Lake of Flowers Productions

The notepad

This blog'ish page contains fresh information on all the small stuff going on at Lake of Flowers Productions. You wouldn't call it a blog — let's call it a notepad.

December 3, 2006

Problem with comments was fixed. A database connection wasn't established after the recent server move with some login details wrong, they are straight now.
 
• There is now a "Daily Entry" image you can include on your website:
 
Lake of Flowers Daily
 
You can add it to your site by pasting in the following HTML-code:
 

November 29, 2006

Problem with file downloads with some browsers has been fixed. Some users had reported an issue where the browser prompted for saving the file as index.php due to the dynamic URL used for redirecting the user to the actual file.
 
• Added proper smilie support for the news system. :)
 
The releases-page – and alas, it was manually updated! – is a bit redundant now with the RSS feeds in place (see the bottom of the page), and is therefore removed.

May 19, 2006

Thursday's audio release is regrettably late due to technical difficulties, the entry from Kartta Krishna Das Baba's festival is waiting in some sort of limbo-state, waiting for someone to go and kick the server. Hopefully everything will resolve in the course of the day.

May 6, 2006

The newsletter system called for some maintenance. With the mailing list growing, it no longer is resource-friendly to send everything at once, I had to code in a batch-feature to send e-mail in increments. (Tip of the day: Use an e-mail address beginning with "A" to get yours first. smile)
 
While working on the mailing list script, I removed some duplicate addresses from the database and contacted some, who had subscribed but hadn't confirmed their accounts. Most of them probably had the confirmation messages go straight into their spam folders. We need to keep the list double opt-in to ensure that the owner of the e-mail address has subscribed himself.

April 24, 2006

A new kind of banner is now available at the affiliate section. This dynamically generated item displays the latest featured items from our site in a neat 160x300 px box and is automatically updated. The total size is around 13 KB (6 KB background + 2 x 3 KB thumbnails + 1 KB text).
 
A glance at the upcoming DVD labels
DVD Label
Simple is beautiful, we concluded.
The case labels are still a work in progress.
 

April 23, 2006

The thumbnails are offline temporarily, as we revise the system. I have generated stills of the videos at 10-second intervals, and Vishwajeet has volunteered to shift through them, picking out the best for the galleries. Below, a preview of the thumbnail gallery viewer, and also a glimpse of Gaura Purnima celebrations from 2005, our next week's release. happy

April 21, 2006

The color-allergic among our audience can now find solace in a black-and-white version of the site, you can switch the view from the dropdown menu at the top right of the view. The preference is remembered across visits, if you have cookies enabled in your browser. (I find the red a bit intense myself, as I have to stare at it for substantial periods of time when doing my development work.)
 
• The solution used for making the URLs more clear, mod_rewrite they call it, is proving to be a challenge in some respects, forcing me to create tweaks in the code to make up for its – in my view – illogical behavior. I believe I have it all nailed down now, but if you spot strange behavior on the site, please contact me.
 
Update on the above: FTP links have been fixed. The thumbnail window is still a bit wacky, we are rehauling it altogether, setting up a local thumbnail display.

April 19, 2006

Older entries are currently being re-processed. We are adding title pages and correcting levels and lighting where called for. They'll start appearing one per week, we are updating the files. Updates will be listed on the Releases page, in our RSS newsfeeds and in the weekly newsletter, but won't generally be displayed as featured items on the front page.
 
A new format is coming out! Videos will start becoming available in MPEG4 format, compressed wiht the new and efficient x264 codec from the H264 family. In practical terms, this means that you'll be able to enjoy almost DVD-quality video for a file size equal to our VCD files. Added in the specs for the tech-savvy among our audience.
 
• The tooltip visible when moving the mouse over the file icons now appears above the icon. It used to be below. (As if anyone aside me cares where it is!)

April 17, 2006

• Added a view, "Tracks for the album", to the Audio main page. The tracks were listed before, but it was a mess. Enhanced lists are now visible on both the series page as well as the details page.
 
• The affiliate page now has the password recovery option clearly visible.
 
• The URLs of the site have been converted to a more easily readable format. As follows.
 
Before:
 
After:
 
This change will make copying the addresses and giving them to your friends a more pleasant task. Updated sitemaps to reflect this. Old addresses will keep working as usual, this is a mod_rewrite solution that just masks the clutter.
 
Tip of the day: Tell your friends about Lake of Flowers Productions. There's a box made for you, just for that, at the bottom of each page! smile

April 16, 2006

• Media RSS feeds for audio and video are now complete. These two XML-files contain all available information on the entire Lake of Flowers Productions archive and can be downloaded below:
 
Media RSS for AudioMedia RSS for Video
 
This may not be of much interest to our average user. The files will, however, prove very useful for anyone indexing our archives. They were specifically created for Yahoo's Media search. The RSS feeds have been formated in full compliance to Yahoo's Media RSS Specification and contain most of the optional tags as well. Here's more on the concept of Media RSS itself.

April 15, 2006

• Revised the links-section to include graphics of the sites linked to, should make it a bit more interesting.
 
• I noticed that the Archive has a mirroring system in place. Links are now therefore directed, instead of directly to the original server as it used to be, to their redirect page which directs the download to the closest available location. European and Asian users may experience this as an increase in download speed, the change is otherwise transparent.
 
• Working on Media RSS feeds for Yahoo media search...

April 14, 2006

• The front-page statistics now include the quantity of downloads, too. And some interesting statistics they are. smile The estimates preceding the launch of the new system suggest a total of 1800 GB of material distributed in the 6580 downloads we registered.

April 13, 2006

• The RSS-feed is now in place. It was there yesterday, already, but didn't end up being written here until now. I need to add in the XSL stylesheet to make the file look sensible for those who aren't familiar with RSS-feeds.
 
• Bug fixing, bug fixing... Small anomalies linger around the code, still.
 
• There are now two RSS-feeds, (1) For new releases, pulled directly out the database, and (2) The aggregate of the three news pages, including the Notepad. You can find the links at the bottom of each page, or otherwise below. You can find a tutorial on RSS feeds here – I'll customize it for this site whenever time permits.
 
New releases - RSS feed Miscellaneous news - RSS feed

April 12, 2006

• The commenting feature is now in place. smile You can now tell everyone how much you love all those audio and video clips. Please do! You can also post both public comments and private comments for staff only, and track comments to entries you've commented on.
 
• Another new feature is the , which opens a small popup-window that allows you to easily navigate across the entire catalog of productions.
 
• Added the "Featured this week" column to the front page, concluding the bulk of major updates in progress (pending the DVD store). happy
 
• Polished the small images for each entry in the catalog.
 
• Fine-tuning, fine-tuning... And the news-letter is out now, too. End of day!

April 11, 2006

• Doing slight content restructuring, including the addition of sub-menus to a number of pages for ease of navigation. Some sections of the site have been extended.
 
• Processing the stock of audio files from last visit: filtering out noise, graphic equalizing, normalizing, cutting into individual tracks.

April 10, 2006

• Brought the upcoming section for DVDs a good step forward, employing segments of Code code from an e-commerce application I've been working on. Looking into the details of production and mailing with Tarun Govinda.
 
• Developed a set of tracking tools to see from which sites or search engines people are coming from and what pages they find interesting. We are curious! (Updated our privacy policy to reflect this.)
 
• Fixed the bitrate view for some of the FLAC audio files – for some odd reason, some of them are 44.1kHz, while a couple of them are 48kHz, which makes the bitrates 1411 and 1536 respectively. 1411 is the standard we ought to be having, that's what our current recorder produces out of the box, and that's the standard CD quality as well. (44.1kHz * 2 ch * 16 bits = 1411.2kbps). hide
 
• Reprocessed the Advaita Das Babaji Tirobhava audio files to remove some noise. With my new headphones, I can finally hear a difference! Changed the file naming convention of audio files to indicate lead kirtaniya (ie. _sd.flac, _hkd.flac etc.), making it easier to locate your favorites from amidst downloaded files.
 
• Added a FavIcon for the site. Lake of Flowers FavIcon
 
• Added statistics on what's available at Lake of Flowers Productions, see the front page.
 
• Split the news-section into three sub-pages and added the submenus to the site engine.

April 9, 2006

Reverse hotspot Observing Ekadashi. Videos compressing and uploading on the background. If I start doing more today, somebody come and whack me over the head with something!
 
Fixed a small bug! pinch
 
Hacked together a quick reverse lighting mask for the VirtualDub hotspot filter to improve the lighting and finished processing a 40-minute compilation from Siddha Baba's festival at Govardhan. ('Twas necessary although it's Ekadashi, you can't process sub-standard quality. And no it really didn't take long to accomplish this.)

April 8, 2006

I (Madhava) started the Lake of Flowers Notepad to help people have an idea of what's going on here. Added in events from the beginning of April, since my return to Finland. Here we go.
 
Automated the news and notepad systems to save time with future entries, converted old entries for compatibility with the new system.

April 8, 2006

Added a small contact form to the front page column with hopes of creating contacts more easily. This box now also appears on the error page, hopefully minimizing the amout of visitors who can't find what they were looking for. Additionally, the form there includes a hidden field that logs the url referring to the missing page to help us get stuff fixed.
 
Added a small search box to the Productions area column for ease of locating productions. Features will be added to the search engine as time permits.

April 7, 2006

We now have an informative error page in place. The system tracks both actual missing pages and files as well as typos in dynamic URLs. http://www.lakeofflowers.com/IcantType.html
 
Completed authoring the first DVD, Baba's Teachings Vol. 1, uploaded a compressed draft image file for the rest of the staff to review. Constantly converting more material on the background.
 
DVD    DVD

April 7, 2006

New promo materials are out and available for our affiliates. The curious kid features on the upcoming Gaura Purnima video.

Lake of Flowers Notepad

April 6, 2006

Entries are now sorted by date published DESC by default. Some titles have been revised. Search engine sitemaps have been changed to reflect the revisions.
 
(XML - Google) & (TXT - Yahoo etc.)

April 5, 2006

Coded a series of tools to aid in the maintenance of the file archives after the site engine had been made database-rooted. (1) A tool for creating and editing entries, (2) A tool for parsing Archive.Org file indexes and inserting file data into our database, (3) A tool for editing file entries, and (4) A tool for synchronizing running times in multi-file entries.
 
Our entire range of video productions is now available at Google Video. (Psst! There are some videos there that haven't been officially released yet!)

April 4, 2006

The first batch of revisions is out and announced in the news: (1) Direct links to files available, (2) Entries can be sorted, (3) Search has been added, (4) Links to individual entries are available, (5) Dropdown menus have been inserted to make navigation easier. To-do: Comments add-on, RSS feeds. For reference, the old version of the site is available at http://www.lakeofflowers.com/old/.

April 3, 2006

The Daily Show aired a snipped of Holi footage from our productions in their religion segment. We loved the treatment the clip was given! smile
 
The Daily Show
 
Inserted the entries in our catalog to a database. Coded a tool to automate areas of the process to save time and spare myself from some seriously tedious work.
 
Finished working on the latest festival of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji. The total footage, featuring both the adhivasa and the tirobhava — uncut — lasts a bit over five hours, split into six files.

April 2, 2006

Began authoring the Lake of Flowers DVD series. Footage will be recompressed from the originals with 2-pass and slightly higher bitrates. Motion menus and the rest are being created, let's have it fancy. As for extras – let's see what I come up with.
 
Tentatively, there will be eight DVDs in the first release. Two in the "Baba's Teachings" series and six in the "Vraja Festivals" series, each with around two hours of video, which makes for an average bitrate of around 4000kbps. Expect to see them released in two weeks from now.

March 31, 2006

The style of the intro clip for the videos has been slightly revised. DVD quality - 28 MB (1 min sample.) Title sheets should also be appended to all old entries. I am uncertain, however, when time might permit that. Let's priorize on the new material for now.

March 28, 2006

Alas, our visit to India got stretched by four months. No objections! We're looking forward to returning by mid-September, in time before Kartika. In the meantime, let's take advantage of solid electricity and internet and get things done!
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