Monday, December 2, 2013

How to save, upload, and view security video from your Aposonic CCTV DVR

Today I'm going to walk you through the process of backing up (aka saving) a clip of video from your Aposonic home security system, and then uploading it to YouTube.

First, you'll need to have access to your system via Internet Explorer. Assuming you have that, log in to your DVR as normal. You'll see your cameras (4, 8, etc.) and your bank of buttons at the bottom. Click the Backup button, as shown:

A window will pop up with a lot of options. It's actually quite simple to navigate.
Device: If you have more than one DVR, you'll get a pulldown. If not, don't worry about this.
Enable: Should be checked.
Settings: Select the channel (camera) you want to save/backup. In this case, I want camera 1.
Backup to: Where you want to save your video file.

Event Type: Fine to leave then all checked.
Execution: You'll want "Now" since you're backing up a specific clip.
Date Range: Choose the date/time of the clip. If you want today from 5pm to 5:05 pm, input that.

Backup Status: Here you'll see the status of the backup process once it's started.

Once you're done with the settings, hit "Apply" then "OK". The Backup Dialog will disappear. If you want to see the status of your backup, hit the "Backup" button again, as in step 1.

Once complete, a file will appear wherever you told the system to backup to. Your file will be an *.h264 file. When you double click this file, it should load inside a self-player. You may have trouble opening it in other players though, such as Windows Media Player. Open your file and make sure you got the footage you wanted.


 If you want to convert it to AVI, there are lots of good freeware programs out there that can do the conversion for you. However, if you want to get it on YouTube, read on.

Even though it can be a task to get an .h264 file to play, you can upload it to YouTube as-is. YouTube will take it, chew on it, and spit out a playable version.

But... for whatever reason the .h264 file will come out looking very stretched. 16:9 stretched, actually. The good news is you don't have to do anything difficult to stop this "stretch". Some brilliant mind over at YouTube implemented this little hack:

All you have to do is, in the "Tags" section of your video, copy and paste this:

yt:stretch=4:3

And that's it! You're video will display with the correct aspect ratio.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adding Contact, Claim, Report button to custom SobiPro Template

In SobiPro, by default, the contact, claim, and report links all show up as input buttons.

That's all well and good, until you want to make your own template. I searched for three days before finally figuring out how to make the contact and claim forms in SobiPro a button instead of a form that shows up on a listing!

Here's the code you'll need to insert in details.xsl:


You will need to change the class and field names to suit your own from your CSS and fields manager, respectively.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas in Ohio

Take a look at my new website, which aims to have a list, the most exhaustive list, of Christmas and winter holiday events happening all over the state of Ohio!

No counties excluded, from Cleveland to Cincinnati to Columbus and every place in between, if you're looking for Christmas activities in Ohio, be sure to check us out! Also, if Fall is more your thing, check out Pumpkin Patch Ohio and Haunt Ohio!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ghosts of Euclid (Avenue): A Rockefeller Connection?

Your chest being stepped on by a small child.

That's how I felt the first time I saw this beautiful hulking dwelling immediately marred with a fire sale price staring at me.

Before I get into it, let me put it to you this way: 7,190 square feet of living space.
5 bedrooms. 7 bathrooms. A living room and a family room. A library and an office.

Now have a look at her:

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House
Can't get a real feel for her enormous footprint? Give this a look, and be sure to turn the corner.

The listing states, "This 7200sq.ft. property was previously owned by Rockefeller's sister and Rudds pharmacy."

Because a gorgeous, 111-year old mansion isn't fucking awesome enough, it was once a part of the Rockefeller family.

Curiosity mildly aroused I head to the Cuyahoga County Auditor's website, sadly I can only get ownership information about the current owner, and a not-for-profit children's group that owned it starting in 1989. Not anything past 1975. If you're interested, the parcel number is 67216004.

I know the current address, 13204 Euclid Ave, cannot have been the original address. I check to confirm Euclid Ave. was still Euclid Ave. in 1906 when so many streets were renamed. It was. So it's just the house number that is "new".

So backwards we go. The Cuyahoga County Recorder has deeds since, I kid you not, 200+ years ago.
Skeptical of the Rockefeller claim I work my way backwards.

The deeds get older and the computer fonts make an unnatural regression to typewriter, jittery but legible. Then there's a deed, handwritten 3 pages long, the very first deed for the very first owner. The house, built by Windermere Realty in 1901 is sold to a woman named Annabell Wilson Nobles that same year. A new house to accompany a new century. A fresh place ready to see Cleveland rise fast and fall hard in the next 100 years.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed

Annabell Wilson Nobles has a husband named Newman. They own the house until 1905. It's then sold to a woman named Mary Rudd. I did a quick search for the Nobles and I found an interesting Ellis Island link about a ship from Glasgow in 1924 for both Newman Nobles and Annabell Nobles. Obviously this must have been a trip for whatever reason, as they are listed as US citizens living in Cleveland, and they owned property in Cleveland 23 years earlier.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed
Now where the hell do you think the Nobles moved to that could possibly trump casa de awesome? I don't know either.

Ready for some sad stuff? Mary Rudd passes away in 1925, outliving her husband William Cullen Rudd by 10 years, who died September 9, 1915.

For rich people (Rudd pharmacy) they didn't update the will much, as William Rudd is still in the probate paperwork for Mary.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed
The above document is essentially giving the children, Frank Rudd and Beulah Roberts the property.

The document below is Beulah turning it over to her brother, Frank.

From the date Frank gets the house he owns it until his death in 1966. Frank Rudd has an executor for his will by the name of Edmund Durkin, Jr.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed


The house is sold to a not for profit called "Children's Guild" by November of 1966.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed

Children's Guild uses the house as a home for girls. A sign of the times, to be sure.

That will bring you roughly up to what is searchable on the auditor's website linked above.

I figured I'd disproved the Rockefeller claim for sure. I thought I had it nailed down to a human error. You see, both John and Franklin Rockefeller had real estate dealings with Mary Rudd, however the property is not the Euclid Avenue house.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Mary Rudd Connection


Then my genius husband says, "What was Mary Rudd's maiden name?"

Well hell, why didn't I think of that? Rockefeller it is! Sister of John Davison Rockefeller (1839–1937).



You'll probably also notice, if you looked through the deeds and probate paperwork above, the original house number is in there.

It's also in the 1912 Hopkins plat map, although difficult to read, it confirms what's written in the probate paperwork inching quickly towards its 100th birthday.

The old address of 13204 Euclid Avenue is 13176 Euclid Avenue.

13204 Euclid Hopkins 1912 Plot Mapat East Cleveland Ohio 13176 Euclid Ave


I haven't even gotten around to googling the old address yet, but you should be able to tell by how much fun I'm having that I'm pretty excited to see what turns up.
Oh, one quick thing, Mr. William Cullen Rudd, brother-in-law to John D. Rockefeller, died in the house in 1915.

William Cullent Rudd dead 13176 Euclid Ave
 
Here's a whole bunch about William Rudd and even a picture. Thanks to my friend Andrew for a heads up on a Mrs. Mary Ann Rudd-Rockefeller photo.

As evidenced by the 1921 Cleveland directory (below), the address was already it's present 13204... so the switch was between then and 1912, but I don't know when or even why. Interesting to see that Mary's son Frank already lived there.


Now the part that should make your heart flutter a little - the house is on the market for $40,900.

We're looking heavily in the Cleveland Heights area, and this sleeping gem is in East Cleveland. If you're from around here you know what that can mean. It's also very close to Bratenahl, but on the flip side of that, only about 2 miles from the houses we've looked at in Cleveland Heights.

I look at a house like this, to see it still standing, to know how steeped in it's own history it is and the fact that it is in just about anyone's price range is a mixed bag of emotions for me. This place was new, was wanted, housed a few of the affluent and many of the poor. It's beautiful.

I can only hope it can breeze through another 100 years and that somebody will love it then, as I bet somebody did before.

__________________________

If you're inclined, here's the listing: http://www.cbhunter.com/Property/OH/44112-4524/East_Cleveland/13204_Euclid_Ave

And some pictures from the inside:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Using Phoca Gallery for YouTube + Images

I wanted a way to use Phoca Gallery to display images and YouTube videos in different categories but in the same gallery. I had my Phoca Gallery hacked in old versions but I was now running Phoca Gallery 3.1.5 on Joomla! 2.5.2. My old hack wasn't "hacking" it in this new version.

If I chose Modal Box, YouTube videos worked fine, but images weren't being completely shown.
If I chose Modal Box (Image Only), images worked but YouTube videos weren't loading.

Short and sweet, there is no "stock" way to have both at the same time. I'm thankful to Jan, the creator of the Phoca Gallery extension for taking time to help me hunt down a solution. I'm going to share that with you right now. I hope I save you some hairs, because I was close to ripping mine out.

First off, I'm assuming you are running Joomla (1.6, 1.7, or 2.5.x) and Phoca Gallery 3.1.x or later.
Secondly, I'm assuming you have FTP access and are comfortable editing some Phoca Gallery files.

I'm also assuming you already have your gallery set up, ie images in a category and videos in their OWN category.

Log in to your backend and go into your main menu.


Once there, you should notice your Gallery item. This is a link to your Phoca Gallery. Leave it, it's fine... I'm just telling you you're in the right place. In the upper right of this screen, select "New".


Now we're going to add a menu item. This will be for our video category. For "Menu Item Type", choose "List of Images (Category View)" under "Phoca Gallery" on your pop up.


Now Joomla! wants you to give it a name in the Menu Title field. I called mine "Videos". At this point, you will also need select category (on the right). Choose the proper, pre-existing, category. Save at this point.


Now the editing files part. FTP into your host and download components/com_phocagallery/views/category/tmpl/default.xml

Open this file in an editor such as Notepad ++ and add the following code:



Save, overwrite your original (of course, you backed up the original file already). Go back to Joomla! where we were just working in the Menu Manager: New Menu Item screen and refresh. Expand "Basic Options" and there's now the option to use WHATEVER detail window you want for your video gallery.


And that's all! You can add any option that is normally only available in the main Phoca Gallery options. Get whatever code chunk you want from administrator/components/com_phocagallery/config.xml and drop it into the file we worked with above, components/com_phocagallery/views/category/tmpl/default.xml.

And on a parting note, like all custom changes to Phoca Gallery, your changes WILL be undone when you update the extension. Keep your newly edited file so it can be easily reuploaded.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Twitter Font - Free!

My post for the Free Facebook font was such a success I thought I'd give a heads up on another popular social sites font-face, Twitter.

Unlike the FB font, the font used for the Twitter logo is actually free to begin with. The free Twitter font can be downloaded here.


You can see there were modifications made to get the Twitter logo to look as it does above, namely the letters having their width elongated and the bar of the lower case "e" being added in completely.

Go download and play, there's two versions included, too.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nails: Silver 'N Gold

My silver and gold manicure. One coat of Silver Mercedes (it has GREAT coverage) and freehanded tips and moons with Gold Glitter striper.

French tips and moons. Classy!

Pure Ice "Silver Mercedes"
Art Deco "Gold Glitter"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nails: Dapper Buttons

This replaced a manicure that looked ugly AND was a total bitch to remove.

Partial tape manicure on the thumb. I LOVE this color combination! I just got this grey on the super cheap last night. I picked one up and the cover was all messed up so I put it back and grabbed the one above. I opened it and the brush was all kinds of broken. I had another brush from a different color of the same brand but still. Don't judge a book by it's cover, I guess.

I was determined to go all triangles but quickly changed my mind. Dotting tool to the rescue!

Pure Ice "Kiss Me Here"
Pure Ice "Siren"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nails: Valentine Slices

My first mostly successful tape mani! Paint your base color, let dry then tape off half your nail. Paint your second color and quickly but carefully remove the tape before the nail polish can dry.

N.Y.C. 108A "Polyester Pink Creme"
Wet n Wild Wild Shine "Lavender Creme"

As you can see, I'm still mastering the tape. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nails: Red and Black French


Red nails with free-handed black French tip.

Wet n Wild Fastdry "Everybody Loves Redmond"
Art Club Striper in black

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Creating an Ultrastar Deluxe Song - Part II


Part II: Basic Text File Edits

If you are completely new to this, you should refer to Creating an Ultrastar Deluxe Song - Part I: Generating a Text File first, as this will walk you through getting a text file made to edit. I also recommend reading my write up about the text file, UltraStar Deluxe - Understanding the Text File.

If you already have a text file ready to edit (these text files can be downloaded, and are usually, but not always, ready to be used with minor edits), read on.

You will not need to have UltraStar open yet. This first part is all done outside.

In your UltraStar Deluxe directory, there is a sub-directory called "songs". This is the directory your songs are stored in.

Make a new folder for the track you are going to create. If you'll remember, mine is Genesis - The Carpet Crawlers '99.



Into your newly created folder you're going to want to add our recently generated text file along with an mp3 of the song.

*As a side note, and this threw me a few times as a noob... this mp3 has to be a CBR, or constant bit rate. A VBR (variable bit rate) will not work.


This will be enough to get you going for now. Yes, I renamed my .txt file. You can do the same.

 Open your .txt file. And you know, now would be a really good time to replace your crappy Windows notepad with an awesome one. If you want, download Notepad++  here.

See the little header in the file? Go ahead and enter your information in the first 3 lines, like so, ignoring BPM and GAP for now:
Did you enter the mp3 name perfectly correct? If you make even one mistake, add a space anywhere, your song WILL not load.

While we are here, and before we can run USDX and see our song in it's infancy, you must add a break somewhere. Look for a large break in the first column of numbers and add a break like this: 

See the - 35? Add a break like that one, in sequence, about that early. This number will be the first note switch screen. These numbers are what tells UltraStar to end one screen and go to another.

Once these edits are made, save your file. You can now go into UltraStar Deluxe and your song should be there, where it is listed will depend on how you sort your library.


Coming soon: Part III: Advanced Text File Edits

Friday, January 6, 2012

Creating an Ultrastar Deluxe Song - Part I

Part I: Generating a Text File

This is my attempt at a walk through, in English, for the purpose of creating an UltraStar Deluxe track from scratch.

I'm assuming you already know that UltraStar Deluxe is a SingStar style karaoke game that is played on the PC (Mac, Linux and Windows supported). I'm assuming you know you need that software and a microphone compatible with the game (such as the SingStar microphones you can buy pretty much anywhere, including the Internet.)

You can get the latest stable release of Ultrastar Deluxe here. It's free and open source and AWESOME.

There are a lot of stellar resources out there that already have loads of songs done. I can't always find what I want. That's where knowing how to make your own comes in handy.

Anyway, I'm creating this tutorial because I've never really found one, in English (a lot of support for UltraStar is in German and other languages), that explains step by step what to do. I will NOT be creating the notes for the song by hand. I'm not quite that good.

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to:
  • Get the file you need for your chosen song
  • Open the file to create a basic USDX file
  • Edit that file*
  • Give your track an album cover*
  • Give your track a video*

And in a nutshell, that's all you have to do.

Now that you have UltraStar downloaded and installed to your machine, and you are familiar with how the program works, choose whatever song you want to create.

If you get confused along the way, you may want to reference UltraStar Deluxe - Understanding the Text File.

For this tutorial, we will be creating a track for Genesis (with Phil Collins AND Peter Gabriel) "The Carpet Crawlers 1999".

The very first thing you'll need, and your whole track depends on this, is a midi file with a lyric track. For you young-in's a midi track is like an old school ring tone... like... I don't know... your parents had? I can't think too much about 12-year-olds on the internet looking confused over midi files for too long or I'll kill myself.

So anyway, Google it. I Googled "Carpet Crawlers midi" and came up with a link to download it. Go ahead and find the link to the midi file itself from that page.

You are most likely going to need to right click on the link and "save target as" or "save file as" (otherwise, it will just play the midi in your browser, sure, your friends will think you're retro-hip, but it won't help you make your UltraStar track at all). Save it some place you can find it. Like your desktop.

You have to make sure it has the lyric track. This is going to be the track we're using to make our notes. If it doesn't have it, you gotta keep looking. How will you know? Listen to it! If there's an instrument doing what the vocalist normally does, you should be golden.

Not all songs will have a midi track available. If you can't find one, you can also google for karaoke files, which have a .kar extension. They are interchangeable with .mid files as far as UltraStar is concerned. If you still have no luck, well...

My midi track does have a vocal track, so I can go on to the next part. Open up your Ultrastar Deluxe directory. In windows this will be C:\Program Files\UltraStar Deluxe, most likely. If running 64-bit Windows, look in C:\Program Files (x86)\UltraStar Deluxe.

Drop your newly downloaded midi right into the root of the Ultrastar Deluxe folder. After moving, don't close your directory window. Leave it open, k?

Mine is called "carpet99.mid". Remember your file name, and open UltraStar Deluxe. Press your right arrow on your keyboard until you get to "create your own song". Hit enter. Choose "Import" and hit enter. "Open" will already be the pink highlighted box, so hit enter again.

Now it wants a file name. Remember the file we moved? Give it that name, replacing ONLY file.mid with whatever your file is called. Mine was carpet99.mid. Arrow over twice, select OK and hit enter.

Now you're brought to a screen that breaks down your midi (or kar file), it should have several tracks listed, see mine as an example below. If it only has a single track, it's probably not useable. Some are nicely labeled with the parts, others you have to figure out by sight and sound. In short, you need to find the track that is the lyrics or words the singer is singing, isolate it, and save it.


This one happens to be labeled. Not only that, but when I select Play with my keyboard (and press enter) I can see that's where the "words" are being "sung". That's what I need! Arrow down to the track (if you have doubts, you can isolate and play JUST this track), hit your space bar to select it, then either "Play Selected" to make sure you have the correct track, or just go ahead and hit "Save". It'll pop up telling you it's been saved successfully.

Close UltraStar for now. Go back into your UltraStar Deluxe directory (that you still have open from before) and right underneath your midi file is your new text file! It'll have the same name as your midi.


That's all you need to know for generating a text file for your new track. You can dispose of the original midi now, as you won't be using it after you've generated the proper lyric track.

Ready to move on? Go on to read Part II: Basic Text File Edits.

You should also read UltraStar Deluxe - Understanding the Text File. This is a breakdown of the parts of the text file and explains why it's so important.