How To Convert MTS files to MP4/MOV

After gone all Mac both at work and at home, I came to the conclusion that not all my gadgets are fully compatible with Apple, as per example our Canon VIXIA HF200 HD video camera. The file format of the video's which come from the Canon video camera's is in MTS format. Since we have made several little movies of the kids, the Internal hard-disc was full already for more than a year. Time to download all these movies and start processing the video's. I tried to download and play the movies on my Apple iMac, but no success. You will need to convert those MTS video's into either a MOV or MP4 file. I tried several software packages, and was searching for the best free option. However, I didn't find a free software package which can convert MTS to MP4 without loss of quality.

What is a MTS file

The MTS format is a file format usually used by HD video camera's by brands like Sony, Canon and Panasonic. MTS is a high-definition MPEG, AVC, H.264 transport stream video file format, which allows your camera storing quite a large amount of information and data.

VLC Media Player

VLC VideoLan MediaplayerFirst option I tried was VLC Media Player. The VideoLan player can not only play practically almost all video formats, but you can also simple edit files with VLC. I thought it would be the first and only video editor I needed to try to convert my MTS to MP4. However, after trying a couple of times, the quality of the HD video's was not on par with what was recorded. After a little searching through The Google I quickly realized VLC would not fit my needs.

Apple Final Cut Express

Apple Final Cut ExpressAs I have Final Cut Express already on my Mac, I thought I would give this video editing software a try. However, just as I expected Apple Software did not allow me to convert those MTS files into MP4. After all, why would Apple make software to do this, and not allow you to play any MTS file straight on your Mac?

FLV Crunch

FLV Crunch Finally I found a free package which allows me to convert MTS files into MP4 or MOV, or any other video format file. You can download the software here. The software works pretty straightforward, where you open the MTS file you would like to convert, you choose the file format you would like your output in, and pick the folder the file needs to be saved into, and press start!

Doremisoft Mac Video Converter

Doremisoft Mac Video ConverterIf you do a couple of smart searches on Google like: How to convert MTS into MP4/MOV on a Apple iMac, you will find a lot of software packages that do exactly what you want. However, you can use these only for 30 day trial, and then you will have to buy a license for the software. Although the price is not that bad, just $49.95 for a single user license, why would you pay if you can get free. Sometimes, if you really want to be sure you are not downloading illegal software or software with a virus or trojan horse, it's just better to pay for software.

As I was in a hurry to get some of my video's converted, I did buy a license for the Doremisoft Mac Video Converter software package, as I found the FLV Crunch week later! The Doremisoft video converter is solid, and allows you to convert all video formats, and you can do simple edits with the software! This might come in handy if you quickly need to cut a file in separate clips, but don't want to go through the steep learning curve of Final Cut software. Download Doremisoft software here.

Here is a screenshot of a clip I edited using Doremisoft video converter:

edit video with Doremisoft Mac Video Converter

And then finally, the result of one of our old clips of the kids playing in the yard back in San Jose. This video must have been from 2009 or 2010. The original was much longer, but I won't bore you with the 3 minute video, so here is just 8 seconds:
[kaltura-widget uiconfid="534" entryid="0_785zxk2b" width="400" height="330" addpermission="" editpermission="" /]

Free Software Alternatives for Mac Users

The year 2011 I can call out as a year of change. I switched jobs, left eBay started at Geeknet, moved back to San Francisco from San Jose, and I went all Mac! With that last change came the need to find new software for the Mac. And since SourceForge distributes open source software, I spent some time in the last 5 months to try out a large number of free software alternatives for the software I used to work with on my PC. Here are my top free Software alternatives I started using in the last 5 months

GIMP

Gimp LogoOn my home Mac I have the full Adobe Creative Suite 4 installed. I have the Windows version of Photoshop creative suite, so I'm running Parallels Desktop especially for all my windows software. On my work Macbook Pro, I only have the Apple OS, so I was in search of good image/photo editing software. Multiple people told me I should try out Gimp, which is a great alternative for Photoshop. If you miss the normal Photoshop layout and tools set up, I recommend you download GimpShopwith it, so you can customize your pallets and tools according to how you would work in Photoshop.

This project provides pre-build GIMP application bundles for Intel and PPC Macs.

Skitch

On my former work laptop I always used SnagIt for making screenshots. I simply loved the special features to give your screenshots a special treatment. Since SnagIt is a paid piece of software, I was looking for a free screenshot software solution. A months before Evernote bought the company, I started using Skitch. I just became a paid user of Evernote, which is one of my other pieces of software, but is not free. I can't wait until a deeper integration between Skitch and Evernote is being announced.

Integrity

For my SEO work, I used Xenu Link Sleuth to find broken links on websites. Unfortunately, Xenu is only for Windows, so I couldn't add it on my brand new Macbook Pro. After asking a couple of people, and searching The Google, I found Integrity, a great alternative for Mac users to find those broken links on any website, yours or a potential link partner.

Handbrake

Handbrake logoWant to rip a DVD for on your iPad? Download Handbrake to convert any DVD video into Mac format. This only works for DVD's without copyright protection. Handbrake is not able to remove the DRM protection for you! More info on the official handbrake.fr website

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player logoEver had the problem that you could not play a certain media file on your computer? So frustrating if you really would like to watch that video, but cannot find the player online. Just download VLC. The VLC Media Player is the most popular video player at this moment, is free, and plays practically all media files out there.

VLC media player is a free and open source media player and multimedia framework written by the VideoLAN project. VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files and save them into various formats.

If you have a Canon video camera, like I do, you might have some trouble with the MTS format of your video's on your Mac. VLC will be able to play these video's for you, but in the highest quality you would expect. For that reason I would recommend to buy MTS converter software.

FreeMind

Freemind Mind Mapping Software logoNot necessarily new on my list of software, but still made it on my new computer. I use Freemind, the Free mind mapping software primarily to sketch out the hierarchy of a new site. As stated in the project description:

A mind mapper, and at the same time an easy-to-operate hierarchical editor with strong emphasis on folding. These two are not really two different things, just two different descriptions of a single application. Often used for knowledge and content mgmt.

Wireshark

Wireshark Network Protocol analyzer logoNext time you sit next to me on a conference, better watch out using the open wifi, as I have WireShark on my Mac. Formally known as Ethereal, I use WireShark now to check what packages go up- and downstream on the network I'm on.

Wireshark is a powerful network protocol analyzer developed by an international team of networking experts. It runs on UNIX, OS X and Windows. (Looking for Ethereal? You're in the right place. We switched names in May 2006 due to trademark issues.)

QuickSilver

Frustrated about the search functionality on a Mac? Enhance your search experience with Quicksilver app for Mac. Almost every week since I started to use Quicksilver I find new features and plugins you can add to the app. The learning curve for using Quicksilver is steep, and I have the feeling "I'm not there yet".

XAMPP

XAMPP LogoFor local installation of WordPress I used to download MySQL and Appache server software directly to my PC. Installing it was a piece of cake there. With the start on a new fresh Mac, I started to use XAMPP.

XAMPP is a very easy to install Apache Distribution for Linux, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X. The package includes the Apache web server, MySQL, PHP, Perl, a FTP server and phpMyAdmin.

Stylizer

Having a good CSS editor on my Mac is essential to build beautiful websites, or change any great CSS. I just downloaded the free version of Stylizer last week, and so far so good. I might be turning into a paying customer here, as this will give me extra added features and auto updates!

Filezilla

Filezilla free ftp program logoOn my list of free software, I cannot leave off FileZilla, a free ftp program. Up- and download effortless all your files to your server using Filezilla.

FileZilla is a cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client a lot of features, supporting Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server for Windows. Nuff said...

phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin logophpMyAdmin is the old-school way of backing up my database of WordPress blogs. There are plugins available which do it automatically for you, but there is nothing like it as downloading the tables of your MySQL database straigh through the phpMyAdmin panel. Let alone resetting your admin password if you might have lost it straight in the table :)

phpMyAdmin is a tool written in PHP intended to handle the administration of MySQL over the Web. Currently it can create and drop databases, create/drop/alter tables, delete/edit/add fields, execute any SQL statement, manage keys on fields.

 

Which Software am I missing? Can you recommend more free software I can test and expand the tools I have on my computer?

 

 

Dominate the Product Roadmap

Escape Velocity by Geoffrey MooreOne year ago, I was fully booked in the yearly planning cycle at my former job at eBay. It was tough, being on the business side getting my SEO projects heard and prioritized as the Product Management group drove the whole product planning process.  I learned a lot about product planning, product scoping, internal politics, and departments’ agenda’s. But I learned more about myself and setting good priorities, planning my work, managing my team and building story lines in presentations.

For a live event Slashdot is organizing tomorrow, with well known IT author Geoffrey Moore, I’ve started in his new book; Escape Velocity. From the introduction and the first couple of chapters I got flashbacks of last years product planning cycle at eBay.

The Slashdot event is free for anybody to attend! Just surf to: SlashdotTV.

Normal Planning Process

Moore describes how normally planning cycles in large IT corporations are dominated by departments pushing last years plans as a baseline for next year. Revenue is estimated by multiplication of the last quarter times 4, where Finance departments sets goals and all departments will need to come back with a bottom up view what is feasible. Usually the finance goals are higher than the sum of the bottom up view of all the departments. A compromise is met in the middle.

The danger of this planning process is that large changes in the market are usually overlooked as plans are based on last year’s roadmaps. As a result, the company is not prepared of changes that happen in the markets and resources are tight up in initiatives, which execute on gravity forces of last years plan.

New Proposed Way of Product Planning

Moore proposes a new way of product planning, which he has build up on years of experience in large IT companies. The new way of product planning does not take last years roadmap as input for next years plan, but rather advocates to first take an outside-in view of the environment before thinking of resource allocation. Ask yourself:

What does the world really want from us?

To be able to be successful, managers and executives can rely on a model build on the Hierarchies of Power:

  1. Articulate a compelling vision of the future that others will want to support
  2. Set a strategy consistent with your vision that positions you as the leader in the markets you want to serve
  3. Resource your execution so that it can both accomplish your highest aspiration and generate superior economic returns

Here is a short video of Geoffrey Moore explaining why there is massive internal resistance of moving resources away from established activities into new activities.

Lessons Learned in Product Planning

The book is aimed at learning managers, directors or executives in large IT companies to become more successful in their job, and their careers through following this new planning paradigm.  If you know how to get your projects funded, by implementation of the Hierarchy of Powers model, your visibility and success will grow within the company. This might result in an improved position for you as manager, and your department.

As I was reflecting on my own experience in a large technology organization, where it was hard to get project funded, I can sum up a couple of learning’s for myself;

  1. The vision for SEO for eBay I proposed, was clear for myself, my team and the consultants I was working with, I was not able to articulate the vision in a compelling plan, which would be adopted by C-level executives in the short time I had. Part of the problem was that the SEO material is not easily understood on the levels of senior staff, part was that the time invested by Vice President was so limited, that even a great articulated plan would not have gotten the support.
  2. One large reason of not getting the executive attention was my own misunderstanding of the full product planning process, where the time investment in the plan was insufficient for a great plan. We were too busy to make the quarter and roll out optimization to generate direct revenue in quarter, than to invest sufficient time to build a clear and concise plan.
  3. Misunderstanding of the other departments applying for the scarce resources, and the internal politics between the departments. As the process was driven by the Product Management function, not having strong allies in the PM org you can find your projects at the bottom of the list of all the priorities. Luckily this was not the case for SEO, as it’s a high priority for eBay, but still it was a hard battle

In the end, I’m happy I went through the tough process, and learning these hard lessons.

Now that we find ourselves in October, and a large number of technology companies are in the middle of the product planning cycle for 2012, reading Escape Velocity can help any manager or executive make better decisions on the resource allocation of product plans and change the direction of the company for maximum economic win.

The Slashdot event is free for anybody to attend! Just surf to: SlashdotTV.

I will be moderating the Twitter stream tomorrow during the live broadcast, where the office is full with big camera's to document the interview. Below picture was shot this afternoon during the dry run...

Camera in the Geeknet Office

Where is the Wireless Switch on a Dell Latitude E6410

Do you know where the Wireless Switch on the Dell Latitude E6410 is? Can you find the little switch that makes the build in wifi in your Dell Laptop un-usable? It seems Dell has learned its lesson to some extend, as they actually have placed the wireless switch in plain sight on the side of the laptop of the Latitude E6410 model.

Wireless Switch on the Dell Latitude E6410

I wrote about the Wireless Switch on the Dell Latitude E4300, after I got a new laptop. The little switch was hidden on the side. And although I felt like an idiot finding the switch was accidentally turned off, I was not the only one with the problem! Up to today, there are 42 comments from people who also had the problem finding the Wireless Switch on their Dell Laptop.

Hopefully the owners of the Latitude E6410 model do not have that same problem, if they do, they can just look at the picture on this page. The Wireless Switch is the little switch right above the earplug connector!

iPad Changes My Kids Future Tech Perception

image

I still have my old Commodore 64 somewhere. The old home computer on which I played so many games. I unfortunately never learned how to code anything on that old little machine. I might have been in a whole different place right now if I did start. I guess I was too impatient at the time. I’ve always been in need for speed. And even the commands “Load, Press Play On Tape” were almost too much, as it followed with 4-5 minutes of loading a game using a tape recorder.

But one thing stuck with me since the Commodore 64; computers are changing the world. And because I grew up with the tapes in computers, old floppy drive and later the Zip drives, my perception of technology is shaped based on these paradigms.

i-can-haz-ipadNow that I have my iPad, there is something fundamentally changing I know for sure my kids will grow up in a different world. A world where we are always connected, a world with apps, either free through advertisement or paid, and a world with touch screens.

I got the iPad as a gift from my wife, and she can tell that I’m very happy with it. I never interrupt one of her favorite TV programs anymore, I make her hot chocolate when she asks me to, and I’m more quite than before. All because I’m busy enjoying my iPad…

Things that I’m missing on the iPad:

  • Flash, as some websites are just not usable. But I guess Steve J. has its reasons…
  • Build in webcam; for easy Skype video chats. But I guess the AT&T contract for iPhone prevents the iPad to become a fully functional calling device
  • USB port, so I can hook up my flash SD camera card for faster uploading of my pictures

I’m sure there will be more things I miss on the iPad, the more I use it. But for now, the iPad is my new favorite toy!

BTW> most iPads on eBay these days are being sold to buyers outside of the US at a ~$150 mark up over retail. Still a chance of making a profit!

Foto Commodore credit: Shaniber, from Flickr, under CC2.0

New Blackberry after 3 years

Most people trade phones every year. New model comes out, with new features, so they have to have the newest gadget. This is where the iPad craze lives on. My Blackberry was already 3 years old, until it finally broke down. Or I should say, the jog wheel was kaput. So finally after three years, I can play with a new gadget. A new Blackberry… at least new for me!

new-old-blackberry

Pay Starbucks Coffee with your iPhone

Technology innovation goes so fast, soon we won’t be carrying any real money on us anymore. You can bump your phone to your friends phone, and pay through Paypal or just pay your coffee at Starbucks with your iPhone.

iphone-pay-starbucks

Meeting with… Matrix Partners

Sometimes you just meet the right people at the right time at the right place. So did I end of 2008 at a good bye party of a SVP @ eBay. I met a person who was just about to get involved in  venture capital.

As I studied economics, with a major in finance and investment instruments, the VC world is like a magnet to me. I’m so interested on what basis some of the companies a VC firm decides to invest in are valued. What determines the value of a company which just is starting to grow, or has not even launched yet?

Over the course of the months, I managed to stay in contact, and today I had a coffee meeting at the office of Matrix Partners. A technology venture capital firm located at Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. More VC firms are located on Sand Hill Road, which can be called the epicenter of Tech VC in Silicon Valley.

I’m not going to dig deeper in what we discussed, but here is one picture I was able to shoot of the wonderful coffee which was served :)

matrix-partners

AT&T YOU SUCK!

Dear AT&T,

I want to let you know how much YOU SUCK! Let me tell you why I think you Suck Balls big time!

You suck for these reasons:

  • The phone reception coverage is really bad! Even in a place like San Jose, close to one of your main partners in Mobile phone technology, you fail to extend a reliable service.
  • You miscalculated the data usage of smart phone users, and in particular iPhone users, so you decided to raise the level of mandatory data package fees to ALL iPhone users.
  • You reroute traffic to my sites, and don’t deliver the request at all, if my sites happen to be on a GoDaddy hosting environment.
  • You sue one of your rivals who have the balls to speak the truth. Verizon is right, and I love the Ad campaign: There’s a Map for That! The AT&T coverage in California SUCKS! And for that, my dearest AT&T, YOU SUCK!!!

There is a map for that

Just recently you have sued Verizon over an advertising campaign that brought the poor coverage of your network to the public. Can you honestly look into the mirror and tell yourself this isn’t the truth? Although the dispute is about some maps of the 3G coverage of your network in the US, I can tell you how bad my phone reception is in my house. And it’s not that I live in the middle of no-where! I live in a 10 miles radius of your biggest data pusher you are addicted too: APPLE.

Dear AT&T. I think it is almost time for an intervention. You are so pre-occupied with the image that is painted about you in the media concerning your 3G net or Wifi coverage, that you completely forget to invest in the people that actually make you more money; the people that place phone calls. These people have bought a phone to be reachable. Just think of the basics first, and do that good! Make these customers happy, and they probably will be willing to pay even more for data coverage in 3G, upgrading to iPhone and spending that extra amount of money on data services.

Taken from your Network fact sheet, you must have spend all that money you’ve earned with the early success with the iPhone on the wrong things…

Between 2005 and the end of this year, AT&T will have invested more than $20 billion to expand and enhance the scope and capability of its wireless network to deliver “more bars in more places.” This ongoing investment continues to increase coverage, ensure high levels of reliability and offer advanced wireless data services to more parts of the country and more customers.

I’m not sure if this also applies to the cell phone reception, but I don't really care anymore. This morning I had an hour conference call with my offices in Europe, and the line was disconnected 17 times. 17 times I had to call back in and apologize for dropping…!!! And when I did speak, my colleagues could hardly hear me as the line was that bad.  I felt a little nostalgic, as if I needed to keep my phone in a certain direction to make sure I WOULD have reception. Just like the old days watching TV, holding the antenna in a certain zone in the air to make sure you could follow the end of that movie which was broadcasted over the open air.

Publishing an ego PR message on your own self promoting Media News Room, how much you invested in 2009 on 3G Wireless coverage, does not impress me at all! I would rather get better cell phone reception coverage in my area, so that I can have a decent phone conversation, than that you invest in some network which I definitely do not need in and around my house.

Just 1 hours ago, I wanted to show my new design on a site that is hosted with Godaddy. As I waited in vain on the feedback of one of the people in my network I have high regards for, the feedback I got was unpleasant.

I can’t reach your site, it says: “Network Timeout”

Nice! Not only my traffic profile of the sites which I might want to sell are ruined because of the unresponsiveness, but my own reputation as well! Ok, it’s my bad I did not check if the domain I send through Skype was not having any issues with regards to site speed or even reliable webhosting. But still… My website should be available for all people surfing the web, not only non-AT&T customers. So what about all the revenue that I’m loosing. Who is going to be responsible for this FUCK UP?

And when I searched on Twitter for any news, I saw this message:

image

So how am I to call this special service number with a cell phone that is serviced with AT&T, where this company does not support the proper reception in my neighborhood?

Dear AT&T, I honestly can say, you have one of the worst customer experiences ever! If it wasn’t for the free phone calls within network, and my company carries you as the main cell phone service, I would have dropped you, kicked you to the curve, dumped you, deserted you without even looking back.

But you have me and many more in your clutches, which must makes you think you can get away with all of this shit and makes you feel powerful. But just remember… What goes around… Comes around….

So now that I’ve written the frustrations out of myself, I’m thinking how I’m going to get this published on my blog. Damn you AT&T!

BlackBerry Watch

Crackberry.com, the site for highly addicted BlackBerry users has posted a breaking story: Blackberry might introduce a BB watch. After we merged the phone with our laptop and introduced smart phones which can take pictures and video, now we are going to merge these devices with our watch.

All I can say: I want one of those!

image

Picture above from Crackberry.com

Blackberry 9700 Bold Unlocked Quad-Band 3G Smartphone with 3.2 MP Camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth--International Version with Warranty (Black) Blackberry 9700 Bold Unlocked Quad-Band 3G Smartphone with 3.2 MP Camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth--International Version with Warranty (Black)

See Reviews For This Product

 

Description

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone has a large, hi-resolution screen that displays over 65,000 colors creating a vivid viewing experience for all your photos, videos, files, and websites. Access what's important with trackpad navigation based on how laptops are designed...

Features

  • This unlocked cell phone will work on GSM carries like AT&T and T-Mobile. Not all carrier features may be supported.
  • Unlocked Quad-Band GSM cell phone compatible with 850/900/1800/1900MHz frequencies
  • Wi-Fi networking (802.11b/g);3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder;LED Flash;Stereo Bluetooth with A2DP;Media player MP3/WMA/AAC+;
  • Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Access to personal and corporate email, BlackBerry OS, 5.0,
  • Talk time up to 6 hours - Standby up to 408 hs and 3G HSDPA/UMTS 850/900/1700/1900/2100 plus GPRS/EDGE data capabilities.
  • Touch-sensitive optical trackpad, Video player DivX/WMV/XviD/3gp, 3.5 mm audio jack and BlackBerry maps.
  • microSD memory expansion to 32 GB and GPS Navigation.