Downloading embedded videos

So here’s a way of downloading your favourite embedded video from site such as YouTube. (Am paraphrasing something from that very useful site Lifehacker.)

First, a wee bit of background. Typically, embedded videos are in .flv format. After you download the video, you need to re-encode it to another format (e.g. .wmv or .mpg) so you can view it on a media player.

I recommend the free Riva FLV Encoder 2.0 for encoding (it’s the third item on the page) and the free VLC media player for playing media.

Step 1.
Copy the URL for the video you want to download. (On YouTube, it may look something like this link to a video of a magic trick:

Step 2.
Go to Paste the URL in the field you see at the top of the page. To the right of that, there’s a drop-down menu where you can choose the site you’re downloading the video from (e.g. YouTube). Select and then click the “DOWNLOAD” button.

An underlined link will be generated.

Step 3.
Right-click on the link and save target/link as an .flv file. (This means once you select “Save target as…” or “Save link as…” (depending on your browser), you need to change the file extension to “.flv”.)

Wait for the downloading to finish.

Step 4.
Open the Riva FLV Encoder.

Basically, there are three fields that we need to fill in here:

(A) “Input Video” – That’s where you should put the .flv file that you just downloaded.

(B) “Output Directory” – This is where you want your re-encoded .mpg or .wmv file to be stored.

(C) “Destination video file” – This is where you decide the format of the re-encoded file. The default file name and extension here will be the name of your “Input Video”; you need to change the extension to the extension of your desired media format i.e. “.flv” will become “.wmv” if you want to change it to a Windows Media Player file and “.mpg” if you want to change it to an MPEG file.

Fill in those three fields appropriately.

Step 5.
Click on the “Encode” button.

After a while, the “Result” field will let you know if your encoding has succeeded. (I haven’t had it tell me it failed yet.)

You can then play the media file to your heart’s content :)

Leader as shepherd

So a few days ago, I heard Mr Lim Siong Guan speak about leadership. I knew who he was, and had heard someone I respect say that he was an inspiration, so I was impressed with the man even before this. After hearing him speak, I came away a little disappointed with the quality of the presentation – the slides were obviously ill-prepared – but even more impressed with the man.

Of many interesting things he mentioned, one was the idea that a leader can be compared to a shepherd (the way shepherds are in the Middle East, not those in Australia and New Zealand, who I understand rely a lot more on sheepdogs).

A shepherd has a crooked staff. This is so that while he directs his flock across the meadows and fields to graze, if a sheep should fall into a ditch, he can help it up. A leader likewise supports his charges when they have difficulties.

A shepherd wields a strong stick. This is not to cajole or threaten his flock to go where he wants them to go, but to drive away predators that may endanger his flock. A leader likewise protects his charges.

Sometimes you will see a shepherd lugging a lame sheep, usually a lamb, around his shoulders. There are always a few sheep in a flock that persist in going in different, more dangerous directions, possibly into ravines or cliff edges. So, to prevent the rest of his flock from coming to harm, the shepherd may break the disobedient sheep’s leg. But since it then cannot walk, the shepherd would have to carry the sheep around his shoulders and nurse it back to health. A leader likewise has a responsibility to his charges to prevent unproductive or detrimental elements from affecting the team’s work.

I think that’s interesting – the concept of leaders as shepherds.