Archive for November, 2009
Anyone that owns a Mac and a portable media device that is capable of video playback has no doubt used Handbrake to rip and/or convert a DVD or media file to an appropriate format or size so that they could have it with them on the go.
It’s been a while since the application has been updated, but the it has been worth the wait. The speed improvements and the presets make faster and simpler than ever to drive the sometimes scary task of fiddling with video.
Best of all, it’s still free. If you’re using anything else, stop it. Download Handbrake today and put it through its paces.
A year to the day after the previous version was released, Handbrake has hit 0.9.4, and boy is it faaaaaaaaast:
There’s an old proverb in the video encoding world: “Speed, size, quality: pick two.” It means that you always have to make a trade-off between the time it takes to encode a video, the amount of compression used, and the picture quality. Well, this release of HandBrake refuses to compromise. It picks all three.
If you have video you want to get onto your iPhone, Handbrake is the way to go — and it’s free. New, streamlined presets still include Apple Universal, iPod, iPhone & iPod touch, and Apple TV (as well as others if you’re rocking the Xbox, PS3, Zune, or whatever floats your video boat).
Improvements include much better H.264 encoding via the x264 project, a new build system, new soft subtitles, live preview, and constant quality encoding. As can be seen by the list above, they’re all about x264 now, so they’re also winding down support for AVI, OGG/OGM, and XviD — they’ll tell you why via the link above, but basically they want to pull you kicking and screaming into the better looking future. Love them.
Here’s the direct link to downloads for Mac OS, WIndows, and Linux.
Note to 64-bit Mac users: If you decide to go with Handbrake 64-bit for OS X, and intend to rip DVDs, know that Handbrake uses VLC for the task and VLC 1.0.3 doesn’t yet have a 64-bit version, so you’ll have to stick to 32-bit Handbrake, or downgrade your VLC to 1.0.2 64-bit.
If you give it a spin, let us know how it transcodes for you!
via The iPhone Blog
For some time now I’ve resisted the urge to try out any of the pay-for Twitter applications on the iPhon, mostly because I’ve found the free ones to be more than sufficient for my needs. Tweetdeck for the iPhone has delivered all the functionality that I’ve needed and it was responsive enough for me not to be on the lookout for anything better. I’ve also used Echofon before I tried Tweetdeck. Another great client, but I stopped using it when I started using Tweetdeck on my laptop.
Tweetie 2 was recently launched (well not that recently) and included some new features I wanted to try out. The old app had also received some rave reviews so I decided to spend the £1.79 (about R22, hardly a kings ransom) and buy it from the the app store [iTunes link].
One capacitive click after installing the app and I was on my way to Twitter bliss (Twiss ?). The interface is clean and well organised. Everything is where you expect to find it and the app is super responsive. At first I thought it was just gimicky, but there is an awesome function that allows you to refresh/reload the screen you’re on by pulling the screen down and then letting it bounce back – sounds complicated, but you’ll love it once you give it a try. Icons are cached so timelines load quickly and their layout also looks great.
There are some features that I’ve grown used to and couldn’t live without:
- URL shortening with a bit.ly account
- Read later with Instapaper
- Image posting with Posterous
- Nearby search
- Saved searches
Other features that I don’t use, but that I know others find very useful:
- Support for multiple accounts
- Video upload using yFrog or TwitVid
- Customisable quote/retweet syntax
Rumour has it that Tweetie 2.1 is imminent and will add support for lists. Awesome.
It just makes you a better Twit.
I’m not usually one for special editions and fancy box sets, well not recently anyway. I may have purchased the Gears of War box set and the Forza 2 one and maybe one or two others, but that’s all. Promise.
The Bioshock 2 special edition looks pretty awesome. Probably full of stuff that I will only ever look at once, but how can I resist something that has an LP in it ? I’ll have to go and buy a USB turntable somewhere for the ultimate Bioshock fan (geek) experience.
So it’s official: there will be a Bioshock 2 special edition. With the upcoming release of Bioshock 2 there’s been much speculation and guesswork about if there would be a special edition, and more importantly, what would be in it. Well, the wait is over.
The official announcement came out today on The Cult of Rapture. The special edition will come in a 13×13″ premium package with special art on the slipcase and the cover of the box. Inside the box, you’ll find three posters featuring vintage ads from Rapture, a LP with the orchestral score from the original Bioshock, a CD with the Bioshock 2 score, an 164 page hardbound artbook, and the Bioshock 2 game.
The special edition will be released on February 9th, 2010 for $99.00 on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC version will be $89.00. All three versions will be limited to a single production run.
At first you may find yourself questioning your sanity, but after dropping £2.99 in the iTunes store and playing one of the old classics, you’ll be pulled right back to you gaming roots.
Now maybe it was just because I was stuck on a two hour flight and had nothing else to do after I had finished reading my Stuff Magazine, but after playing Dragons Den for 10 minutes, I just couldn’t stop. It was clear that my life depended on me getting to the next level. I had my headphones plugged in and turned up loud to allow the 8 bit beeps and boops to be enjoyed at their optimum monaural magnificence. The people on either side of me clearly thinking that there was a crazy man bashing some ancient technology with his thumbs about to go postal on the flight.
The control system allows for a joystick and a single button – that is all we needed back in the day. You can also orientate the the phone in portrait or landscape to either have a view of said button and joystick or not. Playing the game fullscreen in landscape was my choice as the additional screen real estate made everything that much bigger. The only problem is that with this orientation your thumbs can block out some of the graphics. Nothing serious though.
The emulator is responsive and tracks your finger movements for the joystick and copious amounts of button mashing pretty well. I’d give the app a higher rating, but at the moment the games library is a little limited. When they release more content and they say they will, there is a change that this little gem could deserve an 8 or maybe even a nine.
If you can still remember loading games on that beige C64 tape drive and waiting hours just to get to the good part, you’ll love how your old favourites now load instantly !
Check out the video below to see what you’re missing out on.