A while back, I downloaded a freeware program called Mediacoder, but I couldn't figure out how to work the darn thing as everything was in Geek. As I was Googling my brains out trying to find a good program for transcoding video, Mediacoder kept popping up again and again, so I figured that I'd better just bite the bullet and put my brain to work figuring it out. I downloaded the latest version, and low and behold, Stanley Huang, the designer, had included a "device mode" wherein you simply click on the button on the bottom of the screen that corresponds to the device that you wish to play the video in, and the program handles all of the complex settings for you! Drag and drop your videos to the file list, click on the "Video Disc Player" icon on the bottom of the screen, click on the start button on the top, and VOILA! It goes to work transcoding the videos into whatever format is appropriate, in this case MPEG2 which is easily handled by even the lousiest of my worthless DVD authoring programs. Sonic still has issues with NTSC vs. PAL formats, but one of my helpful readers pointed me in the right direction to remedy that problem, and I imagine that after I learn a bit more about Mediacoder, there's probably a way to fix that in there as well.
It'll work for cellphones, Sony PSPs, PDAs, pretty much anything you can think of, and best of all it's FREE! If you need to change the format of videos for whatever reason, I highly recommend Mediacoder.
Now on to other news.
I actually worked three whole nights last week! Maybe I won't starve to death after all. Three nights may not sound like much, but three nights at my job is right up there next to 40 hours. It's also the equivalent of about as much cash as I made at my old job working five nights, only it leaves two weekday mornings free for flying! Now if we can keep it up for a while I'll be doing alright, but it'll take a month or so of it to get my savings built back up to what it was before everything fell on its face. The entire idea of "savings" is an entirely new concept to me, I've spent most of my life (and my money) living from paycheck to paycheck. Living mostly debt free is the shit, I may drive crappy old vehicles and live in a ratty assed trailer house, but it's worth every bit of wrench twisting and nail pounding to not have gigundus house and car payments to make every month, and not spending all of my time worrying about how I'm going to pay this bill or that bill and which ones are more important because there isn't enough dough to go around. If I can ever get back to or above my previous income levels while maintaining my current expenses, I'll be able to save up enough money for a newer set of wheels in no time, as long as the family trucksters hang on until then.
Speaking of the family, we had an awesome day 4 wheeling yesterday. For the first time the whole tribe got to tag along, as well as Brian and his family, and a couple other good friends. Hopefully someday I'll find a good deal on a third machine and actually have the cash to buy it, then we can do this sort of thing more often. My daughter is still too small to ride her own machine on anything but the easiest trails, so she just rides with me. I bought a second 4 wheeler for my wife and son to ride a few years back, but the machine is too small for them to ride double on and I'm not comfortable with either of them hauling passengers anyway as they're both rather new to this sort of thing. In order for both of them to go along at the same time we have to rent, beg, borrow, or steal a third machine from somebody else. Jim found a great deal on an old Honda a couple of years ago and picked it up just so we could take extra people along that didn't have a machine of their own, so it was rather easy to sweet talk him into letting my dear bride help him wear it out. Fun was had by all, and as soon as I get the assload of video footage that I recorded pasted together into something worth watching I'll be posting another episode of "Wheelin' With Justin and Jim", this time with a whole host of celebrity guest stars! Until then, here's a few pics to hold everyone over.
Quite a tribe isn't it? Here I give a "shout out" to the treehuggers that would just love to see this be illegal. I can't say that I'd like to have this many people along on every ride, but every so often it's fun to take the wee ones along. How many other family activities do you know of that can hold the interest of an energetic 9 year old from sunup to sundown and still have her asking for more? I figured that after an entire day of bouncing around the mountains on a 4 wheeler, my daughter wouldn't want anything to do with the blasted things for a month or better. When we got home she climbed right back on it, dirty face smiling from dust encrusted ear to dust encrusted ear, just so she could ride with Daddy when he put it away in the garage. Now that's my girl! This kid is gonna be hell on wheels when she finally gets to ride her own machine.
Jim entertains Brian with a selection from his wealth of hilarious stories, while Darren and Nic watch Bigfoot taking a bath in the creek, or something really interesting anyway. Autumn just cant resist the urge to stuff her elbow in front of the camera, she's such a ham. ;)
One of the many rockslides we encountered. The scenery in this area is second to none, that's why I hope it stays as thankfully unpopulated as it has been every time we've been here.
A butterfly stops for a break on top of a flower. Funny how I tend to not notice stuff like this quite as much when my wife and daughter aren't along. ;)
Pictures like this don't need words. Pictures like this speak for themselves. Pictures like this are the reason why I love Montana. Pictures like this are the reason why I'll kick your peachy little ass if I see you tossing trash along the trails.
Autumn and Vanessa sit on the rocks and try to make the scenery just that much prettier. Are these two mother and daughter, or sisters? ;)
Is that darn Jim flirting with my wife again? I am seriously going to have to look for a new co-host for the 4 wheeling show if he doesn't knock that crap off, LOL. ;)
Nic gives the thumbs up to signify that our idea of putting the sandwiches in plastic containers inside the cooler prevented them from being pulverized into baby food while traveling over the rocky trails, while Mom digs out groceries for the hungry young'uns.
Nic does his best to not put any more scratches on Dad's old brain bucket. If the blasted kid would quit doubling in size every few months, I'd buy him a shiny new one so he could earn his own beat up old helmet like his old man had to.
One very happy Daddy, and one very happy, very dirty, little girl. Enjoy times like this with your kids, don't make them have to use drugs and get in trouble with the law to look for a good time. Lord knows they'll never find anything good on that road, but sometimes kids think they can anyway. I can't guarantee that my kids won't ever do anything stupid, I did for sure, but times like this enjoyed as a family can't hurt.