Project Marklar

The amazing story of how Mac OS X on Intel got it’s starts. A lone engineer working from home.


Split An MP4 Into 2 Without Re-encoding

Today I had a large MP4 I wanted to break up into smaller chuncks because the disk was FAT32. Ends up you don’t need to re-encode. You can use ffmpeg and do something like this:

ffmpeg -ss 00:00:00 -t 01:30:00 -i input.mp4 -acodec copy -vcodec copy output1.mp4

That will copy the first 90 minutes to output1.mp4. Adjust the timecodes and output file to write another chunk to a different file. There may be a way to do it by filesize, but I didn’t figure out how. As always use a recent version of ffmpeg if you can.

That handy tip saves a ton of CPU time.

In The News

Pancake Syrup Truck Accident On Buttermilk Pike

And in today’s delicious news:

A highway truck accident never sounded so delicious. A semitrailer hauling Hungry Jack pancake syrup collided with a highway median at the Buttermilk Pike overpass in northern Kentucky, causing the truckload of syrup to spill all over the highway.

Nobody was seriously hurt. NTSB was investigating to see why breakfast sausage was not available at the scene.

You couldn’t make that headline up. Without salivating.

In The News

Wheel Theft Makes A Comeback

Car On Blocks

I wasn’t terribly shocked to hear about a rise on wheel theft, something that largely disappeared in the US years ago after seeing it a few times for myself now. It’s a simple technique that’s now come back.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

The picture above is one that I took myself… hardly a poor neighborhood.

Around The Web

“The Future” As Seen In 1961

1961 Vintage Motorola Ad

Images of what the future would look like have long been a fascination. 1950’s and 1960’s always focused on a sleek, minimalist future with a very retro (by today’s standard) color palette. It’s easy to dismiss them as silly, until you realize the basis of them is pretty spot on.

Take the image up top of Motorola’s vision of the future from a 1961 set. The two main themes in these images actually happened:

  1. Media Everywhere – A reoccurring theme in the set is that there’s media (in the form of a TV) everywhere. It’s the centerpiece of every home. This isn’t shocking for an electronics company. For the 1960’s when not everyone owned a TV, this was pretty bold. Of course today that’s true. It’s even a step beyond. Most of us now have phones that can play video. We have laptops. Media is everywhere.
  2. Transparency/Lack of Privacy – The other strong theme is the lack of privacy. From open floor plans to glass walls. The future is out in the open. This is hardly just a Motorola idea. Glass House was built in 1949 and Case Study Houses were often built in this style including the notable Stahl House. The illusion to Facebook and social media shouldn’t be lost here. The transparency that’s normal in this modern age was unthinkable in the 1960’s.

Of course part of Motorola (the Motorola Mobility part) is now part of Google, and had an influence on both of those changes as cell phones played a big role in both trends.

When you really think about it, TV’s are flatter and we cram more things into the same square footage, but these aren’t terribly far off concepts of what the future holds. From a high level they are spot on. These are really the biggest changes to the American home.

Internet Networking

World IPv6 Launch Day

World IPv6 Launch

It’s here! World IPv6 Launch begins June 6 2012 00:00:00 UTC. The future of the Internet (and the beginning of the death of NAT).

I’ve started enabling IPv6 on my websites including this one, which is already seeing a few IPv6 hits. I expect to see that climb over time. I’ve noticed Facebook turned on IPv6 recently. Google is expected to at any moment. A handful of bugs limit me from flipping the switch on a few more sites, but I hope to get that resolved soon enough. Still better than my 2010 projections.

If you’re unsure if you’re internet connection supports IPv6 yet, you can find out at:

Hardware Networking

Netflix Open Connect

Netflix is trying to reduce it’s dependency on CDN’s by peering directly with ISP’s and with a new hardware appliance ISP’s can host on their own network to offload traffic. The peering option is pretty strait forward. The appliance however is interesting. Netflix is actually quite transparent about what they are doing, so I thought I’d dig in and take a little look since they are sharing:


Netflix says right up front they were influenced by Backblaze, and their appliance is actually quite similar in many respects. The difference is that Netflix does need a bit more CPU and Network IO and a little less storage. That balance is pretty achievable. The appliance must be a tad on the heavy side as this is a pretty heavily packed server.

Essentially the hardware is a Supermicro mATX board and a bunch of SATA hard drives in a custom 4U enclosure. There are 2 16 port LSI SAS controllers for 32 drives and 4 drives presumably running directly off the motherboard. Hitachi Deskstar or Seagate Barracuda drives. Nothing fancy here. An interesting tidbit is there are 2 x 512 GB “flash storage” (presumably SSD) for logs, OS, popular content. I’d assume those two are running in RAID 0 as one volume. They are managing the spinning disks in software RAID so they can handle failures.


FreeBSD is the OS of choice. Not sure if this software RAID they are doing is something they cooked up or something already out there. Another interesting note is they are using nginx for a web server and are using http for moving content. Huge win for nginx and says a lot for it’s abilities as a web server. It also sounds like Netflix is a customer of NGINX, Inc.

The idea of an appliance on the ISP end isn’t new. CDN’s generally live close, not in the ISP’s network. On the TV side Weather Channel has done this for ages via the little known WeatherSTAR appliances (pic). They sit at the headend and get weather from TWC. They then output local weather reports as a video for the cable provider to insert. The WeatherSTAR appliance like the Netflix appliance is essentially 0 maintenance. It just lives locally and serves it’s master remotely.

It’s nice that they’ve been as open as they have about what they are building. They also have an engineering blog worth keeping an eye on.


Corset Commercial Sound Effects

Chinese Corset Commercial

We’ll ignore the whole science (or more correctly the lack of) behind stomach fat being squeezed up into breasts. As if this commercial isn’t silly enough on it’s own it’s got some amazing retro gaming sound bytes for whenever the corset is tightened. By American standards this is just outright silly. In related news Booty Pop is still funny too.


History Of The Mac Startup Chime

Interesting history of the Mac startup chime on Quora:

The Apple II made short beep in its boot sequence [1], a courtesy signal that sound was working. (Funny that similar “triple beep” sequences mark issues on boot [2].) Charlie Kellner wrote an algorithm to average adjacent 8-bit square waves for the tone used on the (original) Mac 128K [3].

The sound grew punchier, and by the Mac Classic/Mac II era, it was similar to a “tritone” sound (a music theory no-no). This annoyed Jim Reekes, who took over Sound Manager in 1990 [4]. He sought to use the improved sound cards for a cheerful “palate cleanser” sound, as the tritone wasn’t music to one’s ears during post-crash reboots. He snuck a “fat” C major chord backed with sonic textures into the ROM. The textural properties included stereo reverb, phaser, some sharp transients, and strings [5]. This chime was used through the mid-90s; starting in the Quadras, through the Performas.

The Power Macintosh 6100 (first PowerPC, 1994) used 12-string acoustic guitar harmonics designed by jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan [6]. It was short-lived, because the Power Macintosh 9500 (1995) returned to Reekes’s chime. (He has speculated that perhaps this was due to Jobs’s return, but that was late 1996.) It stayed more or less the same until the iMac G3 (1998), save for the Twentieth Anniversary Mac. It hasn’t changed since.

I liked the earlier chimes more than the recent ones.

Around The Web

More Amelia Earhart Circumstantial Evidence

TIGHAR researchers found 5 pieces of glass they believe were from anti-freckle cream likely used by Amelia Earhart. Looking at the picture, it does seem quite possible if not likely this is actually a match. The odds of another person would bring that glass to the island is pretty small. There’s some circumstantial evidence Earhart crashed on the island of Nikumaroro, but hardly enough to conclusively confirm it.

TIGHAR is trying to visit the island again and use SONAR to map the waters off the island where there’s some suspicion her plane may have crash landed. Specifically there’s a blurry photo and a claim by a former resident that there was previously aircraft wreckage in that same location after she went missing.

There’s a reasonable chance this is where she ended up and the remains found and subsequently lost were from the crash. If they will ever find enough evidence to be convincing or not is anyone’s guess.