Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 100
For almost 2 years, every week (I missed 2), I posted a newsletter with information about the new tech stuff that interests me, and of course DVD Catalyst news, tips, q&a and even some rants, and now we are at the big 100, and I have to admit, I have no idea what to write about.
This week, not much in terms of technology, and while I did spent quite some time every day this week to find something that catches my interest, there really wasn’t anything that wasn’t there before. In addition to that, of course I had some website stuff to deal with as well, thanks to the new website launch last week.
More about that later, lets start with this weeks tech news:
This week, Facebook had a big announcement. For a few weeks, there were things floating around the web that indicated something smartphone-related, and yesterday, the cat was let out of the bag. Facebook is releasing a “home-replacement” app for Android. Facebook Home, as it is called, replaces the basic functionality of your Android phone’s access to apps with a more Facebook-focused way of doing things. In short, it has all the Facebook functionality integrated in your phone. Status updates from your friends on the lock-screen, integrated timeline, chat, the works.
In addition with the app, Facebook partnered with HTC, a well-known smartphone maker, and created an affordable “Facebook Phone”, the HTC First.
I know quite a few people who don’t do anything but Facebook with their computers/gadgets, and for those, it will be a perfect addition (replacement) for the way they use their smartphones now.
Google Nexus 7 2.0
Some rumors appeared on the second generation of the Nexus 7.With the success of the Nexus 7, it is of course obvious that Google will release an updated version, but until now, things were a bit unclear.
While nothing is certain at this point, it seems likely that Google will be following the route of game-consoles and Amazon’s Kindle Fire series by offering the Nexus 7 2.0 at a price point below cost and rely on content sales to make up the difference. With Google’s recent crackdown on ad-block apps in Google Play, they might even consider on-device advertising similar as to the Kindle Fire HD.
Google GMail Compose Email.
Earlier this week, Google flipped the switch on a new way to compose emails.
The idea behind it is sound, enabling people to read other emails while writing one, but I don’t like it.
While I do hand-type all my replies to questions, I do have a few so-called “canned responses” that contain some basic stuff, such as the reset steps for DVD Catalyst. Pulling these up the old way was considerably easier than it is with the new way of doing things, so I switched back to the old style.
When it comes to technology, the one thing that most people look at with each new device release is performance. With each incarnation of a smartphone or a tablet, it should be able to offer a faster experience than before.
Reviewers as well as the people among the tweaker / guru communities often resort to benchmark tools such as 3D Mark, Antutu, Geek Bench, or use commonly used, performance hungry apps (such as Handbrake or DVD Catalyst) to get an idea of performance difference.
But, the majority of these performance monitoring methods are limited to a certain device group. Desktop apps don’t run on mobile apps, and of course mobile apps don’t work (directly) on a desktop system.
This week, some multi-platform comparison tools emerged. DX Bench and 3D Mark have been working on a cross-platform version of their benchmark tools, enabling users to get an idea of performance differences between desktop systems and mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
While cool, of course the actual cross-platform results are not really that useful. It is interesting to know that an iPad 4 can run a benchmark tool faster than a Nexus 10, but unless the apps/games you are interested in are on both platforms, you will never notice much of a difference. Its like comparing Apples, Pears and Oranges. And then I am not even taking proper optimizations into account, because many are developed for one particular type, and then ported over to another.
But, if you use them to compare between different devices in the same group (iPad 3 vs iPad 4 vs iPad Mini, Nexus 10 vs NOOK HD+ vs Kindle Fire HD 8.9), it can tell you if something runs better on one or the other.
For some of the more graphic heavy games, NOVA3, Asphalt 7 etc, the difference can be quite big between devices, but for Angry Birds, not so much.
While a large part was completed with the new website launch last week, unfortunately, with a complete replacement and redesign like that, many additional things come up afterwards.
I was under the impression I created a lot of re-directs for older article locations to automatically link to the new ones, but I missed (quite) a few. Thanks to Google Analytics I was able to find the majority of the ones that people use and corrected the complication, but there are of course still a few remaining.
In addition to that, I’ve also been working on making the website work better with a few safety solutions on the web, but with 2 website domains (www.dvdcatalyst.com and www.tools4movies.com) pointing to the same location and with the speed these services work, it is an annoying process.
Thankfully, a clean bill of health on both Symantec and McAfee:
But unfortunately, while dvdcatalyst.com has received enough ratings for Web of Trust, tools4movies.com doesn’t have enough just yet, even though both link to the same location.
Web of Trust:
Earlier this week, I was reading an article on a tech site that contained a look back on how the iPad impacted (or not) the lives of some of the site’s staff.
Reading the article (surprisingly interesting, even if you are not into Apple products I think), it made me reflect on my own use.
If you have read more than a few of my newsletters, you are likely aware that my own tablet use is rather limited. I use them (obviously) mainly for video and browsing the news. As of such, there really is not much of a difference for me in using an Apple iPad, Xoom, Galaxy Note 10.1, Kindle Fire HD, NOOK HD, Blackberry Playbook or Surface.
The restrictive nature of Apple doesn’t affect me, except when trying to transfer content over, the differences in user interfaces between “clean” Android (Xoom, Galaxy Note) and user-friendly (Amazon/NOOK), and the lack of apps on the Playbook or Surface RT is also a non-issue for me. As long as it has a web browser, decent screen and plays videos, I have what I need.
But, reading through some of the experiences in the article, I do recognize. At first, I expected more from a tablet. Especially with, when they first came out, pricing similar to that of a laptop, I expected similar functionality. Of course, similar as with computers, its the apps that enable new functionality, and with new systems, as early adopters know (or hope for at least) a lack of apps means that it will come eventually, but unfortunately some of the core fundamentals on tablets are making things tricky. Typing emails on a touch screen, apps always running full-screen, standard copy & paste functionality, all factors that can be a bit of a hassle to deal with if you are trying to use a tablet as a desktop replacement.
Since my first tablet, I tried to get more use out of them than what I do now. I tried to use them to reply to emails in the evening while watching a show, I tried typing newsletters and site-articles on them, even with a Surface with keyboard or a wireless keyboard for something else, but in the end, it is a lot faster and easier to just use a laptop instead.
So I just came to accept that tablet has its limitations, and rather than fighting them, I just accept it, and use a tablet for what I know it works great for.
As mentioned, my usage is rather limited, and because of that, there is no real difference between them for me. I’m perfectly fine in watching a movie on the iPad or on a Playbook. Of course, some physical (shape) differences do come into play when it comes to using them for movies or to take them along with you, but for me in the evenings, I just grab what has a charge or which one I put the movie on that I want to watch.
Tips & Tricks:
Many people seem to believe that the time of physical content such as DVD and Bluray is coming to an end. Video streaming solutions (Netflix, Vdio, RedBox, Amazon Prime) are popping up all over, and with the ability to purchase or rent a movie or TV show online, and watch it in a matter of seconds, I can see the reasoning behind these thoughts, but nothing is further than the truth.
Physical movie content comes in 2 forms. DVD or Bluray, thats it. You either need a DVD player and watch your movies on DVD, or you need a Bluray player, and you can watch both.
But if you look at digital content, each brand and device category has their own movie store. iTunes, which only works with Apple devices, Google Play that works only with Android devices, Samsung MediaHub Store which only works with Samsung devices, and so on. To make things even worse, purchases from one location don’t mix with those from another, so if you switch to something else, a different brand, or maybe even switch to a different category completely , the content you purchased through these digital media stores will not work, and you will need to purchase your movies again. On top of that, none of these stores take the content you already have into account, so if you want to watch your favorite movie on your TV and on your smartphone or tablet, you will need to purchase it twice.
And with all these different video services, who knows which one will survive. Maybe 2 years from now, Apple will be out of luck and iTunes will be shutdown, or maybe Google decides, similar as some of the apps that will be canceled this year, that videos are not bringing in enough revenue and shuts that part down. Or the movie studios themselves, picking and choosing between the different services, and not releasing the same content on all, or at the same time.
So while the convenience is there, if you like to keep your movies so you can watch them at a later time, physical content is still the only guarantee. As long as you keep the disk you can watch it 2 years, 5 years of even 20 years from now, just like there are still plenty of people who watch their movie collection on VHS tapes.
And, with the help of conversion tools like DVD Catalyst, you can turn your own DVD collection into digital files with the click of a button.
Earlier this week, Engadget posted up an early review of the Ouya Android console:
The core-idea behind the Ouya from my view is the reverse of what I would like to see (I would like to have full-size games on a portable device). The Ouya enables playing of mobile games in the living room on TV. While cool, many games on Android (and iOS) are more optimized for touch-screen use, and playing these with a controller makes things a bit cumbersome. For some genres, such as racing (Asphalt) and shooting games (NOVA), as well as games (Final Fantasy) ported from other, controller-based systems work well, but again, playing something like Angry Birds with a controller feels a bit awkward to me.
Since the original announcement, I’ve been looking forward to the Ouya, but the review, while early, highlighted some interesting things.
The games currently available on the Ouya are all older games, games that have been released originally on the Apple Appstore and Google Play, and are now available through the Ouya Store. I didn’t see a Google Play option mentioned so far either, so even if you already have an Android device, likely you will need to pay again.
Looking at living room gaming systems, XBOX360, PS3, Wii etc, I see the Ouya more as a WiiU. Unique experience, affordable and fun for a while, but after the newness is worn off, it will just sit there for the most part. Even for people who already use Android devices, the Ouya doesn’t seem to offer more than a build-in TV connection and a controller. Many of the current generation smartphones and tablets have a TV out capability already, and with a little bit of fiddling, a controller can be used as well.
Don’t kill the monkey!
The newer Star Wars movies (and Indiana Jones 4) already ruined it for me, and I don’t have much interest in the upcoming Star Wars movies, so I wasn’t really affected by Disney buying out George Lucas, but this week, the announcement of Disney closing the LucasArts development studio hit me like a brick.
The last couple of years, LucasArts didn’t have much success, but they are known for the true classics. Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, and even made the real Indiana Jones 4, The Fate of Atlantis, a game released back in 1992, and each with a story-line that would be a perfect fit for a movie.
Thankfully the nostalgia of these games lives on in the form of ScummVM, but with the studio behind it no more, it is pretty much a guarantee that successors to the games of yesterday are not an option.
Unfortunately, it seems to be an ongoing trend in the gaming industry:
but thankfully, many of these people end up releasing so-called “Indie” games, games they actually want to make, rather than being controlled by a game publisher company.
And that is is for DVD Catalyst Newsletter 100. I was hoping to do a bundle again like I did with newsletter 50, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/149474, but dealing with the changes on the website, I had to prioritize some things. Hopefully later this week I’ll be able to continue with it (I did start), and look back at some of the things that happened throughout the time I have been writing the newsletter.
But, aside from that, it is also time for me to donate to the government, and this weekend a lot of time will be spent on figuring out my taxes. Always painful, but it needs to get done.
Thanks again for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter, and have a great weekend,
About DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst is the easiest and most affordable software available for converting your movies and TV shows from DVD and for converting popular (AVI, MKV, ISO etc) video files into the right file format for PCs, smartphones and tablets.
Convert DVDs with a single click of the button, convert 1 or 100 video files in batch-mode by using Drag & Drop, remove black bars, include subtitles or closed captions.
It includes pre-configured device profiles for 1000s of devices, including the latest Apple devices (iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5), Samsung (Galaxy S3,Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 etc), Barnes & Noble NOOK HD,NOOK HD+, Amazon Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and much much more.
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