From the Kenosha News on 4-1-07

Find and watch entertaining videos on YouTube

      If you haven’t been swept into the YouTube phenomenon yet, here’s an overview to get you started.  YouTube is a web site that hosts short videos posted by commercial sources and other users.  The quality of the clips is highly variable, but many are interesting and some are downright funny.

      In order to use YouTube, you need a broadband internet connection like DSL or cable.  Also, your computer should be fairly up-to-date; anything that runs Windows XP or Vista should work.  No special software is necessary – just your browser.

      First, go to www.youtube.com.  On the main page are direct links to popular, featured videos.  More useful is the Search box in the upper right corner.  You can type in any search terms, such as “Gene Kelly Rain” to find a clip of Singin’ in the Rain, or “Al Gore global warming” for clips related to Gore’s recent emphasis on global warming (including a rebuttal video.)  Do a search on “Kenosha” to see what local offerings there are!

      Each video listed on the screen includes the following information:  Title, length of the clip, when it was added, who posted it, how many times it’s been viewed, and a star rating (up two 5 stars.)  Click on the video to view it.  The next screen should show a box where the video will play and control buttons below it.  If it doesn’t start to play automatically, click the Play button, which is a triangle in a circle – like the one on your VCR or DVD player.  As the video plays, a round indicator will move along the progress bar to the right of the play button.  You may see the bar turn red even faster than the play indicator moves; this indicates how much of the video has loaded to your computer, as opposed to how much has played.  If the video stops periodically, it is because your computer or download connection speed is slower than the play speed of the video.  In this case, click the pause button to pause playing and allow more of the video to load to your computer ahead of the play time.  When more of the bar is red to the right of the play indicator, click Play; the video should play smoothly.

      Along the top of the screen, there are tabs for Videos, Categories, Channels, and Community.  The Categories tab organizes the videos into twelve different categories.  Click on the category name to see the top videos in that category.  The Channels tab shows videos from providers that let you subscribe to their videos.  On the left is a short list of general types of videos, including Politicians.  The Partners are commercial media distributers like NBC, PBS, and the BBC.  Select a video type in one of the categories and click on it.  It will have a Subscribe button associated with it.  You will need to be a YouTube member to subscribe.  Becoming a member is easy and free, and it also allows you to post videos on the YouTube site.

      While most of the available videos are purely entertainment, if you’re a teacher, you may be able to use some of the foreign language, science, or cultural videos in class.

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 4-1-07