Archive for the ‘Digital Entertainment’ Category
Today I just heard about XBMC, an open source media centre. It looks pretty cool. I’ll have to check it out!
XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
I use VLC for all of my media playing. It is amazing. It plays almost any file, and the various startup and playlist options just can’t be beat. In fact, I just recently ran a 1 1/2 hour meeting where there were a couple of different videos played. I used VLC to play various segments of the same file, and I played it at 1.1x speed. It went perfectly. We only watched what we needed, and the video played just barely faster. It saved us a few minutes.
Anyway, Ghacks recently had a posting about a new utility that is supposed to help you set some of the various parameters when starting a video. Rather than go through it all here, just visit http://www.ghacks.net/2013/09/25/get-vlc-media-player-tips/
And if you don’t follow Ghacks, you really should…
I’ve posted before some links to sites that help you download videos from the web. Another one is Splandoo. The dropdown box lets you choose from over a dozen different video providers.
Note: The video providers are often changing their web sites, so some videos may download correctly, but others may not.
I don’t do them much anymore, but over the years I’ve done quite a lot of software reviews. I’ve tried several different screen capture utilities with varying degrees of success. Sometimes I find myself using a computer that doesn’t have any such utility installed, so I use the old PrintScreen button to take a screenshot. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why taking a screenshot of Windows Media Player (while playing a video) would give me a blank screen. I was never doing anything important enough for me to look into it, but recently I found out what the problem was. It has to do with “overlays”, and after following the instructions I found on the Quick Online Tips web site, screenshot captured! Good stuff!
Note: I’m not sure if this applies to all version of WMP, but it does work for sure on WMP 11.
From the Toronto Star:
Those seconds you spent playing Google’s interactive Pac-Man fed a worldwide productivity drain of 4.82 million hours, an online calculation says.
RescueTime, a software tool to measure how employees spent their time, found that people who clicked through the Google-Pac-Man logo on Friday squandered an average of 36 extra seconds more on google.com, compared with the previous Friday.
The dollar tally was $120,483,000 in lost productivity, RescueTime said Monday. That’s based on an average Google user cost of $25 an hour.
I played it. Did you?
Last night I wanted to download a YouTube video. I don’t have any utilities on my computer that will do this. My normal option is to use Zamzar. The one problem with this, is that sometimes it takes a while to get the email notifying you that the download/converstion is done. While I was waiting, I did a simple Google search, and found KeepVid. This is a site that lets you enter a URL at any of the big video sites, and it will then provide you with a link to download the video. I did this and had the video downloaded before Zamzar got back to me. For the video I wanted, I was provided with two links… one for an FLV file, and the other for an MP4 video.
From Download Squad:
What could be better than a program that will convert audio, video, and image files from and to just about any format you can think of? How about one that does it all batch-style with minimal clicking? FormatFactory doesn’t care what files you want to swap in what order, just feed it your sources and watch it go to work. Unlike a lot of similar apps, this one doesn’t limit you to only video or audio, or even to one file at a time.Dump in as much as you want of whatever you want, and FormatFactory will do all the heavy lifting. It even supports the iPhone and PSP, and 3GP as well – making it a great way to cram multiformat goodness onto your favorite portable player.
This posting is from almost a month ago, and I finally got around to trying it last night. It’s great! It converted a video for me in just a few seconds. I also tried a WAV to MP3 converstion and it only took a few seconds as well.
None of the download links on the site itself worked, so I did a search for the program and found it easily.
A month or so ago Download Squad linked to DVDFab, a program that lets you rip DVDs to your hard drive.
To burn or not to burn? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the absence of your DVD collection on your hard drive, or to take arms against those who poison your collection with various “protections,” and by opposing end them.
If you side with the latter camp, then you’ll be interested in DVDFab HD Decrypter, a free program for Windows that copies an entire DVD movie to your hard drive, and removes all the protections (CSS, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs and Sony ARccOS) while copying. The program also provides full HD-DVD and Blu-Ray support (hence the “HD” in the name).
As is usually the case, the comments section of that posting provides some good alternatives.
A couple of weeks ago Download Squad posted about the DVD Rip utility, which makes it easy to backup DVDs:
There are plenty of applications that help you rip DVDs to your computer. But for the most part, you need to click through a series of long and tedious menus. DVD Rip provides a one click DVD archiving solution, no headaches required.
Rip DVD was put together by the folks at productivity blog Lifehacker. It’s designed to work with the popular DVD archiving application DVD Shrink. In order for Rip DVD to work, you’ll need to install DVD Shrink. But if you don’t already have it, don’t worry. DVD Rip includes a download link.
So what exactly does DVD Rip do? Basically, it answers all those tricky questions that DVD Shrink asks which you may or may not have good answers for. So all you have to do is insert a DVD in your drive, click the executable file, and wait a few hours until your disc is ripped.
Check out the posting as well as the comments at Download Squad, as some people have other suggestions.
Toshiba said Tuesday it will no longer manufacture HD DVDs, effectively ending the long-running battle with the rival Blu-ray for a dominant high-definition format.
Toshiba said it made the decision to cease developing, manufacturing, and marketing HD DVDs after “recent major changes in the market.” It promised to continue offering support and service for all existing Toshiba HD DVD products.
“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” Toshiba President and Chief Executive Atsutoshi Nishida said in a news release.