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What just happened to video on the web?

3gp timed text tracks. Any number of text tracks are supported and all the information, including esoteric stuff like karaoke meta data is dumped in 'onMetaData' and a new 'onTextData' NetStream callback. Language information in the individual tracks is also reported. That means you can have sub titles in several languages. Study the 3GPP TS 26.245 specification to see what information is available. Note that you have to take care of the formatting and placement of the text yourself, the Flash Player will do nothing here. Time for you to start working on one of those components which do that. You can use MP4Box to inject text data into existing files.

And you can use my dive into mark show MP4 files for testing your accessible Flash video player. Each video file has an H.264 (main or baseline profile) video track, AAC LC audio track, and a 3gp timed text track for subtitles.

Any takers?


Did anybody see Queer Eye last night? Jesus, what an uptight bitch. It was so obvious that the girlfriend was only in this relationship to do a little harmless cradle-robbing with an emotionally immature ex-frat-boy. I give them three months.

I loved the part where he served dinner to his girlfriend, and she fed it to the dog. That was classic. Of course, this is why we watch pseudo-reality shows, for the same reason that rednecks watch NASCAR: because once in a blue moon, we get to see things go horribly, horribly wrong. Probably some of that going on around in the blogosphere too, but let's try not to dwell on it.

At some point, the audience at Dave Matthews Band concerts started whooping during the pauses at the beginning of Warehouse. I'm not entirely sure when this happened, except it was sometime after 2001, because I was listening to an old concert recording this morning and noticed the pauses. The first time I heard the whooping, it bothered me enough to skip past it, but now the pauses in the old version bother me instead. It's definitely an evolution of the song, a new tradition, and I'm wondering if it was spontaneously created one night by the audience, or by the band. Audience influences content; anyone who tells you differently is lying to you, or to themselves, or both.

My great-grandfather was a bishop, my grandfather was a minister, and both my parents go to church regularly. I don't know what happened to me, but with any luck the cycle will reset itself in the next generation.

My grandfather enjoyed telling this joke:

A man goes to his priest and says, Father, I try to be a good Christian, but I also smoke. Is it all right if I smoke while praying?

The priest frowns and replies, My son, praying is a conversation with God; it is for the purification of the soul. It would be a shame to interrupt that with something as impure as smoking.

The man thanks the priest and leaves.

A week later, the man comes back and asks the priest, Father, I try to be a good Christian, but I also smoke. Is it all right if I pray while smoking?

The priest smiles and replies, My son, you may pray anytime.

Back to Queer Eye. The thing that really struck me is that they did such a bad job on his apartment. Thom is usually so good about bringing out the straight guy's personality. Amateur photographer? Frame some photos and decorate around them. Ditto the Olympic skater (trophies), ditto the divorced guy with the kid (kid's pictures). Some people have boring apartments because decorating is a skill, and they don't have it. Some people have boring apartments because they're boring. This guy last night was 24 and living in a rented apartment with an unhousebroken dog and other people's furniture. Been there, done that, paid the damage waiver. And I wasn't even dating a hot Asian chick who was about to dump me.

[cartoon of man with ruler]


Tom Lehrer:

One problem that recurs more and more frequently these days in books and plays and movies and so on, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love. Husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays, and in real life I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.

I feel strongly that more people should take fewer stances on matters of no importance. If you're trying to ask a question, it helps to ask it properly. If you're trying to make a point, make it and shut up. Quakers spend their time in church sitting quietly until they feel moved by God to say something, and then they just stand up and say it. But they also have a rule of thumb: after 5 minutes, it's not God talking.


Currently enjoying: Dave Matthews' Some Devil. I don't claim to understand it all, but he's obviously poured his heart into this album, and there's nothing I love more than hearing, watching, or reading someone doing the one thing they can't not do.