Posted on Multiply Sept, 17, 2008, 3:03 pm
Want to have the video you long for, or the mp3 file you constantly search? This may help, and this is legal.
It is safe to say that most of us have visited video sites like YouTube or music sites like imeem.com. Surely, most of us also want to keep the things we see in this sites in our own storage devices.
Surely, there are many ways to do this. One is use a download manager, if you know the link(s). Second is the use of those “grabbers” out there, like YouTube grabbers and VideoDownloader. We may also seek to search these videos in search engines like google or dogpile to see if some users have uploaded similar media together with the link(s) where we might download it. This last is somewhat troublesome and time–consuming, for the internet is not straightfoorward: it is a hodgepodge of information in a cloud, as they say. For this reason, people favor the use of the former two procedures and also invented yet another method of acquiring these kinds of information: the use of p2p and torrent sites.
But some users are knowledgeable enough to know another eay and legal way of acquiring information, and that is through your browser’s cache.
The cache (pronounced as “cash”, not “cashe”) is the place where the browser stores a website’s information for easy retrieval. It is the cache that allows us to view a page offline. It also aids for the faster loading of a web page, for the browser needs only to update the files in this area for dynamic viewing.
The cache is basically a folder created by default by your browser, so altough it may be hidden, you can easily find it. Where it is basically depends on what browser you are using and also to some extent what operating system you are running.
This post aims to lead the reader to know where the cache is, acquire the necessary information the user needs, and also on how cleaning the cache works and what benefits you can get from it.
Also, this post is useful for media streaming sites, i.e. those which let us watch for a video or listen to mp3s but not let us download it. This post is of little use for download sites of course.
To the mods: If you think this is illegal material, please just notify me and I will gladly delete this post. This also applies for the readers too.
Most of us do not want to read through long posts, so here is a summary of what to do:
1. Find the file(s) you need, preferably an audio file or a video file.
2. Find your cache.
3. Let the file stream by pressing “play”, then pause the file and wait until the loading process is complete. You may listen to the file while waiting if you want.
4. Sort the cache contents for easy viewing (after the file finishes loading).
5. Find the file(s) you need.
6. Copy the file.
7. Rename it.
Alternatively, you may want to empty the cache first, then proceed to step 1.
See the following for detailed information.
DISCLAIMER: The procedures posted here works for most streaming sites. However, they may not work for all sites, as some delete the file immediately under loading. This is only a guide, not an abracadabra.
As I said earlier, the cache stores all information regarding a web page as the browser loads it. Therefore, the contents of your cache ranges from HTML page codes and CSS files up to flash files, mp3 files and swf files. Pictures are also stored in this folder.
Of course, you may want to get some files you have just viewed via your browser, as I have said earlier. So let us go on searching for the cache.
Searching for the Folder
The cache is basically a folder, but it is hidden by default. Therefore, your built-in find program cannot find it, unless it is configured to search for hidden files. Some, like the Opera web browser, places the cache folder in your program files if you are running Windows, but some, like the Firefox browser, places it in a more secure location.
As I have said earlier, the location of the cache folder depends (primarily) on two conditions: what browser are you using, and what operating system are you running. For instance, since I am using Firefox as my browser and Linux Mint as my operating system, the Firefox cache is fairly easy to find: it is in /home/shippou/.mozilla/firefox/1ufqnuli.default/Cache. As compared to my roommate’s browser, Firefox too but running under Windows XP, his cache is C:/Documents and Settings/Administrator/Local Settings/Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/9bzr5wd4.default/Cache. Finding your cache may be a simple breeze, or may take months of searching (just joking, of course).
In my experience, Opera’s cache is the most easy to find, for it places the its cache inside the Opera folder in the Program Files. Internet Explorer’s cache is also easy to find, but it has its own quirks, such as not letting you copy files from it. Honestly, I do not know where Safari’s cache is, and also for other browsers.
Before proceeding, you should have found your cache at this time, but if you don’t, I believe there are guides which you can search in the internet.
Manipulating the Cache
If you have seen your cache, congratulations!
The cache, as you see, contains many files which have arcane names, such as AD045B12, with no file extensions. I believe this is for your ownb security, and I think also because generating random names are far easier for the browser. Nevertheless, you can use this seemingly little information in your advantage.
First, sort the cache by Size (I believe this is offered by default in most operating systems). After sorting by size, use this table as a GENERAL GUIDE for sorting through files which you desire to have.
Size File Type
1 – 10 KB HTML and CSS codes
11 – 50 KB Pictures (png, jpeg, bmp)
50KB – 500 KB Flash files (.swf)
500KB – 1MB Flash files (.flv)
1MB above Flash files, mp3 files
As I have said, THIS IS ONLY A GENERAL GUIDE, as many factors are involved, such as the complexity of the page, length of the flash and mp3 files, image resolutions, etc. It is, however, safe to assume that your mp3 and video files are in the MB range, from 1MB up to, who knows? maybe 1TB.
Well, there you have it, an easy, quick tips on how to manipulate the contents of the cache.
Getting the files you need
OK… So this is somewhat tricky. As I have said, the filenames in the cache are in hexadecimal, so finding what you need is not so easy. This is where the term “rummaging” applies.
What I mean is somewhat literal: you have to rummage in your cache to find what you need. Using the outlines above, you can narrow your search for the files you need to keep.
If you have a Linux OS, the job is easier, for the OS does not depend on the file’s extension to determine the file’s content. If you have Linux, then you’re in luck: the only trick is arranging the files in the folder by Type, not by Size; and you can easily ignore the guide above. Of course, I suggest you view the files there as a list; and since thumbnails are shown by the file manager by default (unless you’re using xfe, which I think not; I am using nautilus) without the need to add the irritating thumbs.db file, you can narrow your rummaging by only clicking through the files.
If you are Mac, I think the statement above applies.
HOWEVER, if you are using Windows, you have a REAL problem. Just follow my general guide thpugh, and your problems will be lessened. Just a tip though: swf files are typically mixed with flv files, so you really have to rummage painfullty throughout the files, unless you know the size of the file beforehand.
1. Videos are typically 5MB above, mp3 files from 100KB (really short) to 5MB (good bitrate).
2. .swf files are typically mixed with .flv files.After finding the file you need, you can copy it in your storage device and use it offline. Also, you may want to rename it.
Alternatively, you can also clean the cache first before viewing the file, so that your selection of files will be significantly narrowed. See the next topic for more information.
Tips for renaming the files:
1. For easy viewing, rename the video files as filename.flv. The flv extension is used because flv is the widely-used file format for internet videos.
2. For music files, rename them as filename,mp3, since the widely-used format for online music is mp3 due o its overall small size.
3. Steps 1 and 2 may be skipped if you are using Linux (this may also apply on the Mac), but is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY if you use Windows.
4. swf files and flash files (used to create applets) cannot be “played” offline.
5. HTML and CSS codes are usually complicated, so if you want the site’s source code, it is usually best to view the site’s source code and copy-paste it in a writing application (e.g. notepad) for later analysis.
Emptying the Cache
As you can see, the cache is a very useful consequence of web browsers. However, with this comes privacy issues, as the cache is the place where the browser stores your “browsing history”, a list of sites you recently accessed. This is not a deep concern for some people, but for others, especially security paranoids, wouldn’t want to keep a trace of their browsing history. So here is an additional guide on how to ensure your privacy.
Some browsers, such as Google Chrome, offer a mode called “private browsing”, where you can use your browser in a way that it willl empty the cache after you close the browser. (You can also do this in firefox by tweaking some settings.) But if you are a noob and don’t know such thing, here is an easy way: delete all the contents of the cache folder.
BEWARE: Do not delete the cache folder itself, or some things might happen. I do think that browsers check first if there is a cache folder available, and create them if there is none. But then the best way is to not delete the cache folder, as you might be looking for it again.
Another alternative is using the browser itself to empty the cache folder. Depending on your browser, it may or may not offer such function. In Firefox, pressing ++DEL will result in a dialog box asking you what to delete, such as your browsing history and your cache. Just check the box besides Cache if you want the folder to be emptied.
Also, cookies are not stored in the cache folder. Cookies are files which contain special information about a site you have just visited. They have their own respective folder, called the Cookies folder.
So there you have it: an easy guide for rummaging your cache folder. If you have any questions, comments and suggestions, feel free to do so. Rest assured that I will answer all your questions and honor your complaints. Just avoid flaming and spamming, please.
a program…. an easier way for Internet explorer… IE cache viewer… u may search for it in the net…:)
In Opera, youtube or other video sites are not “filenamed” as you want… e.g. a happytreefriend video does not av any file extension … you’ll have to rename them first before “direct playing”…:)