Download/Saving Streaming Videos

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 03/29/2007 - 10:16

Streaming (aka, embedded) video has been around since the beginning of the internet, and while it can certainly be a very useful technology, I hate companies and websites that require you to stream the video and don't even offer an option to download it. What if you want to view it multiple times? What if you want to show a friend or co-worker? Tough! You have to stream it (re-download it) every single time you watch it. The only possibly reason for doing this that I can think of is that it supposedly allows the hosting site more control over the video, but it creates a severe inconvenience for users, prevents a number of possible customers from watching it in the first place (eg, if they're not running a "blessed" operating system, browser, or plugin), and exponentially increases bandwidth costs for the hosting provider. Additionally, the very fact that the movie has to be sent to the client to allow it to be played and displayed means that the client still gets a copy and can still save it anyway, just with much greater hassle.

If you want to save a streaming video from a site that doesn't offer a proper download link, you have a few options. Like most things in technology these range from easy but limited to difficult but extremely flexible. For now, I'm going to discuss the easy approach. :-) I'm also going to assume you're using Mozilla Firefox (if you're not, you really should be).

There are a number of Firefox extensions available that can greatly assist with saving embedded/streaming video clips. A simple search for "download video" on the Firefox Add-ons returns 19 extensions. I've personally used VideoDownloader in the past, and it worked well.

If you don't want to install a new extension just for downloading videos, and option is to use Greasemonkey scripts. Greasemonkey is a really powerful extensions that allows users to create or install custom scripts that can change the behavior of any web page. In this case, a Greasemonkey script can analyze the page for embedded video clips, then automatically add a download link to that video; simply click the download link to save the video. Two great scripts for downloading embedded videos are Apple Trailer Download and Download Video (though I use this version of Download Video). Note that you must first install Greasemonkey before you can install these scripts. You can find a lot more useful Greasemonkey scripts on my Mozilla Firefox Tips and Tricks page, as well as a massive collection of contributed scripts on

The primary limitation with the extension/script method is that it's often limited to particular sites. Apple Trailer Download, for example, is limited to just movie trailers hosted on the Apple Movie Trailers website. Download Video and VideoDownloader both support a number of different sites (including the most popular, YouTube and Google Video), but are still limited to only sites they "know" about. I'll follow up this article with more advanced techniques and suggestions that should help you save just about any embedded video.

Firefox and Thunderbird Tips and Tricks pages updated

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 02:01

I've updated my Firefox and Thunderbird Tips and Tricks pages. I actually updated them a couple weeks ago during the website migration, but I was limiting myself to news posts only about the migration itself at the time. So, if you've already checked it out recently, there's no need to do so again.

For those of you that have not check it out recently, the main changes involved updating the extension and Greasemonkey script lists, as well as posting the latest copies of my user.js and prefs.js files. This update is current as of Firefox and Thunderbird

5 HTML elements you probably never use (but perhaps should)

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 08/17/2006 - 11:37

I know it's been a while since I've posted any general news (been pretty busy working on other stuff), but I'm going to make another attempt to post on a regular basis. As when I started Legroom, it'll be various bits of information that I personally find useful or informative, and I think others would find useful as well.

So, to kick things off here's a link that a friend just set: 5 HTML elements you probably never use (but perhaps should). This article, unsurprisingly, discusses some obscure but quite useful HTML tags. I found a couple new ones that I plan to start using on my next site, and I'm sure a lot of other web developers could benefit from them as well. Take a look.

Full article URL:

Two on Wireless Networking

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 08/14/2003 - 22:25

Here are a couple intersting articles on wireless networking over on the O'Reilly Network.

First up is "When Is 54 Not Equal to 54?", which provides an examination of the 802.11 a, b, and g protocols, and explains why you may not be getting the advertised speed.

Second is " Dispelling the Myth of Wireless Security", which, obviously, deals with wireless security, and offers tips to test the strength of your network's security and encryption.

Application Layer Packet Classifier for Linux

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 05/20/2003 - 11:12

This is the project page for a Layer 7 (application layer) packet filter for Linux. Unlike traditional packet filters (which is usally based on ports, source and destination addresses, etc.), this can distinguish between different types of data on an application level. Which means it can, for example, distinguish regular HTTP traffic from P2P app traffic also using port 80.

I messed with a standalone device that does this a few months back. It was quite powerful and capable, and I'd like to see this kind of ability available to Linux. This project is currently at a 0.3 release, but it should be worth keeping an eye on it.

Project page

Intel helps found WiMAX broadband wireless forum

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 04/08/2003 - 20:39

"The 802.16a standard, approved in January of this year, is a wireless metropolitan area network technology that will connect 802.11 hot spots to the Internet and provide a wireless extension to cable and DSL for last mile broadband access. It provides up to 50-kilometers of range and allows users to get broadband connectivity without needing a direct line of sight with the base station. The wireless broadband technology also provides shared data rates up to 70-Mbit/s"

Full story: