Sleepless nights

I have not been able to sleep properly for some months. It's not because of work pressure, rather my mind is always thinking around related things. I try to think about something else but unable to do that.
All thoughts are around Mixercast (problems, features etc), new ideas, technology and some real problems to be solved. I am feeling a pressure to do more and more even when I know, I can only do limited number of things per day, no matter how hard I try? I also get this feeling of not being able to execute all ideas.
This is causing problem in my social circle, I don't talk much or I keep thinking while talking to a friend/colleague, I am sure other folks must be feeling ignored by this behaviour of mine. My mind is so much involved in those things that I have been ignoring other things (having food, payment due dates, reading favourite blogs, participating in lists/groups etc) which I never did in past.
How to control this?

Mixercast is Techcrunched

Techcrunch reviewed Mixercast, check it out the post. I don't prefer Mixercast being projected as Slide-Show player, Mixercast is more than that. I am hopeful, very soon, users would realize the capabilities and use them.

Apart from easy to use Mixercast Wizard, there is powerful designer-tool for more creative users, who prefer more flexible environment. I would list some of those features here:

  • Canvas - where user composes Mixercast by dragging and dropping things from Media Library
  • Media Library - where all users content (imported, uploaded, linked etc) is shown.
  • Media Import tool - imports from Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc.
  • Webcam capture tool - records video with audio and saves in media library
  • Studio - a place where Mixercast's partner (MuzeTune, PumpAudio, NatGeo, GettyImages etc) content be select.
  • Widget Library
  • Property palette
  • Widget-specific-property-palette
  • Background settings (color, texture-or-tile, image)
  • Undo/Redo commands
  • Grid, snap-to-grid functionality
  • Many more features
  • </ul>

    Like any alpha quality product, Mixercast has many known (an unknown?) issues, team is working hard to fix/polish existing stuff (widget UI, interaction etc).

    It is always helpful to hear feedback from real users (i.e. you), if you have any feedback, please leave a comment here or send an email to [mail at abdulqabiz.com]. I promise, I would try my best to work on feedback and make sure things get better.

    If you have not yet checked out Mixercast, please check it out.

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Mogulus - Live Broadcast

Do you want to create LIVE TV stations online? Check out Mogulus, it's your online studio where you can create, program and broadcast your 24/7 television station.

Mogulus is out of stealth-mode but still in closed-beta, you would need to apply for beta-account. But it's worth watching their introductory video tour, very creative.

BTW! Mogulus user-interface looks great and entire application (front-end) is made in Adobe Flex 2.0.

This year is going to be interesting, lots of video-content, tools to create content and hardware (Apple TV) to serve it to TV.

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Mixercast: Mix and Distribute licensed content

Mixercast allows you to use licensed content (audio, video, images etc) in your own content. You can choose audio from MuzeTunes, PumpAudio etc. Video clips from National Geographic etc. And images from GettyImages etc.
Users can not only use these licensed content into their creation (content) but also distribute it (through remixing, embedding over blogs, myspace etc) without bothering about licensing, Mixercast takes care of licensing etc.
Check out the Press Release on Yahoo! Finance
More info on Mixercast blog.
Users can also upload media to Mixercast servers or import/subscribe (via Media RSS) from Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc. All media items appear in their personal media library which they can use over different sessions for creating different mixercasts. There are some cool widgets, more in future, which can be used to show content in different visual metaphor.
Check out all mixercasts created by me (Abdul)

Memory Object Caching System in Java (J2EE)

I needed a memory-caching system in some of features, I wrote simple-caching system but it was too simple and can't scale (distributed).

I have heard about memcached and found it's Java port j-memached which seems to be little complex to setup?

I looked at JCS and EHCache. I chose EHCache because it was already in use somewhere in our application and I could do most of things with it:-

  • J2EE servlet caching.
  • General stuff (Programmatic APIs to cache things, even if it's simple HashMap).
  • </ul>

    It was easy to setup EHCache. In some servlets, I was able to enable caching without touching servlet code:-

    • Write filter classes, which extends from EHCache-construct classes
    • Add cache entry and configuration in EHCache.xml
    • Add entry of filter classes in web.xml
    • </ul>

      That's it, caching is in place for simpler things but complex things and more control, I am going to use EHCache API.

      Caching is important part of any web-application, one needs to think about it while designing the system. Some people might not agree and think it as premature optimization. I believe, if you know about requirements (scalebility or expected-user-count) then there is nothing wrong to think about optimization.

      BTW! Do you think there is better option than EHCache? Please let me know. Thanks.

Mixercast plays Flex/Apollo videos

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I just created a Mixercast that takes video.onflex.org's RSS feed and plays videos in a nice cool widget.

Check it out here

I highly recommend you to watch Mixercast in fullscreen mode by clicking the button that looks like this .

Adobe Media Player Sneak Preview

Mike Chambers has posted Apollo Media Player Sneak Preview video on video.onflex.org. He is talking to Deeje Cooley (Adobe Media Player team member).
AMP looks great. It's great to see how Media RSS enables us to share rich-media-data, I am in zone that's why I keep thinking about syndication (RSS/MRSS) :)

Mixercast Demo Video (screencast)

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This video shows the Mixercast player running in fullscreen mode and playing the contents from one of the media-rss feeds.
Once things (new features etc) are out, I am going to blog about different features, use-cases and hacks :)

RSS or Atom - Which one you prefer?

I am trying to learn everything about syndication and I learn something new everyday. I have been working on a syndication-framework (features: create, aggregate, publish, merge, cache etc) for last four-five months.
I mostly spent time understanding RSS (and various modules/extension) and a few things about Atom. I prefer (subscribing/publishing) RSS 2.0 because it's simple and I like it.
What do you prefer RSS or Atom? And why?
It would be great to know everyone's perspective. Thanks.

Amazon doesn't work well for Indian customers

I have been a regular customer of Amazon and have been been buying books and other stuffs for years, even when shipping cost is generally higher than the actual cost of item.

After using their services for more than three years or so, I have decided not to use it anymore unless it's  the only option. I am now a frustrated customer of Amazon. These are the some reasons:-

  • Items don't get shipped on time, even when I pay more for shipping.
  • Generally, Amazon doesn't provide the tracking number that means I can't track. Amazon actually tries to save money by sending mails through cheaper options (for them), that's the reason for no tracking-number.
  • Their support emails suck big time. It would say same thing except one-two lines replaced in similar mail-template (draft).
  • Amazon tries to prove that I (customer) might have given a wrong address or I might have been out and courier got returned, blah-blah.

BTW! Amazon has development and support center in India, still they don't understand how important Indian market can be for them. There is big-big market for programming (IT) books only.

BTW! There are bunch of Indian websites for books:-

These serve the purpose for old books, not for new/latest books. In India, you get books at lower rates because of lower paper-quality. Most of international books are photo-copied/printed, by partners in India, on lower quality papers (which are good sometimes but mostly sucks).

I hope that some other company provides better services (faster and cheaper shipping, I don't mind paying $$$ for books) to Indian customers.