Steven Winterhalter

OSI and DoD model Networking Layers

Posted on | February 2, 2013 | No Comments

I figure the best way to learn is to teach. As of late I’ve been taking a computer networking class geared toward a Cisco CCNA certification. Here is a slide I created just as a way for me to remember a few basic networking concepts. Networking is built upon the OSI TCP/IP and DoD model layers, which are basically two ways of looking at the same thing.

OSI TCP/IP and DoD Model Networking Layers

OSI TCP/IP and DoD Model Networking Layers

And if you have a mac or *nix based laptop you want to connect to a cisco router or switch don’t forget to check out my article here, How to Connect Your Mac to a Cisco Console Port.

Meaning of Life

Posted on | February 5, 2012 | No Comments

Two of the biggest issues that people deal with in life are Identity and Security. There are many types of Identity. There is national identity, there is cultural identity, there is organizational identity. And, there are many types of Security. There is personal security, there is financial security, there is national security. Where these two issues combine, Identity and Security, is in a larger area of Meaning. What does it mean to be associated with such and such organization or cause? What does it mean to have personal security, or financial security, or national security? The larger issue that we as individuals struggle with is Meaning.

The purest most innocent sense of meaning can be found in a childlike sense of wonder. A sense of Truth has to be established on top of that to continue in purity and innocence. When innocent wonder and purest truth abound, relationships of Love can be established, relationships based on the unconditional kind of Love, that is the purest kind of love. When we have a childlike sense of wonder, based on the Truth, and relationships based on unconditional Love, there is a peace and security that develops within us that cannot be shaken, that cannot be moved, that cannot be destroyed, no matter what.

Mark 10:15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth ; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Colossians 1:27 “…God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

Blessings,
Steve

Making Audio Sample Clips

Posted on | February 1, 2012 | No Comments

Recently, I’ve been involved in a project that required a data warehouse of MP3′s to be available for potential customers to hear a 60 second sample that fades out at the end. Having a natural loathing for repetitive point and click procedures, and having an affinity for anything that can be done CLI, I discovered SoX – Sound eXchange, an open sourced program that can convert and/or apply various effects on audio files. The syntax can be a bit confusing at first, but there are forums where people ask how to do certain things with SoX. Initially I downloaded the binary for OSX and moved it in a PATH directory, but it could only do a very limited number of tasks, and not at all what I needed it for. I reinstalled it via MacPorts, which also installed all the dependencies and the availability of features increased dramatically.

My basic need was this:
1) chop everything after 60 seconds off an MP3
2) fade out the last 10 seconds of the MP3
3) do this many many times

Where I ran into trouble was trying to find out how to fade the sample clip out at the end. Initially I found the trim option and set it. My syntax looked something like this.

sox original.mp3 sample_new_file.mp3 trim 0 60

This trimmed the MP3 off at 60 seconds, but it left an abrupt stop to the sound. I searched for a few hours on how to use the fade-out syntax for this program with very little results. I did however find one post that pointed me in the right direction. Basically, the fade option is used instead of trim.

The fade syntax looks like this:

sox original.mp3 sample_new_file.mp3 fade t 0 60 10

Where t is the type of fade-out algorithm, 0 is the start time in second of where your sample clip is going to begin, 60 is the stop point in seconds where the sample clip is going to stop, and 10 is number of seconds the tapered fade-out will last. So the fade-out actually starts at second number 50 and by the time the track reaches second number 60 there is 0 -db of sound — the 60 second clip has successfully faded out to black. Now that the primary tool’s syntax is worked out, it can now be arranged into a batch script to work the whole inventory of MP3′s. Remember to put a prefix on the new file name so you don’t overwrite your originals!

Picture of the Day

Posted on | December 23, 2011 | 15 Comments

This is a picture I took with my new camera. I’m very new to the art of picture taking, so enjoy what is enjoyable in it, and leave the rest to a bit of grace.

Notice the little red friend to the right.

Doodle Quartz Composer Composition

Posted on | December 14, 2011 | No Comments

This is a doodle flv video using the techniques from Quartz Composer tutorial 6: Dynamic Slideshow and Creating a FLV Video File on Mac OS X with a few ffmpeg commands found at this great post, 19 ffmpeg commands for all needs. Another tool I used was Capture Me, which is a Screen Capture and Recording app for Mac OS X.

Reading in Science: The Human Use of Human beings

Posted on | November 23, 2011 | No Comments

After briefly mentioning that our own post-modern era is not as foreign or different to those of former centuries, I mentioned that the particulars of our struggles only seem to be different from former eras. These particulars that I’m referring to encompass the age old innate human longing for God and the ever so slippery slope of rebellion man has placed himself on, by substituting God for anything other than God that he can set his eyes on, his hands on, or his heart on. It could be said that in this day and age, as we are well into the technological age, we are facing very real struggles never before encountered in the history of the world. That may be true, but these are still surface issues. Norbert Wiener in his book, “The human use of human beings” (1954), gives an excellent overview of the technological revolution being born out of the industrial age and what implications there may be as technology exponentially increases. I believe many of his views are still relevant. It is imperative, however, when facing these struggles, we face them not with religious cliches and dogmas, but with the real hand in hand walk that God intended, only then we as a people, we as a nation, we as a global community will be able to overcome what we now face and what we will face in the future.

I would certainly suggest reading this book. It’s a great read. I couldn’t find it in full text on the Internet to share with you because it’s still protected by its 1988 reprint copyright. I bought the Kindle version from Amazon for a few bucks, but I’m sure you could get this at any library.

“The human use of human beings” (1954) (1988 reprint)
by Norbert Wiener

Reading the Classics: War and Peace by Tolstoy

Posted on | November 22, 2011 | No Comments

I’m not sure why, but from time to time I seem to immerse myself in the classics. Its not for lack of anything else to do, the Lord knows I have plenty of things to do, but perhaps its out of curiosity of what they hold. As I read more and more, especially well written works of former eras, I come to realize that our own post-modern era is not as foreign or different to those of former centuries, as many in society would have us believe, out of sheer ignorance, or repression of the truth I cannot tell. Of course the particular struggles that humanity faces seem on the surface to be different, but in whole there is a root from which our current era has sprung forth, a root whose sprouts are of the same type and gene. I think it is that I just like to be reminded of this from time to time. I enjoy digging around in the classics to find what gems they hold. I mean really dig into them for myself, whether its reading the originals or listening to the unabridged texts, because I’ve come to know, what we all should know by now, that Holly Wood can’t be trusted to tell the stories as they were intended, as they were written. No imitation will do when the real works are readily available at our fingertips just a click away.

With appreciation I share links such as http://www.arthursclassicnovels.com/ and http://www.gutenberg.org/.

Also, because some of the classics are very long, I sometimes like to listen to them in mp3 format. I think my favorite is when someone with a very good English accent is reading, but when that’s not readily available I pipe the text thru my mac text 2 speech. The voice sounds okay on it, but it really does not know moods of the texts. It reads somber parts just the same as exciting action parts. I think the best way when I have to rely on the text 2 speech method is to read along with the text while listening to it.

These mp3′s move along at a good pace. Each mp3 is one book. There are several chapters in each book. Some of the mp3′s are over 3 hours long and others less than an hour. On average they are about 1 hour 45 mins long.

Perhaps, before you start downloading them you should get an idea of what the story is about.

I have disabled the huge download and replaced them with this book viewable chapter by chapter with an audio player found here http://stevenwinterhalter.com/ebookclub/

Vector Graphic SciFi Doodle

Posted on | November 14, 2011 | No Comments

A far cry from my original Vector Graphic doodle, I thought I’d post this Sci-Fi doodle. Basically, I have been learning the different tools and techniques on Inkscape and thought this little doodle turned out pretty good.

Any tips or hints you have for me or others just leave a comment.

Adding Perspective with Inkscape

Posted on | November 13, 2011 | 3 Comments

Here is the doodle of “Looking Through My Window” with some perspective added to it. I first made a seamless texture of the rounded squares wallpaper, freely available here.

Using a series of steps of including Importing the png file, Tracing Bitmap, Modifying the path to give Perspective to the walls, I was able to give depth to room and put the window on the back wall of the room. The end result being an effect of the ability to look out the window at the planet and star outside. This effect I hope to have achieved at first glance. I do know, however, that there are techniques of using light and dark colors to bring objects and / or surfaces to the foreground or background, of which techniques of course, as you can tell by looking at my picture, I admit to not having mastered.

As this blog is not a tutorial for Inkscape, I don’t have detailed step by step instructions on how this type of picture is accomplished, however, it does serve as an example of how in just a few days of downloading the program one can easily grasp the concepts and create some interesting visual content.

Creating a FLV Video File on Mac OS X

Posted on | November 12, 2011 | No Comments

Here I made my “Looking Through My Window” doodle into a video using Quartz Composer on a Mac. I then exported from Quartz Composer to a MOV format, which is native to mac. The final step was to convert from MOV to FLV file format for web broadcast.

Here is the resulting 30 second movie:

Below you will find various screenshots of tools in action

Quartz Composer comes with Mac OS X and can do much more than my little video project. The user interface is visually communicated and edited by dragging connectors to and from the different elements in the Editor. The resulting effects can be instantly seen on the View panel. The resulting file will have the qtz extension, and there is an option to export to a MOV file type playable in Quicktime Player.

This is a screenshot of Quartz Composer Editor and Viewer open.

This is a screenshot of Quartz Composer Editor and Viewer open.
Click on the image to enlarge.

To avoid having to install a seemingly endless list of plugins, or better said, to avoid pressuring the patrons of my site to install an endless list of plugins to be able to view the resulting movies, I decided to go for easy playability over loyalty to any particular encoding. It seems the most easily viewable format is FLV, an Adobe Flash video format. And, after a few hours of research I found that the best encoding method that works for me is using a great CLI tool FFMPEG. Instead of installing FFMPEG from source there is instructions on how to grab an OS X binary here.

The picture below is some sample output of a FFMPEG run as a CLI binary.
The code snippet that I ran is here also.

ffmpeg -i Looking_Through_My_Window.mov -s 600×376 -an -aspect ’16:10′ -sameq Looking_Through_My_Window.flv

Note that is all one line of text. Also here is a link to a great starter for learning the FFMPEG syntax.

ffmpeg_screenshot

This is ffmpeg in action durring a conversion process from MOV format to FLV format. You can see the command I entered at the top of the screenshot.

Once my file is converted to a FLV movie the next step is to index it so that the scrubber on the player gives a time reference. I again use a CLI tool, flvtool2. Instructions on how to install it is also here. Below is the command that I used. Notice that this command writes over your original FLV file. If you want to experiment on this, try piping it to a new file name and compare the difference on how the scrubber bar works on playback.

cat Looking_Through_My_Window.flv | flvtool2 -U stdin Looking_Through_My_Window.flv

Finally, instead of manually embedding it into my webpages I use the JW Player plugin for WordPress, which is easily installed from the Add Plugins page.

Hopefully, this brief method makes someone’s day a bit easier as they learn new techniques and technologies. You might ask why I tend to prefer CLI based tools. The answer is automation. If I had a whole directory full of video files that I need to convert, using a BASH script to automate CLI commands is the way to go. Processing several files could take several hours, and using an automation script would allow it to be completed unattended.

Any questions or comments feel free to start a thread below.

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    • OSI and DoD model Networking Layers February 2, 2013
      I figure the best way to learn is to teach. As of late I’ve been taking a computer networking class geared toward a Cisco CCNA certification. Here is a slide I created just as a way for me to remember a few basic networking concepts. Networking is built upon the OSI TCP/IP and DoD model […]
    • Meaning of Life February 5, 2012
      Two of the biggest issues that people deal with in life are Identity and Security. There are many types of Identity. There is national identity, there is cultural identity, there is organizational identity. And, there are many types of Security. There is personal security, there is financial security, there is national security. Where these two […]
    • Making Audio Sample Clips February 1, 2012
      Recently, I’ve been involved in a project that required a data warehouse of MP3′s to be available for potential customers to hear a 60 second sample that fades out at the end. Having a natural loathing for repetitive point and click procedures, and having an affinity for anything that can be done CLI, I discovered […]
    • Picture of the Day December 23, 2011
      This is a picture I took with my new camera. I’m very new to the art of picture taking, so enjoy what is enjoyable in it, and leave the rest to a bit of grace. Notice the little red friend to the right. […]
    • Doodle Quartz Composer Composition December 14, 2011
      This is a doodle flv video using the techniques from Quartz Composer tutorial 6: Dynamic Slideshow and Creating a FLV Video File on Mac OS X with a few ffmpeg commands found at this great post, 19 ffmpeg commands for all needs. Another tool I used was Capture Me, which is a Screen Capture and […]
    • Reading in Science: The Human Use of Human beings November 23, 2011
      After briefly mentioning that our own post-modern era is not as foreign or different to those of former centuries, I mentioned that the particulars of our struggles only seem to be different from former eras. These particulars that I’m referring to encompass the age old innate human longing for God and the ever so slippery […]
    • Reading the Classics: War and Peace by Tolstoy November 22, 2011
      I’m not sure why, but from time to time I seem to immerse myself in the classics. Its not for lack of anything else to do, the Lord knows I have plenty of things to do, but perhaps its out of curiosity of what they hold. As I read more and more, especially well written […]
    • Vector Graphic SciFi Doodle November 14, 2011
      A far cry from my original Vector Graphic doodle, I thought I’d post this Sci-Fi doodle. Basically, I have been learning the different tools and techniques on Inkscape and thought this little doodle turned out pretty good. Any tips or hints you have for me or others just leave a comment. […]
    • Adding Perspective with Inkscape November 13, 2011
      Here is the doodle of “Looking Through My Window” with some perspective added to it. I first made a seamless texture of the rounded squares wallpaper, freely available here. Using a series of steps of including Importing the png file, Tracing Bitmap, Modifying the path to give Perspective to the walls, I was able to […]
    • Creating a FLV Video File on Mac OS X November 12, 2011
      Here I made my “Looking Through My Window” doodle into a video using Quartz Composer on a Mac. I then exported from Quartz Composer to a MOV format, which is native to mac. The final step was to convert from MOV to FLV file format for web broadcast. Here is the resulting 30 second movie: […]