mininova introduces “user icons” to help prevent spam

Today’s mininova results have a new graphical element in them:

mininova screenshot
mininova screenshot showing new user icons (click for larger image)

These icons allow users to quickly discern when a torrent that claims to be from a well-known group (e.g. eztv) is not actually from that group.
These “spam torrents” can appear when new shows come out or are anticipated to come out, and clog up the internet with useless data, wasting both ISP bandwidth and everyone’s time.

Jailbreak: replace iTunes

Some apps that let you liberate your iPhone/iPod Touch from iTunes and Apple’s renaming obfuscation:
dTunes,
PwnPlayer,
and MPlayer
make a pretty potent combination.

MPlayer is probably the weakest of the bunch; playing video skips frames and sometimes has no audio.
I would expect it to get better over time though.

Just a few more reasons to JailBreak. :-)

Blu-Ray passes HD-DVD in number of movies available

According to
enGadget HD,
the count now stands at HD DVD 158 vs Blu-ray 159.

To add insult to injury,
another enGadgetHD article says:

High-Def Digest has already updated their release page which is shows that Blu-ray has more titles with dates for February than HD DVD has for all of 2007.

HD-DVD still has the lower price though.

HD odds and ends..

HDMI 1.3: Better DTV images, sound in 2007
Why today’s best HDTVs aren’t worth buying
Blu-ray / HD DVD stalemate boosting interest in combo player?

The first two posts concern HDMI 1.3, which ups the ante from 8-bit to 16-bit colour (!), as well as uncompressed, 3 Mbps audio.

The last post posits that Blu-ray and HD-DVD are tied in the race to consumers, who seem not to care very much about the whole thing.
It is my sincere hope that Blu-ray vs HD-DVD will become just as meaningless and wasteful as the DVD-R vs DVD+R debate was a few years ago.
Who even looks to see if they are buying -R versus +R these days?
I sure don’t.
Actually, all I look for is “DL”.

Update @ 2006-12-22 10:18:
Found these on Slashdot — very interesting!

HD-DVD movies sorted by picture quality
Blu-ray movies sorted by picture quality

Canon HV10

Canon HV10
Canon HV-10 (click for large pictures [1] [2])

Merkle has this very small, sophisticated HD camera right now.
You may also want to view the presentation at B&H.

I also noticed the Sony store has their own smaller HD camcorders as well.
I sold all of my Sony stock and bought Canon, mostly because of the playstation 3 and Sony battery problems, actually.

A market correction in Japan could hurt the portfolio no matter what Japanese stocks one holds.
I still love that Sony Bravia XBR 2 television.

I hope the worry-warts lower SNE some more so I can buy back in at a good price, although getting smoked for half a billion $ in batteries can’t be good.

[edited 2006-10-23 by rae – links and pics]

Intel Mac owners – are you running PPC VLC?

VLC

VLC is used by many people to play avi’s, especially movies and TV shows.
However, on the Mac there is no “universal binary” version of VLC yet.

We discovered tonight that Iain has been watching movies on his Intel Core Duo-based MacBook using the PPC version of VLC.
Needless to say, this adds a whole layer of performance degredation!

So we copied the Intel version of the most recent
nightly build
and CPU usage dropped dramatically.
Actually, it may have been the other way around (see low CPU usage on Intel, and then try PPC version and see much higher values).

Well, in any case, be sure to use an Intel version of VLC to watch those videos!
Even though it is just a “nightly build”, I’ve found the quality of
the one I got
to be quite high.
No crash or any other problems yet.

(knocks wood)

Blu-ray seems beta, but it will win

Blu-ray

The following is my current impression of the status of HD formats at this moment.

There have been some comparisons of picture quality (PQ) made between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and the latter often comes up short.
One factor is the codec used.

For some reason, the Blu-ray movies being released are mostly encoded with MPEG-2, rather than the two-generations-better VC-1.
Apparently there is encoding software coming out that runs on a PC in near realtime.
I wonder – since HD-DVD uses CV-1 as well, why can’t they encode it once for both formats?
Are there internal “HD-DVD” teams and “Blu-ray” teams at the various studios?
I really hope not.

The other factor is hardware bugs.
There have been some issues, although they may be fixed by a firmware update.
Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of one being released.

Now, despite all these issues with Blu-ray, it is still my pick as the eventual victor, for the exact same reason VHS beat beta: quantity.

Beta could only hold 60 minutes of video, while VHS offered 2 hours, or 6 hours if you didn’t mind crappy quality.
It’s not quite the same for Blu-ray: even at HD-DVD’s minimal 15 Gig size for a one-sided, single-layer disc, there is plenty of room for a good-quality HD movie.

However, these discs will also be used to store data on computers, and with Blu-ray being demonstrated at 200 GB (using 6 layers of 33 GB each), HD-DVD doesn’t even come close.
With our 750 GB hard disks in our computers, we need this for long-term shelf storage.

I really think it’s that simple.
Because Blu-ray and HD-DVD certainly don’t differ in any meaningful way when it comes to HD playback quality.