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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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Dropbox

Posted by Ub3rG33k on May 6, 2010 in Apple, Tech

I discovered Dropbox only last week, as I was looking for a solution to sync my 1Password software between 2 Macs, as mentioned in my 1Password post.

Now I’ve been using cloud storage in 1 way or another for a while now, and do believe it’s the future, as the internet gets faster, there is going to be less of a need for keeping data locally, and everything will be stored and accessed from the Cloud.

Dropbox is a simple piece of software, and essentially give you access to 2Gb of free storage (you can pay a monthly fee for the 50Gb and 100Gb version, however for my needs the 2Gb free version is currently sufficient). The storage is accessible via the Dropbox website, or via a application on your Mac, PC, or Linux machine.

How does it work ? Quite simple….once the software is installed, you get a new folder added to your machine, anything you drop into this folder will be synced with the Dropbox website, so if the worse case happened and you lost your hard drive, no worries !…it’s backed up on the web.

Now the beneficial thing for me was the syncing is done real time, so if you have more than 1 machine needing to access a particular config file to keep in sync, then this is the solution. I’m currently using this to keep my 1Password config file safe, not only is it backed, it’s also realtime synced between both machines, so if I add any new details on my MacBook, these are instantly reflected on my iMac

Dropbox also has a sharing function, meaning that you can share 1 file, or an entire folder with other Dropbox users, so anything you drop into folder, will be instantly downloaded to their machine. This is great if you have work you are collaborating on. It also allows you to send a link to a specific file, if you would like to share this with a non Dropbox user.

Dropbox also comes in the form of an Iphone app (and I believe also a iPad app now). This essentially means that any files I drop into the Dropbox folder, are accessible on the move. I’ve found this beneficial so far with photo sharing, basically, take a photo via the Iphone app, upload to dropbox, and it’s instantly downloaded to all your machines, and anybody your sharing the folder with, or you can upload any existing file from your iPhone to the cloud.

From what I can see, there are no file type or size limitation, so basically you can upload whatever you like.

All in all, a fantastic service, it’s fast, and most of all, it’s all FREE !

If you do want to increase your storage without having to pay, they have the option of the referral scheme, which essentially, if you get somebody to sign up to the free account, you and they both get 250Mb of addition storage, however they say that the limit is 8Gb additional space, so if after reading this, your planning on signing up, drop me an email and I’ll send you a referral link, this way we both get an addition 250Mb free storage.

edit : My referral link is here

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Apple Time Capsule

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Mar 18, 2010 in Apple

As mention in my Happy Mac Day post I was awaiting delivery of the Apple Time Capsule ,and as assumed it did arrive today.

I have to say, Apple once again made setting up and installing this device an absolute pleasure !

Below are the unboxing pics

..and finally a picture of it inplace

Now in true Apple style, the setup was flawless, I put it on the shelf, I plugged it in, and that was it ! The iMacs and MacBook Pro all popped up with a prompt saying Time Capsule detected, do you want to set up Time Machine ?

Click yes, input the password and your away.

Did this on all the Macs in the house. The initial backup took a little while, however after that there is a silent hourly backup which you don’t even notice, and it’s good to know my data is now safe !

As you can see from the last image, I’m a little paranoid about my data, on the left I have the 2TB Acer Aspire Easystore, in the middle I have the 500GB Western Digital My Book World, and obviously on the right is the Time Capsule.

I tend to store the majority of my data on the EasyStore as this is set up with Raid 5, giving 1.5Tb of storage and losing only 500Gb to the parity recovery. I did use the MyBookWorld, however upgrading the firmware broke it, and had to spend the best part of a week recovering the data.

So with all this backup, why have I got the time capsule you may ask ?, well let me tell you.

I have a tendency of keeping an extremely clean desktop. If possible I will have nothing on it, however will use it as a temporary file store for the work I’m currently doing. Once I’ve done I tend to just delete everything, and then empty the recycle bin. Unfortunately on more than 1 occasion I’ve needed one of the files I’ve deleted.

Another reason is because C doesn’t tend to use the EasyStore as much as I, and tend to keep everything on her desktop on her iMac and MacBookPro, which means if the worst case happened, she would lose everything !

All in all, I’m very happy with this addition to my network, and can highly recommend getting one if you have a Mac

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