Visual Hub; software with a sense of humor.

I have the occasional need to “normalize” a chunk of video into some form that can be played on a particular device, often either an iPod video or burned to a DVD. I have tangled with a mish-mosh of various random programs and have generally been extremely disappointed.

I had used iSquint in the past; used it to drop a bunch of video on the iPod for entertaining Roger — 5 years old — on a vacation trip. I ran across a notice that there was an updated version available and, upon clicking through, also noticed that the developer has a commercial version called Visual Hub available.

The manual is available online and it is a damned fine read. Beyond giving precise and concise instructions as to the use of the app, it is funny and offers a brief bit of history behind each video format that actually adds to the understanding of the app!

Naah… let me rephrase the above.

I just ponied up $23.32 for a license to this software because the software works exactly as expected and out of pure entertainment value:

(1) The software just works. It works in default mode, it works when you screw around with the advanced preferences… it just works. (well… see below… I can break it, but I’m not sure if it is VH’s fault.)

(2) The software… the manual… the whole package is damned entertaining. Seriously. There is humor with a point throughout.

… on the price: “$23.32 … justify it by thinking of the cost per frame.”

… the license:

A user may install the software and license on their home and personal work computer.
Your uncle Phil from Oregon is not in the same household as you. The cute girl in Accounting’s computer is not your personal work computer.

… the manual: contains poignant quotes throughout and the Appendix is brilliant!

Update: Playing with Visual Hub for the first time revealed a handful of annoyances or flat out bugs. I threw some random video I found online at it and it failed to produce something playable or stitch it together. Of course, the correctness of the original video is highly questionable — it was truly random content downloaded from video.yahoo.com. When it worked, it just worked and produced a product of least unfortunate surprises.



4 Responses to “Visual Hub; software with a sense of humor.”

  1. Chris says:

    Did you fair well with Xgrid encoding? I have found that the program works as advertised, until you add in the Xgrid component. Did you have any luck with Xgrid?

  2. bbum says:

    Haven’t tried it yet….

    I don’t believe that adding a handful of G3s and very very old G4s (500mhz and less) will contribute much to the MBP’s efforts.

  3. Michael Tsai - Blog - VisualHub 1.0 says:

    […] I agree with Bill Bumgarner that VisualHub, which converts to and from most video formats, is a nice product. It’s easy to use and works, and that alone is plenty to set it apart from other software in its genre. (I did encounter a minor problem where it used a lower bitrate than necessary when converting files to DVD. Tyler, the developer, replied almost immediately and said he’d look into it.) The Xgrid support is cool, and it makes me wish my software had a need for that technology. Plus, the documentation is fun, useful, and concise. I wish it were built into the application package; I want to be able to access it easily and not have to keep a stray PDF lying around. […]

  4. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » PopCorn and VisualHub Redux says:

    […] As mentioned recently, I picked up a copy of Visual Hub and had previously purchased Popcorn 2.0. […]

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