Detecting Youtube Movies

I play Youtube movies as background noise on a small USB monitor in the hall.  However, there seems

to be no way to determine whether a Youtube clip is a “still image” thing or a real moving clip.  Lots of people just show a still image of an album cover and put some music on top.

That’s really boring to look at.

So I wondered whether there’s an easy way I could filter out still images.  I could download them before playing, and check whether they’re “big enough” to seem to be movies, but some clips are so long that that’s not practical.  I could alter mplayer to monitor the video bit rate…  or I could just dump the USB bus and see whether there’s anything transferred to the USB screen.

The latter solution sounded more fun, so I wrote a script to make this more convenient

It turns out that most “still image” clips still output a bit of video data on the USB bus (probably due to Youtube post-processing or something), but it seems to be at least a factor of 100 difference, so it should be no problem to use, I think.

I just have to hook this up to the flutter script and maintain a blacklist of Youtube clips not to display.

I should patent this revolutionary technology and license it to Google!  Then they could offer filtering!  Yeah!  That’s the ticket.


Last night I dreamt that I was mentioned in the index of Martin Aston’s 4AD biography “Facing the Other Way”.  Which I bought a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t looked at yet.  So I just checked…

… and I’m not.

But it turns out that I’m on the akwnowledgement page.  (With a mention of

So!  Does this mean that I’m clairvoyant or not?  In any case, I’ll have to read the book now.  I mean, I would have anyway, but it’s 640 pages long.  C’mon! 

I mean, great! 

Meh. Amazon.

I was reading yet another story about how Amazon working conditions totally suck, so I thought it was about time to ditch Amazon.  And I’m someone who orders stuff from Amazon like every other day.

But the question remains, as ever: Why do all non-Amazon web shops suck?  Badly?

For books I’ve now used for a week.  Amusingly enough, the name of the site doesn’t resolve.  You have to put www in front.  And the search engine is so slow that it’s not even funny.  (I just can’t understand how you make a book search engine slow.  The number of books in the world fits into the RAM of the cheapest phone you can buy, these days.)  But I’ve managed to order a few books from them nevertheless. used to be a bigger company that sold DVDs, but these days it’s a portal.  Which is nice.  I can imagine the DVDs being packed by nice grannies in Wales.  And it has a nice search engine.  The sign-on thing is kinda odd.  When registering, you have to give a “description” for your credit card and your address.  I tried using “Wat?” as a description, but it wouldn’t accept that until I deleted the question mark.

Now I just need to find a DVD and book supplier in the US, and I should be set.

Free range DVDs and books!

Best Albums of 2013

According to Emacs, these are the albums I bought this year and listened the most to:

Pet Shop Boys Electric
Adult. The Way Things Fall
The Knife Shaking The Habitual
Dead Can Dance Anastasis In Concert
Scout Niblett It’s Up To Emma
Gretchen Phillips Do you ever wish for more?
Grouper The Man Who Died in His Boat
Machine Drum Gunshotta Ave.
Team Dresch Hand Grenade
0 Soñando
Actress Paint, Straw and Bubbles
Chrome Hoof Chrome Black Gold
Dean Blunt The Narcissist II
Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle Perils from the Sea
Seaworthy + Taylor Deupree Wood, Winter, Hollow
Swedish Azz Erik Carlsson & All Stars Volum 1

So therefore they must be best.

Useful Consumer Review

I buy quite a few DVDs, and I’m even able to play some of them under Linux, even though I’ve paid for them. 

(DRM is all about keeping people who pay for your stuff from watching your stuff.  Pirates find away around that stuff anyway.)

But I’m going away on a holiday next month, and I thought I’d try watching movies on the flight instead of reading books and listening to music, as I’ve done until now.  (The idea being that combining watching movies and getting drunk at the same time will make the flight better, and drunkenness and books don’t combine as easily.)

So I started looking into how to rip DVDs to disk.  While preserving subtitles and alternative audio tracks.  This turns out to be black magic.  Ripping just the main title with mplayer or vlc is easy enough, but you don’t get the rest of the stuff.  And I like the subtitles, especially on mumbly movies.  I don’t like having to jack up the volume just to catch what people are saying.

So the interwebs recommended MakeMKV.  It’s fantastic!  You just insert the DVD (or the BluRay!!!) into the player, and it just works!  You click “yes” two times and it rips the disc perfectly!  Under Linux!  Debian!

It’s not free software, but it has a 60 day evaluation period.  I found the UX so wonderful that I bought a license after ripping a couple of disks.

I give this lots of thumbs up.  It even installs without problem on Debian Stale!

This means that my flight might, perhaps, be as drunken as I hope it would be.

Thank you, MakeMKV people!