Linux – Save Youtube, Myspace Videos To Desktop. No Software Needed

I’m using Ubuntu, but this method should work on every Linux distribution.

Copy Youtube, Myspace, Metacafe, DailyMotion, Megafile, MegaVideo Videos to Your Desktop
When you watch a video on Youtube and other popular video file sharing sites, Adobe’s Flash Player is temporarily storing the file in your /tmp directory. Once you leave the page or close the tab on your browser, the file is erased and is irretrievable.

Steps to copy file to your desktop
1. Let the video load on your web browser. You can do this for multiple videos on separate tabs at the same time. The progress bar shows you when the file is completely buffered (e.g. saved to your hard drive).
2. Do not close the browser or leave the pages where the videos are buffered!
3. Find the temporary file
From a terminal window, change to your /tmp directory

cd /tmp

3. List all the files in order of last updated.

ls -tlh

The Flash file(s) that you currently have open in your browser will be listed. They usually start with FLA****
Look for the biggest filesize(s) and you’ll clearly see the video file(s) you are looking for.
4. Copy the the files to your desktop (or anywhere else on your drive). Remember to give them a .flv extension for easier playback of the files.

cp tempfilename ~/Desktop/MyFavoriteTVShow1.flv

Use our other Linux tips to then copy these FLV files to your iPod, Sansa, Creative and other portable mp4 players. Linux is the best, enjoy!

Please share your methods and experiences here.

Free Linux Tools – Convert Media Files to Your Sansa Disk

Sansa Media Player
You bought the Sansa Player and you use Linux. Sansa doesn’t come with Linux support. Have no fear. It’s really easy to convert and copy your favorite media files to your portable Sansa Player.

ffmpeg is a great tool for converting files from one format to another.  The flexibility and capability of this is seemingly endless.  Unfortunately, the manual has about 200 pages at last count, and the trial and error of getting a file into another format requires a lot of patience.

if you don’t already have ffmpeg installed, then use your Linux distro’s package manager and install it with all recommended dependencies.
In Ubuntu and Kubuntu to install ffmpeg type this into your Terminal command prompt

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Convert to Sansa Disk Player Format
I’ve used this method to copy countless FLV & AVI files to my daughter’s Sansa Player.

From a Linux command prompt copy in the following code.  Replace INPUT and OUTPUT with the filename you are converting and the name of the output file

ffmpeg -i INPUT -r 29  -ab 96k -qmax 51 -mbd 2 -flags +4mv+trell -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -ar 44100 -g 300 -s 320×240 -aspect 4:3 -ac 2 -f mp4 -y OUTPUT

You’ll see a progress bar working in your Terminal window. Once it’s completed, simply copy the file over to the Sansa Disk directory. (Assuming you’ve connected it to your computer, it should probably be in /media/disk)

Let us know if this tip helped and/or if you have a better method.

Recover Corrupted Digital Camera Photos – No Software Needed

Digital Camera Photos Corrupted or Unreadable
We’ve all dreaded it. You take hundreds of photos with your digital camera at your daughter’s birthday party or a friend’s wedding, and when you plug in the Compact Flash, or SD card into your reader, and to your dismay the photos are missing or unreadable due to corruption. A friend of mine lost all of his wedding photos since his high-priced wedding photographer corrupted the only CF card that he used to shoot the event. (The photographer should have been shot for only using one card, but that’s a different subject)… He tossed the card after unsuccessfully trying to recover the files. With the technique described below, perhaps he could have saved the images on that card. You do not have to download software to do this procedure.

Don’t throw out that digital card, help is on the way!
With these simple steps you can retrieve all the images from your card. The file images are there, without getting too technical, the problem is usually with the file system on the card, not the image files themselves.

Why did it happen?
Many times the corruption is caused by your digital camera being able to process information faster than the card. The buffer fills up, you as a photo enthusiast keep taking more photos, and then the card misses some info needed to store a file in the packets coming. Usually, the photo taken when the corruption happened will be lost, but all the other files can be retrieved using the steps described here.

How to restore the card in these easy steps

The next time your SD or CF card corrupts (yes, there will be a next time, it happens…), remember not to panic. The key is to recover the corrupted files before trying to write to the card again. Do not take any more photos, do not try to delete photos. First, use the method below to retrieve the corrupted images.  The steps listed below work in Windows XP.  I’m sure they will work in Vista (but I don’t use Vista :), and I’ve had success in Linux as well.

Step 1 Pop the card into a card-reader and attach to your computer.  Find that drive on Windows Explorer, put the right mouse over it and click on Properties

Step 2 Make sure you are looking at the drive letter of the card and not your hard drive (not C:).  Click on the Tools tab, and then click on the “Check Now” under the error-checking section.

Recover files from corrupted SD Card

Step 3 A dialog box like this should pop-up.  Check both boxes to detect and fix system errors on your digital card (notice the pop-up box tells you in the title what drive it will be scanning).


Step 4 Depending on the size of the Digital card this step can take a minute or longer.  After the process is complete.  Go to your Windows Explorer and make sure you can view hidden files on your drive (click on the radio button “Show hidden files and folders” as in the image.  You should be able to see a bunch of files with crazy names in that drive that you didn’t see before.  Copy these files over to a directory on your computer’s hard drive and change their names and file extension to the appropriate file type that the files were saved in on your camera.  For example, if your camera usually shoots jpg files, then copy the file names over and rename them as 1.jpg, 2.jpg, etc…


You should now be able to see the photos using your usual image viewer.

Disclaimer – This technique presented here is for informational purposes only.  There are no guarantees or warranties implied on this method or any other information presented here.  It has worked for me, try at your own risk!

Google Adwords Class Action Suit

As an Adwords advertiser I received an email yesterday from claims at adwordscustomersettlement dot com

This is the long-running class action suit filed by CLRB Hanson, and it names Howard Stern as one of the plaintiffs. Although the suit had reportedly been settled in preliminaries out of court for $20 million, this new email suggests that the case was filed June 9 in US District Court, with James W. Ware US District Judge presiding.

Full Text of the suit – Google class action CLRB Hanson Industries

The suit is named:
CLRB Hanson LLC et al. v. Google Class Action Settlement; c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC
Their address is listed as PO Box 990, Corte Madera, CA 94976

Anyone have an idea if there’s a chance of the little guys seeing a piece of this pie?

Ubuntu vs. Kubuntu – A Linux Lover’s Challenge

For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that you’ve already decided on or are using the Ubuntu distribution of Linux.  e.g. There are plenty of linux flavors out there, and this article will only discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Ubuntu and Kubuntu.

First of all, both Ubuntu and Kubuntu are based on the same cannonical distribution and core.  The only (and important) difference between them is the desktop environment offered with either option.  Ubuntu comes with the Gnome desktop environment, whereas Kubuntu offers the KDE desktop.

KDE vs. Gnome
Many will say that the value of Gnome vs KDE is in their graphical presentation.  KDE is a 3D highly graphical environment with much eye-candy objects.  Gnome is a more basic, pleasant IMO, graphical implementation.  It more resembles Windows XP in form and function.

In addition, KDE and Gnome each have different software packages that are specific to them. For example, KATE is a KDE text editor.  Amarok is a KDE music player.  Gnome has a whole set of tools specific to it as well.  Most of these tools will work fine on either desktop.  I have used Amarok on KDE and Gnome with no problems in either case.

I have used Kubuntu as my desktop operating system for the last three years.   I use my desktop PC for development, email, media, file management, SSH connections with servers, and just about everything else. I need my OS to be a workhorse.
After three years of strong Kubuntu performance on KDE 3.x, I upgraded first to Kubuntu 8.x which upgraded the KDE to 4.0. I found the desktop interface changes to be clumsy, and although well-meaning, were essentially a dud. After reading the much-hyped reviews of Kubuntu 9.x which shipped in May and included the update to KDE 4.1, I thought maybe we could go back to the ‘good ole days’. My wishes were not delivered. Kubuntu had been slow and causing many crashes – primarily with the media players. I found myself on a regular basis having to kill the mplayer or npviewer.bin (the 32 bit wrapper for the Adobe flash player on 64 bit OS). Granted, there are other factors, possibly hardware and/or configuration changes due to added software, but the same machine performed well in the past and after the upgrade to 9.x and until my switch to Gnome (Ubuntu) last week, had become nearly unbearable.

RiseSmart Inc.

After much consideration, I have changed the desktop environment on my copy of linux Kubuntu to Gnome. Essentially, I am running Ubuntu, but the logon splash screen says Kubuntu. Since both desktops rely on the same core operating system, i was able to upgrade (or simply to switch) to Gnome / Ubuntu by going to the upgrade manager and requesting the Gnome desktop. The upgrade/switch took about 20 minutes, and not only was it seamless, even the bookmarks in Firefox and all the configurations are still in place.  Here’s a tutorial for Kubuntu users to switch to Gnome.

Therefore, my experience has been that if you are looking for a dependable Linux OS and without the bells and whistles of a developmental phase of KDE (at least until it’s fully baked in this new 4.x generation), stick with Ubuntu.
What have been your experiences with Kubuntu and Ubuntu? Please share with us.

Kubuntu Download
Kubuntu Download

Ubuntu Download
Ubuntu Download

Free ways to convert flv video files to ipod, sansa,creative vision

How to get those website files on to your iPod.

Problem: You have a whole bunch of downloaded FLV files from Youtube, MySpace, DailyMotion, Metacafe, Veoh, etc… You want to put them on your portable video player, such as an Ipod Itouch, Nano, Creative Vision W, or SansaDisk (and many others).

There are several programs that convert FLV files to AVI for Creative, or MP4 for IPOD and Sansa. They are all based on open source algorithms and tools such as ffmpeg. These are usually command line tools best-suited for Linux Geeks.

Solution: A whole new bunch of user-friendly tools with decent GUI’s are available for free. The king of all these tools is a program aptly named “Super”, which you can download here. Super essentially embeds all the open source command line utilities and provides a simple single-page interface for you to select input and output file options.

There are a bunch of other free tools that are worth mentioning here, such as Handbrake (which only works on Mac and Linux these days) and Media Coder, but if you stick to Super, you should have all the flexibility you need for free.

If you are on Linux, you can use command-line utilities like mencoder or mplayer, which we will explain in another article.

Some things to consider when converting FLV to either AVI or MP4: It’s usually best to use the Super Video File Converter original file’s screen resolution. The Audio for non-music videos can easily perform well at 96kbs, and mp3 files are usually a bit more compact than other methods. Likewise, the video bit rate can be dropped to 240Kbps without noticing much degradation on such a small screen. The Creative packs a max 320×240 screen rate, at 240 kbps video bit rate, you’ll be in fine shape. You will want at least 25 frames per second, or the video will flicker.

Super File Converter
Super File Converter

The screen shot to the right shows the best settings for converting FLV to Ipod as an mp4 output file.  It takes a few minutes to convert the file depending on file size and speed of computer.

Note: Make sure you know to which directory the files are being outputted.  You will need to copy them to your player (import to iTunes) after completion of conversion.

The download site for Super is a bit awkward and takes a couple pages to actually find the file to download. But hey, it’s a free tool!

Failure is Not an Option: 10 Stories of Inspiration

Inspiration comes from within – It’s never too late!

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe

1. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her first novel in 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, at the age of 41. She had been in a major depression as it was only three years after her son had died from cholera. Within the first year of publication, the book had sold 300,000 copies. By 1854, it had been translated into 60 languages and become the most sold book in the history of the world until that time. Her efforts have been hailed as one of the major contributing factors to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

2. Alexander Hamilton was the the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, and one of the founding fathers of the United States. He was born out of wedlock. His mother raised him alone until her death when he was 11. He was adopted by a cousin, who committed suicide six months later.

Comedian Rodney dangerfield
Comedian Rodney dangerfield

3. Famous stand up comedian Rodney Dangerfield started out in his profession at the tender age of 19. He struggled for nine years and gave it up to try a new career selling aluminum siding. He came back to his passion after thirteen years and was able to establish himself, at the age 41, of as one of the premier comedians of his time (70 appearances on the Tonight Show, Grammy Award Winner, starred in three movies, honored by the Smithsonian, and American Comedy Award for Lifetime Achievement).

4. Maya Angelou, is a poet, author, civil rights activist, university professor, winner of three Grammies, pulitzer prize nomination, national book award nominee, and holds over 30 honorary degrees. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she was raised partially by her grandmother. She was raped at the age of eight by her mother’s

Poet Maya Angelou
Poet Maya Angelou

friend. This trauma made her mute for the next five years of her life. From the age of 17 to 19 she worked as a prostitute and then became the madame of a whorehouse. In her 30s, she turned her life around to become one of America’s best-known poets and authors.

5. British statesman, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill was known for his oratory skills. He had a speech impediment that he worked to avoid his entire life. He had been defeated in every public election until being appointed prime minister in 1940 at the age of 61. He was again defeated after WWII in 1945, and subsequently won election again as PrimeMinister in 1951 at the age of 72 which he held for four years. Churchill’s famous quote: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

US President Abraham Lincoln
US President Abraham Lincoln

6. Abraham Lincoln who led the US during its most critical internal struggle of the Civil War and abolition of slavery, won the Republican party nomination in 1960 and became the 16th President of the United States. He was raised in a one room log cabin. His mother died when he was nine. Three of his four children died in childhood. He was estranged from his father. His formal schooling consisted of 18 months and he was largely self-educated, and practiced as a criminal lawyer for 23 years appearing before the Supreme Court over 400 times. He was defeated in his run for Illinois General Assembly in 1832. He was defeated in his bid for Senate in 1854. Defeated in two attempts for Vice Presidency.

7. Hall of Famer Babe Ruth, famous American baseball player, held the record for most homeruns nearly 40 years until Hank Aaron surpassed him in 1974. He also held the record for most strikeouts for 30 years and is still #87 on the alltime strikeouts list. He was quoted as saying “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”.

Hall of Fame Baseball Player Henry Aaron
Hall of Fame Baseball Player Henry Aaron

8. On the same topic, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, was voted an all-star for twenty straight seasons. He held the homerun record for over 30 years until being eclipsed by Barry Bonds in 2007. As a black man, Aaron endured significant hardships on his path to glory. He endured death threats for his ‘daring’ to beat a white man’s record.

9. World famous jazz musician Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was born out of wedlock. His father left him as an infant. His mother handed him off to be raised by his grandparents (who were former slaves). He left school at age 11. His first musical instrument was given to him by junk hauler who was Jewish. As a token of gratitude, Armstrong wore a Jewish Star of David pendant his entire life. Living on the streets even as a boy, he joined different colored ragtime bands and played to make ends meet. He considered the tough times as inspiration for his future musical potential “Every time I

Satchmo Louie Armstrong
Satchmo Louie Armstrong

close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans…It has given me something to live for.”

10. Michael Jordan for nearly two decades was the world’s most recognized athlete. He brought the Chicago Bulls to six world championships. As a teenager, he failed to make his high school basketball team. As a pro, his first 6 seasons, the Bulls were mediocre to below average. After winning three straight NBA Championships, he quit basketball to try his other passion, baseball, at which he failed miserably and did not make the team. That same year, his father was murdered in an apparent robbery. He returned the next year to theBulls and won another three consecutive NBA Championships. He retired from basketball, only to again return for another season with the Washington Wizards.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

Jordan, who is recognized as one of the most competitive athletes to ever don a uniform, had this to say about failure: “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why Isucceed.”

Share with everyone you know the message. We can all succeed.

How to upgrade your Router into a Super-Router for Free!

We all have last year’s model routers lying around our house collecting dust. With the help of crafty open source developers, you can now bring these older devices to their full potential.

If you have a linksys or compatible broadband/wireless router, there are several free open source firmware upgrades you can use to make your router do some very advanced and neat things.

The most talked-about of the third party firmware upgrades for broadband routers is a program called Tomato. Download it here

There are other open source tools, such as Free WRT, but Tomato does the job well, and the installation process is quite simple.

How to upgrade using Tomato Formware:
1. Go to the Tomato website and download the firmware file
2. Unzip the downloaded file
3. Plug in your old router and go to your router’s firmware upgrade page. (If you don’t know how ot do this, perhaps this project isn’t right for you 🙂
4. Read the simple instructions that comes with the Tomato Router download to determine which installation file is compatible with your specific model.
5. Choose that file as described in step 4 and off you go. It may take up to 5 minutes to upgrade the firmware.

What Does the router firmware upgrade do for me?
There are a bunch of nice utilities included in Tomato that don’t come with the default software from Linksys. For example, bandwidth monitoring, QoS settings, Enhanced access restrictions, tools to help increase your P2P connections (good for Bit Torrent and the like) and some new wireless features like WDS.

Additional third party firmware upgrade sources: (and the easier to install

Schiphol Airport Wifi – Use Boingo

Here’s a tip that will save you money!  If you are ever travelling through Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and have time on your hands, you will probably want to hook up to their Wifi service for internet browsing on your laptop.

If you sign up for their KPN service, a daily pass costs 16 EUR (~$18).  Instead, connect with your laptop to the KPN wireless network, then open a browser.  You will be redirected to the KPN sign in page.  However, it prompts you if have already have a username, and if so, for what service.

You can choose from a list of wireless service providers, which includes Boingo.  Many US travellers already have a Boingo Account, and you can access the internet using that account.  If you need to create an account, a one day pass on Boingo is $9.95.  That’s approx. a 40% savings over using the airport’s KPN service.

Firefox Add-Ons – The Must Haves

The Browser With More
Firefox is a good internet browser. It’s the first real example of open source taking on the establishment, and winning. The real power in Firefox is the plethora of add-ons and tools that have been written by the open source community.

There are literally hundreds (by now, thousands) of add-ons, plugins, extensions, and other third-party tools available for you to install to your Firefox browser. Some of them do really nifty things, and others are duds. To sift through all of them would take many weeks.

We present here the best and most-useful of the Firefox add-ons available today. If you install them, we guarantee you will get more from your Internet experience than ever before.

DownThem All Firefox Plugin
DownThem All Firefox Plugin

1. Down Them All – This is an incredibly useful tool. The developer’s website claims they’ve had 9 million downloads. There would be ten times more users if they knew how handy this tool is. DownThemAll lets you download all the links or images contained in a webpage. You can even use regular expression and simple filters to fine-tune and get only the files you want. It also features an advanced accelerator that increases speed up to 400%. Get it!

2. Web Developer –
The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. It works on Windows, Linux, and Mac too. This is an indispensable tool for a web developer. If you are programming on the web, you must have this add-on.

Stumble Upon Firefox Plugin
Stumble Upon Firefox Plugin

3. Stumble Upon – finds you new websites and articles that match your browsing history and interests. The other exciting feature of this toolbar is that you can link other Stumble Upon users to your own website or blog content and attract visitors to your website for free. This is a great SEO tool (see my article on this topic).

4. Media Converter – This utility allows you to seamlessly download video content from video websites like Youtube, Veoh, Metacafe, DailyMotion, and others, and then automatically converts to your mobile player’s required format.

5. Foxy Tunes – This totally cool add-on lets you control your media player from inside the Firefox browser. You also have lyrics, videos, and band bios within your fingertips.

Ad Block Plus Plugin
Ad Block Plus Plugin

6. Ad-Block Plus – The major anti-virus software already have ad blocking modules, but in case you don’t have Norton or Kaspersky installed, this extension does a good job of keeping the advertisers away from your surfing-weary eyes.

7. CoolIris Not very practical, but oh so cool. Essentially a 3D presentation of the web, including photo websites, video sites, etc… You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the future. Also gives a 3D view of shopping, such as Amazon and iTunes. It’s the heaviest of the add-ons, with the download weighing in at nearly 5 MB. This is one tool you will want to try.

8. Tab Mix Plus – Makes your tab experience like nothing before. You can add, duplicate, reload, protect, and lock tabs. It also keeps tabs (no pun intended) on your closed tabslist.

Honorable Mentions:

Alexa (Sparky) – Alexa is the premier website ranking tool. If you want or need to know where each website you visit stacks up with regards to traffic and visitors by country, this is the toolbar to get.

Digg – Another great SEO building tool – If you are looking for a quick way to publish your content to the world in a SEO-friendly way, this is a great tool to use. Other than that, it’s good for saving bookmarks. There are a bunch of other tools out there that do the same.

Webmail Notifier – Checks your online email accounts, such as Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google, and let’s you know when new emails arrive.

FoxyProxy – This tool is geared to advanced users who want to hide, secure, or change their web identity. It is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities.

Here’s the Firefox Add-ons Homepage in case you have a couple weeks to sift through the thousands of other extensions.