Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 101.
My apologies for missing last week's newsletter. Life happens, and things were a bit chaotic for me.
Unfortunately, eventhough I missed last week, there wasn't much interesting tech news:
Probably the biggest thing for many people that happened in the last 2 weeks was the release of Facebook Home. A special launcher app for your Android phone (the part on your phone that provides access to the features and functionality of your phone as well as how things like notifications are displayed on your screen).
I mentioned in the previous newsletter that I know quite a few people who treat Facebook as it is the "full internet", and that for those, turning a smartphone into an FB-phone instead might be something they would love, but my concern with Facebook Home is the security.
Android itself runs almost everything you do with your phone through Google's services, and with Google being an advertising company at it's very core, as a result Google might know a lot more about you than your closest family and friends. Facebook has a similar business strategy. It uses the likes and friends you have on your account to provide you with targeted advertising. With Facebook Home, you are basically providing Facebook full access to whatever you do with your phone. Of course it offers functionality of receiving status updates, funnies and pictures right to your home-screen and notifications, but what does it do under the hood. What information does Facebook Home collect from your phone usage?
However, if you take a (rumored) advertising strategy of Facebook such as this one,
into account, the only people who would be interested into Facebook would be the actual phone service providers, especially with the majority of them not offering unlimited data.
This week, Twitter released its music service. The service is intended to provide a way for users to see what (some of) the people they follow are listening to, and of course let your followers know what you are listening to, and of course ties into other services to either stream or purchase the songs if you want to.
It reminds me of something that Microsoft implemented many years ago in its MSN Messenger service, where it would display the song you are listening to in your msn status.
Amazon Pilot Shows.
Both Amazon and Netflix have been doing their best to get some unique content for their services. A couple of weeks ago, Netflix released "House of Cards" and today, "Hemlock Grove", another Netflix Original.
Amazon has been working on content for its Prime service, and enabled a collection of pilots for its own shows today,
I have not had the time to watch any of them yet, but I have heard some good things about House of Cards.
Oculus Rift Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality has been around for years. Thanks to the popularity of movies like Tron, companies have been trying to make computer-generated worlds more and more realistic and by means of special helmets and controllers, trying to make these worlds realistic for a real person.
While the visual quality of these virtual worlds have become more and more realistic-looking, the actual technology to immerse a person into such a world has been out of reach.
One company, with the help of Kickstarter, is hoping to finally change this.
The Oculus Rift is a headset with 2 screens and some motion detection systems in it. If support for this system is added to games, it enables a person who is wearing the headset to look around and move inside the virtual world as if it was real.
The product itself will be released next year or so, but a few developers are currently working with the system, and one of them decided to post up a video of his grandmother playing with it.
7" Android tablets most popular.
Many of you already know that my own preference for tablet-sizes is the 7" form-factor, and it seems I am not alone in that.
Animoca, a company that publishes a lot of popular freemium apps on Google Play, posted up some of its findings on devices that use its games.
But, aside from the size of the tablets, the other interesting part is that it also provides some insight in the popularity of different tablet brands and models.
Not surprising, Samsung is the most popular brand. With the amount of different models, I was expecting that it would be less per individual model, but with 6 tablets in the top 10, the sheer amount of Android tablets that are out there with a Samsung logo is very impressive.
Amazon is quite high-up in the list as well. While they have only been around for a little more than a year and a half, taking the #3 and #4 spot in the list shows that Amazon is doing very very well.
Asus is doing quite well with the Nexus 7 in 6th place, but even the original Transformer TF101 and the Motorola Xoom are still up there as well.
The ones that are missing from the bunch are the NOOK's. Animoca does have a few of their games available for the NOOKs, but B&N only recently started doing something towards the freemium (free with in-app purchases) model, so I don't think that the paid-apps of Animoca provided enough information for the NOOKs to be included in the list.
Related to the current popular size, I found this article on what would be next:
Based on the data of the first article, which is a bit one-sided, considering the data is based on the usage of apps of one company, in particular only games, I wouldn't predict that a larger size would be the next big thing. Sure, Samsung will sell quite a few Galaxy Note 8's, and a Galaxy Tab 8 will do quite well too, but considering that there are still quite a few older devices in the list, such as the original 7" Galaxy Tab, the TF101 and the Xoom, and a Kindle Fire 8.9 and a Nexus 10 missing completely, it doesn't look like it to me.
If, as suggested in the first article, the price would be a factor, the smaller 7" size will be cheaper than anything larger, but my own reason for preference of the 7" size is the portability itself. At 7", the tablet is easier to take with you. An 8" isn't that much bigger, but still the slightly larger size makes it a bit less friendly to carry, and if you are getting to that point, going a step up from there to the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Google Nexus 10 or something similar might be a bit more usable.
On Tuesday, there were some issues with the website.
I mentioned something about my 2 web domain names (tools4movies.com and dvdcatalyst.com) pointing to the same actual website location, and this caused some confusion with some web-features and sites like Web of Trust, so I made some modifications in an attempt to resolve this, and caused some issues with the security certificate, and as a result, a new certificate needed to be regenerated.
Of course it takes a bit for it to reflect on the different domain-name servers that run the actual internet, but everything should be resolved by now with the website.
DVD Catalyst News:
An update for DVD Catalyst 4 is released to address two issues that came up.
* InnoTab. VTech released an update for the Innotab 2 and InnoTab 2S that changed (removed) some video playback capabilities, and as a result, files that worked fine before the update now no longer play, and simply display a "Loading failed" message.
I have had a few people contact me in regards of these issues, prompting me to contact VTech for more information, but based on the response I received, they were not interested in doing something with this. The upcoming update for DVD Catalyst 4 will have the conversion settings for the InnoTab profiles changed to make the videos work again.
If already have a large collection of videos for your InnoTabs, there are only 2 options. Install the VTech update and convert all your videos again, or don't update, and your videos will continue to work fine.
* Kindle Fire HD. 6 months in public beta wasn't enough to fully test the new conversion engine included in the recent 4.4 update. While for most devices everything works fine, the Kindle Fire HD and HD 8.9 are having some playback issues with files created using the new "boosterpack2" engine. For DVDs, everything works fine, but for video files (MKV, AVI) the new engine is used, and files end up playing badly on the Kindle Fire HD.
Because of this, the update next week will have the engine-set replaced with the previous one. A new "Beta" with the newer engine will be available alongside it.
The newsletter will be undergoing some changes. Every week, it takes a large chunk of my time to write one. Finding interesting news, trying to come up with something to write about, and then actually write it in digetable chunks. All that by itself isn't much work for a skilled writer, but for a software developer such as myself, it is a bit tricky and very time-consuming.
I'm not entirely sure which direction to take yet, either shorter ones weekly or something like every other week, but something needs to change.
Something that comes back every once in a while. If you have been reading the newsletter for a while, you might remember some "highlights" of reviews for MovieGallery in the appstore.
Out of the appstores that MovieGallery is listed on, only Amazon enables the developer to actually reply/clarify/explain to a comment, and the others, well, whatever is posted will remain, justified or not.
This week, the web was flooded with articles about a company that decided to sue someone for posting up a negative review.
I have had my fair share of dealings with eBay sellers that go overboard when you post something less than a good review, but to go as far as that is just plain crazy.
Yes, negative reviews suck, and they result in a damaged reputation, loss of income, but if they are correct (not like the "it only does trailers" or "it doesn't come with movies" 1-star reviews I get with MovieGallery) , do something to resolve the issue, rather than trying to scare them away.
For me, one particular eBay seller is one I'll never forget. I will not put out names, but here is the scenario:
I purchased 3 different listings from the same seller. All 3 paint related, and shipped individually. When they arrived, one of them was damaged. The shipping was done with a simple envelope, no bubbles or wrappings, just an envelope and a stamp, and the paint got squashed and leaked all over. I contacted the seller, but after 2 weeks still no answer, so I posted up a positive review for the 2 that were (amazingly enough) not damaged, and a negative one for the 3rd item, since it was damaged, and was waiting 2 weeks already for a reply.
Within 5 minutes, the seller responded (retaliated) with 3 negatives for me. Sad, very sad. He/she didn't bother to respond to my inquiries for 2 weeks, but when I left a review, then all of a sudden a response can be done within minutes.
And that is it for this newsletter.
This time I'm closing with a question though. I have had (quite) a few requests to do something "MovieGallery"-like with music-files (mp3). Of course I have a few ideas on this myself, but I'm not that much into music myself. Of course I listen to it, but I'm more of a video guy myself.
Anyway, I'd like to know how you listen/access your music. Do you store your favorite songs on your phone, dropbox,skydrive, Google Music, Amazon Cloud etc, listen to them over bluetooth, headphones, use an old iPod loaded with songs in the car, stream songs from Pandora or skim through channels found with TuneIn Radio etc.
With this, I'm hoping to get a better idea as to what to do with a possible "MusicGallery" app.
Thank you for reading the DVD Catalyst Newsletter,
Watch your video collection on just about any video-capable device.
DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movies and TV shows to small, great-looking video files that are perfectly optimized to play on devices such as the Apple iPad Mini and iPhone 5, Amazon Kindle Fire HD,Barnes & Noble NOOK HD, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and much more.
Computers were designed to do repetitive tasks, but when it comes to conversion tools, many solutions force you to click through multiple pages before it converts your movie or TV show. DVD Catalyst 4 provides you with an easy to use, 1-click solution, which eliminates all those complicated steps, while still giving you complete access to every aspect of the conversion, but only if you choose to use them.
Besides offering the basic functionality that appears to be the standard for similar conversion tools, DVD Catalyst 4 simplifies complicated tasks such as black-border-removal/full-screen video, batch conversions and volume adjustment by automating them. Converting 1 video file or 100 video files, it does not make a difference. Just drag the files onto DVD Catalyst and with 1 click start a conversion.
Regular price $19.95, for a limited time only $9.95
Purchase Now and save over 50%