HTML5 and Flash

Cringely: "Flash always picked up where the browser left off, but it can't talk to your webcam, store local files, or draw pixels directly to your screen. Now, for the first time, a cluster of technologies known as HTML5 allow a standards-based pathway to busting those barriers with canvas graphics, drawing video onscreen, smarter forms, and local storage for private data. So who needs Flash?" - It'll be interesting to see how having video support in the browser changes what we do at Pelco. I still doubt it'll be good enough for daily monitoring for a few reasons; can it support up to 16 simultaneous live video feeds with low latency (by low I mean less than 200ms from camera to display), will we be able to PTZ our cameras, what about overlays on top of the video? Those are just a few minor, minor things, but stuff we need to be able to do on the client. Even if we can't do that it'll be great for configuration and casual monitoring of live and/or playback video.

Interesting times.

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Posted by Rob at 9:57 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pelco, open is good.

Security Squared: "Pelco's PartnerFirst program, launched last year, counts among the company's most significant initiatives. The program enters 2010 with more than 100 vendors in segments ranging from analytics to SCADA to storage and forms the center of Pelco's plan to shift toward integration of open, best-of-breed platforms." - This is one of the best moves we've made. Opening the platform attracts developers and allows us entry into sites that may not otherwise consider Pelco because we were a closed system. It's getting better and better.


Posted by Rob at 8:22 AM | 4 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Nature as a development model?

Will Shipley: "The latter is the touchstone of great design: we must strive to make our programs require as little learning as possible on the user's part. Each little thing they have to learn about our program is another obstacle to them using it fully, another tiny chunk of enjoyment stripped from their experience." - I really like Will's take on heuristics. While we'd all rather have an algorithm solve the problem, like nature, we often find edge cases that fall outside the algorithm. I experience this each and every day at Pelco, where I work on our video viewing clients(A.K.A Decoding User Interfaces.) We just want the software to work for the guy watching the video so we have to do things to deal with different camera models, or deal with recorded video that changes recording quality mid-stream. Is it painful, why yes, yes it is, but the guy using the software doesn't have to know that. We just make it work.

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Posted by Rob at 11:49 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

A question for AIR/Flex/Flash experts

First question. Let's say I work for a company that does video security systems and I want to be able to drop my video into an AIR/Flash application, how does one do that?

Second question. Let's now say I have to be in complete control of said video stream? Let's also assume I have a high quality media framework, or pipeline, that does this very thing. It's highly flexible and optimized for receiving, decoding, and displaying video, and audio, and meta-data for that matter. It's crucial to use this existing framework. AIR/Flash video won't do, period.

So, the big question is how do we marry our media pipeline to AIR/Flash? I've asked numerous folks and the answers are always the same. You cannot do that. I'm cool with that answer, but there's always a skeptic among the crowd that believes there's a way to "hack" around things when you're told you can't do it. :-)

One answer may be creating our own video codec? We could write that on top of our framework and do whatever is necessary to insert our video into the runtime as we see fit. Could this be one possible solution?

If you're an AIR/Flash expert that has done this sort of work, I'd like to hear from you. We've gone through so many options that won't work, including Alchemy, I don't believe this is possible to do the way we'd like to do it, but someone may have a way.


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Posted by Rob at 9:57 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pelco Cuts "Fresno, CA, USA (KFSN) -- 19 people were let go Wednesday. This news comes after the C.E.O. told Action News that Pelco was working to protect its employees through this tough economic time." - The news has to make its headline big and dramatic. For 19 people it is, I'm sorry they lost their jobs, I am, but the cuts were made in areas not necessary for the survival of the company. The article above mentions just a few of the items cut. For one, the private jet is being sold, it's about darned time IMHO. The Fat Cats can fly coach, or pay the different to upgrade to first class. This company is now part of a publicly held entity, we answer to the shareholders now, not a few owners. All-in-all Pelco is turning a corner, becoming a better corporate citizen, more responsible, and we have better leadership than ever before in the company's short history.

I do hate seeing folks lose their jobs right before Christmas. I've been there and it's not a good feeling. I was unemployed for four months prior to joining Pelco and in some ways my family and I are still tying to recover from it. It was hard, but things got better.

Hopefully the economy will turn around so we'll be able to have fluff benefits return. Until then, tighten the belt and hold on, it's going to be a wild ride.

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Posted by Rob at 8:38 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Apple in security?

9 to 5 Mac: "Here's an unusual one that's crossed our desk this morning - Apple's getting into the crowded Big Brother CCTV market, and will appear with leading security vendor, videoNEXT (love the Next in that name) at a special event next month." - Apple should be talking to Pelco. Yes, I know, shameless self promotion. Who knows, maybe they are, I'm just a grunt worker and wouldn't be privy to such a wonderful conversation. It would be very cool and it would be my hearts desire to work on a Mac version of our viewing client.

A guy can dream can't he?

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Posted by Rob at 8:50 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Job of the week "The explosive growth of Pelco and the Imaging Systems division in particular has led to needs for a software developer who is passionate about solving complex problems, in particular the design and development of embedded Linux kernel and driver software for high performance DSPs. We need great developers to join our world-class team!" - We're hiring, come on in, the water's fine.

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Posted by Rob at 9:23 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Fed up!

I've had it with work. I'm done!

I walked into my VP's office this morning and let him know how I felt about our direction. It wasn't pretty. There was lots of finger pointing, yelling, and arm waving. In the end he called security. I was escorted to my desk, cleaned it out, taken to HR where I turned in my badge. I was informed I'd receive my last paycheck, with vacation hours, next week. Then I walked out, and drove home.

What a nightmare.

So, anybody need a software engineer?

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Posted by Rob at 9:14 AM | 4 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

I'm now old school

I've been very busy at work lately, doing something I like to do, writing code. For the past year I've been an "acting" Product Engineer, think Program Manager, which limited my coding to after 5PM. Since the acquisition we've been doing some work with a small group that now reports to Pelco. We're trying to get their system capable of displaying Endura video.

Yesterday we were working with one of their video guys discussing how the component we're giving them would be used.

Here's how the conversation went, the kid(him), old guy(me)...

the kid) What's your gmail account name, so we can chat.
old guy) I don't use an IM client, I find them distracting.
the kid) (Laughing) Oh, you're old school, you'd rather talk face to face.
old guy) Uhhh, yeah, I guess, if that's what you call old school.

I never thought of myself as an old guy. Guess I've finally become one of those old curmudgeons I used to make fun of.

I don't really care. I'm having the most fun I've had since my days at Visio.

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Posted by Rob at 10:41 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Security Dreamer on Pelco

Security Dreamer: "Pelco is a great company. Really. You just gotta visit its Clovis campus sometime to get the full impact. Pelco has its act together." - Good article! We do have an uphill battle, no doubt, but we're now part of a company that can help Pelco realize the future in ways it couldn't imagine. Will it be tough, yes. Will it be rewarding, definitely. I've already felt the pain of the acquisition, and I've come out the other side BETTER FOR IT. I'm now working with others on the first steps in our new future.

It's a GREAT time to be at Pelco. I honestly believe, now more than ever, the software teams will drive the future of the company.


Posted by Rob at 10:30 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Thanks for the support

Last Friday was obviously a very bad day, it happens on occasion, and I wasn't the only person living in "grumpyland". I'm much better now. I got some answers yesterday so at least I have an idea of where we're heading, that's a good thing.

Thanks to everyone that dropped me a note, or dropped by the office, to see how I'm doing. I appreciate the support.

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Posted by Rob at 9:35 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Trying times

A wonderful boquet of flowers.I have a huge character flaw that grips me at times, today is one of those times. I don't like knowing a little bit about things that affect me, or I perceive as affecting me, because my brain attempts to fill in the gaps. Often times the information it chooses to use is worst case, which in turn leads to tremendous amounts of stress, which leads to anger, which leads to me saying things I shouldn't say. I turn into Rob the complete jerk. Today I've done just that at work. How my wife has put up with me for 20 years I'll never know, I think she must be some kind of saint.

Who knows what Monday will be like, but today is a living hell inside my head. If I could I'd crawl inside a cage with someone and fight until I was too beaten to stand, I might feel better.

I need to get this out of my system today so I don't take it home to my lovely wife and family but I haven't figured out how. Maybe I will have to talk about it before Monday. Maybe I need to go home and put my resume together and get prepared for bad news Monday, couldn't hurt.

Sometimes life really stinks, especially when you've made the choices that put you in the position you're facing.

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Posted by Rob at 12:07 PM | 9 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Good move Pelco

Our Human Resources team has started an internal weblog to deal with employees questions and concerns related to the Schneider acquisition. That is a great move. Now everybody can see what folks are thinking and see HR's reply to their questions. Bravo!

Now we need to get a few of our key execs on board, how about Dean Meyer our new COO, or Greg Millar VP Systems Engineering? Smile, life is good!


Posted by Rob at 8:25 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pelco is part of the Schneider family!

Schneider Electric: "Rueil-Malmaison, October 17th, 2007 Schneider Electric completed yesterday the acquisition of Pelco, a worldwide leader in the design, development and manufacturing of video security systems." - It's official, we're now part of the Schneider Electric family! What does that mean for us? I think it means we're going to be busier than ever, that's a good thing.


Posted by Rob at 9:48 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Rumor or Fact?

SecurityDreamer: "SecurityDreamer has heard that Dean Meyer has been named as the new head of Pelco, the video surveillance equipment branch of Schneider Electric."


Posted by Rob at 2:56 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pelco acquisition, part deux.

The Fresno Bee, Bill McEwen: "I choked on my freedom toast when reading the news. Flag-waving, USA-loving, security-camera-making Pelco is being sold to a French electrical giant."

The Fresno Bee, Local: "Engineer Nick Simi said he also isn't worried about being part of a French company with a vast network of business ventures. He has worked at Pelco for three years."

The Fresno Bee, Business: "Pelco officials said Wednesday they expect the Clovis-based security camera company to expand after French corporate giant Schneider Electric completes its acquisition."

Fresno Bee Poll: "Is Pelco's sale to a French company good for the Valley?"

As you can see this is big news in the Valley. I think it's going to be a GREAT thing for Pelco and her employees. I'm also fairly certain things will indeed change, for the better. This will help Pelco take its' digital products line to the next level. It will push us into new untapped markets, and help us grow our development staff to do things we'd like to do. Like I've said before we've only just scratched the surface of where we can go.

Very exciting times, yes indeed.


Posted by Rob at 2:21 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

More on Pelco acquisition "After weeks of rumor and speculation, company president David McDonald is relieved to finally be able to talk about the deal." - There are a couple of video clips to watch, one of them an interview with Pelco's CEO.


Posted by Rob at 4:59 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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