I have switched from using DVDFab to encode DVDs into MP4, instead now I am using a combination of Handbrake and AnyDVD. I have also used Handbrake and RipIt on the Mac. I was having really odd problems with how the MP4s appeared when I played them back over the network on my XBox 360. It took a little experimentation to get the settings exactly right, but I eventually found that if I put the average bitrate to 1463 for the video that it wouldn’t have any problems with playback. I have got into the flow of encoding at least 10 discs a day, so I won’t ever have the problem ever again of having a damaged disc due to little grubby fingers. :)




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Toy Story Mania


We recentlhy visited Disneyworld and got addicted to the ride Toy Story Mania. The ride is basically you moving between games where you shot rings, arrows, pies, darts, or whatever is a toy at objects. On the ride you use a gun with a string pull on it to define the stength. We were told whilst we were there that there is a Wii game which is similar, so on the first chance we got hold of a copy to see if it was the same. It is very similar, but it doesn’t seem as precise and as challenging as the ride. The rounds also are very long. The wii controller doesn’t seem to be as precise. There is no strength control either, which is a shame as I thought they could have used the controller and a numchuck to do the same as the ride.

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Muvi Camcorder

I got a Muvi for Christmas. It is awesome. I was able to go to a 49ers game with it clipped to my jersey and no one even notice it. I was on the field and was able to get footage of practice. I can’t wait to try it out attached to my bicycle helmet or attached to a radio controlled car.

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Parkzone Ember 2


I bought a Parkzone Ember 2 BNF (Bind-N-Fly) micro plane for $89.99 from a Hobbyzone and had great fun flying it around a local park today. I had a Spektrum controller already, so I needed to do was bind the plane to controller and give the tiny battery a charge. I was ready to rumble in 20 minutes. I had to reverse the controls, but then I was all set to fly. There was slight wind, but nothing strong. It took to the air and before not too long I was doing loops and diving towards people in the park. It was great fun and well worth buying instead of the other cheaper planes you can buy. I can’t wait to fly it again and attack neighbors.


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iPhone 3G-S

I have had a iPhone 3G 2.2.1 sitting in a draw for a while. I wasn’t able to unlock it because the baseband was newer than required for using yellowsn0w, but with the release of 3.0 I have been able to unlock my iPhone using redsn0w and ultrasn0w. You use redsn0w to unlock the iPhone and install Cydia. And then you can use Cydia to install ultrasn0w. The ultrasn0w application then unlocks the phone so that it can be used on other GSM networks. I am frustrated that 3.0.1 has been released already, which is an obvious attempt to stop the hackers from unlocking phones. But I am sure that before not too long that an update to ultrasnow will be released. In the mean time I have an unlocked iPhone 3G. :)

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Milky Milky!

Remember the Milk

I have taken to using Remember the Milk for managing the tasks that I have, at least this way I don’t forget to put the trash out. If you get a pro account then you can use the free app on iphone/itouch to manage your tasks. You can also setup an email address to receive tasks I configured it so that it reminds me at midnight for the the tasks which I have to do the following day, and altogether helpful site for someone like me who has an appauling memory.


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No more scratched discs!

With a baby crawling around, I soon realised that I had to come up with some way of putting movies onto a device which cannot be accessed by the baby. I already had a Netgear ReadyNAS storing shared files such as my iTunes library and pictures, so I installed Twonky Media server onto the Ready NAS and then started encoding DVDs using DVDFab. This allows for the movies to be played on an XBox through the Video Library and when organised into folders, is like selecting a movie in a hotel room. The only drawback is that you need to use powerline devices otherwise you don’t have enough speed, especially over Wifi and you have to encode all your movies into files. I am still encoding movies even now I hope one day I will have them all stored away in a draw and be able to select a movie off a 100Tb ReadyNAS and will train the baby, who by this point with be an teenger to encode the movies for me. ;)




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Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars

I don’t play many Nintendo DS games, but I love Grand Theft Auto IV so I thought I would give it a go. The game reminded me of the orignal GTA series from many many years ago. The biggest problem I have with the game is that I am used to the XBox and PS3 version, so I get confused between the different versions. The story line is good and the graphics are great for the DS. It’s a great game, but sadly due to the number of children who own a DS I can see it ending up in the hands of a youngster.


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We had got used to playing Guitar Hero on the PS3 and then we thought we would try Rockband. I actually prefer it, besides introducing the ability to sing for anyone with no coordination, it also introduces the really difficult drumming. I only wished that the drum kit could be raised higher, as for someone of my height I end up hitting the rim of the drums instead of the pads. I think the selection of music available for Rockband is better. I cannot wait to see what Rockband 2 is like.


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Wii SimCity Creator

Despite the mediorce reviews I went out and got SimCity Creator for the Wii. It fills that void which has been left empty since Sim City 4 Rush Hour. It has some nice features like waving your wii for the disasters. The roads can also be nice and curvy. :)

I haven’t tried the version on the DS, but I can imagine that if you are missing your god-complex fill for the day then you can play it on the move.

I only wished that it was for more than one player.

I have really enjoyed playing it and cannot wait for when either Sim City 5 or Sims 3 comes out.


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