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Saturday, May 06, 2006


Update on school, iPodDrop

First the iPodDrop news. Somebody posted that they were having trouble encoding DVDs for the iPod with iPodDrop. They had two problems. The first was that the output video was squished (incorrect aspect ratio), and the second was that iTunes would refuse to copy the resulting file to the iPod saying it was incompatible.

I've never tried to encode DVDs with iPodDrop (from decrypted VOB files), since I use it for downloaded content only. Nevertheless, it's something worth fixing, and I'm using my Spaceballs DVD to test.

The first problem seemed to be due to the fact that while DVDs are encoded at 720x480 (aspect ratio of 3:2), they are designed to be output at 4:3. My solution? When we get 720x480 input, assume that we've got a DVD, and override the aspect ratio to 4:3. Problem solved, no more squished video. A new -nodvd switch is added if you don't want this to happen, but the default should be more useful.

The second problem, why iTunes won't give it a pass, I don't know. So far I've ruled out bitrate and resolution as possible factors, things I have yet to look in to are framerate, audio, filename, etc. I'll keep at it and report back when I have a fix. When I do, I'll release v1.4 as a quick fix for just this issue.

As for my school update, my last exam, Cal 2, is over! This means that, oddly enough, I've somehow managed to complete a full academic year of university. Strange, huh? I now begin my summer vacation, which is two days long. Then, this Monday, I start my ninth month at NITI, which I'm really looking forward to. Pat told me to brush up on my C++ for possible dev work this time around, and while I haven't had a lot of time for that in general, a few of my System Software assignments involved writing a command shell in C++ under linux using system calls. So that's a bit of practice. My Perl is horribly rusty though, as I haven't touched Perl since I finished at NITI 8 months ago. I'm sure I can get back in the swing of things quickly enough, though. After all, there are a bunch of Perl scripts at NITI that I wrote, and looking at my own Perl code should help refresh my memory.

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