How to Deal with Long Posts and Videos

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Having written thousands of posts and articles, and having shared even more at The Question Evolution Project and elsewhere, there have been several times I tried to provide information on negotiating posts and videos. There are many available, and some are long. 

This does not only apply to social media, but it is obvious that a wagon train-load of material is found there. The whole thing is a buffet of information: take what you like. As you can see here, material is offered that covers a wide variety of formats. How can someone make use of things?

There are many documents and videos available to help us learn creation science and other things. Here are some ways to make them more convenient.
Background image: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann, ebook reader insert is my own
A number of resources I have used are going to be mentioned. For your own sake and mine, use discretion. A site that was safe for me yesterday may not be safe for you today. Probably, but no guarantees.

First, the Basics

The most obvious course of action is to save the link as a bookmark/favorite in your browser. However, things can get overwhelming in a hurry when saving many items in a short time and not getting back to them (or not deleting those that have been used). Making a special file for those links can reduce bookmark clutter.

Some social(ist) media platforms have their own options to save something for later. Fine, if you remember to go back and search, but they seem to be in a simple order of "date saved", and no sorting is available Can't really fault them for that, though. (It looks like MeWe has nothing yet to mark or save a reference.) Since many are links to outside sources, I suggest following links you think are safe and then saving them in that shiny new folder you just made.

What is probably the fastest way to keep a link could be to email it to yourself.

Here in my Pocket

Portions of what I'm about to say could be unnecessary for people who use Pocket. Everything saved is in one place. It is built into Firefox and there is an extension for Chromium-based browsers. but Waterfox users must use the similar In My Pocket extension. 

Some people are not committed to one browser, so Pocket may be very useful there. It has both free and premium versions. I'll be checking it out further. Hey, lookit that! The extension for Chrome boasts over two million users. I'll put my pinky finger to the corner of my mouth and say it again: two million users!

Collections and Notes

While people are fond of hating Microsoft, especially the Edge browser that evolved by time, chance, random processes and mutations from the non-lamented Internet Explorer, latest versions are actually quite good. Especially if we supplement it with privacy extensions and change some settings.

Kinda sorta similar to Pocket, Edge has Collections and Vivaldi has Notes. Each of these features has a function where a URL, video, segment of text, or whatever can be saved in the browser. I discussed those at length here.

Comfortable Reading

Several browsers have built-in features with names like Reader View. Those strip out the clutter and let the reader adjust text size, backgrounds, and so on. The Reader View extension by Yokris is outstanding. I've used it to read, and it has a markup feature so the user can highlight text, add notes, and so on. The final product can be saved as an HTML file.

Saving Individual Items to your Device

There are many options for a PC user, and I happen to be using Windows 10. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I reckon browsers act the same across major operating systems. If not, you're resourceful folks, so you'll make adjustments for your systems as needed.

I have no experience with and limited knowledge of the Safari browser.

There are options built right into many browsers to let people grab the page they're viewing. Look for the "save as..." option, and the entire HTML can be downloaded for later use in a browser. Waterfox (and presumably Firefox) has an additional option to save a page as a text file, which can be useful for processes mentioned later.

PDF is the most common file-sharing format. A few sites have articles with a download PDF option (such as this one), or you may follow a link and realize that the browser helpfully opened the PDF all by its lonesome. There is usually a download icon for that file you're viewing. Otherwise, another built-in browser thing is to head over to File, then Print... to select a "printer" that saves it as PDF. Remember switch it back the next time you need to actually print your rent receipt or something.

Keeping as Ebooks

There's a bit of overlap here, since HTML and PDF files can be considered ebooks, but this section deals with MOBI (a format that Kindle reads), Amazon, and EPUB (Electronic PUBlishing, sometimes rendered ePub and other ways). 

In the above image, you can see my ebook reader. Since Kindle is ubiquitous, there are many options to send a page to it. I use Amazon's own "Send to Kindle" extension for Chromium-based browsers.

Send to Reader has a good free version as well as paid options (even though it's registered with Amazon, I usually have to "verify" the document through email when StR sends something), the good people at Five Filters have Push to Kindle. These two work on non-Chromium browsers, and each has a bookmarklet option.

There are also browser extensions available for sending to an ebook reader, but use caution. Add-ons can be a privacy risk, but I'm willing to consider those that have many users. You may want to check the reviews as well. Also, there are online converters for HTML or URLs to MOBI.

EPUB is supported on many ebook readers, but getting something instantly sent to your device may not happen. Just add a couple of steps. One way is to do a search for "convert web page to EPUB", and several options stand at the ready. Enter the URL and it converts to a downloadable EPUB. The Push to Kindle option from Five Filters also converts to EPUB for downloading (or PDF is you have that notion). And, of course, browser extensions can be found. As always, use care with unfamiliar sites and extensions.


Video and Audio

Downloaders are tricky animals, and places like YouTube get on the prod when people download too much. Some browsers have video downloaders built in, but that may not last because of pressure from the YT owners Alphabet/Goolag. If you must download a video, there are some online options to do this. Also, consider installing software.

Many of the things I share are presentations that are posted for message, not profit. Taking something for your own use shouldn't be a problem with the owners.

A company called 4K Download has software to get videos, turn videos into audio, and more. They have free and paid versions. The few times I've used the video downloader, it's worked well.

For someone who wants to invest a bit of time, software like ShareX does screen captures and can save videos. (I have it, but don't know how to use it yet.) Also, the VLC Media Player (VideoLAN) can be used for downloading streaming videos. It's a mite difficult, but there are instructions online. Once you master the steps, you should be able to work quickly later on.

Unlike some Fakebook and MeWe Pages that post any old thing and call themselves creation science ministries, I preview the material for the most part (videos as well as articles). I'll allow that some presentations are not exciting, but have useful content. Do I need to actually watch each one in its entirety? Not hardly!

You probably don't either. Related to saving videos is converting them to MP3 for portability and convenience. Some of the longer presentations may not be obtainable, but I've used this one and this one among others (use caution, though). The 4K Download people have software that takes video and makes audio, and I've used that rather often. In a way, I was "paid" for an honest review with a free license, so you can read about that software here.

By the way, many MP3 players let users increase the speed without changing the lecturer into a chipmunk. I've also increased the speed of some lectures on YouTube.

Listening to Articles

This is something that has helped me a great deal. There are many choices, and people have to experiment and see what works best for them. F'rinstance, I can listen to PDFs. These are often duplicates of printed editions (such as ICR's Acts and Facts like this one). Multiple columns make conversion to audio very awkward indeed, and you may decide it's best to simply read them.

Edge Immersive Reader

I mentioned Collections earlier. You can write notes, save links, and so on with this feature. In addition, I have not found anything better for listening to articles than its Immersive Reader. Select "Read Aloud". There are several voices from which to choose (I am partial to Natasha and Guy), and the user can set the reading pace and pitch.

While most PC browsers will open PDFs online or those saved to a hard drive, Edge will read those aloud. It reads previously saved HTML files as well. If the Immersive Reader is not available for a site or document, there is a "Read Aloud" menu option that's got you covered.

When a user has files saved as very basic text documents, Edge opens those and the Read Aloud option can be used without Immersive Reader.

What if you're unwilling or unable to use Edge, or want to consider other options?

Natural Reader Online and its Extension

There are other options to have the computer use text-to-speech. A popular site is Natural Reader, which has free and paid levels. The user can copy and paste text into a space at the site (which seems to be able to accept a reasonably long article) and have it read. Paid users can convert text to MP3 as well. Also, there is a rather versatile extension for Chromium-based browsers.

HOWEVER, I was listening to an article and it stopped, saying I had to pay to continue or use the free voices. The free voices did not work. Since I have other options, I uninstalled the extension. Do people still say YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)? Well, you may have better success.

Again with the Reader View

Earlier, I mentioned how the Yokris Reader View extension had many great features. It also has a TtS function. Unfortunately, this feature does not work well on all sites, so trial-and-error tweaking is in order. I've added this on Waterfox, Edge, Vivaldi, and Brave. Certain articles that I'm writing up for posts need some extra attention, so this Reader View can be in markup mode while reading to me. With a bit of practice, you can pause, highlight text, add a note, and save it as HTML. I've even had Edge read it to me later.

Balabolka

There are several paid and free text-to-speech software options, but none of them appealed to me. One reason I left those on the lone prairie is that many were similar to Balabolka, but this bad boy is more powerful. Unfortunately, the voices are limited; I have a 64-bit system and it is for a 32-bit system, so I only have two choices. No, I'm not willing to do extensive edits to the registry that may not help anyway.

I was willing to live with the two rather stilted voices available (especially when compared to older TtS voices for computers) because of the features. It handles many file types. When the files are opened, they can be edited (add something, delete stuff like a table of contents or footnotes, etc.) and saved into text documents. And it's free. Here was my procedure:
  1. Send an article to my Kindle
  2. Plug the Kindle into the computer, which considered it an external drive
  3. Open Balabolka, adjust pitch and speed if desired
  4. Use it to open MOBI or Amazon files from Kindle
  5. While I could let the chatterer read to me, I chose to have it convert each one to MP3
  6. Eject the Kindle, plug in the MP3 player, load the articles into the folder I made for them
  7. Listen when I felt like it
Seems like quite a few steps, but I was able to mount up and gallop through them several times a week. In fact, I had a few books ebooks that I was able to turn into audio books (except for huge books, those needed additional steps). But I didn't want one huge file that ran, say, four hours. If the MP3 player acted up, it was very annoying to find my place again. Fortunately, I was able to make "chapters" of sorts and tell it to make them each a certain length. Fifteen minutes each was good. When my files were numbered properly, one would finish and the next one would play without a ripple.

Convert Text to Speech App

This is available in the Microsoft store, and for a very small fee, the user can remove ads. It is extremely basic, but it will speak the text and also save it as an MP3. It does not open many file types, but is as happy as a clam at high water to open a text or MS Word document.

An advantage to using this and Balabolka is that editing possibility. Great for later use or before converting to MP3. Also, I have a few more voices available on this than in Balabolka. If someone wants to be clever, save or convert a document to text and open it in this one and use the additional voices.

It's up to You

After investing a little time in what works best for you and learning how to use it, you should be able to save, read, or hear material at your convenience. Just watch out for hoarding; there are no awards given for having bunches of materials that are taking up disk space but not doing anyone any good. You savvy that, pilgrim?

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