Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How to Convert AVI Video Files for Watching on the Blackberry (and other mobiles) - for FREE

It's taken a bit longer than I expected to find a free solution to conversion of video files for the Blackberry but I've finally found one.

The software to use is called;

Internet Video Converter (I used version 1.52 standard) and you can get it from this web site (

The application relies on either the FFmpeg or the Mencoder files in order to do the conversions. These files are available separately but I think they're also included with the utility.

Converting the File
  1. Rip, Download or otherwise obtain your AVI file.

  2. Start the Internet Video Converter Application.

  3. Click on the Tab marked Transcoder.

  4. Click on the button marked 1. Select a Video .

  5. Choose a video file to use (there is a 1 second DOS screen that appears - don't panic about this).

  6. The Save As section will be filled in automatically. Change it if you need to.

  7. In the format list choose; Mobile QVGA 320x240 - AAC/good (.3GP).
    Note: If you have a different type of blackberry or phone, you may need to specify a different setting.
    I've got the 8800, and this setting was perfect. If you have the thin style phone, you may need to choose a rotation in the Audio/Video settings section.

  8. Click the button marked 3 >> Apply Format.
    Unless you need to do a rotation, don't worry about the Audio/Video settings, they're not critical even though they sound interesting.

    Have a look at the bottom of the screen. You will see start and end times. In my example, the duration is 48 minutes and 15 seconds (automatically calculated).

    If you decide to test your settings, you won't want to convert the whole file, so change this to 1 minute. When you do your real test, set it back by clicking the < Max button.

  9. When you're ready for conversion, click the button marked 4. >>>> CONVERT NOW <<

  10. A DOS command line screen will appear - this time, it will stay for a while.

  11. Let it finish and then have a look at your file - it should be converted.

How Long Does it Take?
As a rough guide, a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 took 10 minutes to convert a 45 minute 358 MB 640x368 AVI File to a 76 MB 3GP file.

You can now use the Blackberry Desktop Manager to copy your new file to your device.

In order to play your file, you probably need something like the Freeware XPlayer for Blackberry.


One last thing... I've had a few people mention problems with the xplayer. There's a problem where you want to select a folder and if you browse down too far, you see nothing... no files, nothing. Simply go up a level and select the folder and all will be well. I've been using the xplayer pretty extensively and haven't had any real issues.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Breaks (Changes) the Domino Console Access via Remote Desktop

I used to be able to access the Domino server console by using Remote Desktop on the server but recently, the Console started to disappear. At first, I figured that it was something I'd done wrong, until I saw a post on the Notes 8 forum.

It's a Windows XP Service Pack 3 issue;

So, here's the fix;

The command line parameter has changed and if your remote desktop icon for your domino server used to be as follows;

mstsc -v: -console

you need to change it to:

mstsc -v: -admin

...following installation of XP service pack 3.

Where is the IP address of your server.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How to Set up an Easy Slideshow Screensaver in Windows XP without Downloading Extra Software

I recently saw a post about using third party software to display pictures and figured that this feature was worth reiterating.

Windows XP comes with a built in screen saver called my pictures slideshow which does the trick nicely. There is no need to install third party software.

Here is an easy way to configure this screen saver for simpler changes;

First of all, you should create a folder on your hard drive where you will store pictures for your screensaver. In my case, I have stored them in G:\SaverPics.

Screen Saver Installation Procedure
  1. Right mouse click onto your desktop background and choose properties from the pop-up menu

  2. In the display properties dialog box, click on the Tab marked screen saver.

  3. In the list of screen savers, select "My Pictures Slideshow"

  4. Click on the button marked settings.

  5. On the settings dialog, you can choose how frequently the pictures should change and how big they should become. I tend to prefer 100% of screen.

  6. You can click on Browse to select the folder to be used for your pictures. (The folder we created earlier).

  7. You might also want to tick the check boxes for stretching small pictures, depending on the sorts of pictures you will be displaying.

  8. Note that there is a really cool option to allow Scrolling through pictures with the keyboard. This means that if the screen saver is activated and you press the left or right arrows, it will move to the next picture rather than disabling the saver.

  9. When you've finished, click on the button marked Ok to close the settings boxes.

  10. The new screensaver should kick in when appropriate timeout is reached

Changing Your Pictures
If you decide you want to change your pictures, you no longer need to go through the screensaver options and can simply add or remove pictures from your screensaver folder.

If you find a picture that you like on the Internet, you can simply right mouse click on it and choose "Save Picture As..." and point to it to your screensaver directory folder.