Do you need help understanding the internets?

The internet is a busy place. Sometimes it can be too busy. Technology is also a busy and ever changing industry. As soon as new technology gets released people seem to just start talking about the technology that will come along afterwards.

I felt this about a year ago when the iPhone 4 was released. As soon as it released, people started to talk about the iPhone 5. Which might be released in the coming weeks.

If you don’t have your head constantly in technology websites, you can miss stuff. Even more if you didn’t understand the technology in the first place.

If you are confused, it’s ok, there is some help. The ABC has put together a handy little website called “Technology Explained” to help out people who want to get caught up on where technology is up to. Below is a video about social media, and you can look at some more here.

Something unexpected: A cool government website

Governments are not known for their cool websites. In fact every single one I have ever had the privilege of visiting has made me consider gouging my eyes out.

This changed last night when I found a cool website from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to promote this years census.

Basically you put a minimal amount of info into a nice looking interface, and it explains some stats relating to you. It also creates a nice info-graphic so you can show your mum. Mine is below. You can do it for yourself here.

So you want to convert a video.

“Hey Tim, I’m going on a trip overseas and I have some videos that I want to convert so that I can play them on my iPad.”

“Hey Mate, I have an Avi file that I need to convert so that it will work in a powerpoint im giving in 30 mins. Can you help?!”

“I have an XBOX, and apple TV, an iPad and a Galaxy Tablet. How can I get my videos on all of these devices?”

These are all questions that I regularly get asked. The second issue is the most pressing, and the most stressful for people. Mainly because of the time constraints associated.

Thankfully I’ve been able to help everyone that has ever asked me for assistance. This is mostly because, in my last job I had to be responsible for the weekly organisation and production of video for a church in Sydney. While there were many aspects of the ‘video’ side of my job, one thing that I had to get sorted was the conversion of video.

I work on a mac, and for the first half of last year I had to make content that would work on a mac (Keynote), a PC (powerpoint) and also for the web.

All of these platforms require different things from video. Keynote will play most things (because it gets it’s codecs from quicktime. A plugin called ‘Perian‘ makes this possible), powerpoint is mostly useless (because with each version microsoft change what type of video it supports. Why do they love ‘wmv’ so much?) and video for the web have their own needs.

I came up with a few awesome tools that would let me convert videos into whatever format I needed. Most of these were free, and they all did an ok job. In these free versions there would always be some kind of bug associated with a particular video format. For example, handbrake stopped supporting .AVI and Evom never quite did an .MP4 video properly.

Recently I decided that if I wanted to find an app that will be able to do everything well, I would probably need to pay for it. In my searching I found a brilliant app that could do everything perfectly. It’s called Permute, and it is properly brilliant. All you do is drop the video into the app, select which output you want, and it quickly converts the video for you. Simple. It’s really quick too, and you can can convert batches of videos, saving you a whole heap of time.

If you need to convert videos to play on your different devices. Give permute a try. You can download a trial from their website, and you can buy it on the Mac AppStore for under $20. Bargin!