Thank you for reading the 45th Tools4Movies Newsletter,
This week, the web was mostly filled with new products announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A large collection of new phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Beam (projector phone) and other Galaxy models, Sony's Xperia P and U (I want that live wallpaper), LG's Optimus Vu, HTC One series, ZTE, Asus and many more. Then of course some new tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 v2, Viewsonic and more.
Adobe announced Photoshop Touch for the iPad, which hopefully will make it over to Android as well.
Then the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released by Microsoft. While not the best device for it (bare minimum specifications), I installed it on one of my test machines, and played with it a bit. I'm not sure yet on if I actually like it or not though. The new look, while I think it looks pretty snazzy, takes some time to get used to, and I think it is just a bit too much of a change. Of course you can always switch to desktop-mode, but overall, it just feels a bit "off".
And of course, the rumor mill is running overtime with the soon to be released iPad3. I guess we will find out next week, on March 7th. I really hope some of the rumors are true, quad-core and retina screen, but if it is something like last year's iPad2 release, the quad-core processor might be saved back for the iPad4 next year.
After last week's release of DVD Catalyst 4 v4.1.4, I had a few people contact me regarding some weird subtitle issues, so earlier this week I released a minor update to address the issue, DVD Catalyst 4 v22.214.171.124. The update mainly addresses the subtitle issue, but I also implemented a small tweak which results in a slight performance boost.
Aside from the DVD Catalyst 4 update, I have been putting some time in ImageGallery, but it will be a few weeks before release though.
Mostly DVDs this week. Lately I have been spending a lot of time on app development, so I have less time to write detailed articles. I am working on a few of them, but the topics are a bit more advanced than my usual articles, so I am trying to make them as easy to read as possible.
Puss in Boots (2011)
Newly released last friday. I picked up the Bluray + DVD combo pack, and put both versions through DVD Catalyst 4:
I had a few people ask about this movie, so I ran it through its paces.
Black Hawk Down (2002)
One of my favorite movies. I wanted to watch it on the PSVita, so I documented the steps I took to convert this movie.
One of the big Oscar winners this week, so of course I picked it up to make sure it would convert fine with DVD Catalyst 4.
We picked this movie up a few weeks ago, and while digging through movies, I nearly tripped over it. Since Disney movies are notorious for being picky, I figured I might as well run it through a conversion to see if there were any complications.
In Time (2011)
The wife picked this one up a week or so ago. Supposedly a popular movie, so I ran a test-conversion on it.
Again I spent another week with the PSVita as my main gadget. I don't have that much free time due to work, however, I managed to watch a couple of movies and TV shows on it this week.
In the 126.96.36.199 release of DVD Catalyst 4, I made a small modification in the PSVita profiles. As I expected, there is a video-playback limitation on the PSVita. I'm not sure if it is a bug or if Sony did it intentional, but if watch an HD video file on it that is optimized to match the PSVita screen resolution chances are that you end up with an ugly green bar across your video, making it unwatchable. If you use DVD Catalyst 4 v188.8.131.52 you will not encounter this green-bar issue.
While the video transfer part for the PSVita is somewhat painful, for actual video file playback, it works pretty good. It is sad that the memorycards for it are a bit overpriced. I hope that someone will soon release a Vita-to-MicroSD adapter for it so that I can just use the 32GB cards I have for my tablets with it.
Of course, after my PSVita review from last week, Netflix was released for the PSVita, but unfortunately, using the android tablet interface-style on a smaller-screen such as the Vita is painful. It feels clunky, and I really hate the fact that when you start the Netflix App, it also connects to PSN as well. I wonder what data is actually being collected from my Vita-usage by Sony.
Either way, I have lost my interest in the games I picked up for the Vita. It was fun while it lasted, but to play longer-lasting games on a portable device just doesn't work well. Loading times are a bit too long for my taste, and if I really want to play a game (if time permits) for a couple of hours, I rather use my Xbox 360 instead. But, if there would be a way for me to play Fallout 3 on the Vita, I'm game
For more info on the PSVita, you can visit this link to my own review for it:
As mentioned above, I downloaded the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and played with it a bit. It seems to work OK for a pre-release version of Windows, Much better than "Whistler", the Beta of Windows XP, but I am not sure about the actual GUI. It looks all snazzy, with the blocks, but actually using it seems a bit of a hassle. I'm not sure, but if I do upgrade, I will likely be running it in "desktop" mode, mainly because it is more productive for me. The blocks provide an easy way to get "small" information such as the weather, email count and such at a glance, but if you are like me, and run a 1080p screen and still manage to fill it up with icons within a matter of a week or so, the blocks just don't work.
Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 1.
After playing with Windows 8, I figured I would give the latest Ubuntu a shot as well.
This works a lot better, but unfortunately, the system I used for testing, a Vaio UX UMPC was not the best choice. While Ubuntu ran nicely on it, the touch-screen needs to be recalibrated, and using the mouse-nub is a bit tricky on it. The new Ubuntu does look very nice and usable though, so I'll likely install it on a spare system in the next week or so, but for the Vaio UX, back to Windows XP I guess.
With Microsoft attempting Tablet PC's back in 2001 or so, things didn't go so well, but when Apple released the first iPad 9 years later, the tablet-devices suddenly took off.
While the tablet itself doesn't seem to have a dedicated purpose like a phone or an actual computer/laptop, it is one of the hottest tech things on the market. Now, 2 years after the first iPad, manufacturing companies big and small seem to have caught up with Apple, with new tablets being announced and released on a daily basis. It makes me wonder how long this will last and were we are heading with this.
Through recent years, we have seen UMPCs (2005) and Netbooks (2007) competing with the laptop market. With the iPhone (2007) and Android phones (2008) gently threading towards portable computing as well, the tablet sits between laptops and phones.
Almost all the tablets on the market today run an operating system designed for phones, yet a tablet is not a phone. The size of them is too large to comfortably carry them around, which puts them on par of carrying around a laptop, but to use them in a similar way as a laptop, such as word-processing, spreadsheets etc, is still a painful process. There are wireless keyboards, keyboard docks, but those basically turn the tablet into a laptop, and the apps to do office tasks still requires you to compromise in features and functionality.
All this can of course be resolved by installing a remote-app to access your own computer through the tablet, but if you have to do your daily tasks that way, why not use a laptop instead?
Just imagine setting up your iPad or Transformer, dock to have it at the right angle, Bluetooth keyboard and Bluetooth mouse on your coffee table, and then firing up Splashtop to be able to do some work on the computer in the next room, just so you can do it while watching a show. Wouldn't a laptop be a lot easier?
In functionality, a tablet is something that is great for small tasks.
You are watching a movie, and remember an actor, but forgot the movie you remember him from, so you grab your tablet and a quick visit to Google or IMDB gives you the answer.
You are waiting from an email from a client, and with your tablet on the table, you just watch your show, and when the email comes in, you can quickly look at it and if needed reply/forward it.
But, this functionality is limited. Of course you can browse the web, do emails, visit/chat on Facebook and Google+, but all this is a lot easier on a full-size computer.
So why are tablets so popular these days?
It's the games and apps for them.
For a developer, it is really easy to create and release apps for tablets such as the iPad and Android tablets. Because of the shortcomings of the actual tablet design, there are plenty of opportunities for developers to release small apps for a minimal fee to address one of those shortcomings.
"There is an app for that"
It is similar for games. When Apple opened up the iTunes Appstore, the market for pricy games plummeted. Small, simple games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Where is my water dominate the top charts. While the hardcore gamers still prefer to play console-style games, the majority of people who use their tablets don't want to spent hours on trying to get past a level.
So where are tablets heading?
It seems tablets are going back to their roots. With Microsoft trying to expand its Windows Phone horizon by creating versions of Windows for tablet chipsets such as the Tegra3, tablets will turn into their 9 year old counterparts, the Tablet PC. Running a desktop-style operating system on a tablet will expand its functionality. Being able to run full-size applications such as Office, Photoshop and even full-fledged web browsers that are capable of handling all the graphical content without compromise seems like a great idea, but I am afraid that this will actually kill off the tablets rather than enhance them. Aside from processor-differences that will affect the way apps are developed, I do not see the smaller developers migrating over to Windows 8-tablets anytime soon. With my brief play with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I noticed that the sleep-mode works a bit better, which is one of my concerns when it comes to running a desktop-OS on a portable device, but I just don't see its functionality extend beyond the normal desktop usage, and combine that with the lack of an actual keyboard, I would rather use a laptop instead.
When I compare usability between 7" and 10" tablets, I enjoy using a 10" at home, but whenever I have to go somewhere, I always end up grabbing a 7" one instead. With powerful devices such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII, which supposedly will feature a quad-core processor and full 1080 screen resolution, around the corner, the smart-phones are moving towards tablet-territory, and with the tablets moving towards laptop territory, my guess would be history would repeat itself and that Windows-tablets will go the same way as the Tablet PC did, and larger (my guess would be 6") smart-phones will become the new tablets.
Don't get me wrong on this though. I love my tablets. At nights, I use them to watch a movie or a couple of TV show episodes either converted with DVD Catalyst 4, or through Netflix. I use them to monitor my support emails and some random web browsing, but when it comes to actually doing work, I get up and walk to my full-size computer to do it from there. A while ago, I did pick up a Bluetooth keyboard for my Xoom, and while it works just fine, it is a lot quicker for me to reply to an email on my computer.
Every day I see people on forums trying to deal with the limitations of a tablet. Posts about people picking up a $500 tablet, and then expecting it to play whatever video file they have, and then running into complications. They don't want to go through the process of converting their movies, so they spent hours on trying to get the files they have to work.
It's like losing the remote of your TV, and spending an hour looking for it, rather than just walking up to the TV and change the channel.
Well, that is it for this week's newsletter. It's snowing out, so I'm off trying to keep up with it and clean the walkway a bit. Thank you for reading the 45th Tools4Movies newsletter, and see you next week.
Have a nice weekend,
For more information on how to use DVD Catalyst with your Android Tablet/Phone, have a look at the following guide: