iCaption – Development Life After 2.0

Development on iCaption 2.0 stopped over a month ago, winding down to the final phases before the end of the release cycle. While this version is huge, with many great new features, there are some wish list items which just couldn’t make the cut.

The most notable and sought-after feature, by myself and from customers, is waveform visualization, which happens to be the next natural step after implementing the new timeline view. Waveform visualization didn’t make the 2.0 cut simply because it’s difficult; the development scope could have easily doubled the timeline feature scope size, were it to be in this release.

There are multiple points of difficulty with waveform visualization and left unaddressed the application, frankly, will feel like shit, which will in turn soil the user experience rather than enrich it. I’ve seen an audio application make me wait for what felt like a minute, to analyze a 4 minute song – an algorithm like that would never fly if you’re trying to subtitle a 120 minute long movie.

Algorithmically there’s analyzing each frame of a video’s audio track in a timely manner, keeping the application responsive while operating on the former (which may include background loading or streaming while also keeping the video available to the user) and waveform data cache management. The background thread is tricky because a QTMovie must detach from the main thread in order to become accessible from another thread, but that would cause the video to be unavailable to the user, whom will be interacting via the main thread. There’s also coming up with a reasonably fast approach to drawing tens or hundreds of thousands of audio samples on screen at any time without the user noticing pegs in the CPU (and it can’t simply use a pre-render for each draw because the waveform should squish/stretch and cull based on the current view of the timeline).

On the API side, as far as I can tell the examples I’ve found for audio frequency level extraction which Apple provided seem to have no 64-bit support, forcing me to drop down and compile iCaption as 32-bit-only. This should in theory still work fine in the 64-bit Mountain Lion, but it’s unsettling at best to make your project have to “go there”. There may be some newer API but if it exists, I’m sure I’d have to drop Snow Leopard or even Lion support, as I’m seeing a trend for favouring Mountain Lion specific APIs. Worse case I would try to make one final Snow Leopard compatible release of iCaption before switching to the 10.8 SDK.

In ferocious spite of the above, I have already made enough serious headway with iCaption 2.1.0’s WIP to leave you all with a bit of a teaser.

 

Version 2.1.0 will be done when it’s done; don’t hold your breath.

iCaption 2.0.0 Released

The new major version bump to iCaption 2.0 is warranted, because this update is huge! I have taken into consideration the helpful input from customers, and have applied these ideas into a tangible, intuitive user experience. The main focus of this release is the new and powerful timeline editing which increases your workflow productivity, with a secondary focus on previewing, and tertiary improvements for an altogether better subtitle editing environment. Continue reading for the full feature list:

  • Subtitle editing improvements, made possible by a new timeline view, which features the following:
    • All subtitles are visualized in the timeline view.
    • Selected subtitles will visualize overlapping to neighboring subtitles, in addition to the non-selected subtitles with overlapping times shown in red in the table view.
    • Draggable start and end markers, which are used to add new subtitles or apply to existing subtitle start and end times.
    • Markers can be moved individually, or panned together across the timeline.
    • Show start and end marker position in real time while dragging.
    • Scrub through the reference video by dragging the markers.
    • Markers can also be nudged in either direction by a quarter of a second at a time.
    • Zoom in and out of the timeline, changing the current scope of your view of the timeline.
    • Panning the current scope relative to the timeline as a whole.
    • Display of the scope start and the scope end times.
    • Timeline panning and zooming are done with left mouse drag and right mouse drag respectively, complete with Shift and Control key modifiers to make it go faster or slower.
    • Transferring times from the video position itself is no longer the workflow, but is still supported. (Since markers also do video scrubbing, transferring from marker position has the same effect)
  • Subtitle previewing improvements:
    • The preview is now layered right into the video view, rather than the hacky looking floating window. This also means that for now you can no longer detach the preview and move it around yourself.
    • With certain file types the QTMovieLayer appears to have much smoother video scaling than previously.
    • The preview font is much larger and has a black shadow under it.
    • The preview timing is accurate to 250ms now instead of 300ms.
  • Added the ability to play a selected video segment in a loop.
  • All human readable times shown in the application are now easier to read (dropped the QuickTime formatting).
  • Added a more prominent Help button on the toolbar.
  • Main menu and toolbar updates.
  • Updated the documentation.
  • Updated the application icon.

Enjoy!

iKeepActive 1.2.2 Released

The latest version of iKeepActive (1.2.2) is now available in the Mac App Store now. The release focus is on Mountain Lion Fixes, but other features and improvements have also been added so updating is recommended for everyone on 64-bit Intel Macs.

– Added a new mechanism for tracking when scheduled activities are due in Mountain Lion.
– For earlier versions of OS X, the Applescript system is still used for tracking due activities.
– Added support for retiring scheduled activities. This allows you to remove an activity from your calendar while still keeping the history for tracking purposes. Retired activities can be re-scheduled.
– Rearranged the flow of information on the Summary View for ease of the new user.
– Added 4 more available activities.
– Quite possibly one of the last versions to support Snow Leopard and Lion, so get it while you can.
– Dropped support for 32-bit.

iBodyFat

About

iBodyFat is an application which calculates your body fat percentage and keeps a log of your results. Two different calculations are presented for each measurement made. The body fat percentage formulas used by iBodyFat are girth body fat calculations invented by the U.S. Navy, and professional body builder and writer Hugo Rivera.

For taking girth body fat measurements, no special equipment is needed; all that is required is a vinyl tape measure. Girth is not as accurate as skin fold techniques using body fat calipers, but there has been claim of +/- 3% accuracy. However there is chance it can be wrong because you can only tell so much by circumference.

Features

– Get two body fat percentage ratings for each measurement.
– Tracks all of your measurements by date.
– Also tracks your Body Mass Index.
– Multi-user support.
– Fully documented.
– Designed so future versions of the application may have more formulas and body fat measurement methods.

Screens

Requirements

In order to run iBodyFat, your Mac computer must meet the following requirements:

  • Intel-based Mac with OSX 10.7 Lion or greater
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 5 MB Free hard disk space

iCaption

About

iCaption is a simple-to-use soft subtitle editor, utilizing timeline based editing. The file formats currently supported are SubRip and YouTube.

What are soft subtitles? Soft subs are external files stored separately from the video file. They are called soft, because they are not hard-encoded into each video frame; they are rendered in real-time. Most modern video players support soft subs and can manage multiple files for quick and easy swapping of languages.

Features and Capabilities

  • A robust, elegant user interface.
  • Powerful timeline editing, with or without a reference video loaded.
  • Waveform visualization in the timeline, overlaying onto subtitle time time visualization.
  • Transfer subtitle times from the reference video or the timeline selection.
  • Automatically determine the subtitle duration.
  • Real-time checking and visualization for overlapping subtitle times.
  • Easily adjust all subtitle times with one edit.
  • Search subtitles allows you to filter the subtitle list.
  • Previewing allows you to test subtitles without an external viewer.
  • Create, edit, open and save YouTube (.sbv) files.
  • Create, edit, open and save SubRip (.srt) files.
  • Convert SubRip to YouTube format and vice versa.
  • Complete abstraction from the subtitle file formats.

Screens

Requirements

In order to run iCaption, your Mac computer must meet the following requirements:

  • Intel-based Mac with OSX 10.6.7 (Snow Leopard) or greater
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 4 MB Free hard disk space

 

Frequently Asked Questions

You should be able find all you need to know about iCaption in the in-app help; just click the Help button on the toolbar. For all issues/concerns not answered in the FAQ below, nor in the in-app help, email jeffrey@seatoskyware.com and include your hardware info and version of Mac OSX.

Where can I get iCaption Editor? ^top
It is available in the Mac App Store.

I am trying to make subtitles for an .mkv video and I can’t load it as a reference in iCaption Editor. ^top
iCaption Editor uses an embedded QuickTime movie view and therefore supports only the formats supported by QuickTime. If you are the creator of the video, it is more than likely that QuickTime supports your source format. If are not the creator of the video file, be aware that creating subtitles for certain videos you do not own the rights to may be considered as copyright infringement. It is possible to get QuickTime add-ons for more file formats, here orhere, but that is not directly supported neither by iCaption Editor nor QuickTime.

Which reference video formats does iCaption Editor support? ^top
As mentioned above, iCaption Editor supports the media formats supported by QuickTime, as well as the formats supported by any QuickTime add-ons you have installed.

The miliseconds for my subtitle times don’t look right (in version 1.x only). ^top
There is nothing wrong with your subtitle times. When iCaption transfers the times from the movie, the miliseconds are shown as a timescale. This is because QuickTime understands time scales instead of miliseconds, where the number is displayed as frames/timescale, where timescale can be different between videos and frame rates. Don’t worry; upon saving the subtitle iCaption Editor will properly convert the timescale to 1000, its equivalent in miliseconds. Another thing to note is that timescales have no leading zero’s, so 62 milliseconds would be displayed in the table as .62/1000, not .062/1000.

Foods and Moods

About

Have you ever wondered what you ate made you feel so bad? Foods and Moods is an application that helps you track just that. It is aimed primarily towards people trying to track which foods may trigger their digestive problems. It does this by keeping two logs: a log of the foods you eat and a log of your moods. This provides you with a searchable history using keywords or “tags”, so you may see for yourself if there is any relationship beween the two.

*Note that this application doesn’t attempt to do any medical or nutritional analysis; it is for logging and history purposes, and you should see a physician if you have ongoing digestive problems.

Features

  • Log your meals
  • Log your moods
  • Tag your meals for easy search
  • Search your meals or moods
  • Sorting of your meals or moods
  • Rating of your moods
  • Summary view
  • Print and export to PDF support, so you may show your doctor or dietician.

Screens

 

Requirements

In order to run Foods and Moods, your Mac computer must meet the following requirements:

  • Intel-based Mac with OSX 10.7 (Lion)
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 5 MB Free hard disk space

iKeepActive

Create your workout calendar with iKeepActive! Sync to your Mac’s calendar which can then sync to your music player, phone or tablet.

iKeepActive is an integrated activity scheduling system which also interactively counts Calories. Not only does it help create your activity schedule but its primary focus is to make sure you do them by displaying reminders and follow-ups. You can also use it to log your diet, analyze your progress and visualize your results.

More info at http://ikeepactive.com/