Alvin Poh

Tag: online

How To Convert .m4a .mka .mp4 to .mp3 (And other formats) With FLV Crunch On The Mac OS

I like listening to audio books and presentations while I’m driving, but the problem is, most of the files that I find online are usually in the form of a video. That makes it unplayable on my music player. I skipped over a few files before I finally prodded myself to go search for a solution on the Mac, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

FLV Crunch is a free software that’s made by this anonymous programmer, and is an EXCELLENT file converter or media converter for the Mac. I can’t say it enough: it’s fast, it’s flexible, and it’s completely free. And unlike what its name suggests, FLV Crunch actually works with a lot of other files, other than the FLV format. I used FLV crunch to convert a couple of .m4a files to .mp3, several .flv files to .mp3 files also, and even converted a .mkv presentation to a .mp3 file. It’s awesome. If you ever find the need to convert any media files on the Mac, you should check out FLV Crunch first.

Here’s what I found of the programmer:

Programming is my hobby. I am not a company or anything like that. I am just one person trying to better the Macintosh experience. I’m not very good with web page development so forgive me if my site isn’t very good.

I was interested in digital video since the late 90’s when Quicktime starting providing channels. Any tiny video clip that could play on a computer was really cool to me then. A couple of years later I was introduced to a site called It had a lot of cool music videos that I loved to download. It was all good until I would find a video I wanted, but couldn’t watch it because it was a WMV or the resolution was too high for computer to handle. It was around 2003 when I encountered a AVI file I was desperate to convert. I went to the web for a some kind of software to make the file playable, but the only thing I could find needed Mac OS 10.3 in order to run. I was out of luck then with my computer running only Mac OS 10.1. I became so desperate that I turned to this open source program that could convert my file into an mpeg 1 file. The problem with this program was it was a Windows program. I actually tried this program out in Virtual PC but it was horribly slow. After three hours of converting and not even reaching the half way mark, I decided it was time to give up. In 2005 I decided it was time to try to make my own converter application. My research was slow until I encountered a program called FFmpeg. It was a command line program that wasn’t user friendly, but did work. I was able to convert a lot of files with it. It later occurred to me that I could make a GUI for this program that would be user friendly. So in 2008 I started work on a project I called Flv to MPEG. This program was suppose to be a Mac OS 9 application, but I couldn’t successfully build FFmpeg on Mac OS 9. So a moved my target OS to Mac OS X. Support for the flv format was because it was the format used on YouTube. During development the scope of the project was increased to support a lot of different formats. The name was also changed to Flv Crunch. By February 2009 the program was finished and released to the web.

How To Fix The Problem Of Flash Always Crashing in Firefox

I love Firefox, but I hate how it works with Flash. Essentially, it doesn’t work and causes hair-pulling frustration.

I tried looking around to see if any other people are facing the same problems, and it’s clear that I’m not alone in this situation. From the various posts online, it’s a problem that has plagued Firefox users since several versions ago, and up till now, the same issue persists. The problem with this is that it’s an issue with a plug-in, not with the browser itself.

flashblock It seems like nothing can solve this issue, even with updating Firefox and the Flash plug-in to the latest versions. I’ve gotten so sick of the problem that I found another way to workaround this issue, and that’s to completely disable Flash. Good riddance.

You’ll need the free Flashblock plug-in for Firefox, and once you’ve installed it, you’ll see that Flash is blocked by default. The great thing is that even ads are blocked now. If you want to see a particular Flash object, just right-click on it, and choose to have it display. If you want to have all Flash objects from a website to always display (like for, that’s also just a line that you add into the plug-in’s settings.

And that’s it. No more Flash. Joy.

How To Solve Lag Problems And Slowness With Samsung Galaxy S (Even After Updating Android OS)

samsung galaxy s slow laggy

If you have problems with your Samsung Galaxy S (all versions) after you updated from 2.1 eclair to 2.2 froyo, you’re not alone. Turns out that there’s a problem with Samsung and their Galaxy S’s, and many people are experiencing lag, or general slow-ness, when using their phones.

Android 2.1 was pretty okay for me, but after I updated to Android 2.2, things got horribly slow. Mail and messages would take ages to load, and apps would take forever to run. It got to the point where I was about to switch phones. Fortunately, I found a solution online. If you’re facing the same problems and have not tried this solution, I highly encourage you to give it a shot.

If you’re not sure if your Galaxy S is slow, go to the Market and grab Quadrant. Run the tests, and if you’re not getting somewhere around 1800, your phone is slow. When I ran Quadrant initially, my Galaxy S only clocked in at around 800-900. After this fix, it’s doing 1800-1900.

Step 1: Z4Root

Download Z4Root. This app allows you a one-click method to root your phone, which is kind of like jailbreaking for iPhones. With rooted phones, you can grant superuser access to apps, which allows these apps to do things that they normally couldn’t be able to because of permission restrictions.

Problem is, Google pulled Z4Root from the Market, so you’ll need to visit the Z4Root page on XDA Developers forum, and manually grab the file there. Some people may face a problem with obtaining a file from that forum, so I’m going to host it as well. You can download it here: z4root.1.3.0.apk

Once you get the file, either use Dropbox, or transfer the file to your phone via USB. Next, run the app “My Files” (should be a default Samsung app) and run that .apk file that you’ve just transferred to your phone.

Important: Do not apply the temporary root option because it has a high chance of bricking your phone.

Step 2: OCLF

Go to Market, and download OCLF. It’s free, but donate to the developer if you can, because this app will save you so much frustration. After it’s downloaded, run it, and wait for all the checks to complete. Then install the EXT2 tools. After that’s done, you should see a message saying that it’s successful, so press back to go back to the menu, and wait for the checks to complete again. You should now see that the option to install the “One click lag fix” is enabled, so choose that. It’ll take a while to set up and your phone will reboot automatically, but once it’s done, you should have a much faster Galaxy S.

How To Generate XSD from XML / Convert XML to XSD

I had to complete a project that involved working with a web service. Problem was, I had the XML files, but needed the XML Schema Definition (XSD) schemas, and coming up with them manually would have been too tedious and would have took too much time. So I went online, and found 2 reliable methods. Oh, and they are free!

Generate XSD from XML Tool

The first is Trang. You can get it here from the official Trang site, or here where I’ve had it mirrored: Download Trang

Using it is simple: Just extract it, then go to your command-line, and run it against any XML document that you may have. Trang is written in Java, so it’s cross-platform and compatible with any platform that can run the Java Virtual Machine. To use it, just use it in this syntax:

trang.jar <your XML> <your desired XSD>

An example:

trang.jar YourDocument.xml YourSchema.xsd

Viola! You’ll find your XSD automatically generated!

Generate XSD from XML Online

If you don’t want to go through Trang, you can use an online tool. The only online XML to XSD tool that I found was this one: Generate XSD from XML Online

It’s pretty good too, and can give you a quick XSD from your XML document.

Best XML Book for Beginners

If you’re interested in XML and want to learn more about it, I highly recommend this XML book: XML: Visual QuickStart Guide

Have fun! 😀

Mozy Online Backup Review

mozy logo I have tonnes of data on my laptop that’s essential for my work and school. Stuff like my personal documents, school transcripts, projects, and program settings and data.

I used to use an external hard drive to do my backup, but I realised that most of the time all my data would be in the same area, since my hard drive is typically left at home. That doesn’t bode well if there’s a break-in, fire, or some other disaster that happens to my home.

Sometimes I travel too, and then all my data would be with my carry-on luggage. What happens if my carry-on luggage gets stolen, lost or destroyed? 2 executives who travelled on a plane flight that crashed carried both their primary laptop and secondary backup hard drive with them when the crash occurred. They survived, but not their data.

That’s when I started looking at off-site or online backup services, and after poking through the various offerings, I decided to settle on Mozy. One reassuring factor about Mozy is that they’re owned by EMC, a very reputable technology MNC specialising in information and data storage and management. With such sensitive data at risk, I’d personally prefer to go with someone reputable, and whom I know won’t go bankrupt tomorrow and disappear.

mozy screenshot

Mozy has a comfortable, user-friendly interface that’s easy to use and straightforward. Backups can be secured with a password that only you know. The encryption that they use is industrial-strength too. It would take a normal desktop millions of years to try to successfully crack the encryption via a brute-force attack. That’s one of my primary concerns when I look for an off-site backup service — security and privacy of my data. After all, my entire life’s worth of information is there and I definitely do not want someone else taking a peek at them.

After the initial large backup (it takes a while for me because I have so much data, but I just leave it running on its own), subsequent backups are fast because Mozy only backs up the difference. Thereafter, restoration is painless — you can select an entire folder, or a specific file to restore.

After using it, I highly recommend Mozy’s online backup service. Get it if you haven’t! Here’s a coupon code that you can use:

Edit: Coupon code updated

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