All posts by Brian

How to Simply Rip DVDs in 64-bit Windows

Handbrake iconIn the past, we’ve looked at how to easily rip DVDs on the Windows platform. That method still works great, unless you’re on a 64-bit version of Windows. For those of us now running Windows 7 64-bit, we have a problem: DVD43 – a required decrypter used in the previous tutorial, does not get along well with 64-bit versions of Windows.

The Solution – Handbrake with libdvdcss

There’s an easy solution to this problem, and it only requires the installation of one software program. I’ve migrated to the mighty Handbrake for all my DVD rips. First, install the 64-bit version of Handbrake. As of this writing, the latest version is 0.9.6. Continue reading How to Simply Rip DVDs in 64-bit Windows

Get a Free 250 MB Upgrade by Clicking the “Get Started” Tab in Dropbox

dropbox_gift I’ve been a happy Dropbox user since the private-beta was released a couple years ago. It’s by far my favorite file storage and syncing service, and it gives me peace of mind about backups of critical files.

If you’re an old-timer like me, you may not have noticed the Get Started tab when you log into your Dropbox web account. Click it and walk through the basic usage tutorial that it presents. When you’ve finished, you may receive a free 250 MB storage upgrade. It worked for me. More storage space is always appreciated.

If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, you can receive two gigabytes of storage for free plus an extra 250 MB by using this signup link.

Book Announcement – WordPress 2.9 e-Commerce (plus a giveaway)

Book cover - WordPress 2.9 e-Commerce In case you’ve been wondering why my number of posts dwindled in the last year, here is the reason: I’m pleased to announce the release of my first book, WordPress 2.9 e-Commerce, published through Packt Publishing.

As the name implies, this book works through the marriage of the popular WordPress software and the WP e-Commerce plugin offered by getshopped.org. Like most of my writings, it’s a tutorial, though on a much grander scale than a simple post. 🙂

You can read all about it on Amazon, but suffice to say that this book is aimed toward anyone who wants to sell either physical goods or digital downloads using the familiar WordPress software. It’s a comprehensive overview, but I especially spend a lot of time discussing the nitty-gritty of payment setup (both PayPal and Google Checkout) as well as the myriad of shipping options and how to handle them.

It was exciting enough to send in the final revision earlier this year, but holding the complete book in my hands is a feeling beyond words to describe. I’m proud of this book, and I hope it helps budding entrepreneurs and hobbyists alike.

Book Giveaway

And now I’d like you to hold the book in your hands! I have two copies to give away, and will gladly mail them at my expense to two readers. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. On Monday, 19 April 2010, I will randomly select two winners and notify them. I will ship worldwide, so anyone can enter.

Good luck!

Get EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard for Free (Giveaway)

EASEUS - Data Recovery Wizard Need to recover some important files? For a limited time, EASEUS is giving away a version of their Data Recovery Wizard. It ordinarily costs $70.

Giveaway Link

The Data Recovery Wizard is capable of recovering deleted files, but it can do much more. It can also help recover files on a disk partition after an accidental format, or even restore a lost partition.

Supported filesystems include FAT and NTFS, and supported operating systems include Windows 2000, XP, and Vista (32-64 bit). Unfortunately, it appears that Windows 7 is not officially supported.

Did you miss this giveaway, or want to try a comparable freeware program? Give Recuva a shot.

TipsFor.us Giveaway – iPod Touch Winner Announcement

Congratulations to “Dan” from KS, winner of the iPod Touch from TipsFor.us. Dan was one of more than 100 entries, but he was one of only a few who took advantage of all three entry methods (Form, Facebook, and Blog post). Obviously, it paid off for him.

Many thanks to all of you who entered. Stay tuned for future giveaway announcements, as we plan to host several more giveaways on TipsFor.us. What might we give away next? Maybe some RAM, a Macbook, or maybe some California IOUs? 🙂

ipodtouch.jpg

TunesBag Stores and Shares Your Music Online – Free Invites

tunesbag-logo Currently in beta, tunesBag is a free browser-based media player that allows you to (legally) upload your music, play it online, and share with other people.

Think of tunesBag as an online version of iTunes that grants you access to your full audio library from any computer with an Internet connection. Since it’s entirely web based, it lacks features such as CD ripping and iPod syncing, but that’s not really the point. What it does offer is the ability to sit down at any computer and immediately have your full music library at your disposal.

Here’s the main window. Hard to believe this is all running in a browser, huh?

TunesBag - Main Window

Uploading Your Music

tunesBag offers several ways to upload your music files, including a browser-based uploader, an installable Desktop Uploader (currently Windows only), via e-mail, and directly from elsewhere on the Web.

TunesBag - Upload Options

There’s currently no hard limit on how much you can upload, though they do ask that you contact them if you plan to upload more than 5-7 GB of files. tunesBag supports MP3, M4A, WMA, and OGG. Audio files laden with DRM are not supported, sorry.

The browser uploader allows for multiple-file uploads, plus creating a playlist for the uploaded files.

TunesBag - Browser Uploader

The Desktop Uploader (Windows only) has some more advanced features. Those of you with existing iTunes or Winamp libraries will appreciate the ability to upload your existing library (or just selected playlists). No such love yet for us MediaMonkey fans, but perhaps the developers could consider it for future releases.

TunesBag - Desktop Uploader

Another cool feature of the Desktop Uploader is that you can use it to completely restore your original audio files back to your computer in case of catastrophic hard disk failure. In this sense, tunesBag functions as a backup for your original files.

TunesBag - Uploader Restore

General Usage

After you have uploaded audio files, tunesBag will analyze them for you and create acoustic fingerprints to help you fix any missing or incorrect elements, such as the album name or cover art. This is a pretty handy feature, and tunesBag will present to you multiple options in case there’s a potential conflict.

TunesBag - Fix Meta Tags

While playing a song, you have control over playback using the transport bar at the bottom of the page, including options for volume, repeat, and randomize.

TunesBag - Transport Bar

Just like with most media players, you can search and sort your music library by genre, artist, or album. You can also create any number of playlists that you like.

TunesBag - Sorting Library

Whenever you hover over each Title, you can bring up a menu for each song by clicking the arrow. This presents a number of options, such as adding that song to a playlist, commenting, sharing, editing Meta information, and deleting. You can also download the original audio file.

TunesBag - Menu Options

Only the original owner can actually download the original audio file, but this brings up the issue of file sharing.

Sharing

Since tunesBag runs completely online, it seems only natural that the ability to share files should be inherent to the way it works. It is… to an extent.

You can share individual files or full playlists in just about any way imaginable: by e-mail, via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or through a direct link to a sharing page. You can also add friends and view their music directly within tunesBag.

The important aspect here is that friends can only stream your music (and vice-versa) – they cannot download and keep the original files. While I am definitely not a lawyer, the streaming-only nature of tunesBag should keep it protected from the likes of the RIAA. tunesBag is a legal service in Austria, the country in which it operates.

See for yourself – Want to listen to that Apocalyptica album that I uploaded in one of the above screenshots? Sure, just click here.

Invitations

While in beta, tunesBag is completely free. While they may eventually offer premium services, hopefully a free version will always exist.

The private beta requires an invitation to join. We have 18 invitations available for TipsFor.us readers. To receive an invitation, just ask for an invite in the comments below. Be sure to leave your valid e-mail address in the e-mail field. We’ll contact you as soon as possible. As always, first come, first serve!

iPod Touch Giveaway Ends Tonight

If you want to try your luck at winning an iPod Touch, act fast! The TipsFor.us iPod giveway ends tonight (Sunday, 12 July 2009). All submissions must be received by 11:59 PM (PST). Thanks to all of you who have submitted so far. We’ve had a lot of interesting and creative submissions so far. Just be sure to include the correct code word in the entry form – a number of you added an incorrect word, and those entries must unfortunately be deleted.

Keep in mind that you can triple your odds of winning by both becoming a fan of TipsFor.us on Facebook AND also by writing a blog entry linking to our original giveaway post.

We’ll contact a winner on Monday, and that person will have 48 hours to respond before we choose a new winner. Don’t miss this opportunity! Good luck!

ipod-touch-win-me