Backup Protected Video DVDs to your Hard Drive for Free

I love collecting nature documentaries and I have a number of them in DVD format. Since they are original DVDs I take real great care when handling them but accidents can happen which may end up with a ruined and unplayable disk. Also, taking DVD’s around when I’m traveling can be cumbersome and it makes me paranoid on the possibilities of losing the discs. To remedy that, I make backup copies/ISO disc images of my DVDs on my hard drive!

Unfortunately, copying a DVD requires more than just a DVD writer. Most video DVDs are encrypted to prevent piracy and to copy those the copy-protection mechanism must be bypassed. To do that we will use a freeware called DVD43. After cracking the encryption on the disk we will create a disk image using another freeware called ImgBurn.

Attention!
Please do not use this article as a guide to make illegal copies of copyrighted discs. Only make backups of discs that you own.

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Win Galaxy Tab: Winners have been announced!

Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab!

This post may be a little late but I’d like to announce that Samsung MENA’s Win Galaxy Tab winners have been selected and announced! I’d like to congratulate the winners and I hope they enjoy the Galaxy Tab as much as I enjoyed using mine. The official announcement of the winners can be found here.

The Samsung C7000 series

Samsung is giving me one of these! I don't know the size though.

As for the Ambassadors, Samsung has emailed me that they have chosen me as their top Ambassador and therefore I’ll be getting a Samsung LED 3DTV! It was an unforgettable experience that was a whole lot of fun too! I really enjoyed making the videos and I still plan on making more although I’ll only be doing so on my free time since I’m not stuck with deadlines anymore. Anyway, thanks a bunch to Samsung for acknowledging my hard work and I’d like to thank the people who supported me during the promotion!

Convert a FAT16/32 Partition to NTFS

File system conversion successful!

File system conversion successful! I wasn't able to take a screenshot of the conversion process on this drive though so I used my 16GB flash drive for that instead.

I was creating disk image backups of my documentary DVDs onto a new external hard drive using ImgBurn and DVD43 and noticed that the images gets saved as multipart MDS files instead of the ISO files that I set it on. At first I was confused about why this was happening then I remembered that the FAT32 file system has a size limit of approximately 4GB (or exactly 4,294,967,295 bytes if specific numbers are important to you). I totally forgot that new external drives are normally formatted as such. Anyway, this file size limit was impeding the backup of the dual-layer discs that my documentary videos were made of. I needed about 8.5GB of space for each disk so FAT32 just won’t work for my needs.

Since I use Windows the solution to this problem was to use NTFS for the volume’s file system but since I have already moved files into it I didn’t want to reformat it anymore. Fortunately we can convert the drive instead.

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Happy Valentine’s Day… Angry Birds style!

Send Angry Birds Valentine's Cards

Send Angry Birds Valentine's cards on Facebook! Click on the image to go to the app.

If your loved one is an Angry Birds fan then sending an Angry Birds themed Valentine’s card would most likely make them happy. Head to the Facebook app and start sending! I wish I had a special someone so I can send one too but I guess I’ll just share this to those who might need it instead. Currently working in a country where Valentine’s day is basically illegal to celebrate in public doesn’t help too. Sigh!

The new Angry Birds Seasons title screen

On the other hand, you may download the new version of Angry Birds Seasons updated with 15 new Valentine’s Day themed levels! Grab… err… I mean borrow… your loved one’s iOS, Symbian, Palm or Android device and start downloading them from their respective app stores – or download it for yourself if you’re the actual fan. Just don’t blame me if your significant other decides to stay at home to play the game instead of going out on a date with you, okay?

Have a happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Android Live Wallpaper: Living Music Wallpaper

Living Music Wallpaper

A series of screenshots showing Living Music Wallpaper in various situations and configurations on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Click on the image to see the full resolution.

I’m having a roll on live wallpapers today! Here’s another live wallpaper that grabbed my attention. It’s called Living Music Wallpaper and it was inspired by the Zune app in Windows and looks so much like the music playback background in Windows Media Center for Windows 7. It has many configuration options like animation, album art size, special effects and other stuff. It grabs the album art from your music collection and lays them out as your wallpaper.

Living Music Wallpaper looks great on the Galaxy Tab despite the temporary hiccups. It lags initially when moving between different homescreen pages but it would work normally after a few swipes. The widget that comes with it doesn’t work and the Now Playing feature doesn’t seem to do anything. Otherwise, it really looks nice. It has the cool-factor – at least, that’s my opinion.

You may download it from the market if you like what you see in the image above. You may also download the app from the creator’s website if you don’t have Market installed. By the way, it’s totally free!

Android Live Wallpapers: WP Clock

WP Clock

Two screenshots of WP Clock running on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Click on the image for full resolution.

I’ve been sifting through the Android Market looking for nice looking live wallpapers for my Samsung Galaxy Tab. I’ve tried quite a number of them, many of them render in 3D but they seem to drag the application menu a bit. Also I prefer simple things and I love typographic art which is why WP Clock caught my eye. Like I always say: Simplicity is beauty.

My first impression was that it looked quite like the lock screen of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. It is no lock screen though. The full version of WP Clock – $0.68 at the time of writing from the Market – features more customization options compared to the light version which is free. Such customizations include text opacity and outlines, animation effects, and a slideshow feature. You may change the wallpaper to your own images on both versions. It looks great on the Galaxy Tab and it should look nice on smaller screens too.

I kinda like it so I’m using it now as you could see in the screenshots above. If you like it grab them from the Market through the links below:

If you like it too please let me know! It may take some trial-and-error to find the perfect images for it but the effect can be beautiful when you do find it. Generally, if you’re going to use the text looks great when opacity is low so you have to use images that contrasts the text color which could either be black or white.

Rooting Android with z4root

A screenshot of z4root in an unrooted Samsung Galaxy Tab

A screenshot of z4root 1.3.0 in an unrooted Samsung Galaxy Tab showing temporary and permanent root options.

I have posted a guide on how to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab with SuperOneClick just lately which you should read if you’re new to rooting. This time I’ll tell you how to do it with an app called z4root which is less intimidating. Since the process is similar to all compatible Android phones I decided to give it a more general title. I have confirmed that z4root works with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8.

Attention!
Although the act of rooting is generally safe, the things you can do after rooting can turn your device into an expensive paperweight if done incorrectly. I won’t be responsible for any damages, injuries or crimes resulting from following this guide. Also be aware that rooting could potentially void your warranty. Proceed with caution.

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