A few weeks back, just a few days before the GCCR Conference started, Felix rang up and asked if we could Video Stream the event LIVE on the website! I was quite skeptical and said it would be better to just record it and upload the recording a few weeks later. However, I was curious and since this was something I never attempted before I thought why not research a bit and give it a go. Also, it was a long time since I did something challenging. :)

Two issues popped up immediately.

The first was to find a low-cost or better still free video streaming service. After going through a lot of sites, I came across Stickam.com. It’s got a lot of good reviews and no evident limitations for a free service. And better still, an easy process to start streaming. The tests I ran with my webcam looked good. A few days later I was also put in touch with Chito who had access to a premium LiveStream account used by the Fillipino community. This was a more advanced video streaming service and the video quality was much better. One benefit was that Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder could be used to stream the video directly. Yippee!

But the next issue, and probably the biggest challenge was to get an external video feed into the laptop. Although using the built-in webcam or an external usb cam would be easy, the best quality video would be a direct feed from the professional video & audio mixing equipment. Now most professional cameras will have either a RCA or HDMI output. And for web streaming, I didn’t see the need for HDMI so I stuck to RCA. This would mean investing in a RCA to USB video card. I figured this would set me back about KWD 60 to 80 cause a few years ago, that’s what they cost. But finding this adapter at the last minute was harder than expected since none of the large retailers had it in stock. So I headed down to good old Ibn Khaldoun Street in Hawally and after darting in and out of a dozen or more IT shops, I found one selling an EasyCAP RCA to USB adapter. And best of all… for about KWD 7.5/-. If you need to pick up one, the shop next to Blink stocks them.

The EasyCAP adapter is a very simple device and the software driver installation is straight forward. However, after an over night of fiddling around I couldn’t get the audio to capture through that card unless I used their recording / playback software. This meant that it simply would not work with any other web streaming software. :( So what next? The standard mic port on the laptop seemed like a good choice for audio. I picked up one of those audio adapter cables which have a single jack at one end (for the laptop) and two ports at the other for input from the mixer and all the hardware was now in place.

To stream video on the net, all I had to do was select the EasyCap driver as the video source, my standard mic port as the audio source and the whole world could watch the event live!

Well, good thing I’m not! I took this Asshole Rating Self-Exam test online and came up with a score of 3.  As funny as this test sounds, I think most companies should encourage all their staff to take this test yearly. It makes you think about how you behave and how people might perceive you to be an Asshole! :)

Came across this nice tool called Tilt today. It’s a Firefox plugin that generates 3D models of web pages so you can see how ugly your code is. Or rather how complicated. I ran it two sites and saw quite a difference between the older goan.name site and the latest kccrs.org one.

This is very strange. For the last 5 minutes I’ve been getting this error on IE and FireFox when accessing the Google homepage. But it seems to work just fine in Chrome!

Looks like Chrome users are directed to different server and hence the experience is always faster. :)

I came across this link and video on Solar Bottle Lights. It’s just amazing what you can do with an empty pet bottle and some creativity! Good job Filipinos. Wonder if they will start using this in India too. A lot of villages don’t have electricity, but they do get a lot of pepsi & coke! :)

Maybe we should punch a few holes in the walls of our office and get some real light in. Plus those solar bottles would look cool sticking out of the walls.

sabre-red-app-centre

Came across the Sabre Red App Centre today. I think it’s a great move for Sabre and hope they move to a more open source approach to enable more developers to code great apps.

The site currently has very basic info and the “contact us” option on the Dev Centre page has no link so it looks like they don’t want anyone to contact them about this feature anytime soon. :)

mrc-recycle-kuwait

I saw these boxes lying around in a corridor at the office. Seems someone from the Metal and Recycling Company came by the office and dumped these 6 recycling  cartons. They are part of a New Air program from that company. Hope we start using them soon.

I guess there is a huge scope for recycling in Kuwait with the amount of plastic and metal garbage that goes out. Maybe should should provide these bins on every floor in residential areas.

I really like this printer concept. Came across it on CNET. With everything going touch screen, it’s about time the printer was re-invented. I guess we could just  stick an iPad or Android tablet on top of one of these existing portable printers and we would get the same effect. ;)

cost-of-living-distribution-kuwait

I came across this cost of living graph on Kuwait and the expenditure on Restaurants really sticks out. 33% on eating out!!! I tell most people there are only two things to do in Kuwait… shopping and eating. Now there is graph to go with that. :)

John Steffen has come up with a real fast method of boarding airplanes.

“They should board from the back, each taking a seat on every other row, starting with the  window seats first.”

This sounds pretty good but I doubt it would work on most Middle East and India routes. I like the part in the video where they mention that Science may not be able to cure stupidity. They were referring to cases where people occupy the wrong seats. And if you have flown in this region, you know there is no shortage of stupidity. :)

And add to all this the amount of bulky cabin baggage most people carry on board … not including the duty-free shopping spree goodies.

About this Blog

This blog is run by Mario Alvares, a Goan Web Guru living in Kuwait, sharing some of his thoughts with the rest of the world. Click the About Me link for more info and a funny mug shot. Check out the posts on this blog and feel free to leave your comments. Use the RSS links above to subscribe.