Hurley at Davos: YouTube will share advertising revenue with video uploaders.

Thursday Jan 04, 2007

The Barbarians, Beautiful Basra and Natural Law

The beautiful city of Basra has a sad history involving, among other less glorious moments, multiple British occupations over the last 100 years or so.

So, in that context, I wonder why some news reports from Basra take so long to get to me and why it has become taboo to report and aggressively investigate this video on the BBC. Why have such crimes related to occupation been overlooked or forgiven simply because they may have occured some months prior to the start or conclusion of investigations, and what sort of people actually manned the video cameras which capture them? (You have to watch the whole video to understand the meaning of these questions. Wikipedia does have a short mention of the incident in its entry on Basra and also here. Or perhaps, we need to turn to the Swedish media for an investigation.)

Note that we purportedly live in the 21st century and not "1984" when talk of human rights comes from the same institutions and corners where the greatest violations seem to be tolerated and propagated.

Occupation and aggression begets resistance, ultimately by all means. No matter in which part of globe and what part of history you look, people will resist occupation when occupiers overstay and stretch their welcome to its natural limit. To borrow a phrase from the author of Leviathan (a certain Mr. Thomas Hobbs), the premise that overstay leads to resistance is surely a "natural law," if there ever was a "natural law." If this "natural law" applies to guests in the West, how much more true should one expect it to be in the guest-welcoming East with occupation even when occupiers are originally invited and welcomed--and truer yet when uninvited and unwelcome?

Basra's distinguished history includes other sad moments such as the Battle of Camel some 1400 years ago. However, despite war and occupation, like for all ancient  and honorable cities, there has been millenium when Basra has lived in peace and prosperity -- exactly what she deserves and wants again if left to her own account.

Monday Jan 01, 2007

The Film and the Cell Phone

New tools have potential to produce new art forms.

Try reviewing some of the short films from the Pocket Film Festival. (BBC had a preview of the festival, and a later commentary can be found here.) 

Daniel Terdiman of Wired had written about cell phone films much earlier, and more recently, Boston University students are making short films using mobile phones provided by Amp'd. (Amp'd, a mobile communications operator, focuses on serving young subscribers.)

We probably have to wait a bit more to discover the best genre and quality characteristics of these films. For example, will the films have the same dimensions as usual dramatic work: premise, character, conflict and resolution? (Some of the shorts form the Pocket Film Festival seem to give a positive answer to this question.) What stories will these films be best suited to tell? Who will be the primary audience? For what purpose and how will the viewers watch these films?

Wednesday Dec 20, 2006

Torrents to Distribute Video Content


Legal writers on the Internet have viewed it as a giant copying and distribution machine.

They are not far off the mark, and from this position, they have argued that the Internet should be let loose as such a machine with only minimal limitations, and that the legislature need to reconsider and rewrite copyright laws to bring them back to their original intent.

Let the machine do what it does best and figure out how to use it to benefit society at large, they have argued.

Roberto Chinnici and Michael Calore write about a major use of BitTorrent protocol for (copying and) distribution of video content from a major news media outlet, the BBC. 

This is a grand idea and a great use of the machine.

The only potential downside I could see is that BitTorrent works best when a piece is popular. For it to work for programming that does not always suit the popular taste of the masses, a major news outlet must also use enough torrent seeds to ensure these programs remain available for distribution. This way the less popular programming can still have the minimal torrent seeding necessary for efficient distribution while the more popular programming gets the benefit of additional distribution through the collaborative distribution BitTorrent makes possible as a piece becomes increasingly popular. In other words, popularity should (and can, thanks to BitTorrent) pay for itself.

One day, the designer of BitTorrent will be considered a great visionary who changed the face of the Internet. He made a great leap to make the copying and distribution machine more efficient and more fair.


Thursday Dec 14, 2006

Disruptive with TV

Roberto Chinnici puts some probing questions to non-mainstream English language TV channels. His solution to their problems to break into the U.S. market: Use the web to your advantage to be disruptive with conventional TV programming.

To address the complaint regarding economic cost of bandwidth, finding a way to include decent advertising may prove sufficient. Furthermore, there can be a web-based subscription model that collects small subscription fees (or micropayments) for access to programming. This will work because bandwidth will still be able to serve all users particularly if programming does not emphasize real, real-time news and breaks content into pieces available separately.

Friday Dec 01, 2006

Fake vs. True Sharing

Lawrence Lessig writes about fake vs. true sharing.

The fact that Lessig has to use an adjective to qualify sharing may be another proof of how little words have come to mean in common usage. You cannot be said to be sharing your bread unless the party you're sharing it with can also eat from the part that has been shared. Otherwise, you're only sharing the right to watch the bread, not any rights to eat from it. 

Much of the videos posted on YouTube are posted with an intention to share them completely. Users should be able to copy and mix such video quite freely. As Lessig has noted, disputes regarding this model continue.

A sharing that doesn't grant any independent use rights can hardly be called sharing.

Sunday Nov 12, 2006

Koppel on Social Change

People in their 30s and 40s may still remember Ted Koppel from "the hostage crisis." He made a career out of reporting it. Now, for the Discovery Channel, he has filed a new video documentary on Iran, speaking to a number of individuals and opinion makers. While still rooted in the common biases of the Western and American discourse on Iran, it provides a platform for a potentially better understanding of the immense transformations that have followed the Islamic Revolution of 1979 by virtue of interviews conducted with a relatively broad range of Iranians. (Most of those interviewed, either appear to know little about those biases or, out of sheer politeness, let Koppel get away with them. A good training in journalism would make it clear to anyone that every question can come loaded with assumptions. However, one needs a good sense and training as a politician to respond or to unload and disclose the assumptions.)

Sunday Nov 05, 2006

From Yorkville to San Francisco

There is a big difference between bloggers and blogging and professional journalism. For an example, see this video production by two British journalists (from The Guardian) on the mid-term U.S. elections which shows how professional journalists with a bit of resources and a bit of freedom of action can easily outdo any media-caster (of any variety of media) in very good style even if not in the full range of content.




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