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Tag: YouTube

The Dilemma of Downloading a YouTube Video

There are worse ways to spend 10 minutes than juggling in Google’s Winter Wonderlab. Plus you get your very own YouTube video to share. But what can you do if you want to immortalize the memory?

There are worse ways to spend 10 minutes than juggling in Google’s Winter Wonderlab. Plus you get your very own YouTube video to share. But what can you do if you want to immortalize the memory?

Should you find yourself with a spare hour in New York City over the holidays, you absolutely must pass through Bryant Park on 42nd and 6th Ave.
There’s the ice skating rink going as well as the pop-up shops and dessert kiosks.  Who knew walking through a park could be so much fun?!

This year, Google has a rather large pop-up presence there, sporting a
‘Winter Wonderlab,’ featuring their Nexus 7 tablets and Chromebooks.

Play. Create. Chill.
In the center of their pop-up store is a high-speed photo studio inside a giant snow globe. In it, they shoot a slow motion video of you with a moving camera on a track. The result is a wicked cool 20-second sequence of you having fun in the globe, surrounded by fake falling snow.
(The actual elapsed recorded action is only about 2 seconds.)

Then, they download the file, and you’re invited to customize your mini movie with music and distribute it via one of their Nexus tablets, conveniently waiting for you in the pop-up store.

The whole point is to get you to say, “Mmmmmm….Nexus tablets.”
And then go buy one.

I’ve got to admit, their marketing tactic was rather compelling.

And I’m also not embarrassed to say I kind of liked my corny little video from their Winter Wonderlab.

The Google folks even provided me with my own URL to call up my cinematic moment, which conveniently lives as a YouTube video, housed in a Google Winter Wonderlab wrapper.

But you can also click on the video itself and call up the original YouTube page where the video lives.
(Remember, Google owns YouTube.)

Can You Keep your Snow Globe Joy Alive Forever?

So there I was watching my video, and I said to myself,
“Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I could download my silly video to take a look at whenever I wanted?”

Sure I’ve got a link to forward for anyone to watch.
And the link is always there for me, right?
(I don’t think YouTube is going anywhere.)

That said, I suppose it’s an open question how long Google will keep its
Winter Wonderlab open in the digital space.
(Snow globe videos aren’t so hip in July.)

The Dilemma
The problem is you can’t download YouTube videos.
Google understandably doesn’t offer that functionality.
(since they want you to keep giving them plenty of online clicks to feed their advertising model)

So now what?

At this point in the conversation, it’s important to share some legal realities on this point…

YouTube officially frowns on the downloading of their videos through other technologies. This would break their terms of service.
Plus, you don’t own the copyright on someone else’s content.
YouTube does suggest one exception if you are trying to download your own content.

So in this particular case I wanted to download specific imagery of Barrett juggling Styrofoam snowballs.
But I didn’t create the actual content… Google did.

Hmmmm… How gray is that?
(Next question…)

So I’ll simply say I may have considered the following investigative mission.

Think of this as solely a theoretical exercise…

How to Download a YouTube Video
I quickly realized I wasn’t alone in this intellectual query.

There are a whole lot of players out there offering to help you out…
But I was interested in finding a quick, ‘relatively’ mainstream solution that didn’t require additional software downloads…

I asked a few friends, (a Gen X and a few Gen Ys)
and they immediately replied…

Seems I’m a little late to the party… has actually been around for years…
And after doing a little research, I saw it’s often mentioned as a major player in this space.

KeepVid’s usability is pretty straightforward.
There’s only one annoying pothole to avoid.
Don’t click on the ‘Download’ or ‘Play Now’ buttons on the top of the page.
Those misdirect you to advertisements.

PCWorld has posted this useful ‘how-to video’ on using KeepVid.

A Decision for Another Day?
So there you have it.
Do proceed conscientiously…

And to repeat, this is all simply an exercise of the mind…
A noggin rumination, if you will.

If the Shoe Fits…
That there are effective ways to force video content off a webpage is not a happy reality for many multimedia-hosting websites.
But it should also give you pause…

  • If you upload your own videos to share on these websites…
  • Then set their permissions as non-downloadable…
  • And believe that they are safely ‘not grabbable’

…think again.

If you upload your own multimedia content into the universe, there are always ways for others to get it.

Now, we’ve come full circle.

Enough said.

All right, enough worrying for one post…
Now, go make your own snow globe video and have some fun!

YouSendIt is Gone. Should You Hightail It?

It looks like name recognition wasn’t that valuable an asset for YouSendIt. To stay relevant, they upgraded their mission, their name… and their pricing! Should you find another web link creation service?

It looks like name recognition wasn’t that valuable an asset for YouSendIt. To stay relevant, they upgraded their mission, their name… and their pricing! Should you find another web link creation service?

It’s darn impossible to send out a video via email attachment these days, because of how large video files have become.
(Everything is HD… on its way to 4K!)

Sure, you might be able to get a really short clip through, without blowing up your email program.
But anything more than a couple minutes worth of content…you can forget it.

Yes, there’s the magic bullet of file compression, but that’s an added step and a story for another day…

Instead of attaching a cripplingly large video into your email,
one solution is to include a web link that your recipients can click on.
They’ll be directed to a web page that hosts your video and then downloads your file.
Before you know it, they’re happily* watching the video from their desktop!
(*Blogger not responsible for actual download speed experience!)

Downloadable Video Links Vs. Streaming
In this golden digital age of easy-upload and stream websites like YouTube and Vimeo, you might question the very need for a service that downloads your video first before you can watch it.
And if you’re feeling a little twitchy about privacy and want to keep the video away from the public eye, simply password-protect your video page.

But in the video creation/collaboration business, there are usually multiple drafts of a video before the final version crosses the finish line.

A good method for offsite collaboration on these kinds of projects is via downloadable links.

Plus, if you simply want a video to get from Point A to Point B, streaming it isn’t going to get the job done. You’ve still got to download it!

Goodbye YouSendIt
If you’ve ever downloaded a video file from a web link, there’s a good chance the link was generated by a company called YouSendIt.
They’ve been around since 2004 and currently have over 40 million users.
This month alone, they’ve shared more than 100 million files.
(“Most impressive.”)

But if you haven’t heard, you’ll never get a link from YouSendIt ever again.
Don’t panic. The friendly folks from YouSendIt are still there.
They’ve just been going through an identity crisis of sorts, and they’ve “rebranded” themselves.

YouSendIt is now ‘Hightail.’

Hello Hightail
Yes, it was a surprise to me too.
An email from them would have been nice…

Everyone knew what a YouSendIt link was…
(It was almost a verb unto itself.)

Now a ‘Hightail’ link?
(They seem very excited by their new name. I’ll leave it at that.)

They claim their business model needed to change, as there are dozens of competing choices clouding their future.

To survive, they have to grow beyond a simple file-sharing service.
Today, it’s all about being a collaboration and file management tool.

I get all that.

The Cost of Progress
I just want to know if their shiny new kitchen can still brew a simple cup of coffee.

Today, I just want to make my video links.
Drum roll, please…

Yes, you still can, but there have been some ‘modifications’ to their subscription plans.

My existing YouSendIt Pro account plan cost me $49.99/year.
(They were running a deal when I renewed it…)

The Pro plan gave me a maximum sharable file size of 2 GB with 5GB of total available storage.
That’s plenty for what I need.

Both YouSendIt’s old free plan and Hightail’s no-cost ‘Lite’ plan give you just 2 GB of storage.
But the killer with this free deal remains the per-file size limit…
Only 50 MB.
That doesn’t get you very far with video.

Hightail’s value proposition is its new Professional plan which offers you unlimited Cloud storage for all your files.
That’s a real wake-up call to the competition.
(And you can still share files up to 2 GB.)

But all this goodness is going to cost you $159.99/year.
That’s a chunk of change.
And a lot more than I’d prefer to pay.

Is Free Really a Deal?
There are so many free ways to send out links these days.
So why pay anything?

Well, call me old school, l but I still subscribe to the concept that you get what you pay for.

If sending out a video link is really important, then you might want to use a company you know with a good track record.
And you may have to pay something for the privilege.

The question is how much…
I‘ve been willing to pay $50/year for peace of mind, but three times that?!

For the record, I’ve been completely satisfied with YouSendIt, and I’m sure Hightail will be equally wonderful…

I just don’t want to spend $160.
(Especially when the onward march of tech innovation is supposed to decrease pricing!)

So what now?
Time to shop around and look at the competition…

Starving with Too Much Choice
As I considered the cluttered landscape offering to help me create my links,
I quickly grew frustrated with all the choices.

Others have already gone through this lengthy exercise:

Google Drive
Yes, Google Drive keeps popping up everywhere, and it’s free.
Plus, they give you 15 GB, which is hard to beat.
But it’s a service that requires you to download yet more software onto your computer.

That said, I realized I’ve got Dropbox on my desktop.
And I’m already happily creating links with them.
(Dropbox gives you 2 GB for free…and a little more when you get friends to join.)

So, problem solved… right?

Sort of…

I’d Like the Burger Deluxe, Please
I’ve realized I enjoy some of the cushier bells and whistles I had with YouSendIt.

  • You can set the link’s life span from a few days to a few months
  • It’s also nice to have the option to see when your file has been viewed

Adobe SendNow
Then I found Adobe SendNow.
They do all that and more for only $20 a year.

  • Maximum file size of 2 GB
  • Maximum storage of 20 GB


And Adobe is no mom-and-pop operation.
(What can I say… I like a well-known brand.)

Put your Jackson to work, and problem solved!

Hightail it or Hightail it?
So is it time to leave Hightail?
I think so.

I’ve still got more time on my legacy YouSendIt plan.
But if Hightail can’t get more competitive against Adobe SendNow or another similarly featured service, (any other suggestions?)

…I’m hightailing it elsewhere!

How Much Does It Cost to See the Light?

The new $5,000 LED bulb? Not quite. But that’s the price you’ll pay for bleeding-edge tech like Ultra HD. (And that’s a bargain compared to the beginning of the year!) The new Cree LED bulb just broke the $10 barrier. Any takers?

The new $5,000 LED bulb? Not quite. But that’s the price you’ll pay for bleeding-edge tech like Ultra HD. (And that’s a bargain compared to the beginning of the year!) The new Cree LED bulb just broke the $10 barrier. Any takers?

I’ve got two brilliant deals to report today.
One for $10.
The other… $5,000.

While you get back on your chair, consider this-
If there’s one constant surrounding the home tech industry,
it’s if you wait long enough, the price will plunge.

So every so often, it’s a smart idea to take another look at the pricey tech you covet, because you never know when it’s time to pull the trigger.

Already Prime Time for Ultra HD TV?
Last week, I ran into a colleague at work one morning, while waiting in the cafeteria line.
He’s quite comfortable with his home tech and likes to chat with me about current video trends.
(the same way I enjoy talking with cinematographers I work with about the lenses they prefer)

He asked me if I expected to be using Ultra HD tech in the near future.
Knowing this new, crazy-expensive TV format was still in its infancy, I shot him a look of doubt and said we were years away from that transition.

But he didn’t seem satisfied…
He reframed his question and focused on the TV screens I work with.
When would I be replacing my HD screens with Ultra HD versions?

Again, I responded it wasn’t on my radar and not an imminent purchase decision.
(I didn’t want to be rude by pointing out the teeny problem of the severe pricing.)

I paid for my oatmeal and was careful not to expose any non-verbal cues revealing my true position on how silly I thought this conversation really was.

When I first blogged about Ultra HD TVs three months ago, the prototype screens at the Consumer Electronics Show cost a whopping $20,000!
(I think we all agree that price was a real non-starter!)

So why was my friend even bringing it up?

Maybe he was just trying to strike up a conversation about the newest tech he’d read about.
Tech heads talk all the time about gear they can’t afford, right?
No harm in that.

75% Price Cut
The next morning, I was quickly reviewing my email in the precious
‘quiet hour’ before my preschooler wakes up.
I looked briefly at a marketing message from Best Buy promoting their new Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs.

Did some marketing guru figure I’d won the lottery?
How silly is that?
But I clicked on the link anyway.

My jaw dropped…
That’s how much Sony’s new 55” 4K Ultra HD TV, which went on ‘pre-order’ sale last week costs.

And its larger 65” cousin goes for a mere $7,000.


That’s a pretty significant price drop from three months ago.
Granted, these are smaller screens than their $20K cousins… but still!

I’m still not sure who’s going to drop everything to run down to their nearest Best Buy to pick up a 4K TV at these still exorbitant prices.
But in just ninety days, Ultra HD has evolved from science fiction to simply crazy money.
It’s no longer entirely out of reach for some well-heeled early adopters.

It is amazing to see how fast Ultra HD is taking hold.
My friend was right on target to be talking about it.

And if the prices keep dropping, I can guess what the must-have holiday tech item will be this year or next…

Moving LED Bulbs Away from the Fringe
A similar story is brewing on the other side of the tech-pricing spectrum.
Let’s review society’s pricey journey to replace the simple incandescent light bulb.

It’s been difficult to beat Mr. Edison’s invention, because his 19th century technology, though wildly inefficient, gets the job done and costs about a buck a bulb these days.

The CFL replacement program was largely a bust with those icky, slow-to-illuminate fluorescent bulbs that would wig out before their time and contaminate your house with mercury if they happened to break.

And they never really came down in price.

Now, LED tech is making a play to construct the Edison bulb killer:

  • It radiates a nice light quality
  • It has a life span spanning into two decades
  • No mercury
  • And has the same shape as the old incandescent bulbs you still love

But LED light bulbs have also been wicked expensive.

A year ago, I talked about Philips’ new LED dimmable light bulbs that were supposed to change the world.

Their wonder LED bulb, won the ‘L Prize Award’ from the U.S. Department of Energy.

But, the 12.5-watt champion is still selling for $50 at Home Depot!!
(of course less on Amazon- $29.00)
Nobody really wants to buy a light bulb at either price…

So I saved some money and settled for Philips’ ‘loser light bulb.‘
They were really called AmbientLEDs. But I gave them the loving nickname, because they weren’t quite as efficient as their mighty L Prize cousins.
(Otherwise, you wouldn’t notice any difference.)

I bought a few for $15.00
(supported by a temporary $10 discount)
…and declared victory.

Philips LED Bulbs: The Next Generation
Philips continued to improve on their LED light bulb tech, coming out with their next generation model this past January.

Called the A19 LED Bulb, (that’s a zinger!)
it no longer has that Cylon-looking metallic exterior.
It’s even more efficient, sucking only 11 watts, but it still costs a hefty $15.

I’ve got to admit, $15 for a 60-watt replacement bulb is better than $50, but I’m guessing the relatively high prices have limited LED bulb use as a fringe science experiment for tech geeks.

Cree Takes the Spotlight
Last week, I went to Home Depot’s website and noticed their homepage had been taken over by something called Cree.

I know…
Who or what the heck is ‘Cree?’
(sounds like a lawn disease)
(or a new Star Trek alien race… THE CREE!!)

Actually, it’s a North Carolina-based LED manufacturer that seemingly out of nowhere has shaken up the competition with their new consumer friendly LED bulbs.
Their design almost exactly matches their incandescent ancestors, and the pricing can’t be beat.

In fact, Cree has just broken the $10 LED bulb price barrier.

Home Depot is their big distributor right now.
Here’s the pricing lineup:

  • The 6-Watt (40W equivalent) LED bulb costs $9.97
  • The 9-Watt (60W equivalent) LED bulb goes for $12.97
  • The 9-Watt (60W equivalent) daylight LED bulb sets you back only $13.97

Cree LED Bulb with blue background
Using Fringe to Go Mainstream

I know it’s hard to get too excited over a light bulb, but I’ve got to give credit to the marketing team at Cree.

They’re putting the company on the map with a clever TV adverting campaign that features actor Lance Reddick, who played Agent Broyles on the sci-fi TV series, Fringe.

Reddick isn’t really spoofing his TV character, but by playing his pitch straight while delivering some intentionally silly lines, you feel like you might be watching outtakes from a Fringe episode in the alternate universe.

Of course, all of the commercials are available on YouTube:

• The fun tag line from one of the spots is
“Nostalgia is dumb.”

• Their Eulogy spot is also quite clever

Deal or No Deal?
$5,000 for a super sharp Ultra HD TV that can’t be beat?
$10 for a light bulb that’s 84% more efficient?

Anyone ready to pull the trigger on this brightest tech available?

I did!
…went to Home Depot yesterday to pick up a few Cree LED bulbs.

Okay, so it’s clearly easier to drop a sawbuck than take out a second mortgage to pay for an Ultra HD TV.

Even so… I’ll understand if you feel you haven’t seen the light yet,
even with THE CREE.
(pray the Borg don’t hear about this…)

We all know that tech pricing drops as technologies mature.
Still, it’s been remarkable to watch this economic model in action over the past few months.

Who said home tech innovations can’t be a spectator sport?

…though I must admit, it’s not quite as much fun as watching Reddick pay the bills while talking sternly about innovation.

“If you argue with math, you will lose!”

Thank you, Agent Broyles.

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