Thank you for reading the 50th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
50 newsletters. I never thought I would get that far when I started writing them last year. It wasn't easy, but I enjoy doing it though.
As promised last week, this week, I have a surprise, but more on that a bit later. Let me start with this week's tech news:
Just like the last couple of weeks, things have been a bit quiet. Every day I visit news sites to see if there is anything that catches my attention, but it is just dry. There just isn't much happening these days for some reason. A few things did stand out though.
A new magazine subscription system launched this week. A company called Next Issue Media (http://www.nextissue.com ) released an Android app (HC3+) that lets you read a fair amount of magazines for just 1 monthly fee. I've been wanting to use a tablet for reading magazines, but the subscription cost for magazines is not at the right price point for me yet I guess. While my own interests are not fully covered by this service yet, I am sure others will follow, and of course Next Issue will be adding more content when deals come through and when (if) the service takes off. It is like Netflix for magazines.
Last week the XBOX360 got HBO Go, so this week Sony added Amazon Instant Video to the PS3. I love the fact that for some DVDs I get through Amazon that I can watch it pretty much intantly before the DVD even shipped through its video service, but aside from that, I mainly use it with videos I get free with my Prime membership, but even then, Netflix seems to have a better offering (more seasons than Amazon offers for free)
This week, one of Google's X-projects made its way on to the web, Project Glass. Watching a video for it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) makes it look really cool and useful. Augmented reality is something that will very likely become a big part of our future, but to have something that communicates with your friends and family fully automated brings its risks as well, such as what this video shows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3TAOYXT840
Imagine if you end up getting a virus in that thing
Earlier this week, I updated DVD Catalyst 4 to v4.1.5. While the update is only a small version-increase (not big enough for me to update to 4.2 yet), it does have some significant new features.
I added an additional CRF option in the device settings. Since I added CRF a few versions ago (http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/03/crf/ ) it has become one of the most popular features in DVD Catalyst 4, however, there are some scenarios where the setting might not be desired to be used, and since the setting is located in Global Settings, it kicks in for all your conversions.
In DVD Catalyst 4.1.5, I added an additional CRF setting that is used for just the selected device profile (in "Modify" with "Power User" enabled), so you can easily switch it on/off, or with multi-device (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ4VvJk-zQI) you can setup conversions that run with CRF and others without.
With the new CRF option, I also made a change to the recently added HQXT profiles (http://www.tools4movies.com/2012/01/...st-hq-hq2-hqx/)
The main thought behind the HQXT profiles is to be able to use 1 profile for different video sources, and of course CRF is the perfect addition for that in order to maintain the best quality, so for these profiles, I now have CRF automatically enabled.
I also added a "wait" feature to DVD Catalyst 4 in this update. Pausing a conversions midway is risky. Because the conversion pauses, the drive that contains your original video (DVD/Bluray and even harddrive) spins down as well, and loses its position. If you resume such a conversion there is a very big chance that because the drives need to spin back up and find the position again, that you get a small glitch in your video. The wait-feature will finish the current conversion, and when it is completed, it will wait for you to tap on it again to continue with the next video. Especially if you need to do something else on your computer, but do not want to stop DVD Catalyst completely, this feature will make things easier.
Last but not least, I made another feature that was already in the Global Settings easier to access, shutdown when done. Conversions take time, so many people just run them overnight, and it is quite handy to have DVD Catalyst 4 just turn off your computer when it is done, but if you start a conversion during the day and just let it run in the background, you don't want it to turn off your computer when you are working on a document, which, if you forget to turn it off, is precisely what will happen.
With the new option, you can just enable it when you need to, and, the best thing about it is, the next time you start DVD Catalyst, the setting will not be enabled automatically.
New Website Design:
This week, the tools4movies.com website also received a bit of an upgrade. A friend of mine did most of the work on the design, but there are still a few things I have to finish up myself.
I had a lot of things going on this week, so no lengthy guides this time, but I did post up a few "DVD" articles.
I got the movie on Tuesday (when it came out) to make sure it would convert properly with DVD Catalyst 4.
I watched this movie last night, and if you are on the fence of picking it up, just get it. Spielberg has had some mishaps with movies the last couple of years, but with this one he is back. No famous actors that distract you from the actual movie, and the focus being on the horse instead of a person gives the movie a very interesting way of story-telling. Absolutely great, and I'll likely watch it again this weekend.
Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure
Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue
Both Tinkerbell's have been on my list for a while, but I never gotten to pick them up. I ordered them a couple of days ago, and ran them through DVD Catalyst 4 when they came in.
DVD Catalyst 4 – Build 4.1.5 Release Notes
And of course the actual release notes for DVD Catalyst 4 v4.1.5, which I already mentioned above.
Political Opinions of America
Every day I get calls from this scam. Last year I received a few calls from Mr. Chuck Norris (recorded) regarding politics, and that was (well, the first call at least) pretty funny, but these calls from "Ann of Political Opinions of America" are just crap. They don't stop, there is no way to opt out, a button press just results in being disconnected, and if you call the number back you get the same message.
After some googling, it appears to be a scam from the cruise company that supposedly offers you the free cruise after completing the survey. On one website (link) someone mentioned that in order to get the cruise, they have to give out their creditcard number to pay for taxes on the cruise. On another site, someone dug a bit, and found that the domain name for the survey company is actually owned by the cruise company.
I really hate those unsolicited phone calls, and these are the worst ones I have ever encountered. Every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, and while they have a "remove from list" page on their website, I am quite sure that they will remove me from one, and add me on another 50, so I don't even bother. I could block the number, but they use random numbers. Oregon, California, Florida etc.
Last week, I mentioned I had a something special planned for this week's newsletter, so here it is.
I have been looking for ways to make the information and articles I post easier to access. The tools4movies.com website is of course the main location for it all, but when I posted up some of the updated conversion guides a few weeks ago, quite a few people asked for an off-line version, so I added PDF files for them as well. While I was working on that, I was thinking of different ways to make it even easier.
Of course when the conversion process is actually running, your computer is busy, and since you are likely converting for a phone/tablet, providing a guide of some sorts that you can actually read on it would make perfect sense.
So, the last couple of weeks, I have been fiddling with eBook stuff. I created a couple of eBook-versions (PDF, ePub and Mobi format) of the NOOKtablet and the Kindle Fire guides, and will be adding more for other devices as soon as I can.
You can use the following links to download the free eBook version of the guides:
ePub (NOOK) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/n...guide_epub.zip
mobi (Kindle) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/n...guide_mobi.zip
pdf (Adobe Reader) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/n...blet_guide.pdf
Kindle Fire Guide:
ePub (NOOK) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/k...guide_epub.zip
mobi (Kindle) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/k...guide_mobi.zip
pdf (Adobe Reader) http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/k...fire_guide.pdf
But this week I also created one that contains the newsletters (including this one) I have written so far. One large eBook, which, while a bit rough around the edges, gives you an interesting look through most of last year's tech-related news, along with a chronology of DVD Catalyst related information and my own experiences and thoughts.
When I was creating PDF-versions of some of the guides, I had a hard time trying to make the images look correct, getting the text to look right, but after some fiddling and playing with different templates and even software, I finally got the hang of it.
You can download the free Newsletter eBook (containing the first 50 newsletters) by using one of these links:
DVD Catalyst Newsletter Collection (1-50)
pdf (Adobe Reader)http://www.tools4movies.com/ebooks/d...collection.pdf
I was actually hoping to make these guides available for free through eBook services such as Amazon and B&N to make it easier for people to download them, but unfortunately, free eBooks is something that these stores don't like, and I was not fond of the idea of putting a $1 dollar price on something that I provide for free on my website. I was thinking of including a special purchase link in the books that would, if bought for $1, take $1 off the purchase price for DVD Catalyst 4, but I don't believe this is fair towards people who already have DVD Catalyst 4, so until I have found a better way, the eBooks will just be available as a free download on my website.
Most devices are capable of reading the PDF versions without much trouble, but for the actual eReader formatted eBooks, the ePub (NOOK) and mobi (Kindle) versions, you will need to use a computer to download and transfer (side-load) the eBooks in order to be able to read them.
Well that is it for this week's newsletter. I wish I could come up with more things to write about, but this week has been quite busy for me with the new website design, DVD Catalyst 4 update, and of course creating the eBook versions of some guides and the newsletter collection.
Thank you for reading the 50th newsletter, and have a fun Easter weekend.