Thomas Boutell

Just some guy who made a thing.

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Found one of these in the outgoing thrift pile and said whoa there, that's an optical zoom. Sure it's not a great camera, but nobody in the house has anything with an optical zoom, much less 27X. This thing's a keeper.

And it has a cute little USB cable tucked into its wrist strap. Score!

Except, when you plug it into your Linux box, Mac or Chromebook, it displays a message inviting you to install Windows-only software. Uh, thanks.

So what to do? I did some spelunking. Here's how to make it work.

It will show up like a thumbdrive would (it took a minute to show up on mine). Then you want to browse into it and go to:

PRIVATE -> AVCHD -> BDMV -> STREAM

There you will see filenames like 00000.mts. I'd never heard of an mts file either, but it's the same format used for Blu-Ray.

On a Chromebook you probably can't play it directly, but you can upload it to google photos via the website, and google photos knows what to do. Victory!

This works on Linux too, but a Linux machine can also play them with VLC Player or convert them to MP4 format with ffmpeg:

ffmpeg whatever.mts whatever.mp4

Or something to that effect. For me, playable video on Google Photos was sufficient proof of concept.

Speaking of Chromebooks, I have at last given up on the Samsung Chromebook 3 as a workable Linux machine. Nothing wrong with them running the OS they are made to run, I just haven't been able to beg, buy, borrow or absorb the skills to figure out why the keyboard starts duplicating keystrokes and the trackpad freezes after a while on Linux. So instead I've purchased a Dell Chromebook 7310... the model recommended by "mrchromebox," who writes the custom firmware for booting directly to Linux without a fuss on these. And I bought it with an i3 processor, not a Celeron, because come on, sometimes I have to get work done. Looks like I can also upgrade the SSD on that model.

I'll be flipping the two Samsungs on eBay. Yes, I had bought a second to see if I was responsible for the problems with the first. Since I have to disclose that the cases were opened, I might do better to donate them to a school. That way I get both karma and a tax writeoff. But it sounds like those writeoffs will be less important under the Trump tax code. I hate that this might influence my life choices in any way.

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5/12 '18 5 Comments
According to this episode ( https://twit.tv/shows/this-week-in-google/episodes/456?autostart=false ) of TWIG, they're working on a setup where you can run Linux inside Chrome OS. It sounds like they might be a bit far from where you want them to be, but I thought you might want to know that it's on the horizon somewhere...
Check @ about 4:20 if you're curious.
Sounds like an adventure, but it had to feel good once you got it to work!

(ffmpeg! such an unfriendly but amazing software. I think my message to their mailing list received a response akin to "well, if you read the source code it will become obvious that....")
Chris Herdt 5/13 '18
Yes. ffmpeg is the quintessential "screw you if you don't get it" software.
Thomas Boutell 5/13 '18