18 Dec 2007

I have a horrid cold. It is making me ache. Anyway, today a randomly slightly technical post. Here's what happened: friends told us we must watch this tv series called Heroes. We don't have a tv, so they put the episodes on our memory/usb stick so we could watch it on the computer. So, we put the memory stick in the computer, click on the files that appear, and it there's the sound, but no picture.

All the files were video files, with extension .avi -- so first issue is which program to run it in. It opened with Windows Media Player and Real One Player. The first point I want to make here is that you can get up-to-date versions of these players for free - just google the name of the program and you will get to a page where you can download the program, which is usually just a series of clicks and you're done. I think people aren't aware sometimes that you do not need a new computer or to buy a new edition. The version of Windows Media Player that we had did not accept .avi files, so we had to download the newer version....it's not necessarily the newest version you want, because it has to be compatible with what operating system you're running - Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista. (Most people do run Windows.)

Anyway, if you can get past all that fiddly-ness, then if you try to play your file and it still has no image, it will give you an error message saying either "the right decompressor is not available" or "codec missing" or something with the word "codec" or "decompressor" in it. You don't need to know what that means exactly (I don't) but in Windows Media Player, you will get a little error icon (in LIST view only, not icon or thumbnail view). When you click on the error icon, it will give you an option for "web help". When you click on that, it will give you the name of the codec you need, which you then Google and you can find where to download it from. Once you've downloaded that, hey presto, the files can play!

Erm, I meant to write this to show that it's not that hard to sort out problems with software if you persevere. However, as I was writing it, I realise it does presuppose you know what operating system you're using, what downloading is, how to see file extensions (in Windows, known file extensions are not shown as the default setting), etc. So...I guess the point of that whole story is, you *can* do these things, but perhaps it is easier to ask the nerd in the family :-)

Ah well, we did get to watch an episode of Heroes...so far quite good!

anyway, in other news, this is the commission I made that involved bending tube:

and here's a close-up (it's a leather band going through the silver)

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