DVD Catalyst Newsletter 135 – 12-20-13 - The Newsletter Before Christmas

Discussion in 'Dvd-Catalyst' started by dvdcatalyst, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. dvdcatalyst

    dvdcatalyst Guest

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 135.

    Still working on website stuff. Most of it battling with an error in a database causing complications with the website output. DVD Catalyst and MovieGallery development is like looking at Morse code already, but when it comes to databases things go up a few notches. Fun :)

    Anyway, lets get started with The Newsletter Before Christmas.



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    Tech News:

    Slashgear Website redesign.


    As many readers know, a lot of tech-news I find on sites like Droid-Life, Engadget, Ars Technica and Slashgear.


    Earlier this week, Slashgear launched its new 2014 design, and it sure looks quite different.


    http://www.slashgear.com/welcome-to-the-slashgear-2014-redesign-19309418/


    It looks cool and it has some nice tricks with images and such, and while I'm all for change, it is quite tricky to get used to and I'm not sure if I like it. Time will tell though.



    Mac Pro Launched.


    After a long wait, the new Mac Pro from Apple launched earlier this week.


    http://www.slashgear.com/mac-pro-2013-launches-shipping-slips-to-february-2014-19309448/


    Initial shipping was set to occur on Dec 30th, but now it will be a bit longer before it will be available again.


    Its a unique design, all round and everything, but I don't know. It looks like it will be a pain to do any work on it such as upgrades or repairs. I remember a few years ago with some iMac models that you ended up having to break things like the DVD drive in order to be able to upgrade the memory in it, and while Apple learned from that, considering they don't have anything in their lineup with optical drives anymore, I don't think it will be an easy one to work on.



    TV on the Go:

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    Something I almost tripped over this morning on Slashgear (link).

    Audiovox released a little box that enables tablets such as the iPad and the Kindle Fire to watch TV.


    The box itself is a combination of a TV tuner and a wifi access point, and with a connected tablet, its possible to watch the free over-the-air TV channels. Very interesting for long trips in the car.


    http://bit.ly/1c7j3PH



    Microsoft Project Sienna.


    Microsoft announced Project Sienna earlier this week.


    With Sienna, software development has become a bit easier for Windows-based devices. While it doesn't have the capability to create something as complex as DVD Catalyst, it enables anyone with a basic Powerpoint/Excel/MS Word experience to create apps.


    Software development depends greatly on the type of application you are developing. An app such as DVD Catalyst is something I have been working on for over 10 years, starting with something small and simple, and building it up more and more with every update. Our Android app, MovieGallery, started out even simpler. A basic image viewing application which, when you tapped on the image would play a movie with the same filename. Of course over the years since release it has grown a bit.


    MovieGallery was something I made because Google made a change in how their Gallery app worked on Android 3.0 Honeycomb with an update. If you placed your movies in their own folders and stuck an image in the same folder, the Gallery would display the images. It wasn't a great solution, but it was better than thumbnails alone.


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    With an update, Google broke this functionality, which prompted me to make a simple app for cover images, MovieGallery.

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    I haven't looked at Sienna myself yet, but based on what I have seen about it so far, an app, similar as MovieGallery's original functioanlity should be possible, and of course a whole bunch of others such as trivia games and even interactive story books.

    http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/19/microsoft-project-siena/


    Grand Theft Auto San Andreas available for Android.


    Last week it was released for the Apple iPhone and iPad, and this week, the Android version was released.


    I used to play the game on the original xbox, but looking at the reviews, I'm holding off for a little bit. With iOS devices, there are only a few different scenarios that a developer has to account for, but with Android, Rockstar is running into the openness of the platform head on.


    The one reason why I have a pile of Android devices I don't even count anymore. Different OS versions, different chipsets and best of all, different manufacturer shells (stock holo, samsung touchwiz, htc sense) all result in different behavior, and a graphically demanding game such as GTA runs into all of that.


    I wish them the best in fixing the issues people are experiencing. I know how it feels when you release something after months and months of development and testing, and within minutes of actual release the first complaint comes in on it not working. With me it happened when I moved from DVD Catalyst 4 v4.0.2.7 to DVD Catalyst 4.1. A lot of changes in that update, but after a few rush-updates, I was forced to take it down. For me the fix meant starting with the 4.0.2.7 code and porting over the new features I added in 4.1 one at a time. Thankfully it hasn't happened since :)


    Good Luck Rockstar.


    http://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/19/rockstar-games-grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-now-available-for-android/



    Delta CEO bans in-flight calling.


    Another thing to consider when picking flights is something that the airlines have been debating for a while now is in-flight calling.


    http://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/18/delta-ceo-issues-company-wide-memo-banning-in-flight-calls/


    For me, flying doesn't extend to more than once a year, and with my wife's health issues, I always travel alone when visiting my parents overseas. The FAA is considering to let people use cellphones during flights.

    I already hate flying. Being cramped in a seat for 8+ hours, crappy food, stewardesses that ignore you all makes me quite crabby, and then to be forced to sit next to someone who spends hours on a phone will result in major anger issues. Why they are even considering this is beyond me, but if it happens, I'll be bringing a big speaker alongside my noise-canceling headphones in my carry-on luggage and if someone is using their phone next to me, I'll make my movie viewing/gaming experience just as public.


    At least Delta gets the idea, lets hope the rest of the airlines does the same. For the ones that are pondering, just try sitting 8 hours next to hearing a half-conversation spoken loud enough to go over the airplane's own noise. One thing for sure, if this goes through, the TSA will need a lot more people, and might put a few on the plane as well.



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    Shorts:

    Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update.

    A French provider stated that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will receive the 4.4 Android update at the end of January, and for the Galaxy Note 3 it will be in February.

    http://www.phonearena.com/news/Galaxy-S4-and-Note-3-to-get-the-Android-4.4-KitKat-update-late-January-announces-SFR_id50509


    By then, Google will likely have named Android 4.5. With the move from icecream names to candy, my guess would be Android 4.5 Laffy Taffy or Licorice :)


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    DVD Catalyst:

    Unlike the previous years, December will not see a "DVD Catalyst" update. Last year, and the years before that, I did release updates in December, but for some reason, every year something ends up causing some complications, either with the download or something else isn't working right, and the result is a large amount of emails in a month that is already the busiest of the year.

    So, this year, I prepared myself a bit better for December, and finished the current 4.4.4.2 version up a month earlier, and with no new devices being announced or released in December anyway, it remains fully up to date with the latest and greatest devices.


    Of course this doesn't mean that I haven't been working on an update for DVD Catalyst though. I've been working on some cool new stuff, and once things calm down again, both work-wise and personal, somewhere in January, it will be made available.


    Of course everyone whom purchased DVD Catalyst 4 already can download the update for free when available.


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    Tips:

    Digital Movie Purchases:

    Santa had a hard time with all the technology products he was bringing from the North-pole last year, but this year, Apple and Amazon made things a bit easier. Both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini 2 are quite a bit lighter than their last-year counterparts, and even Amazon has been able to improve their Kindle Fire models by adding better performance while still keeping them light.

    Of course the XBOX One and the Playstation 4 systems will make up the weight, but with both systems being pretty hard to get at the moment, Santa's bag might be a bit lighter than usual.


    If Amazon's Top Seller data in electronics is anything to go by, a lot of people will be getting a Kindle Fire HDX, an iPad Mini or a 7" Galaxy Tab 3 from Santa this year.


    Sadly, each of these devices use their own movie store. Amazon has its own Instant Video store, Apple has iTunes movies and the Galaxy Tab 3 even comes with 2 different video stores, Google Play Movies and Samsung's Media Hub.


    If Santa is bringing you your first tablet, purchasing/renting movies from these stores is extremely easy, but there are a few things to consider:


    1. The movies you purchase through these stores are tied to your account, and only work on devices that are able to verify your account information for them. Movies purchased through iTunes will only work with Apple devices, movies purchased through Samsung Media Hub will only work on Samsung devices. Google Play is a bit more versatile, but only because there are so many different Android devices. If you are using an Android device this year, and next year switch to an Apple device, the movies you purchased will not transfer over.


    2. Even though the online movie stores have a button that displays "Buy", you do not actually own the movie. The movie you purchased is located on the server from the company you purchased from, and these companies can remove the movie without informing you.


    For some reason, you rarely see anything mentioned about this in the news, but earlier this week, something actually did appear on the web about this:


    http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/12/cant-stream-that-christmas-movie-you-bought-on-amazon-blame-disney/



    “I didn’t really know what to say: ‘It turns out we don’t own it, kids,’”


    A lot of people are claiming that physical movie purchases (DVD/Bluray) are coming to an end, but unless they find a way to combine all these different movie stores to come together into one standard (like they did with VHS, DVD and Bluray), I don't see it happening.

    3. Privacy. Services like Ultra Violet are heading that way, but with the streaming aspect and the fact that you need to set up an account for every movie studio you watch movies from, it is a massive privacy concern in my opinion. You get to see the movie you paid for, and they get, alongside the money you paid for your purchase, access to your personal information and viewing habits, all they need to present you with more targeted advertising.

    4. Resale. Movies purchased through these online stores are tied to your account. Only your account. The movies will only work on devices that are tied to your account, so no borrowing/lending/swapping movies or even selling them if you don't need them or are hard for cash.


    With physical purchases, its just a swipe of a card at the local store, no personal information, no email address, no spam, and, there is no way for the movie studios to take the movie away from you after you purchased. You can watch it as many times as you want, lend it out to your friends/family, sell it in a yard-sale or in a pawn shop.


    And if you do want to watch it on your tablet, that is where tools such as DVD Catalyst 4 are for. With that, you can convert your DVDs to a video file that will work just fine on an iPad, Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab, or all of them if you want.



    Bad Memorycards:


    This week the amount of support emails I received in regards of memorycard issues spiked. A lot of people are getting prepared for Christmas with converting videos and putting them on memorycards, but unfortunately, many ended up with damaged or fake cards.


    For the most part, these memory cards works fine, but when you start copying over larger files, such as videos, you start experiencing issues.


    The problem is that a lot of "bargain" locations are selling fake memorycards. These fakes are smaller cards made to look and work like a bigger one, and are of course sold for the price of a bigger one. You might have bought a 32GB SD card on eBay, but it is actually a 2GB card. With normal usage, putting a few pictures on it, some songs and other stuff, it will take you long past the refund claim period before you realize that the card is bad. With a fake 32GB card, you can copy stuff to it just fine as long as you stay under the 2GB of real space. If you go over, everything you add will end up corrupted. With just music and pictures, it starts innocent enough, a few pictures not working, a few songs, but with movies, files end up quite large so you will run into issues with the first couple of videos. Smaller ones, such as a conversion done with the trial version of DVD Catalyst might work fine because they wouldn't exceed the "real" 2GB storage area of the card, but copying a full movie or 2 might push you over.


    To determine if the card is bad or if the video file is bad, simply copy the video to the device's internal memory and see if it plays fine then. If it works from internal memory, and does not work from the card, there is likely an issue with the card.


    for more information about fake memorycards, have a look here:


    https://www.tools4movies.com/memorycard-issues/






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    Thoughts:

    nVidia Shield:

    I spent some time with the nVidia Shield again last night.

    Last week, I battled a bit with some mods for Fallout 3, and it resulted in some stability issues with the game. I finished the game numerous times already, so I started with Fallout New Vegas again.


    My gaming habits are simple. When time permits, and time is unfortunately a rare commodity for me. There is always something that needs to be done, either website stuff, bugfixes, testing, support emails etc.


    Usually when I have the time to play a game, its for a couple of hours during a week, and after that, its back to work. Since I didn't release an update for DVD Catalyst 4 this month, I'm a bit more relaxed. No rush things to deal with, and in the evenings, I have a few hours extra to myself.


    I played New Vegas on the XBOX 360 when it was released, but lost interest after getting about half-way, and while I tried to get into it a few times since, it was a struggle to pick up from where I left off. So, this week, I started from the beginning with the PC version on the Shield, and it is a blast.


    I did notice that nVidia cheats a bit with settings of the game on the Shield though. Even though on the PC, the game is maxed out on all the settings, when I connect with the Shield, the view-distance on a lot of things is set to the lowest. I have no idea why, because it runs just fine when I max them out while on the Shield, but it is something I noticed. For most players its not that big of a deal, but I enjoy playing with the sniper rifle and then its quite obvious.


    Its a minor annoyance though. I still enjoy being able to play my favorite PC games without being stuck behind my desk.



    Handy Links:


    A few links to video conversion guides for some of the more popular tablets this year:


    Barnes & Noble NOOK HD : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-barnes-noble-nook-hd-guide-2/


    Amazon Kindle Fire HDX : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-amazon-kindle-fire-hdx-guide/


    Apple iPad Air : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-apple-ipad-air-guide/


    Fuhu Nabi 2 : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-fuhu-nabi-2-guide-2/


    Asus Nexus 7 : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-asus-nexus-7-guide-2/


    Samsung Galaxy S4 : https://www.tools4movies.com/dvd-catalyst-samsung-galaxy-s4-guide-2/



    For additional guides, have a look here:


    https://www.tools4movies.com/devices/


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    Closings:

    That was it for this week, thanks for reading and
    a Merry Christmas to everyone,

    Sincerely,

    Mitch



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