MP4 / H264 Errors in Adobe Premiere Pro / Media Encoder / MainConcept

I’ve been editing together a few gameplay videos recently (eg DayZ Tread Lightly).I came across a rather perplexing error when trying to encode a long video. Basically, I have a few sequences of footage taken with FRAPS that together run to about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I created a project for these to run together as a reference for what a typical DayZ session might look like. I also produced a highlights version which is about 1 hour and 8 minutes long. After the latter, the oddness began.

The first uncut set of footage encoded without issues, coming at around 20GB at a high bitrate. The upload of this to YouTube failed after 40 hours, so I decided to re-encode at a slightly saner bitrate and put in a fancy title rather than the overlaid title cards. Before queuing that to encode, I finished off the highlights video, which has sections sped up (between ~800-1700%) to get rid of the boring stuff. Heres where the encoding problems began.

Encoding the highlights clip took much longer than expected, and it seemed to encode further than the 1hr 8min mark up to 2 hr 45 mins (the uncut length). Subsequently, the encoding of the sightly-modified uncut video produced a file that wouldn’t play. Trying various permutations of codec settings wouldnt produce playable files. None of VLC, ffmpeg or medinfo could identify the problem videos.

Producing short clips (eg a 2 minute sample) from either video worked fine, so I split the highlights video into 10-minute segments to see if there was a problem in a section of the timeline. All segments encoded normally, which was a surprise. What was a bigger surprise was that using Premiere to concatenate those clips failed with a similar problem!

At that stage I gave up on getting these videos to work in Premiere. Other videos, eg my Lets Play of FTL worked fine in the interim. Im now using a frameserver to serve videos to MeGUI to encode using x264. Details will hopefully follow if it works.

[Fixed] FTL – Blank Maps & Invisible Ships Problem

Update: fixed! The recently-released FTL by Subset Games has a problem with the 12.8 AMD Catalyst Drivers, whereby the jump map and enemy ships are not rendered See below) due to an issue with edge detection in anti-aliasing. The fix is to create a custom profile for FTLGame.exe in the Catalyst Control Center to over-ride the settings (support thread with instructions, and setting).


FTL Game - Invisible Ship

Update: Now with video!

(yes the overlaps the menu, but there’s not much interesting there anyway!)

[Solved] Google+ Notifications Not Working

I was having problems with Google+ notifications not working more often than not in Firefox:

This service is currently unavailable

Please try again later.

The solution that worked for me was to disable the extension “Do Not Track Plus“, as noted in this post.

Scrollback / Terminal History in screen or byobu

This is another case of “should have read the manual”, but there are ways to see previous output in both screen and byobu.

In screen: ctrl + a + [
In byobu: F7

These key combinations cause screen/byobu to enter copy mode, where you can navigate using vi keys, can set marks for copying using return and the like.

This should have been blindingly obvious, but I guess years ago I got used to using screen without scrollback. There more you know… the more it seems that you don’t know anything at all.

My Phone Won’t Load SMS Conversations

I posted this on Google+, but I’m not sure it’s quite the right venue for troubleshoorint queries.

I have an #android #troubleshooting query. I have an HTC Desire HD through 3 in the UK. When I go to open messages using the stock message application, it gives a “loading” spinner but never shows the messages. Inbox and notifications of new messages work fine, but I can’t load conversations. Example attached.

I found a thread from January with what appears to be the same issue, but the suggested solution is “wipe and re-import your messages”, which I’d prefer not to do (

Any thoughts?

Loading image

Plex Media Server Warning ‘Not Found’ Errors (Fixed)

The media browser on my LG TV has been acting up recently. Instead of listing the categories set up in Plex it pops up a dialog saying “Warning: Not Found”. It does this despite being able to see the Plex Media Server (going to ‘bowse sources’ or similar brings up the server’s name but selecting it gives the same error).

Fortunately Dunhillsmoker on the Plex forums had a solution:

  1. Stop plex service – sudo service plexmediaserver stop
  2. In Plex Plugins directory remove System and Framework bundle directories:
    • mv /var/lib/plexmediaserver/Library/Application\ Support/Plex\ Media\ Server/Plug-ins/System.bundle/ ~/plex
    • mv /var/lib/plexmediaserver/Library/Application\ Support/Plex\ Media\ Server/Plug-ins/Framework.bundle/ ~/plex
    • (note, depending on permissions you may need ot be root to do this)

    • Start plex service again: sudo service plexmediaserver start
    • This sorted the problem for me.

Adding Workspaces / Virtual Desktops in Cinnamon

Mousing to the “hot corner” in Cinnamon gives an overview of current workspaces, à la expose. Unfortunately a careless click can close one of those workspaces, as I found out last night. Equally, you may feel that the default 2 workspaces is too few and wish to expand upon that. Now, I think the numvber of workspaces should increase automatically*, but it’s nice to control such things. Unfortunately there is no “control panel” option to control the number of virtual desktops, and right clicking the workspace changer widget in the toolbar doesn’t seem to have any useful effect.

However, hit Ctrl+Alt+Down and there should be a ‘+’ icon on the right hand side which will add as many workspaces as you require.

Update: Apparently the hot-corner expose has the plus to add workspaces too. I guess I just didn’t see it there! Cheers James.

Project Euler Problem 25 Pitfalls

Project Euler problem 25 is reasonably straighforward. It asks you to find the first term in the Fibonacci sequence with more than 1000 digits. In ones like these, not reading the question properly is more likely to be your downfall than anything else. So:

  • Give the number of the first term which has 1000 digits, not the 1000-digit number itself
  • Make sure your Fibonacci number generator gives you the sequence correctly: ie F(1)=1 and F(2)=1. If you have F(1)=1 and F(2)=2, you’ll be off by one!
  • Lastly, and this only really applies to my own thickness… If the comment for your Fibonacci number generator says “returns nth Fibonacci number”, make sure it returns the nth Fibonacci number and not a Fibonacci number less than n.
  • If you’re getting a number greater than 5000 you’re off, recheck. Good luck!

Lenny to Squeeze Upgrade Problems
saved my server. It wasn’t booting after an upgrade to Debian Squeeze, despite following the upgrade instructions. Connecting to the serial console showed there were problems with finding root (grub error while parsing number, error 23) which was at md1.

Changing the first line to root (hd0,0) and adding initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-5-amd64 allowed the system to boot normally. I’m not sure why grub-setup didn’t add the initrd line, but I can forgive that as it’s working now.

Remember to update grub’s config once you have it booting.

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