By now most (if not all of you) have dabbled a little bit with Linux. Although it might look geeky and complicated at first glance, once you dip your toes into the great lake of open source it becomes a very refreshing computing experience. How do I mean ? Well : I challenge you to the following : Take a Windows Machine OR a Mac and, within 2 minutes FIND and INSTALL a free application that allows you to download a Youtube video and extract the audio to MP3. If you started off your search in Google (or in the Mac App store for that matter) you are starting to realize it is not that easy. There is a ton of ‘supposed’ freeware out there that, after installing it gives you either an app that does not completely work (unless you pay for it) or is just too complicated. Do you (as a true slider) have a Linux machine handy ? (perhaps a virtual machine or a server ) Then lets fire up the command line and give you a one line command to make that technology work for you.
Youtube-dl is a command line application that lets you download Youtube video’s and if you want to, extracts the audio from said video’s. The command is simple. On Ubuntu you can install it by hitting :
sudo apt-get install youtube-dl
After the installation is complete you need to update the app to the latest version. Also .. a couple of one liners.
sudo youtube-dl -U
You will get an error that you need to update via the GIT repositories once more. Easy peasy (copy and paste people)
sudo wget http://youtube-dl.org/downloads/2013.05.01/youtube-dl -O /usr/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/youtube-dl
Lets start Downloading.
Now surf to the Youtube video of your choice and copy the url to your clipboard.
Go back to the terminal and type :
youtube-dl <paste your url here>
Presto ! You will have the youtube video all for you ! What if you want the audio ?
youtube-dl --extract-audio <paste your url here>
Cross platform compatibility
Youtube-dl is also compatible with Macs and there is an .exe for our Windows friends. But because the command line is so easy I just leave a terminal open to my linux machine (on ANY machine i’m working on) and just copy and paste whatever cat video I would like to keep for prosperity. And youtube-dl does also support tons of other video sites like Vimeo and more !
Torrents .. Oh sweet rivers of digital data that bring us tons of
HD Porn Open Source ISO’s at speeds approaching those of the speed of light .. Or if you are running fiber .. THE speed of light. A fantastic little protocol that requires and equally fantastic application : A torrent client.
Sure, there are plenty of torrent clients out there like Transmission or Vuze, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to find torrent files and download them using the same simple application you use every single day ? What if we could do it in Chrome ? …. the answer is equal to Obama’s slogan : Yes you can !
Bring on “Bittorrent Surf” and gain the ravishing ability to download your favorite torrents straight from and straight IN your browser. Download and install the extension in google chrome and a little blue ball will appear on the upper left corner of your address bar. I could do a boring writeup how it works .. or you can just watch the video instead.
The extention works on Chrome in both Windows Mac and Linux. You can download ‘SURF’ HERE.
How do YOU get your torrents ? Tell us in the comments section.
The one thing I’ve always detested when it came to using my mobile devices like my iPad, my iPod Touch or my iPhone (or any “smart device” for that matter) was that you needed to “link” it to your desktop. If you think about it, behavior like that is something you might expect from a Palm Pre (or Apple Newton for that matter) But having a device with 7 antennae (antenna’s ?) require a serial connection to get stuff moved over to it .. It’s too 90’s for me.
I have spent considerable time in bypassing this crippled way of working by writing up special scripts , ssh connections and cronjobs to “ditch the cable”, but I continued to start out from the assumption that the desktop needs to acquire the data (podcasts, music, etc). But what if we let go of that paradigm altogether ?
Enter the mobile podcatching client. On IOS devices creating an application for this purpose has long been considered blasphemous : It “Duplicated” functionality that was native to iTunes. I am unaware what prescription of brain numbing meds the person that made that statement but for the longest time there was no “podcatcher” on IOS.
Luckily that has changed with “Downcast” : A full fledged podcatcher that has all the bells and whistles a stand alone application like this requires. Its very easy to search for podcasts or subscribe to them manually. You can set the number of episodes to keep and to delete. You can choose what to download , when to download it (over what connection) Thanks to location based services WHERE to download your stuff. While playing back audio en video podcasts you can choose the speed, pick up where you left of and tweet what you are listening to. The best thing is you can control all of these settings on a general or per-show basis. For the hilarious amount of 2 dollars you get a good working iPhone/iPod version AND the decent iPad version of the application. Downcast was surely built by people who knew exactly what a mobile podcast-consumer needs to keep him happy.
On the Android side of the pond “Doggcatcher” comes in at a slightly higher price point of 5 dollars but it offers almost the same magic as downcast. One of the added advantages of Doggcatcher is that you can create “Internal” podcast feeds. Mark a couple of files on your SD card into Doggcather and it will treat them as an external source of content. This is VERY handy if you want to listen to an audiobook you downloaded elsewhere and have it play nicely in your podcatchers interface, giving you a nice view what chapters you listened to and which ones you need to get to.
Both applications have, for me, severed the last ties between my iPhone to iTunes and have given extra independance to my Nexus tablet, letting their technolgy “work for me”.
Cross platform compatibility : Ios – Android.
You start noticing you are getting old when things like “20th anniversary of” start popping up all around you. And with that I don’t mean the 20th anniversary of your retarded cousin (who you thought would kill himself by endlessly going around a revolving door) but things like GAMES. Games YOU used to play when you were a kid. Games that were “adult” enough they didn’t include my little ponies and those friggin Carebears. Things like Wolfenstein 3D. Yes , you remember running round this maze in what could be described as the first first-person shooter where you could frag Nazi’s to your hearts contempt. Perhaps not very historically friendly to my German speaking neighbors who would frown at the concept of Adolf Hitler coming at you guns blazing, nor the perfect gift on your jiddish friends bar mitswa, Wolfenstein 3D was awesome to play.
it marked the beginning of Shareware where a game like this, not tied down with copy protection and drm management ( also referred to as hackerporn ) could stand the test of time by being freely distributed throughout the internet. You can still find versions of the original Wolfenstein 3D to play ( I think you need dosbox on Windows ) and you can find everything you need HERE.
But what if you own a Linux machine (or an Ubuntu machine) ? “Linux is just for nerds” you say ? Why I beg to get my luftwaffe and differ : You can fast forward fifteen years and download “Wolfenstein enemy territory” An action packed pixel free first person reincarnation of the classic Wolfenstein 3D. Curious ? For those of you who think that Linux nerds are bearded guru’s , check out the action in Enemy territory in this little video.
Download of the week : Until a while ago I used an app on my Mac (I have even forgotten the name) to download any Youtube video’s I needed for the podcast or for some of my presentations. When upgrading to Lion, it decided (or rather Lion decided) it wouldn’t work anymore. Tough I had found some alternative online sites to do it but searching for solutions like this is one of those internet ratholes like looking for free mp3 ringtones.) When twiddling around with it I had one of my favorite cross-platform download apps open in the background : Jdownloader. I use Jdownloader for multi-url links and long running downloads. Its free, its cross platform and it has this handy “url catcher” where it notices when you copy a url to your clipboard and then offers to download it. When the activity window for Jdownloader started blinking I checked out the “link grabber” window and was amazed to find that not only it had “caught” the url of the Youtube video I copied, but it offered to do something more. Jdownloader will offer to download AND CONVERT your Youtube video into several sizes like : MP3, FLV, MP4, Webm and more (depends on the video) So this tool is something that should not be missing in your application folder on ANY of your systems.
Download Jdownloader ( mac – lin – win ) here.