Ruby Supercomputing: Using The GPU For Massive Performance Speedup

Confreaks just released a Ruby/JRuby GPU presentation of mine from Mountain West Ruby Conference 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Slightly stale, but all still very relevant to HPC today!

http://confreaks.tv/videos/mwrc2011-ruby-supercomputing-using-the-gpu-for-massive-performance-speedup

Vudu Disc-To-Digital Review

For those of you that just received this promo email…

vudu_promotion

I decided to give it a try with stack of old DVDs. The promo pricing is totally reasonable, but I doubt it’ll last. (50% off when you “convert” 10+ discs, then $2 off your total.) Your existing DVD/BD titles are $2 to convert, or $5 for upgrading a DVD to HDX. For the content I successfully converted, HDX quality is great. Some big caveats to considered before jumping in, though..

  • The Vudu To Go client necessary for the disc matching and verification process is buggy. On my Windows 8 Pro laptop — the only machine I have with a BD player — Vudu To Go would check for BD titles but outright refuse to check normal DVDs, displaying only a nasty error message. I had to use a secondary OSX machine (with a non-BD DVD player) to check DVD titles. I didn’t have any issues with my shopping cart when using two machines, but this was really inconvenient. I would think Vudu To Go on Windows 8 Pro would have the bugs worked out by now.
  • The disc-to-digital disc matching mechanism seemed to mis-match about 1 in 15 titles, such as my retail BD version of “Full Metal Jacket”.
  • Of my properly-recognized discs, Vudu only had rights to convert ~40% of the discs I tried. Understandable, but still a pretty low hit rate for users, especially for anyone like me that would really like to completely toss all discs in the trash, and don’t even have a DVD/BD player hooked up anymore.
  • For HDX quality, both machine and display *must* support HDCP. For example, “owning” Super 8 in HDX would only play in SD when web streaming due to my non-HDCP monitor.
  • Studios, of course, still place restrictions on your watching abilities, even though you’ve verified the disc. For example, I “own” 80’s comedy “Singles” in HDX, but “[t]his title is viewable on PC in SD only.” Lots of stupid crap like that.
  • Web streaming requires flash and uses a non-trivial amount of CPU. On my new brand new Dell Latitude 10 ST2 Win8 RT tablet, it’s totally unusable.
I hope Amazon launches an equivalent, because I’m already committed to an Amazon content library and really, really, really don’t want to keep another vendor. If you only have a few stacks of decent titles just taking up space, though, it’s worth considering!

Video: How To Produce A Live Music Event Recording: Post-Production

To help answer the question of why it takes so long to get an event recording on disc, even for small events, I’ve put together this high-level, high definition (720p) behind-the-scenes walkthrough of the post-production editing, mixing, mastering, replication and packaging processes used for the ahCOOTstic Rock event (and others) brought to you by the Phoenix Independent Musicians’ Project (PIMP Google Group) and Sonic Binge Records.

Enjoy and please share this video!

If you’re in Phoenix and want to be part of hot event productions like this, join the Phoenix Independent Musicians’ Project!

MinoHD 720p Digital Camcorder Review

flip_minohd
While no one wants to see your entire 180-minute reenactment of Hamlet, it’s nevertheless nice to have a camcorder handy once in a while. Usually I’ll bust out a pocket-sized Canon SD750 when I need a couple minutes of motion capture, but the SD750–as well as most other low-end digital cameras–aren’t fabulous at video, and can have issues recording single streams over a couple minutes. I’d love something in the prosumer class, but I simply don’t need video recording enough to justify the cost. And even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to fit it in with my normal photography equipment.

The MinoHD is a 720p, 30fps, all digital video recorder roughly volume equivalent to an iPhone: thicker but narrower. Video is encoded in variable bit rate H.264 with AAC audio. (Perfect for use on a Mac.) 4GB of internal flash memory holds about 60 minutes of video, but the storage is neither removable nor interchangeable. The battery is also internal, and charges from the USB connection automatically. A tiny color LCD screen allows for playback and deletion of recorded videos, and provides no special recording effects such as useless cheesy color filter nonsense typically present on consumer camcorders. Costco retail pricing is $179.

Recording a movie is as simple as turning it on and pressing the big red button. Hit the big red button again to stop. It took me approximately 10 seconds to master the process. (An intelligent dog could be trained to do the same if the buttons were bigger.) Use of the “FlipShare” software is not required to transfer video off the device. Just plug it in to a USB port and move the files off. If you choose to use FlipShare, it provides basic video management and editing capabilities, and appears to be necessary to update the MinoHD’s firmware. I’m using FlipShare for now, but like the option of not using it.

Pros

  • H.264/AAC.
  • 720p.
  • USB connector built in. (No need to carry a cable.)
  • Inexpensive.
  • Rediculously usable.
  • PC/MAC friendly.
  • Solid-state.
  • Light and small.
  • No special software required for day-to-day use.

Cons

  • Less than 1080p.
  • No built-in light.
  • Cannot upgrade flash storage.
  • Battery cannot be changed.

Verdict

Highly recommended for those wanting a cost-effective HD camcorder for light, periodic use.

Three Beers, Three Originals Live Originals

Here’s three original songs from a small set I played a few weeks ago with some friends. If you’ve ever wondered if there is a connection between alcohol consumption and complete loss of control over your vocal chords, behold: undeniable scientific proof. Soooooo, let’s just ignore the crappy parts, mmkay? 🙁

Lies (Preston Lee, 2009)

In Times Of Trouble (Preston Lee, ~2008)

With Whatever Time Remains (Preston Lee, 2009)

OpenRain's First Commercial Product In Production

I feel like I’ve come to know you quite well over the last few years. It was a rocky relationship at first, what with you not paying attention to me and hanging out with your friends too much and all. But ever since you started taking better care of yourself and dressing up a bit before reading me, we’ve become closer than ever.  You see, you and I — me and you — are sharing an intimate connection right now through the Internet. We’re two bits in a byte. Open and close braces surrounding an “<3”. Venerable electronic soul mates.

And because of my undying love for you, Ms. (Mr.? 🙁 ) random person on the internet, I’m going to share something with you that I’ve never shown anyone publicly before…

My company’s first commercially available product: The Online Business Platform from OpenRain.

OpenRain’s managing superwoman may have had a small stroke when I told her she had to produce and post-produce this video, but I think I made her feel better by offering to take all the credit if it turned out well. I’m disappointed that the stunt scenes and Clive Owen guest appearance didn’t come through, but… recession and all that… or at least that’s what I inferred from her half-paralized drooling. So without further ado, please enjoy this awesome video demo of the Online Business Platform that I did all by myself… or not.