Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Its a Bird, Its a Plane, No its Super

SUPER © Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer. - FREE
This really is a sweet front end for media conversion




Here we go again. Why yet another media encoder front end? Simple, this GUI allows us to take those FLV flash files and convert them to whatever format we want.

Not really, I wanted WMV which it wouldn't convert for me without generating a error. But who cares. I made a MPEG from a FLV that was nearly perfect and the converstion was insanely simple and fast. It uses a combination of ffmpeg and mplayer codecs to get the job done.

Finding the download link isn't so simple and fast, so here it is.
http://www.erightsoft.net/Superdc.html
From the eRightSoft main page it actually is simple to locate.



A GUI to ffmpeg, MEncoder, mplayer, x264, mppenc, ffmpeg2theora & the theora/vorbis RealProducer plugIn. If you need a simple, yet very efficient tool to convert (encode) or play any Multimedia file, without reading manuals or spending long hours training, then SUPER © is all you need. It is a Multimedia Encoder and a Multimedia Player, easy-to-use with 1 simple click.

Here is the list from the Super site, it almost seems like a bad infomercial:

SUPER © IS UNIVERSAL as it supports a wide variety of input/source file format to playor encode (to & from) without any additional third party software. Supported input source file formats are:

- Video format: 3gp/3g2(Nokia,Siemens,Sony,Ericsson) asf, avi (DivX,H263,H263+,H264,XviD,MPEG4,MSmpeg4 etc..), dat, fli, flc, flv (used in Flash), mkv, mpg (Mpeg I,Mpeg II), mov(H263,H263+,H264,MPEG4 etc..), mp4(H263,H263+,H264,MPEG4), ogg, qt, rm, ram, rmvb, str (Play Station), swf (Flash), ts (HDTV), viv, vob, wmv

- Audio format: aac, ac3, amr, mmf, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpc, ogg, ra, wav, wma- AviSynth Script Files: avs. Let you specify advanced encoding commands using AviSynth scripts!
SUPER © supports the conversion (encoding both ways, to & from ) of ALL the listed formats.

To list few examples:
drag & drop any Audio file or even any VIDEO file and EXTRACT the AUDIO part by converting it toaac, ac3, amr_nb (for ring tones), amr_wb, mmf (for ring tones), mp2, mp3, mpc (MusePack), ogg, wav, wma formats.
* Mobile phone 3GP converter Convert any input video format to 3GP. Convert a 3GP file to any other video format.
* Mobile phone 3G2 converter Convert any input video format to 3G2. Convert a 3G2 file to any other video format.
* PocketPC converter Convert any input video format to a PocketPC file. Convert a PocketPC file to any other video format.
* iPod & iPod 5.5G converter Convert any input video format to an iPod/5.5G file. Convert an iPod/5.5G file to any other video format.The rendered iPod/5.5G files are created using the most advanced video codecs H.264/AVC and MPEG-4 format.To copy a DVD (that you legally purchased) into a valid iPod/5.5G format, we recommend that you also use the bestavailable DVDDecrypter to decrypt the entire DVD and copy the VOB files to your HardDisk in order to encodethem with SUPER ©. Note that DVDDecrypter is also a Freeware.
* PS3 & PSP converter Convert any input video format to a PS3/PSP file. Convert a PS3/PSP file to any other video format.The rendered PS3/PSP files are created using the most advanced video codecs H.264/AVC and MPEG-4 format.To copy a DVD (that you legally purchased) into a valid PS3/PSP format, we recommend that you also use the bestavailable DVDDecrypter to decrypt the entire DVD and copy the VOB files to your HardDisk in order to encodethem with SUPER ©. Note that DVDDecrypter is also a Freeware.
* Zune converter Convert any input video format to a Zune file. Convert a Zune file to any other video format.The rendered Zune files are created using a fully compatible WMV7/8 and WMA format.To copy a DVD (that you legally purchased) into a valid Zune format, we recommend that you also use the bestavailable DVDDecrypter to decrypt the entire DVD and copy the VOB files to your HardDisk in order to encodethem with SUPER ©. Note that DVDDecrypter is also a Freeware.
* Nintendo DS converter Convert any input video format to a Nintendo DS file. (.dpg)The rendered Nintendo DS files are created using a fully compatible DPG format.To copy a DVD (that you legally purchased) into a valid Nintendo DS format, we recommend that you also use the bestavailable DVDDecrypter to decrypt the entire DVD and copy the VOB files to your HardDisk in order to encodethem with SUPER ©. Note that DVDDecrypter is also a Freeware.
* VCD converter Convert any input video format to MPG-VCD. Convert an MPG-VCD file to any other video format.The rendered MPG files are VCD-standard strictly compliant and "NERO burning" compatible. They are seamlesslyaccepted by NERO to burn without any additional process and produce a CD playable on most stand alone players.
* SVCD converter Convert any input video format to MPG-SVCD. Convert an MPG-SVCD file to any other video format.The rendered MPG files are SVCD-standard strictly compliant and "NERO burning" compatible. They are seamlesslyaccepted by NERO to burn without any additional process and produce a CD playable on most stand alone players.
* DVD converter
Convert any input video format to VOB-DVD. Convert a VOB-DVD file to any other video format.The rendered VOB files are DVD-standard strictly compliant and "TMPGEnc DVD Author" compatible. They areseamlessly accepted by the "TMPGEnc DVD Author" which will add the necessary Menu, create theadditional .bup and .ifo files, rename/split the rendered VOB file to Vts_xx_x.vob before burning to DVD.
* AVI converter
Convert any input video format to AVI. Convert an AVI file to any other video format.The rendered AVI files are created using a wide variety of codecs H.264/MPEG-4/DivX/XviD/H.263... togetherwith AAC, ac3, mp3, mp2 or wav audio.
MP4 converter Convert any input video format to MP4. Convert an MP4 file to any other video format.The rendered MP4 files are created using a wide variety of codecs H.264/MPEG-4/DivX/XviD/H.263... togetherwith AAC, AMR, wav audio. They are fully playable on QuickTime7.
* MOV converter Convert any input video format to MOV. Convert a MOV file to any other video format.The rendered MOV files are created using a wide variety of codecs H.264/MPEG-4/DivX/XviD/H.263... togetherwith AAC, AMR, wav audio. They are fully playable on QuickTime7.
* ASF converter Convert any input video format to ASF. Convert an ASF file to any other video format.
* FLV converter Convert any input video format to FLV. Convert an FLV file to any other video format.
* MPG converter Convert any input video format to MPG. Convert an MPG file to any other video format.
* OGG converter Convert any input video format to OGG. Convert an OGG file to any other video format.
* WMV converter Convert any input video format to WMV. Convert a WMV file to any other video format.
* GIF converter Convert any input video format to Animated GIF format.
convert AviSynth script files (.AVS) to any other video format.
convert VCD (.DAT) files to any other format. (Also with Lossless Direct Conversion to MPG VCD-Compliant )
* convert Flash (.FLV) files (similar to Google/YouTube video) to any other format.
* convert Matroska (.MKV) files to any other format.
* convert QuickTime (.QT) files to any other format.
* convert RealMedia (.RM .RAM .RMVB .RA) files to any other format.
* convert Old.Play.Station (.STR) files to any other format.
* convert ShockWave Flash (.SWF) files containing FLV video codec to any other format.
* convert HDTV (.TS) files to any other format. (Also with Lossless Direct Conversion To VOB)
* convert VivoActive (.VIV) files to any other format.
* AutoMode to convert any type of video to VCD, SVCD, DVD.
* "Direct Stream Copy" mode to render exact quality when the same video/audio codecs of the source file are to be used in the output file.
* Play all of the above file formats with SUPER ©
* Play or Save on your Disk the Internet Media Streams like: mms:// rtsp:// http://
* Play Images (bmp, dib, fax, jpg, png, rle, tif, wmf) using Win2K/XP Microsoft(R) resources.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So Your a Player, BetaPlayer is for Real

This is part 1 of a 3 part article.
The next two parts were posted in reverse order so you can read from top to bottom.

BetaPlayer, when all else fails. But get it while it lasts, it may not be free for long.

On my Dell Axim x50v BetaPlayer is the only player I use. It can play just about anything with ease. I can run a full blown DVD .vob smoothly without a snag. There is a video accelerator from my last article that can speed up performance but may not be needed since the latest Dell patch.

BetaPlayer (now known as TCPMP)
Version: 0.71
Author: Gábor Kovács
Home Page: http://tcpmp.corecodec.org/about - Site down, so download here
Type: Freeware - $0
Description: DivX Player for video and audio that can play DivX, AVI, OGG, OGM, WAV, MP1, MP2, MP3 formats. Install it, then install GAPI for HPC's.

Part 2 - GAPI for Handheld PC
Part 3 - DVD to Pocket PC or Just to Archive for FREE

Close the Video Performance GAP with GAPI

GAPI for Handheld PC


The Dell Axim has dedicated video memory and will out perform any PDA on the market if the correct drivers are installed. GAPI takes us one set further with Directx for the PDA

While DirectX was not available to game developers for the Pocket PC platform, Microsoft created a game API especially for the Pocket PC named "GAPI" -- the game application programming interface.

It allows direct and fast access to the display memory.

GAPI for HPC's is an binary and sourcecode compatible version for Windows CE based devices.

With this package many PocketPC applications like games, media players, GPS navigators and emulators are now also usable on Windows CE devices.
Some PocketPC applications needs additionally the AYGSHELL.DLL. You can find this in several PocketPC- fake- DLL packages.

Supported Windows CE operating systems:
-Windows CE 3.0 (HPC 2000)
-Windows CE .NET 4.0, 4.1, 4.2
-Gizmondo (CE 4.2)
-Windows CE 5.0

The site has a great CECalc download and a few good games as well.

Tweaked GAPI driver for Dell Axim

Part 1 - BetaPlayer
Part 3 - DVD to PDA (I have other methods on my blog to make this happen)

From Cradle to Grave

DVD to Pocket PC or Just to Archive for FREE



FREE process to take a DVD that you purchased and rip it to a DivX or Xvid format

BEFORE starting:

* The latest and proper-for-your-machine DivX and XviD codecs
* A copy of FAIR USE LE (free)
* A copy of BetaPlayer


For pocket PC users you may want to have direct video memory access for smoother performance: GAPI for Handheld PC’s


Put the DVD into your DVD drive

Launch Fair Use LE

In the FINAL FILE SIZE box enter the output size of the movie. The bigger the better but keep in mind that you may need to fit it on your portable device.

Choose to encode in either XviD or DivX format

Click FULL AUTO MODE at the bottom left

Click NEXT at the bottom right

Click the CREATE NEW PROJECT radio option and name the output file and where it will be created.


This is a 1 to 3 hour process depending on the performance of your PC

This movie will now play on your PDA using BetaPlayer.

Part 1 - BetaPlayer
Part 2 - video acceleration (pedal to the metal)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FREEDOM not Free the dumb



I'm sorry you bought an iphone. I'm sorry Apple chose the worst cell provider in the world (AT&T). I'm sorry they are robbing you blind for the level of services they provide. Apple has chosen to enslave its customers with DRM on the IPOD so whats to stop them on the Idiot Phone. Well http://iphonesimfree.com has a legal solution.

They have 2 links from mass media outlets such as CNN where industry experts discuss product. None of this is High tech on a budget but it makes me feel good to help.

Life is a popularity contest, as we are seeing the most popular may look good on the surface but is rarely the best choice.

I don't own a iphone and can not make a recommendation. You need to make a decision for yourself based on the information provided by iphonesimfree.com (Apple could brick your phone)

So are you Certifiable - Free THX optimizer program


So you have that THX certified receiver or HD Monster Screen TV and followed that guide that was included in the instructions manual but what is the point of THX if your setup is way out of spec. THX provides a optimization program on many THX certified DVDs.

THX Optimizer

For the best possible playback, each THX Certified DVD features THX Optimizer, an easy-to-use on-screen calibration tool for home theater systems. THX Optimizer helps you fine-tune your audio and video settings through a series of test signals. These test signals allow you to match the reference levels used during the DVD mastering process – giving you the exact sound and picture presentation that the filmmaker wanted you to experience.

THX Optimizer offers a quick and easy solution on how to set color, tint, contrast and sharpness, as well as check speaker assignments, phase and crossovers on your surround sound system.

Choose from the following list for detailed instructions on each test signal.

Video

Audio

For Pixar's Advanced Test Pattern instructions, please select from these feature presentations:

FIND A THX CERTIFIED DVD
Click the link below the search box to view the entire list.

Nice home theater setup guide.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Restoring the past the way you remember it

DScaler 4 - Studio quality video capture for free.


http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net/

Have you ever captured and converted those home movies to your PC or onto a DVD. If you haven't, you need to as soon as possible. The VHS movies will degrade over time. Maybe you own a VHS version of your favorite movie and want to preserve it for the best quality playback as possible.

DScaler is a piece of software that grabs analog, interlaced video, and deinterlaces it to make it a progressive scan feed then allows scaling to any resolution for use on your computer monitor or projector.

Analog, interlaced video is what devices like VCRs, laserdisc, and game consoles output.

DScaler 4 captures video, processes it, and scales it for presentation on a projector or computer monitor. DScaler implements highly sophisticated algorithms that work in real-time to provide PC owners with image quality matched only by very expensive equipment.

In order to get the most out of DScaler 4 you will need a supported capture card.

DScaler performs a variety of functions:

  • Grabbing video from a DVD player, game console, laserdisc, or VCR in a reliable fashion, in either analog or digital form;
  • Deinterlacing video source, such as sports and news produced with a video camera, as well as console games;
  • Detecting and removing 2:2 pulldown (PAL) and 3:2 pulldown (NTSC) for movies and filmed television programs;
  • Reducing video noise on analog sources;
  • Automatically calibrating video capture cards for optimal brightness, contrast and color;
  • Manipulating video through gamma, sharpness and other filters;
  • Viewing still images;
  • Reducing judder and other video timing anomalies; and
  • Presenting all of the above in the desired resolution and aspect ratio.

Video capture conversion guide

If you would like me to write my own guide or have a specific project you want to tackle send me an email about what you want to accomplish. There are many ways to approach a problem and with such a variety of tools it can be confusing to figure out what method works best for you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get that Old Girl Ready for Battle

So that new game you got as a holiday gift won't play or bogs down that PC you spent 2 grand on two years ago, now what are you going to do?

May be it just needs tweaking. The first thing I recommend doing is freeing up system resources. The biggest drain on your PC is likely a bloated virus scan like McAfee or Norton. Remove those, save some money and install one of the free virus scans I posted. FreeAV is the best I've tested. You should also think about removing unnecessary toolbars and quick launch applications. You need at least 1 Gig of Ram for gaming and I recommend 2 Gigs. For Windows7 or Vista 64bit I recommend 6 gigs or more.

If that doesn't help try:



America's Army Tweak Guide
Amiga Emulation Guide
ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide
Battlefield 1942 Tweak Guide
Battlefield 2 Tweak Guide
Battlefield 2142 Tweak Guide
Battlefield Vietnam Tweak Guide
BioShock Tweak Guide
Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide
Call of Juarez Tweak Guide
Crysis Tweak Guide
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic Tweak Guide
Doom 3 Tweak Guide
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Tweak Guide
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Tweak Guide
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Tweak Guide
Far Cry Tweak Guide
F.E.A.R Tweak Guide
Firefox Tweak Guide
Game Music Extraction Guide
Gamer's Graphics & Display Settings Guide
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter Tweak Guide
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 Tweak Guide
Half Life 2 & Source Engine Tweak Guide
Halo Tweak Guide
Hardware Confusion Guide
Joint Operations Tweak Guide
Neverwinter Nights 2 Tweak Guide
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 Tweak Guide
Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide
Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide
Prey Tweak Guide
Quake 4 Tweak Guide
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Tweak Guide
Star Wars Battlefront Tweak Guide
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide
Star Wars KOTOR 2 Tweak Guide
Thief: Deadly Shadows Tweak Guide
TweakGuides Tweaking Companion
UT2003 Tweak Guide
UT2004 Tweak Guide
Unreal Tournament 3 Tweak Guide
VIA Hyperion FAQ
Web Hosting - Ten Basic Tips

Drop My Rights - Border control for the PC

Lower the rights for internet facing applications.

When setting up a PC for my Father or Kids I always set up a limited user account. I finally got my father on Gmail after his system was infected multiple times with a virus. I can only assume this was through a email or bad web site. If he had been running as a limited user there wouldn't be a problem. When I set up a limited user account he complained about not being able to operate as he was use to.

A Microsoft developer generated a short code snippet the you can assign short cuts run trough that limit the rights for those specific applications. Setting this up is simple and requires no programing skills. Follow the direction on the link provided or set up the shortcut as shown below.

Simply copy DropMyRights.exe to a folder. Then for each application you want to run in lower privilege, follow the steps in the next three sections.

Create a Shortcut

Create a shortcut and enter DropMyRights.exe as the target executable, followed by the path to the application you want to execute in lower privilege.

For example:

C:\warez\dropmyrights.exe "c:\program files\internet explorer\iexplore.exe"

The article from microsoft explains in greater detail.


************* Here is the Code ********************
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
DWORD wmain(int argc, wchar_t **argv) {

DWORD fStatus = ERROR_SUCCESS;

if (2 != argc && 3 != argc) {
Usage();
return ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER;
}

// get the SAFER level
DWORD hSaferLevel = SAFER_LEVELID_NORMALUSER;
if (3 == argc && argv[2]) {
switch(argv[2][0]) {
case 'C' :
case 'c' : hSaferLevel = SAFER_LEVELID_CONSTRAINED;
break;
case 'U' :
case 'u' : hSaferLevel = SAFER_LEVELID_UNTRUSTED;
break;

default : hSaferLevel = SAFER_LEVELID_NORMALUSER;
break;
}
}

// get the command line, and make sure it's not bogus
wchar_t *wszPath = argv[1];
size_t cchLen = 0;
if (FAILED(StringCchLength(wszPath,MAX_PATH,&cchLen)))
return ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER;

SAFER_LEVEL_HANDLE hAuthzLevel = NULL;
if (SaferCreateLevel(SAFER_SCOPEID_USER,
hSaferLevel,
0,
&hAuthzLevel, NULL)) {

// Generate the restricted token we will use.
HANDLE hToken = NULL;
if (SaferComputeTokenFromLevel(
hAuthzLevel, // SAFER Level handle
NULL, // NULL is current thread token.
&hToken, // Target token
0, // No flags
NULL)) { // Reserved

STARTUPINFO si;
ZeroMemory(&si, sizeof(STARTUPINFO));
si.cb = sizeof(STARTUPINFO);
si.lpDesktop = NULL;

// Spin up the new process
PROCESS_INFORMATION pi;
if (CreateProcessAsUser(
hToken,
wszPath, NULL,
NULL, NULL,
FALSE, CREATE_NEW_CONSOLE,
NULL, NULL,
&si, &pi)) {

CloseHandle(pi.hProcess);
CloseHandle(pi.hThread);

} else {
fStatus = GetLastError();
fwprintf(stderr,L"CreateProcessAsUser failed (%lu)\n",fStatus);
}
} else {
fStatus = GetLastError();
}

SaferCloseLevel(hAuthzLevel);

} else {
fStatus = GetLastError();
}

return fStatus;
}
**************************

OEM vs. Retail, we have a winner

From the Microsoft message boards:

OK, If I understand the issue, I would say that in your situation, the Microsoft person, that you talk to, was incorrect.

If a computer is bought with Vista pre-installed, and then the user changes out the motherboard, then you can not continue to use the same Vista license, but if the "computer builder" was the one to change out the motherboard, then you Can continue to use the same Vista license.

So, in your situation, it soulds like you bought the computer and the Vista software seperatly and installed Vista on the computer, yourself. In that case, you are now seen as the "Computer Builder" and since you (the computer builder) changed out the motherboard, you CAN continue to use the same Vista license.


I suggest that you follow the below steps to re-activate you copy of Vista:

1) Click the Start button
2) Type: slui.exe 4 and hit the 'Enter' key
3) Select the area that you are located in.
4) Follow the steps provided by Activation Wizard

NOTE: The key to this process is that you need to talk to a Live Activation Rep! When you first call, you will be interacting with an Automated Voice, either select the option to talk to a Live Rep or if there is no option, do not enter any numbers. This should force the automated voice to tansfer you to a Live Rep. I Highly suggest that you DO NOT mention that you changed out your motherboad, it will only confuse the Rep. Just say you need to Re-activate because you changed out some "hardware" in your computer.

Thank you,

Darin Smith

WGA Forum Manager

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hunting the Mythical Energy Vampire

For a little while now I have been showing you ways to save money but I haven't told you about the Energy Vampire. I say he is mythical but as an engineer I know he is very real. The vampire bat feeds on blood at night while animals sleep. The energy vampire feeds on you all day long. You can try to fight him with a cross and wooden stake but your best weapon is knowledge. Knowing how and where he feeds will allow you to hunt him down. It doesn't require high tech devices to locate his source of food but it can help.


Here is a energy monitor that might make a great geeky gift for a birthday or for the holidays.
Todays Price: $20.98 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping
http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-Kill-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU

For a review:
http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/kill_a_watt_electric_usage_monitor_review

What this device does is allows you to monitor the power consumption from devices that might leech electricity when turned off.

In the United States how much a product leaks has little relation to cost or features. The power consumption represents a arbitrary design based on how the system is engineered and in some cases based on a company saving as little as 25 cents. If you were shocked at the Chinese killing our pets and poisoning our kids in the US with lead or worse, do you think they will go the extra mile at a small additional cost to make energy efficient electronics? What about devices designed in the US or Europe? You educate yourself on many aspects of life. How about understanding the real hidden costs behind operating that Big screen TV or new gaming console.




Lets look at the TV for example. The average TV is turned on 4 hours a day. From the research I have done some TVs would use 180 kWh a year during use and 100 kWh when turned off. A competing model with comparable features would draw only 120 kWh per year while watched and as little as 5 kWh when off. A small amount of power is required to allow you to turn the TV back on via the remote.


A 100 watt load costs about $183.96 per year (TV or good sized computer monitor).
The costs mention are related to actual kilowatt usage. What most people don't understand that there is another layer of hidden costs. Energy used is dissipated in your house in the form of heat. In the winter time this is a good thing. In the summer it can be expensive. A CRT computer and monitor or Plasma TV can act like a heater. It is costing you energy when turned on and it costs you double the energy to cool the space it is heating. This is mainly because most cooling systems are only about 50% efficient.


Online power calculator:
http://www.consumerspower.org/home_energy/billestimator.php

A article from Microsoft on the question of turning off that PC. In short it is recommended that you hibernate or standby that PC. Hibernate powers down the PC while retaining the memory state by storing it to the hard drive. Standby gives the PC just enough power to keep the memory in its current state. Both of these methods allow you save power and keep you desktop applications open just as you left them the last time you were at the machine. You should always save unsaved work and you should consider security when it come to some applications if someone else awakens the machine.

You can find the complete article here:
http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/resources/technology/hardware/do-you-need-to-turn-off-your-pc-at-night.aspx

Other Links:
http://www.energystar.gov/

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Wimpy Yes, Flashy No - Free FLV players

Flash Movie Player (FREE)

http://www.eolsoft.com/freeware/flash_movie_player/



*Flash Movie Player is absolutely free - no nag screens, no ads, no spyware, no time limit.
*Allows to rewind swf movies, animations and Flash games to any position in playing or paused mode.
*Opens exe projector files from version 4 to version 7 and works with them same way as with ordinary SWF files (allows rewinding, etc.)
*Flash Movie Player can extract flash movies from exe projector files and save them in SWF format.
*Supports Playlists. Playlist entry editor, sorting functions.
*Has full screen mode with auto-hiding navigation bar.
*All other Macromedia Flash Player standard features (zoom, quality select, repeat, scale mode select).
*Snapshots creation : allows to create snapshot of any animation's frame and save the image in Jpeg or Bmp format.
*Hotkeys for all frequent operations.
*Has Drag-n-drop support.
*The executable has small size and low system requirements.
*Multilingual interface.
(32 Languages supported at the moment).
*Allows to explore cached SWF files. (Add swf files from IE, Firefox and Opera cache to playlist).
*Can act as Screensaver. You can set up Flash Movie Player as your screensaver to play flash animations while computer is in idle.

________________________________

Wimpy Desktop FLV Player (FREE) http://www.wimpyplayer.com/products/wimpy_standalone_flv_player.html

Play FLV - Flash formated files on a PC or Mac

_____________________________________


FLV Player
http://www.martijndevisser.com/blog/flv-player/

FLV Player is a standalone utility to play Adobe Flash Video (FLV) files with. FLV Player is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista. FLV Player supports both local and internet streaming content, has fullscreen mode and, best of all, it is free.
___________________________________

http://www.globfx.com/products/swfplayer/

Thursday, December 6, 2007

No Fuss, No Muss, or should I say mess.

(potentially not work safe!!!)


http://www.videocodezone.com/

(potentially not work safe!!!)


Online Tools Convert And Download Your Favorite Videos (For Free!!!)


VideoCodeZone and other similiar services
(some listed below) work by entering a URL for the FLASH or MEDIA or browsing to a file on you PC. Then like your toaster you simply push the button and wait. Some of these services notify you by email when they are done with the conversion process.

Home Video Conversion and Download
Convert and download videos from popular websites without installing any software.

These services allows you to download and convert videos to many popular formats available today. Some of these sites also allow you to browse videos converted by other which could be in conflict with your employers code of conduct.

This is a online flash video converter where you copy and paste the URL of the video, select the output format and click the Convert/Download button.

You can also convert any flash video from your own files as well. Select the file and click the Convert/Download button.

Other sites:
http://online.movavi.com/
http://vixy.net/
http://www.flvix.com/ - not work safe
http://media-convert.com/
http://www.zamzar.com/

http://www.all2convert.com/index.html - choose your poison (very simple interface)







http://mux.am/

http://heywatch.com/page/home - registration required (supports Adobe Flash 9 H.264)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Is it Hot or what?

Weather, Sport Scores, News for just about any mobile device.



http://express.handmark.com/express-free

Ok maybe this isn't that hot or even that cool but FREE Pocket Express from Handmark offers some nice features at your fingers tips. You could fetch much of this from the web yourself. With pocket express when you get weather radar info and news you know it is always nicely formatted to fit your mobile device and its always at your fingertips.







The subscription service is a bit pricey at $10 a month offering travel information such as flight status and directory assistance.
It seems that the Google G-PHONE is in our future and this may be the direction it is headed in. If I owned Handmark I would have a flat $24 per year for the full service option. I'm sure it would out sell the $99 plan.

With that said the Exexutive Package offers one of the coolest and most useful mobile features for yet another $30 a year on top of the $99 full subcription. This feature is well worth the price if you travel often. Let's say you are on vacation in Sarasota Florida and need more detailed info on what pizza place is the highest rated, or maybe you want to see if that sale item is really worth buying. You might want a quick review of a movie or game that you see at the store.


Don't call your idiot brother:


24/7 Mobile Cierge live personal assistant
Help with almost any request any time of any day

The Assist feature, located on the PageOne interface, offers a whole new level of service and convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – anywhere in the world. With one click speak to a live MobileCierge representative who will help with almost any request.

Express Assist features the world’s first mobile personal assistant service, MobileCierge. MobileCierge is staffed with experts in everything from restaurant referrals to medical care and travel assistance. This feature allows Pocket Express customers to experience a whole new level of service and convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – anywhere in the world for a minimal fee. For an unpreccidented value, check out the NEW Elite Edition and save nearly $30 a year on Express + Mobile Cerge


Here is a list of Supported Devices

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Baby Steps - A simpler way to convert video for portable devices




Videora Converter - FREE (no skill required)
http://www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/

"It allows you to convert your regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, etc) into the proper video format that your mobile or fixed video device understands. Each version is tailored specifically to the device in question."

This is a suite of applications specifically tuned to the device you want to create video for. So there is a seperate download for each application depending on your device.

This covers the IPOD, IPhone, PSP, XBox 360, Tivo, and PMP.


For more advanced options and in many cases better quality results, check out my post for MPLAYER and the MeWiG GUI (some PC skill required)
http://thinkbiggar.blogspot.com/2007/10/get-it-while-it-lasts-powerful-media.html

ophcrack, all is not lost

Remember Lophtcrack, that's all that's left, a memory. Symantec stopped development. I ran into a few situations where customers needed access to PCs where they didn't have access to the admin password. In both cases an employee left the company and did not pass on the admin passwords. I have 2 solutions that may help.


This is essentially a 2 step process.

1.) get the SAM file from the machine you are locked out of.

2.) Use one of the 2 methods below to crack the file.

A third method involves just replacing the ADMIN password.











» Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (intel).
» Cracks LM and NTLM hashes.
» Free tables available for alphanumeric LM hashes.
» Loads hashes from local SAM, remote SAM.
» Loads hashes from encrypted SAM recovered from a Windows partition, Vista included.




LC5 attacks your Windows machine with a combination of dictionary and brute force attacks.
LC5 can crack almost all common passwords in seconds. More advanced passwords with numbers and characters takes longer.
The main purpose of the LCP program is user account passwords auditing and recovery in Windows NT/2000/XP.


Another alternative is to simply reset the Admin password:

Your my favorite, I wish I could remember your name

Favorites Plus
http://www.borngeek.com/software/favoritesplus/

The is a free bookmark export tool similar to the one that comes with IE but with some very nice features.
The feature I find most beneficial is the ability to create drop down lists.

My brother recently wanted to show me some pictures of his sons baseball team on the Internet. The problem is he couldn't remember the URL. Even when he found the site hosting the pictures he couldn't locate what he was looking for. If he exported the bookmarks to a web site he could have navigated right to it.



Many times you don't want to share company internal bookmarks. Favorites Plus is a nice way for you to seperate it out.

There are other ways to achieve the same results using social bookmarking sites such as site bar.

Here is a list from WikiPedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_bookmarking

Monday, November 26, 2007

When your bad your bad, when your good your good

...... FREE
http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/benefits.html?currency=USD&region=North%20America&country=US

COMODO Firewall PRO - security from the inside out
For all practical purposes you don't need a 3rd party firewall to protect yourself from outside threats. The problem is if you do run into a security problem you likely invited them in.

If you downloaded or installed software or possibly loaded that new codex to a media player from a less than reputable site you could be compromised.

COMODO can help (lets just say, can be the bearer of bad news).

Clean PC Mode takes a snap shot of your installation and alerts you we something new is installed.

Host Intrusion Prevention System does exactly that, prevents modifications of key operating files and prevents access to key systems. This is nice in that when you install new applications if they try to run astray you are aware of what it is trying to modify.

Application Behavior Analysis alerts you when something is trying to call home.

The program even has a very large application recognition database to help minimize the fatigue caused by other firewalls when you have to respond to false alarms.

For a complete list of features please see the web site.



Smart Pop-up Alerts – Tell you what you need to know, fast!!

Smell something bad. It's not from this onion.



Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet.

It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
http://www.torproject.org/overview.html.en

Tor allows clients and relays to offer hidden services. That is, you can offer a web server, SSH server, etc., without revealing your IP address to its users. In fact, because you don't use any public address, you can run a hidden service from behind your firewall.
http://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-hidden-service.html.en




Staying anonymous
Tor can't solve all anonymity problems. It focuses only on protecting the transport of data. You need to use protocol-specific support software if you don't want the sites you visit to see your identifying information. For example, you can use web proxies such as Privoxy while web browsing to block cookies and withhold information about your browser type.

Also, to protect your anonymity, be smart. Don't provide your name or other revealing information in web forms. Be aware that, like all anonymizing networks that are fast enough for web browsing, Tor does not provide protection against end-to-end timing attacks: If your attacker can watch the traffic coming out of your computer, and also the traffic arriving at your chosen destination, he can use statistical analysis to discover that they are part of the same circuit.

I am far from a security expert. My understanding of TOR is that it creates a tunnel where the data is encrypted once it hits the first router and is passed to multiple routers and handed back off to the destination unencrypted of course. The TOR web site shows you are encypted leaving your browser. I need to run some tests to see if this is true and I will update the blog later with the results. Read the link below for more details. I will include a article later on testing your TOR as well.

Warning: Want Tor to really work?

Basically this ensures your privacy from the far end web site. Your data and URL history (Destination IPaddress and or DNSname) still passes through your corprate network and DNS servers or local internet service provider unencrypted. You aren't hiding anything,this is simply securing your privacy from the far end. Privoxy will also help to ensure your privacy by blocking browser info and cookies.

The bad thing is that all of your internet traffic will use the TOR network and you don't know who the owners of the TOR routers are. In the work environment this is a serious problem because you could be compromising your companys security and your own. I take pride in my work and who I work for.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I better way to install software safely and securely

Have you ever download a application and weren't sure if you can trust it? Now you can take the worry out of the process.

Altiris Software Virtualization Solution 2.0

This software allows you to create something similar to VMware where you can install your software in a virtual environment without the complexity of a VMware. VMware is an entire virtual computer where Altiris is a virtual software environment. This also allows you to move software installations between PCs or across networks.

PC magazine Review:
"Anybody can use Altiris Software Virtualization Solution 2.0 to put a safety wrapper around software installations and to package installations for import on other computers."

The software is free and simple to use. The explanation on the web site is complex and really focused towards a professional IT guy.

Free personal download:
http://www.altiris.com/Download/svsPersonal.aspx

Life comes full circle - ORB personal media broadcasting - FREE


Broadcast your movies, TV, and other media content anywhere for FREE.

What VLC does ORB does well and is easy to setup. ORB is dependent on a Streaming media source to make it work.

The Orb application is free. There are no fees for MyCasting. You need a home pc to get setup, and can use any web-enabled media player with streaming capabilities to remotely play the media. VLC is a good start.

Your computer broadcasts the media you choose that is stored on your PC. You can stream content through any internet device. This works with mobile phones, PDAs, laptops or any other computer.

There is no software installation required on the receiving web device. You can broadcast photos, music, videos, and even live TV. You can use this to view documents as well.

ORB instructions and recommendations.


Download:
http://corp.orb.com/download_orb

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Now go play with your power toys - Virtually

Extend your Desktop with Power Toys for Windows

The link below allows you to choose your version of XP (Tablet, Standard, Media Center)
XPhttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/default.mspx?wt_svl=20404a&mg_id=20404b

The purpose of this blog entry is to point out a nice virtual desktop manager for XP. This allows you to have linux style virtual desktops on windows XP.

Virtual Desktop Manager

Manage up to four desktops from the Windows taskbar with this PowerToy.
http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Install/2/WXP/EN-US/DeskmanPowertoySetup.exe

Instructions:
Once you install the Virtual Desktop Manager you right click on your task bar then select Tool bars menu then drop down to Desktop Manager. Then the Desktop manager should appear on your tool bar to the right.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Get Down with Download Manager

DownloadHelper
http://www.downloadhelper.net/index.php

DownloadHelper is a free Firefox extension for downloading flash videos and images from many sites with minimum effort.

You can save videos from sites where there is no option to download the movie to your hard disk. DownloadHelper works on YouTube, MySpace, Google videos, DailyMotion, Porkolt, iFilm, DreamHost and many others: check here for a longer list of supported sites.

It is also possible to capture all the images from a gallery in a single operation.


Play your newly captured flash file with mplayer or IrfanView.

Here is a post with stand alone FLV players:
http://thinkbiggar.blogspot.com/2007/12/wimpy-yes-flashy-no-free-flv-players.html

Finally a DIRECTX 10 card worth buying

ASUS Radeon HD 3870 512MB G-DDR4

This is under $200 and goes head to head with the big boys.
It also consumes 1/3 less power which means less heat, longer life, and a smaller utility bill.

Check out the reviews.
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2217044,00.asp
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1222/asus_radeon_hd_3870_512mb_g_ddr4/index.html

Do you want to get High End

This looks like a great system for the money but its not really for those on a budget. I get asked all the time what system to buy for a gamer under $2000. I know what your thinking but I love my parents none the less. I was browsing NewEgg and found this Gem. You can put together a system yourself for less but for those of you who aren't so inclined, here it is.

Its has a great motherboard, very good power supply, nice case, and everything else is just about perfect. This is built and ready to go. The brand name in this case has nothing to do with the great choice of components for the money. I would get a DVD Burner but if he doesn't burn DVDs its not necessary.

PC:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229012

Monitor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009102

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paranoid - Look what we Un-Rooted

Anti RootKit Tools:

The PC and Windows operating system is a extremely complicated system. The Nerd Herd can't save you this time. It's going to be up to you to find out whats running on your machine and why. If it isn't needed you need to permanently remove it. The problem is the rootkit. There can be hidden processes and registry entries that run without your knowledge or permission. They eat up system resources. Since they are hidden they are likely used for illegal activity like spam mail and identity theft. The links below can tell you if there is a problem and in some cases bail you out of trouble. The real problem is if you find a rootkit you need to re-install the OS to be truly safe.

AntirootkitAVG Anti-Rootkit Free
Download

RootkitRevealer
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897445

Just discovered that with RootKit Revealer and I'm sure it was not there a couple of weeks ago:
HKLM\Security\Policy\Secrets\SAC* Key name contains embedded nulls
HKLM\Security\Policy\Secrets\SAI* Key name contains embedded nulls
These above entries are normal and you do not want to remove them from the registry.


Of course these keys are not visible with RegEdit
You can see those entries by running RegEdit under the system account with this trick:

At command line enter:
at 10:15am /interactive regedit.exe

Subsitute the time with appropriate value one minute greater than current time. RegEdit will start at the given time and you'll be able to see HKLM\Security\Policy\Secrets and many others.


Sophos Anti-Rootkit
http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/sophos-anti-rootkit.html

Gmer
http://www.gmer.net/antivirus.php

Panda Anti-Rootkit
http://www.pandasoftware.com/download/documents/help/rkc/en/rkc_en.htm

Icesword
http://www.majorgeeks.com/Icesword_d5199.html

Trend Micro RootkitBuster 1.6 Beta
http://www.trendmicro.com/download/rbuster.asp

Blacklight
http://www.f-secure.com/blacklight/
Using Blacklight to detect and remove Rootkits from your computer


McAfee Rootkit Detective Beta
http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/rkstinger.aspx

System Virginity Verifier
http://invisiblethings.org/tools.html

*****************************************************
Hidden Registry Enties:

Download:
RegReveal v1.0 beta2c
RegReveal - a small rootkit registry revealerReveal hidden registry entries.
RegReveal supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP
RegReveal is a command line program.

SysInternals Hidden Registry Keys:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/information/TipsAndTrivia.mspx#ECC
Download RegHide (24KB)

**************************************************************
Note of interest (use a rootkit to your advantage):

http://www.securityfocus.com/brief/34

World of Warcraft hackers have confirmed that the hiding capabilities of Sony BMG's content protection software can make tools made for cheating in the online world impossible to detect. The software--deemed a "rootkit" by many security experts--is shipped with tens of thousands of the record company's music titles.

Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft, has created a controversial program that detects cheaters by scanning the processes that are running at the time the game is played. Called the Warden, the anti-cheating program cannot detect any files that are hidden with Sony BMG's content protection, which only requires that the hacker add the prefix "$sys$" to file names.

You have the Audacity

Audacity is free, software for recording and editing audio.
It is cross platform. Windows, Mac, Linux
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Record live audio.

Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.

Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.

Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.

Change the speed or pitch of a recording. - this can help in learning or you can get through content faster. This can also helps a bit for you men out there who have difficulty hearing high pitched sounds. I think we developed this over thousands of years of evolution as a psychological defense mechanism.

Learn more about Audacity...

Wiki

Forum for more information.




Mathcad Free



MATH is OpenOffice.org's component for mathematical equations. It is most commonly used as an equation editor for text documents, but it can also be used with other types of documents or stand-alone. When used inside WRITER, the equation is treated as an object inside the text document. Similarly, one can also insert these into other OpenOffice.org programs like CALC and IMPRESS.
Using MATH, there are three main ways of entering a formula:
Type markup in the equation editor.
Right-click on the equation editor and select the symbol from the context menu.
Select a symbol from the Selection toolbox.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pocket PC into a Graphical calculator


Turning your Pocket PC into a graphical calculator is easy and free.


Can you use it on that test? I'm sure you can argue your case. Bare minimum you will get some Geek respect from that math teacher.


http://www.hpcalc.org/ has the links you need. The newest addition section has the link to the download.


Here is the link to download.


There are variations to the base calculator.
Here is more to look at:

HP calc programs turning you Pocket PC into a graphical calc
http://www.hpcalc.org/best.php


more online calculators
http://www.1728.com/

Monday, November 12, 2007

Media Portal - What a Freaking Nightmare

Media Portal is a rip off of Windows Media Center even in how poorly it functions.

The interface is very similar to Windows Media Center. So much so that I would call it a copyright infringement. The controls are erratic and in most cases unusable and unstable. The nice thing about media portal is that it doesn't cause a blue screen like media center, it simply locks up requiring you to kill the process. Another negative point is you can't play DVDs from your hard drive. You can't even select the directory in an attempt to play the files.

If you need a free DVD player this might be a poor alternative. Not much else worked.

Didn't we go to the moon?
I'm sure we did. The only proof I can come up with is the retroreflector. The story behind this is an interseting one.

Retroreflectors on the Moon

Why can't someone make a good media center for the PC.



http://www.team-mediaportal.com/
http://www.mediaportal-skins.net/

MediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC / TV into a very advanced Media Center. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch and store your videos and DVDs, view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder and much much more.

Free iPod Video Converter


http://www.ipod-video-converter.org/


Free iPod Video Converter provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video.


Supports DVD/VCD and AVI, MPEG, WMV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB video files to your iPod with few clicks. The program is a freeware and does not contain any form of malware, including but not limited to: spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reuse that old supply

You can use a old supply to run devices such as a water cooling system or anything that needs 12 volts by following the steps mentioned below.

This is also a good method to test a supply before you plug it to the main board.

Using something such as a thin wire/paper clip, short pin 14 [PS ON] for the 20 pin connector or Pin 16 on the 24 pin connector to any one of the pins with the black [ground/return] wires.

There are no voltages that can hurt you on any of the pins but if you short the wrong one you could blow out the supply or trip a breaker.

The first ten pins from the orange wire end are the same for the 20 and 24 pin connector Just that what is pin 11 for the 20 pin connector becomes pin 13 on the 24 pin connector. Shown below is a 20 pin connector.



More resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX