Archive for July, 2008

Web tools for video/audio extraction

Posted in Technology with tags , , , , on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 by Deems

Ever wanted an audio clip of a music video you saw on YouTube or wanted to keep the video you saw on YouTube on your hard drive for later viewing or sharing with friends? Well here’s a short list of a few websites that offer just that:

Vid2Mp3 – copy and paste the YouTube URL and it gives you an MP3 link to download – bearing in mind quality of MP3 will be that of the audio in the video, and low-res videos will probably have mono audio.

MediaConverter – converting videos from a number of portals to just about any audio format.

CatchVideo.Net – paste the YouTube URL and specify the output video and/or audio format.

If you have any others, please pass them on via comments to this post.

Fight against SPAM!

Posted in Technology with tags , , , on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 by Deems

I just came across this beaut of a site. Ever wanted to register for a website that required you to give your email address so that it could send you an email to authenticate before you could browse around? Ever used your own email address, only to find that from that day forward your inbox suddenly becomes exponentially flooded with spam, seemingly out of nowhere?

Well, then I’ve got just the answer for you, for those occasions. It’s called 10-Minute Mail. Just go take a look for yourself on their page how it works – and if you need this temporary account to last another 10 minutes – just click on the link on the inbox page to keep it “alive” for another 10 minutes – simple!

Home Entertainment Deluxe!

Posted in Technology with tags , , , on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 by Deems

Ever since DVDs and Home Theatre Systerms were available I’ve had one of my own. My current setup includes a  Sony Home Theatre System, a 29″ Philips PureFlat TV, a Sony DVD Player as well as a Philips DVD Player for playing DivX movies since my Sony doesn’t and I didn’t want to get rid of it, since I’m such a Sony-fan! Yes, I know it’s not the very latest and biggest, I’m only a software developer after all, and I have a family to feed :-)

If you’re wondering, if he’s such a Sony fan, why a Philips TV then? Well, when we came back to SA, I really wanted to get a nice Sony TV but, living in SA, support for international products isn’t the greatest and Philips in SA (at the time) was better, with better guarantee on the tube, etc (plus this Philips has PiP support which is very useful with kids).

Bragging? No, this is the real reason I’m posting this – not to brag but show you what’s capable if money is no object. I came across a post today of Jeremy Kipnis’ Most Expensive Home Theatre System. If you’ve got US$6m to spare, here’s how you can use it – if not, go take a look anyway – the only thing I’d change is the couches to multiple lazy-boys instead! :-)

Custom Admin Panel in Windows XP/Vista

Posted in Technology with tags , , on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 by Deems

If you’re anything like me, you like order and accessibility. I like the most common programs I use at the top of my Start Menu so that I don’t have to navigate the All Programs section every time I want to run an app I want to use. So, if you like doing your own admin on your machine and do admin-type things often then I’m sure you’ll find this post useful, if you’ve not done it yourself already.

To have one monitor, or more than one, that is the question.

Posted in Technology with tags , on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 by Deems

Thought I’d keep this post separate from the previous so it could have it’s own comments.

Ever since the ability to have more than one monitor on a single machine I’ve been a fan of dual monitors. I just feel it’s so much more productive to have certain things on certain screens so that you can quickly glance from one screen to the other rather than having to ALT-TAB between them. Like coding on the main monitor and having a reference book/website open on the other monitor or a media player on the secondary while working on the primary. I would rather prefer working with two monitors than one big wide-screen monitor (although I’ve not worked on a wide-screen long enough to say for sure, but they do look damn sexy!).

So, what’s your preference?

Tuesday stuff…

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 by Deems

Yeah, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title for this post, so that’s it. We had a nice daddy-daughter day yesterday with my eldest. Starting with a follow-up visit to the chiro and then went to visit mom at her office and brought lunch with us too.

We then took a drive to a nearby place where kids can take pony-rides but unfortunately no one was availabe, so we went to the local mall amusement park instead. Why is it that when you show kids, “look, these are the coins we have for the various games, once they’re up, they’re up” that they’re keen to accept that fact, yet when the last coin is used up, they insist you get more. Why should the fun stop just because some flat-metal discs have all been used up, after all there’s a magic machine over there that spits them out for you! Anyway, after a few trips to the token machine and lots of various games we headed across the way for a milkshake (and to my surprise, a breakfast request too, after we alredy had lunch!). What is it with kids metabolism that some days they’ll refuse to eat and others they wont stop!? We then rented a couple kiddie DVDs and picked up my younger little one from the creche so that they could watch them before supper that evening. All in all a good day (nice weather too, mind you, for the middle of winter).

This morning I had an appointment with the principal of the primary school in our neighbourhood to prepare for next year’s intake of Grade 1’s. I cannot believe my eldest daughter is going to “big” school next year!? Let me tell you, it was a weird feeling being in the principal’s office again, especially since it was more than 15 years ago that I last was in one (no, I wasn’t misbehaving, much). I found it interesting that apperently principals aren’t allowed to “interview” the kids before they join the school anymore – I would have thought that would have been a great way to assess which kids got placed into which classes (proficiencies, etc). Oh well, guess it’s just the normal paper-work and then comes the big spender, like school uniforms, books, writing implements, etc!

I came across this post this morning, on Lifehacker about nifty little add-ons for Windows Explorer (mostly Windows XP only) to add more powerful and useful functionality to your existing file manager. With the exception of add-ons like TeraCopy, I’m usually one of those that has tried and installed quite a few add-ons but the fad soon wears off and I forget about them. But maybe there’s one or two there to your liking that might make your day a little bit more productive (either at home, or at the office). I guess it’s one of those “old habbits die hard” type of things and you just fall back into doing things the way you always did, before all these nice little extras were invented. I stil find myself doing odd things at times like looking through directories in a command window! Ahh, the days of DOS.

Tangled up in the World Wide Web

Posted in Technology with tags , , , , , , on Saturday, 26 July 2008 by Deems

I remember back in the day, when we were first introduced to the Internet in South Africa in the early 90’s, things seemed so much simpler back then. You had a website (or a single page, if you were lucky) that you could put up for the world to see – well the world, back then being your friends and family who saw it on your PC screen, as it would take about a year to be indexed, if at all!

Well that was Web 1.0, today we’re bombarded with Web 2.0! Interacting with people, social networking, rich media – where do you start, where do you go? Nowdays you not only have to keep your website updated, but your blog, your professional networking profile and your social networking profile. Nevermind all the emails you have to wade through, and don’t get me even started on SPAM!

How do you communicate with people online? Before, it was just email. Then tools like PowWow and ICQ appeared and we had an easier and instant way of communicating with people all over the world. Add, audio, video teleconferencing and it’s like you’re there! Heck, even surgeons are training and consulting using these kinds of tools today! What will it be like 2 to 3 generations from now? Will we be born with microchips embedded in our brains, already linked up to the super highway (well, except for in SA where we’re still about 5 to 10 years behind everyone else)?

Do you speak “Kids”?

Posted in General with tags on Saturday, 26 July 2008 by Deems

I went for my orientation session at the new company yesterday, after lunch, and found it interesting to learn how they do things, who does what, and what’s important to them – people! One of the main reasons I signed up with them. I can’t understand how companies (big ones too!) don’t focus on their people, their most valuable resource. But I digress…

Later that afternoon we had a socialising session with drinks and snacks and I got to meet quite a few people – nice, friendly and easy to talk to people. I’m quite excited about starting there in a week’s time! I was chatting to a colleague – mutual friend of another friend of mine – who also has a child (a son, who will be two at the end of this year) and it was interesting how quickly a topic of conversation can focus on children when the parties chatting have kids.

Even later on in the evening I was at home and I gave another friend (and ex-colleague) of mine a call, who’d just become a father on Monday, and the majority of our 40-minute conversation was… you guessed it, kids! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I just find it interesting. I guess it stems from the fact that as a parent, you’re really proud of what you had a part in creating. Even our local DJ (who recently became a dad) finds it intriguing. He echos the same thoughts as I have about kids, so instead of repeating myself you can read further what he has to say.

Vacation, I want one too!

Posted in General with tags , on Thursday, 24 July 2008 by Deems

I was told this afternoon, that my eldest daughter told my wife this morning, that she too wants to have a “vacation day” like Daddy. How can anyone say no to something like that? Kids, eh?

:-)

Unfortunately I’ve already got plans tomorrow with my new employer but I think Monday I’ll surprise her and pick her up from school, early in the morning, for a treat, just the two of us. Just have to think up something creative now.

A day of many things…

Posted in General with tags , , , on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 by Deems

Right, so I got off my @ss after spending three days of doing pretty much nothing and vegging, well why not, I’m on leave after all!

Did some shopping, did some needed DIY around the house and later this afternoon meeting the BLI boys for leaving drinks, another end of an era, but I’m sure we’ll still be in touch in some or other way, shape or form, in the future.

Hmmm, a little dissapointed with final episode of Amazing Race last night – I guess the whole reality-TV show is getting a bit old now. Watched WALL-E with the kids the other day and it was pretty good. Amazing how about 30 mins of the movie without any dialogue (other than “Waaaall-E” and “Eeeeeva”) actually wasn’t boring but quite entertaining. Nice message throughout the movie, which I doubt kids will get immediately but I’m sure it will sit in their subconsciousness.

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