Posts tagged “Quick Update”.

Download all of Facebook ???

So, I was looking for old Facebook entries today to figure out when I did certain things (video project related). I tried clicking all the “See Older Posts…”, “see more…”, and “view all XX comments…” links to expand the page so I could dump it to a PDF file. Ha! I got to the end of all my posts; but, while trying to expand all the comments Facebook jumped me to another page and I had nothing. I said to myself, “Self, there aught to be a better way right? I should be able to see all my old posts… I should be able to search all my old posts. Heck, I should be able to download all my stuff from Facebook!”

Well, looks like someone else thought of that too. Just last month, October 6th, Facebook gave it’s users the option to download EVERYTHING associated with their Facebook account. Every post made to your WALL, all your photos, all your videos, all the comments on your photos and videos, your profile, your events, your messages, even a list of all your friends. I found this after a short and sweet Google search.

Yes, you know me! I did it right away! When you click, “Download my Information” it tells you it’s going to take a while. They send an email to the email address Facebook has on record when the ZIP file is ready for download. Don’t be alarmed. I’ve been on Facebook for close to a year now and my ZIP archive of everything was 762 Megabytes. It took about an hour or two to compile everything and on my broadband connection, it took 10 minutes to download. After I downloaded it, I UN-ZIPPED it, wondering what I’d find.

What did I find? I found the most useable archive of information I could have imagined. Extremely well done. There were several directories, one of which was HTML. Jumping in there and clicking on Wall.html got me to a local copy of all my Facebook information in one easy, searchable, HTML file! But then what did I really expect from web developers? They stuck with what they knew. They did what they do best. I was extremely impressed.

Actually, re-reading and editing this post I said to myself, “Self, they should have put a readme.txt or an index.html in the top directory.” And when I checked, both files were there. I just immediately went digging to see what was under the hood and wound up at the same place via a different path.

So what? So, you should download all your information to really conceptualize what Facebook knows about you. It’s easy, it’s informative, and it’s really cool to have a copy for yourself.

Video Project, Phase 3

Last year, June 2009 to be more precise, I contracted imemories to digitize some old 8mm film that I had saved from my parents. It was pretty expensive, but I didn’t have a lot to do. I figured I’d break the job up into smaller bits and spread the cost over a few years. I’m glad I got part of it done before my father passed away this summer. I think that motivated me to make sure all of the video I’ve taken over the years was safe.

So back in March of 2010 I started a project to ‘recover’ all my home video. I could have used imemories to do this also, but I had so much video, it wasn’t cost effective to pay someone else to do the conversion work. It would have been tens of thousands of dollars for them to do it. And sure most of the tedious, boring, busy-work would have been farmed out; but, I’d still be stuck doing the hard work of categorizing and editing the video. It just wasn’t a cost effective solution. Plus, I had almost everything I needed. My old Video8 VHS camcorder still worked. I had a way to capture and digitize the analog footage. I just needed to pick up a miniDV camcorder that was in working condition to digitize the close to fifty hours of miniDV footage I had. Thank goodness for Craig’s List! I found a working camera for $80 and after about a month of working, I completed Phase 1 of the project — getting everything onto a hard drive.

Thinking this through, phase 2 might still be uncompleted. Phase 2 consisted of getting everything into an iMovie format ready for archival and editing. I migrated computers and think I may have several dozen hours of Video8 footage in EyeTV format. If that’s the case, I’ll figure it out after Phase 4, which will be the accounting and audit phase to make sure I didn’t miss anything. If I missed anything, Phase 5 will be to do whatever it takes to finish the project. I do mean, “Whatever it takes!”

So, I find myself here, in phase 3 — “Compression and Archival”. Since I started this whole process, I learned that iMovie saves my HDTV footage from my newest camcorders in Apple Intermediary Codec format. This is the native format that iMovie uses for editing. My understanding is that it’s a lossless codec and takes up 50% of the space that DV encoded events do. With this new knowledge, I am in the process of re-encoding all my DV footage to be this newly discovered native apple format. Afterwards, I plan on encoding each event as a .mov and .m4v file, then archive it onto optical medium (DVD +R DL).

I just started this last week. So far, I’m working on my third event. I think I could do an event a day: it takes about four hours to encode both formats and two hours to burn it to disc with verification for each hour long event… some events are two hours long. It takes ten minutes to set it up to start, two minutes to export to the 2nd format after one two hour conversion, then ten more minutes to set up the disc burning. So, about twenty two minutes of real computer work per day of waiting. Taking into consideration the lack of efficiency on my part, and the inevitable hurdles I’ll come across, let’s say I can complete five events a week. At around a hundred and twenty hours of events I’m looking at approximately four months of work for this phase. The product will be a DVD library of cataloged, home, video footage in neat little DVD cases with covers and explanations of what is contained within.

Wow, sounds a bit OCD, doesn’t it? Well, you know what they say… if the skin fits… wash it! They don’t really say that… it was my attempt at OCD-humor. Forget it. OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is sometimes epitomized by the frequent washing of one’s hands — it’s also epitomized by the compulsive need to explain failed humor, inform and enlighten others, and generally drone on for hours, blogging crap no one will ever read. But I digress.

“So what,” you say? So, I started another phase of this monumental task. I do it for me, to keep track of time, but, mostly to show that if you break it up into small enough pieces, no matter how big the task is you can tackle it.

How’s that for a blog entry really about nothing pulling a moral and life lesson out of nowhere! I think what I just did needs a name. If we were playing hockey, it would be comparable to a hat-trick, so let’s call it a head-trick!

Free Olympic Ringtone

Last Winter Olympics I decided I needed the Olympic theme music as a ringtone. So, I made one and I have enjoyed it a lot, especially during the winter and summer games. I thought I’d share it with everyone. You can download your very own free copy, which is a 29 second, 234kb, 22Khz Stereo MP3 file, here. (Hint, right click and choose save.)

I offer no help to you about how to get this MP3 onto your phone as a ringtone. I’m sure there is a lot of information out there to help you, try googling with the make and model of your phone and the search string “add ringtone”. Also try the free program BitPim, which can be found at


Google me this Batman…

If you haven’t heard, the next big WAVE in computing has hit.  Google Wave, that is.  I got my invitation this week and jumped in.  I found several of my uber-techie friends had also been invited and were already there, active, in my contacts list.  It’s amazing what they have done.

Check out the link which describes what Google Wave is.  And request an account from Google — you’ll be glad you did.

Home office renovations

My wife, mother-in-law, and children took a ten day vacation and flew to Washington state to visit my kids’ great-grandparents, my wife’s grandparents, and my mother-in-law’s parents, Art and Betty — and all the other super-fantastic Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, Sister-in-laws, second Cousins, etc., etc.

With my fear of flying, and the convenient excuses of work, mergers, corporate red tape, limited time away from work, etc., I weaseled out of the trip. Actually, the flying part really did me in — if I never fly commercially again, it’ll be too soon. I do want to go visit my wife’s family in Washington State, I’ll just have to take four weeks off and make it a road trip. Although, if I go across country for a trip like that I’d want to do it in style, like alone on a chromed out Harley Fatboy, with a leather holster for my shotgun and maybe a few more mean looking tattoos… But, I digress.

I dropped my family off at the airport, rushed home, and completely emptied out my office. Everything. Books off the shelves on the walls, all the furniture, the piles of papers on the floor… everything! I tore the wallpaper from the wall. I painted the walls. I ripped out the carpet. I purchased and put down a floating laminate flooring system that looks like a hard wood floor. I hung more shelving. I purchased a corporation sized, industrial filing cabinet. And I hung thermal drapes and shades in the newly renovated office.

I destroyed and recycled several hundred pounds of papers. I know the recycle guy wanted to hurt me. My recycle bins weighed at least 150 lbs each on two separate recycle days. I watched him curse me from the security behind my dinning room blinds.

I also organized the garage and fixed the master bathroom toilet paper holder — that’s really the important fix I made all week, it was all floppy and falling off the wall prior to being fixed. Definitely the repair I was most happy with.

But back to my office, this story is about my office. The clutter was so bad, I couldn’t take a before photo. Or maybe I was too embarrassed to take a before photo? Or maybe I had to clear out half the room to be able to get in to take a photo? Or I had to clean the room to find my camera to take a photo? Which excuse is more believable? Would you believe I was just so excited to start the project that I forgot to take photos until I needed my first break?

I do have a few old photos that might suffice as before shots.

Notice the stack of crap to the left on the floor.

Notice the stack of crap on the floor.

Well, it doesn’t look that bad because I tried to manage the image by framing it so it didn’t look too bad. It was after all, a photo of my dog. Not a photo of how messy my room was. Trust me, it was messy. There was a goat path through the room.

I’m not sure what the next photo was about. It might have been a misfire, hitting the shutter release on accident, but it does show the floor under my desk.

The sleeping bag under the desk doubled as a foot rest.

The sleeping bag under the desk doubled as a foot rest.

The official photographic record of the project can be found here. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise to Leslie. And to her family’s credit, they kept a fantastic secret. They would all make an excellent spy network. She commentted, “How did this go from being the worst room in the house to the best room in the house?” She also loves the fact that we no longer refer to my office as “the pit of hell”.

Special thanks to Bryan, who helped me with much of the renovations. It would have been a failed, nightmare without his help.

Here’s the finished product.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

Now I wonder if my wife will leave on vacation without me more often, or if I will never be left unsupervised again?