Last Show Dec 12, 2018

Dec - 12 2018 | By

Notifications of new show notes and edits are tweeted at: twitter.com/ddhart.
– They’re tagged with #Zentech.|
– When what’s said is unclear to me (or I’m unfamiliar with a topic) I tend to quote (” “) verbatim.
– Editor’s comments are delimited by < >

For a couple of months, the audio of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here.

The intro and outro music was by Pentatonix.

 

Glenn was in the studio today and Paul called in.

 

Paul spent some time talking about converting VHS videotapes to a newer format. There is a device available that can extract the video as it comes thru the left & right audio and the yellow composite video leads. This device costs 6 or 7 dollars and plugs into the USB port of the computer & the other side has the inputs for the 3 leads that come from the VHS player or video camera. You’ll end up with an .mp4 or .mpg file. These are compressed video file formats that are generated at the rate of about 1 gig for every hour of the original video.

You can then upload a video to Youtube and set it as being private so it’s not visible to just anybody. If you want to allow someone to see it, you can just send them the Youtube link.

On the other hand, you can’t just burn one of these files to a DVD disk. It may play back on some computers but most will fail.

Some Macs have IDVD that allows you to author these disks.

Paul has a friend who converted videotapes to DVDs. There wasn’t much content on each DVD so he asked Paul to combine everything onto a single DVD. He was given 10 DVD disks each with about 30 minutes of video.

When you open a DVD you made yourself (a generic DVD, not one you bought at the store), you’ll find a folder called video_ts. By the way, DVD stands for digital versatile disk, not digital videodisk and is meant to be a large capacity storage medium on which you can store any file. Though it never caught on, there is a format for storing audio on the disks and they would be stored in the folder audio_ts.

So you open the DVD and in the folder video_ts and you’ll find many files, some ending in the letters ‘vob’. You can double click one of these files and play it in a player like VLC. These files are video files in the format of mpeg2 (motion picture experts group type 2). Some of the other files are additional information that let you skip around and move back & forth in the vob files while you’re playing them. Without this additional info, you won’t be able to move the slider button and the time indicator may show a bogus value.

Paul tried to edit his friend’s video to cut out the blank areas and found that a special program was needed. One is called Handbrake, which works on the PC, Mac and Linux. You first have to convert the vob files into something else. Paul chose .mp4. The .mp4 is a highly compressed format that you can put directly on your website. When a modern browser using HTML5 displays the webpage with the link to that file and the user clicks on the link, the browser knows how to play the video.

Another way to get usable video off of the DVD is with an extractor like FFMPEG Native. It’s a very versatile program that can convert between many formats. The drawback for some people is that it’s a command line program. Like the good old days of DOS, you type in the instructions that you want the program to execute. It’s not to bad in this case. You can type ‘ffmpeg -i filename.vob output .mp4’, where filename.vob is the file you’re converting. <I’m guessing that he meant to say something like type: ffmpeg -i filename.vob -o .mp4>.

Continuing, Paul said that .mp4 is a good format for the final product, but it’s not the best if you want to do more editing — special effects, cuts, fades, dissolves etc.

These programs are free, Paul noted. Glenn added that the program Gimp is a free editing program for photos, and an alternative to Photo Shop. But Paul said it doesn’t do everything Photo Shop does and is not a replacement for it, but it still very useful.

The back of a modern TV has many inputs, among which is a USB port. If you plug in a USB flash drive containing videos, music or pictures, you can play those thru the TV. On some TVs you can play .mp4 videos. And if you name the videos for their content — holidayinspain.mp4 or wedding1996.mp4 — navigating the files is much easier. The order in which the videos are played depends on how the TV is programmed. Often it will be in alphabetical order. So you can rename your files to start with a_, b_, c_ or 1_, 2_, 3_ etc., in the order you want them to play.

Glenn said he was helping a friend put his videos on a 64 gig flash drive and found his TV wouldn’t play it. Eventually, they had to use 8 gig drives before the TV could play them. Check the specs of the TV before you make a commitment to using a particular size drive, he said. In this case the flash drives were to be sent to family members over seas.

Paul said it’s true of older equipment that larger drives can be a problem. It’s not that the engineers couldn’t anticipate that larger drives would eventually become available, but that the standards for accessing the larger drives weren’t agreed to until much later, when they went into production.

Paul talked about smart TVs that can be connected to the internet, You can store your videos on the web using Youtube, for instance, or your own website. You can then use a web browser, of course, or the Youtube app to play them. But many current TVs come with a Youtube app or Roku that can play the videos. And then there are plugin devices like Chromecast and Apple TV that you can also use.
<The Chromecast app is here>

Moving on, Paul said Google Drive is available on Android devices & iPhones. Google gives you 15gigs of storage for your videos <or other data>. Once you have uploaded some content, you can click on the folder containing the videos and share the link with anyone by typing their email address. That person can then view or download the video. Google Drive is a good way of distributing content. To be able to download; one needs a Google account, which is free. The guys have used Google Drive to great advantage over the years.

Glenn said he use both Gmail & Yahoo for email. His Yahoo account is for those casual things that won’t compromise privacy like signing up somewhere to get a discount coupon. Paul said he dislikes Yahoo but if you’re going to use it, get the mobile app as it does a somewhat better job. The app will also work for users of SBC Global, which uses Yahoo. Glenn mentioned that Gmail also has an app for its service.
<Yahoo app is here. This might be the one for iPhone>

Paul said that on the iPhone and probably on the Android, “when you create and log in to your Yahoo account with the settings under email, you can add more than one account”. Then “when you synchronize it, there is a bunch of little slider switches” that set exactly what you want to synch — like the calendar and contacts. But if you import contacts and you already have contacts on the iPhone, you can end up with 2 records for the same person and there is no easy way to remove them. Turning off the synchronization won’t make the duplicates go away.

Something similar happens on the iPhone when you use the Facebook app. But in this case, if you have synch turned on, it can drag in a bunch of other stuff from Facebook on to the iPhone.

Glenn talked about a problem he has while using his iPhone, iPad and Mac Mini. When he logs out of Facebook and later clicks an link in an email notification that says, for example, “David sent you something about their anniversary party last night”, he is taken to Facebook and automatically logged in there. He asked Paul how to stop that. Paul said, “the Facebook app requires a login. When you log out of the Facebook app, you haven’t been logged out of the account that’s been set up for Facebook”…”The reason for that is it logs you in without actually being able to show you the Facebook content. The only purpose behind it is to deliver notifications synchronize contacts”.

Paul added, “there is one single useful feature about creating a Facebook account login on your iPhone and that is if you synchronize calendars, all those events that come up that are a myriad of events all going around here in Nevada County”…”if you synchronize a calendar, they come up with a colored event in your iPhone calendar”. Unlike synching contacts, if you turn off the synching, the events will go away, you have an actual Ical link. <You can subscribe to other Ical calendars and the events will blend in with the calendar on your phone, and disappear when you unsubscribe, as I understand it.>

Glenn had the problem of multiple contacts showing up when he got an iPad some time ago and Apple told him they didn’t have a solution. But it was suggested that he export the contact list from the iPad and then import it to Google Contacts, because Google has a tool to eliminate duplicate entries or to merge entries that were only similar. He found that very useful.

Glenn said that some time ago, on another show, Mikail talked about a $30 tool to coordinate things without having to use the cloud for synching.

Paul & Glenn both have upgraded their Apple device to IOS 12.1. And Paul mentioned on a previous show that the new Facetime made it tricky to flip the camera. “You had to hit 2 or 3 different things and you couldn’t see the camera, so a slider would come up on the screen”…”instead of showing what’s in front of the iPhone I want to show what’s behind the iPhone. You had to go thru several hoop to do that”. That was one of the things fixed in the latest version 12.1.1, you just tap on the screen to flip the camera.

Paul had a tip for iPhone users who have trouble positioning the cursor in the text they are editing. Hold your finger down on the spacebar and you will get what looks like a mouse pad that you can then use to move the cursor.

Glenn reminded listeners that they can call in with questions or comments at 530-265-9555.

Some time ago Paul suggested the Clean Sweep app for the Android to purge unnecessary files. It’s a widely used app from China, but it has a problem. It’s not a security issue. “It would hook into the system and artificially grab credit for your download of other apps that didn’t belong to it”, Paul said. Developers get a kickback from Google if their apps are installed and the makers of Cleansweep were raking in the money, instead. Google hasn’t removed the app or disabled it on all user devices (a killbit). Paul suggested that users delete the app on their devices. He didn’t have suggestion for a replacement. <CM Security Master has a cleaning function and there’s also CleanMaster.>

Glenn read the disclaimer:
The view and opinions expressed on KVMR are those of the speaker only and not necessarily those of KVMR management, staff or underwriters.

Brian called about a problem with his printer. He had called about it some time ago and was told how to make it the default printer. He wanted to be reminded how to do that because the default got changed. Brian said others use the computer and Glenn thought that the other person selected a different printer and the default automatically changed. Paul said the setting can be reached by clicking the Start button (lower left) -> Control Panel -> Devices and Printers and look at the list of printers. The one that’s the default will have a check mark. If you need to change it, right-click on the one you want and choose it as the default.

WordPress has gone to version 5. It now uses a different editor called Gutenberg. Paul doesn’t like it but “not all hope is lost”. He’ll talk more about it on the next show.

Glenn has a friend who got the latest iPad (6th generation) and it will only communicate using iMessage. It won’t use the phone number or email to communicate with non-Apple products. Paul said, “it will only be able to receive text messages that come thru the other device. So something has to receive the text message and it would be another device like the iPhone. So the text comes into the iPhone. That iPhone, under settings, has to be configured in such a way that it shares its messaging with the iPad. So when the iPad sees the text message it’s not because the iPad got a text message, it’s because the iPhone got it and shared it with the iPad.” Paul thought the setting on the iPhone is under Settings -> Messages or iMessage. “It should know about the iPad as long as the iPad is signed in to the same iCloud account. And that way the phone has to be on and the text message and even voice calls will pop up on the iPad.” Glenn looked at his phone and found the correct path to the setting: Settings -> Messages -> Text Message Forwarding.

Paul said that when you get a new device, rename it in a sensible way. “If you migrate all your settings from the iPhone 5 to your iPhone 6 and you called your iPhone 5 “iPhone 5″, that’s its name when it when it goes over to iPhone 6. So watch out for that one, that will bite you”. When you get a new device, give it a new unique name, Glenn said.

Last Updated 1:33 AM 12-13-2018

Leave a Reply