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Digital Digest "LiveUpdate" Newsletter - Issue 104

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    ************************************************************** DIGITAL DIGEST - http://www.digital-digest.com DIGITAL DIGEST | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2008
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      DIGITAL DIGEST  | LiveUpdate Newsletter - Issue 104

      27 July, 2008

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      INDEX:

      1. Introduction

      2. Weekly News Roundup

      3. Weekly Software Roundup

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      1. Introduction

      I recently ran a poll on the types of CPUs people are using in their computers, and the poll produced some interesting, if not predictable, results. AMD really need to get their act together and provide some real competition. I also wrote a guide on how to convert AVI to a DVD compliant MPEG-2 file (with AC3 audio). It's more complicated than my usual guides, as I've been playing around with DVD-lab Pro and it doesn't support direct AVI input. I hope to write a DVD-lab pro guide soon.

       Links:

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        2. Weekly News Roundup

        Welcome to another WNR. My memory of the week was that it was pretty quiet, not many news stories at all, but when I went to check (the latest news forum), I actually found quite a few news items for the week. It's funny how your memory can play tricks on you … like the other day when super-glued my mouse to my desk. Oh memory, when will you ever grow up!

        Copyright

        Let's start with copyright news as per usual. One of the best ways that anti-piracy groups get people to notice them (and politicians to do what they say, apart from the large plain envelopes full of money that they give them) is to take statistics and then spin it their way. The BSA is just one such group that releases misleading stats to justify their actions, but you can read a detailed explanation of why these stats are misleading. Another way they do things is by holding back new technology and services and then blaming piracy for this, saying piracy adds too much risk to introducing these new services. And then they use this to sneak in new DRMs. The MPAA's DVR-blocking initiative is one such example, and it is now backed by AT&T and DirecTV. The public pressure against this, I hope, will be enough to prevent it from happening.

        And if sneaking in DRMs doesn't work, then another way is to blame someone else for the problem and threaten to take action. That's what the British Phonographic Industry did by blaming ISPs, and the UK ISPs relented and will now act as copyright cops for the BPI. And hypocrisy is another tool of the anti-piracy lobby, and it was revealed this week that the MPAA hired a hacker to spy on The Pirate Bay. Hacking is very illegal pretty much in every country in the world, and to hire someone to hack and spy on a foreign company is very naughty indeed, certainly much more naughtier than downloading an episode of Dexter that you happen to miss on TV.

        And it's not just the so called pirates that get the rough treatment. Often, the legitimate users are the worst affected, which then forces them to seek "illegal" alternatives. Take Yahoo's DRM music service, which will be shut down and make all those legally purchased songs unplayable. Yahoo says they will compensate, but even if they give back all the money paid for these songs, people will still need to go out and find them again … how much time and effort will that be worth? The only fair compensation is to turn those music files DRM free, but they won't do that of course. And if you think you're rich and powerful, then you won't become a victim of the copyright cops, think again. Senator McCain, US Republican Presidential nominee, might have just been caught by the copyright cops for copyright infringement in a campaign video lambasting Senator Obama. Of course, he'll probably get away with it just like when Dubya was caught with an iPod full of pirated Beatles songs. 

        High Definition

        In HD news, not much news in the HD arena this week. But there was this very interesting article on how Sony beat Toshiba in the HD format war, and how close Sony came to oblivion just after Paramount ditched Blu-ray for HD DVD. I've always said that Sony won because they had it all to lose, and Toshiba didn't have that kind of pressure to force them to go all the way.

        Meanwhile, I get tired of reading the stories about "300% increase in Blu-ray sales", because what exactly are they comparing the sales figures to? Last year this time when nobody was making and selling Blu-ray players? I've recently sold some Blu-ray movies on eBay as well, and I didn't sell any last year, so my Blu-ray sales are up one billion percent! Take that, Wal-Mart! For the PC, if you want a HDMI equipped video card, now's a good time because ATI is offering one for only $19 (after rebate). It still surprises me that HDMI hasn't become standard on all video cards, although I suppose with DisplayPort on the way, one isn't strictly necessary (and the added licensing cost of the DRM used can be avoided).

        Gaming

        And last but not least, in gaming, there is a brief peak at the new Xbox 360 Dashboard. Looks rather nice, I have to say. Microsoft is also encouraging users to build and sell their own games. Then came a series of what appears to be verbal tennis between Sony and Microsoft. I don't know who started, but I'm sure they're both grounded now.  Sony president Kaz Hirai first questioned the Xbox 360's longevity, as compared to the PS3's ten year plan. Microsoft responded by saying PS3 software sales will trail Xbox 360's for this entire generation. Then Kaz Hirai said (might have been in the same interview as the above one) that he would rather die than have Xbox 360 exclusives on the PS3, not sure what this means to be honest. Although real people might die playing some PS3 exclusives, as it was revealed that Wipeout HD had to be re-designed because it failed an epilepsy test.

        Meanwhile, laughing on the sidelines, Nintendo face some trouble of their own as they lost an appeal to a ruling that said the Wii controller infringed on patents, and they could be banned from selling controllers until this matter is resolved. Someone will give someone else a bag of money and the problem will go away ($21m, reportedly, which is what Nintendo makes every hour these days). While the matter might cause some of the lawyers involved high blood pressure, Nintendo wants to find out about your blood pressure. Pretty soon, there will be a Wii device that hook up to every part of your body. We'll be like the Borg, except more stylish and family friendly. "Wii are the Borg. Resistance is fun for the whole family!", that's what we'll say. And Americans are apparently better than Brits at Wii Sport. The fact that some scientists actually spent money on researching this is very funny to me.

        Okay, that's all the news we have for this week. Actually, that's a lie because I left out a bunch of stuff I found boring or mundane, so it's basically "that's all the news that I found interesting/had time to post/wasn't too drunk to pay atttention to this week". Until next week, same Bat channel, same Bat time … (P.S surely The Dark Knight CANNOT be a better movie than The Godfather, Schindler's List, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Citizen Kane … despite what you read on the IMDb)

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        3. Weekly Software Roundup

        July 27, 2008  SimpleMovieX 3.7.1 Mac OS
        July 27, 2008  ffdshow Rev. 2048 Freeware
        July 26, 2008  Net Transport 2.63
        July 26, 2008  x264 full rev. 920 Freeware
        July 26, 2008  ProgDVB 5.15.4 Freeware
        July 26, 2008  ProgDVB 4.x 4.91.4 Freeware
        July 26, 2008  CDBurnerXP 4.1.2.768 Freeware
        July 26, 2008  DGAVCDec 1.0.0 Alpha 30 Freeware
        July 25, 2008  FFmpeg Revision 1xxxx Linux/Unix Windows Freeware Added in the last 3 days
        July 25, 2008  DVDStyler 1.7.0 beta 1 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
        July 25, 2008  Blaze Media Pro 8.02
        July 25, 2008  CodecInstaller 2.10.1
        July 25, 2008  DIKO 2.44 Freeware
        July 25, 2008  Video DVD Maker 3.10.0.22 Freeware
        July 25, 2008  Video DVD Maker Pro 3.3.0.9
        July 25, 2008  Joost 1.1.8 Beta Mac OS Windows Freeware
        July 25, 2008  PPT2DVD 4.7.4
        July 25, 2008  Vista Codec Package 4.7.2 Freeware
        July 25, 2008  DAEMON Tools 4.30.1 Freeware
        July 25, 2008  MeGUI 0.3.0.1020 Freeware
        July 24, 2008  AviDemux 2.4.3 Linux/Unix Mac OS Windows Freeware
        July 24, 2008  GUI for dvdauthor 1.07 Freeware
        July 23, 2008  MediaPortal 1.0.0.0 RC2 Freeware
        July 23, 2008  TVersity 1.0.0.3 RC2 Freeware
        July 23, 2008  ImgBurn 2.4.2.0 Freeware
        July 23, 2008  MagicISO 5.5 Build 265
        July 22, 2008  XenonMKV Revision 32 Freeware
        July 22, 2008  Leiming's x264 GUI 20080722 Freeware Added in the last 2 Weeks
        July 21, 2008  eac3to 2.54 Freeware
        July 21, 2008  ConvertXtoDVD 3.1.3.40
        July 20, 2008  VirtualDub 1.8.3 (Build 29896) Freeware
        July 20, 2008  Sublight 0.8.9 Freeware

        ======END OF LIVEUPDATE NEWSLETTER======

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