May. 10th, 2006


May. 10th, 2006 12:41 pm
bwh: (Default)

Nattie ([ profile] tea_cantata) and I arrived safely in Mexico and have been fairly busy since then, while not blocked by lack of network access.

The Debian archive mirror prepared by Steve made it here safely and is now attached to our main server. Yay for USB2.

Video team preparations are a bit behind schedule but we are just about to do a smoke test with cameras and computers (but no audio mixer yet). I have backported Icecast 2.3 and Ffmpeg2Theora to sarge, and written a "dvtail" program to read the DV recordings for streaming, so that problems with our Internet link won't break recording or result in a huge lag in the streams.

I have also had to make and lay out a 100m power extension cable for a switch in the middle of a 200m stretch of network cable. This requiring fixing the crappy extension socket shut with a hammer, jumping^Wclimbing from rooftop to rooftop with cable, and then untangling it under a baking sun.

I'm loving the spicy food here, though I think I can do without jelly as a "vegetarian" dessert (I think this mistake will not be repeated) and may have to ask for refritos sin queso (without cheese). The heat is bearable and my hat and sun cream have so far protected me from sun burn. The insects are horribly noisy, but one eventually tunes them out, like the noise of fans.

bwh: (Default)

Courtesy of my phrasebook:

I'd like to get Internet accessQuisiera usar el Internet

I noticed this morning that the book has a section on romance, going from "asking someone out" through "sex" to "problems". Suddenly this book became more interesting to my breakfast companions.

I can't get it up - sorryLo siento, no puedo levantarla
bwh: (Default)

At Debconf we'll be having talks in the Parliamentary Tower and some other sessions in a room by the hacklab. In each of these rooms there will be one small quiet computer capturing video from the camera over Firewire, connected by Ethernet to a second computer (preferably outside the room) with more disk space and processor power, which will record, transcode and stream the video to the outside world.

On the first of these we just need to pipe dvgrab into netcat. On the second we need to netcat to a file and simultaneously feed that file into the transcoding and streaming software (ffmpeg2theora and oggfwd). Since our link to the Internet may not be reliable (and certainly isn't now) we expect that streaming may lag behind; that's where dvtail (which I mentioned previously) comes in.

Having identified the various pieces of the video puzzle, last night I actually wrote the scripts to do this. I didn't have a chance to test them properly, so they didn't actually work. Today I packaged them, fixed various silly bugs, and tried them on some of the computers we plan to use. This was stalled for a stupidly long time by the lack of Internet access, since Ganneff had planned to create users on an LDAP server elsewhere and then use a local LDAP cache, rather than create them entirely locally. Eventually we ended up with user accounts created on each machine. Next problem: we attached a camera to a Powerbook G4 and got nothing but errors from the Firewire driver and dvgrab. We tried changing cameras, cables, kernel versions, but with no success. Changing the kernel itself was a problem without access to backports. I was cursing the air blue and banging my head against the wall in frustration.

Finally we tried using different computers, and suddenly everything worked. I had missed one option to ffmpeg2theora, but once I added that we were able to stream across the LAN. Of course, that won't be of much use if we don't get the Internet connection working much better soon.

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