DVD Catalyst Newsletter 130 - 11-15-13

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 130.

    After weeks of long days, finally this week I was able to finish up on what I have been working on. Wednesday afternoon, 2 new applications, DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT were released into the wild.

    Both apps are more of a re-release, but since both had been shelved for quite a few years, and the numerous changes I ended up implementing, I do consider both completely new. More about that a bit below. This week will also go into history as Playstation 4 week, so lets start with the tech news:


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    Tech News:

    Playstation 4 Release:

    As of today, the next generation of gaming consoles has turned into the current generation. Unlike last time where Microsoft's XBOX 360 had a bit of a head-start Sony is first with its new system, the Playstation 4. Throughout the week, tech websites have been posting up reviews of the system and its launch-titles, and for the most part, opinions have been quite positive.

    With the previous generation, I preferred the XBOX 360 over the PS3, but this time around, I'm on the fence. One feature in particular of the PS4 is one that is luring me over to the other side, Remote Play.


    If you have been reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter for a while, you have likely read about my experiences with (and love for) the nVidia Shield. A portable device that streams games from a PC into a portable device. Remote Play is basically the same as that, but it uses a PS4 (and a PS Vita to access) to stream the games instead. PC games, if you have a decent "gaming" capable system, generally has better-looking games, but for me, it lacks the convenience of a console. The Shield works great, but I do feel that a console is more fitting.


    Anyway, if you are looking forward to the PS4, here are some links to reviews:


    *Remote Play on the PS4:
    PS4: Remote Play Put To The Test - IGN Video


    * PS4 Launch-day Game Reviews:

    Game Reviews at IGN


    * PS4 System reviews:

    PlayStation 4 Review: Sony?s Comeback Console | TIME.com
    Review: PlayStation 4 | Joystiq
    PlayStation 4 Reviewed: Games and Hardware • Articles • PlayStation 4 • Eurogamer.net


    * Early PS4 issues:


    Similar as what Microsoft ran into with the original XBOX360 release, some issues are already popping up with the PS4.


    IGN reports of a gamer who experienced a hell of a time with Sony Customer Support after he received the PS4 he won in a "Play the Future First" contest that was DOA (Dead on Arrival). On top of that, IGN themselves, of course in the middle of a full rundown of the PS4, its games and capabilities, ended up with a dead PS4 as well.

    Broken PlayStation 4 Systems - IGN
    Sony investigating reports of defective PS4s • News • PlayStation 4 • Eurogamer.net

    Hopefully Microsoft has learned from the last time, and will not run into issues on launch-day, but this is yet another reason why I am still waiting myself.



    Printers:


    I don't do anything with electronics in a building sense anymore, but back in college, I remember having to do manual "developing" of circuit boards. Use slides with schematics on it, then with UV light get these on the film of a circuit board and then use a chemical process to strip away the excessive material. It was a long, painful process, and I was pretty bad at it. Usually after


    This week, I ran into a kickstarter page for a circuit board printer.
    EX¹ circuit printer hits Kickstarter goal on first day - SlashGear

    Capable of "printing" the connection lines of a circuit board on just about everything, it does make me interested in doing something with electronics again.


    While browsing the web for some more info on it, I also encountered another printer-like device, a wire-bender,

    DIWire: The First Desktop Wire Bender by Pensa Labs ? Kickstarter

    Also quite interesting, and will surely make some creative minds very happy. I do hope my wife will not run into any of these though, I'd be bending for life if she does.



    nVidia Tablet:


    A few newsletters ago, I mentioned that nVidia was planning to release a tablet of its own. While they actually have produced some tablets, those were so-called "reference" tablets, used to show manufacturers and the press what nVidia's chips are capable of. This one, the Tegra Note 7, is the first one that is actually for the consumer market. Rather than releasing it them


    It looks like nVidia went all out with it, pen support, Tegra 4, memorycard slot, and best of all, a price directly competing with the Asus/Google Nexus 7.

    Ars Technica managed to get a hold of the first one, and posted up a review:
    AnandTech | NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 Review


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    DVD Catalyst News:


    Due to unforeseen circumstances, the project I was working on for a Halloween release got delayed a bit, but this week I was finally able to finish it up.


    2 new applications, DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT.

    While I do consider both apps as new releases, they are actually major upgrades to their old counterparts.



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    DVD Catalyst Free, originally released back in 2008, is a free, 1-click, conversion tool for DVDs as well as video files. Other free solutions either require the use of a number of different software applications and a lengthy, time consuming process in order to get one video converted, or the "free" application is so loaded with crapware, toolbars, popups, surveys and what not, that in order to be able to use it you need to turn off your virus scanner and disconnect from the web to make it usable.

    So, in order to make things easier and safer, I released a free version of DVD Catalyst, enabling people to convert their videos without all the hassles.



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    DVD Catalyst GT, originally released back in 2006, is sort of a "lite" version of DVD Catalyst 4. Don't take the "lite" to literary though, DVD Catalyst GT offers the same (and more) functionality as most $40 conversion tools out there, its just that DVD Catalyst 4 offers a LOT more than those.

    Many DVD Catalyst 4 users don't even come close to using half of its capabilities, so I released DVD Catalyst GT to provide yet an even more affordable solution that just has the features needed by most and doesn't have the extra stuff used by a few. It converts DVDs and video files, has black border removal, quality adjustments and the most used video and audio tweaks.

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    Website redesign
    . Part of the hold-up on releasing both apps was because due to time issues, I wasn't able to get the documentation for the apps, along with the changes needed to the website completed.

    So, the days since Halloween, I've been working on the redesign, along with adding new content, and of course, while working on that, bugs popped up that needed fixing, and new ideas got implemented as well.


    History:
    As mentioned above, DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT are "updates" to previously released applications. While both successful (DVD Catalyst GT has, just like DVD Catalyst 4, a few awards under its belt), I ended up shelving both apps after, due to some complications with my (then) web hosting company, I lost the dvdcatalyst.com website domain back in August of 2008.

    With the dvdcatalyst.com website gone, the time involved trying to continue and build-up a new product website, Tools4Movies.com was too much to continue development with these 2 apps.

    Earlier this year, I ran into the source code for both apps again, and after playing with it a bit, I figured it would be cool to restore these apps again. Last year, I was able to get the dvdcatalyst.com domain back after fighting with one of my competitors whom posted up a fake free "dvd catalyst", so with the domain back, bringing the apps back would be quite fitting as well.

    Of course things didn't age well, with profiles for devices that haven't been available for quite some time, and scan/conversion code that was pretty basic, but with some changes, I was able to get it working properly.


    Because DVD Catalyst GT consists of a different feature set, making fairly big changes to the way it works is considerably easier than with DVD Catalyst 4, so there are some differences between the 2 at this time. Of course some of these differences will make their way into DVD Catalyst 4, but probably not all of them, and with the holiday season, it might take me a few months.

    Non-visible differences between DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT is how they both work with DVDs. DVD Catalyst GT has newer scanning code, which translates into better scanning and faster conversions for some of the pickier DVDs. These changes also come back with conversions.


    The other differences are a bit more obvious. With DVD Catalyst GT (and DVD Catalyst Free), I opted for a user-interface that was extremely simple. No need for a manual to get started, image-based icons, all very clear and easy to understand.


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    The quality settings easily accessible,

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    and organized into their own sections,

    Screen-related settings:
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    Quality-related settings:
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    Additional enhancements:
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    For more information, have a look at the website, Home of DVD Catalyst 4 - convert fast and easy AVI DVD MKV to Bionic Droid iPad3 iPhone4 iPod Touch4 Iconica Innotab Galaxy Tab Nabi Playbook Transformer Prime Thrive Vita Xoom XyBoard and more

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    Thoughts:

    I don't have much food for thoughts to add in this newsletter. The last few weeks have been murderous long days on looking at both development code and website stuff. Hours of running tests with conversions of different sources, pixel edit stuff in Photoshop and of course play testing videos on different devices. Of course in the spare minutes, I've visited my daily websites here and there to keep up with whats happening, but my main focus has been on getting the new apps out and into the world.

    With the DVD Catalyst Free and DVD Catalyst GT releases done, its on to MovieGallery. I have some ideas I have been fleshing out mentally and its time to see whats possible and whats not when working with the actual code.

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    Closings:

    And that is all for this weeks DVD Catalyst Newsletter.

    Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

    Sincerely,

    Mitch

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