March 2005 - Posts

Converting Videos (MP4) - nothing so far...
Thursday, March 31, 2005 9:26 PM

Non .Net content to follow. Normal proramming will resume after this post.

In a previous post, I lamented about the fact I cannot convert my MP4 video files created on my PDA (XDA IIs) into anything useable (tjhat includes sound!) that I can burn to VCD/DVD. Well I still have not had any success, and it seems neither have many other people, but I have learnt a lot about making VCD's/DVD's so I thought I'd share.

Using free software requires a bunch of software to put it all together. I have listed most of them below.

1. When making a DVD, use DVD-R discs, instead of DVD+R. Dont know why, but only a few players would play DVD's I made with DVD+R discs. My XBox wasn't one of them. When I burnt the same ISO images with DVD-R discs, both my XBox and all the DVD's I previously tested on worked.

2. To make the video, I used either Windows Movie Maker or Photo Story. Both are great apps and did what I wanted. There are many better commercial offerings but these apps are great value and produce some great clips.

3. Get yourself a copy of CDBurnerXP Pro. Its free and is worth it just for the help file. Its simple and gets you up and running easily.

4. Get yourself a copy of DVDStyler. Again its free, allows you to create DVD menus but more importantly, seems to re-process/sample the MPG/video file that is created and basically makes it work. I had many difficulties playing the completed DVD when I didn't use this program to re-process the MPG/Video file so now I put some menu on regardless.

5. Get a copy of TMPGenc. You can convert to/from many different formats, and has preset templates to convert to VCD/SVCD/DVD in various formats.

6. If you dont use the CDBurnerXP Pro I mentioned above to burn the actual CD/DVD, get a copy of DVD Decrypter. This does a great job of DVD burning, and for the more DVD/VCD technicaly savvy, has about 1 million options you can fiddle with. For me, I load the ISO file, press the button to burn the disk. Done.

So my initial quest of converting some of my videos from my PDA is still unsuccessful, however I have taken a sidetrack and will be porting some of my large digital photo collection to viewable DVD. I am still hopeful on finding something and will post any success I have here.

Converting Videos (MP4) from my XDA Iis to other formats
Saturday, March 26, 2005 7:38 PM

Totally non .Net related information (rant) to follow....

I have been trying to locate a way to convert videos taken with my Pocket PC (XDA IIs) to something more useable that I can burn to VCD/SVCD/DVD. My pocket PC runs Windows Mobile 2003 and captures video in .MP4 (Mpeg4) fomat.

So far, I have been unable to successfully convert this into anything that I can burn to VCD and its really been frustrating. Sure, there are far better video recorders out there than an XDA IIs, but its something I always have with me, so quite often capture a couple of minutes of really valuable video of my kids on the unit, as I didn't have anything else to record it on at the time. You know, those moments that just happen and if you are lucky you have something around to record it on. I'd like to put all these little snippets of video onto VCD for viewing on the DVD and simply a form of backup.

Anyway, I have spent the last couple of days, searching, downloading, installing, trialling various bits of software that either claim to do the job, or even suggest that they might do it. The best I have been able to manage is to get  the video onto VCD, but no sound. I would have to assume that there are some commercial titles out there that should do the trick, but if the trial versions of most of the software out there is any indication, its all crap. As far as I can make out, the MP4 format itself is a real pain. It seems to be a container for many other formats and could include video/audio using a myriad of codecs. To say I am sick of searching, downloading and trying a multitude of codecs is an understatement. Even though lots of software claims to be able to do the MP4 format, many will not support the codec that is used for the sound component of the files generated by my XDA IIs.

So for now, I have given up. If you know of any software that does the trick I would *love* to hear about it. If you feel like doing the same with Windows Mobile 2003 MP4 videos, beware and prepare for lots of time wasting, and frustration.

P.S. Yes I can burn the MP4 files to a data CD/DVD but I wanted to make a VCD for my mum who only has a DVD player, and certainly has no concept of installing the correct codecs on a PC to view them. Its hard enough turning it on AND THEN pressing play....

ANTS Profiler article
Saturday, March 19, 2005 3:20 PM

An article I wrote that describes the ANTS Profiler tool for profiling .Net applications (desktop, web and services) as well as COM+ apps has just been published here.

I'd be interested in your opinion.

ASP.NET V1.1 SP1 - Potential performance problems
Thursday, March 10, 2005 2:18 PM

Dont know if this is old news or not, but got this link in my email from kbAlertz today (I think it was today - I have lots of unread mail). To quote:

SYMPTOMS

In the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 (SP1), you may notice slower performance on multiple-processor computers than on single-processor computers.

CAUSE

This problem occurs because .NET Framework 1.1 is linked to the single-threaded C runtime library that does not handle multithreaded access to heaps.
 
This kind of alert, while important, I find very frustrating. Particularly the text "you may notice slower performance". Obviously there is more variables involved than simply having ASP.NET 1.1 SP1 installed before you may experience slow performance, but what exactly?
 
I have a number of applications that meet this vague criteria but are they all affected. To be sure, I would need to measure the performance, apply the fix, measure again and compare the numbers. This can take time and potentially cause disruption to the business. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to provide some more specific criteria under which this problem may manifest.
Lets face it, it is either linked to the "single threaded C runtime library", or it isn't, so the effects of this problem (IMHO) should be seen in most cases.
 
As usual, the disclaimer states:
 
"Only apply it to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 service pack that contains this hotfix."
 
I am assuming being severely affected means on a very high volume site, but again, its just too vague for me.
 
Anyone applied this fix and seen a noticeable difference? What kind of systems have you seen this degraded performance?
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