Some origami video to start with

Over the last week, I have been thinking about doing some video content creation, specifically some kinds of do it yourself videos. I have a liking for origami, and thought this should be a good starting point. I did have a youtube account, but there were also numerous other similar services.

I was wondering which service would be a good choice, and this is when I came across Andy’s post on his choices of online video services. He has given a nice comparison of some of the services like youtube, viddler and seesmic, finally favouring viddler:

Viddler is just so easy to use. It accepts a whole range of common video formats and will transcode them for you. You can tag your videos – and even better than that, you can add comments and tags at particular points in the video. I can embed the videos on my WP.com blog (which is not possible with Seesmic). It’s easy to find and connect with friends. There are groups. There are excellent stats which show where hits on your videos are coming from, including when a video is played through an embed on your site or another one…

The viddler features seemed quite attractive. So, I signed up for it and uploaded my first video (a flapping bird origami). I also did some digging to see how the Viddler videos could be embedded into a WordPress.com blog, and it seems there is a tag to do this:

At the Viddler site, if you click on Menu in the lower right of a video screen, a row of menu selections appear at the top of the video screen. Select “embed” and then click on the “wordpress.com” button and it will give you the code that will work with [WordPress].com.

Here’s the embedded form of the bird origami video (there’s also a flickr photo set for the step by step photos):

I’ll be creating more origami videos along with corresponding flickr sets (also an origami collection for the sets). The only problem for me right now is the slow upload speed (64 kbps), due to which I am uploading low resolution videos (320×240) without audio. As for the video creation, I used my digicam, a Canon Powershot A630 mounted on a Gorillapod to shoot the video, and VirtualDub to re-edit the video (re-encoding to DivX and removing audio).

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IBM and Feb 14

Just discovered this bit from the Geekend blog:

Feb. 14, 1924, IBM is founded.

Also checked wikipedia:

On February 14, 1924, CTR changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation. At the helm during this period, Watson played a central role in establishing what would become the IBM organization and culture.

Elevator News Network

I noticed something interesting when I entered the elevator to reach my floor in the office yesterday. There was an LCD monitor in the top corner of the elevator, broadcasting the Elevator New Network (ENN). Now that’s a very unusual place for an LCD screen, and on further investigation (read Googling), I discovered that ENN is in fact quite an old network. ENN also apparently changed its name to Captive Network way back in 2001, but I suppose it retained the name for the channel. They also have over 8000 elevator screens in North America, and they must be looking to expand to India going by this rediff article posted a couple of days ago. They seem to have started out in office elevators, with malls and buses as next targets.

I’m don’t get the utility of such a set up – maybe it’ll increase the general awareness of people using the elevator. It is certain to get some advertisement revenue, which seems to be the basic business model. Now that I have some in my office, do you have one in your office elevator?

Some discoveries on the way to the WordPress domain upgrade

I came across a few useful features in the WordPress.com FAQs while researching the domain upgrade/mapping functionality. One is related to embedding content (digg, videos) to a post, and another related to the filtering of the site feed.

Embedding stuff

WordPress.com has a pretty strict policy against scripts and objects in a blog, and due to this not many widgets can be embedded in a post or in the sidebar. However, certain items can be embedded by making use of special tags.

One of this is the digg widget, for which the post needs to be submitted on digg first to get the corresponding URL. I gave it a try using the most popular post on my site currently, and it seems to work as shown. Just add , where <URL> is the link obtained from digg. The only drawback seems to be that I had to digg my own post – not something I’d fancy doing on a regular basis.

There are also other tags that allow you to embed videos (youtube, Google video, kyte.tv), but I haven’t tried them out yet. However, I’ve seen many people embed videos on their WordPress.com blogs, so I suppose the feature works fine.

Category feeds

The Lifehacker feed has a feature using which you can subscribe only to certain tags, or exclude certain tags. WordPress.com offers a similar feature albeit only for category inclusion. For example, the feed corresponding to the bookmarks category for my blog can be accessed using https://abaditya.com/category/bookmarks/feed/. This can be useful when subscribers want to filter the content right at the feed level, though the support for the exclude feature would have been quite useful too.

Some spring cleaning for my blog

Once I settled on del.icio.us as my online bookmarking service of choice, and set it up for daily link posts to the blog along with the easy to use Firefox extension, I have posted very little content of my own. However, now that I have my own domain, it is time to take another look at this situation. The link posts do serve as a daily browsing round up for me, but may not have much utility for others. However, it is probably better to separate the publishing medium for this, and there are quite a few available.

To this end, I have decided to stop daily link posts to this blog. In case you want to check out my del.icio.us links, you can either use the del.icio.us widget on the blog sidebar, visit my tumblog, check out my friendfeed or just go to my profile on del.icio.us directly. This should help in keeping my blog somewhat cleaner. Of course if there are interesting links, I’ll post on them right here.

In addition to this, I have also updated the "About me" section with links to my various profiles on different social networks and online services, so that you know where to find me on which service. If you are a Google Reader user, I share a fair number of articles on Google Reader from a wide variety of sites, including web comics, technology, software, trivia etc. You can also find me on twitter.

Now to start posting some new content. Firefox 3 beta 3 is out, and should make for a nice follow up to my Firefox 3 beta extension compatibility workaround post (which is incidentally the most popular post for my blog by a long margin, thanks to Google).

My own domain

I finally got my own domain – http://abaditya.com. Getting the domain upgrade is a pretty simple process on wordpress.com. There are quite a few people who have shared their domain upgrade/mapping experiences, including the impact on the additional URL. I also checked out the Technorati FAQs, and found some information regarding possible steps after the blog URL change.

Coming back to the domain mapping procedure, I did have a slight confusion with the domain upgrade interface, but managed to get it done after a false start. I followed the instructions in the FAQs for the domain mapping and checked for my domain of choice. It was available, and I chose to purchase the upgrade, which took me to the PayPal page. I made the payment, and landed back on the domain upgrade page thinking that the process was complete, and waited happily for a couple of days for the domain to be operational.

However, the domain list did not have any additions, and I started to wonder what the matter was. I also noticed that I had 15 credits available. So, I tried another domain check and it said that the same domain that I had applied for earlier, was available. So, I opted for the upgrade once again, and this time got a sign up form which I filled up and had my domain up and running in a short while. I also got a customer number for the domain registrar. As the domain registration is handled automatically, but by a different site, the login information is not directly available. Instead I had to use the customer number and reset the password on the domain registration site, and set up a new password through the usual email process. The instructions are provided after registration in the domain upgrade page itself along with a link to manage domains.

I also set up a Google Apps account so that I could enable email for the new domain. This process has also been simplified by the wordpress folks with clear instructions in the FAQs, and setting it up is just a few clicks away. The other thing to do was to set up the new domain as the default, with the older (xxx.wordpress.com) set up to redirect to the new domain.

Apart from the impact of the domain change on Technorati and search engines, there were quite a lot of sites where I had to update my blog URL – social networks like Linkedin and facebook along with update to the feedburner feed I had set up. There are still some sites remaining to be updated, and I hope to get them in order as and when I recall them (one of the problems with having too many accounts).

links for 2008-02-12

links for 2008-02-11

links for 2008-02-08