In the Jim Collins book, Great By Choice, he discusses a topic he coins as 10X companies. These organizations experience growth which laterally exceeds that of current industry trends, with particular emphasis in difficult economic times for other members of the sector.
Great, what does this have to do with an unpredictable event? One of the characteristics of a successful organization is outlined in a concept coined as “Productive Paranoia.” The concept encompasses two core elements that I found useful.
1) Building cash reserves for the tough times.
Being at its core a business minded research study, this same concept can be adapted for Artois applications, particularly with regards to ministry and technology.
Most weeks go by with no problems, hitches, or otherwise; we Elgin to consider this the norm and instinctively begin to feel comfortable with our equipment, volunteers or otherwise. While its great that equipment is working great in the first place the lesson we can take away from this is that there are in fact anomalies which try as we might, we cannot predict. For those of us involved with technology as a whole know fully that equiptment, regardless of expense can inevitablely fail.
2) Zoom out, Zoom in.
That aside, I found something particularly useful from a beginners standpoint. What you ask? A connection count, sure it’s documented but for what ever reason when I tried logging in I could never get passed the default username and password prompt.
So what you need to know:
What version of Wowza is the relevant to?
I wrote this article running WowzaMediaServer-s3-devpay-3.5.1.01-x86_64 (ami-d938acb0) in North Virginia EC2 m1.small instance if it’s any difference to you. I hope that helps, as I understand previous versions of Wowza may have used a different syntax for the URL, specifically a different port.
Where do I find this magical connection count?
It lives at http://[wowza-address]:8086/connectioninfo. So for a real world example to coincide with these screenshots, it looks like this: http://ec2-23-22-99-39.compute-1.amazonaws.com:8086/connectioninfo
Or if you wanted to include the entire thing in a string somewhere that’s not public facing, you could use something like this:
Perhaps you could allow this to be public facing if the user in question had only limited rights on the server, I’m a novice and don’t fully understand the limits of usernames within Wowza, so this may or maynot be best practice.
So the username seems to be statically set as wowza while the password would seem to by dynamic and connected to the instance ID when it’s launched from the AMI listed above. In this case the instance ID was i-b14b63c1.
Where can I find my password / usernames?
They’re hiding out in a file called admin.password in a directory in /usr, specifically /usr/local/WowzaMediaServer/conf
I hope this was of some help, enjoy.
Where have the posts been?
Good question. Short answer, life is busy and posts aren’t a priority. …strange how finishing up a degree program tends to take priority over other things.
Additionally, a large portion of my free time during the summer of 2012 has been consumed with trips and a large scale video installation.
The driving force behind the video installation is driven by Countryside Church, and their new venture to launch a video venue in a community just down the road from their main campus, in Sundance, WY.
Side note: If you thought South Dakota has poor internet, you really need to try Wyoming.
Countryside’s current (Sept. 2006 – July 2012) video system was an analog standard definition system designed to present image magnification to an in house audience, inside the performance space itself. Their needs later expanded to include a desire to distribute the same feed to on-campus TV network. From here, their system also expanded to include a somewhat closed audience on an internet broadcast.
While their platform functioned well for 2006, needs quickly strained the systems abilities as it was a single M/E with no abilities to route cameras, VTR’s, and other sources; a limited ability for lower thirds or other graphics onto video feeds.
…to be continued.
This experience is really a continuation of some prior events relating to jQuery Mobile, and my quest to build a WordPress theme with it. As you likely predicted, this is a mobile theme, hence the use of jQuery Mobile.
This isn’t so much of a technical breakdown of the code as it is a simple “dummy check.” In my particular usage case, I’ve been distributing a basic core of code which I sell for profit, it effectively adds digital asset management platform to WordPress. (Basically some custom post types, custom taxonomies and various other related bells and whistles.) From this, I came to the conclusion that I might want to add a mobile compatible version to the theme.
Knowing I need not reinvent the wheel I turned to a caching plugin I already had in use, W3 Total Cache, which happens to have a convenient mechanism for filtering out various user agents and either redirecting them or displaying a particular theme. Convenient and simple.
So I set off to build a stripped down version of the theme; wanting to be as quick and simple about it as possible, I stripped nearly all of the code off and build an index.php and a few specific views; however I encountered a problem. The menu system found in WordPress didn’t seem to display links to custom taxonomies. Odd.
After much banging of my head against the table, it dawned on me. I’m really using another template all together. It so happens, that rather than build a sidecar plugin to add the digital asset management platform, I had simple placed it into the main themes functions.php.
Digression: Putting all of the asset management platform into functions.php probably wasn’t the most flexible solution. Will likely be releasing a side-car plugin to clients to migrate away from such a proprietary integration.
That said, from the perspective of the mobile theme, these taxonomies do not exist, despite their presence in the WordPress menu, which was generated by a functions.php which is aware of said taxonomies. This odd mismatch seems to indicate that while a menu item may appear to be present, it must exist withing the theme which is calling it.
Temporary solution? Copy the functions.php from the main template into the mobile and move on with life. I suspect putting said settings into a plugin would resolve the entire issue.
That said, what sort of plan of action does your organization have in place to communicate with the masses if something were to happen? I’ve been working on a “back-burner” project for an emergency website for a certain organization, and as a result of recent events, I suspect that project will move higher up the list of priorities.
All that to say, do you have a plan? Twitter, Emergency Website, Phone, Email? How do you plan to communicate with those affected and potentially media.
Caveat: This blog post is being written to gain a “free node for life” on their services, though the opinions are my own, there is somewhat of an incentive provided by the company to generate this post.
Let’s establish what VPS.net is. Simple, they’re a company that offers cloud infrastructure, part of a larger collective of companies, UK2 Group. They’ve a product lineup which includes:
- VPS Cloud Servers
- Cloud Hosting
- Geo Hosting
Their Cloud Hosting and Geo Hosting options are relatively new additions to their product offering, so I can’t speak for them as much as my experiences with their CDN and VPS offerings.
VPS.net CDN (aka Level3)
A while back when I first came across VPS.net, I was looking for a CDN offering as at the time we were transitioning a live broadcast away from the more consumer oriented services like Ustream.tv, or Livestream.com (Mogulus at the time). I was looking for something that would be white label, reliable and cost effective. Having been paying a monthly fee for the white label version of Ustream (Watershed) I went in search of a better solution. This led me to VPS.net, which at the time was offering Akamai & Highwinds CDN at the time. They’ve since dropped both providers and moved on to offer Level3 bandwidth. While I never experienced Akamai first hand, they’ve a good standing reputation in the industry, and are certainly one of the long-haul providers in the market, playing host to many high demand companies., including YouTube when they broadcast live events. While they no longer offer CDN services from Highwinds, we’re currently working on the remainder of our bandwidth commitment, we’ve had few difficulties with the CDN itself, though occasionally there are errors when connecting the encoder to the ingest point.
Their latest partner, Level3, is also the choice CDN of Netflix, I’ve yet to experience this service though I remain optimistic, and at $35 for the first TB of transfer, how can you say no?
Side note: VPS.net basically just sells you access to the service of a larger company, so really performance of this product doesn’t reflect much more than the ease of setup and billing.
This isn’t exactly an explanation of “the cloud” and what it is or is not. Basically what you need to know is their infrastructure runs more or less virtualized. When you buy resources on a cloud VPS you’re buying a piece of the pie, not the entire thing. Those pieces then work collectively towards a common goal, making your code run.
My experience with their product albeit a limited duration has been relatively positive, aside from a strange billing bug involving resources being unavailable. You can pick your datacenter location, your flavor of OS, and even choose from a handful of pre-configured images; which comes as a nice touch when you’re not a big linux person. However, if you do get stuck, their support staff is fantastic, while they may not always tell me what I want to hear, they’re always on top of things when a problem does arise.
That said, I’ve only had a VPS running with them for a month or so, but the experience has been relatively positive. Time will tell how they’ll perform in the long haul; though at their price points it’s easier to turn the other cheek when their services waiver.
Ultimately it depends on the environment you’re after, but VPS.net is certainly someone to look into, and with their daily nodes, you can effectively test drive their service without breaking the bank.
As a side note, they do provide a handful of freebies with their service, including HostBill, ISPManager Pro, and a Codebase account.
Been confused by the xisnext campaign Midcontinent has been running? Rest assured you’re not alone. Recently Midcotinent has been pushing the “xisnext” campaign. Here’s a quick theory and list of scenarios/possibilities.
1. It’s an over hyped viral campaign for a speed increase likely powered by DOCSIS 3.0, the internet will remain unchanged and you can continue about your lives as normal. My guess assuming this is only a speed upgrade, 10/2 for basic, 45/5 prefered, 60/10 max, 100/10 ultimate.
2. It’s more than just a copper based update, perhaps an announcement for deeper fiber penetration, thus higher speeds, again powered by D3.
3. Midcontinent is getting a bit closer with its affiliate, “Comcast”. (ack) Here’s the logic here, Midcotinent is owned in part or has some affiliation with Comcast, though this relationship is unclear, another blogger derived an interesting comment from Midcontinent, “While we do have an affiliation with Comcast, we are not owned by them. Any decisions like the FCC is trying to impose on them would not be passed down to us as we are a separate entity. If we do make any changes like this would be announced to the public long before it is imposed.”
That being said this relationship can be spotted in Midcontinent recently launched ESPN3 service to its customers. Hiding in the depths of their branding is also a little tribute to Comcast. See their EPSN3 branding file name: “http://a.espncdn.com/espn360/images/affiliates/midcontinent_comcast.png” Note the presence of Comcast. Building on that though, what does Comcast call their internet service, “Xfinity.”
Now, what’s Midcontinent telling us is next? “Xisnext”. I fear the worst, but hope for the best here. Lord help us, don’t let Midcotinent stoop to the level of Comcrap.
Sports fans and customers rejoice as Midcontinent Communications has finally joined the ranks of ESPN3 ISP’s. For those unfamiliar with the service it’s a bit like Netflix for sports content. Many games and events that simply won’t fit into the TV schedule are provided online, either live or on demand. This provides some fantastic convenience for those fans of less televised sports in the US, soccer being one of the most prevalent (granted Midcontinent already offers Fox Soccer Channel). This long awaited feature has silently slipped into the wild, with not so much as a tweet to announce it’s arrival; this can likely be attributed to the current promotion of “xisnext”, and the xisnext.com promotion, advertising some of the fastest residential internet speeds in North Dakota and South Dakota. Details as to the specific changes are still forth coming.
That being said, enjoy your new feature before they likely announce it formally on Thursday with the rest of the XISNEXT promotion.
Your working on the latest project and need a quick way to demo a project to your client. Sure, you could pay for something like GoToMeeting.com, but what if screensharing isn’t something you need to do all of the time?
In comes Join.me, an awesome ‘stupid simple’ solution for sharing your screen with others over the internet. The service is powered by LogMeIn. https://join.me/
If you’ve been to YouTube over the weekend you’ve probably noticed they’re streaming the Coachella Music & Live Art Festival. Being the CDN loving person I am, I found the need to figure out how they’d implemented this broadcast.
At it’s core, it appears streams are being served up from Akamai, through a plethora of iFrames piled into a YouTube branded page.
It also appears on the surface the player is built on the OSMF (Open Source Media Framework) [more on that here].
The broadcasts appear to have utilized dynamic bitrate switching, which implies it required Flash 10 or greater to view the event. According to the stream configuration files, they broadcast 8 bitrates including, 2000, 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 240, 150, and 30kbps.
It seemed appropriate to tear it down and rebuild it, so if you’d like to see how the stream would be loaded into JW Player (5.6.1745) you can grab the stream here (Stream 1 @ 2000kbps). Or load the stream in the Akamai support player, which breaks down the stream meta into nice bits about broadcast quality, resolution and other goodies. You can grab that here.