Handbrake to the rescue

Recently my son asked me if I could locate a video of him scoring 35 points in one half of a high school basketball game. The game happened about eighteen or nineteen years ago. Fortunately many years ago I transferred the VHS-C format video to a digital format and created DVD’s of each of the games from his senior season. Thank goodness my wife is much more organized than me and she remembered where the DVD collection was. Now the problem was moving from the DVD format to digital video that could be loaded onto our son’s iOS device for playback. That’s where Handbrake came to my rescue. If you’re not familiar Handbrake is a great tool for video transcoding. Add to that it’s open source too.

My daily driver is a System76 Darter Pro and it’s currently running Pop!_OS 20.04. I had to install Handbrake which is easy from the command line, $ sudo apt install handbrake. After that I attached a USB connected DVD drive and in about thirty minutes I created a video which can be uploaded to my son’s iPad. Open source software is an incredible bargain and tools like Handbrake are great. You can run Handbrake on Windows and MacOS if you don’t have a Linux computer.

Chromebook thoughts and virtual meetings

I’ve been a fan of Chromebook’s since the first time I saw one seven or eight years ago. I bought my first Chromebook in 2013 and loved it so much that it became my daily driver, replacing the MacBook Pro that I had been using. Since that very favorable experience I’ve had a number of Chromebooks and frequently recommend them to my friends. Aside from a 14 inch Hewlett-Packard Chromebook that I used four years ago my go to recommendation has been the 15.6 inch Acer Chromebook. I like the screen size, the feel of the keyboard and the HDMI output for connecting a digital projector or LCD display.

Recently I gave away an Acer 15.6 to a friend who needed to connect to Zoom meetings. Last weekend our Secular Franciscan Fraternity gathered on Zoom and our spiritual director was using a Chromebook. I’ve helped a number of friends, many of whom are senior citizens make the switch to Chromebook. Recently I recommended a Dell Chromebook and ordered it for a friend to help her get on Zoom. Though it’s got a smaller 11.6 inch display I really liked the feel of the keyboard and the overall construction of the unit. The Dell Chromebook seems more solid than the others and I really like the power cord and adapter. I like too that it came with ability to run Linux applications.

Whether you’re a student, a teacher or a retiree looking for a reasonable alternative to a standard PC or Mac then you ought to consider a Chromebook. I’ve found them to be rock solid, reliable and resilient not to mention that they run on Linux.

Learning something new

I just learned how to use Animoto to create a video. This short video came from some pictures I’ve taken recently at Mt. Irenaeus. I hope you like them and that you’ll give Animoto a try. It’s a very neat Web 2.x application. Follow this link to the video. Animoto.com