Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Publishing: 15 tips to choose a good text type

Posted by cascadehush on January 18, 2007

Typies: 15 tips to choose a good text type:

Unfortunately, whilst it seems clear that the writer knows the subject quite well, their English is quite hard to understand in some places. I still think it’s a resource worth pointing to. If you get bogged down in a paragraph, just skip to the next one.

Posted in Internet, Media | Leave a Comment »

OSX: TubeSock – Rip videos from YouTube

Posted by cascadehush on January 16, 2007

TubeSock – Rip videos from YouTube:

TubeSock costs $15

Witness the spectacle. On the one side a dodgy website full of copyright violations and naff home-movies. On the other side, a video player with limited codec support, even more limited screen space and yet more limited battery life.

Now, standing between, a celebrant ready to marry these two misfits. That celebrant is TubeSock and it only costs $15. Will it be happily-ever-after for YouTube and the iPod?

I must say it seems like an ideal match. If I’m going to watch crummy, low quality video I may as well do it on a low-quality-video player. If it was free, I’d probably give it a try. $15 is not unreasonable, but I just don’t care enough to pay for the privilege.

If you do care enough to pay, I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity before Google sues stinkbot out of existence, or else just changes their website API to make the software unworkable.

(And before Apple sues me out of existence, make note that I am not calling the iPod low quality, just the video codecs that it plays.)

Posted in iPod, Media, Opinion, OSX, Software | Leave a Comment »

PC: Rip and watch, the only way to experience DVDs.

Posted by cascadehush on January 9, 2007

Hack Attack: One-click DVD rips – Lifehacker:

I love a good DVD as much as the next guy, but the whole optical media world has been on my shitlist lately. I’m sick of renting or Netflix-ing a DVD, getting an hour into it, then hitting the scratchety-skip zone that freezes up my DVD player and leaves me unable to finish my stories.

My solution to this problem is to rip every DVD I rent to my hard drive as soon as I get it. In my experience, a rip smooths over those un-renderable sections of the DVD without issue, so when I’m ready to watch the ripped DVD, it’s certain to be scratch and skip-free.

Same here. DVDs suck anyway. It’s bad enough you have to sit through the propaganda from distributors, but now you often get anti-piracy messages on rental DVDs.

I don’t want to be forced to wade through a few minutes of drivel. It’s kinda ironic that these things that are supposed to help alleviate piracy are the very things that force me to rip the DVD.

And of course, as Adam says in his post on Lifehacker, you often encounter read errors that bring your evening’s viewing to a halt.

None of this is fun. Watching DVDs is supposed to be entertainment.

About 4 times a year I watch an actual DVD, and I almost always regret it. Rip and watch, the only way to experience DVDs.

Posted in Media, Software, Troubleshooting, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

Media: Thoughts about buying TV on iTunes

Posted by cascadehush on January 8, 2007

I was watching a copy of a TV show which had been recorded of someone’s TV. Part way through, a banner add appeared at the bottom of the screen (yet another reason why traditional TV stations suck) telling me that the series was available in iTunes.

Here is what went through my mind in the next 60 seconds:

  1. That’s nice to know, if I want to seen any episodes I have missed, I can at least get them that way.
  2. Is the quality going to be any better than what I’m watching now? I doubt it. If it isn’t, then why would I pay for it. If I’m going to pay for a TV show I want it to be DVD quality.
  3. Isn’t it ironic that I never would have thought to go to iTunes for this TV show. I am watching a non-legal copy, yet by watching it I am now a potential customer for a legal copy of further episodes.
  4. I bet that when I go to iTunes the TV show won’t be available on the Australian iTunes. Nothing I have looked for on iTunes is available in Australia. There is stuff I want which is available to Americans but I can’t buy it here. So I probably won’t bother looking.

Posted in Media, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Media: Half-an-Hour (too long) with an iPod Shuffle

Posted by cascadehush on January 5, 2007

A few weeks ago I bought an iPod Shuffle, the new clip-on model. It had only just arrived in the shop.

I bought it because the new iTunes 7 podcast features finally make it possible to keep track of your progress in multiple podcasts whilst keeping everything synced up between iTunes and the iPod. I didn’t stop to think that maybe this feature wouldn’t work properly with the Shuffle.

Now traditionally I dislike iTunes and iPods, even though i have 2 Macs and 2 iPods. As I usually say, they ‘aren’t all they are cracked up to be’ but the competition is usually worse. But the new iTunes features sucked me in… I gave the podcast features a go with my 30GB Video iPod and liked them. The Video iPod is just too big to have in my pocket all the time, so I had been carrying a Creative MuVo.

Anyway, the Shuffle sucks for Podcasts. Apparently Apple have decided that no-one will use it for that.

There is no way to sync podcasts to the shuffle, as there is on the Nano and iPod Video; you have to manually copy them accross. It does keep track of your place, and it does sync your position back to iTunes, so there is some functionality there. But the minute you hit the back button on the Shuffle, it immediately skips back to the start of the podcast, thus forgetting where you were. Now since you only have the forward and back buttons for navigation, that makes it useless for choosing between podcasts.

Now it would be easy for Apple to make the iPod shuffle sync podcasts the same way that the Nano does. There is no reason the Shuffle cannot be made smart enough to allow navigation between podcasts without losing your place.

It is a just a terrible shame that Apple have prevented the Shuffle from being used for Podcasts.

I returned the Shuffle for a refund. Half an hour with a Shuffle was half an hour wasted.

(You may also be interested in my article from last week, where I discuss Podcasts (and the pleasure and pain of syncing with iTunes). After I returned the Shuffle I bought an 8GB Nano instead).

Posted in iPod, Media, Opinion | Leave a Comment »

Web Wednesday: Podcasts (and the pleasure and pain of syncing with iTunes)

Posted by cascadehush on December 27, 2006

Finally, with iTunes 7 and the latest iPod software, Apple have provided compelling reasons to opt for a Nano for listening to podcasts. It’s far from a perfect implementation, but at least for now I can stop in the middle of a podcast, listen to some music, and return to the podcast knowing that the unit remembers where I was. I have always been able to do this with audio books, so I don’t know what has taken them so long to get this right.

If only the sync option could be made intelligent. At the moment you have the ‘dumb and dumber ‘ options of syncing podcasts based on which ones you’ve heard, or based on the last x episodes. Neither option is implemented in a way suited to real human beings.

One sensible option would be ‘podcasts in the last x days’. Principally because some podcasts are daily and some are weekly. I don’t want to have to keep 5 back episodes of TWiT (over a month’s worth), just so I can have the most recent 5 episodes of Buzz Out Loud (just a weeks worth).

A better option would be to make the sync realise that if I’ve started to listen to a podcast, it should only count it as heard if I have listened to the whole thing (or perhaps 80% of the whole thing, sometimes there is some drivel near the end). Syncing based on whether a podcast has been heard or not would then be a genuinely user-friendly option.

As it stands, I do use syncing based on whether I have listened to the podcast or not, but this means I have to be paranoid about plugging the Nano in to my iBook. If I know there are podcasts I am only part way through, I must listen to the end before plugging it in. It’s a stupid annoyance, but that’s the best choice from a poorly pair of options. It’s just a good thing that the battery lasts so long.

So yet again we take 3 steps forward and 2 back, and one has to organise one’s life around the computer. This is what WaitState is all about.

Your reward for getting this far, either by reading the above (a thousand thanks) or by skipping straight here, is some links to the web pages for some of my favorite podcasts.

The TWiT Netcast Network with Leo Laporte:

Netcasts you love from people you trust.

The standard by which all others are measured, at least in tech.

CNET Podcast Central – CNET.com:

Home for all of CNET’s podcasts. From Buzz Out Loud, a daily digest of tech news that’s relevant, hard-hitting, or just plain goofy, to help and how-to, to the latest in auto tech, you’ll find it all here.

Some nice, shorter podcasts that fill in the time between TWiTs and complement it rather nicely.

ABC Online: Podcasting
The Australian Broadcasting Corporations news and current affairs podcasts. Comparable to the BBC and NPR, many programs will be of interest outside Australia.

Keep in mind that at this time of year many podcasts are in recess. Still, it is a perfect time to catch up on missed episodes or try some new podcasts.

If you are looking for a program to download podcasts, there is always iTunes which has a built in search function and an extensive directory. If you want something else, I recommend Juice, the cross-platform podcast receiver. Juice even works with Bit-Torrent based feeds, which many legitimate podcasters try to use to save bandwidth.

Posted in Internet, iPod, Media, Opinion, Software | Leave a Comment »

OSX: Dual TV Tuner for Mac

Posted by cascadehush on November 1, 2006

123Macmini.com – News – Miglia intros TVDuo dual TV tuner:

Bundled with Elgato’s EyeTV2, TVDuo enables users to record TV, remove advertisements from recorded footage while watching live TV, access EPG data from the internet, schedule recordings, and export recorded shows to a video iPod or Mac applications such as iDVD

The TVDuo is a USB device that features 2 DVB-T TV tuners. Like many such tuners, it simply records the broadcast stream directly to disk. The advantage of this is simplicity, the disadvantage is you’ll need about 3GB for every hour of TV. It’s a good thing that harddrives are getting cheeper by the day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Hardware, Media, OSX | Leave a Comment »

Viiv is not an open system

Posted by cascadehush on October 4, 2006

Intel says, ‘Let Apple be Apple.’:

Intel wants electronics manufacturers to design open systems with the Viiv at their core.

Viiv is not an open system.  It is a DRM based system with Intel CPUs and Intel Chipsets at the core.  It’s the closest thing to a closed system that Intel can make.  It is Intels attempt to try and do exactly what Apple have done with iTunes: tying content to hardware in a system that severely limits they ways customers can enjoy the media they purchase.

Viiv is nothing but another platform for DRM.

The only thing open about that is the fact that multiple manufacturers can build Viiv PCs.  They must have Intel chips inside to get the Viiv badge, so intel get’s their slice of the cake.  Calling Viiv an open platform is like callling Windows an open platform.  In fact Windows is more open than Viiv, because it can run on various CPUs and miriad chipsets. 

Viiv just creates an exclusive sub-class of PCs which effectivly come with an Intel tax.

Eric Kim is being a hypocrite.

Posted in Media, OSX, PC, Rant | Leave a Comment »

Media: Poor quality of DVDs

Posted by cascadehush on October 1, 2006

I was watching an old TV Show on DVD…
The colour was terrible, washed out with a terrible greenish tinge – as you might expect from an old VHS tape. It took about 5 seconds in the OSX DVD player to up the contrast, shift the tint and boost the saturation. The difference was phenomenal.

It’s great the I can do this, BUT I NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAD TO.

How lazy are the Major Studios that they can’t do some basic correction on their old stock. People are paying good money to watch these DVDs. The Studios are raking in money on programs which would otherwise be sitting in some archive. This is money for nothing for these people, the least they can do is provide quality playback.

Were you ever disgusted with the quality of a DVD or CD you purchased? Leave a comment and let me know.

P.S. If you must know, it was the A-Team. It isn’t that great, but since I missed it the first time round (mum wouldn’t let me watch) I view an episode now-and-then. It’s a good show to watch whilst you edit photos since the plot lines are straight forward and you can easily get back into the story as your concentration drifts back and forth.

Posted in Media, Rant | Leave a Comment »