Archive for the 'Video' Category




At one time, life was simpler; there would be just one family camera, and it would take all the pictures of the children growing up, the holidays, the life events.

But now, things are considerably more complicated because we can take pictures with a range of devices. In our household at the moment, my daughter can take pictures with her pink camera, her phone, and her Nintendo DSi. My son has a blue camera, a DS, and an underwater camera.  We still have a family camera that takes videoclips as well as jpg files, and of course, we have smartphones, videocameras and probably more things if we really thought about it!

Each device labels each photograph and video file in an unhelpful way – something like 023456IMG.jpg – and we would rather not spend time renaming and tagging all this stuff – so what’s the best way to organise our data? What is the best way to manage photographs and video clips?

[Picture of irfanview logo]Well, for us, the answer is to use a free program called IRFANVIEW. This may be downloaded from

Put a batch of pictures and clips in a folder, download and install irfanview, then select a picture (a *.jpg) in Windows Explorer – right click and select “Open with…” then pick irfanview.

When the picture opens in irfanview’s viewer, type in the letter “b” from the keyboard to do a batch rename. There is a special code that converts the filename into a date and timestamp, regardless of what device was used to take the picture or clip.

The code is:
This is year, month, day, hours, minutes and seconds, it is very unlikely that two photographs would be taken at exactly the same time, so it is a great way to rename all your files from all your devices – it sorts them all chronologically, but the EXIF information (the data about the camera used etc) remains intact.


[Click on this image to enlarge for detail if required]

Simply “Add all” and let the batch run. All the files are renamed!  Simple.

[Picasa logo]

If tagging is important (hidden – but searchable – data about the location, who is in the photo, etc), then the long-term quickest way, I think, is to use Google’s picasa program. It’s free to use, download it from

Once downloaded and installed, let it look through all your pictures. It will recognise human faces and offer them to you to tag. That is not as laborious as it sounds; it learns who the person is (somehow), so when you tag a face once, it looks through every picture you have to find and tag that person’s face wherever it finds it. Brilliant!

Of course, there will be times when it is not sure, so it will ask you to confirm that the face it thinks is someone is actually correct.

Now, once the program has done all that, it can display groupings. You can see a group of pictures containing a particular person. You can then select all of them and add that person’s name as a tag.  A proper image tag. A tag than can be uploaded to flikr or read by anyone’s device.

In Windows 7, you can tag pictures in Windows Explorer, so you can add a tag for a holiday batch or whatever you fancy.


I like to get computers to do the work; I have a life.  That is what computers are supposed to be for, isn’t it?

I use irfanview to rename all my files chronologically and uniquely.  I use picasa to recognise people and group them for tagging.  I use a python flikr uploader script (see My Lifehack#2) to take the pain out of uploading loads of files to flikr.  I use flikr to organise, group into sets and collections, to share and to back-up all my stuff to the cloud.

It is all completely free of cost too. Free and easy. Takes no effort nor time once set up; the computer does all the hard work for you. And that’s how it should be; it lets you get on with more fun things in life. Enjoy!




[Picture of Jean-Paul Bataille playing acoustic guitar]I thought I would share this little guitar study with you.  I came across it simply because it is has my surname as a title, “devine”.

It is by Jean-Paul Bataille, and is a bouncy dropped-G tuning swing study Enjoy!

I cannot seem to embed the video, so the link is




[Picture of Joshua Radin]The Thing about Joshua Radin is that he’s one of THOSE blokes that turn up to annoy every so often.  Girls buy their records.  It’s acoustic, lite, easy, smooth, kinda folky, guy-with-acoustic-guitar stuff.  We’ve all seen it before. Many times.  In recent times it’s been Jack Johnson or James Blunt or whatever.

The power of TV can make a difference — look at José González.  In the case of Josh Radin, it’s two massive US TV shows –“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs“. As well as movies such as “Catch & Release” and “Garden State“.

Yes, his soundtrack can break your heart, make you and your girl cry aloud in front of your TV set — and annoyingly, he’s a hunky, good-lookin’ guy. ENOUGH ALREADY!

OK, so I am quite prepared to hate this guy then I saw the video for his song, “Brand New Day“. Yep — everything you could imagine doing to this guy gets done right here — from being splashed by a car and a puddle to being beat up and having his own guitar smashed into his face! Genius.  How could you NOT like? I have to admit I was quite shocked when he gets hit by a truck, but I laughed when that guy stood in his way and he had to lean round to be seen!

[Embedded youtube video clip Brand New Day]

I hate to say it, but this guy can laugh at himself BIG TIME.  he gets robbed and moved on, and yet he still sings happily away about “nice things”. Ironic? Ah- HA!

Well good on you, Josh. I’m now a reluctant fan (sort of begrudgingly). Oh the power of the TV media!

[Embedded youtube video clip Scrubs]

[Embedded youtube video clip Grey’s Anatomy]




Rumer is a strange name, and it’s a peculiar choice for searching the internet; it returns a lot of weird stuff. If you are not looking for Bruce Willis’s daughter (who she?), but the wonderful band featuring the wonderful singing of Sarah Joyce, then check out their website:

[Embedded Videoclip from youtube of Rumer doing Slow]


Sarah Joyce is a Pakistani lass who grew up in Cumbria/Cumberland (Carlisle) discovered by none other than Burt Bacharach. She has a voice that resembles the smooth, easy quality of Karen Carpenter, Maggie Reilly, Carole King and Eva Cassidy. It’s easier than Norah Jones, more easy pop than jazz, so it ought to appeal as a familiar and secure, homely thing in a financial crisis — and there’s a lot of that about — just look at The Scissor Sisters, Mika, and The Feeling. Her album is not ready yet, but apparently will be due for release by Atlantic in November 2010. It HAS to be big for Christmas! Who knows it could upset the X-factor people again! Sarah deserves it — she’s now 31 and she’s been at this since she left Newman High School in Carlisle aged just 16. It’s been a long slog for this singer-songwriter, from Wentworth Drive, Lowry Hill with her Mum Tina, Dad Jim and sister Kathy to California. Rumer Godden was her Mum’s favourite author, so Sarah relaunched herself professionally as Rumer in honour of her mum who died in 2003 of Breast cancer. Her mum would be proud of her recent chart success.

[Embedded Youtube videoclip of Long Long Day]

[Embedded Youtube video clip of Aretha]


Pakistan is suffering just now with the cricket, the floods, and the politics relating to “looking both ways” when it comes to neighbouring Afghanistan’s Taliban/ Muslim terrorism. Maybe Sarah can claw some much-needed goodwill back.




[Picture of The Radio Department -- from Sweden]The Radio Dept is a really good band from Sweden.

[embedded videoclip from, The Radio Dept “David”]


I got their 2003 EP, “Pulling Our Weight” and I thought “I don’t need love, I’ve got my band” was a fairly unimpressive poppy of-its-time guitar band track.  The title track had a nice beat and wistful guitar and vocal, and was — well, “nice”.  From the start through to the end of “We climb the wired fences” (my fave track of the five), it was a fairly calming, soothing experience, trippyish.  It was never a challenge, but it grew on me still over time.

Pet Grief” from 2006 is a much more mature-sounding band.  Better songs, better ideas.  Same wistful, reverb-filled vocal, but it all comes together like The Blue Nile or Prefab Sprout, if you know what I mean. “I Wanted You To Feel The Same” is beautifully recorded, and the piano is delicious, leading right into the filler, “South Side“. The up tempo “Every Time” has their signature reverb vocals underpinned by the driving beat. Crackin’ stuff. Maybe not as powerfully emotional as The Blue Nile, which is maybe why it is often classed as “Shoegaze” music — it is not “sad” per se, but I guess if you’re in that mood it would be just perfectly melancholy.  I find it hazy, summery, lovely music to wander the streets looking about, or while reading or just chillin’.

[embedded videoclip from, The Radio Dept “It’s Personal”]


My favourite track has to be either “It’s Personal” as it is almost Richard Hawley! or “Tell“. But hey; it’s all good.  Yes.  This is a very good album — and definitely worth checking out at Amazon or try these links:




[Picture of the cover for the album "High Violet" by The National]I have been quite enjoying The National’s latest album, “High Violet“, mainly because Matt Berninger has a nice baritone. Every so often I feel the need for songs to be sung by a man, and by a man with a man’s voice.

I don’t know why, but falsetto vocal acrobatics can wear me out fast some days.

I can find solace in opera, or I can turn to bands like “The Divine Comedy” or to Richard Hawley. “The National” are in that vein, and it is nice to have an alternative; there ought to be more of this sort of thing in my opinion.

Overall, the sound is fairly straightforward current indy pop. “Sorrow” is a case in point. “Anyone’s Ghost” has an odd drum pattern, but it is still melancholy and wistful, touches of Grizzly Bear and other east coast USA stuff permeate, but still. In fact, there are weird touches of all sorts — for example, of Johnny Cash on “The Runaway” at the beginning, and even bits reminiscent of the band, “Elbow” on tracks like “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”.

I would think that if you like the likes of Owen Pallett, Grizzly Bear, you could do worse that give The National a punt.

[embedded video of Bloodbuzz Ohio from]

[embedded video of Sorrow from]

Links for The National:




[Picture of Hiromi Uehara]I have been listening to a lot of Hiromi Uehara at work courtesy of YouTube.

In fact a client has noticed that I have been listening to a lot of Japanese stuff, which surprised me, but when I thought about it, I can see why he’d think that as he’s seen me check out Cornelius and Miyavi. I must seem like that to him, so I suggested that Hiromi has an Irish surname (O’Hara), but he wasn’t having any of it! LOL!

[Embedded videoclip from youTube: Deep Into The Night]

The guitarist is  “Fuze” (Dave Fiuczynski) a full-time teacher at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and as a session man has played on nearly 100 albums! I am flattered that my wife thought it was me playing! he is clearly influenced by Allan Holdsworth.

[Embedded videoclip from youTube: Deep Into The Night solo piano]

Hiromi was born in 1979 and went to Berklee.  Her band is made up of Berklee folk. She’s playing with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, and has done piano duets with Chic Corea. Check out her website:

[Embedded videoclip from YoutUbe: The Tom and Jerry Show]

I’m sure you’ll agree that she can certainly play fast piano! She sings along and makes weird noises like Keith Jarrett — and I think she plays a bit like Jarrett and a wee bit like Oscar Peterson at times too.

[Embedded video clip from YouTube – Brain Training]





[Picture fo Japanese Rock Guitarist, Miyavi]Some amazing things are happening in music around the world. As a family, we have enjoyed South Korean girl rap-pop from the Wonder Girls, and (at the other end of the spectrum), I am a huge fan of Cornelius.

From the bluesy origins of Ali Farka Touré and Ba Cissoko to the Russian whizzkid, Temur Kvitelashvili, I love that the focus is shifting from the UK and USA elsewhere for a change.

My latest find is Miyavi — he’s an amazing Japanese force of nature.

[Embedded video from You Tube  – Selfish Love]

Yes, he is a man (in fact “Mayavi” means “Male”), although he’s pretty feminine looking — and he’s also straight; his real name is Ishihara Takamasa and he’s married to pop singer “Melody“. Together they have a daughter called Lovelie Miyavi Ishihara.

Here’s a picture of Melody his lovely wife:

[Picture of Melody Japanese Singer]

There must be many quarrels in their house over hair products and lipstick!

Anyway, Miyavi has loads of CD albums, singles, DVDs and is apparently never off magazines over in Japan.  Both he and Melody are big stars. Miyavi certainly has the talent. The style, acoustically, is slappy, clappy, percussive and funky and if you like Andy McKee, Don Ross, Erik Mongrain, or even Tommy Emmanuel, he could be worth checking out.  I guess what sets Miyavi apart, is his fashion and his age (he was born late in 1981) when compared with these guys. Anyway, I like him; he’s not really taking himself very seriously, he is entertaining, he is fun, but behind that, he’s got a serious talent.

[Embedded clip from youtube:]





I get asked a lot about favourite free media software, so I thought I’d do a post article on the subject. At the very least, it records the here and now and might provide laughs in years to come.

To begin, let’s say you wanted to download albums, books, or movies on the peer-to-peer network.  There is a nice wee free (and open source) bit of software called uTorrent (micro torrent).

It is really easy to use, you fire up the program and then use the search panel, it opens your browser at a torrent site. You select the torrent you want, agree to use uTorrent to download the torrent, and it downloads your selections in the background, resuming if you break continuity or even switch off.

Sometimes torrent downloads are in a strange format.  There might be several files that comprise a RAR compression.  What you do here is find the actual *.rar file in amongst the list, and simply right click and select “extract here” if you have 7-zip installed.  The result is a single *.avi file.  You can now bin all the other files.

Now that you have an *.avi movie file, you might want to make a DVD disc that can be played on home and car DVD players.

This needs DVD Flick, and open source bit of free software that converts the file and burns the movie — with customisable menus.  I have used various other ones, some better, some worse, but they have now gone by the wayside by introducing charges. They were only free long enough to get you hooked.

Sometimes you just want to copy *.avi files as data files, either as a back up or with the intention to play on a laptop or some-such.  To quickly copy data files (and that means anything from *.avi files, and *.mp3 files to *.jpg and *.gif files), simply use the free and open source InfraRecorder software.

A great way to surf the web is to use Firefox’s tabbed browser. It is free and open source too.

You can customise this browser in all sorts of ways using the free plug-ins. A good plug in to get is Video download helper.

So now, when you are watching a video on something like YouTube, you can download the file.  The Download Helper can be configured to download and convert to a suitable format (the original YouTube format is *.flv).

On the other hand, you can just get a video player that can handle just about any format… VLC.

This can also make *.mp3 files from videos (separating off the audio from the movie), and even take snapshot stills of movies, or turn home movies taken with the camera turned on its side.  Seriously, it does AMAZING things, yet it is free and open source.

VLC is so much better than Window media player; it plays very odd formats and you can even slow down playback — which is great of learning guitar licks from youtube clips.

Hope this list helps someone out there! Enjoy!




[Picture of Temur Kvitelashvili on an album cover]I have been listening to Temur tonight, courtesy of YouTube. Anyone that Allan Holdsworth says is amazing is worthy of note, believe me.

[Embedded video from YouTube: Temur Kvitelashvili – 21 Guitars]

He’s about my age, and he is clearly influenced by Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, George Benson, and possibly Al di Meola (as well as a few other maybes — who knows, say  Larry Carlton, or Lee Ritenour — anyway, you get the picture; that’s the genre).

Temur Kvitelashvili is an excellent Jazz Fusion guitarist — but we have loads of them already. He’s not big on effects or trickery, and I have not seen him tap like Malmsteen or Van Halen, but he’s not entirely old school. He can shred a bit — but these days who doesn’t do that?

What makes him different? well, he does a bit of singing  — that’s pretty unusual (although he’s no George Benson), but I think the main thing he does that is defining is traditional Georgian folk music for the electric guitar — now that’s different, isn’t it?

The technique is fast — gypsy-like, Django evoked, it can remind you, at times, of di Meola or McLaughlin, but it is not Indian or Mexican/ Spanish/ Moorish; it is more Russian, and possibly more (if I can say this), “Jewish”.

Tbiliso” is a song about the city, and it is superb as an example of Temur’s work. I like his Hava Nagila

[Embedded video from]

If you want more, search YouTube or check out his website here: