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Microsoft Triumph! 
Some people say that we POSIX guys are biased. --Many believe that wee open source folks have something against commercial software platforms / tools.

In my case - as well as everyone else I know - nothing could be farther from the truth!

In very fact, while I personally do allot on free & open Linux / LAMP / POSIX worlds, when it comes to raking in the big bucks I - more often than not - find myself working with Microsoft technologies.

Indeed, we'll rake in ever more $$,$$$ when we combine POSIX, Microsoft, and other tools together (The higher the 'tech is stacked, the fewer there be to tackle it, my friends ...!)

Modern C/C++

While many marvelous tools have come and gone, at the time of this writing - and in my opinion - there are virtually NO decent open graphical tool sets for C/C++. --And I have tried just about all of them! (Conclusion: Never trust a developer - favoring ONE language - to concoct a language-savvy tooling ... for another?)

So as I turned my weary eyes back to Visual Studio this day, I was overjoyed to discover that "The Empire" has finally started to support those of us who - uh - like to live ... on "Hoth" ! (Cygwin and MinGW under Visual Studio? CLICK HERE!)

(Hey 'Darth: Say "CHEEESE?")

Indeed, after downloading Visual Studio's 2017 Community Edition so that I could play with libtcod (they no longer liked my '2013 Pro) I tell 'ya truly - that a relatively new editor - known as Visual Studio Code - works REAL WELL out of the box... even in our icy monster-caves:

Sure - when time for working on C# & VB comes again (as it always will!) I will surely upgrade the '2013 to VS 2017 -- or whatever else the emperor de-jure requires us to buy so as to continue to move our hostage-ware VS Projects (like libtcod!) forward in their empire.

In the mean time however, it is VERRRRY refreshing to be able to quickly do a 'git - edit - as well as work with the console tools directly from Visual Studio Code, Express, or the Community Editions!

Yet THAT - as we might say - and to complete the analogy - is merely the tip of this iceberg of what the entire VS Family-Empire can do for Modern C/C++! =)

(And yes Slytherin, the 'Empire now even supports Python!)

Want to learn more? Then here is how to "Use any C++ Compiler with Visual Studio"!

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Explorting Video Screens Shots 
Have you ever felt the need to capture a never-ending set of screen shots from a move?

Neither had I.

But ...

Step 1: Catching the .WAV (Audio Files)

After spending 5 days lecturing on C/C++, the plan was to turn 23 GB of captured .WAV audios into a full blown video creation. All I had to do was to slap a few hundred screens over 40 hours of my geeky nattering, and I could take the locus straight to post production.

Step 2: Exporting MP4 from PowerPoint (Video Files)

Microsoft's PowerPoint belched out the video files with their new "brand" of increasingly kludgey results (i.e. exported videos enjoyed random screen drops & blackouts - honestly people - where do they get their developers from these days?)

With a little trial & error however, we were able to divine the optimal timing for a reasonable "Step 3" frame extraction.

Step 3: Command-Line Quality

After converting the PowerPoint presentation into an MP4 file, the only chore remaining was to slice up the "1 slide per 5 second" default video file option into about 500 individual screen shots.

Resisting the temptation to write some code to slice up the video ourselves, we were only too happy to discover that we could use ffmpeg!

Command Line Options

Frequent visitors to this blog will recall that - in a previous article - we sang all praises to ffmpeg. --A command line tool, the ease in which we were able to export JPEG images from an MP4 presentation deserves turning the canting up an octave, or three:

ffmpeg -i Cpp1000.mp4 -ss 00:04 -r 0.20  "cpp1000_%04d.jpg"

By way of a demystification of the above, we should note that the "-i" option is for "input." Specifically, the input video file.

At the end of the above we see the output file, with a refreshingly "stdlib" way of automatically providing a 1's based name for each JPG file.

Curiously, in the middle we see the "-r command." Unexpectedly, the corresponding mnemonic for us to capture is the reverse of how one would expect to denote the frame-capture rates. (i.e. Uing "1 / NumSeconds" to set the frame-capture ratio desired (e.g. a value of '1' saves a frame every second, whereas '0.5' saves a frame every 2 seconds, '0.2' every 5 seconds, '0.1' every 10 seconds, '0.0167' for 60 seconds (etc.))

Finally, using '-ss' will allow us to jump to a starting time to begin our first screen capture. --In my case, an -ss of 4 seconds was required because only the last-second of our PowerPoint video conversion was usually good enough for human consumption.

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Turnstile: Event Aggregator 
No matter if we are testing, logging, or 'blogging, many know the need to unify events between many people, places, and platforms.

Moreover, having the need to aggregate events both via the 'web, as well as via other applications (like ezlog & AboutTime!), we felt the need to create a web-based aggregator that better manages that gap between "api" and "user."

Appropriately known as "Turnstile," the three entry points to this new project are:


Follow the link below to re-use the PHP for the Turnstile Project, as desired.

Sharing is caring!


NOTE: Sqlite3 - As supported by PHP7 - uses PDO for better back-end integration.

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