Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cirque Du Soleil: 20 Years Under the Sun - A Book Review

In case that you missed it. I created a book review video in October for the book "Cirque Du Soleil: 20 Years Under the Sun - An Authorized History" (Hardcover) by Tony Babinski (Author), Kristian Manchester (Contributor). I also uploaded this video review to, which is shown on the product detail page of the Book on their web site now. I find that pretty cool hehe.

As I said indirectly already, the book is available for purchase for about $37 (USD) at and here is the video review of the book. My review in text format follows right below this embed video.

Backup Link to Video on

As always, you can download this video in AVI format at

BookatAmazonThe book is a monster in size and weight and packed with glossy images of the Cirque and its shows and provides a interesting behind the scene look at the humble origins of the enterprise and its worldwide successful shows.

It's a good gift for somebody who is interested in the Cirque, beyond just the acrobatics. Other people probably won't appreciate it as much, so check first, before you make the $37 investment for this book.

The book was published in 2004 and probably written in 2003 to early 2004. That means that many of the Cirque du Soleil shows are missing in this book. Cirque du Soleil was very busy over the past four years, since this book was published. 20yearsunderthesun

The last touring show covered by the book is "Varekai" and the last residential show "Zumanity", which is performed at the New York, New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show "KA" at the MGM is barely mentioned, not even by name yet and there is nothing to be found about the touring shows "Corteo" and "Kooza", the Las Vegas shows "Believe", "The Beatles - Love" and as I already mentioned "KA". The new resident Asian shows "Zaia" and "Zed" are of course also missing. The music concert "Delirium" is also not part of this book.

All those shows were created after 2004. This is quite a lot of shows, so I can only say again, that you better make sure that the person who you would like to buy this book for can actually appreciate it anyway.

All the new stuff is missing, but the more it covers the early Cirque and first shows that are not running anymore, such as "Fascination", "Le Grand Tour", "La Magie Continue", "Cirque Reinvente" and "Nouvelle Experience".

Also covered are the still running and touring shows "Saltimbanco", "Mystere", "O", "La Nouba", "Dralion", "Alegria" and the mentioned "Zumanity" and "Varekai". The special anniversary show for the 20th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil at Montreal "Midnight Sun" is also not mentioned. Keep in mind that this special performance happened also in 2004, the year when the book was published for the same reasons.

I don't know, if the book is also available in other languages than English, but I would assume that this is the case. It should also be available for purchase at any other well sorted book store, other than, such as Barnes & Noble or Borders.

I hope that you found this brief review helpful. Let me know via the comments section below.

To learn more about Cirque du Soleil, check out my Cirque du Soleil primer, here at and also my special YouTube account "CirqueDuSoleilGuru" for Cirque videos and my Cirque du Soleil photo album collection at the photo sharing web site


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Negative Feedback for Criss Angel's and Cirque du Soleil's 'Believe'

I was surprised a lot when the first comments for the new Cirque du Soleil show "Criss Angel - Believe" were made at preview videos of the show at my channel "CirqueDuSoleilGuru" and also at previous posts of mine about the show here at my blog.

believe I cannot recall any instance where a Cirque du Soleil show received that many negative comments in such short period of time (less than 3 months). It's usually all praise and love with a stupid idiot posting some mindless comment once in a while. In case of the new show "Believe" did very specific negative comments pour in pretty much since the first pre-screenings of the show in September and onwards.

CirqueDuSoleil-dk-bg Here are the unaltered negative comments about the show from my various videos and blog posts. Since I did not alter them, all misspellings and grammatical errors remained as they were also.

User: HOTskull888 on YouTube said:

honestly the show was the shit. like it was nuts and dont say stupid as shit stuff like ow it suks or what ever because i do magic to and i dont care what anyone thinks of it

User: rjslider58 on YouTube said:

i saw the show oct 10, it sucked do your self a faver dont waste your time or money.

User: emtttmike on YouTube said:

I wasted my money going to see 'Believe" on 10/17...I sat waiting for it to get better and it never did...I actually looked at my watch hoping it would end soon. It was that bad.

User: jshkneale on YouTube said:

this show sucked. i mean it really sucked. it would have been good only if they changed one thing,.....Chris angel, he destroyed the show. the dancers were OK if you like them to be out of sync with each other.

User: Kraken303 on YouTube said:

Anyone who thinks Criss Angel is a good magician is completely ignorant when it comes to magic. The show does not suck because of Cirque--it sucks because Criss can't pull off any tricks without using extensive camera edits or plants. I really makes me angry to think that that $100 million dollars was spent on this show, and it's still so BAD.

User: taxthis2001 on YouTube said:

Saw Believe last week, was disappointed. To much Cirque not enough Angel. I was very impressed with mind freak on the street but some of those disappearing tricks done on a stage with 40 trap doors are not as impressive. Criss u can do better. I leave this feedback to help guide your show for the better, please use it as such. Keep Mind Freak going.

User: 2RISEPROD on YouTube said:

Enjoy Criss Angel on A&E for years, when he said for all skeptics I will be doing this stuff live in my new show "Believe' I was like OMG! really can't wait! Went to Vegas for the opening, must say it was a total disaster and waste of money!! It made no sense at all! Criss did a dove from sleeve trick - and some very predictable birthday trick..Then he lip sang his MF song at the end, people were leaving before the show was over and bitching in the Luxor about how it sucked ass!! ??

User: iglesiasarenas on YouTube said:

is not MF but is not "o" or "the bettles shows" is the worst show of Circus du solei with the best magician Criss...

User: StealthCracker on YouTube said:

I went to the show Oct 4, and I thought it was too much dancing. -.-" only a few tricks performed. HE NEEDS MORE TRICKS


Everyone look at the words BELIEVE... if you look at the logo, you'll see that the BE---VE is faded out, leaving bold words: LIE. I found this out. Check it out!!!

Anonymous Blog Comment here at

IMOP...I went to see the Criss Angel Believe show at the Luxor, and I must say.... IT WAS HORRIBLE! I am a huge Criss Angel fan, I think he is a great entertainer, however this show was horrible. I found out after watching the show that everyone that has seen the show to date has hated it also, everyone left the theater talking about how bad it was, my suggestion is it is better to save your money for another show and skip this trash. Also, it is not kid friendly at all, I did not take my kids to it, however there where some there and they left in tears from being scared of it. Think of Alice in Wonderland on really bad drugs.

User: realhonest1 on YouTube said:

I went Nov. 3. The show has lived up to the reviews. It sucked. I wish someone would have said "lets go!" Unfortunately we sat through to the dismal end. I want my $200 and 2 hrs back! Bad actor and bad tricks. On a pos. note the backgrounds and Wade Robson choreography were nice. Criss Angel is why this show bombs. I used to be a fan, but can't even watch Mind Freak anymore. Way to go Criss, thanks for robbing your fans.

Thoughts and My Own Comments

I wrote a comment at one of my "Believe" videos at YouTube in response to some supporting comments by "Loyals" (Criss Angel Fan Club Members), who were appalled by the negative comments by others and expressed their sympathy for Criss. It reflects pretty much what I believe to be the actual problem here.

I have the feeling Criss managed to disappoint both crowds at once, for the "Mindfreaks" is the show not freaky enough and for the "Cirque Fans" is there too little circus and too much dancing, with some creepy atmosphere.

I cannot imagine that the show itself is that bad, its just not what people in the know expected it to be like. So they either get over it and take a new look at it from a distance or Criss has to look for new type of fans, who are not prejudges and in-flexible.

I will be in Las Vegas in January 2009 for a conference and hope that I will be able to see the show myself and get a real grip on what the problem might be here.

In the meantime enjoy a extended trailer video for the show that I created. Those images look actually pretty cool and promising, don't you think?

Backup Link to Video on

You can download this video in 480x360 pixels resolution and AVI (XVID/MP3 Lame) format at

Additional Links related to this post


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Sunday, November 23, 2008

VNV Nation's Illusion, Online Video and Ronan Harris

I mentioned it on several occasions that the VNV Nation, a British EBM/Industrial act, is my favorite band for several years now. Several things happened to me recently, which are related to VNV Nation and interesting enough to write about them publicly, so here we go.

DollfaceINTERA Coincidental Marriage Made in Heaven

Somebody else mixed the song "Illusion" by VNV Nation with the video "Doll Face" by Andy Huang (Andrew Thomas Huang), then still with Root Film, and uploaded it to over one year ago. It is now approaching the 900,000 views mark.

I re-edited and uploaded the video under my account (kind of a dupe), just to make sure that it is there and not getting lost. I also changed the intro and end credits to pay all necessary dues to the respective parties appropriately. I updated the audio too, replacing it with a high quality rip from the album, while I was at it. The main video is based on the original QuickTime file of the "Doll Face" animation. The music and video seem to be made for each other and fit perfect.

The video is also available for download in .AVI format (XVID, Lame MP3) via here. CDatAmazon

Although it is not one of my favorite VNV Nation songs, I cannot deny that it touched me nevertheless.Another interesting part about this video is that it got the attention by Ronan Harris from VNV Nation himself, who did not pull the video, because of copyright infringement and tried to get in contact with the animation creator Andy Huang from Los Angeles, California instead.

They met in October 2008 and plan to work on some new projects together in the future. This video, although not officially a VNV music video was silently acknowledged and approved, used now for viral marketing on the Internet. It contains credits for the creators after all.

Buy the VNV Nation album Judgement at Ronan Harris, "Mr.VNV Nation" also wrote about this video at his MySpace blog earlier this month. The song "Illusion" was not released as a single and is only available on the 2007 VNV Nation album "Judgement" (track number 8), published in the United States by Metropolis Records.

To learn more about VNV Nation, visit their official web site at or their MySpace page at, which is maintained by Ronan Harris personally.

Two Way Communication with my Favorite Band

How do I know about all this? Well, I contacted Ronan via about the video, without knowing that he was already aware of it. I told him not to have the video pulled (because that was not my intention), but to contact Andy, get permission to use the video for an official music video and release the song with this video as an official single. I am an Internet marketer, who also spent some time on online video now, so I kind of knew quite a bit what I was talking about. It was not just amateurish Blah Blah.

Ronan was already working on getting in personal contact with Andy and had already a meeting with him arranged during the short VNV Nation West Coast tour in October/November 2008, where Ronan also worked as DJ for a special event in Los Angeles.

Ronan decided not to pursue the idea of releasing the song as single, which I still believe is a mistake. It has the material for mainstream success and would maybe top the commercial success of the VNV Nation single "Genesis", which made it to number 67 in the German Media Control Charts, along with making it to number 1 in the German Alternative Charts (DAC).

If you like the music, you can buy the "Judgement" album by VNV Nation, which was published by Metropolis Records in the United States in April 2007 via here.


I had some email communication with Ronan where he mentioned that he is looking into doing more with online video, but thinks that it is to costly and too hard to do. I sent him a long response where I encouraged him to do more online video and also provided some tips and suggestions for the content that he could produce and debunked the myth that video production cost for online video are high and not affordable.

Buy the Pastperfect DVD video by VNV Nation at I did not get a response to this email yet, Ronan was also on the road, but I hope that he will check some of my suggestions and moves ahead with this idea. I also bugged him about an official VNV Nation Live album, which still does not exist.

Okay, there is the "Pastperfect" Live DVD from 2004 and I ripped the music to burn it on a music CD. That is not perfectly legal, but Mark Jackson from VNV Nation personally suggested to me to do this, back in 2005.

Pastperfect Touches of the Past

Talking about the Pastperfect DVD by VNV Nation, which you can get here btw. The spelling as one word, rather than "Past Perfect", which would be grammatically correct, was done intentionally by VNV Nation, just FYI. ...

I put months ago the DVD intro up on YouTube, which is a cool Metropolis-Style like animation, very short, only 1:30 minutes in length, but pretty cool.

DVDatAmazon You can download this video in AVI format at here.

VNV Nation, Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson The Metropolis-Style animation was created by the German Media Agency "Raumgleiter" and the great epic music is a remix of the classic "Romeo and Juliet (Julia) - Suite No. 2: Montagues and Capulets", composed by Sergej Prokofieff (1891-1953) (also spelled Prokofiev) in 1936.

I learned all that, when I did some research about it, after another user asked me about the music.

It was true, the music was not typical VNV Nation stuff and sounded familiar, but I did not really think about it, until it was brought up recently. I thought that it is an interesting fact to share.

I also recommend checking out the 3:48 minutes long DVD trailer/promo video for the "Pastperfect" DVD from 2003, which is pretty cool too and also uses some of the video footage from the DVD intro video. It is also available for download in AVI format via, here.

Enough of EBM/Industrial music and VNV Nation for today :)


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dancing Around the World, Paid For, Everything Inclusive

If you did not hear about Matt Harding yet, then it is about time. He is the guy that became famous for "dancing on the Internet", okay, there are a bunch of guys that are "famous" doing that, but he is the one who did it in public at places around the whole globe.

 mattdanceani The story goes like this...

  1. A 32 year old deadbeat who was born in Connecticut, USA and ended up working for a company in Brisbane, Australia decided in 2003 to quit his job and use the money he had saved to do a trip through Asia until he was broke.
  2. During the usual posing for tourist photo graphs and home videos as proof for his friends and family that he was at the places he said he was, a friend suggested to do his funny dance, the only dance Matt knows and do that instead of the usual boring posing.
  3. mattdancingani2 He did that for the rest of his trip until he ran out of money. He published his short videos on a web site that he mainly created for his family to check what he was doing and where.
  4. The stuff went somehow "viral" on the Internet thanks to social media. It also caught the attention of a company called Stride Gum, who thought that doing more of this kind of videos sponsored by the Stride Gum brand would be a fantastic idea. Matt thought so too, especially when he was told that Stride pays for the whole thing, everything inclusive.
  5. The result is his second video, which made him even more famous.
  6. Seeing one dude dancing alone got kind of old when Matt had an idea. How about having people dancing with him, people who contacted Matt over the Internet. Stride thought too that it is a great idea and off he was for the third trip around the globe.
  7. That video is the 2008 video  and made Matt even more famous. So famous in fact that he was asked to talk at social media conferences etc.

His 2006 and 2008 videos were viewed over 11 Million times EACH on YouTube alone! "Nicht schlecht Herr Specht" as we say in Germany to something like that.

Here are some interesting facts about the locations that Matt visited.

Three videos were released, labeled 2005, 2006 and 2008. Each with the results of an entire trip lasting several months to over one year. The first video from 2005 included 20 locations, the video from 2006 included 36 and the last one from 2008 included a whopping 69 places.

There is also an out-takes video for the 2006 trip with a few locations that are unique and did not make it into the final video. That means that the actual number of places visited is higher than the ones I mentioned.

Unique Places shown in his 3 Videos

  1. Abu Simbel, Egypt
  2. Agra, India
  3. Ala Archa Gorge, Kyrgyzstan
  4. Alhambra, California
  5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  7. Antseranana, Madagascar
  8. Area 51, Nevada
  9. Atlanta, Georgia
  10. Auckland, New Zealand
  11. Auki, Solomon Islands
  12. Austin, Texas
  13. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
  14. Bangkok, Thailand
  15. Batik, Morocco
  16. Beijing, China
  17. Bengal Jungle, India
  18. Berlin, Germany
  19. Brisbane, Australia
  20. Brussels, Belgium
  21. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  22. Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
  23. Chakachino, Zambia
  24. Chicago, Illinois
  25. Christmas Island, Australia
  26. Chuuk, Micronesia
  27. Cologne, Germany
  28. Delhi, India
  29. Demilitarized Zone, Korea
  30. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  31. Dublin, Ireland
  32. East Jerusalem, West Bank
  33. Easter Island, Chile
  34. Ephesus, Turkey
  35. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  36. Giant's causeway, Northern Ireland
  37. Guam
  38. Gurgaon, India
  39. Half Moon Caye, Belize
  40. Hanoi, Vietnam
  41. Haute-Picardie, France
  42. Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
  43. Istanbul, Turkey
  44. Kilimanjaro Summit, Tanzania
  45. Kjeragbolten, Norway
  46. Kuwait City, Kuwait
  47. Lancelin, Australia
  48. Lemur Island, Madagascar
  49. Lisbon, Portugal
  50. Lisse, The Netherlands
  51. London, England
  52. Los Angeles, California
  53. Luang Prabang, Laos
  54. Machu Picchu, Peru
  55. Madrid, Spain
  56. Mexico City, Mexico
  57. Miami, Florida
  58. Mokolodi, Botswana
  59. Monte Alban, Mexico
  60. Montreal, Quebec
  61. Monument Valley, Arizona
  62. Moscow, Russia
  63. Mulindi, Rwanda
  64. Mumbai, India
  65. Munich, Germany
  66. Mutianyu, China
  67. Neko Harbor, Antarctica
  68. Nellis Airspace, Nevada
  69. New York, New York
  70. Panama Canal, Panama
  71. Paris, France
  72. Paro, Bhutan
  73. Petra, Jordan
  74. Poria, Papua New Guinea
  75. Prague, Czech Republic
  76. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  77. Rock Islands, Palau
  78. Routeburn Valley, New Zealand
  79. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  80. San Francisco, California
  81. Sana'a, Yemen
  82. Sao Paulo, Brazil
  83. Seattle, Washington
  84. Seljalandsfoss, Iceland
  85. Seoul, South Korea
  86. Siberia, Russia
  87. Singapore
  88. Sossusvlei, Namibia
  89. South Shetland Islands
  90. Soweto, South Africa
  91. Stockholm, Sweden
  92. Stone Town, Zanzibar
  93. Suhbaatar, Mongolia
  94. Sydney, Australia
  95. Tagaytay, The Philippines
  96. Taipaei, Taiwan
  97. Tel Aviv, Israel
  98. Teotihuacan, Mexico
  99. Thimphu, Bhutan
  100. Tikal, Guatemala
  101. Timbuktu, Mali
  102. Tokyo, Japan
  103. Tongatapu, Tonga
  104. Tsavo, Kenya
  105. Vancouver, British Columbia
  106. Vava'u, Tonga
  107. Venice, Italy
  108. Very Large Array, New Mexico
  109. Wadi Rum, Jordan
  110. Wainivilase, Fiji
  111. Warsaw, Poland
  112. Washington D.C., USA
  113. Westport, Connecticut
  114. Yangon, Myanmar

Unique Countries of Islands

  1. Antarctica
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Belgium
  5. Belize
  6. Bhutan
  7. Bolivia
  8. Botswana
  9. Brazil
  10. Brunei
  11. Cambodia
  12. Canada
  13. Chile
  14. China
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Ecuador
  17. Egypt
  18. Fiji
  19. France
  20. Germany
  21. Guam
  22. Guatemala
  23. Iceland
  24. India
  25. Ireland
  26. Israel
  27. Italy
  28. Japan
  29. Jordan
  30. Kenya
  31. Kuwait
  32. Kyrgyzstan
  33. Laos
  34. Madagascar
  35. Mali
  36. Mexico
  37. Micronesia
  38. Mongolia
  39. Morocco
  40. Myanmar
  41. Namibia
  42. New Zealand
  43. Norway
  44. Palau
  45. Palestine
  46. Panama
  47. Papua New Guinea
  48. Peru
  49. Poland
  50. Portugal
  51. Russia
  52. Rwanda
  53. Solomon Islands
  54. South Africa
  55. South Korea
  56. Spain
  57. Sweden
  58. Taiwan
  59. Tanzania
  60. Thailand
  61. The Netherlands
  62. The Philippines
  63. Tonga
  64. Turkey
  65. Uganda
  66. UK
  67. United Arab Emirates
  68. USA
  69. Vietnam
  70. Yemen
  71. Zambia
  72. Zanzibar

Places he visited Twice

  1. Brisbane, Australia
  2. London, England
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. San Francisco, California
  5. Sydney, Australia
  6. Tokyo, Japan*

Places he visited on every trip

  1. New York, New York
  2. Seattle, Washington


*Tokyo actually appears three times in his videos, but only in two of them and not three. Tokyo is the only real duplicate within any of his videos. Tokyo appears twice in the 2008 video. Once in location #29 and the second time in location #42.

Also, if you look at the overall data, he rarely made it to the same place twice. 8 places that he visited more than once, out of 114. ... not bad.

Link to my megamix video  on YouTube, also available for download in .AVI (XVID/MP3) format and 640x480 resolution via at this URL.

gnomdex8 Here is a link to Matt's presentation at the 2008 Gnomdex conference, which was held between August 21 and 23, 2008 in Seattle, WA, where he talks about what he did and how he did it to travel around the world not only once or twice, but three times. Once on his own expense and twice on somebody else's.

Gnomedex is by the way the tech- or geek-conference organized by Chris Pirillo, who is also notoriously known for his online video stuff and live chat.

What is odd to me now is the fact that just when I decided to write this post about Matt, his web site went offline. does not resolve at all. There is a cached version of the site in Google, with a date of either November 8 or 9, so the site was up about a week ago. I hope that this down-time is only a temporary glitch. However, if I would be Matt, I would have a word with the hosting company (unless that company happens to be the sponsor for his web site hosting hehe)

I put up the link to his web site anyway, hoping that it will be up very soon.

Other Links


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Friday, November 14, 2008

A New Star Trek Experience

I wrote in September about the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas and that it was shut down as of September 1.

I also shot a short video showing the closed Experience, which I uploaded to YouTube.

startrek_experience_thumb2 A YouTube user who watched my video about the closed Star Trek Experience at the Hilton Las Vegas, left a comment about a planned new Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas and also sent me a link to the article on the web site of inBusiness Las Vegas, where he got the information from. Quote from that article:

The Star Trek Experience will have five components and most elements could be completed next year, when a new Star Trek movie is scheduled for release. Just as the new movie will have some familiar characters in some unfamiliar roles, the Star Trek Experience will be similar but different from its predecessor and includes significant upgrades.

There will be a food and beverage component, which will include a restaurant and lounge and a retail area with merchandise from all incarnations of the Star Trek concept. Star Trek fans are incredibly loyal and if the latest movie sparks yet another generation of supporters, the retail element could be very successful.

A museum that explores the entire history of Star Trek is also planned.

There will also be a 4-D movie theater designed to be an interactive experience with high-tech seats that will stimulate the senses.

"They will recreate sights, sounds and smells and take your body traveling through space," Joshi said.

The final element will be simulators - rides that are two levels high in Neonopolis' center court.

I asked in a comment at my YouTube video and heard the news (before I had the link to the article): "Will it be the same thing? I wouldn't think so, since the Hilton hotel itself was part of the story and effects in the old rides".  The article at inBusiness LV seems to validate my statement.

I wonder what they mean with "significant upgrades" compared to the previous Experience at the Hilton.

When they "upgraded" the Experience in 2004 by adding the "Borg Invasion 4D" ride, I didn't think that this was much of an upgrade either. I still liked the "old" ride, the "Klingon Encounter", much more than the new one. The use of modern technology does not mean that it will be a better ride. There are many other, more important factors that make a ride a good ride (or bad), which have little or nothing to do with technology.

Neonopolis_Center_Downtown_LV It will be interesting to see what they come up with and how it will be. I am a bit of a sceptic, but hope for the best. Time will tell eventually.

I also never heard of the "Neonopolis Center" project before, until I read the article. It's an 235,000 square feet Las Vegas downtown entertainment center that was opened on May 3, 2002 and cost $100 Million to build. I assume that it is part of the project of the downtown LV casinos to make that part of the city interesting and attracting for tourists again, after the were loosing more and more visitors to the Las Vegas Strip, which became the new "Center" of the city. The "Freemont Street Experience" is the best known example of those efforts.

It says in the article at inBusiness LV that the project manager said that funding of this new project is secured and also that the rights were acquired from CBS Pictures, who owns the legal property of the Star Trek franchise.

However, its still a risky project and an expensive one as well. Star Trek fans might be extremely loyal, but they are also extremely unforgiving. Keep that in mind.. those are the words coming out of the mouth of a Star Trek fan, me.

Last but not least information about the upcoming featured film "Star Trek XI", which will be released in 2009.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Outlook Express Email Folder Recovery without Losing Existing Hierarchy

It happened to me a few days ago that Outlook Express suddenly did not show a bunch of email folders anymore. I freaked out at first, because I thought that the emails were lost, but I found out that this was not the case.

The emails were still there, but the folder file, which is created for each and every email folder in Outlook Express was simply missing in the OE folder hierarchy. Phew! I thought, that should be fixed in no-time at all. Well, I learned that I was mistaken, because there is no way to tell Outlook Express, that it has a file for an email folder sitting in its directory together with the other email folder files and that it would be great to simply add that to its folder index. I thought that this cannot be. And found something promising after a few searches at Google.

This Microsoft Knowledge Base article describes the scenario for how to recover email folders in Outlook Express, if there are any missing in the OE folder index. Great! But wait, there is a catch. If you follow the (incomplete by the way) instructions, you end up with all folders back in Outlook Express, alright, but without the existing folder hierarchy. Every email folder is now in the root, no sub-folders anymore.

Well, I have over 1,000 folders that are organized in a complex hierarchy that can go 4-5 levels deep. I only miss a few folders. Why should I screw up the hierarchy of all the hundreds existing folders in order to get those few folders back into OE. That does not make sense to me, but I wasn't able to find anything near a solution for this extended version of the not so uncommon issue.

If you only have a few folders and don't mind to restructure all of them again, then you do not have to read much further. Only a few more paragraphs, because it contains some useful information that are missing in the Microsoft KB article, in particular the specification where exactly Outlook Express stored the email folders on your hard disk. It also has some other catches. Let me quote a MVP from Microsoft regarding what you will have to do, after you deleted the folder.dbx file and have Outlook Express recreate it for you:

  • Re-create your mail folder hierarchy by dragging folders into place in the Folder list. Note that any folder you have created to group sub-folders but that does not itself contain messages will not appear in the Folder list and so must be created again.
  • Re-download the list of newsgroups from each news account.
  • Reset your subscribed newsgroups and download messages again.
  • Reset synchronization options on IMAP and newsgroup folders.
  • Edit any message rule that moves or copies messages to folders other than the Inbox (Note by Carsten: since none of the old folders are there anymore, even if you recreate them with the same name)

Not nice, Not good .. okay, whining does not help us with our existing problem though.

Outlook Express files are stored by default at
C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

I also heard that it could be stored at:
C:\Windows\Application Data\Outlook Express\{GUID}

I have never encountered the second scenario so I decided to ignore it for my solution. The folder stated first is usually hidden from the user. The <USER> must be replaced with your user name, which could also include the domain or workgroup name of your account, such as USER.DOMAIN, but you should be able to figure that out, if you look at the sub directories of the C:\Documents and Settings folder. The {GUID} part is not obvious at all and tricky to determine, if more than one Outlook Express Identity was created for the same Windows user. But I have some tool to help you with this stuff.

The Steps

sml_OE_FolderSettings_ShowHiddenAndSys 1. To make sure that you can see the folders  in general, change some of your Folder display options. To do this, go in Windows Explorer to "Tools\Folder Options" and select the "View" tab (see image).

Within the top 10 options should be a checkbox for "Display the contents of System Folders", which you have to enable and a group called "Hidden files and folders" with the two options "Do not show hidden files and folders" and "Show hidden files and folders" to choose from. Make sure that the second option "Show hidden files and folders" is selected.

2. I wrote a little Visual Basic script that you can download here, which is called "oeidentity.vbs" (right-click and select "save as", change file extension from ".txt" to ".vbs"). You should be able to execute it by double-clicking it from within Windows Explorer after you downloaded it. It requires that the last Outlook Express Identity that was opened by the currently logged-in user was the Identity with the missing folders. If you don't know what I am talking about, because you do not have multiple Identities to switch in between and therefor have no clue what I am referring to, just ignore this part and just execute the script.

The code is pretty simple

Dim WshShell, IdentityName, IdentityGUID 
Dim sDirLookup, sDirLoc, sMsg

Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")

IdentityName = WshShell.RegRead("HKCU\Identities\Last Username")
IdentityGUID = WshShell.RegRead("HKCU\Identities\Last User ID")

sDirLookup = "HKCU\Identities\" & IdentityGUID &_
"\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0\Store Root"
sDirLoc = WshShell.RegRead(sDirLookup)

Set WshShell = Nothing

sMsg = "The Last Used Identity for this user was the following" & vbcrlf
sMsg = sMsg & "Name: " & IdentityName & vbcrlf
sMsg = sMsg & "ID: " & IdentityGUID & vbcrlf & vbcrlf
sMsg = sMsg & "The Storage Location for this Identity is" & vbcrlf
sMsg = sMsg & sDirLoc

Wscript.echo sMsg


3. Now you know where your Outlook Express files are. Now it is also a good time to check if the missing folders are really just missing in the OE folder index or were actually deleted from your hard drive. If that is the case, then you have to do an additional step, which is the recovery of those deleted folder files.

3.1 There are various tools out there, but the one that I use in cases like that is called Get Data Back NTFS by Runtime Software. They also have a version for FAT partitions, in case that your hard drive is using that instead of NTFS (which is the recommended default for Windows XP). I suggest getting the bundle that also includes the DiskExplorer for NTFS (or FAT respectively), especially if you only want to recover individual files and are not sure what the name of those files are.

3.2 Okay assuming now that there are files for the folders that you are missing in the Outlook Express folder tree. You can tell, which file belongs to the missing folder, by simply looking for files that are called "Missing Folder Name.dbx" or similar, e.g. "Missing Folder Name (1).dbx" etc.

If a whole tree or trees are missing, things are a bit more complication as they were in my case. I cannot tell out of my head what all the sub folders were of the folders that were gone missing. So I had to come up with a way to determine, which of the files/folders are actually missing in the folder hierarchy.

4. To do that, I created a folder called "C:\OEBackup" and below that a sub folder called "Files". I then copied all files from the Outlook Express folder to this new folder at "C:\OEBackup\Files". I then created two additional sub folders under C:\OEBackup, one called "FoldersOld" and one called "FoldersNew", making it three sub folders altogether.

5. As I mentioned, Outlook Express saves the Folder Hierarchy in a file called "Folders.DBX" and imports all files/folders to rebuild the index, if this file is missing. But we still need the old and incomplete Folders.dbx for something, so MOVE it from the Outlook Express folder to C:\OEBackup\FoldersOld instead of just deleting it.

6. Before you start Outlook Express again to have it rebuild the index, one more thing. You do not want OE to check for any new emails to download while we are working on cleaning up this mess. That is not as easy to do as it sounds, if you have enabled that Outlook Express should check for new messages during program start.


Let us disable that and also the checks after X minutes that you probably also configured, but without starting Outlook Express itself. You have to change two settings in a file called the Windows Registry.

To do that, click on "Start" in the start menu and select "Run". Type into the box there "Regedit" and press enter.

Navigate to the following location within the registry and change the mentioned entries as specified.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\YOURIDENTIY\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0\Mail]

Entry: "Check Mail on Startup"

Change value from 1 to 0

and to avoid checks later also change the following (same "directory" in the registry)

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\YOURIDENTIY\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0\Mail]

Entry: "Poll For Mail"

Change existing (hexadecimal)* value to: ffffffff 

*It contains the interval for OE to check for new messages, that is configured under Tools\Options, General Tab, Checkbox: "[ ]Check for new messages every [ number ] minute(s)" The value stored in the registry is actually the hexadecimal representation of the specified minutes in milliseconds. A 5 minutes interval for example would be 300,000 milliseconds, or in hex 0x000493e0


sml_OE_automatic_email_check_settings Here is what the same change would be in Outlook Express, if you would do it there. Click the image to the left to enlarge.

The image above shows how you do the same change via the Windows Registry, without starting Outlook Express and risking that you are not fast enough and new messages could be downloaded. If you cannot read it, click on it for an enlarged version of the same image.

7. Now you can start Outlook Express again and have it rebuild the folders.dbx and with it your email folders list, without hierarchy.

8. Remember the backup that you created under c:\OEBackup\files, which also should contain the old and incomplete folders.dbx? Now you need it, because you have to import it into Outlook Express now.

Yes, It will create tons of duplicates, but that cannot be avoided for the step that comes. However, you still keep that backup, because we will need it again to get rid of those duplications.

sml_OEBackupImportIn order to import the folders and emails from the backup, select from within Outlook Express at the top menu "Files" and then "Import".

A wizard pops up where you have to select the email program to import from. Select "Microsoft Outlook Express 6" and press "Next".

In the next screen select "Import mail from an OE6 store directory" and press "OK"

Browse for the Backup folder at C:\OEBackup\files in the screen where you have to specify the "Location of Messages" and then press the "Next" button.

The following screen lets you select folders. Simply choose "All Folders" and press "Next". Outlook Express will now import the folders and messages from your Backup. You might noticed that it shows in the folder selection your old tree. That is the fact that I am relying on. OE only imports the folders that it knows about from the old folders.dbx and thus, does not import the folders that are physically there, but not in the index.

To see the steps that I just described with your own eyes, click on the screen shot thumb image on the top-left.

9. When the import is finished, close Outlook Express and download this script file called oecheck.vbs (right-click and select "save as", change file extension from ".txt" to ".vbs"). You don't have to modify the script, if you saved the backup at C:\OEBackup\files like I told you to do and if you did not opened another Outlook Express identity before you got to this step of the process. It's highly unlikely, but I just wanted to make sure. If not, open the script in Notepad and change the settings at the beginning of the script manually.

The script creates a file called "oefldcompresults.txt" in the same directory where you saved and executed the script itself. It contains a list with all the .DBX files that are missing in your old backup copy of Outlook Express.

10. Move the folders.dbx from the OE directory to the C:\OEBackup\FoldersNew directory and then delete the rest of the files in the directory.

11. Now I want you to delete everything in the default Outlook Express directory. Yes, you heard right. Do not delete the Backup though.

12. Now take the list of files listed in oefldcompresults.txt and copy or move them back to the now empty Outlook Directory (its up to you now, if you want to move of copy the files, depending on how safe or how quick you want to be) . If you want to be safe, actually move the files to a new and separate directory first and then copy them back to the Outlook Express directory. Just do it. It will make sense to you within the next 2 steps, I promise.

13. When you are done, make sure that the folders.dbx was not one of those files. It shouldn't, but double checking does not hurt. Start Outlook Express again and it should create a new folders index, just for the folders/files that were missing in the first place.

14. Close Outlook Express again. Move or copy all files from the Outlook Express directory that you copied/moved just before, but now including a new folders.dbx file to C:\OEBackup and the files that are not in oefldcompresults.txt, including your old folders.dbx back to the Outlook Express directory

So the Outlook Express folder should now only have the .DBX files for the folders that it actually has in the old and incomplete folders index and the ones it does not, should be all in the directory C:\OEBackup with their own folders.dbx definition.

15. Start Outlook Express again and perform the same import steps as you already did once, with the only difference that the Location of the Messages would be "C:\OEBackup" rather than "C:\OEBackup\Files". You should notice in the "Select Folders" screen that it only shows the folders that you were missing without a hierarchy though.

16. Once the import is done, you should have your old and existing folders still there, structured and in hierarchies and only the folders that were missing added at the root level without a hierarchy. Those you have to rearrange by hand though, because that hierarchy was already gone for good without hope for recovery.

Another Alternative (If available)

The only alternative option that you have is using an old backup version of the folders.dbx file from your regular data and system backups that you hopefully do  from time to time. As long as that version does not miss any folders that you created after the backup, you should be fine, if you use it. But if not, sorry, you have to do the painful steps that I outlined in this post.

After thoughts

There is a commercial OE API that has nice features and might provide the basis for a better solution than mine. If you know or have a better solution, please share it in the comments section with me and other readers. I'd appreciate it.

Cheers and I hope that this post was helpful to another poor soul like me out there that ran into the same issue.

Outlook Express Tools and Resources

Here is also a list with other Outlook Express tools and resources that might be useful to you.
  • (800KB) and the Help File (300K) is an useful and free command-line based tool by Ian Macallan (1) that extracts email + their attachments from Outlook Express .DBF files to .NWS format. The tool is fast and capable of processing vast amounts of emails (I know that, because I tried it myself :))
  • - Offers several Outlook Express and Windows Mail tools, such as DBXtract, DBXpress, OEX, OE Toolbar and OEBackup. Some of them are free, but most are available for a low fee ($9-$30).
  • Outlook Express Tools at - Has over 50 tools for Outlook Express listed. The listing is German, but the tools are mostly English
  • Inside Outlook Express at By Tom Koch, a Microsoft MVP provides tons of useful insights into the inner workings of Outlook Express and tips and solutions for all kinds of problems aand tweaks related to the software.
  • - commercial tool for about $40 that can detect and repair various Outlook Express Problems, including corrupt .DBX mail files.


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Video Editing, Ripping, Converting and Capture Tools for the PC

Someone asked me recently, which tools I am using for all my video stuff (see for example my four YouTube channels: CirqueDuSoleilGuru, SACReleases, CumbrowskiCom and TurnbeutelvergesserB). An interesting question, which I decided to post the answer for here at my person blog, because it might also interest some other folks as well.

Okay, here is a quick 101 of the tools that I use personally for all my video, images and audio stuff.

DivX to DVD Converter DVD Ripping and Converting

For ripping video from a DVD and converting it into an AVI, I use various different tools.

I like iLead DVD Ripper (download), if I just want to get a specific and short snippet of content from a DVD and converting a whole chapter or VOB file would be way too much.

To convert whole DVDs or individual chapters I am using either ImToo DVD Ripper (download) or Nidesoft DVD to AVI Converter (download).

Download YouTube Video Video Downloading and Stream Recording

To download movies from web sites, such as where it is a bit harder, i am using Jaksta Stream Recorder (download), unless it works already fine with the download Browser Plug-in from RealPlayer or Replay Media Catcher by Applian.

MP4 Video Converter Video Conversion

I then convert the videos with either MP4 Converter (download) by 4Media or Moyea FLV Converter (download). I wrote a post about video downloading at my personal blog for more information about this subject.

Video Editor Video Editing

I do some basic cutting and filtering with the free tool VirtualDub.

If I have to do some more editing, I am using ImToo Mpeg Encoder (download) to convert videos to Mpeg2 and edit them with Adobe Premiere. You have to convert all video footage to one format, one that the editing software handles well, or you might get all kinds of issues. I also to resizing to one resolution before hand. I do that mostly with VirtualDub.

Audio Maker Images and Audio Editing

For still images, I am using Adobe Photoshop, Snag-It Editor and an old version of Paintshop Pro (without Layers). For audio editing I am using the free tool Audacity or Adobe Soundbooth.

mac-apple-coloricon... and I am sick and tired of Windows and issues with video and audio Codec etc. and THAT close to get a Macintosh. :)  

I used in the past Camtasia Studio by TechSmith for video composition, because it was easy to use, just like the (free) Windows Movie Maker by Microsoft, just a little bit better.

AVI MPEG Converter Screen Captures and Screen Recordings

For screen captures and recordings I am using TechSmith's Snag-It or the CamRecorder that comes with TechSmith's Camtasia Studio. To record demos and intros (sacreleases account at YouTube), I am either using the capture feature that comes with the emulators (DOSBox or WinUAE) and for Windows stuff the free tool called KKapture, which was developed by the famous (in the demoscene) demo group Farbrausch.

That's about it...the whole deal :)

I use and used to use some other tools, but that is often only for convenience reasons, nothing more. I could do everything with just the tools that I mentioned.

Carsten aka Roy/SAC

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