DVD Catalyst Newsletter 149 – 03-28-14

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 149.

    This week, it seemed the internet woke up from hibernation. Finally some note-worthy technology news that grabbed my attention.


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    Tech News:


    Fast & Furious 7 to use CGI and doubles to keep Paul Walker in the film.

    After the tragic death of movie star Paul Walker, everyone was wondering what will happen with the next installment of The Fast and Furious movie series. When it happened, the movie-shooting was already pretty far in, so any major changes or even starting over would have resulted in a big mess.

    Similar as what is being done with the 3rd installment of The Hunger Games (
    link) and what was done in Gladiator (link), Paul Walker's character will continue to be in the movie with the help of a body double and special effects.


    Fast & Furious 7 to use CGI and doubles to keep Paul Walker in the film - SlashGear



    Facebook buys Oculus for Rift VR social.


    Last week, Virtual Reality got into the spotlight thanks to an updated version of the Oculus Rift development kit and the announcement of Sony's own VR system, Project Morpheus.


    Apparently Facebook got some big ideas after that, and earlier this week, they announced the purchase of Oculus.



    Facebook buys Oculus for Rift VR social - SlashGear


    While the purchase is great for the company itself, it leaves many wonder what FB's actual involvement will be. As a young company, many people have seen Facebook start out being "nice" and after a massive increase in popularity, it is now seen by many as the new "evil".



    The internet is Not Happy about Facebook buying Oculus - SlashGear


    Some of the developers who were working on VR implementation into their apps and games are now getting quite worried, including the head developer behind Minecraft:



    'Facebook creeps me out,' Notch ends Minecraft for Oculus Rift [Update] | Joystiq


    Oculus themselves are not concerned by FB, and even welcome it. With the purchase, the developers if the VR system have better access to funds and people in order to make the product better and more affordable.




    Oculus founders: Facebook lets us bring the best VR experience to a billion people


    It is still too early to tell what will happen with Oculus, and as a result, Virtual Reality this generation, but there might be a VR-version of Minecraft in the works on a yet unannounced system from gaming system company Razer:



    https://twitter.com/minliangtan/status/448606945272803328




    NVIDIA SHIELD gets KitKat in April plus price slash.


    My favorite Android device, the nVidia Shield, keeps getting better and better. it is quite clear that nVidia is putting everything it can towards the Shield and the ideas behind it, and they just announced that the latest version of Android is heading its way



    NVIDIA SHIELD gets KitKat in April plus price slash - SlashGear


    along with a price-drop.



    NVIDIA Shield gets temporary price drop, soon to support remote PC gaming


    On top of that, the first mobile-gpu support is around the corner, so people with (new) gaming laptops are also able play games even more portable than what a big laptop would permit.




    HTC announces the new One with depth-sensing camera and larger screen.

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    Earlier this week, HTC finally let its new flagship smartphone out into the wild.


    I'm still happily rocking a Galaxy Note 3, but last year, when I was digging through the forest of different smartphones, the HTC One was a top contender for me. The new HTC One seems to beat everything of the old one, and if I was in the position of picking one now, I'm sure it will be a tough choice.



    HTC announces the new One with depth-sensing camera and larger screen


    The new HTC One review: a great phone, but no longer a game-changer


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    Shorts:

    Microsoft tosses source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows online.

    On Tuesday, Microsoft posted up on their Technet Blog that they donated the source code for MS Dos 1.1, 2.0 and the DOS version of MS Word 1.1a to the Computer History Museum (
    link).


    Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs



    Comcast + Apple TV Streaming.


    This week, rumors appeared on a possible deal between Apple and Comcast regarding streaming video.



    Latest Apple TV rumors have it teaming up with Comcast for streaming


    Comcast Apple TV talk prompts streaming skepticism - SlashGear


    It doesn't come as much of a surprise, following the recent deal Netflix was forced to make regarding massive bandwidth consumption from its users:



    Netflix deal with Comcast sends its traffic -- and money -- directly to the ISP instead of middlemen



    Amazon Video Player device.


    Despite different internet providers working on trying to get paid for bandwidth, there have been rumors of Amazon adding to its own streaming video content business in the form of a TV-connected device. While nothing is known about the actual device, yesterday Amazon did sent out invites to people for "an update for our video business." for next Wednesday, April 2nd.



    Amazon set-top box event set for April 2nd - SlashGear



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    Tips:

    MovieGallery:

    Earlier this week, I had someone ask me about how to use individual background images for movies with my MovieGallery Android video player app (available on
    Google PlayNOOK appsAmazon Apps), and I realized that while I added the feature a while ago, I never updated the guide for MovieGallery to include it.

    I'll be working on that this weekend, but if you are interested on how and what, download the sample zip file from here:
    www.tools4movies.com/mg2_sample.zip

    The zip-file contains a "sample" folder which contains the following files:

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    The sample-trailer mp4 video, "sample_movie" and its matching cover image, the "sample_movie" jpg file are what most people who use MovieGallery are used to. Of course the big thing with MovieGallery 2 is that it has a build-in cover feature, but the video file+image file combo of the same name has been in MovieGallery from the very beginning.

    With the v2 update of MovieGallery, the "folder" image was added, as well as a background image that could be used for a folder, enabling you to display/browse your movies in an even nicer way,

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    but to enable you to personalize things even further, with the last update I added the ability to use individual background images.

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    To see how it works, make sure you have the latest MovieGallery (paid 2.4.x version) installed on your device and download the sample zip file (
    link), and copy the "sample" folder in it over to your Android device.

    When you start MovieGallery, it will display, of course, the sample video with its cover image, and when you flip to it in the 2 large-image view modes, it will display the background image set for the sample video.




    A week of Amazon Free Apps Of The Day:


    Amazon's Free App system has its ups and downs, but this week the collection of apps was actually a bit better than usual. I included the ones from last week down below. Of course, since the Amazon Special is only one day, they are no longer free, but it does give you an idea as to what is being offered.

    The Amazon App Store is of course required in order to benefit from these free apps. If you look for the same app on the same day on other app stores such as Google Play, Nabi Apps or B&N NOOK Apps, you still need to pay for them, so you will need to install the Amazon Appstore App on your device. For most devices, this is pretty straight-forward, but on the B&N NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, the process is unfortunately quite tricky.

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    There are guides on sites like XDA, but to make things easier, I posted up a step by step guide (loaded with screenshots) here:

    https://www.tools4movies.com/guide-how-to-install-amazon-app-store-on-nook-hdnookhd/



    Below a list of what you (might have) missed out on this week:


    03-21-14 - Toca Lab

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    4 1/2 star educational chemistry app.


    Especially for children it is well-designed.



    03-22-14 - Bardbarian - Golden Lute Edition


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    4 1/2 star rock&slash (hack&slash) game with nice-looking graphics.


    Reviews on Amazon are a bit of a mixed-bag though. This review is a bit better:

    Bardbarian Review | Touch Arcade


    03-23-14 - Riptide GP2


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    4 1/2 star average jetski racing game, very pretty to look at, if your device can handle it.


    Pro-review:
    Riptide GP2 Review | Touch Arcade


    03-24-14 - OfficeSuite Professional 7


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    4 star average Office application for Android devices. A great freebie.


    Its not alone though, so here is a link to an older comparison article:

    Featured: Top 10 Best Android Office Suite Apps | Androidheadlines.com


    03-25-14 - Naught2


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    3 1/2 star gravity/rotational game.

    Naught 2 Review :: Android Rundown ? where you find the rundown on Android.


    03-26-14 - NeoCal Advanced Calculator


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    4 1/2 star advanced calculator application.

    Hudren Andromeda Connection


    03-27-14 - Doodle God


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    3 1/2 star average puzzle game.

    Doodle God - polished and quirky 'Alchemy-style' game - AndroidTapp


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    Thoughts:

    Single Multi-Function Device or Multiple Single-Function devices?


    Earlier this week, I ran into an interesting article on Engadget regarding the trend that technology is following these days.

    Switched On: Return of the digital hub

    In short it basically describes the path of technology in recent history, where things started with multiple single-function devices, and then moved towards our current smartphones that have multiple different functions available in a single device, but which is now moving back.


    My first (back in 1999) "smartphone" was a combination of a "dumb" cell-phone with a "smart"-ish PalmPilot Pro. Pairing the 2 devices through infrared, I was able to use my smartphone as a dial-up modem and with it, I could "browse" the internet and even use chat-applications such as ICQ. It was a bit cumbersome, but it worked. From there, things started to become more integrated with devices such as the iPaq and the first Windows Mobile smartphone (2002). Since then, things started to move at a steady pace, but until the Motorola Droid and Apple iPhone were released, integration of multiple functions into a single device were still somewhat limited. Since the original Droid and iPhone, things have become somewhat saturated. Every new device released since is (usually) an improvement over the previous generation, but mostly by specifications alone.


    With a smartphone that does (mostly) everything you can do on a full-blown computer, manufacturers are trying to come up with the next killer feature, and are now looking at the wrist. Last year, it was a company called Pebble that started the smartwatch craze, but in the current state, these devices are mainly just wireless screens for a smartphone in your pocket. It makes (for some) things a bit easier. Checking notifications, Facebook updates etc, without having to grab the phone in your pocket. Not really that useful, especially with phones mainly increasing in size to make them easier to read and more functional, they are redirecting the same information to a tiny screen. Thankfully, a few companies are looking in a different direction, health. Rather than trying to extend the phone to the wrist, companies are creating wristband-sensors that can monitor health-information such as heart rate.


    Regardless, all those years of moving towards building the device that does everything, now we are moving back towards connecting multiple single-purpose devices together. I'm sure Scottevest, a company that once thrived on people using multiple devices with its line of clothes featuring pockets for everything, is getting quite excited :)



    Amazon's Free App Of The Day.

    A bit earlier (above) in this newsletter, I listed last week's Amazon's free apps. While the initiative is great, a few things I do have to mention regarding them though. There are some true gems among them, but some of them "were" gems when they first came out and have since moved on to newer revenue models. An app such as Doodle God was raved about in reviews when it first came out, but now, years later, it includes things such as social sharing, in-app-purchases and more. And while the actual game remains the same, these changes are quite significant, bordering on annoying.


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    Closings:

    Finally some interesting things to include, so this newsletter ended up a bit longer than the recent ones. thanks for reading and have a great weekend :)

    Oh, and if you enjoy reading, like to comment or have any suggestions/request for the newsletter, please give me a shout.


    Sincerely,

    Mitch

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    Perfect, full-screen, video playback without stutter, freezing, audio-sync or other issues.


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    DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movies and TV shows to small, great-looking video files that are perfectly optimized to play on the latest devices.


    The app includes profiles for 1000's of tablets and smartphones, including
    Amazon Kindle Fire HD/Kindle Fire HDX, Apple iPad Air and iPhone 5s/5c, Barnes & Noble NOOK HD/NOOK HD+, Fuhu Nabi, Vtech InnoTab and of course the latest Galaxy S4/Galaxy S5, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices from Samsung.


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