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

22/09/2012

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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Ixquick.com: the internet search engine that respects your privacy

30/12/2009

Most search engines, like Google and Yahoo, earn their keep by selling targeted advertising. The way in which they decide what adverts should be targeted at you varies from search engine to search engine. Some simply display adverts that seem appropriate to the search items you just used. But there are other, possibly more sinister methods. Google, for instance, uses cookies and browser interaction to build up a detailed record of the websites you’ve been to. Although Google say they store this info just for ad targeting and related uses, there’s always the possibility that these incredibly detailed logs could be used for evil. Let’s say that Barack Obama suddenly became a Fascist dictator and ordered Google to hand over all its records so he could use them to help choose victims to persecute. Google is a law-abiding corporation, so they’d give up the info in a heartbeat (and don’t try to kid yourself otherwise – they don’t mind helping out the Chinese government, so what makes you think they wouldn’t obey US authorities?).

Unsurprisingly, some people don’t like the idea of their info being collated. And there are various ways to avoid Google’s lists. For instance there’s Scroogle.org – an independent search site that actually uses Google to locate pages for you but removes all identifying data from the search so Google doesn’t know who initiated the search. If you use Firefox, there’s an add-on called CustomizeGoogle that can anonymize your Google userid as well as tweaking your search preferences in various ways.

But both of those solutions involve using Google. Many people are happy with that as they think Google’s the best search engine out there. But if you object to the way Google collects personal data on its users, perhaps you should boycott Google altogether. So is it possible to reject Google completely and still use a search engine that is good but doesn’t compile lists on you?

Well I think that’s perfectly possible – by using Ixquick.com. Ixquick says it’s the only search engine that does not collect users’ IP addresses. And it isn’t all just hype – On July 14th, 2008 Ixquick was awarded the first European Privacy Seal.
This means that Ixquick is the only EU-approved search engine. Pretty damn impressive.

But all of that means nothing if Ixquick searches are crap. So how does Ixquick measure up to Google? Not too shabby, I think. I’ve been comparing the two search engines side by side for a couple of weeks, and on the whole Ixquick has performed very well. But don’t take my word for it – check it out for yourself. Believe me, if you are at all concerned about your privacy, it’s definitely worthwhile for you to at least take a look at Ixquick. Maybe you’ll decide that Google is just too good to abandon. But at least take a look at Ixquick. Your privacy is valuable, so don’t give it up too cheaply.

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