Brian writes, I just started watching videos on YouTube recently, but I can't figure out how to save them to my hard drive. Is this possible, or am I stuck bookmarking the pages?
YouTube uses Flash video to playback movies on their site. In addition to being universally supported on most computers, one of the many benefits of using Flash from a publishers standpoint is making it harder for people to download the movies. It's not impossible and depending on how the Flash movies are played, you can sometimes simply dig in your Temp directory for the file because the server actually downloads the entire movie to your computer during playback.
For YouTube movies, it's easier to let someone else do all the hard work of locating the file. My favorite solution for downloading YouTube movies is a Website called KeepVid, which locates downloads from a handful of Internet sites. It's one of the few sites I bother bookmarking.
If you find a YouTube video you like, copy the URL to the page the video is on, paste it into the KeepVid download look up, choose YouTube from the list of sites and click the Download button.
KeepVid will find the download link and provide instructions on how to download it.
Follow the directions and you're almost done.
YouTube uses the FLV Flash format, which isn't immediately playable. You also need an app to play it back. Windows users will want to grab a copy of FLV Player to watch the files on your computer. A better option is the shareware app SWF.max, which shows thumbnails of the movies and adds a number of features to control playback.