It’s hard to believe in the iTunes era of blink-and-you-miss-them CD rips, but in the mid-90s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process, fraught with peril. Ripping a single disc to 128kbps MP3 could take 8 hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade, with faster hardware and better software and CD ripping is so mainstream your mom does it.
Ripping DVDs and transcoding the video stored within into more efficient formats involves an order of magnitude more scary math than ripping audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of AVP to an iPod-friendly format. However, with the right software, a quad-core equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc rip time from hours to 20 or 30 minutes. There are still plenty of tricks and traps for first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics, then walk you through the secrets of ripping power users everywhere.
However, the first thing you need to decide is simple: what player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Are you simply interested in making an archival-quality DVD rips, in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re probably looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file, and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod. For the purposes of this story, we're going to focus on DVD rips. Getting ahold of unencrypted high-defintion video legally is still pretty tricky. We'll update with Blu-ray ripping info as ripping Blu-ray gets easier.
Internet Explorer may be slowly losing ground to Firefox, but it’s still by far the number one browser in the world with over 71% of the market. Why you ask? Simple, it comes bundled with every new PC and is the most widely known and supported web platform in the world.Google knows if it is to gain market share they are more likely to steal from IE users who simply use whatever browser ships with their new PC. To this end The Times Online has revealed details on what they call “Google’s plan to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user”.
According to Google’s Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai Chrome will come out of beta sometime in January at which point they would pursue distribution deals with various OEM’s. This would see Chrome ship as the default browser on some new machines, and in theory drive up its popularity. Paichai also added that the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome will be available by the first half of next year as well. Currently only Windows users have been able to participate in the open beta. Past anti-trust rulings against Microsoft would make blocking Google’s plans rather difficult, and according to Paichai “We will throw our weight behind it. We’ve been conservative because it’s still in beta, but once we get it out of beta we will work hard at getting the word out, promoting to users, and marketing will be a part of that.”
So will pre-installing Chrome help Google gain market share? Click the jump and let us know what you think.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be forced to take the stand to defend his involvement in the “Vista Capable” marketing initiative which sparked a class action lawsuit back in February. The court has been selectively taking testimony from key Microsoft executives based on the contents of the 158 page bundle of internal emails that Judge Martha Peachman ordered unsealed. Specifically the court seems interested to learn of Ballmer’s involvement in giving Intel a pass on its underpowered integrated graphics hardware which turned out to be barely capable of booting Vista Basic. In one specific chain senior vice president Will Poole emailed Ballmer following a conversation with Intel CEO Paul Otellini stating:
“Steve, following up on the call you took from Paul today, we have changed our program so that Intel's current integrated parts qualify for 'Vista Capable' branding ... This change completely resolves their problem. “
In response Ballmer wrote:
“I thought they had other issues Certainly paul described other (non graphics) issues is this really resolved check back with her thanks”.
In the eyes of Judge Peachman this is sufficient acknowledgement of the issues to justify the need for a deposition. Ballmer has 30 days to schedule his three hour appearance, but he has yet to set a date. A Microsoft spokesman has responded to the press by stating, "We will of course comply with the court's order. Mr. Ballmer's knowledge about the Windows Vista Capable program comes from the executives he empowered to run the program and make decisions, and two of those executives already testified in this case." Many other spectacularly controversial quotes have come from the internal emails, including a VP of product management Microsoft employee who claims to have been “burnt” by the program. But Officially Microsoft defends the initiative and claims many of the emails and memos released have been taken out of context.
What are your opinions on the trial? Hit the jump and let us know.
"Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO. In many ways, we think we've achieved that goal. Tabula Rasa has some unique features that make it fun and very different from every other MMO out there. Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for."
"So it is with regret that we must announce that Tabula Rasa will end live service on February 28, 2009."
On the bright side, Tabula Rasa's subscription fee is bowing out before the game's final act, making the MMO free to play beginning January 10. But wait, the goodie bag runs deeper. Active players as of 10 A.M. PST Friday morning will also leave the funeral with:
3 free months of City of Heroes including digital client
3 free months of Lineage II including digital client
Aion beta access (coming soon)
Aion pre-order access (available in 2009)
1 free month of Aion including digital client (available in 2009)
Best of luck to employees affected by Tabula Rasa's untimely end. Job market be damned, you all have the talent to land firmly on your feet.
New versions of Windows have featured new versions of DirectX, the 3D audio and graphics family of APIs, and it now appears that Windows 7 will be no exception. According to PC Games Hardware, Microsoft's Ben Basaric, Product Marketing Manager Windows, says that Redmond will be bundling DirectX 11 with Windows 7, after all. Earlier this week, PCGH had reported that the pairing of DirectX 11 and Windows 7 was "unlikely."
So, what's new in DirectX 11? As we reported this summer, DX 11 will include compute shader technology, enabling the GPU to perform operations other than 3D graphics; better multi-core resource handling; more efficient utilization of the processing pipeline; hardware tesselation support for more detailed 3D models.
For you chance to sound off about your plans to buy DirectX 11-compliant hardware, and how long you'll have to wait for it, join us after the jump.
When can you expect to buy DirectX 11-compliant GPUs? AMD says its first DirectX 11 parts will be available in late 2009 - right about the time Windows 7 is expected to arrive. New operating system and new graphics hardware? Hopefully, that's a recipe for more realistic 3D graphics than ever before. If Microsoft and OEMs continue to work as closely as the Engineering Windows 7 blog suggests, that's much more likely than a repeat of the poorly handled integration of hardware and Windows Vista at rollout.
How about you? Are you going to wait for DirectX 11 before you buy a new graphics card, or are NVIDIA and ATI's current products tempting you to make the jump now? Hit Comment and tell us what your heart (and your wallet) are telling you.
That’s right Valve faithful, just this week Gordon Freeman celebrated his valiant service at the Black Mesa Research Facility for the 10th time. That’s a whole decade of butt that Mr. Freeman has been kicking, and he’s opened up the door for tons of other great games.
It was the release of Half-Life that really put Valve on the map, and the video gamer’s world is a better place because of it. Games like Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fotress (2!), Natural Selection and Left 4 Dead have all come out thanks to Half-Life's humble beginnings. If it weren’t for the release of Half-Life 2 and the extremely flexible and stable Source engine, much of the landscape that we all love to shoot up from the first person wouldn’t be here today.
So give your best wishes to all the fine folks at Valve that have kept a strong decade of gaming alive. Without them, without Steam, without Gordon, we wouldn’t be spending so many countless hours (well, counted on our Steam profile pages) blowing out zombie brains and cursing those clever Spies.
A common trait among many sci-fi movies is the depiction of outlandish technologies that, while they may appear to be badass concepts (some are just hokey), they end up scoffed at by geeks due to the impracticality of trying to implement them. The computer used in Minority Report falls into this category, or at least we thought it did until we saw Oblong's G-Speak spatial operating system. And there's a good reason for the similarity.
"Some of the SOE's core ideas are already familiar from the film Minority Report, whose characters performed forensic analysis using massive, gesturally driven displays," Oblong states on its website. "The similarity is no coincidence: one of Oblong's founders served as science adviser to Minority Report and based the design of those scenes directly on his earlier work at MIT."
Oblong's website hosts a video showing the new OS in action. A demonstrator wearing special gloves performs a variety of gestures that manipulate content on multiple screens. At one point in the video, a second demonstrator steps into the scene to show how more than one user can interact with the OS at the same time. What's really amazing is how smoothly everything works with real-time responses to hand gestures, a result of G-Speak being optimized for massive data sets and time-critical work, the developers say.
While it's far too early to tell what long-term implications G-Speak might have on mainstream computing, we can't help but think of the possibilities, both in productivity apps and videogames.
Cyber attacks on the Pentagon are nothing new, but the latest infiltration has the Defense Department taking unprecedented steps to prevent further damage. In doing so, the Pentagon has banned the use of DVDs, flash drives, and all external hardware, according to Fox News.
"We have detected a global virus for which there has been alerts, and we have seen some of this on our networks," a Pentagon official told FOX News. "We are now taking steps to mitigate the virus."
The official stopped short of saying where the virus originated from, and as long as the information remains classified, we may never know. But Fox News did learn that the Pentagon has been aware of an impending attack from a memo that was sent out a week ago.
This holiday season, Microsoft is taking aim at arch-rival Apple's iPod - and its companion iTunes software. This week, Microsoft cut the retail prices on 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB Zunes as well as on the Car Pack, Home/AV Pack, and Dock Pack. With the 8GB Zune now selling for $139 (was $149) and the 16GB model now selling for $179 (was $199), Microsoft is undercutting the price of comparable Nanos by $10 (8GB) and by $20 (16GB). The 4GB Zune anchors the lineup at $99, down $30 from its old price.
The Car Pack now sells for $69 (was $79), but the Home/AV Pack, also formerly $79, is now just $59. The Dock Pack is also cheaper at $39 (was $49).
To find out how Microsoft plans to use Zune software to drive hardware sales, join us after the jump.
Well, how's this for unexpected? One day, one of North America's two pillars of professional gaming collapses, and the next, pro gamer Tom "Tsquared" Taylor becomes the first pro gamer to slap a mugshot on Dr Pepper's tiny, 20 oz. billboard.
Taylor will appear on roughly 175 million bottles of the good doctor's delicious nectar from January to April 2009. He currently twiddles his thumbs for Major League Gaming, and, despite the fact that we've never heard of him, is apparently a pretty popular guy.
“It’s not like I’m Tom Cruise or Usher walking down the street or anything like that, but it’s gotten to the point where you have to look your best when you go out,” Taylor said. “I carry a Sharpie around, like Peyton Manning.”
Along with adopting the latest Manning-inspired fashion trends and name-dropping like life is a giant Twitter input box, Taylor recently inked a three-year, $250,000 contract with MLG.
The upshot of all this: pro gaming in North America still has a shot at taking off. Now if promoters can figure out a way to really capitalize on the popularity of players like Tsquared (step one: stop using nicknames like "Tsquared"), then pro gaming might just blossom into something special.