December 4th, 2008

Help me, internets: thumbnailing

Quick geek question to troll the internets: there's a nice freedesktop.org spec for thumbnailing files -- that is, it specifies where thumbnailed files should be cached, and how. There doesn't seem to be much agreement on how thumbnails ought to be generated, and how one might install plugins to extend the types of things you can thumbnail on your desktop. (The spec suggests simply that applications should generate the thumbnails themselves when files are saved.)

The GNOME thumbnailing stuff seems to be wedged inside libgnomeui -- which is deprecated. But where did this move to? GIO might be a reasonable place, but it's not there (yet?). Perhaps the Hildon thumbnailer might be a better choice, as it seems to have fewer dependencies. (hildon-thumbnail in Debian, sources in SVN) -- or even the Thunar thumbnailer? The benefit is that (because of the fd.o spec) these are all interoperable, so it's easy to change later.

It would be nice if there were nice python bindings, but it seems I'd have to roll my own in any case. (Maybe PyBank would help?) Does anyone have any thumbnailers I've missed, know where thumbnailing is expected to live in the GNOME/GTK stack, or have any other helpful advice?

The Joys of Captioning

It may be old news to you, dear reader, but I discovered OverStream last night and was very impressed. It lets you take web video (say, from YouTube) and create caption streams for it, emitting a standard SRT file which you can then re-import into YouTube, all using web-based tools.

I used this to translate a brief video on OLPC's Arahuay pilot in Peru (ogg version w/o captions):

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Help wanted: there's lots of video from Peru in my YouTube channel. You can create an account over at OverStream to caption it -- and if you send me the resulting SRT file, we can make this media more accessible to non-Spanish speakers.