DVD Catalyst Newsletter 57 - $9 Special few days left, dvdcatalyst.com, trip and more
Thank you for reading the 57th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
I am sorry for missing last week's newsletter. I know there are many people looking forward to the newsletter every week, but I was visiting my parents overseas, leaving me with little time for anything other than answering support questions.
But I am back now, and do I have some news this week :)
www.dvdcatalyst.com is, after losing it 4 years ago, finally mine again!
More about that a bit later, let me start with some technology news:
There are some rumors on the web that Sony is working on a book-service for the PS3 and the PS Vita systems. Supposedly, the idea is to offer some form of interactive books for children, offered through PSN for purchase and download.
I can understand the reasoning for something like this for the Vita, but to do this on a PS3 is beyond me. Voice overs and PS Move integration to interact with the characters of a book would be cool, but I don't think that a Playstation would be the device to do it with. It seems it would be more fitting for a Wii.
Sony Cloud Gaming:
Another rumor this week is that Sony is looking to move its way into cloud-based gaming. With Sony's primary focus of eliminating any form of freedom from its consoles by implementing ridiculous anti-piracy systems that are starting to push away even the most fanatic Sony fans, removing actual content away from the consumer completely seems to be the next logical step. With cloud-gaming services, games are ran on hardware of the company, controller input is sent to these servers, and in return the video and audio is sent back to the gamer. Using this setup, a PS4 could be something the size (and cost) of a Roku box, with the only main requirement being a high-priced internet connection. With no physical discs, no drive would be needed, and of course, the other thorn in console-makers eyes, used game sales and game-rental services will be taken out in the process, maximizing profit.
I really hope this is not going to happen though. One of the main selling points for the PS3 (and the justification for its high price when it was released) is the build-in Bluray player. With a drive-less PS4, the cost will go down of course, but, you would still be required to hook up a Bluray player or your PS3 to be able to play your movies. Also, your current PS3 games will of course no longer work. Knowing Sony, they will likely offer an option to let you buy those games again in digital format but who is going to do that?
Last but not least, let us not forget last year's PSN-outage, leaving players all over the world with a useless box sitting underneath their TV, while their buddies with an XBOX were having a blast playing online.
A few weeks ago, there was some speculation about the next generation of consoles (both XBOX 720 and PS4) going disc-less or including something to eliminate the used games market, all for maximizing profit, but in the end, I believe it will actually hurt more than that they will gain anything.
Opening a few weeks ago at around $40, it currently hovers around the $26 mark. A lot of controversy has been floating around it, with mainly the little holding the bag for losing money. I'm not into stocks myself, so I can't comment on the details, but I can see something really shady happened here though.
Surprisingly, even though I missed a week in tech news, there wasn't that much out there. SpaceX was a success with docking its Dragon capsule with ISS, Apple's upcoming keynote (June 11th), E3 rumors etc, but nothing really caught my eye.
Onto DVD Catalyst News:
As mentioned earlier and in the previous newsletter, something quite big this week (well, for me at least).
www.dvdcatalyst.com is mine again :)
Back in 2008, the hosting company I was using at the time lost my domain. The credit-card they used for the registration was expired, and warnings and notices from the registrar on failed renewals were sent to an email address that was not monitored on a consistent basis.
After the domain-loss, certain fees were required to be paid to the registrar in order to get the domain re-instated, however my hosting company felt this as being unreasonable, and was going to contact a lawyer regarding the issue. This never happened, and as a result, the www.dvdcatalyst.com domain was lost, and nearly killed my business.
Since then, for about 3 years, the domain pointed to a SEDO parking page, with a "For Sale" sign on it with a price of about $5000. With the domain-loss, all the reviews, awards, website articles that were written about DVD Catalyst over the years (I started using the name in 2005) ended up pointing to a website that didn't had anything DVD Catalyst related on it. I basically had to start from scratch, and ponying up 5 grand to get it back just wasn't an option.
Last November, the domain was near expiration, and I was all setup for getting it back, but unfortunately, my offer got beat by someone else. At the time, there was no way of finding out who obtained it, so I ended up using GoDaddy's Domain-Buy system in an attempt to buy it back, without luck. The owner never responded.
At first the domain pointed to some blank page, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but then in January of this year, the owner decided to put something up, an application with a similar purpose as my own DVD Catalyst, offered for free, under the same name. At first, I suspected a small developer just releasing something while making use of the name to get exposure, but since early last year, I've also endured some internet stalking from one of my competitors, so suspicion towards them was also logical.
Thankfully, with the website change, suddenly the owner information of the domain also ended up becoming visible, and proved my suspicions were correct. With some digging, it became clear that one of my competitors (well, one that operates under at least 3 different company names) was behind the app.
While a SEDO parking page was annoying, it was not hurting a product name I have been using and building for over 7 years, but when a competitor posts up a same-name, inferior product in order to damage the product name things are a bit different.
So, with the help of a good attorney that specializes in technology-cases, I fought hard and as of this week, I have my own beloved www.dvdcatalyst.com domain back.
Since I just got back from visiting my parents, I am still catching up on things here, but I did push out some DVD articles. In preparation for the trip, I had some of them scheduled, and this week, I posted up a few new-releases. Rather than posting the individual links, just have a look here for the new ones:
New movies include:
Red Tails (great movie), Ghost Recon Alpha (not sure yet) and This Means War.
55% Off Mothers Day Special.
Sunday is the last day of the special offer. After that, the price will go back up.
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, I spent a week visiting my parents in the Netherlands. Because of the flight-cost I don't get over there too often, so we always try to make the best of it. The last time I was over there, almost 2 years ago, I came over to help them move to a more elderly-friendly apartment. This year, both my wife and I wanted to go (she's never been overseas) but she is still experiencing health-issues due to a virus she got around X-Mas. With both my parents getting older, and my dad having Parkinsons, we thought it was best for me to get over there sooner rather than later, so that I could actually spent some quality time with them, so I went alone.
The town I grew up in no longer exists. It was only a couple of miles away from 2 other towns and a big city, so the 3 towns merged into one. With its position so close to the city, it has grown into a large suburb, and most of the places I remember are no longer there. Here and there, you will find something that remains from the past, like a church, but the surroundings are completely unfamiliar. Even though I lived for the majority of my life in that town, with nothing really recognizable, it feels like something completely different, and I would easily get lost.
During the week, my parents and me ended up playing tourist, visiting some popular attractions and doing some tours.
The flight there was a nightmare though. I picked the cheapest flight, and while it was through a major airline (United), I should have looked better. Aside from an 8 hour lay-over in New York, the planes (a 737-800 and a 757-200) were too small for my taste. With the bigger planes, it seems that they are more able to maintain a decent air-pressure, but on the smaller planes, it sucks. During the first portion, my ears already popped early, but the second part, the pressure made it hurt pretty bad, and left me nearly deaf for almost 3 days.
The service on both flights was terrible as well. From past experience, I never check in any suitcases. I just carry hand luggage, because they always seem to put my luggage on a plane flying somewhere else, but on my flight to New York, I was forced to check in my hand-luggage due to lack of space in the overhead compartments. Then, during the flight, drinks were dispensed from soda-cans, but rather than getting an actual can, they poured it in cups, splitting 1 can between 3 people. It is not that I eat or drink much during a flight, but a small cup just doesn't cut it for me.
The flight back was a lot better though. Aside from having a direct flight, the stewardesses were a lot more attentive (they seemed to actually care, rather than treating people as a nuisance), and I actually did get soda cans that didn't get split.
I think it has something to do with the "Star Alliance" that United flies under. A collection of different airlines, and I'm sure that these different airlines have different standards as to how their customers should be treated. The thing is, with security already pressuring people who fly to their destinations, I believe that airline companies need to raise the bar a bit as to how even economy consumers experience the services that they offer. After I arrived, my fly experience was so bad that I even wanted to go as far as to get my return flight refunded and switch to a different airline to fly back, but due to the cost involved, I decided to bear with it. My return-flight experience was a million times better, so they did prove it can be done properly. Now if only they can be consistent with that.
For my future flights, I don't think that United Airlines will be a choice I would make easily. Had I known what my experience would be before I left, the $300 price-difference for a direct flight through a bigger, KLM plane might have swayed me to pay a bit more.
Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0.
As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, I decided to take the Galaxy Player 5.0 with me for entertainment during the flight.
I wish I would have brought something else, such as my NOOK tablet or even my DroidX instead. The main reason as to why I choose the Galaxy Player was its ability to charge using a USB battery-box, and that it lets me use memory cards for storage. For that alone, it worked OK, but the actual usage was not something I was too happy about.
The main problem I ran into was that unless you turn the thing completely off, it has some random battery drain. I don't know what it is, but during the evenings I used it to watch a few things, and after turning it off, one morning its completely dead, and on another morning it still has a 90% charge. Then there are issues with the battery indicator. It doesn't always update, so for hours and hours it displays its 100%, while in fact it's nearly drained.
At home, these issues are not really a big deal, but if you are traveling, reliability and predictability is something very important. The main reason why I picked the Galaxy Player up was for MovieGallery testing with TouchWiz, and I was hoping to get a little more use out of it, but it will go back in the box until I need it again for testing. With the Galaxy Tab 7.0 v2 selling for only a few bucks more, I would strongly recommend staying away from the Galaxy Player.
Well, that is it for this week's newsletter.
I am glad that I finally have my www.dvdcatalyst.com domain back. I have had a few people contact me regarding the app that was listed there, and I'm sure quite a few people, including people who have been using the real DVD Catalyst for years, have ran into some confusion with the app that was posted there, but now, all is back to normal, thankfully.
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter, and have a great weekend :)