Monday, February 23, 2009

Adam Carolla

If you have never heard of this man, you are for a treat, my friend! Adam is the Quintessential everyman's man. He can be heard here

Here are the reasons why I love Adam Carolla:

1. He connects with his listeners on a personal level because he doesn't act like some stuck up rich person. He recognizes that most of his listeners are just like he is. He worked construction and cleaned carpet. Now he has means, so it is nice that he can create a portal into the world of Hollywood, but he always remains genuine. He is sincerely connected to "the rest of us".

2. He is honest. This really should be number 1 on my list. You cannot connect with people if you are phony. People can see through this in a second and radio people are fooling themselves if they think that they put on a persona and retain an audience. Ace Man (Carolla) just puts himself out there, take it or leave it. He has flaws and those flaws can be endearing since we all have them too.

3. He is observant. This is more than schtick, Adam brings out the truly absurd in our culture. He comes off more genuine that the Seinfeld ("Who are these people") bits. He gets into more counter-culture routines that are really funny. He has one bit where is mimes a strip club MC. Callers will ask him to do an impromptu routine centered around them. Great bit.

4. Connections. Adam is plugged into Hollywood and its weirdness. He will call out weird shit too. Life is all about relationships. Adam's personality is likeable and most pop culture stars like Adam, so he can leverage this.

5. Adam is old school So. California. He was born in North Hollywood and lived amoung the regional culture. I find people who talk about subculture amoung the most interesting. I live in Atlanta, so this is far removed from this, but I love to hear about how "the Valley" is like or dislike my area.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to get ffmpeg to transcode your over the air mpeg2ts to iphone 3G

I got this figured out, so I thought I would share this with anyone transcoding mpeg2ts (over the air high definition) to something that the iphone 3G can play from a streaming server such as apache. Here is my ffmpeg line:

ffmpeg -i "${directory}/${file}" -async 3 -r 29.97 -acodec libfaac -ar ${rate}
-ab ${abitrate} -ac 2 -s ${width}x${height} -vcodec mpeg4 -b ${vbitrate} -flags
+aic+mv4 -mbd 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 250 -maxrate 512k -bufsize 2M -title "${file}"

The key here is to ensure the playback is at no more than 30 frames a second, or your iphone will play like 1 second and then it can't buffer the stream. Of course, when you do this, you will lose audio/video sync since you just yanked some frames out out the stream, so you need to use -async 3 to fix this; 3 works for me, but you may want to experiment. Also, I am using a recent SVN trunk compilation of ffmpeg with libfaac and xvid enabled in the compilation. This made a huge difference in whether ffmpeg could work with me on this TS file.

Now the bash like variables are exactly that, bash variable interpolations. Rate is the sample frequency of the audio...something like 44100 or 48000, abirate is the audio bit rate...something like 128k, the vbirate is not crucial, the video bit rate, something like 480K or 378K. The vbirate will really make the resulting file smallish. The original was prolly 2 or 3 times that. The dimensions usually work out to be 320x240, but I have also used 432x240 with success for 1.78 ratios.

Ipsecuritas, Mac OS X, Sonicwall Enhanced Firmware

This was a tricky one. I always had some difficulty getting the free IPsecuritas connected; so I am sure others had problems too.

Using IPsecuritas 3.2 build 2501
MacBook Leopard

connecting to a:

TZ 190 Wireless Enhanced
SonicOS Enhanced

Sonicwall side config (straight out of the tech support report)
--- SA 1 ---
Authentication Method : IKE with Preshared secret
VPN Policy Name : "WAN GroupVPN"; enabled
Policy Type : Client Policy
Pre-shared Key len : 14, value=
IKE Remote Id : ID_FQDN: (GroupVPN)
Local network :
Peer network :
IKE Exchange : Aggressive Mode
IKE Proposal : DH Group 2; Encrypt/Auth - 3DES/SHA1
IKE SA Life time : 28800 (seconds)
IPsec Proposal : DH Group 2; Encrypt/Auth - ESP: 3DES/HMAC SHA1
Ipsec SA Life time : 28800 (seconds)
Policy Options : PFS: on; Xauth: on; Netbios: on; Multicast: off
Management : HTTP: n; HTTPS: n; SSH: n
XAUTH user group : Trusted Users
Default LAN gateway : (
VPN policy : Bound to zone WAN

WAN GroupVPN Client Settings:
User Name and Password Caching:
XAUTH User Authentication is Required
Cache XAUTH User Name and Password on Client: Never
Client Connections:
Virtual Adapter Settings: DHCP Lease or Manual Configuration
Allow Connections to Split Tunnels
Set Default Route as this Gateway is Not Selected
Apply VPN Access Control List is Not Selected
Personal Firewall on Client Machine is Not Required
Client Initial Provisioning:
Use Default Key for Simple Client Provisioning is Selected

Now the ipsecuritas config

General Tab:
Remote IPSec Device: IP or host name of Sonicwall (must be reachable from Internet)
Endpoint Mode: Host (IP Address left blank)
Remote Mode: Network (Internal LAN network of the Sonicwall, such as CIDR/Mask 24)

Phase 1:
Lifetime: 8 hours
DH Group: 1024 (2)
Encryption: 3DES
Authentication: SHA-1
Exchange Mode: Aggressive
Proposal Check: Claim
Nonce Size: 16

Phase 2:
Lifetime: 8 hours
PFS Group: 1024 (2)
Encryption: 3DES
Authenication: HMAC SHA-1

Local Identifier: Address
Remote Identifier: FQDN.... just fill in the "Unique Firewall Identifier" from the Sonicwall VPN section
Authentication Method: XAuth PSK
Preshared Key:
Username: XAuth username
Store Password: checked if you would like the password to be stored
DNS: check "enable domain specific DNS servers"
Domains: fill in your domain name
Name Server Addresses: probably your domain controller ip address


Check off the following:
Initial Contact
Support Proxy
Request Certificate
Send Certificate
Unique SAs
IKE Fragmentation

NAT-T disable
do not check "enable connection check"
Action after connection timeout= Give up


The key for me was Perfect Forward Secrecy was NOT enabled but it should have been! So ENABLE perfect forward secrecy. The reason for this was that IPSecuritas just does PFS without an option to turn it off or on, so you must turn it on, on the Sonicwall. Otherwise you will get "NO PROPOSAL WAS CHOSEN" when trying to negotiate phase 1. Always have your log file open when trying to debug these connections. Also, be wary of mapping multiple networks behind the Sonicwall, each has to build its own contract. Please contact me if you need help with your connection.