LikeTelevision Blog

Friday, March 30, 2007

Flash Video Embed in Blogger

Just doing a little testing with a simple application to generate code to allow users to drop a video into their blog. One has to make one version for MySpace, another for this, and that. Sure wish there was some standard and I suspect I have a lot of company. Basically - we got better things to do than jump through multiple hoops when there's no need to. Wah. Back to the test - Fritz Lang's Psycho Classic - M, starring Peter Lorre.

FREE videos at The LikeTelevision Video Library

Looks like we got a green light on this test Batman. Refresh the page and you will get a slightly different playlist, as the lead-ins, ads, and post roll videos are randomly generated from a database. More details in the previous post.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rewiring the video slot machine

Currently a lot of time is being devoted to rewiring the tesla circuitry to deliver flash video files of our video library. We named our original LAMP (linux, apache, mysql, php) server Tesla to honor our favorite inventor of all time - yeah, basically the guy who gave us electricity and radio (what about Marconi? he was close, but tesla gets the cigar, sorry). Anyway, the task is quite a mighty undertaking, in that we're looking at many thousands of video files... probably close to 10,000 files have to get transcoded, and hauling that much byte bulk around is a bundersome bear. To make it a little easier, we got 3 terabytes of new hard drives. Some were 500gig externals (Western Digital Powerbooks) connected via FireWire while others were 500 gig SATAII made by Samsung. How delighted we were at the price of all this storage. Heck, back in the day - when we used to walk to school, this much storage would have cost over $35,000 easy. Now, it comes in at a mere $800 and change. We got some new firewire cards and also had to get a new fangled power cord for the Samsung hard drives. Since when did they change from the big blocky 4 pin job I wondered? Ouch, I'm getting old, I can't even keep up with power cord technology any more. Sometimes I feel like a 60 year old trying to skateboard and it's not a pretty sight. Or like the surfer who shows up with the insane 12 longboard woodie.

Some of the most interesting challenges ahead is providing streaming like functions, without a streaming server. Basically the way this is handled is via metadata that is inserted into FLV video files. It serves to provide a time map of the video and duration to allow the server to look at it as chunks of data. Wanna jump 40 secs ahead? It will just go to the approximate chunk based on your request. Without the metadata, and a little tweaking on the apache server, a dose of php here and there... it wouldn't work.

Some of the latest building blocks in development include - random lead-in, calculate parts to create a playlist based on how many parts, insertion of random ads between content clips, and a trailer post roll, again created at random. Here's a few samples for you to check out. Dragnet - Big Producer. Martin Milner, they guy who played the policeman on Adam 12, stars as a young kid selling pornographic pictures to school buddies. They trace it back to the source, the Mr. Big as it were - who gets busted by Joe Friday and his best donut buddy, Frank, played by Ben Alexander. Or how about Felix the Cat, or The Outlaw with Jane Russell, Rio - Billy the Kid's girlfriend. And there's Billy the Kid versus Dracula too. And on and on. it will take a little bit to stock the fridge, but it will be here soon enough. And so - back to work.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Akira Kurosawa' Birthday

On March 23, 1910 legendary Japanese film Akira Kurosawa was born. In case you have never been fortunate enough to have seen a Kurosawa movie, by all means - fix that. There's many good movies to choose from. Rashomon - one of the best movies ever made about trials, crimes and conflicting witness testimonies. The film is part of most law school curriculums for those looking for a career as a trial lawyer. Yojimbo, a.k.a. the Bodyguard, is another great story. A vagabound landless Samurai warrior helps protect a town of village people from 2 competing crime families that have terrorized the place. Throne of Blood - Samurai Macbeth... simply amazing. And finally, his best known work - Seven Samurai is something you just have to see sometime. Very often, this movie is included in the top 10 of all time. 'Nuff said. Also - do a google image search of LikeTelevision™ for Kurosawa - lots of cool pix.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More new downloads

As most of you know - we rotate titles in and out of the download library to keep it fresh and not overwhelm folks with a kajillion titles to choose from. Last week we added a few new downloads but never got around to telling you what was new. Well - better late than never. Just added - a classic French Foreign Film called Rififi. Here's a preview. This was one of the best crime movies ever made, and the story is about an impossible jewel heist. If you like the Sopranos, Oceans Eleven, or the Mission Impossible series, you will love this film. Rififi is the first major film about a bunch of hardened criminals pulling off the crime of the century. It features an amazing scene - when they are pulling off the job, and for the most part.. the film is very very quiet - which adds tremendously to the filmic tension. Of course - crime doesn't pay - and after they pull off the perfect crime - it is, as usual the human factor that does them in. Great movie.

Also new in the download video library is Mind Snatchers starring Christopher Walken and Ronnie Cox. Another terrific movie - way before its time, about a bad seed soldier (Walken) who gets a brain implant device to keep his out of control libido in check. If you liked One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, or The Manchurian Candidate, you'll enjoy this little known gem from wayback. Here's a preview, or you can watch or download the whole movie. Cheers!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Alien Technology Video Game Repair

Long before he got the creampuff role as Edward R. Murrow, David Strathairn shined in his role as the alien dog bounty hunter in Brother From Another Planet. Directed by John Sayles, who also plays alien dog bounty hunter (2) - these whacked out knuckleheads chase the runaway alien Joe Morton all over New York City. I mean really - that is enough to want to go watch it, but there are a bunch of very memorable scenes that make it even better. A few favorites include - the part where he fixes he ton of old video game machines with alien technology. And i just loved the crazy card trick story on the subway.

Check out Frank Random's funky preview or watch the whole movie. Now available as Flash video - and Realplayer as well.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Word from Wonko Land

Behind the veil of the meshed server cages, the techno elves at LikeTelevision™ having been flailing at their keyboards to bring new features to our users. First up - it's back! The LikeTelevision™ message board feature is back in the saddle. Years ago, we shut her down due to the incessant attacks by people peddling the most annoying products. Beyond spam... over to nasty. So we chunked it all, took a shower... and built this new area to make it easy to add user comments on movies or tv shows. You will need to register (so we know you are a human)- it's free and painless. Also new.... over at Area 51 - we are experimenting with flash video deployment. See a few prehistoric samples. Here and here.