Brian – TipsFor.us http://tipsfor.us Tech Tips, Reviews, Tutorials, Occasional Rants Fri, 21 Mar 2014 05:03:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 How to Simply Rip DVDs in 64-bit Windows http://tipsfor.us/2012/07/08/how-to-simply-rip-dvds-in-64-bit-windows/ Sun, 08 Jul 2012 22:33:41 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=614 Continue reading 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.

With Handbrake installed, make a mental note of its installation location (probably C:\Program Files\Handbrake). Next, download the libdvdcss-2.dll file from Handbrake’s repository. Here’s a zipped copy of my working file (libdvdcss), just in case.

Take your copy of libdvdcss-2.dll and put it inside your Handbrake installation folder, as noted above. Finally, rename the file to libdvdcss.dll.

Handbrake folder with libdvdcss

 

Let’er Rip

You can now launch Handbrake and rip DVDs as usual. The full Handbrake guide is here, but one quick-and-dirty guide is to:

  • Choose your DVD from the Source button
  • Select your Title (you’re probably looking for the one with the longest duration – that’s the full video)
  • Pick a Destination for your ripped video file
  • Choose a Preset on the right side (I tend to stick with Regular – Normal)
  • Hit the big, green Start button, and let’er rip!
Handbrake - Main window
Handbrake – Click to enlarge

That should do it! You should now be able to decrypt and rip DVDs on Windows 7 64-bit. On a personal note, I’m impressed at how little time it takes to rip a full-length movie on modern hardware versus just a few years ago. I’m showing my age, but I fondly recall ripping DVDs using my beloved antique workhorse from 2001: an AMD 1600+ processor with 512 MB of DDR 133. Ripping a single DVD might have taken 8 hours or more! Today, it takes minutes. You kids today have no idea how lucky you are.

Okay, that’s enough nostalgia for this old timer. Get off my lawn, and I’ll get back to ripping my DVD collection. 🙂

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Get a Free 250 MB Upgrade by Clicking the “Get Started” Tab in Dropbox http://tipsfor.us/2010/08/07/get-a-free-250-mb-upgrade-by-clicking-the-get-started-tab-in-dropbox/ http://tipsfor.us/2010/08/07/get-a-free-250-mb-upgrade-by-clicking-the-get-started-tab-in-dropbox/#comments Sat, 07 Aug 2010 18:17:12 +0000 http://tipsfor.us/2010/08/07/get-a-free-250-mb-upgrade-by-clicking-the-get-started-tab-in-dropbox/ Continue reading 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.

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Book Announcement – WordPress 2.9 e-Commerce (plus a giveaway) http://tipsfor.us/2010/04/11/book-announcement-wordpress-2-9-e-commerce-plus-a-giveaway/ http://tipsfor.us/2010/04/11/book-announcement-wordpress-2-9-e-commerce-plus-a-giveaway/#comments Mon, 12 Apr 2010 02:01:46 +0000 http://tipsfor.us/2010/04/11/book-announcement-wordpress-2-9-e-commerce-plus-a-giveaway/ Continue reading 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!

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Get EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard for Free (Giveaway) http://tipsfor.us/2010/01/08/get-easeus-data-recovery-wizard-for-free-giveaway/ http://tipsfor.us/2010/01/08/get-easeus-data-recovery-wizard-for-free-giveaway/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 10:13:35 +0000 http://tipsfor.us/2010/01/08/get-easeus-data-recovery-wizard-for-free-giveaway/ Continue reading 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.

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TipsFor.us Giveaway – iPod Touch Winner Announcement http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/17/tipsfor-us-giveaway-ipod-touch-winner-announcement/ Fri, 17 Jul 2009 16:20:02 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=2381 Continue reading 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

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TunesBag Stores and Shares Your Music Online – Free Invites http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/13/tunesbag-stores-and-shares-your-music-online-free-invites/ http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/13/tunesbag-stores-and-shares-your-music-online-free-invites/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2009 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/2009/07/13/tunesbag-stores-and-shares-your-music-online-free-invites/ Continue reading 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!

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iPod Touch Giveaway Ends Tonight http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/11/ipod-touch-giveaway-ends-tonight/ http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/11/ipod-touch-giveaway-ends-tonight/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2009 05:52:47 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=2353 Continue reading 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

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Reminder – iPod Touch Giveaway http://tipsfor.us/2009/07/05/reminder-ipod-touch-giveaway/ Sun, 05 Jul 2009 14:32:16 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/2009/07/05/reminder-ipod-touch-giveaway/ Continue reading Reminder – iPod Touch Giveaway ]]> iPod-Touch-slim If you haven’t heard by now, TipsFor.us is giving away a brand new iPod Touch 8 GB.

There are multiple ways to enter the drawing, so be sure to take advantage of all of them in order to increase your chances of winning.

The contest ends on Sunday, July 12.

Good luck! The unopened iPod package has been sitting on my desk for over a week now. I’d love nothing more than to tear open the box and claim it for my own! Instead, I must continue to show great restraint and give it away to one of you lucky readers.

Don’t miss this opportunity to win this lovely gadget – the giveaway ends in one week!

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iStat Pro is an Awesome Free System Monitoring Widget http://tipsfor.us/2009/06/26/istat-pro-is-an-awesome-free-system-monitoring-widget/ Fri, 26 Jun 2009 22:12:47 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=2338 icon-istatproFor Mac OS 10.4 or higher: iStat pro is a system monitoring widget that has it all.

iStat proMain site

Like any system monitor worth its salt, iStat pro displays vital information about your:

  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Hard disk(s)
  • Network
  • Temps
  • Fan speed
  • Battery (for laptops)
  • Uptime and System load
  • Running Processes

istat-pro-widget

Unlike some other system monitoring tools for Mac OS X, iStat pro runs in the Dashboard instead of in the System Menu or the Dock. To me, this is preferable because I can quickly send it completely out of the way when I don’t need to check any system stats.

Okay, so it displays system stats. Is that all?

Nope. For starters, one cool aspect of iStat pro is that it displays your external IP address under the Network section. Pressing the i key (provided iStat is the active widget) will copy that external IP to your clipboard, which is handy for network admins.

istat-pro-prefsYou can also customize the stew of the widget. Want only certain elements (such as CPU, Temps, and Memory) to display? No problem, just turn off the others in the Preferences.

Want the stats widget to display vertically instead of horizontally? Yep, it can do that.

Want to rearrange the order of the elements? Just drag-and-drop.

Dislike the default color? Just pick from any of the nine included colors. There’s bound to be one you like.

If you’re totally hardcore about system monitoring, you can buy the iStat for iPhone app ($2) and check your Mac’s system stats remotely from your iPhone or iPod touch.

Hotkeys

For you hotkey aficionados, here’s a list of the available hotkeys for iStat pro, taken directly from the manual.

c – Show or hide the CPU section
m – Show or hide the memory section
d – Show or hide the disks section
n – Show or hide the network section
p – Show or hide the processes section
u – Show or hide the uptime section
b – Show or hide the battery section
f – Show or hide the fans section
t – Show or hide the temps section
s – Swap between tall and wide skins
i – Copy external IP to the clipboard
g – Update external IP
1 – 8 – Change skin colour

iStat pro is freeware/donationware from iSlayer.

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TipsFor.us Giveaway – Win an iPod Touch 8 GB http://tipsfor.us/2009/06/25/tipsforus-giveaway-win-an-ipod-touch-8-gb/ http://tipsfor.us/2009/06/25/tipsforus-giveaway-win-an-ipod-touch-8-gb/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2009 17:30:00 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/2009/06/30/tipsforus-giveaway-win-an-ipod-touch-8-gb/ Continue reading TipsFor.us Giveaway – Win an iPod Touch 8 GB ]]>

Important: this contest is valid for USA residents only. Our apologies to our readers outside the US.

iPod Touch

TipsFor.us is giving away a brand new iPod Touch! It’s beautiful.

This lovely gadget has 8 GB of storage – enough for roughly 1,750 songs, 10,000 photos, or 10 hours of video. It has a glorious 3.5-inch widescreen multi-touch display with 480-by-320-pixel resolution.

The iPod Touch is far more than just a music player. You can view photos, watch movies and YouTube, surf the web, check e-mail, play games, browse the App Store, and even read Amazon Kindle books. See all features here.

Feeling adventurous? You can also install Skype/Fring on your new iPod Touch to make calls and send text messages.

Did we mention that it’s beautiful? Just look at it.

iPod Touch4

HOW TO ENTER

There are several ways to enter, but only one of them is required.

rss-button-smallAll you have to do to enter is subscribe to TipsFor.us, either via e-mail updates or through our RSS feed. We have just added a code word to the bottom of our articles. The code word is only visible in the e-mail or RSS feed, so you have to subscribe. If you don’t already use an RSS reader, we suggest Google Reader.

Once you see the code word – and you will see it, complete this short entry form, which includes a few questions about your technology interests. No personally identifying information will be shared with outside parties for any reason.

The entry form includes a place to enter the correct code word. Without it, your entry will be deleted. One lucky entrant will be chosen at random.

Earn Additional Entries

Not satisfied with just one entry? Good for you! Here are two additional opportunities to increase your chances of winning.

1. Join our Facebook fan page – Become a fan of TipsFor.us on Facebook and earn one additional entry. If you are already a fan, then your additional entry is already counted.

2. Blog it – Post an entry on your blog with a link to this promotion and earn one additional entry. We will count trackbacks/pingbacks as additional entries. If a trackback/pingback does not show up, simply leave a comment below with a link to your blog post.

Contest Rules

This contest is open until Sunday, July 12 at 11:59 PM. Winning entrant will be chosen at random. The winner will be notified by e-mail on Monday, July 13 and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Open to US residents only. This prize is not exchangeable for cash value.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

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