Youtube is one of the world’s most popular website and the great idea behind the website is to share, stream and watch videos online. Android phones and devices have an amazing Youtube client and you can watch as much Youtube videos as you want if you are on WiFi network, but if you have an expensive data plan, you’ll definitely feel the need to carry Youtube videos downloaded on the memory card. Well, that’s not right but we have a tool available that does the trick for you.
FREEdi downloader can be used to download Youtube videos onto the memory card of your android device. If you are not a music quality freak, you can also download only the sound out of the Youtube video and build a good collection of music by downloading it from Youtube.
As this is not the intended use of Youtube, the application is no more available from the official Android Market, but some other sites have the ,apk file available for download. If all this sounds interesting, you can click here to download the software.
This is interesting to see that Lahore High Court has once again ordered to ban 9 sites including Google, Amazon, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Youtube and Bing in Pakistan. Quite interestingly, 3 of these are popular search engines and usually do not have content of their own. According to a news article, the decision has been taken as a result of a petition submitted in high court stating that these sites are posting sacrilegious material. The sites are accused of publishing blasphemous materials and twisting the facts and figure of Holy Quran.
PTA has already been in trouble with all these bans and blocking going around, some security breaches letting people log on to others’ accounts on facebook and twitter and now this new ban will put them to some real hard work. Court has ordered chariman PTA to appear in the court with all the relevant material no 28th June 2010. This ban has to be implemented immediately.
Facebook was blocked yesterday after the Court’s order against the blasphemous Facebook Page and now it looks like the start of a social websites blackout in Pakistan. Youtube, the popular video sharing site, Wikipedia, a crowd sourced encyclopedia and Flickr, the popular photo sharing sate has also been blocked in Pakistan.
It has been reported that the controversial content from blocked Facebook pages had made there way to the video sharing sites, Wikiepedia and Flickr as well. That is why these sites have been blocked as well.
While Youtube has been blocked, other video sharing sites are running all fine. Similarly, Flickr has been blocked by Picasa and other photo sharing sites are also up.
It has also been reported that Google.com was also blocked for some this morning in Pakistan but now it’s working all fine.
Lemonbits.net is also blocked. The page title is “Anti-Draw-Muhammad-Day”. With the blasphemous page coming online and getting popular, many other sites that oppose or support that page have also come online. Lemonbits.net was one of them.
How to use Wikipedia in Pakistan during the ban
Wikipedia.com has been blocked but Wikipedia.org is still available. You can select any language other than English to use Wikipedia non-english version. For example you can access French version or Urdu version of Wikipedia without any problem. Even you can access non-english version and can get it translated using Google Translations or any similar service.
Response from the News websites
Popular news websites like CNN, BBC, Google News and popular Pakistani news websites like Dawn and Geo News have all reported about the ban on Youtube as well as Facebook. Though, nobody is talking about the ban on Wikipedia and Flickr. No doubt Facebook and Youtube are more popular than Wikipedia or Flickr, they are worth mentioning when reporting news.
Important stats come from an unnamed PTA rep in the Geo News article. According to these unofficial stats, more than 20% of Pakistan’s Internet bandwidth is utilized by users accessing these two sties.
Following is the list of the news articles coming on these popular news websites:
Wikipedia is now accessible throughout Pakistan but there is a large number of other websites that are not working in the country. Flickr, Facebook and Youtube are still not accessible. This means that all those websites that embed videos from Youtube are also showing a white blank space instead of the video. One of my blog that serves technology news has also been blocked without anything to do with the controversial content.
Google announces two new features of its already popular YouTube service. The new features are:
Auto Caption: If your video has English conversation or commentary, YouTube will attempt to make subtitles out of it and show at the bottom of the screen.
Auto timing: In case you want to upload your own captions in text, you don’t have to worry about the timings. Which sentence from your text file was spoken at what time, YouTube will attempt to pick it up itself.
Both these features is a good news for hearing impaired users of YouTube in particular and everybody else in general. You can watch this video to get the overview of the service.
Just a few days ago I wrote about vtap. Here comes youtube to snatch limelight from it. I’m happy to see the new version of Youtube mobile application.
First of all, the reason of my happiness is the support for my Nokia N82. My handset was not recognized by Youtube earlier. I think it was too new for it :p . My N82 had no straight way of installing Youtube app. What I did earlier was, to download an app for N95 to my PC and installing it onto my N82.
Remember, I talked about some port blocking in my vtap post? Well, youtube had the same problem in the earlier version. Youtube could search and browse on my cellular network using GPRS/EDGE but when played a video, it used to fail. Same was the case with m.youtube.com. It used to launch the Real-Player which never played the video. Reason? The default media streaming on a mobile requires incoming data connections on a few ports. Many mobile networks block such ports (I dont know why, at least my network did).
I even tried running earlier version of youtube on wifi, and it failed due to the same incoming connection problem. But after a few tweaks to the router, I could get it running on wifi. All above sounds too complicated? Well, for most of us, it is.
New version of youtube application has fixed all these issues. Now I can play videos on my same old network without any problem. If you can surf the web, read the blogs or news and check your email on mobile, you can also enjoy mobile youtube. Search is simple, fast and results are displayed in a great scrolling manner that is readable enough. Recent searches are also stored and if typed in again, similar links drop down in a list, a real convenience!
Video qauality is good, its not as good as you see on the PC but the compression is reasonably lossless. Comparing to vtap, things are much better.
The application is very simple to use and has a great feature set. Simply press 7 and you’ll get the related videos searched for the selected one. Pressing 3 takes you to the home screen with the standard search box, top rated, most viewed and most recent link. All these links, search or related video result in a video list horizontally scrollable that caters to the small screen issue in a great manner.
Another great feature is the ability of changing the connection. In most applications, switching from wifi to EDGE/3G and back is not possible. Youtube has a menu option to select a different network if your currently selected network is not available anymore. No need to restart the app.
I believe a few features are missing at the price of the simplicity? Following are the features I was expecting in this release
A login option that allows me to view my private videos, rate them, add to favorite etc.
My customized searches (recommended by youtube) and videos that interest me mots, I love that on the web version
Capability of uploading my mobile videos
vtap is a winner in the case of sharing. Youtube app is not letting me sms the url even. No email, no web and no text sharing of videos from the application. Its a big turn-off.
I was able to test it on a few series 60 nokias and it works like a charm. Moreover, it is not supported on my blackberry curve 8310. Do let me know what handset you are using and if the application is supported on your set or not. Simply go to http://m.google.com/youtube/download from your mobile browser. If you see a download link on the homepage, your handset is supported. If you don’t see that link, your handset may still be supported but you will have to find it out the hard way. Please do share your experiences.
Finally, I think we have a great video solution for mobile phones without any major glitches. I know many mobiles can play Youtube right away in their native browsers, but this is a wee bit more than only youtube. The site is a mashup of several video content sites and streams videos directly to your phone.
vtap’s focus is on easy mobile usage and fast access to the media. For easy searching, they’re using an amazing idea of typing a first few letters of the words to search for a video. For example, to search for Javed Mianddad’s six that he hit on the last ball of the match in sharjah, I simply tapped in “jav six” and walla!!! here’s your video 🙂
To keep the streaming quick, you can go into the settings and can select either high, medium or low end video streaming option. If you have a really slow connection and you can live with audio only, you can select that option too. Though I dont find high quality videos to be that high quality but its a great feature to have.
Phones with the integrated real-player can simply use the browser to search and browse the videos and can click to play the video in the built-in player. If you don’t have a built in player, vtap provides application download too. All the phones I tried, vtap worked like a charm.
The only issue is the incoming data ports. If you are using a network that doesn’t allow incoming connections for streaming and the ports are blocked by your network, you are out of luck. You can search and browser but you cannot stream the video content. This is a similar issue to that of Youtube app on some devices.
This is great to see videos optimized for a low bandwidth streaming and a very smooth playback on edge as well ass wifi, but once I’m on wifi, I expect a much better video quality. When watched on a PC, same video may play a great quality, but vtap rips the quality down on phone, regardless of type of connection you are using and type of quality settings on your software. Even HIGH quality video settings result in a lower quality video. I hope someone at vtap may read this and try to work on bandwidth/quality optimization even further.
Sharing is another great aspect of vtap. Either you use your mobile’s browser or the vtap application, you can simply share the application with friends via SMS or Email. You also have another host of option for a video like adding it to favorites, video talkbacks, related video search and smart video tagging etc.
Exact features may vary depending on your phone. According to their website vtap works with iPhone and iPod touch, a number of Windows Mobile based phones and even a bigger number of other phones. I tried it on an N82, N95-8GB, Blackberry 8310, E51. Note, all these phones that I mentinoed are not listed on their website but the solution works just great. So it may work on your phone as well.
You want to try it? I’m sure you’ll get hooked and wont stop using it for hours.
From your PC visit http://www.vtap.com From your Mobile visit http://m.vtap.com