Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Quick Tip: Movies on the plane

Make Your Movies Truly Laptop Friendly

DukesOfHazzard_JessicaSimpsonIf you know you are going to be traveling, and you want to bring some entertainment with you (namely, movies), such as the best film ever made — The Dukes of Hazzard, today’s quick tip is for you.

Tip of the day: The energy required to spin the disc, and power the laser beam inside your DVD (or Blu Ray) drive is hard on your laptop’s battery, and can drain the charge rather quickly… maybe before the movie ends.

The trick is to “rip” (geekspeak for “copy”) the DVD to a file, and keep the file on your hard drive, or a thumb drive. Playing the file (watching the movie) this way is less work for your computer and your battery will last longer. Kind of a “must” for those long flights!

Today’s free download(s):
For simple, one-click “rips” of your DVD movies, bitRipper is hard to beat. It was a for-pay utility, and now is available for free.

And for those of you who want to watch your movies on an iDevice, HandBrake is a highly recommended Open Source tool to consider. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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July 10, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, performance, Portable Computing, tech, thumb drives | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Get new life out of your old DVD’s

Many of us put off buying a Hi-Def disc player until the “format war” was settled, and many of us still haven’t shelled out the big  bucks for the winner, Blu-ray, yet. Instead, we keep on watching our collection of movies using our “standard”, old, DVD players.

This works fine until you bring a HDTV into the the scenario.. and then our old movies look sorta, well, old. (Certainly they don’t look Hi-Def!

The truth is simply this, to show you an actual HD image, your HDTV’s “input” (used to be called a “signal”) has to be HD– such as what you can get on (some) over-the-air channels, (some) satellite, and (HD) cable.. and Blu-ray discs.
What is missing from that list is all the DVD’s you’ve purchased so far— they’re “standard definition” (SD). Bummer.

So.. do you have to go out and purchase a whole new movie library, and a HD (Blu-ray) player to enjoy the “Hi-Def experience” you purchased the HDTV for? {Many of us would find this prohibitive.. Blu-ray players are around $400.} Fortunately, the answer is no.

Tip of the day: Enjoy near HD quality images from your (old) DVD’s buy purchasing a player that is capable of “scaling” SD signals up to 1080p (HD). [note: you want this ability even if your HDTV is less than 1080p] This “scaling” is sometimes called “upscaling”, “upsampling”, and sometimes “upconversion“. More info than you’d want to know about this can be read here. These types of players can be found for around $100.

I won’t bore you with the technical specs (you can click the provided links for that) but  I will say that upscaling uses a sort of intelligent “magic” to fill in the pixels required for the HD image.

Your HDTV has some scaling ability built into it, and this will help provide a fair picture from a SD source. It is possible that it does a good enough job with your DVD’s. But to get better results than you already are getting, a player with this capability is the way to go. Your SD DVD’s will appear much more “Hi-Def”, and you’ll enjoy watching them (again and again, if you’re like me) for years to come.

Today’s free link: (Yes, loyal Friends, I have posted this one before..) With the ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-Aware 2008 can clean your system easily, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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June 7, 2008 Posted by | advice, HDTV, how to, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment