Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Allavsoft video downloader – as easy as A, B, C


I've written previously about Allavsoft’s excellent Video Downloader and Converter for Windows (and Mac) and would like to repeat my commendation that it's an excellent way to obtain offline copies of a wide range of videos found on the Web.

Today I'd like to emphasize how easy Allavsoft is to use.

STEP A: Once you launch this downloader, you simply go to the Web page for a particular video and copy that page's URL (or copy the link of a video from within that page) to the system's clipboard.

A second or two later the link should appear automatically (or else, just click the "Paste URL" button):


Then click the big blue button (with a white arrow) in the bottom right corner of the window.

STEP B: If multiple videos are found on the Web page, you are given the option to download just the first video or all of the videos on that page:


This is especially convenient for downloading complete seasons of TV episodes.

STEP C: The videos are downloaded, and you can easily monitor the download status of each video:


You can play a video, as shown in screenshot (D), either by right-clicking it and selecting "Play Downloaded File…" or by right-clicking and choosing "Locate Downloaded File…" to go to the download folder on your system and then playing it with some other player such as VLC media player:


It couldn't be easier.

Allavsoft doesn't just download each video as single file, in a long-running single download stream, but does it in a smart and efficient fashion by the parallel downloading of small chunks (segments), followed by a short burst of activity at the end of the download to recombine those chunks into a single video file.

The screenshot on the right of the CPU Usage gadget (in Windows) with all 16 threads on my AMD Ryzen 7 processor close to being maxed out for a couple of seconds while this merging of chunks occurs.

You can use Option > Preference… as shown in screenshot (1) to do things like altering the download directory, and to tinker with things like the number of concurrent downloads, as shown by screenshot (2):


A useful tip is that you can hold down the Ctrl key (or the Mac equivalent) to enable access to some additional/expanded settings. For example, normally you cannot choose more that 7 video files being simultaneously down loaded:


However, the hidden/extended preferences allow you to choose up to 30 concurrent downloads (screenshot 3):


My empirical testing indicates that you would have to have an extremely powerful system to even consider going beyond about 10 concurrent downloads, otherwise your system will surely grind to a halt.

Most users will not need to do any such tinkering.

I started in the IT industry when I joined IBM Australia in 1970, and have decades of experience in dealing with software developers/vendors and the degree to which they support (or fail to support) their customers.

I can assure you that, as a paying customer, I have been quite impressed with the responsiveness and thoroughness of Allavsoft's customer support team. They have always replied quickly to any matters that I have raised, often with a few hours, which is a rare thing in the software industry.

In my case they have fixed issues quickly, usually within a day or two (even the same day, in some cases), so you can be sure that they will look after you. Often this may not be any sort of problem with the Allavsoft program itself, but the websites holding videos sometimes change the way that their videos are presented (say, when a video hosting website undergoes a sweeping design change), and Allavsoft have always been able to decipher the website changes and adjust the downloader to handle the changes.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Ugly non-transparent titles still being used by The Conversation

A year or two ago I contacted The Conversation (Australia) and pointed out that the then recent change in the way that titles of articles  were displayed was a turn for the worse.

My attempt to influence this poor design were unsuccessful, so for the last couple of years titles have been displayed as non-transparent areas with a solid white background superimposed on the image that appears at the top of each article, like this one:


Just like Closed captioning (CC) on free-to-air television the solid background is very ugly, and it hides sections of the underlying image (which can block out major parts of TV broadcasts such as charts and weather maps).

In my opinion, the captions should (perhaps selectively) be presented with transparent backgrounds, like the subtitling used by Netflix and Amazon Prime TV. (You may have to use configuration options to change from solid to transparent background.)

It is bizarre that on the home page of The Conversation titles utilise transparent text, such as:


Obviously they could use transparent title text everywhere, not just on the home page, and I remain puzzled why they don't.

I notice that both the  "Africa" and the "Global Perspectives" editions of The Conversation use the original layout, for example:



This is a weird inconsistency.

I promised myself that when once I became an octogenarian (which happened in early July this year) I would try to stress out and stop being annoyed by such things, and try to live a calmer life.

But it seems that I can't. Every time that I read an article in The Conversation I still have the same reaction. C'est la vie!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Stringent new rules for COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria (13 September 2020)

All residents of and visitors to Victoria should become familiar with these extended rules.


They will take effect from  11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September 2020.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Resolving the mouse pointer "stickiness" problem for multiple monitors in Windows 10

Just like lots of others using multiple monitors with Winds 10, I have been greatly irritated by the way that the mouse pointer tends to "stick" at the monitor edges when you move it between monitors, unless you are moving the mouse fairly fast (when it transitions from one monitor to another without any issues). Do a search such as this one to see some of the history.

There are solutions involving editing Windows registry settings (or using an app called NSM – Non Sticky Mouse to do the editing for you). I tried these suggestions, to no avail, and the mouse pointer still kept sticking at the edge of the monitor.

I had almost given up when, fortunately, I saw a comment by one person recommending that you go to Display Settings and jiggle the rectangles representing the monitors as close together as possible:


There may still seem to be a gap between monitors, but the action of moving the edges of the rectangles so that they slightly overlap seems to have the desired effect.

A reminder that you may have to log off and sign in again (or restart Windows) before  this remedy takes effect.

As mentioned, this seems to work -- but we all know that Windows can be rather quirky (and Microsoft keeps tinkering with these things, so a fix like this may stop working at some pint in time). Only time will tell.