Christian Heilmann

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Archive for January, 2011

Heading out for Boston to talk at MIT

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Bit short notice, but I am very excited to announce that Mozilla is visiting MIT this week with a 10 hour course on HTML5 development for a game competition. I am giving my lecture about Multimedia and HTML5 (audio+video) on Thursday and I am flying over on Wednesday, staying till Sunday.

In order to use the time properly, are there any meetups planned? Should I drop by some company for a brownbag?

Now, back to writing materials :)

Archiving request – can someone scan some cool retro posters for me?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Cleaning up my flat I came across about 20 very cool retro German advertising posters:

Scan request - 50ies German advertising posters

Is there someone in London who could scan those for me (they are a bit bigger than A4, annoyingly so) – I’d come around and you can pick some to keep, too.

Interviewed Bruce Lawson for Mozilla

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Over on the Mozilla Blog I just started a new series of blog posts – interviews introducing “People of HTML5”. My first victim was Bruce Lawson of Opera:

Bruce Lawson presents The HTML 5 experiments

Go and read the interview with Bruce Lawson and check and download the video for, err, private moments.

Recording Interviews on Skype and converting to HTML5 friendly formats the easy way

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Tomorrow I will start a series of interviews on the Mozilla hacks blog about “People of HTML5”. I thought it is a good idea to introduce some people and ask them a few questions and thus give a face to the awesome you meet on IRC or see on GitHub.

I found myself with a few issues to crack:

  • How do I record a Skype call with good quality?
  • How do I convert the video then to a HTML5 friendly format (as “People of HTML5” with Flash movies would be a bit ironic)

The fun thing I found out is that with a good connection and some web trickery this is dead easy. Check the following screencast for the 150 second version:

The first thing I needed was to record the skype call. I tried using ishowu but that didn’t quite do it.

So I thought I bite the bullet and spend some money. Call recorder for Skype was $20 for my mac and does the job swimmingly – it adds itself to Skype and gives you a record button. It stores the recordings as MOV with an AAC and H.264 encoding.

Once I recorded the videos I wanted to convert them for HTML5 embedding. The easiest thing I found was Miro Video Converter – simply drag your file onto it, select WebM/V8 and it converts and saves the file for you (kids, this is why you use Macs!).

All well and good, but not all HTML5 browsers get WebM yet, right? You also need an MP4 version and a OGG Theora one. Also, I needed a space to put the videos where they get the right MIME type and I don’t pay.

Enter If you release your videos and audio recordings as Creative Commons, you can store them there. They provide an uploader on the page or an FTP access (which strangely enough is only one upload at a time). The really cool thing about is though that if you wait for a bit, they will have converted your video to MP4 and OGG for you!

Check the video page on of the screencast – I only uploaded the WebM video, the other formats and the animated GIF gets created for me automatically.

The only thing is that it doesn’t give you any information that it is converting so all you can do is wait, go back to the page and see when the magic happened.

Once the server pixies did their work, you can use a video tag to show your video, using all the sources from your video page:

Notice that as a fallback I point to a site with the Flash movie (either YouTube or in this case which I used to record this screencast).

And that’s it! A $20 app, and free web services and we have hosting and conversion. We can also add subtitling, if we just add Universal Subtitles. I love the web!

Has Apple just bought Or has the owner just redirected it there? Answer – the latter.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Interesting, when you go to right now it redirects to – but it seems that the original owner does that instead of Apple.

It is actually quite funny, if you check waybackmachine you will find that was registered in 1999 on an off-chance by some domain investor. The wording actually rocks in retrospect:

OK, so I might have just spent good money on a name that’ll mean nothing, ‘cos XML might take over, but it’s worth the gamble.

In the meantime, if you are either interested in contributing to this site, or have bigger/better(?) plans for this domain, contact

Seeing that the site was defaced in 2005 I guess the owner just redirects to the first result in Google once HTML5 got mainstream :)

I don’t think Apple would use Godaddy and have a gmail as their admin contact, right?

Hat tip for co-sleuth work to Mathias Bynens and Paul Rouget.