Battlestar Galactica is fracking brilliant!

September 28, 2012

I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica on Project Free TV – not the ancient 1980s series, but the 21st century version (started in 2004 I believe). I’m currently watching the 4th, final season. I’m about to watch the 17th episode of Season 4. Very close to the end. I’m quite sad that I’m nearly finished watching it, but at the same time I’m pleased that the producers or whoever decided to pull the plug. Almost every TV series has a natural lifespan, and it can be so dreadful to watch a zombie-like parody of a show dragging itself on and on and on. The Wire bordered on zombification, but was stopped after Season 5, luckily. And someone did try to pull a similar stunt with Battlestar Galactica by producing the Capricaspin-off. But that failed to get far, thank the gods!

Having said all that, there are some shows which can “live forever”. In the UK, soaps like Coronation Street, Eastenders,and Hollyoaks keep on keeping on thanks to a frequent turnover of characters and stories. And then there are cartoons – I don’t think The Simpsons or Family Guy will be axed any time soon (yeah, I know Family Guy has been dropped a couple of times now, but its fan-base is wide and vocal enough to ensure resurrection). Of course, not all cartoons survive a long time, regardless of quality. Is South Park still going? All I see of that in the UK is repeats repeats (yawn) repeats. And Futurama was kicked into the long grass despite its brilliance. Then there’s Beavis & Butthead! Have you ever seen Beavis & Butthead? Bloody brilliant! Hurr Hurr Heh Heh!

Anyway, Battlestar Galactica is fracking great! If you’ve never watch it, go to Project Free TV and check it out! Tell ’em I sent you!!! 😉

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There’s one born every minute…

September 25, 2012

According to phrases.org.uk, the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute” is often said to have been coined by PT Barnum, the famous circus side-show organiser, though there’s no evidence he came up with the saying.  But it’s certainly true that  there are suckers everywhere, the internet included.

When you download files from hosting sites like letitbit.net or turbobit.net (and many, many others… I’m certainly not singling those sites out in particular), if you’re doing a free download, you will often be confronted with intrusive advertising.  A lot of it is for straightforward poker/casino sites, and even though I personally think that internet gambling is a silly way to get rid of money, at least those ads are straight to the point and honest.

But there are other kinds of ads – the “get rich quick” sites, such as this one.  That ad annoys me particularly – it is prevalent on some hosting sites, which means it keeps appearing again and again, and when you try to close the tab or navigate elsewhere, it throws up dialogue boxes asking “Are you sure you want to leave?” and “If you follow this tip you will make $600 per week” or some such nonsense.  But what really annoys me is the fact that the ad must be effective, otherwise the people behind the ad (clearly the same people who run the gambling site in question – but if you do a whois search on the domain name you find its owners are hiding behind a privacy company) wouldn’t waste their money on it.  And it’s so stupid: the ad claims that if you join a certain gambling site, and put a certain amount of money into your account, you can use a certain pattern of betting to exploit a fault in the site’s software and win heaps of cash.  A foolproof method apparently.  Unless you are the fool.

Think about it: if the gambling site had this flaw in its software, and there were web pages popping up all over the place to exploit the flaw, wouldn’t the site owners fix the problem, asap?  But the ad claims that its method has been working for years.  Does that make any sense at all?

This post is just a futile rant, I guess: there are idiots who respond to spam email, buy “herbal viagra”, give money to Nigerian confidence tricksters… as the man said: “There’s one born every minute.”  Suckers.

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Major updated post (21 Sept 2012) on how to download streamed video, esp for Linux users

September 22, 2012

Okay, I turned my back for just one moment, and suddenly downloading streaming video has all changed about. So I’ve decided to write a post with up-to-date info, rather than adding another update to my original post on the subject. So, if you have that post bookmarked in your web browser of choice (Use Firefox!! Use Firefox!! It’s the best browser on the web!!), maybe you ought to bookmark this post as well (keep the original link too, because this isn’t a tutorial, just an update.

So, what’s new in the downloading streaming video world? Quite a bit, I think. Maybe I’ve already posted on some of this, but I think it can’t hurt to repeat myself. So,let’s look at it bit by bit.

Youtube is being mean again, swapping stuff round to make things difficult for us. For instance, the Firefox addon VideoDownloadHelper doesn’t seem to work anymore with Youtube. I think I have already told you that PWNYouTube wasn’t working as well as its website www.deturl.com claims. Well, I thought I’d better check it out before publishing this update. I didn’thave time to try all of the features it boasts, but I could not download a Youtube video by adding “pwn” to the video url or by typing the url into the requisite box on deturl.com. So I think it doesn’t work. But please, try it for yourself. YMMV.

youtube-dl seems to be okay still (Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install youtube-dl), and I’ve also been using a web-based solution at savemedia.com – it’s a similar set-up as PWNYoutube: you get the url of the video you want to download (eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTcz-etqwKg) then replace the http://www.youtube part of the url with “savemedia” (in this case http://savemedia.com/watch?v=wTcz-etqwKg). It offers a number of different filetype options, and it’s got a GUI, so command-line phobics need not worry.

There have been problems with host sites (eg megaupload.com being closed down by the US authorities) and also sites that don’t actually host any files but just provide links (eg the owner of surfthechannel.com, Anton Vickerman, from Gateshead, UK, was sent to prison for 4 years for “facilitating” copyright infringement”). Project Free TV is still working, though it has changed its url, probably to try and avoid shutdown (working url at this time is http://www.free-tv-video-online.me. The site tv-video.net is still up, but no longer gives access to “pirated” media – now it’s a pay-to-watch site, doubtless because of the draconian measures being used by US and European governments.

The get_iplayer program apparently still works for some, but not for me (on 64-bit Ubuntu 12,04), giving me RTMP header-reading errors. The get_iplayer program has been forked due to the original developer giving it up – new developer’s site here. It’s a command-line program, but not too unwieldy, and I believe it is used as the back-end for some GUI iplayer-downloading apps (no personal experience of these GUI apps unfortunately, but if you Google “get_iplayer” you will find a heap of resources).

The wget method of downloading from Project Free TV still works (remember, this method is for Linux users.  I don’t know if there is a Windows alternative for wget, but I doubt it – Linux, as a Unix-like operating system, has always been developed with networking in mind.  Windows hasn’t). So: If you are using Firefox and have the VideoDownloadHelper add-on, go to Project Free TV and select the TV show/movie you wanna save. Start watching it; when it’s started properly, the DownloadHelper icon will become all colourful and rotating. Click on that, and select Copy URL. Now, go to a terminal and type in something like wget -c -O movie.flv then, before hitting Enter, right-click and select Paste. That will paste in the actual URL of the movie you want. Hit Enter, and wget will start downloading the movie.flv file (or whatever name you chose) to your Home directory. Note: in that wget command, the -O is a capital letter O, not a zero. Once you’ve got wget downloading the file, close the Firefox tab that’s playing the movie. Otherwise the download will take much longer.  I’ve used this method to download files via other sites too, but Project Free TV is the only one this work for consistently.  But please, try and use it elsewhere – and if you have success, let us all know via Comments.

This update is in no way exhaustive – I know there are loads of sites and methods that I haven’t even tried. This is just a small contribution to the subject. If any readers know of other methods or sites, please share them via Comments. It is paramount that we keep up to date on this, as governments are closing down sites and jailing site owners at an alarming rate on behalf of the so-called “legitimate” media industry, and we must not let that industry win this war. The best way to keep free downloading possible is by sharing news and by actually downloading stuff. As long as there is a demand for downloads and streaming, people will continue to offer the services. And I’ll keep up my little contribution on the subject for as long as possible. Never surrender! :p

ANOTHER UPDATE, ABOUT PWNTUBE, 7 MARCH 2014

Nicky has dropped this info into the Contact Form:

There’s a much easier way to use pwnyoutube than the one that you were talking about. You don’t have to add pwn to the video url or type the url into the box on deturl.com. There’s a pwnyoutube bookmarklet link that you add to your favorites list and whenever you’re watching a video on Youtube all you have to do is open your favorites list while on Youtube and then click on the pwnyoutube bookmarklet and a list of download formats will show up at the top of the screen on Youtube. All you have to do is right click on the one that you want and click save target as and then click save. Here’s the page for the bookmarklet:http://deturl.com/bookmarklet-to-directly-download-videos-from-youtube.asp. There’s also another very easy way. There’s a program called YTD Video Downloader. Just install it, open it, and when you’re on Youtube and you’re watching a video that you want to download just copy the link and then mouse over the url bracket on the YTD Video Downloader and the link will automatically paste itself then all you have to do is click download. It has always worked flawlessly for me every time on Youtube and it works with other sites as well. I guess that I should have mentioned earlier that the pwnyoutube bookmarklet hasn’t been working for me very recently for some reason but I wanted you to know that there was an easier way to use pwnyoutube than the way that you were.

Cheers for that Nicky.  Any more downloading tips, let us know via Comments or the Contact Form.  I try to keep info here as fresh as possible, but it distracts me from my porn and online gambling activities!!  😉

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Secret courts, FFS – Now tell me the Tories aren’t Nazis!

September 11, 2012

The government’s proposed justice and security bill, which they are trying to get through Parliament, will enable them to cover up any involvement in torture – past, present and future – as well as denying defendants any right to a fair trial.

As an example: British resident Binyam Mohamed, who was seized in Pakistan in 2002 and rendered to Guantamano Bay, went to court to get compensated for the cruel and brutal treatment he got from the CIA with the full knowledge and complicity of the UK intelligence services. The high court ruled that CIA information that revealed MI5 and MI6 knew of Mohamed’s ill-treatment should be disclosed. The ruling provoked a storm of protest, with some in the government claiming the US had threatened to withhold intelligence from the UK.

At the same time, to avoid further incriminating evidence being disclosed, the UK government paid undisclosed sums, believed to amount to millions of pounds, in an out-of-court settlement to British citizens and residents who had been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay.

So now, the government’s proposals will prevent the disclosure of any information in the hands of the security and intelligence agencies from being disclosed in civil cases. The Tory ex-justice minister Kenneth Clarke said that it was necessary to keep evidence secret from the defence – otherwise “you would have terrorists in the public gallery, lining up making notes.”

And now Prof Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture,is expressing “deep concern” about the government’s plans. He says they will allow intelligence services to be party to torture without any fear of disclosure of their role. Many people who have been tortured by “third party” countries allege that MI6 officers were giving the torturers lists of questions they wanted the torture victims to be asked.

The “war on terror” is enabling governments in supposedly free democratic countries to strip their citizens of any rights. Secret courts and torture should have no place in our institutions. The treatment meted out to Binyam Mohamed should have been stopped. But things have only got worse over the past decade. All the government needs to do a bit of hand-waving and mention the word “terrorism” and bang! There goes another fundamental human right. What is the matter with us? Why do we allow our evil governments to exist? Something needs to be done about it.

Some relevant links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/29/secret-justice-bill-not-perfect
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/09/secret-justice-bill
http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/sep/11/un-official-secret-courts-torture

Please have a look at them. This is important!

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Burglary can be brave

September 6, 2012

Oh dear. Judge Peter Bowers said that it took bravery to commit burglary – and now the Office for Judicial Complaints is going to launch an investigation. According to the Guardian, Judge Bowers told a miscreant before him for sentencing: “It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.”

Handing the 26-year-old man a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: “I’m going to take a chance on you.”

Silly judge. He knew his statement would land him in hot water – he admitted he might be “pilloried” when he spared the burglar jail at Teesside crown court – but he said it anyway. And you know what? I think it wasn’t just silliness – Judge Bowers was being brave.

Of course Dodgy Dave Cameron stuck in his tuppence worth. He said he’d been burgled twice and it was like being violated. And he’s right there: I’ve also been burgled, and it made me feel awful, some creep in my house going through my stuff. But then Cameron said “I am very clear that burglary is not bravery. Burglary is cowardice.” And that is a load of crap.

Some burglars are cowards, targetting the old or the weak. But other burglaries must take courage. Going into a stranger’s house, knowing full well that you might get beaten up, even murdered, never mind court punishment. Calling all burglary “cowardice” is ignorant. You can be brave doing wrong things. Were all the German soldiers in World War 2 a bunch of snivelling cowards? Of course not: a great many Germans accomplished acts of great valour on the battlefield.

Saying that those who do “wrong” are “cowards” is stupid. Just what I’d expect from Cameron. But if the Office for Judicial Complaints find against Bowers, they are the cowards, too scared of public opinion to do the right thing and tell the truth.

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