Lair Of The Multimedia Guru


Bitcoins and Inflation

Just today on youtube i again heard people talk about how crypto currencies are special as some are not inflationary while everything else fiat (printing), equity (dilution) and precious metals (mining) are inflationary. That is, all loose value over time.
But this is in some sense, not actually true.
Bitcoins require a blockchain to be maintained and the key requirement for that is that any adversary can never have 51% of the computational power. That requires a continuous “payment” of computational resources / energy. Which ultimately has the same effect as payment though someone printing/diluting/mining. If the blockchain is not maintained with enough computational power then at some point it becomes economic for an attacker to do double spend attacks by modifying the blockchain.
Iam sure iam not the first realizing this. But bitcoins kind of suck due to their vast computational blockchain maintaince requirements which also end up increasing co2 emissions or waste energy if it used renewables. Id wish we had some crypto that didnt had this energy problem and properly maintained privacy, it would be cool in a world where governments try to always increase their power over citizens and what they own.
PS: No, this is not supposed to be a prediction of what the bitcoin value will do in the coming years, it could go up alot or down by alot i have no clue.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 13:27


Checking dependencies from a Makefile

Why would one want to do that? Because its a very simple project that doesnt really need a full configure script.
This is from the FFV1 build which builds the related RFC (draft) documents.

The tools versions are checked before a target that uses them, the tests are done just once and not again until you run make clean. It will put a file ending in version-ok for each tool in the build directory to keep track of what has been checked. These are cleared on a make clean.

Heres the full Makefile with the version checks showing how we ended up doing it. So far it seems working on everyones machiene who wanted to work on the ffv1 docs. Note, none of the authors of this Makefile is a Makefile expert, it certainly can be improved. I am just posting this as it might be a useful inspiration/ starting point to others who dont want a full configure in a small project.

PS: if someone has suggestions for improvements, pull requests are welcome in ffmpeg/ffv1

STATUS := draft-
OUTPUT := $(STATUS)ietf-cellar-ffv1-$(VERSION)

VERSION-v4 := 14
STATUS-v4 := draft-
OUTPUT-v4 := $(STATUS-v4)ietf-cellar-ffv1-v4-$(VERSION-v4)

$(info RFC rendering has been tested with mmark version 2.2.8, xml2rfc 2.32.0, xmlstarlet 1.6.1, pandoc, pdfcrop v1.38, and pdf2svg 0.2.3, please ensure these are installed and recent enough.)

all: $(OUTPUT).html $(OUTPUT).txt $(OUTPUT).xml $(OUTPUT-v4).html $(OUTPUT-v4).txt $(OUTPUT-v4).xml

        cat "$<" | grep -v "^AART:" | grep -v "^SVGC" | grep -v "{V4}" | sed "s|^AART:||g;s|{V3}||g;s|SVGI:||g;s|@BUILD_DATE@|$(shell date +'%F')|" > $(OUTPUT).md

        cat "$<" | grep -v "^AART:" | grep -v "^SVGC" | grep -v "{V3}" | sed "s|^AART:||g;s|{V4}||g;s|SVGI:||g;s|@BUILD_DATE@|$(shell date +'%F')|" > $(OUTPUT-v4).md

%.xml: mmark.version-ok xmlstarlet.version-ok pdfcrop.version-ok
        bash makesvg
        mmark "$<" | sed 's||undated|g' > "$@"
        xmlstarlet edit --inplace --insert "/rfc" --type attr -name sortRefs -v "true" "$@"
        bash svg2src "$@"

%.html: %.xml xml2rfc.version-ok
        xml2rfc --html --v3 "$<" -o "$@"

%.txt: %.xml xml2rfc.version-ok
        xml2rfc --v3 "$<" -o "$@"

        rm -f ffv1.pdf ffv1-v4.pdf ffv1.html ffv1-v4.html draft-ietf-cellar-ffv1-* merged_* mmark.version-ok xml2rfc.version-ok xmlstarlet.version-ok pdfcrop.version-ok

        test ` mmark --version | sed 's/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 202080 && touch mmark.version-ok || (echo mmark version 2.2.8 or later is required && exit 1)

        test ` xml2rfc --version | sed 's/.* //g;s/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 232000 && touch xml2rfc.version-ok || (echo xml2rfc version 2.32.0 or later is required && exit 1)

        test ` xmlstarlet --version | head -1 | sed 's/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 106010 && touch xmlstarlet.version-ok || (echo xmlstarlet version 1.6.1 or later is required && exit 1)

        test ` pdfcrop --version | sed 's/.* v//;s/\.\([0-9][0-9]\)/\1/g;s/\./0/g' `0 -ge 1380 && touch pdfcrop.version-ok || (echo pdfcrop version 1.38 or later is required && exit 1)

Filed under: FFmpeg — Michael @ 09:30


To be compatible or not to be

A few days ago i wanted to print a page, nothing special here thats a common thing. But this time was different, my Samsung CLP-365 color laser printer did not print, its main LED red, the 4 toner leds all the same and lighting. On the linux side no error message or anything. Paper was in it, no paper stuck anywhere, power cycling did not help. None of the button combinations i could find that where intended to print debug information did print anything. Searching the wide net lead to a service manual and the tip to look at the display which my printer did not had and some windows software which required a windows machine. A youtube video pointed to the waste toner container but that was not the reason for the failure though it was messy.
What finally helped was connecting the printer to a mac, its printer drivers finally provided a useful error message, namely that the yellow toner cartridge was incompatible. It of course was not a original samsung one because the originals cost as much as a new printer. The other 3 cartridges where still the originals, the yellow one was bought from amazon a bit less than a year ago and it worked fine for a few months. (and this seemed not related to a firmware update)
The final confirmation that this was the issue came today as i received a replacement yellow toner cartridge again non original of course. And putting that in the printer, it came back to life, for now at least.
Iam not sure what i should think about this, but this is uncool. First samsung WTF, why if theres a fatal issue with a toner cartridge why do the LEDs for the toners all light up equally that gives 0 hope to one finding the issue. And iam not commenting about the whole toner original vs compatibility thing except id like the CEOs of all th e printer manufacteurs that make it hard to produce compatible toner cartridges to cleanup all the avoidable waste this creates. Go with a row boat please to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and pick your incompatible toners and still good but misdiagnosed printers out and recycle them properly.


Filed under: Hardware,Off Topic — Michael @ 14:52


How to misconfigure the xfce4-panel

  1. install a new xubuntu 20.04, move your stuff to it.
  2. Now you realize the taskbar is a lot crappier than years ago, its extra slow. And going over all GUI accessible options and messing with them does not help. But google will eventually lead you to a .config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css and XfcePanelWindow-popup-delay amongth others. So you copy and paste the example and change the popup delay to 0 or 1 millisecond. Who on earth would intentionally want a GUI to react with delay ?
  3. Now the panel appears quicker but it still doesnt disappear. Theres a autohide feature with 3 settings none really work and 2 opacity sliders, if one sets autohide to always and “leave” opacity to 0 it disappears quickly.
  4. After about 10 minutes of attempted use the panel drives you nuts by behaving in a hard to describe manner, it sometimes appears when you move the mouse to the edge (as it should) sometimes when the mouse just gets close (which is fun when there is something in that area other than the panel you want to click on) but is still far away from the edge. Again going over all GUI options and all text file options known, you find XfcePanelWindow-autohide-size but it doesnt make things better. And then suddenly you realize what is happening. You set opacity to 0%, so you change that to make it vissible, and here you realize the panel auto hides with a random delay (which you didnt see as it was quickly switching to transparent).
  5. Finally? you change XfcePanelWindow-popdown-delay to 0 and think all is well but after another 5min of attempted use you realize the panel is still alot slower than it was years ago and on slower hardware, its also eating alot of CPU.
  6. Setting all opacities to 100% and making sure no fancy effects are turned on (no none where on). Finally the panel is ok and you cant tell anymore if its as it was previously. Sure you could write code that renders that panel many thousands of times before it appears but you didnt write it and also dont have the time ATM and whoever wrote it had different priorities apparently … But you make a note on your todo “try/test window managers” but then again xfce works well enough so maybe you wont …
Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 11:18


Fake Amazon Gift Card

I bought some rather cheap bluetooth headphones, for listening to the news while doing other work (so sound quality doesnt matter). My normal headphones are with wires for security.
Did not try the headphones yet but in the package there was this card:

For a moment i considered to follow the instructions and after i get some 10 € (or not) edit my review to a accurate score and report them to amazon. But realizing that this card is not personalized at all not to a customer, not a product, not an order nor a seller. Also as the product was shipped by amazon the seller likely doesnt know who got a card and who doesnt of their customers. Maybe anyone has written a 5 star review and wants to try to get 10€ ;)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael @ 21:22


COVID-19 / Coronavirus / SARS-CoV-2

What i write here is going to be outdated in a few days or weeks likely but anyway, some thoughts about this …
Ive been following the information updates in the last few days, less the mainstream news. And normally i do not pay much attention to either the mainstream news nor any non mainstream stuff. But since about the 13th or so ive the feeling from what iam reading that this might turn into a pandemic. I hope iam wrong, this is not my area of expertise at all.
I hope the dumb extrapolation of numbers one can do is wrong because if this virus is anywhere as deadly as currently predicted and if it spreads widely. A worst case scenario could have many dead. Basically if this infects a significant fraction the world population, and the current fraction of seriously ill patients would apply in that scenario. There would not be enough hospitals, ICUs, … . People could be dieing because of the medical system being overwhelmed by the cases of serious illness.
So, i hope iam wrong. I hope this is successfully contained, people are quarantined everywhere and the virus dies instead of people. And from what iam reading it seems china is successful in containing it, but i have difficulty imagining all countries will.
I hope by isolating the most severe cases the virus will evolve to become more benign. A virus which causes severe disease which causes quick detection and isolation doesnt spread well, one that produces minor or no symptoms spreads much better. This can push the virus to evolve toward being milder. Of course that only works if a milder variant still spreads equally well, evolution is survival of the fittest after all, it has nothing do do with the hosts survival.
I hope a working vaccine is quickly found, tested and becomes widely available.
I hope there will be enough antiviral medications for the people who need them.
I hope that if it does spread, the politicans will direct resources toward preparing the medical system of their country and teaching citizens about Hygiene.
In some countries wearing a mask to protect against spreading diseases is even outlawed currently. (like the one i am in for example)
Also its socially not particularly accepted, people here rather cough each other in the face, or if they are more polite cough in their hand and then touch everything and everyone from food to other people with that hand. Yeah thats why the flu and the cold spreads so well and why this one might too.
And i dont even want to think or be reminded of the general gen-tech-phobia. Without that more laboratories and researchers would exist who could now work on finding a vaccine or other treatments or just testing samples from patients if they have the virus. It is AFAIK very simple to do a PCR and gel electrophoresis or realtime PCR which is AFAIK how this is detected currently. There are YouTube channels where you can see hobbyists doing PCR and electrophoresis in a garage, shed or similar. Sure for the virus one needs a negative pressure glove box and some additional saftey but still it puzzles me a bit when i read that various countries cant test or cant test as many samples as they need.
Enough off topic talk, I hope this virus disappears, and everyone gets well and no more people die from it or any other virus.

Update 2020-03-14: You can donate to WHO to fight COVID-19 via

Filed under: Off Topic — Michael @ 22:20


Fate boxes 2020-01

FATE strikes back

The Cubox no longer boots, the Panda boards power supply no longer works, it actually literally fell apparent when i unplugged it

The USB stick in my Panda board failed, huge amounts of bad sectors. Ive had it running with the power supply from the dead cubox and the sdcard as storage device.
That lead to out of disk space issues as fate is not just evil but its also big. So today the panda board has a new usb stick (SanDisk Extreme Go 64GB USB 3.1), which was the cheaptest brand name + fast one i found quickly.
Some benchmarks of the SD card vs the USB stick

sd card configure (-O1 gcc-4.4)
real 0m50.546s
user 0m24.523s
sys 0m11.164s

sd card build -j2
real 24m46.453s
user 38m38.586s
sys 3m14.938s

sd card fate -j2 -k
real 75m42.462s
user 104m30.688s
sys 8m33.727s

usb configure (-O1 gcc-4.4)
real 0m47.655s
user 0m24.719s
sys 0m11.297s

usb build -j2
real 21m25.833s
user 38m32.438s
sys 3m5.820s

usb fate -j2 -k
real 57m29.724s
user 103m6.180s
sys 7m30.867s

My i7-5820K box, which runs several fate client VMs also was showing signs of age, its main disk (Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512GB) showed an accelerating increase in number of reallocated sectors. That being after over 5 years of continuous 24/7 use by multiple FATE VMs, reading and writing. Ive a few days ago replaced it by a Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB. That also means theres spare space now for new fate clients if i find the time to setup something …

Filed under: FFmpeg,Hardware — Michael @ 11:12


email problems

A few days ago i noticed a missing mail from james in my ffmpeg-devel folder. Checking my local logs, checking the servers logs it appeared as if it was sent to me and that i never received it locally. I saw some bounce but mailman doesnt seem to keep track of bounce details. James said it might be a fluke and i put it asside. But shortly later another 2 mails that reached the Archives and others did not reach me. So i opened an issue on about this which iam using for my mail. A long while ago i switched to gandi as gmx was just a pain if something did not work …

Until this issue was looked into by gandi, i used a 2nd email address to receive mails from ffmpeg-devel reliably. I also as a precaution changed my password and then later went over most of my email setup to check for any potential bad configuration. In the meantime another mail, one from Andreas failed to reach me over gandi but received me over gmx. So i reported that to gandi with all the headers. On the 24th gandi after a bit of back and forth found the email. It was in a Junk folder that one can see in their webmail but which is inaccessible via POP3. There in fact where almost exactly 1000 mails in the Junk folder.
So i switched from POP3 to IMAP and fetched all, sending them through my own spam filtering i have locally. I have to shockingly say that a substantial number of these “Junk” mails, as in 5-10% where miss-classified and where not junk. Mails from the IETF list, from the debian lists, from ffmpeg, some buisness/finance related mails and many IRC logs, just to list what i remember now off the top of my head. The recovered mails seemed to cover a Timespan since july 2019. I do not know if mails prior to july 2019 “expired” in the Junk folder or if that was when this issue started. From my memory gandi did longer ago reject mails on reception so the sender would always get an error and know. Also it feels as if their spam filters where orders of magnitude more accurate in the past. I was a bit foolish to fail to guess that the well working mail service that gandi had wouldnt be “improved”.

Either way, the things of note are

  1. If you sent me a mail of importance and i didnt react, send it again, especially if it was prior 2019 mid july
  2. Avoid POP3, use IMAP, make sure you fetch all folders the times where companies cared about features working are over. In the past if one fetched mails via POP3 from a webmail thingy that had a spam folder one could get these mails with a “SPAM” header or SPAM keyword added to the subject.
Filed under: Off Topic — Michael @ 13:47



Everyone on youtube, well all the science channels at least are collaborating on planting trees #teamtrees.
So i donated too because well. I like forests :). And in fact Trees are very important, life as we know it maybe would not exist without trees. Without trees all the carbon now locked up in coal might instead be CO2 in the atmosphere. Also so many lifeforms depend on trees …
Ahh and they are a great way to turn CO2 from the atmosphere into wood, the later does not cause global warming.

Here are some forest related pictures i took in 2019

Filed under: Nature,Off Topic,Pictures — Michael @ 10:39


Main development machine failure

2 days ago before going to bed i started some tests on my box. When i woke up yesterday, i couldnt login remotely to the box, looking more careful the box was waiting for keyboard input during boot. It had issues previously and i intended to replace it for a long time. That was on hold because the ryzen 3950X isnt available yet which i wanted to use for a new box.
So i helped it boot, restarted the task and a bit later the box fans and disks spun down it rebooted again. My first thought was power supply or mainboard issue. The box after all was used alot and was somewhat old. I had a power supply laying around which was intended for my the future 3950X. So a little unhappy i moved the other machine that blocked access to the failing box away. Next with some dust mask and vacuum cleaner i removed many years of dust. Having removed all dust that failed to hold on. I wanted to check if it still booted, what temperature it reached and if maybe it worked now. The moment i switched it on i was glad i had the dust mask still on, for some reason more dust was blown out by the noctua fans. And it was interesting to see the dust coming out and some of it being sucked into my still running vacuum cleaner. The machine booted and i restarted the task, it didnt fail. So i tried again and then run fate in a loop. It reached 86°C cpu temp IIRC but it didnt fail or reboot again. Now a day later, the machine showed no further anomalies, it seems happy again.
This was the first time I ve had a system apparently failing from nothing but dust.

Filed under: FFmpeg,Hardware — Michael @ 21:50
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