Convert YouTube for your iPod

FREE software to convert your favorite YouTube videos for your iPod.

Convert YouTube for iPod

The program I use, SUPER, can re-encode video from and to the most common and some not so common formats. But here’s a quick way to save youtube vids to your iPod.

Use Mozilla Firefox

What sets Firefox apart from the rest are the add-ons that vastly improve your functionality. Download and install Firefox.

The best video downloader add-on is aptly named VideoDownloadHelper – you can get it here.
You simply click on the Add to Firefox button and it’s all done. Most times with add-ons you need to restart your browser, but Firefox remembers and will re-open all your windows.

Video DownloadHelper

After Video DownLoadHelper is installed a new icon will be added to your tool bar:

Video DownLoadHelper icon - inactive

Go to YouTube and find the video you want to convert. Once the video starts playing the icon is activated:

Video DownloadHelper icon - active

Next, click on the tiny, little arrow to the right of the icon and choose the option with the .flv extension. (.flv signifies Flash Video, the format which all YouTube videos are encoded.):

Video DownloadHelper - choose the flv extension

By default, Firefox saves all downloads to your desktop. You can change that by going to Tools>Options and then browse to a different folder. Whatever your preference.

Download SUPER

Next you’ll need to download and install SUPER, download (here). Or, if you’re like me and absolutely suspicious of any free downloads, you can Google “super” and it comes up usually the first choice. Here’s the official link to the SUPER site. I offered a download link through flatheadenterprises.com simply because when you go through the official SUPER site, you’re led through a maze of links until you can finally download the software, and my lack of patience finds that rather annoying. I don’t know how long it will be free, but it is now and it will re-encode any video format.

Install and open SUPER then click, drag and drop your video into the window as indicated in the image below. Next, choose the format for your output container. Digital video is actually a container that holds a separate video stream and audio stream. In the top left of the program is the Select the Output Container, choose the Apple – iPod iPhone selection. Then simply click the encode button and SUPER will convert your video to the iPod format.

SUPER video encoder

The default folder that your video will be saved or encoded to is C:\Program Files\eRightSoft\SUPER\OutPut on windows machines. Mac users can use Super Video Converter for Mac 1.0, for FREE encoding software.

Afterwards, open up iTunes and add your new video.

Comments are welcome and encouraged.

Note:
Right-click anywhere in SUPER for the menu to change any of the configuration options.

Have Fun!

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2 WordPress Lessons Worth Remembering

wordpress_logo.pngWordPress is an open source blog application which is widely used because of it’s functionality, adaptability and inherent SEO-friendly structure. Anyone interested in blogging should seriously consider WordPress. The latest release is WordPress 2.7. For those of us upgrading from the previous release to WordPress 2.7, the upgrade was not necessarily seamless, but then it seldom is. Several new features were added which will greatly increase functionality, yet, as usual, some plugins and themes have caused problems or broken your blog.

This time out, I started a new blog fresh with 2.7 and upgraded two others from 2.6. The initial installation of the fresh install got jacked because I tried to use all my old plugins. After nearly 10 hours of trying to figure out how to resolve the issues, I deleted the entire root directory and started over. The second installation was problem free mainly because before installing any plugins, I checked one place first.


Lesson #1:

Check the plugin compatibility page BEFORE installing plugins for any new WordPress Release.

I was starting a new blog, but I liked my old plugins and knew how to configure them. Some of my old plugins were redundant because the new Worpress release built them into the application. However, I learned that some of the newer plugins worked better or had added features, ultimately requiring less to mess with, which is always better.

Fixing the upgrade

When initially upgrading from 2.6 to 2.7 everything seemed to work at first, but then my editor broke along with title tags and a few other minor annoyances.

In this case a clean install of WordPress was out of the question. We had hundreds of posts and dozens of subscribers. But I ultimately not only fixed the broken blog, but improved it.

Lesson #2:

Clean your WordPress database periodically.

Before messing with your database, make sure to back it up.

After backing up your database, export it into a comma-separated-values (csv) file or text file and look through it. You may find some interesting entries that you had no idea were there. Afterwards, there is a wonderful tool to find any unnecessary records that could be causing problems now or may cause unexplained issues in the future. If you’ve tried out a number of different plugins and either they didn’t work, or you decided not to use them, remnants still exist in your database.

I highly recommend the Clean-Options plugin. Clean-Options checks through your WordPress database for orphaned options. The “options” table in your database holds the info for your plugins. If Clean-Options does not find an option with a “get_option” or “get_settings” referenced in any of your PHP files, it will display the record as orphaned and allow you to drop that database record. Dropping a database record is the same as deleting.

Please be careful not to delete any shared resources. Only delete records that directly reference a plugin that is deprecated or not in use. I’ve used this plugin to reconfigure revisions of plugins as well. For example, the All-in-one-SEO-pack plugin wasn’t working right, so I dropped all the all-in-one database records, reinstalled and everything was great.

WordPress is touted as an application for those who are not particularly tech-savvy. If you are not tech-savvy and run into issues with your blog, as you will from time to time, if can be a monstrously frustrating experience. These are just two simple tips to help you avoid pulling out your hair if you’re a newbie.

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Vista Already Dead? – Test Windows 7

Windows VistaVista is on it’s way out. Windows beta testers are being summoned to try out the new and improved OS offering from Microsoft. In an email that went out recently to a select few (myself NOT included) Microsoft stated that the latest version is not available yet, but the Windows squad is assembling a “great team” of beta testers.

If interested you check out what’s going on here:

Windows7 – windows 7 beta info

Windows Server 2008R2 – a sneak peak at Windows Server 2008 R2

Beta tester perks:

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Wipe Your Hard-Drive Clean and Start Over

Update: This article was written in 2008, and while much of it is still relevant, DBAN has had issues with some newer hardware and Operating Systems (i.e. Vista, Win7)

A 3 step process to save your data and clean your computer, once and for all (until the next time).

Microsoft Windows

This tutorial is primarily for Microsoft Windows users, however the FREE software is cross-platform

There are times when all else fails. You’ve tried everything and none of it worked. Your computer is so messed up you can’t deal with it anymore and it’s time to do something drastic. The good news is you don’t have to lose everything to do it. I wipe my drives clean once a year minimum, sometimes more.

Why…? Because they get messed up.

No matter how careful you are (and I’m not); drivers, configuration files, shared resources and many of the hundreds of thousands of files needed to run your windows machine are going to get corrupted. It’s a fact of life. Seconds after you bought your computer it became a dinosaur. Technology is moving forward at a blistering pace and our computers are constantly updating themselves but sometimes with disastrous results. Or, you may have gotten infected with a virus that will not go away. Whatever the case, it becomes necessary from time to time to start all over again.

Tools:

Thumb-drive or Flash-drive

An 8 Gigabyte Flash drive can be had at geeks.com for under $25. A 64 GB Flash Drive (largest they make as of this writing) will run about $150. I’m always looking for FREE or really cheap. If you think you’ll use a 64 GB Flash Drive often, go for it. If your Flash Drive is large enough to store all the data you need, you won’t need to back it up onto a CD/DVD, however, it’s still a good idea to backup your docs on a disk from time to time. If you store everything in My Documents, you can find out real quick how much you have.

Great Deals @ Geeks.com!

  • Right mouse-click on the My Documents folder and click on Properties.

Right-click on My Documents and go to Properties

CD or DVD Burner and blank discs

Burning your photos, music and other documents onto a CD or DVD is a great way to backup your data. I recommend doing it once or twice a year as an individual or monthly if you’re using your computer for business purposes. If you have a choice between CDs or DVDs, definitely go with DVDs. DVDs are sturdier in construction and hold up to 4.7 Gigs of data as opposed to 700 Mb on a CD. Double-sided DVDs can hold 8.5 Gigs. If you have a Blu-Ray burner, use that. Blu-Rays hold 25-50 Gigs of data and are built to last. CDs have about a five year life with moderate use. Blu-Ray Discs and DVDs can last 15-25 years with moderate use. If you’re using them solely for backup purposes, they’ll last much longer than that.

Darik’s Boot-n-Nuke

Darik Horn’s FREE software for wiping your hard drive clean. Download the software here. If you plan on selling or disposing of a computer, I recommend using DBAN to erase any data first. When you delete a file on your computer, it doesn’t actually go away. It’s simply moved to a different location and written over. If you haven’t deleted that many files, chances are you or whoever gets your computer, can retrieve almost every file ever deleted. Scary right.

CAUTION!

No really, once this program gets started it’s too late. The download is an .iso file or disk image file. It requires a program like Nero Burning Rom, MagicISO or PowerISO to run. If you don’t have any of those and are digging this FREE thing, you can download ISO RECORDER for XP and Vista and install that first. Create a boot-able CD and you’re ready to roll.

Then, simply put the disk in the drive and do a restart. Your system should boot from the CD, but if not, do another restart but watch for a really quick message that tells you which key (f8 usually for Vista – f12 usually for xp) to push to get to the Boot From menu. Once there choose boot from CD. Once your computer boots from the CD you’ll see the Linux OS begin to load followed by a prompt asking you to type in one word: autonuke. Make sure you’re ready, because there’s no turning back after this step.

Depending on the size of your hard drive and speed of your processor this can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days.

Windows OS CD or DVD (win2k, XP, Vista)

Most computers you buy today DO NOT come with the operating system (OS) disks. The disks included are usually driver files for recovery purposes and junk software you don’t need. In many cases you can request the company to send you the OS disks, but they’ll often charge you for shipping or other fees. If you have the license, why should you have to pay for the software again? There are FREE options available, which I will not go into here, but contact me if you’re interested.

Finally the steps

STEP ONE

1. Backup all your data onto a flash drive, CD or DVD. If possible, copy your entire My Documents folder over. If your computer is a Dell, HP, Gatway, Compaq or other well known brand go to the manufacturer’s website and download all the necessary drivers for your machine. If you are changing from Vista to XP or vice-versa, make sure you download the correct drivers. Make sure you have all the serial numbers for each program you want to reinstall. If you use Microsoft Office and have no idea what the serial number is, there are FREE programs to retrieve that information. Check out these: Belarc Advisor or Magic Jellybean Finder. If you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express you’ll need to export your Personal Folders or .pst files and copy that separately.

Outlook Steps:

  • Open Outlook, go to File then Import and Export

Outlook Import Export

  • Next click on Export to a File

Export to a File

  • Click on Personal Folder File

Personal Folder File

  • Make sure to choose the top folder – Personal Folders

Choose Personal Folders

  • Finally, browse to a location to save the file and rename it to something that means something to you.

Browse to location to save to and rename

Include that .pst file in with all the other docs you’re saving.

STEP TWO

Place the Darik’s Boot-n-Nuke Disk in your CD or DVD drive and restart your computer.

As mentioned above, it’s going to take a while. The program begins and after 5 or 10 minutes the window will display how much time is left to erase your hard drive.

STEP THREE

Remove the Boot-n-Nuke disk, put your Windows OS disk in and restart your computer.

That’s basically it right? Sort of…

After Windows installs, each of your programs will need to be re-installed, along with all of the Windows updates and plugins.

Make sure to include all of these when updating your computer:

It’s a pain in the butt, I know…

But your newly refreshed computer will buzz along faster than ever and everything will work right, at least until you screw it up again.

peace out.

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