Monthly Archives: November 2011

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-27

  • #TodayImWearing blue. #
  • @VanayK thank you! in reply to VanayK #
  • Just me, my real-wheel drive car, and our winter tires. #
  • I am thankful for my 60 megabit Internet connection. #
  • @vemedio don't forget that you have customers willing to pay for the push notifications on iPhone. I suggest you crunch the numbers! #
  • How was I now aware that Young Apprentice started a month ago? Time to catch up. #

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Using Handbrake to Convert Audio

Handbrake is the best conversion utility around. It’s just good at what it does. Yes, it has many advanced features, but if you want to convert video really just pick a preset and you’re on your way.

It’s also superb at converting audio. It can take DTS or AC-3 and turn it into AC-3, MP3, AAC, or OGG. And it can do that while letting you choose a downmix, meaning you can take a nice sounding AC-3 or DTS and output 3 tracks if you wish: AC-3 at 5.1, AAC at 5.1, and a stereo (2-channel) AAC with, say, a Dolby Pro Logic II mix down. You’ll have near-perfect compatibility, depending on your needs.

The problem with handbrake is that they refuse to add video passthrough, despite it being a number 1 requested feature. All the developers do is yell at you when you ask about it. They have AC-3 and DTS passthrough, but no kind of video copying. I’ve used Mencoder and FFMPEG for audio conversion and passthroughs, but I never get an output file I’m happy with. Either the generated MP4/M4V is incompatible with something or the audio quality sucks.

Solution with an MKV (you can adapt this for another input file with, say, MP4Box with an mp4 or similar and can also try Mencoder or FFMPEG to extract)

1. Extract the audio with, say,
mkvextract tracks yourVideoFile.mkv 1:video.h264 2:audio.ac3

2. Mux the extracted audio into a video file (MP4 or MKV preferably) along with a dummy video file:
MP4Box -brand mp42 -add empty.h264 -add audio.ac3 tempOutput.mp4 

3. Convert with Handbrake:
HandBrakeCLI -i tempOutput.mp4 -E aac -6 dpl2 -o tempOutput2.mp4
(This converts an AC-3 to a Pro Logic II stereo AAC within an MP4) 

4. Output is a video file with the audio you want and a dummy video file. You can use the attached ‘empty’ video files (separate AAC and h.264 streams and a muxed .mov container).

Hopefully this helps someone out there. I purposely made the steps vague, you should apply the general method to your situation.

Empty

Speedtest.net – My Own Results Satisfy Even Me!

Ultimate High Speed Internet

Internet Access is so important. 3 short years and a half ago, I had 1 megabit per second download speeds on DSL. Then I had a technician come to my home and set up a dedicated line so that there would be no interference within my houses wiring, and my speeds increased to 2.5 mbps. I was fairly happy with this at the time. Except I still had trouble getting the modem to sync at that rate on occasion, so there were intermittent disconnections.

Then, my internet provider, Teksavvy (an independent ISP that resells service leased from the incumbent providers), began offering cable internet. Having already well understood the coaxial cabling of my house, I jumped on the cable offer as soon as I could. I gave up a 200 GB download cap for a 90 GB one. I was able to achieve this by switching from BitTorrent to Usenet, which instantly cut my usage in more than half. From that point on, I was rocking a respectable 7.5 mbps down. Gradually, the limit increased from 90 to 120 GB and the speed to 8 mbps.

I do go over my cap occasionally. In September I hit 155 GB. But usually, I hover around it. Teksavvy has never charged me a penny of overage, and I decided to take the plunge and increase my speed to 30 mbps, not knowing how reliable the service would be or if I would get that speed. I also did this because there was a recent CRTC (Canada’s telecom regulator) which should decrease prices for cable internet here in Quebec.

As it turns out, not only do I get 30 megabits down, but I get 60. See, Videotron (the incumbent provider) offers a 30 down/2 up 120GB tier, as well as a 60 down/3 up 150 GB tier, and it seems as though my line was provisioned by Teksavvy as the latter. I’m extremely happy, and now that I have a taste of freedom, there’s no way I would take any speed less than that. I can download a full HD TV episode in 2 and a half minutes. Having the entire content of the internet available to me in instants, I feel as though a door has been opened. In some cases, it’s as quick to download a file from the internet as it is to get it from a computer on my network. It’s revolutionary! The kind of services that can be offered at this speed boggle my mind… and I think it’s so important to have affordable, high speed internet (above 5 mbps). It should be considered  human right. Information wants to be free, and this calibre of internet service liberates it.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-20

  • Mac minis are CHEAP! I think it's time for a home server upgrade. #
  • dear left wing crackpots protesting the tuition fee hikes: GET A JOB. #
  • @johnfbraun my education here in Quebec costs me a total of $6000. TOTAL COST. These people are protesting a few hundred dollars. Insanity. in reply to johnfbraun #
  • I firmly believe the CRTC decision was a step in the right direction, despite real price concerns. More supportive of an free internet. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-13

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