Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 83,
The cat is finally out of the bag
Earlier this week, I released MovieGallery 2 to the various app stores. Of course Google Play was the first to have it ready, since it doesn't use any approval process, but it didn't take long for Amazon to follow, and it activated the new version early Wednesday. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble is a little slower, so hopefully within the next couple of days the new version will be up and running there.
Aside from that, this week was yet again crazy. Black Monday (as well as Tuesday) resulted in a LOT of questions being sent my way. People ordered new tablets and gadgets, and of course after the order, they wanted to know more about what they can do with it.
But more about that later, let me start with this week's
Another week and another DRM fiasco.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a company released an iPhone app that would embarrass users of pirated versions by using their twitter account to send out messages.
This week, a company used a different approach, Game Maker, a popular application for people to create games had a complication with their DRM system, which resulted in the corruption of game graphics from people who legitimately purchased the software. The anti-piracy method used, burned a pirate-symbol in the game-files, rendering them useless. No backup, no undo, just a permanent change to the graphics.
Of course for people who actually pirated the game, this would be a major nuisance, rendering the application useless (unless you create a pirate game of course), but for paying customers to end up with all their graphics work being ruined, all because of some DRM routine is inexcusable.
I do backup my own development stuff on a fairly regular basis, but when I am in the middle of a development run like I was with MovieGallery 2, I often forget to do a backup, or just back it up to a side-location, and if it would happen to me, I'd have weeks of work to get the graphics redone.
As I mentioned before, I can understand the reasoning to implement a DRM system, but unfortunately, the only people who get hurt by these shenanigans are the people who pay and support the product. Without those people there would be no company at all.
DRM error causes problems for legitimate Game Maker users | Ars Technica
Apple released iTunes 11.
Love it or hate it, unfortunately when it comes to iOS devices such as the iPad, iPhone and Apple TV, you are basically forced to endure iTunes. Of course there are 3rd party applications available that offer some of the functionality of iTunes, but for a more or less hickup-free experience, these devices work best with iTunes.
With iTunes 11, Apple redesigned the user interface to be easier and more user-friendly. I haven't had much time to actually play with it just yet, but from initial experience, it looks like they did a good job on it.
Microsoft priced the Surface Pro.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the pricing for the Surface Pro tablets. They are having a bit of a hard time with getting their feet on the ground with the Surface RT, and it doesn't look like this will change with the Pro, considering they are not priced to impress.
The 64GB version of the Surface Pro will sell for $900, and for an additional $100, making it an even $1000, you can get a 128GB model. Both will ship without any accessories, so to get the full click experience you will need to add another $100 for the touch cover. (I wonder if the cover from the Surface RT will fit).
I don't know, but for about the same price, I can pick up a nice, fairly high-end, gaming-grade laptop, or for a couple of hundred less, a nice Ultrabook with similar specs. Of course it doesn't have "the click", but I can snap my fingers loud enough to replicate that part of the experience.
In all seriousness, these prices are similar to that of the original tablet-pc's from 7+ years ago, and back then, they were priced too high. With a market filled with more affordable tablets (granted, they are mobile-OS based), releasing a "tweener" for the price of a full-fledged system is not going to impress, especially considering that the battery-life is supposedly about half of that of the Surface RT.
As mentioned earlier, MovieGallery 2 was released this week. Both Google Play and Amazon Apps already have the new version up and available, but unfortunately B&N is lagging behind a little.
For more information about MovieGallery 2, have a look here:
Release notes: MovieGallery 2 Release Notes | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
Guide: MovieGallery 2 Guide | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
If you use DVD Catalyst 4 to put movies on an Android device, MovieGallery is the best way to browse/display your movies.
I am still not sure about MovieGallery Free. In last week's newsletter I asked for some suggestions. I don't want to go the advertising route, and crippling it to a point where people can barely use it and are essentially forced to get the pay-version is also not something I am interested in, but of course with all the time spent on development (and support), I would like it a lot if people do have a reason to upgrade from free to paid.
DVD Catalyst News:
With MovieGallery 2 finally released, I can continue to work on DVD Catalyst 4. While working on MovieGallery 2, I got some interesting new ideas for DVD Catalyst 4 to play with, and earlier this week, I ran into something interesting for the Nintendo 3DS, so I'll be playing with that as well.
There are a few small things left to do with MovieGallery 2, as it seems there is a software conflict with some apps all of a sudden, however, that will not be as time intensive as it was before, so hopefully within the next couple of weeks, I have some new features for DVD Catalyst 4 ready.
A LOT of questions this week. A few in regards of videos only playing in portrait mode, which thankfully was just a locked screen orientation setting on the device itself, others in regards of availability of the new MovieGallery for the NOOK's, which is unfortunately completely in the hands of B&N at the moment, but there were a few others as well.
Q: Partial conversions thanks to Bit Defender.
A: Unfortunately, I've been getting more and more of these, and now it is actually something I ask in my first reply when someone contacts me with a partial conversion issue.
For some reason, Bit Defender decides, after running for 10 minutes or so, that the conversion process needs to be stopped. It doesn't make any sense, because if a virus scanner/security software would think that something is doing something bad, it should prevent it from running completely, and not just stop it after it has been doing its thing for 10 minutes. Of course the conversion process is not doing anything bad, but really, if the app thinks it is bad, and still let it run for 10 minutes, I don't believe it does much good in terms of security at all. What if something bad was running for 10 minutes before it realized it was bad, the damage would already be done anyway.
Q: USB Connectivity issues with tablets.
A: A few of these this week as well. I had a couple of people with Samsung and a few other people with Asus tablets contact me in regards of connection issues with their tablets.
Of course, with DVD Catalyst 4 creating videos for these tablets, when they get to the part of transferring the videos to their tablet, these connectivity issues come to light.
The connection between a tablet and a computer is not something related to DVD Catalyst at all. DVD Catalyst 4 just converts the video from one format to another format so that it is compatible with the selected device. The file-transfer part to a device depends on the connectivity between the device and the computer. Complications with connectivity usually involve a driver/transfer utility from the manufacturer, or a Windows update, and sometimes even a setting on the tablet itself.
The sad thing of both the Bit Defender issue and the connectivity issues is that because these things come to light when people are converting their movies, many automatically assume it is a complication caused by the conversion software, and thus, I'm the first one who gets contacted.
The sad thing is, a small developer such as myself ends up spending a lot of time troubleshooting complications not related to my own software.
DVD Catalyst 4 costs $10, Bit Defender runs between $70-$80 a year, and a tablet usually runs about $400-$500.
I don't mind helping people out, even if it is not directly related to my software, so of course I do what I can to make things work for them, but every now and then I get emails that are less friendly and even border on being nasty and offensive, and of course when I suggest, after spending a few hours on trying to get things to work, to contact the support department of the company that actually is responsible for the problem (and considerably better paid as well), a nice amount of additional rudeness finds its way towards me as a response.
Q: Bad Memorycards.
A: Something I brought up before a couple of times as well, but with Black Friday and Black Monday passed, I've been getting a couple of these this week as well.
If you are experiencing complications with memorycards, slow file-transfer, or video files that don't play properly or at all, or crashes with apps like MovieGallery when it is scanning for video files, chances are you have a bad memorycard.
Especially memory cards obtained from unmonitored online sources such as Craigslist or eBay are prone to being sold as being different than what they are, but even respectable retailers can accidentally sell bad memorycards.
The easiest way to see if the card is bad, just use a card-reader and try and play videos from the card on your computer and see if they play or even show thumnails. If the original videos play fine, and the ones on the card (try a few of them) do not, the card is bad.
More information can be found here:
Quick Tip: Fake Memorycards | Tools4Movies | DVD Catalyst 4
My development laptop is starting to have issues. For the last 2 years, I've been using an Asus laptop for development.
I have been using laptops for the last 12 years as a main computer, mainly because with towers, I have a habit of replacing parts for faster ones, having the case open more than it is closed. With laptops, upgrading and replacing parts is a bit trickier, so in the long run it is actually cheaper for me.
However, with the laptop acting up, I had to get a replacement so that by the time it does go, I have everything transferred and setup, making the switch easier. This time, I picked up a tower. Again an Asus, since the laptop has been doing well for me.
It runs Windows 8,which unfortunately is a bit annoying for me still for development purposes. I'm not sure if I will keep it on there, or if I will downgrade to Windows 7. I do want to do something with development for Windows 8 and RT, so it might remain.
One thing I will be doing with the tower is set it up as a media server as well. It might be temporarily, maybe just to get an idea for the basic setup and then when I have everything from the laptop moved over I'll use the laptop instead for it, but at least it gives me some practice.
I do have a variety of different devices, so I'll be trying a few different setups to see what would work best for me, and will be documenting my experiences on my website.
Last night, I watched a few TV episodes on my Nexus 7 through Netflix, and I had a hell of a time. Even though there is only about 20 feet between me and the wifi router (Apple Airport Extreme), the Nexus 7 only managed to get 1 bar on wifi in landscape mode. For Netflix streaming, this resulted in a lower-quality stream, and I actually got, despite having a 10mbit DSL connection some buffering here and there (nothing else was using the connection at the time).
I've ran into connection issues while watching something in the same physical location before with other tablets, but not like this. The lower signal also resulted in a faster battery-drain, so after about 1 1/2 hours, I ended up having to switch to a different device.
The second device I used was the Kindle Fire HD. 3 bars on wifi, higher-quality stream, no buffering issues. Quite a big difference.
Well, that is it for this week's newsletter. I'm sorry for it being a bit short this week. There wasn't much news this week that interested me enough to write about, and with a few things going on in my personal life, time is a bit limited as well.
Thanks again for reading this week's newsletter, and have a great weekend.
If you are using MovieGallery 2, please share your experiences in the comments/review section on Google Play / Amazon Apps.
About DVD Catalyst:
DVD Catalyst 4 converts your movie and TV show collection (DVD, AVI, MKV, ISO etc) to great quality video files that are perfectly optimized to play on portable devices.
Convert DVDs with a single click of the button, convert 1 or 100 video files in batch-mode by using Drag & Drop, remove black bars, include subtitles or closed captions.
It includes pre-configured profiles profiles for 1000s of devices, including the latest Apple devices (iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 5) Barnes & Noble NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9, Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and much much more.
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