DVD Catalyst Newsletter 146 - 03-07-14

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    Hi,

    Thank you for reading DVD Catalyst Newsletter 146.

    I can't seem to get a break with the newsletter. The last couple of weeks my time was spread thin due to unforeseen circumstances, and for this week, I got hit with a cold. I had it coming though. I've been sniffing for a while now, but with everything else going on, I didn't had the time to deal with it, so I've been pushing it off. No idea how it works, but ever since I was a child I was able to push off the cold for a couple of (school) days, and got stuck with it in the weekend, and that is sort of what it felt like now. Of course it remained there, but at a less bothersome level, and with most things back to normal, it decided it was time to kick things into overdrive.


    I'm not going to let it affect the newsletter though. Lets get started with this week's tech news:



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    Tech News:



    Samsung Galaxy S4
    / Note 3 no longer "cheating" with benchmarks.

    When the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 were released, ArsTechnica reported that Samsung made some special adjustments for popular benchmark applications that resulted in them running a bit faster.
    Note 3?s benchmarking ?adjustments? inflate scores by up to 20% | Ars Technica

    With the KitKat update rolling out for these smart-phones now, it appears that those changes have been undone:

    Samsung stops skewing benchmarks results with KitKat update | Android Authority


    Apple CarPlay
    .


    While announced at the WWDC last year, little has been known about developments of Apple's interest in car-integration for its iDevices, but this week more information started to pop up.

    ?iOS in the Car? becomes CarPlay, coming to select dashboards this year | Ars Technica

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5OZMu5u0yU


    Still no release details, Apple did post up some official images displaying some of the functionality and features, as well as a list of car-makers intending to include it as an option for their new models.


    Of course Google is also working on something for the car, something that also came to light this week by means of a job-posting on a Mercedes website.

    Google?s ?Projected Mode? to bring Android to cars - Android Community


    Stream Android/iOS to Twitch.


    Twitch, which is best described as a more social oriented Youtube for video gaming, announced this week that they are coming to smartphones and tablets. It was already possible to view streams on these devices, but with the announced development tools (SDK), developers for these systems can now include the ability to stream games from these systems to Twitch as well.

    Twitch Announces Mobile Broadcasting and Capture SDK | Business Wire


    Bitcoin.


    The last year or so, digital currency have gained a lot of popularity. In particular Bitcoin, which has seen a large spike in increased value the last 6 months, is becoming more and more popular.

    Lately, its digital nature has become a bit of a problem thanks to some security issues with exchange companies. Last week, one of the most-used bitcoin-banks, MTGOX, ended up filing for bankruptcy due to (supposed) theft.
    MtGox: Yup, we're pretty sure your Bitcoin were stolen. Sorry about that. ? The Register
    The Bitcoin drama continues: another exchange shuts down, while Overstock reports over $1 million in Bitcoin sales


    Europe investigating complaints on in-app purchases.

    EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Commission and Member States to raise consumer concerns with app industry

    While the market for smartphone and tablet apps appears to be blooming, unfortunately one type of games is reeling in the most revenue. Freemium apps, apps that are advertised to be free, but when you get into the game, it basically forces you to pay in order to be able to actually play it.


    Games like Dungeon Keeper (link) are great games except for the modifications done afterwards in order to make more money than if it was sold as an actual game. With in-app purchases, a taste of the game is provided, but in order to get further into the game you either have to wait for a long time, or spend some money to speed things up. Of course these speed-ups are not endless, so when you run out, you are back to waiting or to pay more, and the end result is that people end up spending 100's of dollars on a "free" game.

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    For developers and app-store companies, in-app purchases are a gold-mine, but the EU recognizes that there are some major issues when things like this happen:

    Eight-Year-Old Girl Blows $1400 on Smurfberries | The Escapist


    Flappy Clones:


    It has been a few weeks since the Flappy Bird craze started and abruptly ended when the developer took the game down, but the impact that it made resulted in a new clone being released about every 24 minutes:

    A new Flappy Bird clone is added to the iOS App Store every 24 minutes | Flappy Bird news | iPhone | Pocket Gamer

    And lets not forget eBay:

    iPad Mini with Flappy Bird sells for $8K on eBay amid listing takedowns | GamesBeat | Games | by Paula Mooney (Community Writer)
    Flappy Bird | eBay

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    Shorts:



    Earlier this week, I had a few people contact me because they were unable to find the movies they put on their device.



    NOOK HD/NOOK HD+: play video from memorycards:


    With DVD Catalyst 4 it is easy to put movies on the Nook HD/NOOK HD+ (guide). After copying them over, they will appear at the bottom of the "Library" on the NOOK (under "My Files"). However, if you are using a memorycard, the NOOK HD/HD+ doesn't show the videos you have stored on there, making it a bit tricky to play them.


    To find the videos you have stored on the memorycard for your NOOK, go to the Library, scroll down and tap on "My Files" to bring up a file-browser. Here you can switch from "Device" to "SD Card", and you will be able to see your videos. From there, just tap on them to play them.



    Kindle Fire HD/Kindle Fire HDX: where is my movie:


    If you put movies on the Kindle Fire HD/HDX (guide), only movies you purchase/rent from Amazon will appear in the main "carousel" screen. To find your own movies on the Kindle Fire, you will need to use the "Personal Videos" app that is installed by default. You can find this in the "Apps" section (make sure it is set to "device").


    For both devices, another option, which is a bit easier, is to use a video player app on your NOOK HD/NOOK HD+ that actually looks at both locations for videos, such as MovieGallery(B&N link, Amazon link, Google link). In addition to finding (and organizing) videos in stored in different locations on your tablet/smartphone, MovieGallery also enables you to assign cover-images to your videos making it easier and nicer to browse your movies.


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    Thoughts:



    Flashback:

    In search for something interesting to write about, for last week's newsletter, I went to memory lane, and looked back at some of the old newsletters. I skimmed through the first 10, and while there is some interesting content to be found in them, for this week, I opted to go for Newsletter 11 (link), dating back to July 7 of 2011.

    The biggest news that week was the release of the HP Touchpad, HP's attempt to take over some market share of Apple (iPad) and Android (Motorola Xoom, Asus Transformer TF101, Toshiba Thrive, Acer A500).


    I actually bought one and played with it for a few days, but ended up returning it after just 2 days. The $500 I paid for the HP Touchpad was something that was way too much. While the internals were on-par with competing products at the time, the lack of functionality and more importantly, the build-quality were not enough to justify the purchase. I was already disappointed with the Blackberry Playbook that I picked up for (day-one price) the same as what the HP Touchpad went for due to a lack of functionality, but the build-quality of the Playbook made the device at least feel like a premium product. The Touchpad felt like a cheap Chinese knock-off iPad.


    I wasn't the only one who wasn't interested in the HP Touchpad, because it wasn't even a month later that HP ran a "fire-sale" with them, selling the Touchpad for $100. By then, people managed to get Android working on it, making it a great low-budget tablet for the masses. Blackberry, in a similar boat with the Playbook, started to follow suit by reducing the prices by $300 before the end of the year, and a bit more a few months after that.



    Blackberry Playbook:


    Mentioned last week, I was hoping to "play" with the Playbook this week, but unfortunately, I'm dealing with the common dead battery issue. For some stupid reason, Blackbery included a "feature" in the Playbook that if the battery drains completely, it becomes a pain to charge back up again. It supposedly stops charging after a few seconds if the voltage level in the battery is below a certain amount, and, with the battery being at 0, this means that it doesn't charge itself by simply plugging it in.


    So, the process for it is to plug it in, wait a few seconds, and then unplug and plug back in.


    I thought I had it yesterday, but the darn thing turned itself on with the little charge it did get, and as a result, it drained it all again, forcing me to start over. Last night I ordered a "rapid charger" (link), something I seen mentioned as a solution on numerous crackberry-forum posts from people who were experiencing the same issue.


    Quirky as this battery-issue is, I love the Playbook. Sure, it flopped, but the people who do have one are very pleased with it.


    Even though the Playbook is 3 years old, no other company has even bothered to integrate 3 of its core features.


    * The "presentation" mode, where apps will continue to run even if a different app has focus. Sure, with all brands you can play your music while playing a game or browsing the web, but which one, other than the Playbook keeps a movie playing off-screen while you are doing those things?


    * WiFi Drive. Out of the box (when/if it actually charges), the Playbook lets you access its storage over wifi. No need to connect the USB cable to transfer files and such.


    * the borders around the screen are used for the interface. There are plenty of tablets with thick borders, but only the Playbook uses them for controlling the tablets user interface. Some of the Samsung devices (the Galaxy Note 3 for example) do have touch buttons "hidden" in the bottom bezel (menu and back), but thats about it.


    The battery issue is annoying though. It isn't the first time I ran into it either, but this time it is more severe. I'm not giving up though.



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    Closings:




    Well, that is it for DVD Catalyst Newsletter 146. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

    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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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2014
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