How to Rip DVDs and Convert Video Files

You shouldn’t have to purchase a movie twice.

If you buy a DVD, you should have the right to watch it anywhere and in any format you choose, be it on your iPod, Zune, PC, or LCD TV. Sounds good, but how do you then go about transferring the media across platforms? Here are two options you can try:

Handbrake (Freeware)


Handbrake is an extremely popular free DVD ripper which can take DVDs and rip it to multiple formats, including iPod optimized videos (Download DVD43 for full DVD decrypting support).

If you’re looking to convert non-DVD files(other video formats), you can pick from a variety of free video converters widely available on the net.

Movavi Video Converter (Commercial product)


This on the other hand, is a commercial video converter which does the following:

  1. Converts video into multiple file formats
  2. Rips DVDs into any format
  3. Extract audio from movies
  4. Merge multiple video files
  5. Trim down and edit large video files
  6. Supports for multicore processors for faster speeds

With prices starting at USD29.95 for a personal copy, you’re paying the extra cash for the ease of use (simple and intuitive) as well as the extra video editing features. If you’re new to video editing and ever wanted to do something like this excellent video below for example (RSS readers – please click through to the post!)


…Movavi would be a good place to start. A word to the wise that it only offers very quick basic video editing. Perfect for novices. Anyone more serious in video editing may want to consider free specialized packages like Zwei-Stein.


When compared to the free alternatives, there is no doubt Movavi brings many things under one roof, but can it is hard to say if it justifies their premium pricing

  • If your primary focus is just to rip DVDs and convert files, or even to do some serious video editing, seriously consider the other free alternatives highlighted in this post.
  • If on top of ripping DVDs and converting files, you’re truly interested in doing very minor editing your own home videos at a novice level,and want everything in one package – Movavi may be a better alternative if you’re willing to shell out the extra bucks.

Oh yes, it is assumed you already own the original DVDs before you start ripping them :)

Disclaimer: Movavi has paid me to review their service, and to give an honest opinion. Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by Movavi in any way.

What do you use to rip DVDs or convert files? Tell us in comments!

[tags] movavi, video converting, rip dvd, freeware [/tags]

How to Minimize ANY Program to Your System Tray – TrayIt

All too often, I find that I have so many windows open at once that it can be hard to sort through the clutter.  TrayIt helps you sort through that same clutter by allowing you to minimize anything on your taskbar onto your system tray – All you need to do is hold down the CTRL key and hit the minimize button, or set it up to always minimize to the system tray.

To ensure that the taskbar experience is carried over to the system tray, it even offers up the the following features:

  • Single click action – only click on icon once in the System Tray to activate an application
  • Group similar tray icons for each application – TrayIt will group similar windows displaying only one icon in the tray to access the group

Completely free, TrayIt is perfect for music players, email clients, and just about anything else you run in the mainly in the background.  Less clutter – more productivity.

[tags]trayit, minimize, windows, freeware[/tags]

The Best Way to Watch TV Online – Get a FREE Joost Invite


What is Joost?

Video on the Net? Surely this is nothing revolutionary – Or is there more than meets the eye with Joost?

Designed by the same geniuses who brought you Skype and Kazaa, Joost is a new way of watching TV on the Internet. With Joost, you get all the things you love about TV, including a high-quality full-screen picture, hundreds of full-length shows and easy channel-flipping.

Other features include search, chat and instant messaging, built right into the program – so you find shows quickly and talk to your friends while you watch. And with no schedules to worry about, you can watch whatever you want, whenever you like – as often as you want.

On the surface, it might seem like another YouTube, but once you start playing around with it – you’ll find it’s so much more. The two main things that sets it apart would be the high quality of shows, and blazing fast streams with P2P technology. All for FREE of course!


I was very impressed with the way it could cope with my horribly slow Internet connection. YouTube’s stream is usually choppy my machine. Joost – in contrast, streams flawlessly, and with arguably better video resolution to as well!

It even comes with interactive widgets and chat platforms. This platform is so attractive – even major networks like CBS have agreed to start offering its content (CSI, Survivor) on Joost when launches this year.


Make no mistake – Internet TV has arrived and its name is Joost.

Get a FREE Joost Invite

A Joost closed beta invite is one of the hottest properties on the net these days. If you happen to be looking for one, it’s your lucky day!

This week I’m giving away TWO invites to Joost as part of my first ever blog contest!

The contest entry rules are simple:

#1 Drop me a comment in this post telling me what you think about Internet TV – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#2 Then – Join my community by doing one (or more) of the below:

  1. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter
  2. Join my MyBlogLog reader community
  3. Add me to your Digg friends list
  4. Add me to your StumbleUpon friends list
  5. Link back to this post on your own blog

Winners are picked randomly, and will be notified both by email and announced on May 5th 2007. (Make sure you use a valid email address in your comments). Please limit yourself to one entry. Good luck!

Update: 3rd May 2007 – Joost has given us unlimited invites – so EVERYONE who fulfills the two contest requirements above – gets a FREE Joost Invite!

[tags]joost, tv, freeware, iptv, video[/tags]

How to Play DVDs on Windows for Free


Many people don’t know this, but Windows XP does not come with free DVD playing software by default.  Whatever DVD software they have is usually bundled in to their package when they purchased their system.

Having recently reformatted my hard disk, and having suddenly lost my ability to play any DVDs on my system, VLC media player came into the picture.

Why VLC?

VLC is a cross-platform free software project which plays almost every video format known to man.  Not only does it solve my DVD playing problems, it seems that it can play halfway downloaded files as well – Perfect for previewing the legal movies you’re downloading from bittorrent :)

Question to Readers: What other Windows Media Player alternatives have you tried for videos?  Tell us in the comments!


[tags]vlc, dvd, videos[/tags]

Learn to Type Faster Than Your Boss’s Secretary


My dad once told me that learning how to type was a solid investment for the future and I wish I had listened to him more…

I have a horribly bad habit of only using 6 fingers to type.  Fortunately, for slow-poke typists like me (I average 27 words a minute), there’s an open-source application in town called TypeFaster which helps out by teaching you to how to improve your typing speed and learn touch-typing.


It even comes with built in games, adjustable levels, and the ability to save progress to make things more interesting.

It also comes with a numeric keyboard trainer for all you budding accountants and bankers out there. What more could you ever want? :)

[tags] freeware, typing, learn typing, type faster [/tags]