Finally digitised

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Oct 31, 2010 in Apple, Films

Many many moons ago, I spent the best part of 3 months, ripping all my CD’s to mp3, ensuring all the meta tag info was correct, and the album artwork was present.

This year, it’s time for my DVD collection.

As some of you may know, I’ve recently bought an Apple TV (well 2 actually), and a 4TB Raid Storage device to store all my media.

After playing around with the Apple TV, I noticed the feature of “Computers”, and how this would stream anything from my iTunes library on my MacMini. As a test, I added a few more items (as I only had the “Digital Copies” from some of my recent DVD purchases), and these streamed fine, so decided to work on ripping my entire collection.

So, about a 2 months ago, I set to work using Handbrake to start ripping all my DVD’s to a “iTunes happy” format. Handbrake comes with a number of default settings, and I found using the default “Apple TV” format gave a good balance between quaility and file size. Another great feature of this default setting is that not only does it rip the 5.1 audio stream (allowing this to be played via the Apple TV), it also took the 5.1 track and down sampled this to 2 channels, allowing this to be played on any other device that can read mp4 format.

So two painful month have passed, and I’ve finally ripped all my DVD movies, meta tagged them, and added them to the iTunes library on the MacMini.

To get all 276 DVD Movies, and multiple TV boxsets ripped into iTunes I had 5 Macs all running Handbrake 0.94 and spent every spare moment at home switching disks as they finished. I had no problem with 95% of the disk, as they ripped first time. I did however find problems with some of the newer disks, and had to use either MacTheRipper to rip them to my hard drive, or if that didn’t work Ripit seemed to get it done. Once on my hard drive, I was able to then covert them.

As you can imagine, the disks were all finishing at different times, and initially found myself checking the progress every hour or so. If a disk had finished, I then started the next disk going. After the first 50 disks or so, I decided there had to be a smarter way. After a little research, I found I could redirect the growl messages (for when the encoding was complete), to my iPhone. The software I used on my iPhone was Boxcar, this combined with a plugin for growl would then send me a push notification upon completion.

I noticed after I’d ripped them all, the some of the media looks a little “jaggy” (namely the animation, and some older films), after reading the forums, people suggested turning on the Detelecine setting in the Picture setting, and this worked a treat. I did have to re-rip a handful of disks, but it was no biggy.

Once I’d ripped a film, I used a piece of software called iDentify, this searches TheMovieDB, tagChimp and TheTVDB and fill in all the meta information, including chapter names (if available), actors, rating, artwork etc.

I soon realised that if I named the film by it’s IMDB name, eg tt0092610, as in http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092610/, this would allow the software to instantly find the correct film. With the TV episodes, I learnt to look on TheTVDB.com first, and made sure the episodes I was ripping matched the naming on there, eg “Battlestar Galactica (2003)”, and then adding s01e01…and continued this throughout the boxsets. The result of this was the files renamed to either the IMDB name or TVDB name.

1 slight bugbear I had, was the TV boxsets that didn’t run in order. An example of this was the run order of Star Trek TNG, on one of the disks I believe it went 108, 116, 115, 117, or something like that. This meant I had to fire up the disk, and check the episode list before ripping, so I could name the files correctly, ensuring when the meta data was applied, it was correct for that episode.

All in all, a worthwhile task, I now have instant access to all my music, TV and movies from either the bedroom or front room.

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How to stop spam bots on phpbb3

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Apr 18, 2009 in Tech

Over the past couple of months I’ve been having a bit of an issue with spam bots signing up, and posting spam all over my forums. I spent the best part of 2 days trying to combat this but to no avail. I was just about to tear my hair out, when I stubled accross a brilliant idea over at awesomestyles.com

The idea was to create a custom field which was compulsery on signup.

Custom profile fields are a feature of phpBB3. They allow you, as admin, to easily add fields that a user can fill out to their profile – such as location, age and so on. It is possible to use a custom profile field to help and prevent spam bots from registering on your forum.

Adding a new custom profile field

Firstly you need to login to your admin forum and click the Users and groups tab

Users and groups tab

From the left hand menu select the Custom profile fields from the Users menu

Users menu

This will show all the custom profile fields currently added. Add a new one from the box in the bottom right of the page.

Add new profile field

Use a name in the textbox such as ‘stop_spam’ or ‘no_spam’ (17 characters max, a-z and underscores only allowed). Select Dropdown box from the dropdown box and click Create field

The settings

You’ll now be shown a more detailed form. The field type and identification fields should already be filled in. Make sure that the Display profile field option is set to Yes and the Display on registration screen and Required field options are checked.

New profile field

Enter some text for the bottom 3 boxes. In this tutorial the Field title is Are you a spambot?, the description is Sorry we have to ask and the options are just Yes and No.

Once you’ve entered this text click Profile type specific options and you’ll be taken to the next stage in adding the custom profile field.

Add profile field options

The default settings here should be fine. Both drop down boxes need to be set to Yes. This means that “Yes” is the default option when on the registration page and that a value of “Yes” will cause an error. This means that whoever is registering will have to change this value to “No” – the idea being a spam bot would not know to do this so won’t be able to sign up to your forum. Click the Language specific options button. This will allow you to translate the text you entered (Are you a spam bot, etc) in step 1 to any other languages installed on your forum. Once that has been completed click Save.

That’s it! This won’t stop all spam bots however it will help to prevent some spam and it is a very easy system to implement.

Using just 1 field didn’t work for me, however adding 2, worked just a treat, my registration screen look like the below, and since implementing a couple of days ago, no more spam bots !!

Reg screen

Reg screen

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