Image and Video Handling

Industry-specific file types and leveraging previous work and workflows from yourself and others to avoid creating new one-offs

Today’s Small, Good Thing involved a CD with MRI images from a radiologist’s office. It’s labeled “For Physicians Only,” and while I’m not a doctor, I’ve played one on IRC. The files didn’t open with the default image viewer, but their properties showed they’re all “DICOM image (application/dicom).” A quick search led me to Aeskulap – DICOM Viewer package which installed quickly & easily from standard apt repos. Aeskulap opened the MRI images and let me cycle through them like flipbook videos which I suppose is as-intended.

Small, Good Thing[1] was (re-)discovering Ubuntu’s native screencasting tool via Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R. This captured :30 of my flipping through Aeskulap images at 3840×1080 resolution. Small, Good Thing[2] was ffmpeg’s ability to crop and resize the screencast webm file and spit out a reasonably-sized gif in real-time.

ffmpeg -i Screencast.webm -vf 
"crop=iw/2:ih:0:0, fps=8,
scale=800:-1:flags=lanczos,
split[s0][s1];[s0]palettegen[p];[s1][p]paletteuse" 
-loop 0 Screencast-800w.gif

It took me a minute to get the crop where I wanted, and I grabbed the gif output params from earlier work. All-in it was less time with fewer distractions than it’d take me in Blender. It’s great and greatly-appreciated that people put so much good work into things and make it available.

AdTech-MarTech Convergence

… these approaches are becoming less and less justifiable from an ROI perspective due to the level of machine-learning investment by the big ad tech platforms. We shouldn’t, however, just turn over the keys entirely to platform partners. The strategy evolves to ensuring brands are setting appropriate conversion goals and supplementing the modeling with high-fidelity feedback in the form of their … first-party data and customer segmentation

SugarCRM sorts out Customer Service

SugarCRM does a great job handling reader inquiries for parade.com.

Since implementing Sugar, anytime a reader reaches out online, Sugar’s helping organize and expedite responses to everything being sent.

UPDATE: The folks at Sugar created a case study around our work.

The “system” used to be a block box: there were some mailto links to which readers could send notes to “Ask Marilyn,” or Walter Scott or Tech Support. Sometimes readers got a response, sometimes not.

With the new Sugar system, readers who send notes get a response via the web upon sending, a confirmation via email, and follow-ups once the support team(s) address whatever the issue or comment was.

Every customer contact is accounted for, readers know where they are in the process, and the support groups have much better tools to handle the volume.

It’s been working great, and the majority of the benefits – reporting, using the feedback to improve products (online and print), the chance to turn these readers into repeat customers – haven’t yet started. We’ll continue to add more intelligent workflows, alerts and response templates as real-world examples point the way.

In stark contrast to other platforms we’ve encountered, Sugar itself continues to be a more flexible and friendly product for end users, developers and clients purchasing it.