Older blog entries for Uraeus (starting at number 679)

Jaime Olivers Italian is boring

We just went to lunch today and decided to try out the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in town. Think the general consensus was that is was a disappointment. Nothing inherently wrong with the food, just that it tasted a bit bland, and when you go to a restaurant where a famous chef has put his name on the door you do not expect bland.

Syndicated 2010-02-24 14:46:39 from Christian Schaller

Google and Open Video

Been following the news and discussion about Google and their recent acquisition of on2. For those who doesn’t know On2 is a codec company that created such codecs as VP3 (which become Theora) and VP6 which became Flash video. Their latest codec is VP8 which they claim is comparable to H264 in terms of quality.

The big question of course is what Google plans on doing with On2 and the codec acquired. I guess there are two likely routes Google could be going. One is to try to create some kind of vendor lock in with Youtube offering higher quality video using VP8 for Google clients like Android and Chrome. The other is that they want to remove the dependency on proprietary video formats on the web and will thus release VP8 as open source in a similar vein to Theora and Dirac. If they combine that with youtube offering high quality HTML5 videos in VP8 combined with ensuring that Firefox and Opera supporting the format in addition to Chrome then it could be a big move. Silvia Pfeiffer got some good thoughts and comments on the subject in her blog, including interesting comments from Monty and former On2 employee Dan.

From a Collabora Multimedia viewpoint we would of course love to add support for liberated On2 codecs in GStreamer, so if anyone from Google is reading this, just know that we would happily help you implement the needed GStreamer plugin code to get these codecs supported in GStreamer and the linux desktop.

Syndicated 2010-02-24 11:44:00 from Christian Schaller

The sinking ship that is Greece

I guess as a lot of people I been reading about the troubles of Greece over the last weeks. Have to say I did find it a bit funny though when I read that their prime minister George Papandreou claims that their budget plans are credible and good. Sorry, when you are up to the neck in debt and the cost of that debt is about to choke your nation then you need to present a budget plan that brings your budget into the black, you can’t promote a budget that only reduce your deficit and thus increase in debts as a solution. You are still drowning, just a little bit slower.

I sincerely hope the EU doesn’t try to bail out Greece as it would be a long term catastrophe, European governments need to learn that they need to balance their budgets instead of pushing their problems into the future and leaving a even heavier burden on the future generations to try to solve. If Greece gets bailed out then the only result will be that Spain, Portugal, Italy and eventually France will come knocking too, not to mention some of the former east block countries.

Syndicated 2010-02-11 12:01:15 from Christian Schaller

London and Scandinavian food

Went down to London yesterday for a meeting and I used the opportunity to visit the scandinavian deli and grocery store there. Turned out to be pretty nice, with a decent selection of food. I stocked up on Swedish liquorice, Norwegian lompe, Danish red hotdog sausages and a Norwegian brown cheese.

In other words I am well set for another week of scaring Abigail with Scandinavian food :)

Syndicated 2010-02-02 11:06:42 from Christian Schaller

Norwegian Fenalår

I always try to bring some Norwegian food back with me when I have visited Norway. This year I brought a leg of Fenalår which is a leg of cured mutton. So it is just like the cured ham people eat all over Europe, except from being made from sheep. Anyway I brought it to the Collabora office today to let people have a taste and Marco snapped this picture of me holding the leg.

Of course not all scandinavian food is equally appreciated by our southern neighbours.

Syndicated 2010-01-26 11:31:35 from Christian Schaller

Getting Chromium onto the GStreamer lovetrain

Bastien Nocera is known for a lot of things. Most people in Gnome probably knows him as the maintainer of the Totem media player. In the Fedora community he is known as one who deals with a lot of the challenges around multimedia. Here in the UK he is also known as the only frenchman to ever get fully naturalized.

Anyway his latest effort is to try to try and kickstart some work in Google Chromium to get it to use everyone favorite media framework GStreamer. Bastiens explains a lot of his rationale in the Chromium bug report, but I am hoping to get others in the community to chime in too, and even if you don’t have anything new to add, just let Google know you care by staring up this bug report.

Syndicated 2010-01-22 16:46:49 from Christian Schaller

Why is it impossible to not hate Ryanair?

When I went to Norway this year for Christmas I had the most convenient travel route ever. I had a direct flight from Stanstead Airport to Rygge in Norway. Rygge is a tiny airport, but when you visit people on the southeast side of Oslo like I did, its perfect.

The ticket was also quite reasonably priced even though it was the Christmas holiday.

Yet, despite offering me this ideally set up trip between the two airports on both side which fits me the best, I struggle to dig up any kind of positive feelings for Ryanair.

Was discussing it a bit with Wim and Tim and I think a big part of the reason for this is the constant feeling you get when booking a trip with them that they are trying to make you think their fares are cheaper than they actually are or the feeling that they attempt to ’sneak’ in extra options.

For instance how they charge you for the use of your credit/debit card, a fee that got nothing to do with the actual cost to them and the fact that it is practically impossible to avoid it. As Tim mentioned when we discussed it, if they just included that 5£ fee in the price you wouldn’t think about it and just be happy you got a cheap ticket, instead you feel they are trying to pull a fast one on you and make their prices look even better than they are by pretending mandatory expenses aren’t mandatory.

Maybe Ryanair doesn’t care if I or anyone else actually likes them, I mean I still booked my flight to Norway with them because they where the only ones flying from Stanstead. Yet on the other side I always tend to fly with Easyjet instead of Ryanair if I can, both due to usually flying to better airports and a general feeling that if I search for a flight the price they list for that flight is the price I am actually paying.

Maybe the problem is simply that Ryanair doesn’t understand that even when you are travelling I don’t like the feeling of being taken for a ride :)

Syndicated 2010-01-19 14:42:40 from Christian Schaller

Opera and GStreamer

Discovered a blog post today from Philip Jägenstedt at Opera. The post describes the new HTML5 enabled Opera (alpha)( release and how it uses our favourite media framwork GStreamer. Great to see this available for easy download now and a big thanks to Opera for their work in supporting HTML5 and the Ogg codecs.
Philip got a lot of interesting details in that blog post so I really recommend reading it.

Opera also makes the source code of their copy GStreamer available as a git repo which should make merging any changes they do to GStreamer very easy, a big thanks for that.

Syndicated 2010-01-04 17:51:41 from Christian Schaller

Winding down for yuletide

Going back home for the Yuletide celebrations this Friday and are trying to tie up all lose ends before heading off to Norway. We had a board meeting here yesterday, with Wim, Tim and Edward coming to Cambridge. Started the meeting by summarizing the last few years since the founding of Collabora Multimedia and how we are in a very good place now to take on the next few years. Apart from the general company related stuff we also had a long discussion about how we can help the GStreamer community get GStreamer 1.0 out the door in the coming year. Think we got some workable ideas on how we, and especially Wim, can get to do some of the heavy lifting needed for GStreamer 1.0 and at the same time enable the GStreamer community as a whole to get into gear for pushing 1.0 out through the door. A lot of the general thinking for GStreamer 1.0 was done at this years Gran Canaria Desktop summit, so our discussion was more about the practical issues of who, how and when. Will need to take those discussions to the mailing list once we have crystallized our thoughts a little more first.

There was also the Cambridge Collabora Christmas party yesterday. Every had a great time with good food and drink being served. Also gathered afterwards at Rob McQueens place for some further celebration, although I think Robs neighbours didn’t seem to appreciate the Christmas carols as much as the season might warrant :)

Ended up having a relaxing lunch with Wim, Tim and Edward around midday today at one of our favourite Cambridge hangouts, The Snug, their Chicken, Brie, Bacon and Cranberry burger always me a happy camper (although probably warrants an extra half hour at the gym too). Afterwards Wim and Edward scurried off towards to train and Stanstead, while Tim jumped in his car to drive home to Bristol.

Anyway, looking foward to a relaxing Christmas vacation and to see my little niece for the first time ever, as she popped out a few weeks early a week ago :) Also hope to get some Transmageddon hacking done, while some of the Transmageddon plans I have is waiting for the GStreamer Editing Services to get python bindings I do plan on looking into various types of subtitle support as that code will likely be useful also after switching to GES.

Syndicated 2009-12-15 18:00:32 from Christian Schaller

N900 arrival

Collabora has been part of developing Maemo from early on and of course been part of Nokia’s effort to use
Maemo in their first linux based phone, the N900. To celebrate our involvement and due to the fact that it is a kick ass phone, it was decided that everyone in the company should get one. Today the first batch of 49 phones arrived in the office and we had a little unpacking ceremony as seen in the picture below:

Stack of freshly arrived N900 phones

Stack of freshly arrived N900 phones

Syndicated 2009-12-09 13:06:58 from Christian Schaller

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