Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is the earth flat?

On YouTube, I was browsing videos while relaxing after a long day of work and stumbled upon a few videos explaining that the earth is actually flat.

You read it correctly.  The earth, being a globe, is a hoax...

Am I missing something or are we losing touch with reality?  I've searched a bit more about that "new" movement and found their website:

Their idea is that the earth is a flat static disc having the North Pole at its center and the South Pole on the outer edge.  In their videos, on YouTube, they elaborate "facts" to prove that the earth is flat, often ignoring simple logic and dismissing hard evidences already proven by science.

I have a few questions for those people:

Since we can all see, each morning, the sun rise to the east and set to the west, how does the sun revolves around a disc so that all inhabitants can see it rise from the same side?

How can they explain the shadow of the earth, on the moon during an lunar eclipse?  It is round so the sun would have to be behind the flat earth at a perpendicular angle to cast such a shadow.

If the earth is a static disc, how can they explain winds, streams in the ocean and the different climates?

How do they explain the disappearance of a sailing boat at the horizon?

How is it possible to have night and day around the world at the same time?  Is the sun a really big spotlight?

My favourite "proof" was that aircraft travel time does take the same time going east to west and back.  If the earth was a spinning globe, the aircraft would have to fight against the rotation speed.  Aircrafts are not fighting the rotation but the density of the atmosphere...  Running against a strong wind is already hard enough, be it from the east or the west.  Consider now reaching 250km/h...  

I can admit that some people may fancy strange things but promoting such non sense is just plain crazy.  They theorized that governments are actually setting up a big hoax to make people believe that the earth is round...

What would be the purpose of spending billions of dollars to prove that the earth is not flat?  So NASA is lying by producing fame videos showing that the earth is a globe?  Scientists and astronomers are actually lying to cover their jobs?  I'm outraged!

Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?  You should, it's got electrolytes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Record your screen on an Asus Memo FHD 10

In a previous post, I was showing you how to root your Asus Memo FHD 10 tablet.  This will be required if you want to record the display of your tablet.

Once that is done, you'll be able to screencast your apps into videos in no time...  Actually not.  Even if the tablet is rooted, almost none of the screen recorder will work on the Asus Memo 10.  That's a really sad situation and nothing will change as Asus is not providing any update for this device anymore.

There is one app that is working...  SCR Pro!  A while ago it was listed in the Google Play store but for some strange reasons, it was pull-out by Google.  The author, iwobanas, created a thread to share his app for free on XDA (  I had already bought the app while it was listed on the Google Play store so I was happy to retrieve this amazing recorder when I had to reset my tablet.

The video quality is really good and you can even play some Minecraft while recording your screen.  Optionally, your webcam can be display as an overlay.  Internal sound does not seem to work but the microphone does.

Give it a try and if you like SCR Pro, please make a donation to the author.

You can download SCR Pro for free here:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Are you having too much meetings?

You are reviewing your schedule at the office and suddenly receive an email inviting you to a meeting.  Your presence is mandatory for a full review of the current issues concerning a major client.  We've all been there, attending meetings with 30 people, wondering if your presence was actually useful.  I tend to avoid those meetings as most often, they are a waste of time and energy.

Meetings can be powerful tools when used properly.  Before planning any meeting, start by considering those questions:

1 - What is the main goal of the meeting?
2 - What should be accomplished at the end of the meeting?
3 - Who will actually and actively act on the decision taken during the meeting?

Over the years, I've followed a few simple rules to make these meetings effective and productive.  There three kinds of meetings:  Issue meetings, Follow-up meetings an Informative meetings.

Issue Meetings

These meetings are meant to find a solution to an issue.  They are often critical and can last up to 2 hours.  Only the main leader and the main resource should attend.  The idea is to find a solution as fast and as effective as possible.  Those two persons are the main actors in the situation and are those that will take direct actions to solve the issue.  

At then end of the meeting, concrete solutions and ideas should be on the table,  A short summary can then be sent to all team members using emails.  Do not send "FYI" as it does imply you are sharing the information to be polite but it does not really matter if people reads it or not.  Ask for comments and suggestions in your message, involving everyone in the process without having 98% of your resources wasting their time. 

Follow-up Meetings

A follow-up is short and sweet.  All team members are attending and a team leader is the one doing the talking.  This is not the place to find a solution or o discuss about personal goals. They are often referred to as scrums in the software industries.

Basically, the team leader is asking each member:  What have you completed, what are your working on and what issues are you facing?  In about 2-3 minutes, each member will report her/his current status and the team leader will dispatch new tasks if any decisions must be taken.

A follow-up can be executed in less than 15 minutes each morning.  This ensures that everybody is on the same page and that all team members had a chance to report any issue.  In the event that an issue has been raised, the team leader can then schedule an issue meeting for the main actors on the stated issue.  

Informative Meetings
An informative meetings is a big announcement.  It often last around 30 minutes and everybody is invited.  The meeting agenda is planned ahead up to the minutes and a written summary is available.  Those meetings are used as way to communicate important decisions an should not last more than 30 minutes.

Consider using other means of communications ff the main subject is a big "FYI".  Informative meetings are a more personal approach of communicating with a large group of people when the news is important.

In the end...

Anything else is a social gathering and a time waster.  A meeting is a work process that should be effective and profitable for business and for the employees.  The less people attending, the better it is.  The shorter it is, the more effective it will prove.

I always plan my meetings a bit shorter than they really are.  Assuming that I will require a full hour with another colleague, I will schedule the meeting for 30 minutes instead.  I know it's a bit short, my colleague knows it's a bit short...  This puts a bit of pressure on getting straight to the point and avoiding stories about our last week-end party.

Try it for yourself and let me know how it worked out for you and your team.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Instant audio podcasting with Anchor

Seems that audio broadcasting is the new trend these days.  After Zcast, here's Anchor for iOS.  Think of it as a mix of Vine and Twitter for Audio (duration is set at 2 minutes)

The app Anchor is really nice and easy to use.  The best thing, for now, is the possibility of interacting between the users.  You can reply to any "waves" with your voice.

I've made some tests with my guitar and mandolin to see (hear...) if the quality is good enough for music content.  Anchor is about posdcating on the go and it's the perfect format when you want share with the world a quick recording.  For musicians, it's a great tool to get comments on your latest idea.

The interface is nice and neat.  Like all other social network, you can invite friends, like, share, etc...  The only minor issue I've found is that you cannot login from multiple devices at the same time.  I installed Anchor on my iPad and my iPhone but each time I log into on, I get disconnected from the other.  That something I'll report to the Anchor team a bit later.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Encode a JPanel (Java Swing) into a movie with FFMpeg

A few days a go I was tweaking ScreenStudio 2.0.  The main idea is to create a dynamic overlay a bit like WebcamStudio without having to use a lot of CPU resources.

WebcamStudio is great but do required a powerful computer to make it work.  On the other hand, ScreenStudio is more limited but do have the advantage of being simple to broadcast live your desktop over Twitch and Youtube.

ScreenStudio do support a static overlay created by rendering an HTML file using a JLabel (a label component in Java Swing).  The result is pretty good but do lack dynamic content.  I've tried several ways without major success.  That is until a few days ago.

I knew that FFMpeg is able to read from many sources.  I had, in the past, used a TCP/IP connections to get a BufferedImage to FFMpeg.  The process is slow and do required a lot of code to handle the connections.

I also tried using the OutputStream for the Process to output the content to FFMpeg but it does not work reliably.

Then it occured to me that I could use a fifo file using the command "mkfifo" in linux to output a BufferedImage directly to FFMpeg.

The command is quite simple: