Monday, July 31, 2006

My Musical Musings

Hi... I decided to start an audio blog for myself. I call it "My Musical Musings". I will post all my musical escapades there. Check it out....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My Videos on youTube are here on the Blog!

My love with youTube continues.. I have just added the code to my template to show all my youTube Videos, here on my Blog. It shows up as a list in my side bar... do check it out!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

youTube Search, powered by Flex

So here it is, I have finally done it... a day of hard work, coupled with a couple of days of research :). I have the youTube search Tool, ready to go! You might have to de-activate the popUp blocker on your browser to see this application. I have made an alternate version for those who do not know how to do that. This application requires you to have FlashPlayer9. Download FlashPlayer 9 here and then Click on the links below.

This is the first public application that I am posting, so I'm really excited about it. It was an awsome experience building this application. The initial time was spent in the layout, look & feel of the app (which i think is still "too plain"). Then came the REST calls and parsing the incoming XML to suit my needs.

Then came a heart-breaker for me, which made me almost ditch my application. Due to some chaps ripping flvs (Flash Videos) off youTube (read it here), youTube had reworked their site inorder not to expose the flvs. So now i couldn't play them in my app... Directly.

But a programmer always finds workarounds to problems. Those who frequent youtube know that youtube provides a html code snippet, allowing you to embed it into your blog. In the code, there is a text like "tLuLE3jm1VU" is the only thing that varies across videos (and its called the video id). I had the video id of the videos i wanted, thanks to the youTube API. So i wrote a small PHP script to take the id as input and then generate the html page for my video.

I would then popUp this window as an html page (of a specified size) through JavaScript which was called inturn from my application using the Flash External Interface API. And hola... it worked... But my woes wouldnt end there. This workaround came at the cost of perfomance in my app and some of the thumbnails were not loading properly after the external interface call.

Then our very own Manish came to the rescue... Manish had written a youTube Featured video player back in March and had now reworked it to extract the flv out of the id again... Then things were all on a platter for me... I could now use Manish's code snippets, extract the flv file and play it in my own Video Display inside FLEX.

A bit of exceptional handling and try-catching :) and the application was ready to rock. So presenting to you....

If you find any bugs or issues, mail it to me at raghunath.rao at gmail dot com
Anyone wants to look at the code, you can find it here...

I'm Addicted to You Tube & its API

You Tube is a fantastic site... It has captivated my imagination for sometime now, that I was glued to it. A novel idea of uploading videos and then making it freely "searchable" or blog-appendable for anyone. You can see a whole lot of You Tube videos in my Media Blog... But one thing about youtube I did not like was its searchability and the ease of use to find a video that you are looking for (by user, by tag...etc).

So, I have been wanting to write a search tool for youTube for a long time now. And then i chanced on the youTube API. Its a set of very simple REST (click here to know about REST) calls that would return me useful search info like search by tags, username... etc in a simple, ready to use XML Format!!

I could now use this data in my Flex Application & write a search tool... So I was well on my way to write a youTube Search tool... That in the next post..

Before i sign off, here's a video I found on youTube that defines my state of affairs with youTube in the past few days.

I'm addicted To youTube

Friday, July 07, 2006

Thanks to Dad, the FlashMP3 Player is up again !

Some say its not a good thing that your dad works in the same domain as you.. and some say it is... Whatever it might be, my dad has been in the computer industry before i was born..

Started off with Electronics (like me), the moved into processors and then into software. He now heads the computer division of a major public sector bank.

Anyway, my Flash Mp3 player stopped working a while back due to some security restrictions imposed on , not allowing swfs to be loaded from it. So I turned to Dad and he gracefully provided me some webspace on his server and now it is up again.

Thanks Appa (that's what i call him). Now i can do a lot of stuff... My first application coming soon, courtesy Dad ! :)

Me & Appa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wonderful Wonderla

It was a happening weekend… Harish’s grand entry back into the Airtel Super Singer, meeting up with people I have not met in a while and ofcourse… Wonderla.

Since the time, my team went for an outing in Wonderla (check it out here), I have been planning to go there with friends. I had promised Lanka a while back that we would go there, but it never materialized… So when Asha also echoed similar desire… we were on tune.

Da Gang
(Harish, Asha, Nath, Lanka & Me)

So Me, Lanka, Nath, Harish and Asha, left for Wonderla on Sunday around 10 am. Though the ride was not very comfortable, we had fun with our in-house maestro Harish singing some awesome songs that helped to pass the time…

The in-house Maestro

We got there and started out with the land rides. Lanka, Asha & Nath were all ready to go... but me and Harish being scared of heights had to pass.

Ready to Rock
(Nath, Lanka & Asha)

(this happened after the pic above)

I got on one too - Pirate Ship
(We are sitting on the top most part!)

Me, Lanka, Nath
(Behind is my fav ride in the offing - Splash!)

Asha & Harish
(After the splash!)

They then went on a ride called "Y Scream" which I think was an insane ride... by the time they came out of it, they were throughly shaken :)

Why Scream?? This is why !!

We then climbed to the top of the tower, over which the "Giant Wheel" was situated. Some 13 floors and 50 feet (i guess) above, we had a nice time, with wind blowing on us from all directions.

Windy 007

Let's all Fly

Then it was time, for the water rides, which is the most fun part of wonderla. But unfortunately, since we all were in water, we could not take any pics here. Once out of water and changed, we had a trippy photo session with the Giant wheel in the background.

Its an Asha eat Wheel World :)

Halo World (Harish)

(Thanks a lot Nath... I usually take such pics,
but always thirst for a good one of mine)

The whole Wheel is in my hands (Lanka)

Atlas in the making (Nath)

Then before we left, we had to see the water fountain and the laser show. I couldnt take a video of the laser show, but found one on youTube. So here they are

Musical Fountain

Laser Show

Then we were off to Bangalore and after a nice quite dinner at Mast Kalandar, we returned with tired bodies and a refreshed minds.... Wonderful Wonderla !