Windows Media Player updates podcasts

Podcasts bring personal broadcasting to the masses: Anybody with a microphone and a PC can share their bons mots with the world. Instead of using iTunes or downloading new podcasts to your MP3 player manually, let Windows Media Player 10 do it for you.

If you don't already have one, download and install a podcast receiver program like iPodder, and set the program to download new podcasts automatically. Note where the program stores its podcasts (by default, iPodder stores them in My Documents\My Received Podcasts).

Next, open Windows Media Player 10 and select File, Add to Library, By Monitoring Folders. Click Add and browse to the directory where your receiver stores its podcasts. Select the folder and click OK twice.

Next, click the Library tab, right-click the Auto Playlists entry (located near the bottom of the left pane), and select New to open the New Auto Playlist dialog box. Enter Podcasts in the 'Auto Playlist name' box and choose Click here to add criteria below 'Create an auto playlist that includes the following'. Select More, File Name, OK. Back in the New Auto Playlist dialog box, choose click to set next to 'File name Contains'. Enter the name of the directory where the podcasts are stored. A simple way to do this is to select the folder in Windows Explorer, copy the path in the Address bar, and paste it into this field. Click OK, and Podcasts will appear in the auto playlists. Right-click it and select Add to Synch List.

Now when you connect your MP3 player and click Start Synch, all of the latest podcasts you subscribed to will be copied to the device automatically.

Mobile phone videos on DVD

It's easy to convert videos that were captured by cell phones in the 3GPP format into a format you can put on a DVD. Of course, cell-phone movies may be great for candid moments, but they can't match the quality of a camcorder's output, so don't be surprised if the videos come out looking blocky and jerky.

The Nokia 6620 video cell phone I use saves its files to a memory card, so I simply pull the card out and pop it into my PC's memory card reader. Other video cell phones allow you to e-mail the clips.

Once you've transferred the files onto your PC, open Windows Explorer and click File, New, Folder. Name the folder 3GPP. Next, click here to download the free video decoder contained in the file Unzip this file and place its contents into the 3GPP folder that you just created. Move your video files into the same folder. Now open a command prompt window: In Windows XP, select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt (the steps are slightly different for older Windows versions). Type cd C:\3GPP and press 'Enter'. To convert a 3GPP video, type 3gptorawavi.exeA filename, replacing 'filename' with the name of the video file (but excluding the .3gp suffix). For example, if you want to convert a cell-phone file named 'video(001).3gp', you'd type 3gptorawavi.exe video(001). This instruction creates a new video file in the MPEG-2 format that retains the same name but has the .avi suffix.

Now open your DVD authoring program and import the AVI video file. To start a new DVD-video disc in Nero Express 6, for example, you would merely click Add Video Files and select the AVI file. Once the video file is written to the disc, you can pop it into any relatively new DVD player and enjoy!

Watch videos on PSP

Sony's PlayStation Portable makes a great portable video player, thanks to its big, bright screen. But first you have to convert the video files and rename them. Fortunately, the free PSP Video 9 program converts TV shows, downloaded movie trailers, and other video files, and places them on a Memory Stick memory card that you can plug into your PSP.

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