Tag Archives: Multimedia

Use Windows 7′s built-in h.264 decoder in Media Player Classic Homecinema

On Windows, I always install the CCCP to get all of the codecs I need.  It’s a nice pack of mostly open source software.  Most of the audio and video decoding functionality it provides is provided by libavcodec from the FFmpeg project — this library also powers the decoding of VLC, Perian, and most notable media players on Linux.  With the CCCP, this is provided in the form of FFDShow, a set of DirectShow filters that can be used by any Windows application that supports DirectShow.  The CCCP also includes Media Player Classic, a nice, light player, pre-configured to just play everything right.  No thinking involved, just install the CCCP.

However, I find that libavcodec is not fast enough to decode high-bitrate h.264 content in real-time on my machine (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo) — say, for example, the h.264 content that you would find on a Blu-ray disc.  So, I set out looking for alternatives.

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Launch of gallery.aaron-kelley.net

For over a year now, I’ve been planning to launch an online photo album.  Today, it’s here.

I looked at many options for this.  The easiest solution seems like it would be to use an existing online photo sharing site, like Flickr or Windows Live Spaces.  I looked at four or five of these, and none of them really offered what I was looking for.  And what was that, exactly?

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Migrating Vista’s Windows Photo Gallery database

I’ve taken a liking to the Windows Photo Gallery application that comes with Windows Vista. It’s nice for organizing photos and videos, and the killer feature for me is the hierarchical tagging, a feature that I cannot find in any other free photo management app for Windows.

Windows Photo Gallery stores tag information directly in the files you are tagging, when possible. For instance, when tagging JPEG files, the tags are stored in the JPEGs using XMP. Also, if you modify other information about the files (such as the date/time a photo was taken), that information is stored in the file if possible.

In some cases, the information cannot be stored in the file itself; for instance, if the file is marked “read only,” or if the file format does not support metadata (PNG, AVI, etc.). In this case, Windows Photo Gallery still allows you to do anything you could to a file that it could store the information in, only, it stores the information in its own little private database. This is transparent to the user.

If you want to move your “gallery” to a different machine, and your gallery consists only of JPEG images, you can probably just copy them all to the new machine, and Windows Photo Gallery will automatically index them and rebuild its list of tags. However, if you have other types of files in your gallery, the information will not be carried along with these files and you’ll have to re-tag them. Ugh.

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