Sunday, November 24, 2013

Using VLC to convert audio files or extract audio to mp3

Using VLC to convert in Windows is mostly self guiding, however using the VLC on OSX can get a bit tricky, especially when you only want to convert/extract to an audio file like mp3.

From the VLC File menu select Streaming/Exporting Wizard


A new window will be opened and select Transcode/Save to file



From the next screen select the file you want to have converted and in the final screen select the transcoding options as follows:


(video to dummy and audio transcode to MP3). Next, you have to select the output format, just select RAW.


Finally select the output file. You cannot set it to mp3 and will need to use the raw extension.


Once it is converted, you can rename it from .raw to .mp3

For the advanced users under us you can also use the terminal:

/Applications/ -I dummy "/Users/yourname/Music/Input File.mp4" --sout='#transcode{acodec=mp3,vcodec=dummy}:standard{access=file,mux=raw,dst="/Users/yourname/Music/Output File.mp3"}' vlc://quit

If you want to convert multiple files:

for file in /Users/$USER/Music/*.mp4; do /Applications/ -I dummy "$file" --sout="#transcode{acodec=mp3,vcodec=dummy}:standard{access=file,mux=raw,dst=\"$(echo "$file" | sed 's/\.[^\.]*$/.mp3/')\"}" vlc://quit; done

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recovering files

This happens to everyone at some point… a hard disk crashes and now you want to restore some files from it.

One utility I use is Recuva.


Even if you've formatted a drive so that it looks blank, Recuva can still find your files on it.

Keep in mind that restoring files is always a bit of luck and sometimes you are just out of luck.

For more recovery tools see also:

For the real professionals among us, I would advice Testdisk. This is more for recovering lost partitions and if you are really interesting in getting deeper into data recovery check out

I hope you will be able to recover what you were looking for.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Windows 8 Shortcut keys

Continuing my experience with Win8, here are the shortcut keys available in Win8 which would make your experience with Win8 better:

  • Win : switch between the Start screen and the last-running Windows 8 app
  • Win + C : displays the Charms: the Settings, Devices, Share and Search options
  • Win + D : launches the desktop
  • Win + E : launches Explorer
  • Win + F : opens the File Search pane
  • Win + H : opens the Share pane
  • Win + I : opens Settings
  • Win + K : opens the Devices pane
  • Win + L : locks your PC
  • Win + M : minimises the current Explorer or Internet Explorer window (works in the full-screen IE, too)
  • Win + O : toggles device orientation lock on and off
  • Win + P : switch your display to a second display or projector
  • Win + Q : open the App Search pane
  • Win + R : opens the Run box
  • Win + U : open the Ease of Access Centre
  • Win + V : cycle through toasts (notifications)
  • Win + W : search your system settings (type POWER for links to all power-related options, say)
  • Win + X : displays a text menu of useful Windows tools and applets
  • Win + Z : displays the right-click context menu when in a full-screen app
  • Win + + : launch Magnifier and zoom in
  • Win + - : zoom out
  • Win + , : Aero peek at the desktop
  • Win + Enter : launch Narrator
  • Win + PgUp : move the current screen to the left-hand monitor
  • Win + PgDn : move the current screen to the right-hand monitor
  • Win + PrtSc : capture the current screen and save it to your Pictures folder
  • Win + Tab : switch between running apps

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Windows 8 Tips and Tricks

Despite of other people advising me not to do, I have chosen to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. To be honest, it was not optimal.

First thing encountered which I really did not expect was getting the hardware to work with Windows 8. I succeeded in this only 90%. In my Chronos 7 laptop, I still cannot get the Fn-Keys for keyboard backlit to work.For some reason the Samsung does not see my keyboard and brightness settings:


Anyway, I manage to live with that and will later in time try to fix that issue.

Second point of irritation is of course the new interface: Metro. I have clicked so many times accidently on the IE icon, presuming it was the start button. After a few days, I now I have become familiar with the new Interface and actually it is not that bad. I do miss the Aero glass/transparent look of Windows 7.

Here are some shortcuts I have learned to use in the past few days:

Windows-X: Quick access menu giving quick access to commonly used settings

Windows-Q: My favorite shortcuts; similar to Windows 7 Start menu text input. Allows to search for applications while you type

Windows-C: Default charms, similar to moving to the mouse to the right/left top of your main screen.

Windows-I: Shows the settings charm. Very useful to reboot or shutdown your computer. You can also use the ALT-F4 on the desktop to come up with the shutdown dialog.

Windows-Tab: Switch between the metro apps

As always Ctrl-Shift-Esc for Task manager Smile

Metro related tips:

App groups: In the metro interface you can zoom out (ctrl-mousescroll) and right click on the group to rename it.

Closing (metro) applications: If you have to believe Microsoft, there is no need to close the application as they are suspended. If you would to do anyway, ALT-F4 works but also you can move your mouse to the top (pointer becomes a hand) and drag all the way to the bottom.

Running applications side by side, which is called immersive.This can be done by swiping however when you don’t have a touchscreen, you can use the mouse by moving to the top (just like closing) and move the app to the right or left. Opening a new metro app will now fill the rest of the screen.


To be continued…

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Windows Media Player not responding

After the last update from Microsoft (september 2012), my Windows Media Player stopped responding… actually it starts up but it is just blank and nothing responds. The strange thing is that it does not also use CPU (0% utilization).

If this happens, best way is to use the MS Fixit tool located at:



Other options:

1) Reset Media Library manually

Close WMP12.

Type in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft in the search field, and press Enter Key.

Open the Microsoft Folder and locate Media Player and rename the Media Player folder to something like Media Player old.

2) Reinstall

via Turn Windows features on or off under the Control Panel.Uncheck Windows Media Player (under Media Features),follow on-screen instructions and reboot

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Putting images and videos to your photo stream / camera roll

I recently started experimenting with Keynote on my iPad. I have a custom video which I required to be shown in the presentation, however Keynote on the iPad only allows to import images or videos from your Photo Stream or Camera Roll. This means that you either need iTunes to synch the movie to your iPad or get creative. The latter is my choice, as I don’t have iTunes installed.

In order to be creative, your iPad needs to be Jailbroken and you need the excellent iFile app from Cydia. By using iFile, you can upload your video/image to the iPad using the web interface. After upload, navigate to your file and view it.

Press the image button in the viewer to add it your Camera Roll.

And voila, it is now available on Keynote. Happy presentations.

See also:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

MS Outlook 2010 Search order

Since I have been using Outlook 2010, search is slow and it always starts finding older items first, which is really frustrating and it seems I am not the only person having this issue.

After investigating on this matter, I realized I had turned of Microsoft (Desktop) Search to look into my email (and contacts). This due to the fact that every time I did a search in the start menu, my outlook items were showing up. This however seems to crippled the search from Outlook itself.

The solution is to enable the Microsoft Search via Outlook options:


In the Indexing options, make sure your Outlook account is added to list of items to be indexed.

After all items are indexed, things should work better now and with an additional bonus that the search is much much faster. Coming back to the reason why disabled this in the first place: showing outlook items in the start menu. Well this can be disabled by setting a registry value:


Path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\
Key: NoSearchCommInStartMenu (DWORD)

After setting this key to 1, your outlook items will no longer be shown in the start menu search results.