29 May, 2009

Movie Software Probably Already on Your PC - Windows Movie Maker

A friend of mine recently asked me how to convert an MPG file, to WMV, to play on his media player, asking me what software he should buy.

I encouraged him (in Windows XP), to pull up a 'Run' command (via WindowsKey-R) and enter 'moviemk.exe', and then click 'Ok'.  Windows Movie Maker will then launch.  Next, navigate to 'File|Import Into Collections' and navigate to the desired video.  Once imported, select all the clips (via 'CTRL''A') drag them to the time line at the bottom of the screen.  Add any titles or transitions (to the beginning frame or end frame), and then select 'Save Movie' from the file menu.  Follow the prompts; I suggest showing the 'Advanced' export option and choosing the resolution and bit rate appropriate for one's WMV player.

For this and other tips, officially from Microsoft, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932614?sd=zune.

14 May, 2009

U-Verse - Four tips for beginners

    A little birdie told me you have had U-verse installed.  Cool.  Feel free to ping me with questions; I've been around the block figuring things out.

    Welcome to the family.

    Brief tips:

  • You can record up to four shows simultaneously, but only one of them can be in HD.
  • You can only have one live HD stream playing, in the house, at any given moment.  Knowing this will save you some heartaches, as one of you might be watching a live HD show, in one room, and the other one, attempting to watch another live HD show, will get a message that there are "too many HD streams being shown right now," and it will inform you to watch an SD show or a recorded show.
  • Check on the 'On Demand' button and scroll to the 'Free' categories.  Lots of stuff for the kids in there!  I got lost in there watching old 80's videos for about a 1/2 hour before I realized I had other things to do.
  • Your Yahoo! login, to update your DVR online, is your new @att.net login.  To see the U-verse button, go to http://my.yahoo.com/.  If you're logged in with your other Yahoo! logins, you'll be confused that you do not see your U-verse stuff.  This stumped me for a while.  So, just log-out, then in with your new @att.net account, and go to the http://my.yahoo.com/ page.  You'll see the U-verse button in your 'Personal Assistant' control panel, the one that has Mail, Weather, News, etc.


02 May, 2009

Thunderbird - Preventing the 'Delete' option from opening the next email

Thunderbird (emailer) has an annoying behavior of automatically opening the next email message -- read or unread -- when one deletes the current message that one is reading.  The problems with this is that one is forced to open an unread message, that they did not choose to read, or they are forced to re-read a message already read...whichever happens to be next.

This is easily correctable.

  1. Install the 'Buttons!' add-on.  You can search for it via Tools|Add-ons|Get Extensions (lower right), or simply go here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/search?q=buttons!&cat=all
  2. Once installed, open an existing email message.
  3. Right-click any button on the toolbar and select 'Customize'.  The 'Customize Toolbar' window will open.
  4. Drag the button that says 'Delete!', with the red X, from the 'Customize Toolbar' window to the location just to the right of the existing toolbar button that says 'Delete'.  NOTE THAT THE NEW BUTTON HAS AN EXCLAMATION POINT; this is one of the new buttons you installed when you installed the 'Buttons!' add-on.
  5. Drag the 'Delete' button -- the one that DOES NOT have an exclamation point -- to the 'Customize Toolbar' window.  Note you will likely have to move the toolbar window around, periodically, as you drag buttons to and fro.
    I liked the new 'Delete!' button so much that I also replaced my 'Previous', 'Next', 'Reply', 'Reply All', and 'Forward' buttons with their exclamation point equipped equivalents.