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Snagging YouTube videos and the Rasterbator

Opinion
Dec 02, 20104 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsVideoYouTube

A free YouTube video downloader and how to make images the size of a wall

If you want to download video from YouTube there are several potentially good tool choices. I say potentially because all the tools I’ve tried all seem to have problems; I have yet to find a download tool that works flawlessly.

I just got a press release for a download utility that I have yet to test, but I’m writing about it because it’s currently on a free promotion until Dec. 10. The company claims it has already sold 100,000 copies of the tool, YouTubeGet, for $29.95.

YouTubeGet, which works under Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and 7, allows you to save video from YouTube, convert it to MP3, WMV, AVI, MOV, 3GP and other common video and audio formats. Check it out and let me know what you think.

While we’re talking about things visual, have you ever wanted to enlarge an image to, say, the size of a wall? Should this be a hidden desire of yours there’s a problem: The image may not have a resolution that will allow it to look good when hugely enlarged.

For example, if the image is 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall then enlarged to be 5 feet high it will be, proportionately, 6.67 feet wide. The pixel density would then be just 12.8 pixels per inch (ppi) which is coarse and, of course, the lower the dimensions of the original image, the lower the ppi and the quality of the final result.

If printed the image at that resolution what you’d have would be just big smears of color. There is, however, a better way: Rasterizing, or rather, re-rasterizing.

In this case the process isn’t your normal rasterization, which takes a vector image and converts it to a grid or raster (from the Latin ‘rastrum’ for ‘rake’ derived from ‘radere’ which means ‘to scrape’) made up of spots of color. No, in this process the problem is how to scale a small raster to make a bigger raster that looks good.

Enter the amusingly named Rasterbator, created by one Matias Ärje in Helsinki, Finland, which does exactly this job.

The Rasterbator, which is built on top of .NET Framework 1.1 doesn’t require installation – you just download the software, unzip it, and run it.

You select a source image, the paper size, the paper orientation, the size of the rasterbated poster you wish to create, whether to draw a cutout line around rasterbated area (used for printers that don’t support borderless printing), the dot size to use, the color mode, and the output file name.

The default color mode is black and selecting that or any single color will result in the software outputting different sized dots according to the brightness at each point of the image.

There’s also an option for “Rasterbate on low priority” so that the software doesn’t suck up all of the processing power of your machine.

Now you click on the “Rasterbate!” button and voilà! The Rasterbator produces the rasterized image that you can now print out using a PDF reader. Then if your printer doesn’t do borderless printing you trim off the margins and stick the pages on the wall.

Just think of what you could do! As you turn the corner into the data center you’re confronted by what looks like the entrance to Hell. Or maybe the wall at the end of a corridor looks like there’s a hole in it through which can be seen fields and hills.

If you produce something cool with the Rasterbator, take picture (of the picture) and send it to me. The Rasterbator gets a rating of 5 out of 5!

Gibbs has image issues in Ventura, Calif. Vector your thoughts to gearhead@gibbs.com.

mark_gibbs

Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at http://gibbs.com/mgbio

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