Archive for February, 2016

Top Dog Review ~ Cheating YouTube!

February 16, 2016

We’ve published another Top Dog Review! This is a video program of the monthly competitions of the National Dog Agility League. This is probably ten days later than it should have been published. But I’m always willing to forgive myself for being late.

The problem with YouTube is that you have to download a video every time you look at it. Unfortunately the quality of the presentation is tied to the bandwidth of the download. So it can be a pain to watch a video of any size because the picture stops or stalls as the download buffer catches up. It’s downright painful, especially if you have a less than optimum internet connection.

Furthermore, we mostly get charged for our use of that bandwidth. So if you want to watch a YouTube more than once, you pay for it in bandwidth every time you watch it. YouTube does not make the video resident on your computer.

The Cheat

I use a utility called aTube Catcher (Studio Suite DsNET Corp). It is absolutely free and it’s easy to use.

The link to the official site to download your own copy of aTube Catcher:

What aTube Catcher does is download the YouTube video to your computer. And then, when you want to watch it … you watch it on your computer with no buffering or stalling or any of that nonsense. You can watch it as many times as you want, and you don’t have to pay in bandwidth every time you do.

[I have a great collection of music videos from YouTube resident on my computer and play them like a juke box while I’m working.]

When you do the download, by the way, you can choose a lower resolution of the video to lower the bandwidth cost. It might affect the quality of the video to an extent. But sometimes you really don’t care about that loss of fidelity.

Top Dog Review

Okay, now that I’ve set you up with a utility to make it a lot easier and more palatable to watch painfully long YouTube videos… please take a moment to give a look at the newly published Top Dog Video Review. [Don’t actually open this link if you intend to use ATube Catcher. Instead pass this url into ATube Catcher:   ].

This is a review of the National Dog Agility League’s January 2016 competitions: The 50’x70′ “B” course (Masters level) and the 50’x50′ “A” course (tough International level).

Bear in mind that our entire production staff (both of us)… are complete amateurs. But for this too, I will forgive myself.

I’ll draw an analogy for you… when I started the Clean Run magazine it was six Xeroxed pages stapled together and produced with a word processor and cut & paste graphics. Ultimately, under the more professional care of Monica Percival it turned into the benchmark publication for the sport of dog agility. So I’m thinking that in time (as the league grows) we will attract some motivated and professional video program developers who will help shape and make the review into something very fun.

But for now, it’s fun enough. And I’m having a blast with the notion that we can share some amazing agility performances by dogs and their people around the continent competing on the same course under the same rules as a single competition. It boggles!


If you have a club that would like to play with us… give me a shout. It’s simple. It’s incredibly inexpensive… and it’s fun.

Blog1107 Home

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.


February 4, 2016

This is a wicked strange winter we’ve been having. One day it’s warm… next day it’s cold. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve been staying busy busy. And, I’m having a lot of fun getting the National Dog Agility League going. We’re up to about 500 runs a month.

We’ve published another episode of the Top Dog League Review program. You can find the program here: This program focuses on the 60×90 “C” competition; a competition intended for Intermediate to Masters level challenges. The video publishing effort is still amateurish but I’m learning the tools as we move along.

Tech Tools

The extensive use of YouTube recording by our member clubs makes the Review possible. I had an exchange with Brenda Gilday about the use of “short links”. When publishing a series of YouTube recordings for your league team the editing page on YouTube will provide short links for each. The alternative url is the long line of text that appears at the top of the browser.

Anyhow, Brenda told me that she couldn’t figure out how to find the short link, so I popped over to my YouTube account… and sure enough, I couldn’t find the short links as readily as you can when you’re uploading a list of files.


It turns out that there is a utility on the internet which will take your long url and turn it into a short link / small url. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s easy to use:

Bitly turned this:,

into this:

Active Presenter

This is program that I use for capturing a region of the computer screen and turning it into video; and of course Active Presenter allows you to record a voice over. They have a free low end version of the program that does everything I need to do. Frankly it probably does a lot more that I could actually use, if I ever could set aside some time to study properly.

I mention this program because I’m going to ask our February games masters, Steve Schwarz and Wayne Van Deusen to do a review of their courses from the designer’s POV. I’d like to use their analysis (rather than my analysis) for future Review programs.

[[Steve has published training sequences based on the set of equipment for his 50×50 challenge in his popular blog: … I should have short-linked that url with Bitly! ]]

What I did in my course review for January… I saved the course map as a bitmap and opened it in Paint. This allowed me to use big sloppy brush strokes to describe the dog’s path. That’s a tool you just won’t find in the Clean Run Course Designer.

Window’s Live Movie Maker

My “movie” editing software is a free thing that Microsoft bundled with Windows 8. It’s primitive but has much of the functionality that I need. Though, I haven’t figured out how to edit or change the sound track… and I don’t properly know how to do transitions between scenes.

I’ll give Steve Lewis a shout on the topic just to see if he has words of wisdom for me [you’ll recall that Steve did the video productions for the USDAA Nationals back in the day.] He’ll likely wince at my productions but he’s too polite to really blast me.

I believe that Active Presenter will probably do much of the editing that I need. Maybe I should study it a bit more. I’m kind of stuck with a problem here… I bought a new computer with Windows 10. And, not only does Microsoft no longer support Window’s Live Movie Maker… but it is incompatible with Windows 10.

Windows 10

I pretty much hate it. WTF

Blog1104 Home

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.