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How to Rip Videos From YouTube Without Third Party Applications

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I believe by now you have probably heard of the YouTube, the online free buffet of videos. YouTube is a motion picture view of the internet; a swirling nexus of music, stupidity, porn, and creations born of people with way too much time and way too little common sense. In short, it is truly beautiful, except for that one video with the guy doing that thing with that bottle. Your friends are sick people and believe that they can somehow undo the damage to their psyche by recruiting more people to their new, horrid existence. You seriously need to get new friends.

Even in this maelstrom of digital dookey you will find plenty of diamonds. Unfortunately, you can’t always be online and Google will find and delete trademarked or controversial content in their atlas-like task of holding back the digital tide of copyright infringement. How can you access the dramatic hamster when you’re on a plane and you NEED your fix. There are plenty of solutions that involve websites or down-loadable programs of varying legitimacy, but do you really want to risk the sanctity of your beloved computer? Or clog it up with more programs? This is especially important if you, like virtually everyone, are subjected to Micro$oft’$ Windoze.

There is another way, a simple little technique called a URL hack. All it requires is an internet browser and an internet connection. That’s pretty much it. I’ll show you how to quickly rip whatever you want from Google’s giant videorama, in a simple three step process.

Step 1: Point the Browser to the Video of Your Choosing

As an example I will be using “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, its essentially a method for locating things on the internet and how to send it from one computer to another. URLs look like this: resource-type://domain:port/filepathname?query_string#anchor (although much of that string is optional). You’re more familiar than them than you might think, the URL bar is typically at the top of the website and thats where you would type in say, “” (in article advertising! Visit us we are lonely…). For “Rock the Casbah” the URL is: So go ahead and direct your browser to that, or to whatever video you want to download.

Step 2: Find the URL of the Video’s Location

Just as you point your browser to a URL to view it in YouTube; YouTube has a URL that directs it to the video that it will stream for you to watch. The principle of the URL hack is to circumvent the YouTube interface and grab the video at the location where YouTube stores them on their servers. Now that you have pointed your browser to the video you want you need to look at the actual code that composes the website you’re looking at. Different browsers have different ways of doing this, but you should be looking for something to the equivalent of “view source”. For example, in Firefox you go to View->Page Source in the upper menu, or just press ctrl+U.

Don’t be too intimidated by the voluminous code, we are only interested in one line. That line begins with the string video_id=. You can search through the whole file line by line, but you don’t have time for that, you need to grab as many of your favorite videos as you can before the fuzz takes ’em down. Your browser should have a “find” function, in most it should be activated by pressing ctrl+F. There should be only one occurrence of “video_id=, so find it then copy that string and everything until the ending semicolon. You should have something like this: video_id=OAkfHShATKY&l=215Deleted due to lack of space&title=The Clash – Rock The Casbah’, note how it ends with a title.

Step 3: Point and Reap

Now to download the video. Remember the URL we had above? We are going to alter it slightly to get the result we want. We’re going to replace the string watch with the string get_video and after the ? following it paste the string you copied. So you should have something like: Click enter. You may be prompted to decide whether to view or download the file. If so, choose “save as” and decide where you’re going to put your new video bundle of joy.

Final Point

You may notice that the video you downloaded is not playable with your video player. That’s because the file you downloaded is a .flv file, the type used in flash video that YouTube uses. Don’t worry though there is an easy fix for this! That fix is the blessed open-source media player known as VLC, and can be found at

You may be saying to yourself, (or possibly out loud if you’re not right in the head) “Jack, I thought you said that I wouldn’t need third party programs!” No, I said you wouldn’t need third party programs to download the video. Besides if your media player cannot play this, you probably need another one anyway. VLC has a wide reputation in the virtual metropolis for being able to play almost any video format, so you should be happy to download that anyway.


Written by jackofspades83

June 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Populist Geek

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Pump Up Your Password

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Jack O’Spades

The first, and too often the last, line of security for a computer network is a user name and password. However, many people and organizations (who shall remain nameless!) neglect using strong passwords. In this, the first Populist Geek Information Technology Security column, I will show you how to make your home or organization’s network more secure.


 So what exactly is a weak password? A weak password comes in many different forms, in many cases overlapping each other. Weak passwords are usually short, easy to guess with little or no background information, and consist of a limited variety of characters. Things like the name of a child or a family pet, a term of ideological significance to a person/organization (for example, peace, justice, unity, etc.), or a birthdate, should be avoided.



When designing a password it’s useful to know the type of tools a cracker (read: malicious hacker) uses to break passwords. There are two types of code breaking software commonly used by crackers, dictionary attacks and brute force attacks. In a dictionary attack, a program attempts to break into a computer by passing word by word from a dictionary until it finds one that matches the system’s password. This is why passwords that are simply words or number sequences are particularly vulnerable passwords.



A more powerful, but far slower tool used by crackers is the brute force attack. Whereas the dictionary passes words until it finds a match, the brute force attack systematically creates a sequence of characters until it finds one that matches the system password. This is very much like dialing 111-1111, 111-1112, 111-1113, etc, on a telephone until you find the person you want to call. Brute force attacks are particularly devastating against small passwords, or passwords that use a limited character set.



Strong passwords are longer and made up of a variety of characters. A good example of a strong password is: “J@c57!$2cR@cK9uN4”. Note the use of both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.



Granted, such passwords are difficult to remember, but there is a good solution to this, a password database. There is a program known as KeePass (go to and click on the link under “latest stable release”), which helps create and store strong passwords. A particularly helpful feature of this program is its ability to create randomly generated passwords and show the relative strength of a password.



The program stores the passwords in a .kdb file. This database is accessed by a password and/or an encoded .key file. I would recommend using both a strong password and a .key file encoded onto a USB flash drive or CD. Be sure to have one backup key tucked safely away so that you can access the file if you lose your original key! All you need to do is right-click on the .key file, select the “copy” option, open up the place you want to put the back up, and right-click on an empty part of the window and select the “paste” option.

I hope this has been helpful to you guys. Until next time, stay safe, and remember to use protection when surfing “questionable” websites!


Mr. O’Spades is a programmer and student of Computer Science at Valencia Community College. He plans on transferring to the University of Central Florida to further his study of the dork arts.

Written by jackofspades83

March 4, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Free Geek & Linux: Open Source Revolution!

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Jack O’Spades


Nothing in computer engineering could be more sacred to a populist geek than Linux and open source. For the 90% of you who have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, allow me to explain. Linux is an operating system, its what allows your PC’s software and hardware to work together to download porn from the Internet and put it on your monitor. You are probably far more familiar with an OS by the name of Microsoft Windows, or if you are too cool for a PC, the Mac OS X. Without an operating system the computer would not be able to, well…anything really.



So what’s so special about Linux? Unlike the operating systems you’re familiar with, Linux is 100% F-R-E-E. But isn’t windows free? No, it may come with your computer, but you’re still paying a good $100 to get something Linux could do better, for absolutely nothing. The Linux operating system is also at the forefront of what is known as the open source movement, and this is why it’s truly the pride and joy of populist geeks the world over.



The term open source simply means that the instructions and knowledge used to make something are not hoarded, but rather, made available to the entire public. Thus allowing the public to use it, modify it, and make the modifications available to the public, to be used and revised ad infinitum. Wikipedia, despite it’s flaws, is a good example of an open source encyclopedia. It’s a project that is revised and edited by the community, made available to be used and improved.



Open source software such as Linux, fights monopolies such as Microsoft, brings a greater degree of potential innovation, provides free software to the masses, and all the while, still puts food on geeks’ tables. At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how can free software can make money for anyone. Well, unlike traditional proprietary software, revenue for open source software does not come from selling licenses for copies of the software. Instead the money is usually made by one of three ways, one of the most prominent being selling tech support for the software. Someone has to keep the servers operating, and applications from crashing, so why shouldn’t we be paid for our labor?



Also, money can be made by providing a free version of the product and charging for a more powerful version, or by selling a service related to the software. Its also not uncommon for businesses to pay programmers to develop and maintain software needed for certain applications. By paying programmers to produce and maintain open source software, several businesses can share the production costs for an application that they all require. So you can certainly see how open source software can appeal to someone who is both a populist and a career geek.



In fact, some of these populist geeks have decided to take this even farther, and make the open source movement even more beneficial to the masses. I am referring to the Free Geeks, a group that provides free computers to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them. To do this they collect computer parts that, had they not intervened, would have been trashed by organizations and individuals. Then they put the PCs together, install Linux on them, and hand them off to those in need of them. Essentially they recycle computers like Second Harvest and Food Not Bombs recycles food.



Free Geek was founded in Portland, Oregon in February 2000, and in just four years recycled more than 360 tons of computer waste, and provided more than 3,000 computer systems. Like Food Not Bombs, the group is run democratically, and works actively with organizations struggling for positive social change. Just recently a local chapter has opened up in Orlando, and is looking for volunteers and computer parts. Their website can be found at There are many ways you can help, even if you aren’t skilled with computers. See the volunteer section of the website to learn more about how you can help lead the open source revolution!


Mr. O’Spades is a programmer and student of Computer Science at Valencia Community College. He plans on transferring to the University of Central Florida to further his study of the dork arts.

Want to make the move to the open source camp? Here are some programs that are free versions of proprietary software, and where you can get them:


*Open Office = Microsoft Office

Office Suite(Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Power Point, Web Development)

For Windows, Mac, and Linux


*GIMP = Adobe Photoshop

Photo and Image Editing

For Windows

For Mac

For Linux


*Kompozer = Microsoft Frontpage

Web Page Development

For Windows, Mac, and Linux


*Mozilla Firefox = Internet Explorer

Web Browser

For Windows, Mac, Linux


*Mozilla Thunderbird = Microsoft Outlook

For Windows, Mac, Linux


*Windows Media Player = VLC Media Player

Audio/Video Player

For Windows, Mac, Linux


*Belnder = Maya

3D Graphics

For Windows, Mac, Linux


*GNU Cash = Microsoft Money

Financial Manager

For Windows, Mac, and Linux


For more information on Linux check out:


If you want to know more feel free to contact me at:

Written by jackofspades83

March 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm