Before I unveil this week's iPhone apps, I wanted to see if anyone else had the same iPhone problem I have. I keep having this issue with iPhone app updates that won't finish downloading and demand that I connect to iTunes to finish the update. But even when connected to iTunes, not all of the apps update and I'm left with that number on my home screen saying I need to update when I've done everything I can to complete the process. I also get some update notices dated before I downloaded the app, which clearly … Read more
We've all experienced it. You've taken a bunch of photos or a home video at a family gathering and now you're trying to figure out how to share your work with everyone in your family. It's possible to use online photo sites like Flickr, Shutterfly, or Photobucket, but what if you had a localized program that could share photos and videos immediately? Not all your relatives are as computer savvy as you, so you want a program that works quickly and with the fewest steps. You want a program that anyone in your family will be … Read more
YouTube Downloader works pretty well, given how basic the interface is. It has two main features: to download FLV files from YouTube, and to convert them to most major formats. If there's a YouTube URL in your clipboard, it will automatically paste it for you when you click on the dialog box. From there, just hit OK and the downloading will commence. One more left-click is all it takes to load the file in the converter, which supports iPhone, iPod, PSP, cell phone, AVI, MP3, WMV, and Xvid. Surprisingly, there's also a basic video editor for cropping videos … Read more
This combination video-conversion and creation tool boasts good speed and a nice set of features. CinemaForge's polished interface is both handsome and rather simple to understand, the Tom Cruise of software if he weren't into Scientology.
As a video converter, the application supports all expected formats. You also can choose to accompany any video with audio files of your choice rather than the original sound. When you click the digital-camera icon next to the File Input box, you'll be able to browse your computer for still images to compile a video file. If you choose to perform … Read more
If you have a lot of media to browse through, no matter what viewer you use, it's bound to take some time. Whatever the project may be--from picking the best shots from a pro photo shoot to getting the most action-packed movie clips from a birthday party--you need a good way to browse, compare, and sort through your media quickly. The obvious choices on your Mac are iPhoto or iMovie, but if you're looking for a different way to sort through several media file-types with added unique features, check out AtomicView.
AtomicView offers a sparse, but intuitive interface … Read more
There are several excellent freeware video playback programs out there, and VLC media player is one of the best. Made by "those VLC folks," or VideoLAN as they prefer to be called, the wildly popular open-source player now offers a slightly better experience than before for both Windows and Mac.
VLC will now cooperate with Last.fm, there's direct playback of video URLs, and, unexpectedly, a lot of attention has been given to how VLC interacts with the Internet. Users will find VLC to be more secure, with options for strictly regulating Internet usage through the player … Read more
Whether you're on a Mac or a Windows machine, you'll still need to install an executable file on your computer to view videos. The new plug-in sits on your desktop taskbar even when you're not viewing the site, and apparently only begins to pipe data back and forth to other users when you're watching Joost videos.
The new version of the site will be available for beta testers in about two weeks time, although I've had the chance to nose around and watch a few videos on it today. Despite the need for software, it's impressive. Videos start playing in just a few seconds and when toggled for full-screen, the quality scales up nicely.
Like before, there are pre-roll ads, although I found them less intrusive and disjointed than Hulu's experience. The only anti-user ad interference I stumbled across was when a pre-roll ad kept me from being able to scroll through content on a playlist. I had to wait about five seconds for the ad to run before I could get back to finding something to watch. Not cool.
The biggest thing missing from the new Joost is the feeling of immersion. The Joost application, for all it's faults, took you away from your desktop and everything else you were doing. Like up and comer Boxee, which runs off the core of Xbox Media Center, it's something that had personality and a really marvelous UI. The new version feels a tad sterile, although when it comes to browsing through episodes and series, there's noticeably less lag, and hey, you can continue to get work done on your computer at the same time.
Noticeably gone from the new Joost (at least for now) is the user chat. You can still comment on a video and favorite it, but the feeling of a real-time experience has gone out the door. There's also a feature called "shout it out" that lets you flag the video with various pop culture acronyms like LOL, HOT, PUKE, and the generally useful WTF. Clicking on any of these will play a canned sound clip and alert you of your flag, although it has no noticeable effect.
Ultimately the Joost experience comes down to the content and the various ways to dig through it to find something good. While the existing playlists are very good for this, when you're searching by TV network or content provider it's still difficult to simply browse by shows. For instance, clicking on MTV took me to a player that randomly began playing Laguna Beach. Ideally, it would jump me to a list of shows where I could drill down a little deeper--like what was available before.
Software aside, I'm excited to see Joost hop onto the Web. There's a lot of good content on there that you can't find elsewhere, and experiencing it in your browser will seem like second nature for newcomers--that is as long as they're willing to jump through a software hoop.
More screens after the jump.… Read more
Finally, Joost is going to correct the error that badly hobbled the Web video service many once considered to be a serious YouTube competitor.
Currently available for Windows and Mac, Joost is planning to launch a test version of its new site later this month that will feature a browser-based plug-in and will no longer require users to watch via the company's much maligned desktop client. In a not so surprising move, users will be able to embed Joost's videos.
CEO Mike Volpi acknowledged in an interview with CNET that the desktop client was one of the company'… Read more