How to play (almost) all video codecs in QuickTime?

If you have ever used the combination FrontRow + Apple Remote on your Mac, you know what an amazing feature this is. It allows you to easily navigate through all of your music, photos and movies stored in your computer.


Well, not exactly “all movies” since it is only able to play the videos encoded in a QuickTime-supported codec. If you have any AVI or MPEG video files encoded with DivX or XviD (or any other video codec), they won’t play on Front Row (or QuickTime for that matter). In order for them to play, you have to encode them into a QuickTime-supported format, which can be done using applications such as iSquint.


iSquint is mainly an iPod converter application, which is able to convert almost all kinds of multimedia files into a QuickTime/iPod acceptable format. However, you can also use it for converting to the Apple TV format, which in turn is accepted in Front Row.

Even though this application is a lot faster than QuickTime Pro (and free), it is still quite a time-consuming task to convert a whole bunch of videos to that format. It would be a lot easier to just use the files directly in QuickTime/Front Row.

Luckily, there are some amazing applications that allow you to do just that. Perian, as stated in its website, is the swiss-army knife for QuickTime.


Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. It enables QuickTime application support for the following Media Types:

  • AVI, FLV, and MKV file formats
  • MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivX, H.264, FLV1, FSV1, VP6, H263I, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), MPEG Layer II Audio
  • AVI support for: AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, and VBR MP3
  • It even supports SSA and SRT subtitles

Once installed, as you can see, Perian will allow QuickTime to play all these formats natively, which means that you don’t need to do anything different to play them on QuickTime or Front Row.

The only common format that Perian does not support is WMV. That’s where Flip4Mac comes in handy. It does exactly what Perian does in QuickTime for all those formats but only for the WMV format.

To sum up, all you need to play all video codecs on QuickTime (at least, the most common ones) is to install Perian and Flip4Mac. Guaranteed success :-)

Splashup: the on-line photoshop

If you need to quickly edit some photo or image and you’re in a computer that doesn’t have any image editor available, then you can use Splashup.


Splashup is a powerful editing tool and photo manager that has almost all the features that professional applications (like Photoshop) have. It’s easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once.

Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing websites (Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, etc…) allowing you to open images directly from these repositories and then save directly back to them.

The war of the “thin” laptops

The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 laptop may never be as cute and appealing as the MacBook Air, but you have to admit that this ad does bring the MacBook Air down:

I especially like the “no-compromise” and “everything else is just hot air” statements :-)
The war for the “ultimate ultralight thin” title in the world of laptops has begun! And right now, it seems that the Lenovo is ahead of its competition.

Source: Engadget

The fight of the “thin” laptops

The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 laptop may never be as cute and appealing as the MacBook Air, but you have to admit that this ad does bring the MacBook Air down:

I especially like the “no-compromise” and “everything else is just hot air” statements :-)
The war for the “ultimate ultralight thin” title in the world of laptops has begun! And right now, it seems that the Lenovo is ahead of its competition.

Source: Engadget

Arthur C. Clarke is dead…for now!

Arthur C. Clarke, author of one of the most prominent science fiction stories of all time (2001: a Space Odissey), has recently died but the efforts to revive him have already start :-)

Enjoy one of his great works, the Three Laws of Predictions:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

This is so true :-)

How to ping servers from Firefox Address Bar

Opening a terminal or system prompt to just ping a server can be a time-waster, especially if you already have Firefox opened. Here’s a quick tip on how to use Firefox’s Address Bar to quickly ping a server:

  • Add a new bookmark with the following information:
    • Name: Whatever you want to name it
    • Location: http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=ping&host=%s
    • Keyword: ping
    • Description: Whatever description you want to give it
  • That’s it. Now write “ping ” + the server address or IP on the Adress Bar and soon you’ll get the ping information

Here’s an example of what you might see if you write “ping www.google.com“:


Source: Lifehacker

Technology that works too well

This is the first time I hear about something that is going to be shut down because it works too well. The story is simple: In Dallas, the second largest city in the US state of Texas, the City Hall has decided to put up some cameras to capture images of drivers that would go though the red lights. The setup and maintenance of such system was quite expensive but the City Hall officials’ idea was to fund the project with the fines that would be payed by drivers that were caught.

However, since the cameras work so well, every infraction was caught and soon drivers were no longer going through red lights, which in turn, undermined the funding of the project. So now the City Hall is considering stopping its planned rollout of more cameras, or shutting down the cameras on a rotating basis so as at least catch some infractions that could “save” the system.

The system that is meant to stop crime needs people to actually perform the infraction. Ironic, isn’t it?

Source: Engadget

How to quickly resize your Dock

I’ve just discovered the most interesting trick about the Mac OS X’s Dock. If, for some reason, you need to resize the Dock because an application is beneath it or you just need the extra space at the bottom of the screen, all you have to do is click and drag (up or down) in one of the Dock’s separators. This will immediately resize your Dock to the corresponding size.

Check out this video I just did to have a clear idea of what I’m saying:

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

iPhone SDK and the Gaming Industry: a perfect marriage

So far the accelerometer feature of the iPhone has only been used in simple functionalities like the automatic adaptation of the display (from normal to landscape view) when the user rotates the device. But ever since I have a Mac that it puzzles me why has this feature been so underestimated in Apple products, especially in small devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Ok, I understand that this feature may not be the best practice for laptops (to avoid any accidents or damage to internal moving parts) and, except for some really fun applications (like LiquidMac and MacSaber), this feature is not really needed.

But now that Apple has released the iPhone SDK, we’ll see (in the near future) some interesting games that will take advantage of the accelerometer feature of the iPhone. Check out this video, featured in the iPhone SDK launch event:

Uau! It makes you wonder why wasn’t the PSP built this way, doesn’t it?