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Questions Seeking Answers (Computers/Computing)

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Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:32 pm PostPost subject: Questions Seeking Answers (Computers/Computing)
alsetalokin
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I'm sort of embarrassed to ask, since I've been fooling with the silly things since before Turing invented tape, practically--I remember when life's main challenge was to reduce an entire semester's programming project down into a one-line apl function...

...but...

1) How can I convert a video from a .mov format into some other more tractable format, without spending any money?

2) How can I make korkskrew's "WhiPMag" applet run in Firefox?

(WinXPPro, Firefox 2.0.0.14, NoScript 1.6.8, Java Runtime 1.6.0_06)
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Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:42 pm PostPost subject:
Yirkha
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I wrote a wonderful, comprehensive, insightful and witty post, but lost it after pressing a wrong key. Yeah, so... after spending a while to gather the motivation again, here is a minimalistic version:



alsetalokin wrote:
1) How can I convert a video from a .mov format into some other more tractable format, without spending any money?

I suppose "more tractable format" can be standard MPEG4 in AVI.
There are at least two ways:


--- 1 --- The Windows way ----------------
You probably need the QuickTime installed, because it brings the necessary codecs with itself. (Or the "Quick Time Alternative" package, which the people who don't like bloatware use instead.)

You also need some codec, like the encoder part of "ffdshow" which I used, or some other stand-alone one.

Simple yet useful program to do the conversion seemed to be The RAD Video Tools. Just find the MOV, press [Convert], uncheck the audio track if there isn't any, continue, choose some reasonable codec and its parameters, and after a while you have an AVI.

I used ffdshow with XVID, one-pass, on quality 75, max. I interval 250 frames, min. 25, max. 8 b frames, high-precision tracking, and it made ~2 MB output from 30 MB source MOV (the one about your "cheap hobby lathe"). But I guess the quality could have been even lower, the source is quite low-resolution and without fast motion.


--- 2 --- The UNIX Way ----------------
Download win32 mplayer build and use its mencoder utility.
Code:
mencoder.exe TIR_01.mov -ovc xvid -xvidencopts fixed_quant=15 -o TIR_01.avi

That's all.
The arguments should be self-explanatory. Maybe just the fixed_quant one - this determines the quality. Quantizer 31 = worst, 1 = best. 15 was my guess, the conversion was 30 MB => 1.1 MB with satisfactory quality.




alsetalokin wrote:
2) How can I make korkskrew's "WhiPMag" applet run in Firefox?
It uses some VML stuff, apparently working in MSIE only. I've tried to convert it to use <canvas> element instead and it seems to be working, somehow.
Available here. (I don't know if the V1.6A is currently the best, most accurate and recommended version though.)




Hope that helps.
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Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:52 pm PostPost subject:
alsetalokin
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Thanks, Yirkha!
I don't have time to try anything right now, but looking at RAD briefly, it looks like it will fill my bill, and more.
I'll let you know how it works out.
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Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:18 pm PostPost subject:
overconfident
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What's wrong with Quicktime? Fmv is the format I have a problem with.
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Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:41 pm PostPost subject:
alsetalokin
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Quicktime files are too large, and I can't edit them as easily as I can other formats, because I refuse to spend money on QTPro. Fmv is one I'm not familiar with. The NCH software "Prism" tool is pretty good for most video formats, excluding .mov but including .flv and .wmv. For the .amv there are chi-pod tools on the net.
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Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:02 am PostPost subject:
overconfident
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alsetalokin wrote:
Quicktime files are too large, and I can't edit them as easily as I can other formats, because I refuse to spend money on QTPro. Fmv is one I'm not familiar with. The NCH software "Prism" tool is pretty good for most video formats, excluding .mov but including .flv and .wmv. For the .amv there are chi-pod tools on the net.


Ooops, .amv is what I meant. Brain just farted.
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Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:44 am PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Ok...this is sort of computer related. I mean I was using my computer when the question arose.

So... I'm using google earth to look at the major water paths running through my relatives property and I get a bit side tracked looking at the Runway on the base in 29 Palms. Then I spot some interesting patterns in the sand and zoom in on them at 34 21' 09.28" N 116 16' 37.89" W.

I'm sorry folks, I'm usually pretty good at deciphering stuff but short of getting permission to enter the base I don't see a good answer forming. I've seen a lot of natural stuff that looks man made and a bit of the inverse, but I don't know for sure what I am looking at here. It's 400 feet in diameter on the dark circle and there is some writing there too. One way it looks like 1917 and upside down it looks like the word 'ugly'. And the other word is hard to make out also, but it looks like Franco or something. But the plot thickens.

To the southwest you will find a mountain named spy mountain. There is a history there surrounding a fellow who got himself shot to death under a natural wonder named Giant Rock. He had dug out residence under there and over some years made it a bit homey. I have visited this dwelling when I was younger and did go down into the two rooms there and touched the book shelf he had made. But I digress. The man was thought to be a spy transmitting information regarding the goings on out on the base. At some time this man had his car worked on by a mechanic named Van Tassle. Van Tassle bonded with this guy and to read his life story is like reading My Favorite Martian. I met Van Tassle very briefly as a teenager and saw nothing abnormal or alarming about the guy other than the sign he had posted on his property next to the Integratron Dome . On the sign there was a list of things this Dome was supposed to accomplish, but two stood out. 1. Antigravitation 2. Rejuvination.

Van Tassle specifically aquired this property from the BLM because of its specific location relative to Giant Rock. According to the local beliefs this area is centered over a magnetic vortex. Recently a Native American prophecy was allegedly fullfilled when the Giant Rock split in two. The cause of the split has not yet been determined.

Now for the questions:
What is that site at those coordinates and could it be related to the magnetic vortex in some way?

Cool
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Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:18 pm PostPost subject:
alsetalokin
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There's a lot of really weird stuff out there and I doubt if anybody knows what a lot of it is, anymore.
That site looks to me like a huge pile of 55-gal drums. I see the "ugly" made of drums, but I can't make out the other text. Odd that there's a perfectly circular fence, and traces in the desert of much older circles around the current fence.
I think it's a toxic waste dump, probably VX or GB in those drums.
How did it get there? Where's the gate?
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Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:34 pm PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Thanx Al,

But If it were a pile, wouldn't it cast a shadow? The greasewood bushes are less than 5' tall in those parts and they cast shadows. I thought maybe it was a concussion bomb test site and that's what caused the circular fractures. The 'Old Road' as it appears (plant growth between tires etc. and not too straight) may be not so old if was created by tank treads. There is evidence of tank travel all over the area as well as general jeep tracks.

Come to think of it, I've never seen a pile of drums that didn't have a few laying on their side. Confused

What other possiblities are there?

Neutral
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Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:03 pm PostPost subject:
alsetalokin
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I think the entrance is at 7:00 or thereabouts. The first drums were piled at the center of the circle. There's probably something there like a target marker. Subsequent loads of drums were offloaded closer to the entrance. The "pile" probably was originally just a group of drums set upright. Visitors tumbled them and rearranged, probably many times. Just kidding about the VX, but what else would be dumped so remotely?
It's the fence or perfect circle of greasewood that mystifies me. The circular area was evidently laid out a long time ago because a lot of the disturbed dirt has been overgrown again. There are all kinds of circles and triangles and etc. engraved all over that desert, but none I've seen as neat at this one, without a clear perimeter road.

It could be almost literally anything, out there. When I lived in Cal City I wandered all over that area and north to CLNWC. I found some pretty weird abandoned installations myself. Just outside of Mojave there's the remains of a full-on water park / zoo / kiddie park that must have been from the 1930's: nothing at all left but some pits, stone foundations, and trash middens. Over in Cal City off Neuralia Ave there are some remains that look like a big compound of Gaudi sculpture-buildings with inlays of exotic stone and shell, all kinds of mosaics, etc. Nobody remembers what it was.

I see that some of the nearby dirt roads are named; is this in a public access area or is it within the 29 Palms base?
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Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:02 am PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Alsetalokin wrote:

I see that some of the nearby dirt roads are named; is this in a public access area or is it within the 29 Palms base?


Most people out there think the base terminates along the west boundry at border road and just continues north from there. But it is much larger than most think. The west edge stair steps around the local residents and even borders Giant Rock road in a couple of places. It goes as far north as Emerson Dry lake and envelopes the mountain range on the east side. The south side almost borders 29 Palms Hwy (Hwy 62). Here is a map that can be zoomed into for more detail.

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Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:39 pm PostPost subject:
alsetalokin
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Um-hmm. I guess the real question is, can one drive to there without going thru a gate, from public BLM roads.
When I lived in CC, we sometimes would take a six-pack out to Virgil the Steam Man, at his hovel built over a geothermal spring, that was technically inside CLNWC boundaries. But you could get there without crossing any fences. This was in the early '80s. I don't know what it's like up there now, Virgil died shortly thereafter and his hovel was demolished, and I imagine things are different these days.
If I was in the neighborhood I just might drive out there and check it out...
(Hint hint... Wink )
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Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:35 am PostPost subject:
Harvey
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I know there is a fence along Border and a sign at the end of Reche Road that indicates deadly force can be used beyond that point heading east. I've been on Giant Rock road and don't recall any fences there, but that was back in the '70's. Others have indicated that the fence borders the entire base. I did see some dialog on the net regarding and expansion of the base on the northwest corner.

I did some work on the base back in the '80's (Construction) and they keep it pretty tight. The area I pin pointed is deep in the 'War Games' zone. Even if you could get near it, you'd be in target territory I think.

A simple approach would be to drive out to spy mountain and telephoto in. But with the two Night Sky installations there and the small airstrip on the northside you couldn't really get there un-noticed. I might take a drive out there and have a nostalgic look around and see if the lines have been moved around any. Somewhere along the west facing range along the east line (Bagdad Hwy) there is a cannon in the mountain. The description a friend of mine gave (who lives about 1/4 mile from the fence) makes this artillary gi-normous. Doors 30 feet tall and a railroad track to roll it out on and it shakes the ground when they fire it. Recently (within the last 2 years) my mom was stopped at 247 and Reche Road for military convoy headed out Reche Road. The truck that was turning off of south 247 onto Reche couldn't make the turn. She said the cargo was well over 100 feet long and about 20 feet high on multiple trailers. She said that after it made the turn, they motioned her by and she thought she was looking at the rocket end of an ICBM. It sounded almost like a SCUD the way she described it. The whole thing was tarped and transported in the dark of the midnight hours on a new moon. I told her its probably just some old thing they're going to use for target practice Mr. Green

You don't suppose the circle is an old silo that sunk a bit during the landers quake do you? Confused

If your in the neighborhood give me a shout. My brother knows a few backroads out there and stuff where we might be able to check things out. We've camped out on Coyote Lake to fly our RC stuff before, and now I'm interested in Emerson Lake.

I just noticed two more sites that bear a resemblence to the former. These two are clearly marked as targets. I'll get the coords and post it later.
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Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:51 pm PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Here are the other two LZ's I found:
34 24' 13.21" N 116 22' 38.55" W
34 19' 27.21" N 116 17' 54.43" W

I wonder how many more are marked off around the US.

Cool
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Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:27 am PostPost subject:
Harvey
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Earthquake is coming. Sad

Thankfully it was only a 4.5 Very Happy
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