Between all the ripping of my (legally) purchased DVDs and transcoding them to the proper format for my iPod I found out that most of the applications that I used have something in common (from Videora [free] to Mediacoder (open source). All these applications actually use FFMPEG under the hood: FFMPEG literally accepts many fileformats, open-sourced and runs on too many platforms (it’s highly portable, I guess). Trouble is, since it’s part of the other multi-platform media player (MPlayer) and, particularly, thanks to the legal minefield that is called transcoding, the binaries for FFMPEG are hard to find (well, you can’t miss it now!) (you can also fetch the sources and compile a binary yourself: you’d probably need to get the MingW compiler/environment).
Anyway, all videoconverter applications that I found had either crappy interfaces or they came with that ‘build-in’ Internet browser that allows the developer to push unneeded and unwanted ads to your desktop. So yeah, it shouldn’t be too hard to build your own fricking video converter. You only need to know and study FFMPEG’s commandline options after reading this (boring code after the fold).
I‘m a picky listener (and viewer) of news programs and the like, and the same is true for podcasts. I’m a fan of the CBC’s “The Current” (hosted by Tremonti) and unconsciously, that probably sets a standard. For example, I find the works of Laporte and AmberMac boring: the podcast Net@Night reminds of the stages of chewing chewing-gum. Interesting at first, boring at the end.
I discovered that Bill Maher’s weekly show ‘Real Time’ is converted into MP3 files and published into RSS feed (which you can find around here, or you can find it in the iTunes Podcast/TV Shows section). Some portions of the show don’t really translate well to ‘audio-only’ format, but if you’re a fan of Maher’s humour (and snide remarks), you shouldn’t miss his shows.
There are many ‘meta crawlers’ that crawl the ‘best podcasts’ around. Most of these crawlers appear to suggest that the quantity of downloads (or subscribers) somehow translates to quality. The only site I found worth revisiting is earideas, which crawls public stations, science magazines and several newspapers. Don’t expect to find news about the latest ‘gadgets’ and ‘Web 2.0′. A good start for finding podcasts is (you wouldn’t guess it), MetaFilter (or rather, AskMefi).
We had a (brief) reunion earlier this week: Alfons joined us last weekend and left (surprisingly) a day earlier than we all expected: there was a slight misunderstanding in his flight schedule. Luckily, the airport isn’t too far of a drive.
He was kind enough to give away his iPod Touch: it is now the main focus of all my attention, which has left my KDE based-computer in the cold because there’s no real way to access the thing without jail-breaking it. This is my main gripe against the iPod: it’s a locked-up platform. Fair enough: the thing works as it promises and there goes nothing above watching The Matrix for the umpteenth time on a (what is it) 4″ screen. Additionally, there goes nothing above copying photos to the thing and having those in your pocket. Alfons also shared along his iPhone experiences (I didn’t bother asking him for his monthly charges) and I thought one of the best apps for it was the ‘Tim Hortons Finder’. Wait, no make that Shazam (which, I understand isn’t really free either).
Now mind me while I’m going to watch the Lord of the Rings.