QuickTime and JavaScript

Got these links from Tripp Millican who is doing very intriguing research around video online. These links are to some documentation and JavaScript and QuickTime, things that let you do plugin sniffing and those sorts of things.

And this one from Michael Sullivan:

At School

I’ve just finished another quickie vog. This one, Preshil Critters, is footage I grabbed one afternoon while picking the kids up from school. It continues the same theme as the recent work, where I just have a series of textual intertitles that are activated by mouse entry. Simply mousing into the video triggers the intertitle, which is layered over the video. Mousing out and in presents the next one. They just loop around (unlike the last one which deliberately stopped the video after a specific number of mouse ins, a sort of recalcitrant vog). They repeat like this because I think the sorts of rhythms that get established via repetition and variation are fundamental to this work (this is more or less the same argument that Manovich makes about the role of the loop, though I’d like to think my variation is more sophisticated in its subtleties) and so the small number of intertitles in this one produces a very simple repetition.

Of course it is also a form of noise. Something I have always been interested in in this work. The noise is minor, where the black text of the intertitles is often difficult to read and so the viewer/user/client/reader/wreader/watcher/ (aka vogience) has this problem of figure and ground where you are either paying attention to the video footage, or to the text, but generally not both at the same time. This is not bad interface design or communication design. It is to insist and protest for the interdependence of both and the tension between each. The text is not subject to the image, and the image is not subject to the text, nor are they dialectically juxtaposed or whatever other dualism you might feel encouraged to impose or adopt. They are just together. They have related but distinct economies. They are bought together as two intended utterances that are mutually implicated in and with each other. Neither is prior to the other. However, in their proximity what is to be approached is their distance.


It’s Thursday. I’ve finished teaching for the first week of the new semester. I have two classes of first years doing Editing Media Texts. They seem to be a smart mob. This is a good subject, last year I developed very explicit and detailed activities to be done each week, and so it is very clear what is being done, why and how.

I also have three classes of second years in our brand new Integrated Media. Having taken the bubble wrap of this one yet. Unfortunately, while I know where it is headed and why, and even what we need to do get there, I don’t have the outlines for this that I do for the other subject. So, right now, it is a state of constant crisis as I juggle lab maintenance, new blogs for students, research, family life and developing some pedagogy that is going to work. The problem I’m stuck on, and still haven’t adequately solved, is that we have a lecture and a lab. But pretty much all of the ‘content’ and methodology is antithetical to lectures, but the room is, of course, raked seats with me presiding over the enormous screen come whiteboard. I want them to have problems, discuss them and develop research and learning strategies.

Which reminds me, I need leave shortly to pick up Sophie and Jasper from school, do the supermarket shopping with them (it’s a 35 degree day so we can all hide in the supermarket with cold drinks before we head home to the hot house!), and make dinner.

Yes, I’ve

joined the exodus come stampede to WordPress. Partly because it is open source, partly because the business model of Six Apart was going to cause problems with student blogs (and because we raised a purchase order for an appropriate licence for MT but between purchasing and Six Apart nothing appeared to happen and there’s only so much administrivia I’m allowed to pursue), and partly because it has an excellent developer community.

So, spent quite a bit of my Sunday installing and migrating, and now I have to get to speed quickly since I have 50 or so second years about to migrate their MT installations into WP next week. No need to offer thumbnail impressions. It’s a blog CMS like the others. Powerful, not as sexy as MT but probably a bit more sophisticated. Of course I’ll retract all that when I go to upgrade in a few months and some minor php error in a script will cause hours of mayhem (as it is it has treated every trackback in MT as a comment!).

The Rain

A couple of weeks ago we had the wettest ever day in Melbourne’s meteorological recorded history. After it had stopped, we took the kids down to Dight’s Falls, on the Yarra which wends its way through the green leafy (aka more expensive) ‘burbs down to the city and out into the bay. The normally small drop over the weir was now something else entirely, with kayakers availing themselves of the white water. This has become a vog, Yarra Flood. It is video that I shot of the river, with overlaid text which changes if you mouse into the video (and out again). The commentary is just about the wettest day, and that it seems that, like me, a lot of dads had decided the kids were an excellent excuse to go and see the flood.

In terms of interaction it is simple. Mouse in and out a couple of times to layer the next textual entry over the video. However once you’ve done this 40 times, which means you’re reading the entire commentary for a second time, the movie freezes and won’t play anymore. If you click on the video (at any time) it also autojumps you back one second, something I quite like so I’m about to use more of.

Why? I liked the idea of a movie that actually told you to bugger off. That refused to keep moving or working or playing after the user had done something. That simple. The material is quite high bandwidth since there is a lot of visual action going on, so didn’t compress as much as usual, here I wanted quite a bit of the visual detail to be preserved.


Just In Time Teaching. Semester starts Monday. One curriculum updated from its first iteration last year, one brand new second year to deliver. Bit crazy at the moment as a consequence. It is easy to map content, but when I want to develop process and problem based methodologies, then there seems to be more thinking to set up the program. Though to be fair, I reckon there is much less effort required to deliver the program, for much greater learning outcomes. Bit like cooking I guess, figure out what ingredients you have, what they could or ought to be, and then how they should be used. Well, maybe.


When you work in a large institution you are subject to highly centralised IT policies. You can understand what happens in suc

Adding Chapters to MP3

This Melbourne blog explains how to use ID3V2 tags to add chapters to a MP3 file. Since I work in QuickTime I’d probably do this differently, using a QuickTime chapter track, but I’m not sure how that would affect a podcast in something like iPod.

H.264 FAQ

This is Apple’s H.264 FAQ. This is next generation MPEG4 codec that will be built into QuickTime 7, and is also adopted as the new DVD codec.

QuickTime 7

There’s a brief PR page up at Apple outlining some of the new features in QT 7. The most significant is probably they H.


Me-TV.com has become mefeedia, a seriously kewl name. It aggregates RSS from videoblogs, and is the brainchild of Peter Van Dijck. Seriously smart.

It lets anyone add feeds, it seems to automatically create an appropriate feed with enclosures if your feed is plain vanilla, and it also has a javascript that produces a vlogroll to insert into your own blog. By semester two when my students are going to be neck deep in this stuff, I’ve no idea what we’ll actually be doing it is developing so quickly.


ANT development continues apace with another release today. Not sure when various features have been added but now ANT:

  • has a link button that loads the url that any individual video feed is derived from (so the blog entry that the video resides on/in
  • allows feeds to be added via the interface (not just the menu)
  • allows you to refresh via the interface (not just the menu)
  • has a play, previous and next icon in the interface
  • allows stopping of a download (command .)
  • has a playlist button so the playlist draw toggles
  • you can toggle the Feeds drawer from the menu
  • allows the toolbar to be customised
  • has an applescript that adds podcasts to itunes
  • in preferences you can auto check feeds at a nominated time
  • set a maximum size for how much video you’re going to store
  • allows the user to control where videos are placed

Unfortunately this could well define what a videoblog becomes. It is unfortunate since most will just view the feeds, a de facto TV, and not read the text entries nor the blog qua blog which ought to include dates, comments, text, and all the other material texture that makes a blog a blog and not just some video.