19 May 2005 tnt   » (Master)

BEEN A LONG TIME...
It's been a long time since I posted here. About 2 1/2 years. How time flys. (Still need to finish updating my profile though.)

ADVOGATO
I see that Advogato still does NOT allow people to post comments in your diary (or blog as they call it now). That's unfortunate. People typically post replies in their own diary. But, unless you are consistent about reading other's diaries, you won't see them. Even if you stick with the idea of replying in your own diary, there should be an automatic way of telling the author that there is a reply there. And an automatic way of telling people "blogging" that there is a reply there too.

WORK
For a little more than a year now, I've been the lead software engineer at BidClix. I really enjoy working there! Really nice and moral people. Family atmosphere. LAMP based. And, most of all, I like the people I work with.

I could tell you alot about how people really make money on the Internet. About just how big business online advertising is. I had no idea how much money was involved with those simple banner ads, tower ads, etc before I started working at BidClix.

THE WEB, TCP CONNECTIONS, FLASH COMMUNICATIONS SERVER, AND RICH INTERNET APPLICATIONS
OK, I'm going to start to rant now. I've been working on a project that has a simple goal of sending webcam images (and audio from a microphone) to a server via a persistent TCP connection. And I wanted to do this using common technologies found in most browsers.

I searched various technologies and found out that Flash has built in support for webcams and microphones. I thought, "great, flash might have everything I need". So I spent a day and learned ActionScript. And even found an open source ActionScript compiler called MTASC so I could do all my development on Linux. (BTW, did everyone else know that ActionScript 2.0 is JavaScript/EcmaScript. Because I didn't know that.)

Eventually I found out that using the webcam is tightly bound to the Flash Communications Servers. This server uses a protocol called RTMP -- Real Time Messaging Protocol. I searched to see if there was an open standard for this. There wasn't. I searched to see if anyone had reverse engineered it. No one has yet.

Thus, it doesn't seem like I can use Flash. The system cannot rely on closed protocols. And I have to be able to modify any server.

So what is RTMP really. IMO, it seems like a glorified TCP connection. Macromedia has a good business strategy with this (since browsers don't really let you create TCP connections). (Macromedia guards this business strategy by not letting you directly "get at" images from the webcam. Or else, you could export them to the webpage, and bypass the Flash Communications Server.)

Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking Macromedia! I think they are smart for doing this. I suppose I'm knocking the browser makers. Well,... maybe I'm not really knocking the browser mackers, but I guess I'm imploring the browser makers to create an open, standard, cross-browser, and cross-platform JavaScript API for making TCP connections. If we really want Rich Internet Applications, then this is a must! Of course there are security issues to worry about. So, you should probably only be allowed to make TCP connections to the same host you came from. (Or, better yet, a host should have a mechanism where it can specify what hosts you can connect to.)

(BTW, if anyone is interested at all. The defacto mailing list for Flash coders is: http://chattyfig.figleaf.com/mailman/listinfo/flashcoders. Just remember though, when posting, that most people on that list are NOT Computer Scientists or Software Engineers.)

GSTREAMER
Trying to get back into GStreamer. (Was quite knowledgeable about it at one time. I'm sure nobody there remembers me anymore though.) Started off by trying to install it. Tried following what was posted on the GStreamer Fedora Download page. Did a:

    yum install gstreamer-universe
and got a:
    Gathering header information file(s) from server(s)
    Server: Fedora Core 1 - i386 - Base
    Server: Dag RPM Repository for Fedora Core
    Server: Fedora Core 1 - i386 - GStreamer
    Server: Fedora Core 1 - i386 - GStreamer dependencies
    Server: Fedora Core 1 - i386 - Released Updates
    Finding updated packages
    Downloading needed headers
    Resolving dependencies
    .......Unable to satisfy dependencies
    Package gstreamer06-plugins-extra-dvd needs libdvdnav.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer-plugins-extra-dvd needs libdvdnav.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer-plugins-extra-video needs libfame-0.9.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer-plugins-extra-video needs libswfdec.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer-plugins-extra-video needs libswfdec.so.0(v0.1.4), this is not available.
    Package gstreamer06-plugins-extra-video needs libfame-0.9.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer06-plugins-extra-video needs libswfdec.so.0, this is not available.
    Package gstreamer06-plugins-extra-video needs libswfdec.so.0(v0.1.4), this is not available.
:-(

Really don't want to have to compile everything. Last time I did it, it was really time consuming, and had all sorts of dependecies. Hopefully someone on the GStreamer mailing list will be able to help.

AVATARS
Everyone seems to be creating avatars for themselves now. Well, if you are a South Park fan, then you can use South Park Studio to create yourself as a South Park character. Maybe Advogato can allow people to upload avatar images :-)

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