A Tasty Video Recipe

I like to download videos from youtube using the magically delicious DownloadHelper. Especially music videos. The only sad thing is that the video quality tends to be poor, and it can only get worse if you convert it to a less crappy format than the standard flv — such as mp4 for example.

But Youtube is being kind to us. Many, many videos on youtube, if not all, are available in a higher quality format — in fact, mp4, the format that is standard for things like iPods. The magic you do to get the higher quality is take the youtube url and add “&fmt=18” to it. That’s all. Just add that to the address in the address bar and reload and you will get a higher quality video, which you can then download with downloadhelper. You might need to change the .flv extension to .mp4 to play it back with Quicktime.

There’s also a thing in Youtube’s account preferences you can set to get higher quality stuff by default, but I don’t think it’s the same — I think (not sure) it gives you the fmt=6 version. (there are at least two different higher quality settings, &fmt=6 and &fmt=18 — I think the &fmt=6 is better than the default but not mp4-encoded like &fmt=18.)

There’s a greasemonkey userscript to do the fmt=18 for you.

UPDATE: if you see something in the downloadhelper.net menu called Video.mp4 that’s guaranteed to be the good stuff. I think it also shows up under other names sometimes too — downloadhelper sometimes offers several links to the same video so it’s confusing.

UPDATE: it ain’t just video. The audio is *noticeably* better in the higher quality downloads. Much crisper, makes the old kind sound muddy in comparision.

Media Priorities

It recently made the news that at high-level administration meetings, the major players in the Bush administration, particularly secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, explicitly and in detail approved the torture of prisoners.

Turn on the news. You’ll be hearing, nonstop, about the probable damaging effect of Barack Obama’s use of the word “bitter” to describe people who have lost their jobs.

Media priorities.

Check it out.

You Deserve Some Donuts!

First came Flickr video on Tuesday. Then came the anti-Flickr-video outcry on Wednesday. Now there’s the anti-anti-Flickr-video outcry.

This last movement takes the highly facetious form of Flickr’s new We Demand Donuts group. “If we get 20,000 people to join the group Flickr will be forced to give us free donuts!” the group’s manifesto states. “Join the group and invite all your contacts. We will make this the biggest protest group on Flickr and force them to give us free donuts!”

[From Attention Flickr video haters: Try a free doughnut | Underexposed – CNET News.com]

I think this is awesome. To these people I dedicate the following video.

Creepy Fundie-LDS News

A polygamous community in Texas that follows the teaching of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints practices pedophilia, torture and child abuse under the guise of a religion, according to a woman who escaped the sect with her eight children five years ago.

“I think it’s a form of pedophilia hiding behind a religion as a protection,” Carolyn Jessop told TODAY’s Matt Lauer from Salt Lake City on Tuesday. “There’s just a desire to control and manipulate and torture people, and religion is just used as the cover.”

[From Woman describes ‘escape’ from polygamy – TODAY: People – MSNBC.com]

Man, wouldn’t it be interesting if Romney were the candidate right now?
If this stuff is all true as reported — not that I have reason to doubt it, but it’s always wise to be cautious about atrocity tales which accompany and justify government action — holy crap, this was a horrible, abusive hellhole.

“The method he would use with infants was a form of water torture,” Jessop said of her former husband. “He would spank the baby until it was screaming out of control, and then he would hold the baby faceup under a tap of running water so it couldn’t breathe. He would do this repeatedly. Sometimes, it would go on for an hour, until the baby was so exhausted it couldn’t cry anymore. This method he called ‘breaking them.’”