Live-Streaming, MicroBroadcasting Redux

Live-Streaming apps for smartphones have seen a surge in interest in the last year.  Meerkat and Periscope (now Twitter) leapt onto the scene nearly at the same time and captured the imagination of a new crop of people anxious to share their experiences as they are happening – in real time.

Why the sudden interest?

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WebRTC, HIPAA and Turn-ONLY

HIPAA-compliance is a complicated subject. There are some best practices that are easy to comprehend, and then there are many gray areas with no clear guidance. In a very short summary, for a web-service to be HIPAA compliant, it must ensure that PHI (Protected Health Information) is well protected, and that accesses to PHI are logged for auditing. This places some clear requirements on the providers of a web-service.

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  • The servers and database must be secured. A private network and even physical security may be required.
  • Administrator access must be logged.
  • Data should be encrypted while at rest.

These requirements can be onerous, but common best-practices are emerging too. Companies providing “HIPAA-as-a-service” are emerging. (see below.) Aptible, for one, lets you develop your web application using common technologies like Rails or Node, PostgreSQL or Redis, but deploys it to a secure private cloud that they manage for you.

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APIs can be Inspiring

In today’s world of “platforms-as-a-service” the API is the product.  A well-designed API can, of itself, inspire ideas and creativity.  The best APIs present a beautiful interface and are accompanied by tutorials and code examples that get the creative juices flowing.  APIs can be inspiring.

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Build ffplay and ffmpeg 2.6.2 on Mac OSX 10.10.2

Every few years we desperately need ffmpeg and ffplay for some reason. The ffmpeg suite is my go-to swiss-army knife for whipping video into shape. Unfortunately, the compilation process is sometimes difficult. Here is a summary of the recipe I used to build these tools on OSX 10.10.2. It was not straightforward.

The main pain-point seemed to be getting SDL-1 to build. (https://www.libsdl.org) I tried using SDL-2 to get ffplay to compile, but these two do not seem to work together. SDL-1 needed some manual edits to get it going. Whew.

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