Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Playing AVCHD on Ubuntu Linux

Have I finally managed it? Can I finally watch my Sony HD camcorder recordings on my Ubuntu home computer?? Still need to try this on my main system (which is faster) but I can finally play them without crashing! Here's how I did it:

  1. Tested on an Athlon X2 dual-1.9Ghz machine running Ubuntu 8.10
  2. I uninstalled all existing 'vlc' components (which were v0.9.4) through Synaptic
  3. I also had to delete the ~/.config/VLC configuration files
  4. Per the instructions on the site I added their "Intrepid/Nightly" repository to Synaptic,
  5. I installed the latest version, v1.0.0~git20081127-4 (according to Synaptic)
  6. I then disabled the Videolan repository since this copy seems to be working!
  7. Finally, I disabled the FFmpeg "h.264 Loop Filter" in VLC
    (which improves playback speed but at the cost of some picture quality)
My Sony's AVCHD clips are 1440x1080i and this computer (using one 1.9 GHz cpu-core at 100%) can't quite play it back without dropping frames. BUT it doesn't crash anymore, which every other video player (including previous versions of VLC) would do! So now I'm hopeful that my other system will be fast enough...

P.S. I'm being very specific about uninstalling all the original 0.9.4 modules, as well as deleting the hidden config folder, because both of those elements caused errors otherwise!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Excellent economics essays

Nothing personal to contribute today, just wanted to add to the Google scores of the following essays which I think do an excellent job of explaining our country's current (and increasing) economic problems:

Common economic mis-beliefs
from Rich Toscano's blog, "Nerd's Eye View", on Voice Of San Diego.

Human nature and the inevitability of financial bubbles
from disgraced (but still so suave and well-spoken!...) tech-stock analyst, Henry Blodgett

'Gaming' in prices (aka bubbles) for any variable-return investment
from the same Dec '08 issue of The Atlantic

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Installing Canon MP620 on Ubuntu

There's been a lot of pain making my new Canon printer work with Linux. Here's the simplified procedure I finally developed. This is only to make it print! I'm not trying to use the scanner yet.

(These instructions and files were culled from the posts and files at )


1. download the two updated DEBs and one PPD (see below for locations),
- cnijfilter-common_2.80-1_i386.deb
- cnijfilter-mp610series_2.80-1_i386.deb
- canonmp610en.ppd

2. install 'libcupsys2' through Synaptic (needed for Canon DEBs)

3. install the Canon drivers,
> sudo dpkg -i cnijfilter-common_2.80-1_i386.deb
> sudo dpkg -i cnijfilter-mp610series_2.80-1_i386.deb

4. install the printer using the newer PPD, canonmp610en.ppd

5. In the printer Properties > Print Options, set Paper Feed = Cassette


- I got the DEBs from the Canon Asia web-site,
- I selected Multifunction > Pixma > MP610 > Drivers and then downloaded these 2 packages,
- "Common (Debian)"
- "IJ Printer Driver (Debian)"

- The PPD came from this same blog's SF project,
- Finally, I downloaded 'ppdMP610en-1.3.tar.gz' (English) and unpacked it

UPDATE (11/3/09)
I've added a new post re new driver versions and Ubuntu 9.10 support,