flummery: (hat 1)
I'm writing this down mostly so I don't forget it, but figured it might be helpful for other people as well. CAVEAT: I've been using this method for a whopping 2 hours now. I cannot do any sort of troubleshooting for it, and I have no idea if it's the easiest/best method out there. It's just the first one I tried that worked pretty well and pretty quickly, so I said "good enough!" and am sticking with it, at least for now.

I did try VLC first, which worked, but took a really long time, and stripped the audio. Which would be a bonus if I was only looking for a viddable mp4, but I wanted a watchable version first. Still, if you just want to do some conversions with familiar software, VLC will totally work.

I got impatient, and went hunting, and stumbled over a video on Youtube where someone went through all the steps they used, including links to where they found their software. He didn't have audio, so wrote the steps up in a text doc as he went along, which worked for me, but YMMV. (I've embedded the video below.)

This process needs three pieces of software (all links go to videohelp.com):

Download, extract if needed, and install all three. (As I write this, My MP4Box GUI comes zipped; the other two don't. This is different from the embedded video, so clearly things shift around from time to time.)

Once you've got them all installed, here are the steps:
  • Open MKVcleaver

    • At the top right, there's a button that says "Locate MKVToolNix". Click that, and browse to your installed MKVToolNix folder (don't drill down to a specific component; you want the entire folder here).

      • That's all you need to do with MKVToolNix - it just runs in the background of MKVcleaver. You won't need to set this up again unless you move the folder.

    • At the top left, there's a button that says "Open MKV files to process". Click that, and browse to the first MKV file you want to convert.

      • If you want to batch convert a bunch of files, keep adding files till you have everything you want.

    • The files you include will show up in the left-hand pane. The right-hand pane will give you options on what you want to extract. I wanted video and audio, so I chose Video Track 1 and Audio Track 1.

      • If you've selected a batch of files to work with, whatever you pick in the right-hand pane will apply to everything. The program will skip any file that doesn't include everything you've asked it to extract.

    • Set your output directory below the left-hand pane. If you leave this blank, it will automatically save your files to the same directory/ies they came from.

    • Click "Extract Tracks !"

    • Wait for it to finish (but it doesn't take that long).

This gives you demuxed (split) audio (ac3) and video (h.264) files. You need to mux (combine) them to get a working mp4. Even if you only extracted the video, you'll need to run it through a muxer to use the file.

  • Open My MP4Box GUI. It should open on the "Mux" tab, which is the one you want.

    • Click "Add" to add a track. You can only add one track at a time.

    • To mux files individually:

      • Add whatever tracks were extracted from the original MKV (for me, that meant one video and one audio file per original MKV)

      • Click the "Mux" button at the bottom.

      • Wait for the process to finish, then click "Clear" to clear the list of files, and "Add" to add your next file(s).

    • To mux multiple files at once:

      • Add whatever tracks were extracted from the first original MKV (for me, that meant one video and one audio file per original MKV)

      • Click the "Add to Queue" button at the bottom.

      • A second box will pop open, showing the export path for the muxed file you want.

      • In the main box, your file name(s) will vanish, letting you move straight to adding the file(s) for the next one you want.

      • When you have everything you want queued up, click "Start" in the Queue popup box.

      • The file(s) will automatically export to the same directory/ies the demuxed file(s) came from.

You should now have working mp4 files that match the original mkv quality. \o/

The batching works well in both programs, and speeds things up considerably.

12-minute Youtube tutorial )
flummery: Image of the Earth exploding (Default)
So, for many, many years now... okay, not that many, seeing as torrents and downloading episodes from online is just not that old a technology, but for a while now, I have watched friends downloading episodes of shows to watch on computer, and have not seen the appeal. Specifically, I don't like watching shows on my computer. A big part of enjoying a show for me is being able to sit on the sofa, watch it on a decent sized screen, and fight for space with my cat, sometimes with my laptop on one knee so I can multi-task. Or, you know, have guests over to watch with me!

Downloading an episode to watch required going to the office, where the desktop (with the better monitor, and extra diskspace) lives, sitting in the not-so-comfy office chair, and watching it on a decent, but smaller sized screen, only a foot or so away. I mean, doable, but not actually fun for me, too much like work. It put me off to an enormous degree, actually.

If only I could watch these downloaded files on tv, I said to myself, now THAT would be something. But no. While I know it's possible to convert a file to something watchable on tv, I've failed to manage it myself, and the process requires a lot of time and effort for each episode you'd like to convert. Still, I decided to give it another shot, in the hopes of catching a few episodes I've missed this year. So I asked [livejournal.com profile] astolat for a few tips. [livejournal.com profile] astolat answered, "Hmmm, probably TMPGenc will do it, but you know, there's this new player on the market I've been looking at...."

She described the player. I expressed disbelief. I repeatedly asked her the same questions, over and over, to see if I could trick her into different answers, but NO! I discovered that indeed, she was saying there existed a dvd player on the market that can playback divx/xvid files without any conversion at all. Just burn them down to dvd or cd, pop them in, and PLAY. And that said player is only $45 before shipping. (There are, it turns out, other players out there as well, like the Phillips... but this is certainly the cheapest I've seen listed).

I stared at the player online a while, then a while longer, and then twitched a bit, and then twitched more, and then a seizure at minute 21 or so caused me to hit the buy button.

The player is the Norcent DP-220, and it arrived today. Cut for the length of this review )
flummery: (hat 1)
When in doubt, with nothing really interesting to post about, pictures of cats can never truly fail you, can they?

Here is Kiera. Kiera could eat you and spit your bones out, and don't you forget it. Also, do not mess with Kiera's purple bear!

Man. Kiera is an African Serval, apparently. The photos were taken by the next door neighbor camera enthusiast. I particularly like this shot, for the whole "gravity? what is this gravity you speak of?" aspect.

On the tech front, I'm finally trying to pry some of my loyalties away from Opera, and try out some of the other non-IE browsers out there a little more. I've had Firefox on the computer a while, but mostly ignore it. Gmail changed that, since Opera has no support for ActiveX whatsoever, and can't be accessed through Opera. So, I've been trolling through the extensions and themes, to see what nifty things Firefox/Mozilla has to offer me, and came across one I think is useful even for non-Firefox users: BugMeNot.

This website is for all of you who like to read articles on news websites, but who don't want to have to give out personal information or register with 20 different sites in order to read an article. BugMeNot.com keeps a database of usernames and passwords for the different sites out there. Just go to the website, type in the url of the place you want to get into (ie: nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, etc.) and it'll tell you a username and password to use. Or, if you have the extension installed on Firefox, just go to the page, right mouse click, click on BugMeNot, and it'll pop up a window with the info for you.
flummery: (sootball)
I am trying to do too much, basically simultaneously, and it's causing me to scatter. I can't even think straight these days for trying to just figure out what I'm supposed to be doing at any given moment, and I'm so far behind on everything, that if I think about it for more than 20 seconds, I panic. So, not very productive at the moment.

Things 1's computer decided to fry about a week after mine did. This meant about 2 1/2 weeks of just rebuilding computers. Mine, because WE MUST VID, and Thing 1's, because, you know, she'd have gone into withdrawal and battered me to death, or something violent. So Thing 1 brings over her Dell computer and the most challenging part of rebuilding it was... figuring out how to get the damn hard drive out. Dell clearly feels the need to have it's own little bizarre configuration, with screws where no screws should normally be. But after a lot of actual intense physical fighting to get parts into the machine (it always amazes me that with the yelling, and pushing, and squashing, and occasionally looking over and discovering the cat is sleeping on a vital part, that I never actually break the cards and chips and crap) the rest of the installation and OS upgrade went pretty smoothly. Thing 1 needed new harddrives and a new OS. I needed a new motherboard, so everything had to come out. Mine is still acting a little flaky at times, but I'm attributing it to Premiere's amazing abilities to crash anything that stands in its way.

Still, we're now so far behind in getting a vid ready for Vividcon, that I laugh scary little psycho laughs every few minutes. WE HAVE NO VID! AND WE ARE THE WORLD'S SLOWEST VIDDERS! PANIC!!!

And I owe 2,000 people feedback, and feel enormous random pangs of guilt all day long about this fact. Vid, stories, you name it.

And I'm absurdly far behind in projects for work, and freelance work. And most of the time, I can't gather the concentration to play spider solitaire.

And because I don't have enough to do, for some reason, I said "Hey, recapping Dead Zone sounds fun!" And it would be, I'm sure, if I had any idea what I was doing. Still, I love DZ too much to not try , and the reviews can be found over at Mediasharx. I wasn't at all thrilled with the first two, so I enlisted [livejournal.com profile] merryish on this last one as a beta, but she rewrote me so much she should probably be listed as co-author.

Random thoughts on Dead Zone that were too slashy or wandering for the Mediasharx review )

Hey, Thing 1! Bring ice cream.
flummery: (hat 2)
Mass Electric continues its unbroken history of just pulling the plug on our power supply for maintenance whenever the hell it feels like it, without prior warning. Despite the fact that we're a business. Despite the fact that we're a an ISP. Despite the fact that they've got ten thousand screaming messages from us to NEVER DO THIS.

There's just nothing like showing up for work and finding fully half the servers dead. One of which, of course, is Trickster. I've got it back to the point where mail is working again, and user directories are not history, but it looks like the secondary drive may have actually fried, and I cannot get websites back up and running at this point.

Fuck Me, too.

September 2015

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