Downloading online videos

Twice this week I’ve answered questions about capturing online videos for research purposes. Scholars who are doing research based on clips of historical commercials are worried that their source materials may become unavailable and that their research will be more difficult to complete or share if this happens. This is the step-by-step how-to that will allow you to capture video from sources like Youtube, GoogleVideo, YahooVideo, and other online video hosts for educational purposes.

These instructions are for users on the Windows operating system.

Before you start it will simplify things if you create a project folder somewhere on your computer where you will store the videos you capture. For example, right click on the desktop and create a new folder. Call it something meaningful like youtubeVideos. There are 3 stages to the entire process: downloading, converting, and burning a disc.

Part 1: downloading the .flv file

  1. Download and install the YoutubeDownloader from
  2. Start the new application by double clicking the new icon that should have just appeared on your desktop.
  3. In your browser find the video you’d like to capture. Copy its url (highlight and ctrl+C or right click > copy) from the address bar at the top of your browser. (starts with http://www. )
  4. Paste the url in the first empty box of the downloader where it says “Enter video url.” (ctrl+V or right click > paste)
  5. Select Download video from Youtube and then click Ok.
  6. Locate the file that you just downloaded. It will either be on your desktop or in your default save folder. Drag and drop it into the folder you created for this project.

You’re already halfway there.

Part 2: converting the file to something playable

  1. In the same YoutubeDownloader box you’ll see a browse button to the right of the first blank box. Click on it and navigate to the file you just downloaded. If you moved it to the project folder it should be easy to find. If you can’t find it you can do a system search for media > videos > .flv
  2. Select the file to be converted. Check “Convert video previously downloaded.” Click on Ok.
  3. When it’s done processing a .mov file should now be in the folder.

Part 3: Burning a disc of the .mov files

  1. Open your burning software (Nero/NTI/etc). Select create new data disc.
  2. Browse to your project folder.
  3. Select the .mov files you’d like to burn.
  4. Burninate!

Facebook Tip

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Are you suffering Facebook Frustration because no one comments on your status updates? Just like blogging, a good way to attract visitors to your site is to interact with the community by commenting on other people’s sites. The more you comment elsewhere the more chance others will see your name and stop by to visit on your page. Make sense?

Upload to Flickr via Digikam

I know there are a few digiKam users reading this blog. (Rob, this post is for you.) There’s no excuse now for not putting more photos up on your flickr accounts! Look under File > Export > Export to Flickr in the digiKam main window. It’s easy-peasy to upload a single photo or photos in a batch.

Do it!

Here’s a picture I uploaded via the digiKam flickr plugin. It was taken last Saturday night at the Moon in June race in Windsor, Ontario. The boy on the left was 1st place boy in the 200m dash and the one on the right was first in his age group in the 1km race. w00t!


Back to SUSE

Spring break this year provided time for a needed format and reinstall. Leaving were an old install of windows x64 that I hadn’t used in a year or two, the current windows xp which I booted most often in case I wanted some photoshop tools, and an install of suse 10.2 that I hadn’t used much since I finished my C course last April.

I did the backup, Rob did the reinstall but by the time that was done I had a major paper due so I spent those hours on my laptop instead of the desktop since the laptop was all set to go and the new install of Suse 10.3 would need hours of tweaking (and remembering how to tweak since I’m still a Linux newb).

Finally today I got the machine turned on again and started digging around. I installed my favourite extensions in Firefox:

and decided that it’s time now to put some real effort into for syncing bookmarks. The profile backup I did in Windows with MozBackup won’t be easy to bring into Linux — I figure I’ll have to restore it on a second profile on my laptop then import the bookmarks into Delicious. If only I’d saved the bookmarks.html file before I formatted…

I also decided to install Chatzilla — since I’ve joined LinuxChix and plan to join in the irc there.

Then it was over to Thunderbird to start setting up some email and the addon I’ve been missing the most: Lightning. Lightning is the schedule, task and calendar add-on that works inside of Thunderbird. I started using it in the late fall and it was exactly what I’ve been needing. There’s a quick task list that is visible from the mail pane and the calendar allows multiple calendars so that I can categorize and track the many activities and people in the house (and my own multiple identities – heh).

I downloaded Lightning without any problem but it wouldn’t install because I’m running 64-bit Linux. Then I found this hack:

Hack for 64 bit Linux users
by p stucke on March 15, 2008 (rated 10)
This add-on can be installed on a 64 bit Linux system with a small hack.\n\n1. Extract the archive to a folder.\n2. Open install.rdf in a text editor.\n3. Change the following line: Linux_x86-gcc3\nto\nLinux_x86_64-gcc3\n4. Save the file.\n5. Zip the contents (not the entire folder, just the contents) of the folder.\n6. Rename the archive to: lightning-0.7-tb-linux_64.xpi (or something similar)\n7. Install the add-on.\n\nThat\’s it. Upon first launch, the GUI loaded incorrectly, but after a restart, it worked as expected.

Written just 5 days ago and here was the key I needed to get my Lightning working! It took some decoding to unscramble that hard-to-read formatting (\n = new line) but here’s what I realized p stucke was saying:

  1. Extract the archive to a folder.
  2. Did this by right clicking selecting “extract to” and extracting all files into a folder in my home directory (the default location)

  3. Open install.rdf in a text editor.
  4. Navigated to my home directory, found the folder and file, right click > Open with > Other > Utilities > Editor > KWrite. There may have been other choices sooner but this is the one I was familiar with.

  5. Change the following line: Linux_x86-gcc3 to Linux_x86_64-gcc3
  6. Found that line at the bottom of the document and typed in the changes.

  7. Save the file.
  8. No problems here, just saved and closed KWrite.

  9. Zip the contents (not the entire folder, just the contents) of the folder.
  10. Selected everything in the folder, right clicked then Compress > Compress as > Zip Archive.

  11. Rename the archive to: lightning-0.7-tb-linux_64.xpi (or something similar)
  12. Good old F2, same as always.

  13. Install the add-on.
  14. Back to Thunderbird > Tools > Add-ons> Install > navigate to the home folder with the new zip and Open. Everything worked on the first try!

So now it’s just a matter of setting up my tasks and calendars — and all my email addresses of course. ;)

I’m pretty happy.

Talking about Traffic

There’s been an increase in the number of blogs starting up. It’s like we’ve reached some sort of critical mass where many more people know what a blog is than did even a year ago. I see blog after blog with one post (quite often the WordPress “Hello World”) and maybe a “I’m going to use this blog to talk about my self, my navel, my pet turtle, and other trivia” and then nothing after that (but the sounds of summer crickets).

But for those few who find blogging an exciting medium to connect with other minds floating out on the Internets, here’s a very quick stats primer:

When you want to talk about traffic to your blog, tell me about the Unique Visits not the number of Hits.

Every time a visitor loads a page from your site in their browser it may generate any number of hits. For example, every image on the page counts as a hit. You may have one visitor but it might register as 10 (or more) hits. More images on a page adds up to more hits. Can you see that this number isn’t particularly useful?

Unique Visits are much more useful for looking at the actual traffic to your blog. To calculate this number, the IP address of each visitor is counted once. This number reflects the number of visitors who actually came to your site to see what’s up with you today. Page views add a bit more information, collecting information on how many pages each visitor opened.

For more detail, check out this old page here. It’s from 2005 but is still a good explanation.