I haven't done one of these in a while, but I am glowing about Zamzar for converting files from the web, or from rare, stodgy formats into pliable ones.
For a while there I was having serious issues with videos from either Unitedstreaming, Google Video, YouTube, or TeacherTube that I wanted to use during classes. Sometimes they would play fine, other times there would be a huge delay as I streamed them from the web in school. Then, of course were the times they didn't play at all.
To get around this, I needed a way to convert those videos from the web into a file that could be downloaded and save to disk. Enter Zamzar. This free service will convert any video from the web into any other movie file format. For example, in the Digital Storytelling workshop last week, I wanted to show two clips from TeacherTube, but since they were so large, I knew it might be a problem. I simply went to the TeacherTube video site, clicked on a button in my internet browser that says "convert with Zamzar," then chose the file format I wanted the converted file in, and within minutes, I received an email that confirmed my file was ready to be downloaded in the format I had specified. Always have a backup plan.
If this sounds a little too techy for you, just imagine being able to have a back-up plan if you are trying to show a video from Unitedstreaming, Google Video, YouTube, or TeacherTube, and cannot access those sites directly from your classroom. Zamzar will let you have the video handy regardless of internet access.
Cross-posted at Tech Dossier.