Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fixing the OpenShot "Missing libh264 and libmp3lame" error in Ubuntu

OpenShot is a fantastic and simple Linux video editor. The software provides many of the features more advanced video editors do along with a simple interface that allows you to work quickly. No, you're not going to create the next Hollywood blockbuster on OpenShot, but if you're producing videos for YouTube or editing family videos, this might just be the software for you.

If you're using the stock installation of OpenShot, you're probably familiar with the software telling you that it's missing libh264 and libmp3lame, making rendering video of almost any kind impossible. Thankfully, there's a simple fix that you can implement in about 5 minutes.

1. Open the Synaptic Package Manager and search for libavformat
2. Install the following software:
3, If OpenShot is already open, close it and start it again.

You should now be able to render your videos in full H.264 glory!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The PATRIOT Act is up for Renewal. Did you know?

I just got this in email and thought I'd share it with you guys. I know everyone's view on the PATRIOT Act varies but, whatever you believe, you have a right to know.


Did you hear that the PATRIOT Act is up for renewal? No? You're not alone: Apparently US intelligence services can still keep a secret.

Since it was passed almost a decade ago, some of the most noxious portions
of the PATRIOT Act have burrowed their way deep into our legal system. A
year ago, President Obama signed a bill extending three provisions of the
original PATRIOT Act; last week Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan)
introduced legislation to extend them again.

[1]Will you click here, and urge your elected officials to oppose the
reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act?

Together, the extended provisions make a mockery of our civil liberties:
They let government officials spy on whomever they want, for any reason,
without ever letting them know or giving them a chance to challenge the
order in court.

Enough is enough: Will you join us in demanding that Congress finally let
these provisions expire?

[2]Just click here, and we'll automatically send a message to your
senator, representative, and President Obama.

Thanks for joining us in the effort to reclaim Americans' civil liberties.

-- The Demand Progress team


Visible links

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chris Floyd's 'The Good Corporal'

Earlier tonight, I discovered a new site called 'Boiling Frogs', brought to us by FBI whistle-blower and critic Sibel Edmonds. Ms. Edmonds was a translator for the FBI until her firing in March of 2002 after she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving foreign nationals, alleging serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence which, she contended, presented a danger to the United States' security. Regardless of your opinion of Ms. Edmonds, the site is definitely worth checking out.

On November 2nd, 2010, the site republished a poem by Chris Floyd called 'The Good Corporal' that I found particular touching and appropriate considering the current political climate towards whistle-blowers and information leakers. I thought the poem was poignant enough to share with you so, here it is, reprinted below in its entirety.

The Good Corporal

Good corporal, good corporal, now what have you done?
You’ve laid out the dead in the light of the sun.
You’ve opened the door where the dark deeds go on,
Where the fine words of freedom are broken like bones.

Good corporal, good corporal, you tell us of crime
Done in the name of your country and mine.
Of torture and murder, corruption and lies,
In a land where no echo will carry the cries.

Good corporal, good corporal, now who do we blame
For the horrors you bring us, for this undying shame?
Should we lay all the guilt on the grunts with no name,
Or the high and the mighty who rigged up this game?

Good corporal, good corporal, don’t you know the fate
Of all those who speak the hard truth to the State
And all who trouble the people’s sweet dreams?
They’re mocked into scorn and torn apart at the seams.

Good corporal, good corporal, what have you done?
You’ve laid out the dead in the light of the sun.

© 2010 by Chris Floyd

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The real reason why the US Department of Justice subpoenaed Twitter over Wikileaks

Last month, the US Department of Justice issued a subpoena to Twitter demanding user information for several accounts connected to Wikileaks. As you might expect, the list includes Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, but it also includes several public Wikileaks supporters as well which begs the question "just what is the DoJ looking for?"

The Wikileaks saga has proven to be one of the most important disclosure related events since Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle on government wrongdoing in 1971. Then, like now, Ellsberg was declared a villan by the US government but is widely credited with being a hero today for exposing decisions about the Vietnam war that were crucial to US interests. Whether Julian Assange will be vindicated as a hero of our modern age or not is yet to be seen but I think it's becoming obvious that, hero or not, the government is intent on stopping Assange from exposing any more of their dirty deeds.

The worrisome thing to me is that I don't really believe much of the government actions against Assange, Wikileaks, and its supporters has anything to do with Assange himself or the disclosures being made through the site. The government knows very well it can't charge a foreign citizen with treason and they know they can't create a retroactive sedition law and apply it to Assange. This entire dog and pony show is designed not only to get Assange to shut up, but to create a chilling effect throughout the activist community and send the message to anyone who would dare oppose the US government that they better watch out.

In the end, whether what Julian Assange did was right or wrong is irrelevant; the effect will be the same: next time someone finds something the government is doing wrong they will think twice before saying anything. Next time someone thinks about going to a rally to protest government corruption or waste, they will think twice about it. Stopping Assange is a bonus, but not the main point.

As a citizen of the US, it appalls me, but doesn't really surprise me, that our government would use such strong-arm tactics to cover-up wrongdoing. We tout ourselves as a nation who values justice, honor, and truth. Yet it seem that every time our government is caught doing something wrong, the immediate response isn't to eradicate the wrong but to persecute the person or group that exposed it.

This isn't the America we were taught we lived in when we were in school. This isn't the 'flag waving, freedom loving' country we tell the world we are.Then again, maybe we never were any of those things. Maybe it's all be a big lie all along.

Regardless of what becomes of Julian Asaange and the Wikileaks community, I believe the most important thing is that activist and supporters not be intimidated. Speaking truth to power can be scary and it can be dangerous. But as long as there are good people who are willing to put it all on the line because they really believe in freedom, they really believe we *can* be better, then they must continue to stand up and not let their voices be silenced. It doesn't matter if that happens in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, or the United States. Truth is truth and, in the end, truth will win out against oppression every single time.