Twiddling the Bits for AAC Audio

Audio Data Transport Stream (ADTS) Header for AAC Eric Richardson

I've been doing some work on StreamMachine for KPCC lately, and on a call the other day they mentioned that more of the industry seemed to be standardizing on AAC for audio and moving away from MP3. It's a move that makes sense: the format's newer, a little smarter, and can sound a little better at lower bit rates.

I set to work reading up on it yesterday, just trying to scope out what it would take to add support to StreamMachine. Turns out, not much, but I got to have some fun playing with binary in the process. — Continue Reading...

Big Steps / Little Steps

Moves for April 3 Eric Richardson

In February I installed Moves, a free app that uses your location and movement to create a daily storyline. It's sort of a pedometer-plus, counting steps but also mapping locations and tracks throughout the day.

I'm blessed to be able to walk to work most days, so most of the steps that Moves ends up tracking are on the 0.6 mile trek between our house and Emcien. That walk is pretty short, but includes a steep climb. Because of that, my walking speed is noticeably faster coming home from work than it is heading in: approximately 0.3 - 0.5mph different, according to Moves.

Even more noticeable is the difference in steps. Each day I take approximately 1300 steps on the way into the office, and 1100 steps on the way back. I'm covering about 15% more ground with each step coming down the hill.

I guess it makes sense, then, that I keep having to tell Moves that I wasn't running. Given the difference, it's a fairly understandable mistake.

getting back into the habit of things

I've been pretty quiet here for the past six years or so. The last time I hit double digit postings in a month was April of 2006. For most of that time I had the excuse that I was producing plenty of words over at blogdowntown, but those days ended at the end of 2011. This past year was the first since 1998 where I wasn't writing something on a roughly daily basis.

It was the same in photography. In Lightroom I have 15,595 pictures from 2009, 14,685 from 2010, 9,125 from 2011 and 690 from 2012. Even that number doesn't quite tell the whole story, since 220 of those were taken in December.

It's funny, sometimes, how hard it is to get back into a habit once you've stepped away. — Continue Reading...

We're New Homeowners

Looking out over Vinings Eric Richardson

Kathy and I are now homeowners. The last week of September we closed on a townhouse in Vinings, a neighborhood tucked just inside the 285 perimeter to the northwest of downtown.

If you look at our map from back in June, Vinings wasn't really on it (and neither were townhouses), but over the summer my work relocated there from midtown. That took away the idea of looking for something near transit, and instead we ended up asking ourselves how you could really do better than somewhere in walking distance of the new office.

We decided you couldn't. — Continue Reading...

Looking for a place to settle into Atlanta

Zillow Homes

Two weeks ago today Kathy and I landed in Atlanta, kicking off our new post-California life. It's an auspicious anniversary: today's high is either 103 or 105, depending on which forecast you look at.

We're starting to get used to our new routines, but won't really be able to get settled in until we find a house and can get the rest of our things out of the storage unit we dropped them off in when the moving truck arrived. Last weekend we put in some major miles toward that process, driving a big chunk of the city to get a feel for where we might be looking. — Continue Reading...