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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Playing That File

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Make it Bigger.

After the Gutter Twins--the mutant pairing of Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli--performed recently in Italy, I was determined to find a bootleg of the set. With patience and regularly skimming through the Mark Lanegan and Queens of the Stone Age boards, I found a guy who seeded the concert and, over a few patient days with my bittorrent client (Azureus), I finally downloaded the over two gigs of concert footage.

And found that I couldn’t open any of the files.

Darnit.

I had expected the typical .mpg, .avi, or .wma file format, but was faced with a bunch of .ifo. .bup, and .vob files--which left me seriously confused as to what I was supposed to do to see the Gutter Twins doing a cover of Screaming Trees’ “Dollar Bill” (among a set of other stuff, of course).

A quick search lead me to a freeware program, VLC Media Player, that plays a variety of media formats, is developed for multiple platforms, is easy to operate, and can even be used to as a streaming server for various video formats. The program is fast and pretty well developed (strangely, it hogs the processor on my older G4, but the program itself never feels slow at all).

Aside from working on Windows and Mac boxes, it also supports a variety of Linux flavors, a couple handheld OS’s, and even BeOS (people still use that?). If your OS doesn’t already have a version ready to be installed, you can download the source code and roll your own.

I’m no longer amazed at the Open Source and freeware products out there--I’ve had far too many good experiences.

Anyway, if you find yourself in need of a cool little program that plays media types that I’ve never even heard of, it’s worth looking at VLC Media Player. And if you’re looking for a cool concert, you should look for the Gutter Twins on your favorite bittorrent site. With the exception the crowd making “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (the scary Lanegan version) into a highly inappropriate sing-along, this is a seriously cool and eclectic set mixing Lanegan’s solo stuff, the Leadbelly song, a Mahalia Jackson tune, and Twilight Singers, Afghan Whigs, Screaming Trees, and Queens of the Stone Age songs.

Well worth showing a little patience.

PS- Once I realized what the files were, I also tried to open the folder using Apple’s DVD player--and it worked beautifully. But the other app is still cool.

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