Florida Motorsports in Tallahassee

Don’t ever take your motorcycle to Florida Motorsports in Tallahassee, even if they *are* the closest Aprilia dealership. After keeping the bike for 3 months, you’ll get it back,

adjusted improperly,

all scratched up, 10/06/2010

and still! leaking! 10/06/2010

And they’ll charge you $300 for the privilege even though the bike was still under warranty when you took it in.

Making big video files smaller, or encoding the easy way

I just mentioned a neat site that allows you to share videos without letting the whole internet see them. But there’s a problem, the videos have to be under 50mb. I know that the majority of my videos are done on my digital camera or my cellphone, and even at the poor resolutions these devices use file sizes can quickly grow well beyond the 50mb limit set by Vox.

Here’s an easy solution. Video encoding is taking a video file and changing the resolution, bit-rate, or even file type so that it can be played with certain “decoders” or media players. There are several applications available for doing this, but one of the best (read free) and easiest I’ve found is MediaCoder. Even with the default settings MediaCoder took a 50mb video and converted it into a 2.5mb file for uploading to Vox. The only downside I can find with MediaCoder is that it is updated pretty regularly and if you want the best results you’ll need to check the website for updates pretty often. And that’s just nit-picking, I actually prefer updates and improvements over a product that gets released and then is never touched again.

So, if you’re looking to share videos online, or just want to save some room on that hard drive, get working on encoding those video files to a more efficient type of file. Just remember, while you can and will lose some quality if your settings aren’t set right or you try to compress them too small, you can never improve the quality above what the original file had. This is off the subject, but I’ve had some people come to me complaining that they didn’t hear any improvements when they converted their mp3 collection to lossless audio… well of course not, you started with mp3’s, the information that was lost when creating the mp3’s isn’t going to magically reappear! You need good source to get good finished product.

Sharing videos privately

Ever want to share a personal video clip, but just with a few people?  Afraid of putting it up on youtube?  Want to be able to use the same site for sharing pictures, videos, and blog posts?

Ok, that intro sounds like a bad late night paid commercial, but Vox is a neat little blogging site that can handle all the above as well as allowing you to setup friends and family groups so your private moments stay private.  It’s a little awkward setting up friends at first, but definitely worth it when you’re able to easily share the things you want with the people you want.  I’ve been using flickr for sharing pictures and it’s pretty easy to think of Vox as flickr for videos, with blogging thrown in for fun.  At least that’s primarily how I’ve been using it.

I mentioned that adding people as a friend or as family is a bit difficult.  Basically what you have to do is have them sign up, then find their page, click on their profile link, and then from their profile you can add them as a friend or family or both.  Not the most intuitive process, and it’s actually kept me from getting a couple of the less tech savvy family members setup.