Welcome to my blog - Read and enjoy

Thank you for visiting my Scooby1970 blogspot. I update whenever I can and when I have something interesting to share. You will also find published work of mine at Gaming Illustrated. Gaming Illustrated is where most of my work now takes place, but I will transfer some of my more popular articles from there over to this blog, in extended format.

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I've just started a new blog for my upcoming book releases: http://mark-adams-writes.blogspot.co.uk/

Also check out my 10 Quick Facts for more sites I run.

Enjoy the blogs, and relive my ups and downs in life, view some interesting reviews and just enjoy the site. If you are interested in learning something about some of my favourite music then click here it's the official Jan & Dean Site that has taken me and my friend from across the sea, June many years to keep updated.

:) Mark

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ripping DVDs in Ubuntu 11.04

Ubuntu 11.04 and its variants such as Pinguy OS are great operating systems, and one of the things I thought I would miss from windows was the ability to rip DVDs. However, not only were my expectations met, they were exceeded with the quality of the software and the quality of the results.

I have used three separate programs to rip DVDs to my hard drive. I wanted to make a .AVI backups of a few DVDs with as little hassle as possible. The first program I tried was a program I had used on Windows, namely "DVDx 4". I downloaded the Linux distribution from the site and straight away upon loading realised that thankfully it was identical to the Windows version!

"DVDx 4" will rip any DVD, even if it is protected. You can choose the quality of the rip and the codecs it uses. You can also rip for iPod, PSP, Quicktime, 3GPP and of course Divx. On the highest quality rips the picture quality is excellent and can easily be re-ripped to DVD should you want to. The software is fast and reliable and sound keeps in sync, a problem that plagued my ripping using windows.

The second program I have used is called "OGMRip" and this also rips protected DVDs. The interface is much simpler on this one and at first glance it looks like a simplified version of other DVD ripping software. However, under the bonnet of "OGMRip" is a powerful ripping machine. You can rip to more formats than I have seen in any other ripping program, and the quality is a step up from "DVDx 4". It has various filters you can apply to make the picture better and it can rip to a specified storage amount or bitrate.

"OGMRip" is a killer app there's no doubt of that. However, it's simpler interface may put some people off. That said, because of the extra features it can be very slow... make that very very slow!  Ideal if you need a HD rip, otherwise get under the bonnet and change those settings.

The third program I have used has been one of the most versatile and is called "DVD95 Converter". It seems to be the fastest ripping software I have used and has worked perfectly on all variants of Ubuntu. I know use Pinguy OS 11.04 since writing this review, and "DVD95" seems to be the most trouble free in that particular distro.

So, combined, "DVDx 4", "OGMRip" and "DVD95 Converter" are a lethal combination and a DVD copiers dream come true! The power of Linux just blows me away each day, and my next adventure will be into the world of Video Editing. Let's see what Linux can offer us then.

(c)23 June 2011 - Updated August 1st 2011

Monday, 20 June 2011

UMPlayer - Review

LinkIt's not often I get really excited about a piece of software, but since discovering UMPlayer I've been spreading the word about this mighty bit of media player goodness.

UMPlayer stands for Universal Media Player, and for once Universal really means Universal! It will play anything you throw at it right out of the box, and what's more, that box is a free one!

You can download UMPlayer from www.umplayer.com and find out for yourselves what a great bit of software this is. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac and I use it as the default player on both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 11.04.

How does it perform? Well, the first thing you notice is that it is damn fast. No sooner as you click on a song or a video and it loads up instantly! This makes so much of a difference, not having to wait a second while the player loads up. Secondly, it looks really nice in its default "modern" skin and has all the buttons in all the right places.

UMPlayer will play anything, and its not let me down yet. I ripped a DVD in a wrong codec accidently and nothing would play it (I tried Windows Media Player, VLC, WinAMP, Quicktime, iTunes and Real Player) and that's when I fell in love with UMPlayer, because it played it perfectly with brilliant quality picture and the sound in sync. As far as audio codecs go, again everything is covered, even those .flac files that some people use!

Another great feature is the ability to search Youtube or Shoutcast from within the player. This is particularly useful in Ubuntu where fullscreen flash doesn't always perform well. With UMPlayer, fullscreen videos are perfect, and streaming radio stations from Shoutcast sound brilliant.

I can see no downsides to UMPlayer, other than the fact that it's little heard of at the moment. So, after reading this I'd like you to try it out and discover your media in a new, quick and reliable way that you have always wanted to.