Annoyances and Triumphs

I’m going to have to take a break from this tonight, since it’s getting so frustrating, but for the past couple of evenings, I’ve been trying to convert some videos into an iPod Touch-friendly format. There are a couple of reasons for this: I could potentially catch up on Tivo viewing while riding the bus; I could get an AV cable for the iPod and hook it up to the crappy DVD player we got (it is very finicky about accepting DVDs to play) and then have stuff for the kids to watch on those long drives to Michigan for the upcoming holidays.
This is not going well. I’ve tried just about every converter in the book and every single one of them freezes up somewhere in the middle of the conversion. Of course, most of them seem to use the same encoder behind the scenes, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But it’s still frustrating. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not something where my computer is limited in what it can accomplish. I even thought I heard an ominous clicking coming from the hard drive last night (luckily I backed up all my important pictures and music, as well as our Quicken files, so I shouldn’t lose too much of importance if something craps out. Still, my project has now turned into scouring the computer for things that need to be backed up.).
The one bright side of all this is that I discovered a true gem in the App Store: Mocha VNC Lite. It’s free, and it allows you to use your iPod Touch (or iPhone) to connect to a VNC server running on your computer. That’s all geek-speak for saying that you can remotely control your computer via the iPod. That’s pretty cool for when I don’t want to sit in front of the screen watching a conversion tick through slowly. Instead, I can connect via the iPod and watch on its screen as it ticks through slowly. Once I get it set up properly, I could even connect to my computer at home while sitting at a Starbucks somewhere.
So while I still have to figure out the video conversion thing, and I’m still trying to work out a way to sync my wife’s Palm with Google Calendar, I’ve still managed to get some fun things working. Oh, and the iPod is also pretty good at playing music.

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