Movies, iPods, and Evil Apple

So I recently ran into a bit of a technology issue in regards to video encoding which initially looked like it was heading towards a solution which required $$$… I don’t like spending money on technology issues.  Like all issues, however, there was an open source solution! Yay for the Open Source community…

Before I get into the solution let me give you a little back story on the issue I was having: For every person that hates Microsoft (in general), there is a half a person that hates Apple and Steve Jobs. For every CS Major that hates Microsoft, there are at least 2 that hate Apple. My point here… Both are evil, but I’m beginning to feel like Apple is even more evil than Microsoft.

A few months ago I decided I wanted an iPod. I avoided it for years, but I was tired of CDs, tired of listening to the same music over and over again… And with no MP3 playback in the car it was just frustrating. Of course when I buy things, I buy the most expensive thing out there so I got a Black 6th generation 120 GB iPod Classic. Great iPod, I love it, video playback, podcast, the whole nine yards.

Now anyone that has an iPod knows that for the only efficient way of managing stuff you put on the iPod is iTunes… Enter Evil #1: iTunes is good for two things: 1) Organizing your media and 2) keeping you all locked down because Apple hates you…

(Side note: This is from the actual iTunes License Agreement
“..You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”)

So initially I had the issue of putting songs on there, because for whatever reason when I was younger I ripped my CDs using Windows Media Player… Apple, your iPod, and iTunes hate *.wma so you must convert. Typically iTunes will try to convert to ACC which is Apple’s crappy proprietary format for songs, but I prefer mp3 which is universal. Conversion tools for songs are out there, but in general you have to pay for anything good. It sucks. (If anyone knows of any GOOD conversion tools, let me know)

So I got past that and I was happy, tons of music, good stuff iPod is great. Starting downloading podcast and that was great… Then I decided I wanted to put some of my movies on my iPod. Various comedy shows etc… Now in general, most movies you have on your computer are in the standard universal AVI format correct? So obviously when you try to add those to your iPod, it will be able to play them back right?

WRONG! Turns out you can’t even add *.avi files to your iTunes Library. You have to convert to mp4 or m4v. Ah, but beware, not both formats can be played back on your iPod. So me having purchased QuickTime Pro for some random reason a while ago decided to use the export tool that it had to convert to the correct format… But QuickTime doesn’t even support AVI! Apple is horrible. So I go out and find some crappy tool that converts from avi to mp4. It does its magic, it plays in QuickTime and even adds to iTunes… But can’t be added to my damn iPod! So I take this new file and try to export to the iPod format… The export tool that QuickTime Pro has failed 4 times. It sucks… As does its father Steve Jobs.

So at this point I’m fairly pissed off, and I keep searching for ways to do this and I find this beautiful tool called HandBrake. It converts pretty much all formats and fairly quickly… I went from avi to m4v for my iPod no problem in under 30 minutes a movie that was 1 GB in size. I now enjoy movies on my iPod. I recommend this tool to everyone… Its free and can be gotten from http://handbrake.fr.

Now one more thing that I must add that I found during this whole process… Apprently it is illegal, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to override and DRM thats been put into DVDs etc… Now, I thought that once you bought and owned a DVD you can do as you wish with it… Just not make copies and sell them for profit. I thought you could make copies for yourself, including conversion so you can watch them on whatever medium you choose… I thought wrong. When you buy a DVD, you are merely buying a license to watch that movie.

This is just a tad confusing because if I bought a license to a movie… and destroyed my physical copy, I should easily be able to go back and get another physical copy correct? Nope… I hate legislation on technology… It fails because the Government knows nothing about technology… I hope Obama actually fixes some of this stuff with the new CTO of the Country…

That’s all for now.

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