VP8/9 vs h264/5 for personal videos

Recently I needed to encode some clips taken with my phone to a web optimized format since the videos were already in mp4 my initial thought was to keep them in mp4 format h264 video/AAC Audio.
First things first to get the videos to a web optimized format a re-encode would be needed so I had to accept that some drop in quality was going to happen. That was the easy part. A little googling and I found that libfdk_aac is the best AAC codec currently to use with ffmpeg, so I uninstalled my RPM installed ffmpeg and tried to compile my own. Getting sources for all the codecs I needed to have in my ffmpeg was pretty straight forward, but the build failed with some make error gcc was having issues building for the platform. This left me with 2 options wipe the OS fedora 20 and upgrade to the latest 21 or spin up a VM and use that to do the compile. The second option seemed like the way to go but I still wasn’t sold on the idea of having to do all this extra effort just to encode some phone clips.

During this thinking period when I was trying to get some time to go with option two I came across an article about vp9 and it hit me I was willing to jump through all this hoops to use a proprietary codec while there was a comparable opensource codec I could use with ffmpeg out of the box. So I re-installed ffmpeg from RPM spent about an hour tweaking some scripts to do the conversion and rotation of the clips.
Played back the newly encoded webm files and I could barely notice a difference with the original files, they were also 50% – 70% the size of the original files. Getting my video hosting application to work with webm files took about another hour as it was not on the list of supported extensions this was uprising since it’s an open source application.

Right now am feeling pretty happy with my choice as expected safari and IE don’t support webm so for those needing to watch the clips am just telling them to use Chrome or firefox. While the video hosting application allows me to share the clips with outsiders for my internal consumption of the clips I use Plex Media Server once they add support for webm to their native clients I will be converting the whole collection of clips from mp4 to webm.

Update: I received some feedback from family members and they are able to view the videos without a problem, so looks like I will be sticking with VP8/9.

Trying out a lightweight Linux Distribution

I started trying out a few lightweight linux distributions for and old box “PIII, 256Mb” and it has been an interesting experience. Right now am checking out zenwalk and will try crunchbang in a day or so. It seems zenwalk is better suited than most common linux distros for new comers to linux than even well known ones like ubuntu and fedora.
Just to make a point clear am not bashing fedora or ubuntu, i have used both at one time or another and a few more. But I was looking for something I can use on a box for grandmama, that means few updates, no hassle install and most of the stuff running out of the box flash,mp3 etc.. I was just gonna try it for a day or so(Zenwalk) but it has ended up getting itself permanently on one of the partitions because it it is so user friendly, even my other half who is not sold on linux has been using it without any major complaints just the usual “where is word” and their collection of games even kid friendly ones is quite good.
Personally my main distro on my desktop/server is Centos, am looking forward to learning some new things along the way. I will come back and write on what I found out.

Edit: Tried cruchbang and a few more since I wrote the post and of those I tested slack based distros have the crown namely with Zenwalk and vector linux. One of the biggest problem with other linux distributions I found out during the test is that while the full live desktop versions running kde and gnome work ok out of the box, the xfce light verson most suitable for old hardware have video problems. I have now decided to stop the test and insted have opened up several bug reports with the ones I had problems with to try and resolve these problems.

Rest in peace Dad

A few weeks ago my father passed away i cant bring myself to write on it so I got a poem insted to say what i cant for now:

I looked for you this morning,
I looked for you last night.
I looked for you everywhere,
But you were not in sight.
My heart is really breaking,
My eyes are never Dry.
Each day I ask my maker,
Why did you have to die.
He came to you one evening,
While you were fast asleep.
Although he took you painlessly,
The pain for me is deep.
I tell you now dear Daddy,
There is only one thing left for me to do,
And that’s for me to keep your memories alive in my heart!

I always took it for granted my dad would always be there and of all the things i wish i could have told him
only one hurts me that i never got to tell him I LOVE you DAD.
I know with our African culture it’s just taken for granted that our parents know what we feel for them, but thats not enough I just wish i had told him that the last time i talked with him i still remember his laugh as we talked only a couple of hours before his soul was laid to rest.