Archive for December, 2006


// December 30th, 2006 // 2 Comments » // Personal

# include < iostream >
using std::cout;
using std::endl;

int main ()

for(int n=0; n<1000; n++) cout<< "Eid Mubarrak" << endl; cout<< "May allah accept our good deeds, and forgive us for all our sins" << endl; return 0; }

Convert Anything to Anything!!

// December 22nd, 2006 // 2 Comments » // uncategorized

I get a few calls every once in a while asking how to convert from one video or audio format to another. I’ve also had a chance to play with different file extensions for my Zune.

Before I get into converting, I want to talk about downloading flash video files ( .flv ). flv is the video format for the flash video files used in youtube and many many other websites like my blog. There are many ways to download these flash video files:

* I personal use a firefox extension called video downloader. With this extension you can even download any type of media file, even if its a windows media file or real media file. So, you won’t need to read the source file to find the location of a media file to download it anymore with this extension.

* The second way is alot easier. All you have to do is go to vixy‘s flv online converter. It also converts the flv file to avi, mov, mp4, 3gp, or even mp3 for audio only. So, you can enter the url of a video in youtube and vixy’s flv online converter can convert it to mp4 for your ipod or zune or you can convert it to 3gp for your nokia mobile phone.


Some ask how they can see or make .flv videos on their computers. If you are looking for a player that will play flv files without converting them, then you might like Riva FLV Encoder. It comes with a FLV Player, but it also decodes Flash Videos (.flv) into AVI, MPEG, Quicktime and WMV. The utility is also capable of encoding into Flash Video too.


Ok, now lets talk about converting almost any extension to any other extension!! I used to use a program to convert to real media files (.rm) , another program to convert to .mp3, and one to convert .flv files. I had too many encoding programs.

All you will need is one software that can do almost anything!! Yes, only one program called Total Video Converter. It can convert almost any audio or video format to any other format, and it can also play almost anything!! Supported source/input file formats include:

Video Formats:

* Rmvb(.rm,.rmvb)
* MPEG4(.mp4)
* 3gp(.3gp, 3g2)
* Game Psp(.psp)
* MPEG1(.mpg, mpeg)
* MPEG2 PS (.mpg, mpeg, vob)
* MPEG2 TS (DVB Transport Stream)
* Ms ASF(.asf, .wmv)
* Ms AVI(.avi)
* Macromedia Flash video FLV (.flv)
* Real Video (rm)
* Apple Quicktime(.mov)
* FLIC format(.fli, .flc)
* Gif Animation(.gif)
* DV (.dv)
* Video Formats Dx9 Directshow can open

Audio Formats:

* CD audio(.cda)
* MPEG audio(.mp3, mp2)
* Ms WAV(.wav)
* Ms WMA(.wma)
* Real Audio (.ra)
* OGG(.ogg)
* Amr audio(.amr)
* AC3(.ac3)
* SUN AU format (.au)
* Macromedia Flash embedded audio(.swf)
* Audio Formats Dx9 Directshow can open

Game Video Formats:

* Technologies format, used in some games(.4xm)
* Playstation STR
* Id RoQ used in Quake III, Jedi Knight 2, other computer games
* format used in various Interplay computer games, Interplay MVE
* multimedia format used in Origin’s Wing Commander III computer game,WC3 Movie
* used in many Sega Saturn console games, Sega FILM/CPK
* Multimedia formats used in Westwood Studios games, Westwood Studios VQA/AUD
* Used in Quake II, Id Cinematic (.cin)
* used in Sierra CD-ROM games, Sierra VMD
* used in Sierra Online games, .sol files
* Electronic Arts Multimedia, Matroska
* used in various EA games; files have extensions like WVE and UV2
* Nullsoft Video (NSV) format

And Total Video Converter able to convert any of the file formats above to the following video media formats, including of mobile videos or audios (mp4, 3gp, xvid, divx mpeg4 avi, amr audio) which are used by cellphone, PDA, PSP, iPod:

Video Formats:

* MPEG4(.mp4)
* 3gp(.3gp, 3g2)
* Game Psp(.psp)
* MPEG1(.mpg, mpeg)
* NTSC, PAL DVD mpeg
* NTSC, PAL VCD mpeg
* Ms Mpeg4 AVI(.avi)
* Divx AVI(.avi)
* Xvid AVI(.avi)
* H264 AVI(.avi)
* Mjpeg AVI(.avi)
* HuffYUV AVI(.avi)
* Swf Video(.swf)
* Flv Video (.flv)
* Gif Animation(.gif)
* Mpeg4 Mov(.mov)
* Apple Quicktime(.mov)
* FLIC format(.fli, .flc)
* Gif Animation(.gif)
* DV (.dv)

Audio Formats:

* MPEG audio(.mp3, mp2)
* Ms WAV(.wav)
* Ms WMA(.wma)
* OGG(.ogg)
* Amr audio(.amr)
* AC3(.ac3)
* SUN AU format (.au)
* m4a(mp4 audio)

It even converted a .gif image file to a .avi video file!! Use it and you won’t need any other program.

Zune @ Riyadh…

// December 13th, 2006 // 1 Comment » // uncategorized

I went to Electro yesterday to get an iPod. I kind of liked the Zune more because it has a bigger screen, but I thought it wouldn’t be smart to buy a Zune from amazon without a valid warranty in Saudi Arabia. The Zune isn’t officially released in Canada or the UK

When I got to the counter, I was going to ask the salesman to get me an iPod, but I saw that they had the Zune!! I asked whether it was under their warranty and he said that it was under their warranty for a year!! So, I asked for a Zune instead. After checking out the colors, I took the brown one. The white and black colors look too traditional. I got it for 1299 SR which equals 346 USD!! If you check amazon’s website you’ll see that they sell it for 220 USD!! I would get it from amazon, but it would take 2 weeks to get here, and it wouldn’t be under warranty.

Anyways, before buying the zune I read about it’s features and I compared it with the iPod. Here are the differences that I considered when comparing:

* Zune is 50% larger and 17% heavier than the comparable iPod.
* Zune body is more resistant to scratches and fingerprints.
* Zune offers a .5″ (diagonally) larger screen.
* Zune screen works in portrait or landscape mode.
* Zune allows customized background and themes. (They make it look really nice)
* Zune displays thumbnail album art while browsing albums.
* Zune device does not provide text search for music.
* Zune adds WMA support, Microsoft’s proprietary codec.
* Zune lacks AIFF, WAV and Audible (audiobook) support.
* Zune device does not have an audio bookmarking feature.
* Zune device lacks H.264, m4v and mov support.
* Zune allows photo zooming.
* Zune includes built-in WiFi.
* Video content is not available in the Zune Marketplace.
* Zune includes a built-in FM Tuner (iPod, $49).
* Zune does not include a games, orginizer, clock, alarm, sleep timer or a stopwatch.
* Zune does not offer a passcode protected volume lock.
* Zune cannot act as an external hard drive. (for now)
* Zune Software has no inherent Podcast functionality.

I was upset because Zune couldn’t inherent Podcasts. I found a nice way to do this, but Microsoft could have made it easier for us by adding it to the software. There are 2 ways to do this:
* Use FeedYourZune software to subscribe to podcasts and then sync them to your Zune. (I don’t do it this way).
* The easy way is to keep using iTunes to download your podcasts, and just ask Zune software to “monitor” the folder where iTunes saves the podcasts…

For more information on the differences between the iPod and the Zune Click Here


// December 10th, 2006 // 22 Comments » // uncategorized

I took the TOEFL iBT (internet based test) a few days ago. So if you plan on taking the test anytime soon, then here are a few pointers you might find helpful:

* The iBT test is different from the paper based and the computer based TOEFL tests in many ways. The biggest difference is that there is a speaking section in the iBT. There are even questions were you read a passage, listen to a lecture or a conversation, and finally write about what you read in the passage and heard in the lecture.

* The test isn’t difficult, but it’s four hours!! It becomes really hard to concentrate. So, get lots of sleep and enjoy a big cup of coffee before going to the test center.

* If the test is in a different city, then go to that city the night before.

* I found this website to be really helpful. It has a practice test that is very similar to the iBT.

* Try to be the last to enter the test room. They let students in to the test room one by one, and it’s very difficult to concentrate while other test takers come into the room.

* After finishing 2 sections you will get a 10 minute break. Use your 10 minute break wisely!! Leave the room quickly and take a quick walk outside the test center.

* The time shown above in the reading section is NOT only the time given to read the passage, it is also the time you are given to answer all the questions related to the passage.

* The last question to all four passages in the reading section is the toughest, so try to have more than a minute saved up for it.

* During the listening and the speaking sections, take as many notes as you can while listening to the lectures or conversations. Some of the questions ask for very specific details from the conversation.

if you have any questions feel free to ask…