People say that marketing's job is to create believers. The atheistic Anti-God ad campaign in the UK that has stirred attention at home and abroad does the opposite: it endorses the beliefs of non-believers (and maybe - stretch goal - tries to convert some believers into non-believers). "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," claim posters that appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as on the London Underground. The campaign was initiated by the British Humanist Association and is supported by scientist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins. … Read more
Anybody else sort of see this one coming?
It's a matter of weeks before the U.S. cuts out analog television signals entirely, switching to an all-digital market, but the fund established by the government to provide $40 subsidies to people who need to purchase digital converter boxes is out of money and has established a wait list. More than 100,000 people had already been wait-listed as of Monday, USA Today reported.
So, if you rely on "rabbit ears" and are still in need of that coupon, here's what to do. The application process on … Read more
Yes, we live (again) in the "age of conversations." There is something reassuring about listening to smart people having cultured conversations. When I was young, I would listen for hours to music-free radio programming that sounded like black-and-white movies.
Today, Monocle Magazine brought some of that magic back by launching Monocle Weekly, a 30-minute audio podcast. Hosted by editor in chief Tyler Brûlé, the short-form show extends the publication's monthly print content by offering fresh angles on stories in current and past issues, discussions, previews, field reports, and interviews. The light conversations on serious … Read more
Even if you don't own an iPod, it can be easy to get sucked into the AAC trap. It's the default format used by the popular iTunes Software to rip CDs, and the program will prompt you to convert WMAs to AACs upon initial use if you have the Windows format living in your music folder. That's not to say AAC--or WMA, for that matter--is a bad format to use; in fact, some users prefer it to MP3. Plus, more and more portable devices are adding AAC support. However, MP3 is still the most widely supported file … Read more
Microsoft struggled through two rounds of Zune before hitting the nail on the head with the third generation of the MP3 player, but the company got at least one thing right from the start. Even the first pass offered a larger-than-average screen, clocking in at 3 inches diagonally, and the latest version packs a video-worthy 3.2-inch screen. Of course, getting video content was a bit of a challenge at first, but the Zune Marketplace continues to expand its catalog, which now offers TV shows from several major networks such as NBC and Comedy Central.
However, that video content is going to cost you--about $2 per episode, to be exact--and the Marketplace currently does not offer movies to rent or buy (unlike iTunes). That's where this tutorial comes in: if you already have a collection of digital video content, this step-by-step guide will show you how to convert it for playback on the Zune. The software used in this how-to can convert from any of the following formats: MP4, 3GP, MPG, AVI, WMV, FLV, and SWF.
Note: Unfortunately, ripping most commercial DVDs is currently illegal in the United States, as it requires circumventing the copyright protection found on the DVDs. For unprotected DVDs, try Handbrake.… Read more
A key draw of the iPod as a portable video player (PVP) is the fact that its complementing software, iTunes, offers a cheap, easy, and legal way to get content that will play on the device. But what if you already own the video files you'd like to watch, but they're in any variety of formats that aren't natively supported by the iPod? iTunes has a built-in converter, but then you'd be limited to the file types that QuickTime supports. If you want the capability to convert from the full gamut of video file types, check out the tip below.
A note before starting: There's quite a selection of free software programs available that convert from nearly every file type to an iPod-friendly format, but many of the ones I tried in the service of this tutorial had drawbacks, such as processor hang ups and unclear conversion progress monitoring. In testing, I found that Videora didn't choke up my system, and it's so clear on its own that you'll scarcely need to follow this tutorial. If nothing else, the walkthrough below will at least give you a feel for the interface--including the extensive ad placement that lets you enjoy the software for free.… Read more
"Be the first to know whom Barack picks as his running mate," had been the campaign's promise. The only problem: Those who had signed up to be the … Read more
Want to watch AVIs, MPEGs, and other movie files on your iPod? iSquint is a free utility that can help you do just that, without the need for QuickTime Pro. From the makers of the more feature-packed VisualHub, iSquint has a simple, streamlined interface that's designed around the app's basic, hassle-free functionality.
You just drag all the files that you want converted into the iSquint window, choose whether you want to optimize for iPod or TV viewing, and you're off. iSquint can give you even faster and better compression than QuickTime, especially when you choose H.264 … Read more
Socialmedian is a new Web 2.0 conversation service that does a decent job of repackaging concepts that users of Digg and Twitter will find familiar. I fear it's a bit too similar to other existing services to break into the mainstream, but there are some concepts and experiments on the site that make it work, at least for its devoted early beta users.
The site has been in closed alpha testing until now, but it is scheduled to open up to all tonight.
On Socialmedian, you either join or create topics you're interested in, such as "… Read more
Whether you're looking to change a video format to save space or because you lack a necessary codec, the freeware FormatFactory could be the last converter you'll need. It's not perfect, but it handles 12 types of video formats, six audio types, eight image formats, and DVD/ISO conversions with speed and accuracy.
The interface is simple and utilitarian, although spiked with format-icons and a big banner announcing the program's name for no reason other than to put lipstick on the pig. The left navigation menu has collapsible links to the various formats you can convert … Read more