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 http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/
  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!

Yahoo and Flickr: ’til death do us part


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There’s unrest about the latest development over at Flickr. As of March 15th 2007, old skool members will be required to retire their old flickr logins and use a yahoo id to access their accounts. Yahoo and its supporters call this a ‘merge’, hardcore old skoolers call it abandonment.

Take a look at how some are showing their feelings, via flickr’s tagging mechanism. Nothing like dismantling the master’s house with the master’s tools la Audre Lorde:

* NOT FOUND *

I know I’m tempted to drop my account — I hate being forced to join a MegaCorp(TM). I feel like the local bookstore who was put out by Chapters, the local fruit market taken over by Loblaws, the many many many shops forced under by Walmart. Sure, maybe the merge may feel seamless, but when a community is overtaken by something powerful against its will you have to start wondering what is next – it’s a slippery slope… Start removing choices one by one so that people don’t complain too much or too loudly and soon it’s a dictatorship.

Drop your account or create a Yahoo! id: what’ll it be?

More on Bookmarks

marshallkirkpatrick’s blog post on NetSquared yesterday is a perfect find for those hunting for a bookmarks manager: “Tips on choosing a social bookmarking tool” starts with del.icio.us (owned by Yahoo now – did you know?), and includes Furl, Ma.gnolia and MarkaBoo.

I started with del.icio.us yesterday, imported my bookmarks from Firefox, took one look at the mess it made and spent an hour trying to delete and reorganize. I ended up deleting the account and starting over – this time importing no bookmarks. (more…)

Calendar Apps

I’m looking for a nice, useful and usable web-based calendar-organizer application for organizing my ever increasing crazy life. I’m already a happy Mozilla user of Firefox and Thuderbird so checked to see what the Mozilla team had for me. It turns out, not much. Lightning and Sunbird, while they have nice names, are still too much in development for me to take my chances. I’m okay with bugs like “data loss” when I’m just playing around but when there are important meetings with important people to keep organized, I need something a little more reliable. (This as of June 2006). (more…)