Archive for the 'Online' Category

Poor quality MP4 output from PowerDirector

I finally worked out what was causing the poor quality MP4 video output from PowerDirector 10 – even at very high bitrates.

Turns out that the hardware video encoder in my ThinkPad T510 really doesn’t do MP4 very well.

I did discover that for certain source video formats (especially the AVCHD videos from my Sony HDR-CX700 video camera), the Intelligent SVRT button does a very good job of producing high quality video … in AVCHD format at the same quality as the original video! However, a 28Mbps stream is not exactly ideal for the web!

I also had good success using a high-bitrate MP4 profile with the SVRT option checked for video output from my GoPro HD Hero2 camera. Even though Intelligent SVRT seemed to get a bit confused, manually selecting the SVRT option worked well. Again, this is producing high quality output in the same format as the original source, and very large files! Still not web-friendly.

The troublesome case which had been frustrating me for a while now, was video from my trusty old Canon A650 digital camera. It produces 640×480 AVI files, which, no matter what options I chose for the MP4 profile (I even tried AVCHD!), the quality was horrid.

Here is an example of the poor quality I’m referring to:

I finally found that if you can’t use SVRT mode, the trick was to turn OFF the hardware video encoder (ie, disable “Fast video rendering technology”) …

Poor MP4 quality in PowerDirector 10? Try turning off hardware video encoding!

… and then you end up with video the way you expect it to look:

Profile privacy on

My wife and I run a private group and I was asked by someone about what information is displayed publicly on and what information is private. While investigating, I discovered some things I didn’t know before – so I thought it would be a good idea to share them with everyone.

There are two sets of profile information maintained by for each user …

1. a personal profile specific to yourself and related to in general and not to any specific meetup group.

2. a “meetup group profile”, specific to each group you are a member of.

Some of the information in your personal profile is made public (some you can hide), so be careful what you post on your personal profile. Some information on your personal profile might be indexed by Google and show up in search results for your name.

We made our meetup group private, so any profile information posted as part of our group, including introductions, discussions and meetup gatherings, is only visible to other approved members of the group. None of this information is visible to other users, nor is it visible to Google, so it won’t show up in search results.

Members of private groups should check their personal profile to make sure that nothing they have posted there is visible to the public / Google. There are a few settings which are enabled by default which you might want to hide.

  1. Make sure you are logged in to
  2. Click on the “My Groups” link at the top of the page (not on the groups in the drop-down list, click on “My Groups” itself).
  3. Click on “Hide my Meetup Groups” at the top of the list of groups if you don’t want people to know which groups you belong to
  4. Click on the “Intro” tab
  5. Under your bio, click on “Hide this” to hide your bio information
  6. If you have added interest profiles listing other topics you are interested in joining meetup groups for, you can click on “Hide this” below the list of interest groups on the Intro tab too.
  7. Click on the “Photos” tab
  8. You might want to click on “Hide profile photos” to hide any additional photos you have uploaded to your profile. Note that your main public profile photo is still displayed on your public profile page – this only hides additional photos.
  9. Click on the “Greetings” tab
  10. If you have had people leave greetings on your profile, you might want to delete them if they contain personal information you don’t want Google to see.

Note that none of these actions impact on what you have displayed in your private meetup group pages – you’ll need to edit that separately if you want to – but it’s not visible to Google, so you might not need to worry.

You should also be aware that anything you post to your profile page for a specific meetup group (including answers to profile questions) is visible to other members of that meetup group. If you want to change any of that, go to your meetup group profile page and edit your profile information – from your meetup group home page click on “My Profile” under the “Members” menu.



(via InkTank)

Numb3rs do a PC vs. Mac Like Commercial

People who know me won’t be surprised that I like the TV show Numb3rs.

I also love the Apple “PC vs Mac” adverts.

… so I was quite amused with this video of a promo for the show which takes off the PC vs Mac concept:

Why can't people type email addresses correctly ?

I host a website for a friend and colleague who runs a small business.

Rather than deleting or ignoring emails that are incorrectly addressed (as most email services would), I prefer to redirect them all to a postmaster account, which I check periodically for emails. Most of them are spam – randomly generated usernames and such sent to random domains – most of these are caught by the spam filters, and the rest I just delete.

However, I am still surprised at the number of valid but badly addressed emails that get through! I set up email aliases for them so that future emails will get through.

I thought I would post a list of the aliases I’ve had to set up – it’s getting long enough and strange enough to be funny now! My friend’s name is Jacque (usually pronounced “Jack” or “Jackie”).


I’ve also had to set up sale,, and www.sales as aliases for their sales email address too!