Bug databases are fun. As a software developer, it's where you get to hear all of the ways in which you were stoned and the code you checked in last night was utter crap. If you're lucky, it just causes a minor problem, you check in a fix, quality assurance (QA) reports it as good, and you're done. If you're unlucky, you get the mystery bug from hell that everyone encounters on a daily basis but for which no one can identify the true cause. As no software is bug-free, handling bugs can seem Sisyphean at times, the list of bugs continuously growing almost as fast as you can shrink it.
Submitting bugs on someone else's product is an interesting experience, because in that case I'm on the other side of the fence — the tester instead of the developer. It's a bit humbling to have your bug kicked back as By Design because you missed something in obvious in the UI. You learn to be a bit friendlier to testers when you have to fight to get a bug fixed the same way that they do. It also quickly shows that the worst kind of tester you can have is another developer, because they keep wondering why you can't fix the bug that seems so blindingly obvious to them (even though they don't have the source code).(Read more....)
In an earlier blog entry on video shaders I introduced an algorithm called warpedge as an example. It's a hybrid warpsharp+resize algorithm that attempts to make edges as crisp as possible. The algorithm's output has proven interesting enough that I made a VirtualDub video filter out of it:
Only works when enlarging a video, and requires a lot of CPU power. Read on for the algorithm description.(Read more....)
When I first started doing digital video in Windows, I started with video capture, since I was looking for ways to abuse the TV-tuner style PCI card I had just gotten. Back then I think I was running Windows 3.1 on an 80486 CPU, so just capturing postage stamp size video (160x120) was taxing, and half-size video (320x240) was possible only on a good day with a tail wind — and, of course, enough hard drive space, which I didn't have nearly enough of. And that was assuming that the cosmos was nice enough to give me enough contiguous memory below 640K for the framebuffers, which occasionally was thwarted by a particularly frustrating sound driver.
Thus, at the time, I wasn't particularly concerned about audio sync drift.
Nowadays I have far more CPU, disk, and memory bandwidth than is necessary to support analog video capture, and I can dump 720x480 video uncompressed to disk at full frame rate without problems. When you capture for more than an hour at a time, however, suddenly that little 0.5% deviation in clock rate starts to show up in the video — and tweaking the frame rate of the output over and over until it looks and sounds right starts to get tiresome. Soon, capture programs with audio synchronization capabilities were born, of which VirtualDub eventually joined the pack in tardy fashion. These attempted to analyze timing on the fly and correct for deviations in timing, thus bringing audio and video closer in sync. And usually, they were more than adequately successful.
VirtualDub's current audio synchronization mechanism sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't. I'm working on tweaking it again within the 1.6.x series to improve its effectiveness. In the meantime, here's some of what I've learned along the way.(Read more....)