Tag Archives: add-ons

links/recs for audio & video grabbing

A discussion with Sophinisba on twitter reminded me that I meant to post about these little tech things in case they proved useful for others, so here we go! A post of tips / links.

  • To grab embedded video I use the plug-in called VideoDownloadHelper for Firefox. It doesn’t work for everything, bc of the escalating tech war between video embed provider and the so-called pirates, but it works on certain sites, not just YouTube, and allows me to collect my favorite actor interviews and the like better than I would without it, so.

  • To grab Youtube vids, if I’m not using my FF plugin, I use the standalone java program called JDownloader (I know it’s not the first time I mention it here, Toby turned me onto it a couple of years ago). What I love about it is that it gives me a choice of formats to download, and one of those is MP3. It means I can quickly, painlessly download the sound from a vid I like (again, good for interviews if I want them on my iPod; good for amazing mashups you don’t know how to find elsewhere, etc. I don’t use it for music much, personally.)

  • If I want to grab the sound from a thing, especially a short thing, to use it in my own editing / podfic / podcast work, I don’t usually do the “download mp3” route – sometimes I can’t, anyway, if it’s not on Youtube or whatever – then I use Soundflower, which is a free Mac service/thing that allows you to tell your computer “record the sound straight from the source” to keep the quality optimum. I use it in combination with [Sound Studio] because that’s what I use for recording and editing, but you can use it with any other software – all Soundflower does is telling the computer what to use for “sound in” and “sound out”.

I really recommend this tool. It’s a small free thing, easy to handle, and can be life-saving.

Soundflower has also been useful to me when making a podcast from a Skype convo. There are several ways to do that, but the one time I did it successfully was with Templemarker last year for our pod_aware conversation. (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

To make sure the sound quality would be okay, we each of us recorded our side of the conversation only. Then she sent me her files and I integrated them with mine. The way Soundflower helped me here is that when I recorded my side, I told Soundflower to grab the sound straight from my mic, so I wouldn’t have to remove templemarker’s voice from my track later on.

It didn’t work perfectly because I somehow had a very faint trace of her voice in my recording, but that proved a godsend, because it actually served to help me align both recordings exactly later on before merging, so, yay. I don’t know how she recorded her side, but there was no trace of my voice in hers. The whole process took some time but was a whole lot smoother than I had expected, and I think the resulting recording is very nice indeed, for a Skype conversation recorded by amateurs without lots of great hardware or specifically dedicated bandwidth.

Just for the record, another way to do a podcast from a Skype convo on a Mac is to use Piezo – which I have indeed used for recording conversations but haven’t used to produce podcasts yet. 

I’m sure there are plenty other ways (tell me if you know them!) but that’s what I can talk about today. :D

Firefox Add-ons

So thanks to a commenter on Aja’s LJ I discovered Ghostery, a Firefox add-on to increase your privacy by controlling tons of ‘invisible web’ scripts and trackers.

I installed it, and it reminded me I’ve often also wanted to post about LOS cookies, and the add-on Better Privacy, which enables you to wipe them out.

Then I thought I should make a list of the other FF add-ons I use, because, why not? I’m not going to put the links in, but google will find them for you in a jiff.

This list is from my install of FF 7 on the Mac, ie the cleanest/smallest list of all my FF installs. I still mourn Wordcount+ and Aardvark something fierce, and I haven’t (yet?) installed Scrapbook on Ariadne.

  • Adblock Plus
  • Boomerang for Gmail (haven’t yet used it, though)
  • Diigo toolbar (will probably uninstall in the next 6 months)
  • Evernote Web Clipper
  • Greasemonkey (daily use for LJ, Pinboard, Dinosaur Comics etc)
  • NoScript (lifesaver)
  • Pinboard
  • Read It Later
  • Session Manager (lifesaver)
  • Tab Mix Plus (lifesaver)
  • Xmarks (browser bookmarks sync across platforms/browsers/machines)


Let’s put this on the table right away: I haven’t yet solved the big questions.

* Which iTunes becomes the “master” iTunes for my iDevices (staying as is, with the PC as my main computer, or bestowing that privilege to the Mac?)

* How do I rejig my storage and backup strategies to include the Mac in the plans?

These remain unanswered for now.

Now, what’s been going on…

° I still have these two blog posts open in tabs, trying to make a decision:

John Gruber on getting rid of Flash & cheating w/ Chrome
Lex Friedman on reinstalling it

° I found Fluid, a wrapper to allow you to make any web-app into a ‘standalone’ app.

° It is with relief and not a small amount of joy that I installed Firefox & my trusted/necessary extensions, as well as my favorite download manager, jDownloader. Even though for a mysterious (non-mac) reason, I haven’t managed to “connect” the FlashGot FF add-on to jDownloader like I have on the PC (which allows me to select a link on a page and automatically trigger a download for it), I’m still pleased to have my usual tools at my fingertips. :)

° I’m still pining for a text editor I like, but since I haven’t tried anything but the pre-installed TextEdit I can’t honestly say I haven’t found anything – I just haven’t dealt with the issue. In the meantime it means I’m doing my blog-post writing either inside the WordPress editor (for this blog) or on the PC (for my other blogs / my journals / fic beta-reading, etc unless I edit in WordPress and then CP out of there, which has happened). This can’t continue very long. note to self: get yourself a proper text editor.

° I’ve started using Evernote on the iTouch a little more, which makes me think I need to install the Mac version and see how I like it.

° Not mac-specific: I’ve discovered and starting using ifttt.com, which I’m a little too addled at the moment to describe – the domain name stands for ‘if this then that’ and their tagline is ‘put internet to work for you’. You should read the about page, which has a lovely, direct URL: http://ifttt.com/wtf

° I’ve been doing recording and sound-editing on the Mac and I am floored every time anew by the quality of the built-in mic for voicework, as well as the pleasure and ease I experience doing editing with my fingers on the trackpad. Plus now my new Snowball mic arrived, whee! There is a LOT of podfic work in my future. <3 That's it for today, I think.

Boomerang, podcasts, & links.

So I’ve started using Mailplane. So far, so good. I really like that it allows me to double click to log in and out of MANY gmail accounts, not just 3 as with Google’s easy-account switching solution. I will probably be faster with it when I learn to use kb shortcuts more (but then I have failed to learn using them in gmail all along, too, so nobody hold their breath).

Then while watching the demo videos for it, I stumbled onto Boomerang, a gmail plugin (pre-existing Mailplane, and compatible with it) that allows you to bounce things out of your inbox temporarily and have them come back at you (boomerang) at a later date. It also does a few other things, all great/handy. (There are also things you can do with apps script to snooze an email in gmail, apparently.)


I suspect I am the wrong person to use this, since I will probably send EVERYTHING boomeranging across the ether, like I tend to send everything to Read It Later (and only read a very tiny fraction of the things, later). But nevertheless I am ENCHANTED to have found this and thought others might be interested in it too.

By the way, here’s a link to the MacPowerUsers podcast I’m listening to at the moment (I started with the first Merlin Mann Workflow episode because that’s how I heard about them, but I downloaded many of the past episodes), and here’s the Back to Work podcast where Merlin officiates weekly. The show notes for many past episodes (of both podcasts) are teeming with good links, whether you choose to listen or not. They make interesting lists to peruse.

What else? More apps-related things, with links / thoughts.

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Quickly, to start catching up

I’ve been sitting on many of the things I should have put in this blog while I was finding a name for it & then setting it up, so here’s a jumble of things I jotted down on a notebook.

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