Here are several files and links considered to be in the broad category known as "multimedia" - audio files, slide shows (with, and without, audio), and video clips.
Multimedia files can bring a computer and the Internet to life. Learning how to find files and play them back is key to their enjoyment.
Note: the links to video and audio files such as those found below keep changing. If you try a link and it fails, do a Google search instead for the text and add youtube or site name to the criteria........... Most will likely pop up somewhere.
Canon Service Call
(Listener discretion advised.)
This recording of a service call to Canon reminds us all that we need to make proper backups of our data files on a regular basis. We should also not rely on our computers being any more than replaceable with a comparable equivalent when it comes to warranties.
Here is another example audio file for the gentler ear - ping pong.
Audio file comparison...
These audio files can be used to demonstrate the comparative quality of MP3 files ripped at differing data rates. 320 is descriptively called "CD quality". Lower data rates may suffice, depending on the end use. The lower the data rate, the smaller the file.
To demonstrate, play each one for thirty seconds or so to see what the sound is like, then load one of the next lowest quality and compare.
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman at 320.mp3 File size : 7.17 MB (sampling only provided)
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman at 192.mp3 File size : 4.32 MB (sampling only provided)
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman at 128.mp3 File size : 2.87 MB (sampling only provided)
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman at 64.mp3 File size : 1.44 MB (sampling only provided)
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman at 32.mp3 File size : 0.72 MB (sampling only provided)
Audio files on the Internet...
Streaming audio is, in a sense, live audio. Radio stations can reach worldwide audiences by making their programming available in a media player at their websites. Streaming audio can be playing whle a computer user is multi-tasking - doing other non-competitive (with the audio) things like surfing, or gaming or word processing.
A broadcaster would be a bricks-and-mortar company with a broadcasting tower. A "shoutcaster" only has to get the content to an Internet server. This has opened the doors for many smaller, Internet only, operations.
Here are some examples - typically clicking on the "listen live" links will start the players streaming. (Content may begin after advertisements.)
Quality is always good since it is essentially digital, although streaming may be interrupted if the Internet connection is slow or otherwise occupied.
Searching for "Internet radio stations" will yield thousands in a variety of genres. An advisement: if the site you choose wants to install a proprietary player, think twice before doing so.
Shoutcast has been involved with Internet radio for a long time now. Anyone can set up an Internet radio station with help from the Shoutcast site. You can also use their site to locate many other Internet radio channels besides the example here. Shoutcast and others (like tunein.com) are like facilitators, assisting in the location and organization of the channels available.
There are a great many channels available, so if any channel wants you to download special software to hear it, I would suggest that you avoid that channel and look for a similar one that doesn't.
Downloading Shoutcast's associated player Winamp gives you an alternative to Media Player and iTunes for playback. Some Internet stations actually require this if they are only providing the content of a playlist (.pls).
Recording audio from the playback of a PC...
"Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds."
This program that can be used to edit audio files, to clean up pops and noise, to amplify, to fade in or out, etc. Audacity can record your voice from mic input, and Audacity can record any sound that the computer happens to be making (i.e. playing a song). Some computers with older operating systems (XP) and with more elaborate sound cards (more ports, a more controllable mixer) can do this handily, but newer computers come with few controls in the mixer and often does not permit recording "what u hear".
Audacity has an article about this topic, and they suggest taking a 1/8" stereo mini male-male cable and plugging it into the speaker jack and the line-in jack would allow Audacity to record "what u hear" on most PCs. In addition, using a 1/8" stereo mini male to double female splitter couldallow the sound to be recorded and heard on the speakers. A male-male cable to go from one side of the splitter to the line in jack, and the speakers plugged into the other side of the splitter should accomplish this.
(Don't overpay - this bit of cabling should cost no more that $10 or so.)
Some caution should be taken, and certainly there is some risk, that looping the audio-out back in through the audio-in might cause some damage. I think it is worth a try, as the chances are good that there will be no harm, just success.
When recording "what u hear", any computer sounds - like an Avast anti-virus update or an email or Skype notice - will be audible in the recording unless you suppress these by turning off the programs that cause these sounds.
Find that song...
Another site of interest is midomi.com. This site has a search feature that can identify a song when it "hears" it played or sung. For example, you go to the site, start the listener and play or sing ten seconds or so of a song you have heard. If identified, you will be shown a list of possibilities. The program is quite adequate, but it requires a mic input with a decent volume level. Some songs are identified after just a couple of seconds, while others take longer than ten. If the level is good and the input clear, your chance of finding the song is high.
Find the lyrics...
Many Internet sites can provide the lyrics to most songs, thought the lyrics might not always be correct. Google any phrase with the word "lyrics" and it should be relatively easy to find what you are lookig for.
Many artists have their own site, or fans of theirs have created sites, that include the words to most songs with something called the discography - the list of recordings made by that artist. Here are some examples of sites with a great deal of this kind of information.
There are a great many slide shows available on the Internet, in several formats. A common type is Microsoft Powerpoint (extension .pps). Other shows are made with Internet scripts and languages like Java and Shockwave. Some have music, some don't. Some have still images, some use DVE's (digital video effects) like movement of a still photo.
As an example, download one of these shows and double-click to run. Mouse-clicks or hitting the space bar will usually advance the show. (If you do not have Microsoft Office on your computer, of which Powerpoint is a part, you can download a Powerpoint viewer from Microsoft to view the shows made by others.)
Starry Starry Night
This is a Powerpoint slide show comprised of Vincent Van Gogh paintings. Don McLean's song Vincent, about the artist, plays while the show advances.
After the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, many photos were available on the Internet. Some were combined in one of the numerous Powerpoint slide shows being emailed around. This slide show is an extension of one of the circulating shows.
New Orleans - post-hurricane photos...
In 2005, a Cat5 hurricane hit Louisiana and devastated the coastal area. After the storm, levees broke and flooded New Orleans itself. This Powerpoint show contains numerous photos taken during, and after.
Satellite photos of the earth...
This show includes satellite photos taken of the Earth of the different continents and at different times of the day. Someone added some text to help explain what is being shown and to increase the wonder. (I would have been happy with jus the photos.)
You should have no difficulty finding slide shows on any topic - cars, trains, planes, flowers, animals, events - whatever your interests.
You can make your own slideshows with Powerpoint if you have this program on your computer, and you can also easily make your own videos with the free Windows Movie Maker. (Powerpoint is more text-oriented of these two, perhaps.) There are also many online techniques for making slideshows. Some require registering and this may bring unwanted side effects, so beware.
If you do try WMM, you may prefer the older version, which has an easier-to-follow timeline feature. Look for WMM 2.6, it is downloadable from Microsoft and elsewhere, and can also be downloaded from my Downloads page as well.
Apache.org offers an alternative to Microsoft Office and Powerpoint. It is free, learn about it here, download it here.
Videos, television and movies...
Videos, television and movies are the dynamic content of the Internet. Videos are being made by professionals and by amateurs, by individuals and by corporations. They are hosted on media outlets and on home-made sites. They exist alone and on sites dedicated to them. They are innumerous.
Categories are many and topics are extensive. I find myself drawn to the categories of entertainment and education - concert footage, event coverage, and tutorials.
Commercializing the Internet often means that a commercial may precede the showing of the video you are looking for, and certainly commercials may surround the video on the periphery. The commercials are an unavoidable plague.
The media player for video playback will have familiar controls like those shown here. Triangle for "play", square for "stop", double bars for "pause", and a variety of symbols for accessing volume control, and features like "close captioning", image quality, and image size.
The video may play back within a window of a webpage, or in a full window by itself. There are several common media players - Shockwave, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, FlowPlayer to mention a few. There are also a number of custom players found around. Usually the appropriate media player will be popped up by either Internet Explorer or by Windows, with the player determined by the video file extension or the scripting at the website. Videolan makes a downloadable player that can play almost any type of media file. VLC can be downloaded here.
The image quality is dependent on Internet speed and the size desired for playback. Most Internet videos don't have the file size (pixel count) to make for great quality - they may play well in a small window but be less than clear when shown full screen. Some video servers are quite burdened delivering content and there may be pauses in playback depending on time of day and worldwide Internet use. Commonly viewed videos are more than likely cached by your provider for quicker retrieval and may play more smoothly than videos seldom viewed.
Here are a couple of downloadable video clip examples of differing interest to give you the idea...
There is really not that much of a need to actually download and save a video for re-viewing. Saving a link to its Internet location should suffice. Videos and movies can be found by searching with Google or at sites dedicated to video like Youtube.
Some examples from Youtube...
Note: the links to videos such as these keep changing. If you try a link and it fails, do a Google search instead for the text and add youtube to the criteria........... Most will likely pop up somewhere.
Some examples from Google searches (videos not at Youtube)...
Videojug.com is a great place to see how-to videos. There are step-by-step educational videos on almost any topic here. A bit slower to load than youtube at times, these videos are worth the wait.
Visit the archives of media outlets like CNN, TSN and CBC to see their content. (A search with Google for the station and "archive" should find many sources.)
Many videos are posted without legal right and may be taken down once found by the copyright owner leaving a deadend link. Searching with Google may take you to the rightful owner of a video where it may be viewable or purchaseable.
For Canadians, many videos are unavailable for viewing. You may notice being blocked, with or without an explanation. A site like hulu.com in the U.S. is an example. The videos are not being blocked by the websites, it is a Canadian governmental reason, something that will change over time. An example of a video being blocked can be found at pbs.org, WGBH, The Elegant Universe - these videos do not play and there is no good explanation given, but this is the likely reason.
Netflix is a website from which you can download and watch movies and T.V. shows for something like $8 a month. Computers and gaming machines, anything that can get to the Internet really, can be used for this purpose. read about it here.
Moviesfoundonline.com is a site that ports movies from youtube. They seem easier to find here, and there may be fewer commercials. The selection is limited, as is the quality, but at least you can get the idea.
This is a vast site with etext, audio clips and video clips from all sorts of Internet archives and locations.
There is no way I can describe all that you can see and do at this site, so browse around and see what you can figure out. I have provided a link to each type of file found here so you won't come away with nothing.
Put something in the search field and pull down the file type to be Audio for that kind of a search. (Leave it at "All media files" for a wider search result.)
E-text... This is a link to an example of an e-book - Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Audio clips... This is a link to an example of an audio recording - Imagine, by John Lennon.
Popular radio shows (like The Shadow) and music can certainly be found, and there are audio books here, too.
Clips are playable in the players on the site, and they are also playable in Media Player if you click on the MP3 link.
Right-clicking on the MP3 link and using the "Save As" option may permit downloading files for hearing offline.
Movies are playable online, and may be downloadable from the links provided.
There seem to be no commercials at this site, making this an unusual site indeed.
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