Tagged With digital media
A perennial theme around Lifehacker in recent weeks has been the fact that TV networks are a bit clueless about the modern world. Turns out the cluelessness runs pretty deep.
Windows only: You've got a hard drive filled with media, but no idea what you want to watch or listen to next. Pick Me produces a list of random files for you to choose from. Pick Me is a really, truly tiny application (about 122k) with a singular function. You point Pick Me at a directory and it returns the number of random files you specify. Sure, many media tools like iTunes have a random shuffle feature, but what if you want to "shuffle" other kinds of files, or work outside a single library? >Pick Me generates random file lists for any kind of file type. You can filter based on extension to create lists of movies, images, or whatever random goodness you seek. The response time is snappy, too. On a 1TB drive packed with media, Pick Me returned the results in a matter of seconds. If your problem is really needing something new altogether, make sure to check out previously reviewed TasteKid and Jinni for movie recommendations or Muffin Music and I Like B-Sides for new music suggestions. Pick Me is donationware, Windows only.
Starting with iTunes 7, the popular digital media app began separating content into different categories based on type—Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audiobooks, etc. It's a nice feature, but what if you liked the consolidated view better? Macworld suggests a simple solution: Create an all-inclusive Smart Playlist. For example: The method I use is to create a new smart playlist (Command-Option-N) and then set the condition to Size - is greater than - 0MB, and check the Live Updating box. That's it; you've now got a smart playlist that will show you everything in iTunes, and update each time you add new content.
The author is quick to point out that while this method does the trick (on both Windows and Mac, mind you), it isn't quite the same as the old consolidated library, namely because a smart playlist is still buried in your playlists rather than sitting atop your sidebar. If you're on a Mac, the post describes how you can go one step further by making a couple of Terminal tweaks that will add the consolidated library back to the top of your Library. Of course, if you've been using previously mentioned Secrets—the preference pane that unlocks Leopard's hidden features—you can apply this tweak from the iTunes section of the handy app with the tick of a checkbox.
Windows only: Clone2Go is an easy to use bulk video converter. It supports a wide variety of input formats such as: WMV, FLV, MPEG4, AVI, and 3GP. You can output to an equally as wide variety of formats to ensure you can transfer your media to portable devices like the iPod, Zune, and mobile phones. Clone2Go supports batch processing so you can load it up let it convert unattended. The encoding rate is rather snappy and the GUI is easy to navigate. An added bonus if you find yourself frequently snagging video files for your portable devices off of YouTube and Google Video, is integration with the sites. There is a pro version of the software that allows you to save custom profiles— the free version allows you to customise your settings as much as you like but not save the custom conversion tweaks you make— and gets rid of the nag screen that pops up after you're done converting. Still the presets in the free version are plentiful, you can tweak them if you need to just without saving, and the nag screen is tolerable in exchange for a free and easy to use converter. For other video encoding alternatives, check out the Five Best Media Converters. Clone2go Free Video Converter
We've all been there: you've downloaded an episode of your favourite TV show to watch on your commute or stream to your living room, but the file you downloaded isn't supported on the device you want to use it with. Once a significant obstacle to enjoying your media anywhere, this problem is easily solved by any number of free media converters. Keep reading for a closer look at the most powerful and easiest to use media converters.
Windows only: Pazera Free Audio Extractor extracts audio from virtually any video file and outputs it to MP3, AAC, AC3, WMA, or WAV formats. Just plug in your video file (it supports AVI, FLV, MP4, MPG, and more) into the program, choose your output type, and let it rip. Pazera takes care of the conversion using previously mentioned command-line tool ffmpeg, and you can set several preference adjustments to get the exact output you want. As an added bonus, Pazera also works as a basic audio-to-audio converter. Pazero Free Audio Extractor is a free download, Windows only. If you're looking to rip DVD straight to an MP3, check out peviously mentioned Free DVD MP3 Ripper. Pazera Free Audio Extractor
If you prefer sticking to the speed of the command line whenever possible, weblog CatsWhoCode details how to use Ffmpeg—the cross-platform command-line tool that runs in the background of most popular media conversion tools—to convert video, audio, and images to just about any format.
The popular open-source VLC media player has released a significant update with an interface refresh for Windows, Linux, and Unix, improved playlist and media library tools, and a whole lot more. The release, codenamed Grishenko, also adds support for more input and codec types, which means that the media player that you can always count on to play back any file you throw at it has gotten even better. VLC 0.9.2 displays album art, includes a metadata editor, scrobbles to Last.fm, and even includes YouTube video support (just give VLC the URL of the video you want to watch). VLC media player is free for all platforms. While you're getting cozy with the new version, be sure to check out how to master your digital media with VLC. VLC media player
The Australian radio industry has been talking up the potential of digital radio -- better signal, multiple channels, on-screen information such as who's talking or what track is playing -- for years, but never seems to progress much beyond limited trials. The situation doesn't seem to be improving. Neil Shoebridge reports in today's Australian Financial Review (the paper that doesn't put its articles online, so no link, sorry) that a previous plan for full-scale capital city digital radio broadcasts to commence in January next year has now been entirely abandoned. May looks like the earliest possible starting point, and with a government deadline of July 1, further delays wouldn't really surprise me.
When I've played with digital radios before, I've been impressed with the sound and liked the extra info, but it seems to me that until we've actually got channels up and running with content you can't get on conventional radio, no-one's going to get that excited. Even then, the massive growth in online radio might have killed digital radio before it even began. Do you find the concept of digital radio tempting? Is your current car radio good enough for you? Have you abandoned conventional radio for podcast nirvana? Broadcast your thoughts in the comments.
Save a little time by fast-tracking through podcast intro chatter and cutting off movie credits in iTunes by using the custom Start and Stop times on your songs and videos. Macworld explains that you can right-click on the item in question, and choose Get Info. In the Options tab, check off Start Time or Stop Time to set it. (Use this same technique to create a perfectly timed interval training iTunes playlist for your next trip to the gym or the track.) If you convert the item to another file format, only the snippet will go into the new file. iTunes' Start and Stop Times