Archive for December, 2009

jaunty: Resizing mpg using tcrequant gives bad quality output with lots of artifacts

December 19, 2009

Running Hardy for a year or so I used tcrequant without any problems. I use the tool to resize mpg files so that they fit onto a dvd. My wife prefers watching our home recorded videos this way …

After upgrading to Jaunty I realized that resized records came with artifacts. It turned out that tcrequant caused it.

In Hardy, I had:

root@jojo:~# /usr/bin/tcrequant -v
tcrequant (transcode v1.0.2) (C) 2003 Antoine Missout

With Jaunty came:

root@jojo:~# /usr/bin/tcrequant -v
tcrequant (transcode v1.0.7) (C) 2003 Antoine Missout

I found no way around and finally ended up with replacing the Jaunty binary by the old Hardy tcrequant binary. Yes – this is ugly …

If you are asking: Why do you use tcrequant anyway ? It’s said to be deprecated in Transcode ! May be – but have you ever compared the run time of avidemux or mencoder with tcrequant ? The latter is far quicker. Obviously quite different algorithms are used. But I’m lucky with the output of tcrequant 1.02 …


Karmic: Happy with vmplayer, no longer searching the web for a any-any patch to get vmware-server running

December 19, 2009

For a couple of years I used vmware-server on my laptop. This was a hassle with all new kernels, as the vmware-drivers never built out of the box. It was always necessary to patch the driver sources to get them going.

I’m no kernel hacker and sometimes it was difficult to find the right patches on the web. At least once after a Ubuntu security kernel update the failed until I again managed to find a better (newer) patch.

Forget about this trouble. Use VMware Player 3.0.0. After a kernel update starting vmplayer gave me:

Hitting “Install” I got another screen informing me nicely about what was going on:

And I was done ! It simply worked !

But I forgot one important new feature of vmplayer 3.0.0: You can create new machines:

Karmic: ApacheDirectorStudio no longer usable and Workaround

December 2, 2009

I used ApacheDirectorStudio with sun-java5 without problems for at least a year. After changing to Karmic I installed sun-java6 and did a short test of ApacheDirectorStudio. I did not notice any problems.

Today I again ran ApacheDirectorStudio and this time I ran into trouble. No error message, but a button simply did not appear to work.

Being in trouble to do the real work done, I rebooted into my old Intrepid and did what had to be done.

Now I got a second to analyse the problem and finally found an hint on the Download page of ApacheDirectorStudio



and then start ApacheDirectorStudio. Now the application works as expected. So the rootcause was not java6 vs. java5, but Gnome !

Karmic: Keyring + Figaro’s Password Manager 2 fpm2

December 1, 2009

IMHO gnome-keyring has all components for a password manager application. But AFAIK there is no such application using libgnome-keyring0 and gnome-keyring.

But I can’t live without. So I recently checked the Karmic repositories for suitable applications and finally decided to give fpm2 Figaro’s Password Manager 2 a try.

Since then I use fpm2 on a regular basis. It’s fast, it’s straightforward and there are some features I really like.

For each entry you can define a so called Starter-Application. If e.g. you want to put your Launchpad-account into fpm2, you would add as URL and Web as starter-app. BTW, the default gnome-moz-remote does not really make sense in Ubuntu, because this command is unknown. Simply change the Web starter to

/usr/bin/firefox $a

Click on User and the defined username will be inserted into the cut buffer. Paste it into the webform. Same procedure for password and you’re done.