Old Photos – Part 3


Before we proceed with this week’s short post, there are 3 things I wanted to say aloud.

First is Waytha, after the hunger strike stunt that he pulled before the elections and got his MOU with Najib had now resigned – he rightfully deserved it, if you ask me. The way to go is to stop fighting for rights and benefits based on racial lines and do so more on poverty lines so that all races in this country will fairly benefit from it. For that Pakatan’s proposition makes it more favorable and Waytha should have stick to Pakatan and work out the issues from there. We cannot afford to go and go on racial basis on a multi racial country. It however does not change the fact that the Government still need a major overhaul. After all, if the Home Minister can come out and can casually sweeps a threat to slap a Member of the Parliament under the carpet, that says a lot on the present state of the country.

Second is Happy Valentine’s Day. My cousins got busy with their yearly ritual during this time of the year – selling roses near their house (profit margin seems reasonable) and as was last year, the business had been very good. In respect of the occasion, please check out the YouTube video below. The song (from award winning 2010 Tamil movie Angadi Theru) correctly represents on how we look at our better half although we may not say it aloud (sometimes tough men are indeed soft inside).

Third is that I am happy that Sony have finally rolling out Android 4.3 to Sony Xperia SP smartphone. Perhaps a Valentine’s gift? It has been a “long wait” (ha ha, if I had read well on the various comments in Xperia forums) although the existing Android 4.1.2 still worked wonders for me and it was way better than my older Symbian powered N8 in most areas but a firmware update is always welcomed with open arms. I got my phone “upgraded” this morning and so far the first impression of the update – the graphics seems somehow smoother.

Let’s proceed with this week’s post.

Last week, I had an unexpected phone call.

It was from my distant elder cousin who I rarely see these days. He called me and asked if I had Whatsapp. Feeling confused, I slowly said I had the apps (who doesn’t uh?) but clarified that I was not “online” at the moment (I switch on the mobile data only when it is necessary – to check Facebook status, emails or fact finding in Wikipedia). He said he found an old photo of my dad with his siblings and he will send it via Whatsapp. I switched my mobile data on and waited for the photo but nothing happened. But the next day, I got 2 photos sent via Whatsapp. One was a studio photo of my cousin’s mom & dad, taken when they just got married.

old photos1

Another which interest me more was a photo of my dad with his brothers and his father (my grandfather) who looked much younger. I had a photo of my grandfather when he was rather old but not any photos when he was younger. I did not realise that my grandfather from my father’s side had the same flair and style as my grandfather from my mother’s side. I showed the photo to my dad and he could not remember much on the photo other than that it was taken when he was about 14 years old (which meant it was taken in the 1950s). He however pointed out his footwear back then and that was pretty standard (the necktie was borrowed from the studio).

My dad was not sure of the occasion when the photo was taken but it was a rare photo indeed. There is no photo of my dad when he was younger and none had never surfaced in the last 30 years or so. This promptly copied to my old photos collection that I have setup recently (now I have about 30 black & white photos and that collection is growing). My target is to collect as many old photos as possible, before it goes missing, tag them with detailed narration and finally publish them in a dedicated website so that all family members (near & far) would have access to these rare photos.

P.s. Take a look at Part 1 & Part 2 here and here

And now a special video for Valentine:-

Have a good weekend ahead…

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Nokia N8 Firmware Update Part 4


Update 1 : It took some time but it is finally here! As at 25.09.2012

Back to the original post

(Nokia Belle Refresh updates comes in 2 mode – OTA or Nokia Suite. Nokia Suite update comes in a bigger file size. and Image source: http://worldofphones.net)

It has been almost 20 months since I got hold on Nokia’s 2010-2011 flagship smartphone – the Nokia N8 and over that 20 months, the smartphone have undergone 3 major firmware updates – the last update early this year (Nokia Belle) was major and that brought it somehow closer to other current smartphone in the market.

In the same duration of time, my Nokia N8 has power problems that had to be fixed twice this year (perhaps this is not the right gadget to play HD games – it is putting a lot of strain on the power related components). And when Nokia decided to ditch their battle-hardened Symbian OS for newbie Windows Phone OS last year, we did not really anticipate further upgrades to Symbian^3 OS that powered my Nokia N8 (I was anticipating a change to Android phone instead) but then they did – with Nokia Belle update which most thought would be the last major update before Nokia moves on to Windows Phone on a larger scale (even with Accenture still handling the development & support for Symbian).

And now it seems N8 is going to get another firmware update codenamed “Nokia Belle Refresh” which I think which will close some of the gaps and bugs in the earlier Nokia Belle update (this I think would be the last OS update for Symbian powered devices before Nokia focus it’s full attention on Windows Phone powered phones).

The Nokia Belle Refresh change log from My Nokia Blog:-

  • Nokia Belle 111.040.1511
  • Browser updated to 8.3 – Full HTML5 support, Offline services
  • Nokia Maps Suite 3.09 – Use voice search for Maps & Drive, See photos on Map, Multipoint routing, Explore nearby places from Homescreen, Public transportation integrated with line information & departure times
  • Nokia Social updated to 1.5 – Automatic linking to Facebook and Twitter, New Homescreen widgets, Improved performance, Renewed app layout
  • N8 Specific imaging apps – Bi Screen, Colorize IT, PlayTo, Gallery Widget (photo wall)
  • QT4.8
  • Ovi services renamed to Nokia services
  • Improved Music Player – Refreshed “Now Playing” view, Lists are tabbed for easy access, and are swiped between
    new Artist view, Play & Pause from pull down status bar (Status only, not toggles)
  • New Widgets – Clock, analogue big, Clock, Mechanic, Clock, Text, Calendar, Agenda view, RSS Widget, Bookmark, Contact individual (social upgrades), Contact, group (group support upgrade), Music player – Medium, Weather now, Weather forecast, My location, Social widget, Facebook, Summary, Facebook, Twitter, Mobile Data Counter, Search, Email – New arrival, Gallery, Notes, Email – Detailed, Toggles (2G/3g, Offline, silent, BT, Cellular)

And apparently the update also includes a fix for flash video support (something that has irritated me for sometime now – flv files simply does not play well on N8). The update also has an all new web browser which seemed promising (but then again with the excellent Opera Mobile around, I am not sure whether this new browser will make any difference).

The existing Nokia Belle to be fair, has been impressive todate – it handles most of the multi-tasks well with a free (even with N8’s heavily watered down processing power) and well updated Ovi Maps which can be downloaded for free and without the need for any mobile data on the go and improved GUI wise, it can stand it’s own against Android powered phone. Nokia N8 already had a good design to start with (with anodised aluminium monocoque case, Gorilla Glass, AMOLED screen and yes, the 12MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens) and with Nokia Belle update, it just got better. But somehow, somewhere something was lacking with Symbian which may explains the move to Windows Phone (it’s app store was not the issue).

Tech2 reports:-

Symbian was definitely a powerful platform on its own. With the advent of other operating systems, it did lose a lot of steam, but it’s still chugging on with these updates.

One of the main problems was the limited app store, but besides that, the interface, the media and everything else was pretty promising. Symbian wasn’t too optimised though, and it did face a similar fate as Samsung’s Bada operating system.

As compared to frontrunners Google and Apple, it didn’t really impress that much and Nokia itself started looking at Windows Phone as its future premier operating system.

This latest firmware is yet to be rolled out in Malaysia so let’s keep the fingers crossed and hope that my ageing Nokia N8 does not go too outdated by the time new iPhone 5 comes out. Nokia N8 is still a damn good phone.

Next Change: Ubuntu 12.04


UPDATE 3: You can download the Ubuntu 12.04 Manual from here

UPDATE 2: 9th May 2012 – Thanks to the Ubuntu community, I managed to fix the postgresql 8.2 error using command “sudo touch /usr/share/postgresql/8.2/tsearch_data” and removed the postgresql without any errors. Then I started to upgrade again (not using the Update Manager which still showed errors but using Terminal command) and this time, upgrade was rather smooth (perhaps thanks to the stable internet connection). The upgrade to 12.04 LTS was finally done after almost two hours. The review of the 12.04 will be done later if I have time.

UPDATE 1: 27th April 2012 – the upgrade from 11.10 to 12.04 LTS had hiccups when the upgrade package download connection was disconnected half way (due to my internet connection) – the same did not happen when I upgraded from 11.04 to 11.10. When I retried the upgrade, the update failed to work. After a few tinkering, I found the source of the problem – postgresql 8.2 was corrupted and need to be removed. Easier said than done, the removal failed as follows:-

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
libmagick++3 amsn-data libemeraldengine0 perlmagick inkscape tcl-tls
Use ‘apt-get autoremove’ to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
postgresql-8.2*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 to remove and 660 not upgraded.
After this operation, 12.4 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
(Reading database … 269406 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing postgresql-8.2 …
find: `/usr/share/postgresql/8.2/tsearch_data’: No such file or directory
dpkg: error processing postgresql-8.2 (–purge):
subprocess installed pre-removal script returned error exit status 1
update-rc.d: warning: postgresql-8.2 stop runlevel arguments (0 1 6) do not match LSB Default-Stop values (S 0 1 6)
Errors were encountered while processing:

Back to the original post

Read these first:-

(The next generation of Ubuntu with a more sophisticated dashboard – a far cry from the dull, simple version 6.10 that I installed back in 2006. Image source: http://www.webupd8.org)

Mark the launch date – 26th April 2012. This is the date when Ubuntu will be releasing their latest OS – version 12.04 codenamed “Precise Pangolin”. I have been using Ubuntu 11.04 for sometime now (suppose to upgrade to 11.10 a long time go but my OS update was screwed due to a silly mistake of mine – somehow I have “un-ticked” the upgrade source server).

And of the things that I am looking forward to in 12.04 is the possible inclusion of HUD. OMG!Ubuntu reports “HUD – Heads UP Display – uses an intelligent search-based approach to finding and accessing menu items you need. It’s smart too; HUD is capable of remembering what items you use most often and prioritizing them in the results. The goal is to make finding menu items faster, in turn speeding up your workflow”.

(HUD in action hopefully in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04 and never misjudge the ease of using keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys instead of using the usual mouse clicks. As I have experienced, it can very, very fast and very convenient)

In addition this, Tech Drive-In further reports about “10 New Features Added to Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin” which includes the following changes:-

  • Unity Dash’s default home screen has changed. Now, it shows ‘Recent Apps’ first, ‘Recent Files’ next and lastly, your most recent Downloads.
  • Home menu quicklist is a really useful addition
  • Apart from the usual three Unity lenses (Applications, Files and Music), there is now an additional Video lense too. It lets you select and play videos from a variety of sources ranging from your local collection to YouTube Movies, BBC iPlayer and TED Talks to name a few.
  • HUD is now an integral part of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. HUD have not yet replaced menus in applications though. So no need to panic.
  • Size of launcher icons can now be changed directly changed from ‘Wallpapers’ menu. No need to install CCSM just to do that anymore. As you can also see, there is now an option to change the default Ubuntu 12.04 theme from the same window. Useful additions and nicely done too.
  • This is perhaps the biggest visible change to new Unity. Launcher won’t be in the ‘dodge windows‘ state anymore (by default) and instead will be ‘always visible’. Dodge windows is not even an option anymore. It is completely removed.
  • Initiating Alt + Tab shows you just the open windows in the current desktop and not from all the desktops like it used to be
  • The decision was taken during the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS). Rhythmbox has just replaced Banshee in Ubuntu 12.04. Note taking application, Tomboy, has also been removed. Canonical seems serious about completely removing Mono from Ubuntu.

Those who have not used Linux before, the new release of Ubuntu may be uneventful. But installing free, open source Ubuntu as my secondary OS (having Ubuntu and Windows in dual boot) was probably one of the smartest I did when I upgraded to a 64 bit machine a couple years ago (I was curious and wanted to brush up on Linux as well).

This is because when I was abroad for an assignment last year and when my Windows crashed unexpectedly (due to a registry screw up – what else?), all I needed to do was to fire up my Ubuntu and was still able to connect to the Internet to check my emails using Firefox,  chat with my colleagues using Pidgin & Skype, open documents & spreadsheets using the free Libre Office and use OpenProj for project management, etc – well you get my drift. What I am trying to say here is that with Windows crashing down (and the only way to fix the crashed Windows was to reinstall Windows all over again – duh), it did not mean the end of story for me.

Linux are not like those days when you have to run most of the apps using line command in Terminals (you still do sometimes but it is not difficult once you get hold of the usual convention) and where a simple update of packages was a nightmare. But now, thanks to user friendly GUIs, software center with well-stocked apps and well organized update manager, it is in par and in some cases superior to Windows 7. You also don’t have to worry about firewalls and anti-virus in Ubuntu and best part is, it is also free and can run along with your Windows without much fuss.

I have moved from 10.10 to 11.04 (which introduced Unity user interface which combines search and dock functions in one) and finally to 11.10 (which refreshed the login screen with LightDM and tweaked the Unity to be more streamline. It felt lighter too), I can’t wait to move to 12.04 next week.

Un-hanging the N8


This happened a couple weeks…

(Nokia N8 is great but sometimes I forget that it is more than a phone – it has a very complex system running in the background. Image source)

I somehow had managed to screw up my N8. Sometimes I forget that smartphones are just like personal computers when it comes to installation of new software. It can very, very sensitive. After all, it has a complex Operating System, root folders, power hungry applications, etc. So, if one installs the wrong application (especially from an untested, dubious third party source) or installs it half way, it will screw up the system. And this is exactly what happened.

I was reading about a virus that was been roaming on smartphones in recent weeks. I used to have NetQin anti-virus application for my Symbian Anna powered N8 but I started to note that the anti virus application (I should take the blame for this – I have been playing with the settings) started to get into running of all other active applications. And then one day, I noticed it starts to connect to the Internet without my express authorization. Bloody hell, this was getting scary! So, I did what I suppose to do in panic when these things happen – I simply uninstalled the AV application and left with an unsecured smartphone.

(A robust AV app for smartphone is a must and to be fair, NetQin does the job rather well. It is just that incomplete installation and itchy fingers playing with the settings can create major havoc to the phone. http://dandroidtabletpc.com)

So when I read about the virus on the net and realized that I don’t have any AV on board, I started to look for an AV application – with NetQin being my last choice. There were not many choices out there when it comes to free based AV for Symbian^3 powered smartphones. NetQin was the only one I found that was available for N8 for free (although AV update will cost me but I was ok with that – the main application was still free). Not wanting to spend too much money on AV or Internet Security applications for smartphones for now, I hestitately installed NetQin back, hoping not to play with its settings this time around. But something else happened.

The installation did not complete as there was a disconnection of internet and I was left with a half-installed AV application which I was not aware immediately. Only when I decided to restart the phone, I realized this problem.

The phone starts up – the home page is shown but I could do anything else, the whole phone freezes. After a couple of tries, I noted that the installation starts up and this is causing the rest to freeze up. Then there is another problem as well – normally it is easier to stop this installation program from starting but since the phone freeze, I was unable to click on the application option. I was left with a dead phone now.

It was time for Google things up and it seems like there was only one choice – a hard reset but as many have warned, this should be a last option as it will format the whole phone and when restored, I am likely to lose Ovi Maps and Ovi Store (it needs a lot of manual installation for this and this too may not work 100%). There is another option of reseting to factory settings but it requires me to navigate through to the application menus and click on the option before the phone freezes over.

I tried the hard reset first – it was not possible to do the normal reset as the phone keeps freezing up. But the hard reset did not work – nothing happens. Then I remembered my sim card was still in the phone – I took it out and instead of hard reset, I tried the normal resetting for one last time.

When I restarted the phone, I noted that there was a longer gap before the phone freezes over. That small gap was just enough for me to disable the installation apps that kept running in the background whenever I started the phone. When I did that, I then realised that NetQin was also running in the background too (it was a mystery to me because I thought its installation was not complete) and due to frequent startup of the phone, NetQin had thought that the phone was under attack from virus and decided to freeze the phone to avoid further damages. I disable NetQin as well and proceeded with the safer and recommended method of resetting the phone to factory settings. Resetting was smooth and hassle free.

It did not take too long as well – once restarted, everything remain intact. I then restore back my contacts from my earlier backups using Nokia Ovi Suite (I had to do it twice – the first time; I wrongly included the restore of apps settings which did not work well. I reset and restore back but this time, excluding the settings). I got back my contacts updated into the phone and then proceeded to update to the latest Symbian Anna manually. And after that, I was home free.

I opted to leave any AV or Internet Security apps from my phone for the time being. Considering the risk – I may opt for a proper robust paid AV apps to be installed but not for now. Nonetheless, it was a scary moment – having the phone freezing up just like that and almost not having any way out to resolve it.

Read Also

Nokia N8 Firmware Update 2

Playing with Nokia N8

NN8 – First Impressions


Been very busy with project works but here’s a quickie before I head back to work

(After many phones over the last few years, this must be my real smartphone – Image source: http://www.photographyblog.com)

Well, it is not really an iPhone but it is cheaper and in some areas, better and certainly a quantum leap over this.

Actually I did not plan for this but something about this phone attracted me when I was at Maxis service centre to settle on my wife’s phone line issue. Nokia N8 comes with very impressive features but here are some I really like about this latest gadget of mine – a full GPS sat nav (with built-in GPS chip and free maps from Ovi Maps for lifetime), 12 MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens, HD Video with HDMI outlet and the best of all, it is wrapped in an anodised aluminium body.

I really did not have the time to explore all the features in Nokia N8 (I am pressing the wrong buttons sometimes) but hopefully after CNY, I will have time to do a proper review. In the meantime, I am enjoying Need for Speed on Nokia N8 and free GPS Navigation.  I have not really touched on the camera and video and music player – perhaps after the holidays.

First impression wise, it looks very, very tempting…

Read Also

Nokia N8 vs Apple iPhone 4

10 Things why Nokia N8 is better

Playing Linux Again


I think I am falling in “love” again…

(It is reputed that 2% of the computers in the world runs on Ubuntu – a free and open source OS that stands on it’s own against Windows based OS and 90% of the supercomputers in the world runs on Linux. Image source: http://masoncloud.com)

Couple of months ago, my old but robust 32 bit DELL Vostro 1200 laptop got replaced by a faster, more updated 64 bit DELL Vostro 3500 laptop. I had no other choice; the old laptop was not powerful enough to run Oracle databases (which was needed in some part of my work) – it was slow and running out of disc space too. So, I managed to get a more powerful laptop but there was a catch to the whole deal. The OS that came with the new laptop was a 32 bit Windows XP. On the onset, it akin to a Ferrari attached with Kancil tires – right there with the right hardware but not with the right software.

Running a 32 bit Windows XP on a 64 bit machine posed some problems – drivers for some of the laptop component was hard to get and even if we got the right drivers, it was not working all the time (Wi-fi can be detected but cannot be connected and I still have words “missing” from the screen).

The 4GB RAM that came with the laptop was only recognised up to 3GB by the 32 bit XP (thus wasting 1GB of RAM and 1GB is a lot of RAM). DELL recommended Windows 7 to resolve the issue but we had to consider the cost of licensing and support as well. There was concern that the request to migrate Windows 7 may open the floodgates for more requests to migrate to Windows 7. Windows XP is a great OS but when facing the newer generations of Intel chips and hardware, Windows XP does show its shortcomings at the wrong time.

That is when I was re-introduced to an old friend – Linux.

My colleague who had the same model and with the same OS shared his list of problems with the laptop and he suggested us to look for cheaper alternative (since Windows 7 was costly). After my initial “test” with Linux Mint (which used Ubuntu as its base), I decided to move to 64 bit Ubuntu version 10.10 (the latest of the Ubuntu releases – code named “Maverick Meerkat” – released on 10th October 2010).

I have used Ubuntu before, back in 2006. When my house’s Pentium 3 powered desktop’s Windows XP crashed and continued to give problem, I decided enough is enough and decided to install Ubuntu (version 6.10). But having Linux as the main OS, poses other problems, namely when one needs to install a new program (the latest Ubuntu makes things easier by having a package manager). Getting the right drivers for the hardware under Ubuntu was a major pain in the neck – I had a tough time getting my dial-up modem to work before I could proceed with other updates. Then there is another problem of getting Window based application to run in Linux. Back then, options were limited for newbies when it comes to Linux but things have changed a lot in the last few years.

Ubuntu latest version is 10.10 and a lot of drivers are now supported under the new version. No longer, I had the problem looking high and low for modem drivers and so on. Hardware is auto detected and appropriate drivers are recommended. If there is none, a lot of the hardware and application providers now have a Linux version of their drivers / applications. Installation was breeze but you need to be careful with the partitioning of the HDD.

You can get the installer to run auto but since I had installed Linux Mint (for my testing) – I had plenty of do to uninstall Linux Mint and then rebuild the grub and boot before I can install Ubuntu. Thankfully, there were plenty of leads, guides and clues on the internet.

(Here’s something interesting – 90% of the desktops at Weta Digital ran on Ubuntu Linux for the production of the movie: Avatar. Image source: http://www.slegrand.blogspot.com)

I installed the latest version of Ubuntu together with the existing OS (Windows XP – sadly it is still need to run some proprietary applications) without major errors and been working steadily to fully migrate from Windows to Linux. Ubuntu also comes with “Software Center” which easily provides categories of software that can be downloaded to Ubuntu (categories available is Games, Office, Fonts, Developer Tools, System, Education, etc).

This has helped a lot in getting the corresponding Windows software for Ubuntu (there is another option of installing Windows applications in Linux – by using Wines but I rather get a proper Linux applications for now). More importantly, Ubuntu recognise the whole 4GB of RAM and thus my applications run faster under Ubuntu than under Windows. Understandably, under Linux, the start-up and shut-down of the OS has been lightning speed as well (there is always an error message – some services failing to shut down – when I shut the Windows XP).

To run SQLs on Oracle Database, I downloaded and run Oracle SQL Developer tools (in Windows, I usually use Quest’s Toad). It worked fine. For emails, I am using open source Evolution Mail and for IMs, Empathy IM (Linux Mint on the other hand uses Thunderbird and Pidgin). I am toying with VMWare lately but there is one thing I still not been able to resolve – getting my Firefox to run Java version 1.6 (version 6 update 21).

I managed to get it running in Linux Mint (it took me couple of weeks though) and I tried to retrace my steps on how I did it in Linux Mint but I still could not get the Java up in Ubuntu. I must have missed something but I cannot put my finger on it, yet. I have downloaded both JDK & JRE version and even looked up into the Ubuntu’s Package Manager but recognition of Java at browser level proves to be a tough nut to crack.

This reminds me of the days when I was tinkering with Ubuntu 6.10, almost 4 years ago. Linux has not been an easy OS to use with (even with the latest Windows like, wizard guided installation) but perhaps that is what makes it exciting for software “geek” like me. It can be better than Windows if we are able to get the packages right but you may need to look for it high and low. Sometimes, you may need to rely on an alternative solution.

It is back to doing more research before I can say that I am 100% Ubuntu – this should be an interesting journey.

DVD Ripping


Just wanted to share something and no, I am not promoting privacy…directly

(Older version of the Handbrake in action – image source: Wikipedia)

I have a problem.

I have plenty of good, expensive DVDs lying around at home; reminiscence of the days when I was still young and had plenty of money to buy original DVDs, when pirated DVD sellers can be found at almost every corner of neighbourhood and when watching movies on ASTRO was a distant away. In fact, most of the DVDs are collecting dust and just taking up precious space on my cabinet.

I hardy touch them these days as 1. I thrown away the cheap China-made DVD player that I had, a long time ago (the expensive player has been put back in the box and wrapped in plastic and that too is collecting dust and taking up precious space in another cabinet) and 2. Most of my movies are now in small avi or mkv formats and tucked away by proper folder and genre in my external HDD (easier to watch them on PC when travelling). Quality wise is not so bad but it does not beat the real thing of watching original DVDs (especially those heavily loaded with special featurettes).

There is 2 ways of copying over the DVDs from its original place (discs) to my external HDD.

First way

I can just copy the whole AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folder from the disc and then get the right player to play the VIDEO_TS.IFO file. The problem with this method is that obviously the size of the folder is huge – easily 4.35 GB for one movie and also it is not so easy to get players that can play the VIDEO_TS.IFO file (especially when I already have a favourite player).

Second way

So, the better method is to rip the DVD format into a smaller one file format – avi, mp4 or mkv. The advantage of this method is obvious – the file size reduces drastically from 4.35 GB to just 700 MB (saving of more than 3.6 GB of HDD space). Another advantage is that it is easy to get players to play the avi, mp4 or mkv format. Smaller file size also means more movies can be tucked away for the “rainy days” when you have nothing to do at home and you just wanted to snuggle down with a warm blanket, a hot cocoa and do nothing but watch good movies.

DVD ripping although is the right way to move the contents from DVD to your HDD – it is not so easy to do it. One main reason – there is no free DVD ripping software that can do the job properly and without introducing malwares to your PC. The trial basis ones only allow you to rip a certain percentage of the movie so that too defeats the purpose you ripping the movie in the first place.

That is when I found Handbrake – open source software that allows DVD ripping to mp4 or mkv formats in HDD. It takes about one and half hour to rip one movie into mkv format. There is an option on whether we want to remove or add sub-titles. Quality wise – almost in par with watching from DVDs and there is no misplaced audio synchronising like some ripped movies that I have seen.