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Comment: My Experiences (Score 2) 149

by ewhac (#47812045) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?
First, a gratuitous plug for my Let's Play/Drown Out video series, currently focusing on 3DO console titles: http://www.youtube.com/playlis...

Why is that link relevant? Because they were all made using Kdenlive.

When I first started mucking around with digital video, I tried a bunch of free/libre packages, and formed the following opinions of each:

Windows Movie Maker
Yes, $(GOD) help me, I gave it a serious try. To my utter surprise, it mostly worked and did what I wanted without crashing. However, the UI was rather inflexible, and I needed more than the handful of features it offered, so I kept looking.

Cinelerra
Every Google search for free video editing software always turns this up, so I tried it. Then, ten minutes later, I had to stop trying it because it kept crashing and/or hanging at the slightest provocation. It has an impressive-looking array of features, and the editing timeline looks quite powerful. Evidently, you can do some fairly impressive things with Cinelerra, provided you can identify and avoid all its weak spots.

Pitivi
The last time I tried this, it was unreliable, under-featured, and incredibly slow. Just loading a one hour-long video clip into the timeline took several minutes as it tried to generate thumbnails and an audio waveform for the clip.

OpenShot
Assuming I'm remembering this package correctly, all it does is assemble edits -- that is, you can tack together a bunch of clips one after the other to create a larger work. If you want to do any effects or titling, you're SOL. Perhaps the Kickstarter-funded upgrade will yield some improvements.

Lightworks
I had to learn something the hard way with this package: This is a professional package. By that, I don't mean it has a ton of features (although it certainly does). I mean it expects a certain level of media asset before it will operate on it in the manner you expect. Us mere proles are satisfied to use MP4 or MKV or ($(GOD) help us) AVI files. However, in the pro space, you have files that contain not just compressed audio and video, but also timecode. And not just timecode measured relative to when you last pressed the RECORD button, but also a master timecode from an achingly accurate central timecode generator fed to all your cameras and microphones. This not only means all your cameras and mics are in precise sync ('cause otherwise their internal clocks will drift relative to each other), but you can trivially sync all your master footage and then intercut shots without even thinking about it. Also, near as I can tell, there's no such thing as inter-frame compression in professional video. Each frame is atomic, which means you can cleanly cut anywhere, but it doesn't compress anywhere near as small as, say, H.264.

The result is that, if you don't have equipment that generates all this metadata for you, then you need to convert it from the puny consumer format you're likely using. This means having truly monstrous amounts of disk available just to store the working set, and tons of RAM to make it all work. And hopefully your conversion script(s) didn't cough up bogus timecode.

So, yes, Lightworks is very very nice, if you have the proper resources to feed it. I don't, so I've set it aside for that glorious day when I get some proper equipment :-).

Kdenlive
Kdenlive is built on top of the MLT framework, and is about the best and most reliable thing I've found out there that doesn't cost actual money (either directly or indirectly). It has a non-linear timeline editor, it supports a wide variety of media formats, and it has a modest collection of audio and video effects (almost none of which you will use).

One of the more amazing things Kdenlive does is transparently convert sample and frame rates. Without thinking about it, my first video involved using a 44KHz WAV file, a 48KHz WAV file, and a 44KHz MP3 file, with the output audio to be 48KHz AAC. I feared I was going to have to convert all the sources to the same format, but Kdenlive quietly resampled them all when compiling the output video file, and everything came out undistorted and in sync.

Kdenlive does occasionally crash, which is annoying, but it has never destroyed my work. It has a fairly robust crash recovery mechanism, and you may lose your most recent one or two tweaks to the timelines, but you won't lose hours of work.

Kdenlive is not perfect, of course. It has limitations and annoyances that occasionally make me search for another video editor. But if, as I was, you're new to video editing, it will take you a while to find those limitations. Kdenlive has certainly served me very well in the meantime, and I think it's the most reliable, most capable, and most easily accessible Open Source video editor out there.

Comment: Re:Unreal... (Score 4, Informative) 410

Regardless of political preferences... I simply can't imagine in what form those threats could have been made. Phone call? Letter? Email? How can anyone be so [IMHO, unrealistically] stupid to mention using nuclear weapons knowing that every word in today's communications is being recorded and would be published by the opposite side?

It was made during a verbal question and answer session some days ago. You can read a transcript of the full thing, without western media's blatantly selective quoting and bias, right here. Do go read it for yourself. The press has been having a field day with taking individual sentences out of context, in many cases not even mentioning that Putin was responding to questions from Russian citizens, to make it look like he's issuing press releases about Ukraine specifically. It's the most amazingly dangerous set of selective quotations I've ever seen. In this case Putin wasn't even talking about Ukraine!

I copy/pasted the full question and answer in a post below. But you can easily find it in that page. It's a long answer to a relatively vague question that asks (amongst other things) about how Russia can avoid being drawn into large scale conflicts. So right at the start he says he doesn't want to be drawn into any large conflicts, he doesn't think it's going to happen and that he thinks nobody has any intention of starting a large scale conflict (er, he might want to re-evaluate that given the noise coming out of NATO). Then he goes on to point out that Russia can defend itself, and talks about the "nuclear deterrent" (same language as the UK uses), and then states again that it's for defence.

You can choose not to believe him if you like. But the USA and UK also have "nuclear deterrents" and their so-called Departments of Defence routinely engage in offence at the drop of a hat. We routinely see far more aggressive language coming out of the White House. So I don't think anything Putin is saying here is particularly unique or unusual.

Comment: Actual full quote (Score 5, Informative) 410

Full transcript of this youth camp Q and A session is available here.

ROMAN SMAGIN: Good afternoon, Mr President.

I am Roman Smagin from Novosibirsk Teacher Training University.

It’s no secret to anyone that history tends to repeat itself. Historical events seem to unfold according to a cyclical theory. Over these last two years we have remembered and celebrated the historic choices that Russia made at important moments for our country’s destiny, such as in 1612, 1812, and 1914.

In this context, I want to ask you what view you take of the cyclical nature of history as we can see it in Russia. Also, I want to ask you about your view of historical memory, how it helps us, how it can help to preserve Russia’s political influence on the international stage, contribute to our society’s development, and not let Russia be drawn into a new open global conflict.

Thank you.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Historical memory is a very important part of our culture, history and present. Of course, we must draw on our historical experience and historical memory as we look towards the future. I can therefore say straight away that Russia is certainly not about to let itself be drawn into any large-scale conflicts. We do not want this and will not let this happen.

Naturally, we need to be ready to respond to any aggression against Russia. Our partners, no matter what the situation in their countries and the foreign policy ideas they follow, always need to be aware that it is better not to enter into any potential armed conflict against us. Fortunately though, I don’t think anyone has the intention today of trying to start a large-scale conflict against Russia.

Let me remind you that Russia is one of the world’s biggest nuclear powers. These are not just words – this is the reality. What’s more, we are strengthening our nuclear deterrent capability and developing our armed forces. They have become more compact and effective and are becoming more modern in terms of the weapons at their disposal. We are continuing this work to build up our potential and will keep doing so, not in order to threaten anyone, but so as to be able to feel safe, ensure our security and be able to carry out our economic and social development plans.

As far as cycles are concerned, yes, I think that the world’s development does go in cycles. This has pretty much been proven as far as the economy is concerned. There are economists here and they can no doubt explain it better than I can, but there are various cycles in the economy, small waves, large waves and so on, and any country’s development depends on the state of the economy. This is why economic growth and the transition from one technological level to another always have an impact on people’s lives and prosperity and on the social and political situation.

Just look, for example, at the way demand is growing in the European countries, and how hard it is to keep up with this constantly growing demand even at today’s level of technological development. This is a sign that there is a need for something else, that we must compensate somewhere for what we are not managing to achieve with the help of foreign policy and defence policy.

I hope very much that not just Russia’s historical memory but that all of humanity will prompt us to search for peaceful solutions to the various conflicts that are currently unfolding and that will arise in the future. We support political dialogue and the search for compromise.

Comment: First press reports not very good. (Score 2) 402

by Animats (#47809751) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

The problem here is that the press reports are just rehashes of what the cops are putting out. Somebody should find this guy and interview him. He may be in hiding for reasons of his own.

His book is self-published on Amazon. It's been out since 2011, and you can read a sample there. This guy is not the next Steven King. A typical sentence: "As Zea approaches her partner she cannot restrain herself from hyperventilating as she peers at the black embossed letters on the translucent glass sign above the entrance to the central atrium".

Today, the Los Angeles Times quotes cops as saying "Everybody knew about the book in 2012", and that this is more about a four-page letter he recently sent to officials in Dorchester County, containing "complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime". There may be more clarity over the next few days, now that the story is getting attention.

Comment: Re:Which Invasion? (Score 2) 184

You mean these satellite images? The ones that have the following quotes attached to them?

At a press conference on Thursday, August 28, Dutch Brig. Gen. Nico Tak, a senior NATO commander, revealed satellite images of what NATO says are Russian combat forces engaged in military operations in or near Ukrainian territory. NATO said this image shows Russian self-propelled artillery units set up in firing positions near Krasnodon, in eastern Ukraine.

This is an extremely misleading way to phrase things. Krasnodon is not just "in eastern Ukraine". It's right on the border. So being near it can also mean in Russia. The above comments from NATO mean nothing, assuming CNN is reporting them accurately. What about the others .... hmm let's see.

Image 2 is from inside Russia and they say so. Image 3 is also in Russia. Image 5 is captioned twice, once with "Russian self propelled artillery unit inside Ukraine" and again, but this time it's again "near Krasnodon", which is practically in Russia. If there's an obviously demarcated border in this area it's hard to see based on the Google satellite images. The last image doesn't even claim to be of anything in particular, the caption is merely summarising story in general.

Both Russian and Ukranian troops appear to regularly cross the border without realising it - there have been repeated reports of Ukrainian forces entering Russia and then being redirected back across the border, with no obvious blowback. Given these things, and the fact that western media is in full-blown propaganda mode and not even hiding it, I'm going to want way stronger evidence than this.

But honestly, even if Russia did invade, this would merely make it on par with the USA and UK, both countries that practically revel in invading other countries and wading into other countries civil wars. So a part of me couldn't get too excited even if it did happen. It's definitely NOT worth a serious, major conflict between Russia and the west.

Comment: Re:Which Invasion? (Score 3, Interesting) 184

Yes, but the tanks and artillery the "separatists" keep popping up with are coming from somewhere. At this late stage in the game, they certainly aren't Ukrainian remnants that the separatists have captured in those Ukrainian territories - those were used and destroyed many months ago.

Really? I was reading in the Guardian (which has proven itself to be woefully biased in the past few months) that the separatists were surrounding and capturing Ukranian army units just last week. What's more, in the past days we've been reading about waves of deserters from the Ukrainian army. Nobody is claiming the separatists are armed only with stuff they got months ago. They're claiming, and so is Kiev, that they've been able to obtain large quantities of arms from the fleeing, conscript-based Ukrainian army.

Meanwhile Poroshenko is trying to claim that there's an Russian army rolling around in his country ...... yet so far nobody has been able to actually find it. An entire army! Over 1000 soldiers and 100 tanks! Such a unit requires support vehicles, a tent town, supply lines .... so where is it? Maybe it's sort of like invasion by aid convoy.

Comment: Re:Same thing from ultra-orthodox Jews. (Score 1) 513

by Animats (#47804259) Attached to: Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

Leaving any orthodox religion is hard, after so many years of hard-line indoctrination.

In Israel, it's very hard to leave. There are extensive Government benefits for ultra-orthodox, including subsidized housing, pay for religious study, and unlimited draft deferments. This is on top of the heavy social pressure, the lack of marketable skills, and the language barrier (the ultra-orthodox in Israel speak Yiddish, not Hebrew.)

Comment: Re:Weight (Score 1) 208

by Animats (#47804185) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Delivery Drones

"Wind is a particular hazard, because drones weigh so little compared with regular planes."

Small drones don't have much inertia. They can be easily flipped by a small local wind gust. This is a big problem for drones that operate close to buildings, where there are eddies and turbulence as air hits the building. Pass the corner of a building and the wind situation may be completely different.

Very smart and aggressive stability control systems are able to overcome this. See this drone from PSI Tactical, which weighs about 0.5Kg and is supposed to be able to operate in winds up to 30MPH.

Comment: Re:What will it take? (Score 1) 281

by ArcherB (#47804049) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

(sigh)
This is the comment I was responding to:
Think of it this way: Imagine the entire planet heated up by 20C, we wouldn't expect to see any permanent ice outside of Antarctica. (The North Pole might get some seasonal ice, but the much warmer oceans would melt it fairly quickly.) Now, with all of the oceans that much warmer, think how much additional water vapor would make it into the atmosphere. When the additional water vapor ends up over the South Pole, it will be cold enough for it to freeze and fall as snow. As the snow accumulates, it compacts into ice and we end up with a LOT more ice at the South Pole.

So: Less ice everywhere but Antarctica due to global warming, but a lot more ice in Antarctica due to global warming.

But the point is, when there was LESS ice, it was because of global warming. Now that there is MORE ice, it's because of global warming, per the original comment I replied to.

Comment: Re:What will it take? (Score 1) 281

by ArcherB (#47803763) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

Yes. There is less ice in some areas due to global warming and more ice in other areas due to global warming.

OK. Maybe you should tell all the scientist this. Be sure to copy Algore as well.
See, they seem to think that the first thing to go is the polar ice. That's why they keep measuring it. See, a few years ago, a lot of the ice melted, and we were told that it was because of global warming. Now the ice is back and growing, and we are told it's because of global warming.

And that is my entire point. No matter what the symptoms are, it's always a symptom of global warming.

Also, if it's colder in Antarctica and warmer in Hawaii, that's not really a sign of global warming. That's a sign of global nothing because the average temperature remains constant.

Comment: Yes, we know that. (Score 4, Informative) 217

by Animats (#47802079) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Battery storage for bulk power has been talked up for years. Mostly by the wind industry. With solar power, you get peak power and peak air conditioning load around the same time. Wind varies about 4:1 over 24 hours, even when averaged across big areas (California or the eastern seaboard). So the wind guys desperately need to store power generated at 4AM, when it's nearly worthless, so they can resell at 2PM. When the wind farm companies start installing batteries at their own expense, this will be a real technology.

With the US glut of natural gas, this isn't needed right now. Natural gas peaking plants aren't all that expensive to build, and make money even if they only run for maybe 6 hours a day. That covers most peak needs.

There are other ways to store energy. Some of the dams of the California Water Project have reversible turbines, which can run either as pumps or generators. They pump water uphill at night, when power is cheap, and let it down during the afternoon to generate power. Since the dams and pumps are needed for water handling anyway, this adds little cost.

Comment: Re:What will it take? (Score 1) 281

by ArcherB (#47800725) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

So much freshwater from melting glaciers that sea level isn't even level anymore, and some people still don't want to believe there might be a climate problem.

(I don't mean the people who question how to address the problem - that's still legitimately an open question - or the severity of the problem, I mean the people still in denial that there's a problem at all.)

So if there's less ice, it's because of global warming. But if there's more ice, it's because of global warming.

Just curious, if global warming were not a thing, what would the ice caps be doing?

Comment: Re:Why? Nobody uses NFC payments (Score 2) 185

by IamTheRealMike (#47799265) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

NFC payment cards in Australia/Europe cryptographically sign a challenge from the terminal, using basically standard crypto. It's EMV all the way. In-person magstripe payments are carefully controlled and risk analysed to ensure they only occur if, for example, the card is broken - or outright banned.

NFC payments in the USA involve the phone sending regular magstripe data to the terminal, with only the CVC code being some kind of cryptographic derivative - a three digit number (less than 1000). The reason for this crazy setup is so merchants don't have to update their backend/PoS systems that still expect magstripe data. There is no plan to perform a complete upgrade thus old style transactions cannot be phased out. It's a dramatically less secure system.

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