Editing Quicktime .MOV movies and burning them to DVD on Windows 7 without(!) Adobe Premiere

I wanted to get back into salsa dancing and was thinking about taking classes again. Century Ballroom offers tons of classes, but I had some experience before and wasn’t sure what level to take. Fortunately for me, I had taken some classes before at Century and they give you a DVD with a review of the lessons on it when you’re done. I wanted to be able to view these on the TV, but unfortunately, all the movies are in QuickTime (.MOV) format. This means if I want to watch them, I have do it on the computer unless I burn the files to a DVD that is viewable on any ole’ DVD player. If I was on a Mac, this would be trivial, but I happen to be on Windows 7 Ultimate. Now, let’s get some things out of the way:

1) Nothing native to windows 7 will play quicktime movies. Nothing. Nadda. Zip.

2) You can download some hacky programs but 1/2 of them looked like scamware to me so I didn’t try any of them. On top of that, the few that looked 1/2 way legit had problems with the sound syncing up and stuff. Caveat emptor, I didn’t try any of these and I wouldn’t even try to begin to delve into it.

3) Quicktime player can play your films…but you need to Pro version to save it in a different format. It’s no great shakes, but it looked sufficient for my needs and costs $29.99 + tax.

I chose 3) from the list above. The primary reason is that I didn’t want to spend loads of time figuring out how to convert the movies – I wanted to spend loads of time learning salsa!

Ok, so you can just buy the software from Apple electronically and they just give you a key. Once you have the key you just put it into Quicktime and all the grayed out options light up. Ah….so satisfying. See, take a look!

Registered quicktime

So I had 3 different .MOV files that I needed to combine. Lesson 1, 2a, and 2b. At this point it’s dead simple: open up the first movie and then move the top carrot slider to the end. Then just open up an Explorer window the contains your files.Salsa files

The file I wanted to be first was Century Salsa 1 high.mov so I opened that up in Quicktime first. Drag the slider over to the end of the film so that it looks like this:

First file in Quicktime

Notice the slider at the end and also note the time. The file should be at the end before you start inserting other film data, otherwise it will insert the new footage at the point you have selected in the film. Ok, now select the next file you want and drag it into the first window.

Adding second file in Quicktime

Notice how the selection carrot stays at the end, but the time changes to include the new file. Keep doing this until your done. Once you’ve got all the files in, save the results to a new quicktime film.

At this point you’ve got 2 options: you can try to add chapters or you can just burn the film to DVD. I’m going to go through adding chapters to your file, but let this be a warning to those interested: Windows Live Movie Maker doesn’t honor the chapters. I don’t know why, but since I went through the work, I thought I’d share how to make chapters anyway. Ok, on to the chapters!

You’re first resource is located right in Apple help and it will take you to this page. It’s mostly correct, but there are a few things that don’t work anymore or are a bit unclear for beginners for the version of Quicktime that I’ve written this for (7.6.8). And if you’re reading this, you’re probably a beginner like me, right. Smile

1) The arrows keys DO scroll through the movie, but you have to hold them down for a bit. I thought this wasn’t working at first because I thought it was 1 second per push, but it’s 1 frame and you’ll need to hold it down to advance quickly.

2) Don’t sweat the frame stuff in the chapter list. I just defaulted everything to 0.

3) Whenever they talk about importing, they really mean just opening the file. I have no idea why they talk about importing everything.

4) Unless you want the chapter title to show up during the entire move, in the movie properties, uncheck the text track. The chapters will still be there, but they will not up in the movie.

Ok! Almost done with the DVD. Here’s the real news: Windows DVD maker can’t open up MPEG-4 content. Say what? You heard me, it won’t open up MPEG-4 which is the only MPEG format Quicktime will let you export as. So go online and download Windows Live Essentials. You’ll want to install Windows Live Movie Maker; Live writer is keen as well (if you’re into writing blog posts it’s great. I’ve been using it for a while and it’s great.). Windows Live Movie Maker will open the MPEG-4 file. You don’t need to do anything other than select “Burn a DVD”. The program will make you save the file to a WMV first, but then you’re set! Windows Live Movie Maker will automatically add a menu for you and after you burn the DVD, all you need to do it pop the DVD in to check if it works correctly.

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Losing my sanity: online dating continued

Plenty of Fish has 1 really, really good thing going for it: it’s free. This is countered by the powerfully bad UX that makes navigating around a bear, and more akin to exploring a haunted house: “Hey, let’s open this do…Oh shit! I didn’t want to see that! Turn around! Where am I??”

This is a picture of the PoF (Plenty of Fish) header on the site: plenty of fish UX header

It looks perfectly reasonable. It looks reasonable until you start navigating it; it is then that you find all the things that are confusing. One would think the “My Matches” takes you to your matches. It actually does this, but the problem with this is that your “matches” looks a whole lot like the “Chemistry” results, which in turn looks a whole lot like the first page of results from the “Search” option. I’ll be damned if I can figure out the difference because there isn’t a rating associated with any of the profiles as to how closely you’re matched. Not that it matters to me – every single profile I looked at had the EXACT same chemistry profile as me! And, for those few people who had filled it out, the relationship profile was exactly the same as well!.

Now this is interesting – I guess either 1) Everyone on the site has the exact same chemistry and relationship results or 2) Everyone they’ll ever show me has the exact same chemistry and relationship results. Hmmmm, maybe that’s ok, but what’s the point of showing the chemistry results then? And why am I having to guess about how they are picking the girls to match to me?

One other major problem with the site that isn’t really their fault is, well, the selection. I’m not gonna lie: I like Asian girls the best. I know, total shocker, Asian man likes Asian women but there it is. I’ll definitely check out other ethnicities, but it’s like an unstated (well, stated now) preference for me. I just click better with them. So here is the number of Asian women, 25-35 from the search results within 25 miles of me:

Asian results within 25 miles

Now here are the number of Caucasian results:

Caucasian results within 25 miles

Fuck me.

I did see a commercial for Match.com. Guess I’m going to have to add that to the list of sites to try because with these kind of results, it’s not looking good for Fly Rice over here as PoF.

One place that isn’t totally crappy that Plenty of Fish does have this interesting feature called “Meet me”. It’s basically this Hot or Not like feature where you can rate meeting people “Yes”, “Maybe”, and “No”. Unfortunately, it falls prey to the same issue of ambiguity: every single person you meet will be same chemistry as you but you have no idea how close you are. Minor footnote: hilariously, there is a photo judgment section where you judge photos for the site and note if they are appropriate or not. It defaults to men and women, and as soon as you flip it you women only, it tells you there are no results.

Ok, back to business as to what I thought of the “Meet me” experience. One must be blunt andI don’t want to be unkind here – I mean, I’m not some kind of super model, but I must have judged several hundred photos and it was some depressing ass shit. As of the time of this writing of this blog post, I’m 32 and I restricted my results to women between the ages of 25 and 35, and frankly, excluding weight entirely, a lot of these women looked much older than I would have given them credit for. It should have been funny in a circus act kind of way, but it was mostly sad that there were women out there who were like 28 and looked like they were twice as old as they were.

Still, after much I did end up finding some women who might be date material…and maybe that’s the lesson here. Perhaps in real life we really do end up going through hundreds and hundred of people just to find one person who might be worthy of dating. Who knows? If I end up going out with any of them, I’ll post about breaking my online dating cherry. I hope it’s more entertaining than the search though…

Looking for love in all the online places…

So I’ve been single for a while and my sister has been pestering me to try out an online dating site to at least check out what’s out there. I had been holding off because based off my extensive experience online most people using the internet to meeting people are fucking crazy. However, a year long stint at Microsoft has made me yearning to meet non-married indian women something fierce so my resolution broke down and I began evaluating my choices:

1) eHarmony – I had a friend get married off of this, and another friend is using eHarmony as his primary dating site. I actually tried it before but however desperate I am, the money thing is killing me here. I may try this later.

2) OKCupid –I love the blog posts analyzing there population, but from first hand accounts the population is crazy.

3) Plenty of Fish – the UX is terrible. But it’s free. Can’t be all bad right?

I think you can see where this was going….I called up my sister and starting checking out the matches there. It’s ok at first. I’m cruising through and scanning the pictures:

pre-account browse PoF

But after a few clicks, I started seeing this:

pre-account post-click browse PoF

Fuckers.

I cave and start making the account. It’s not bad at first, you know, ASL, you like white girls (sometimes), you like asian girls (hell yes), kids (not pre-fabbed) etc. Then you start taking the “Chemistry” test. This is the standard multiple choice test with “no wrong answers”. That’s to make people who answer stuff like “Do you find yourself lonely all the time?” feel ok. The only problem is this test is fucking long. I mean, my sister starts harassing me and I just want to finish the damn thing long. And when that’s done, you still have to fill out this little blurb about yourself.

About me filling out profile

It looks fine now because I went back and filled it out…but it has a minimum character length. And it’s not something small. My initial efforts of “Clothes. I love rock and roll. I am a nerd in Seattle. Fuck you plenty of fish.” are stymied so I resort to the closest large blob of text on my computer…my vision statement from my resume. So for the past few months the women scanning my profile happened to see this:

Energetic and quality focused Software Engineer with 8 years of experience testing software and hardware for Fortune 500 companies. Proven leader with skills to manage global teams that meet deadlines and deliver products that delight customers. Loves to tackle and overcome challenges by using analysis and collaboration.

I didn’t get any hits, but I might have found some job leads…

Next blog post: Losing my sanity…