Microsoft launches Office 2010 to consumers!

Ok, folks. Lets face it. Microsoft hasn’t been doing especially well recently. Steve Balmer admits that Microsoft has “missed a whole cycle” with regards to Smartphones, and while Sony and Nintendo unveiled 3D capabilities for the PS3 and the Nintendo DS respectively at the E3 convention, Microsoft has announced an Xbox 360 with *gasp* a bigger hard drive and Wifi! How innovative.

However, they have managed to do something well repetitively, namely their productivity software. That’s right, folks, Microsoft Office 2010 is now public, final, and official.

What you’re missing out on.

Office is VERY nice looking this time around. They like that whole ribbon-thing they’ve been doing; they group commands that you’d typically see in your “File,” “Edit,” “View,” etc. menus and stick them in a tabbed set of buttons, making things nice and big and easy to access.

Additionally, a lot of their programs have free, watered-down, online versions that you can use. For FREE. Try them out here. They’re not bad, and they’re better than Google Docs when it comes to formatting (although Google Docs beats it on most other fronts).

Try it (Free trial)

Buy it ($150-$500)

North Carolina Congressman Assaults a Student

He's watching, damnit. He's watching.

Ok. I’m not posting this because of political preference of any sort. Rather, I’m posting this because it’s so goddamn funny.

Bob Etheridge apparently assaulted some kid in Washington. I don’t know what happened before the video, because this could have TOTALLY been taken out of context but.. well, here. Take a look for yourself.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v60oNUoHBYM

Granted…

The guy made an apology, and it was “a long day.” And, according to Etheridge, it was “almost sunset.” Now, as most of you may not know, the congressman does in fact turn into a zombie after the sun goes down, so such unprovoked acts of violence are not, in fact, uncommon.

Here’s an image of another such attack.

North Carolina’s democratic caucus has assured the public that said aggression is exaggerated, and any aggression is often mandatory for  the congressman to function properly. After all, brains are brains.

Free Mac DVD ripper giveaway!

This isn’t the giveaway I promised, but it seems more important. For the rest of this month, WinX is giving the Mac version of their Platinum DVD Ripper for FREE. That’s right, you don’t have to pay a CENT to get all those crunchy episodes of LOST you ordered on dvd right onto your iPod! The ripper is insanely fast, insanely easy to use, and insanely  adaptable, as you will find in my review of the software (the PC version, at least). Even Cnet likes it. You can’t go wrong with this software. And did I mention it’s free until July?

All you have to do to get it for FREE is:
  1. Download the installer here and run it.
  2. Register with this license key: WINXMC-2010-3721-GIVEAWAY
  3. ???
  4. Profit!

You can visit the site for instructions, features, and more here.

Visit the WinX Homepage

Visit the giveaway page

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum

Hey, everyone. Summer’s here, school’s out, and there’s nothing to do but chill. And blog. So, I though I’d do a nice review and then do a giveaway right after. So, here’s my review. Expect the giveaway in a day or so.

Check back soon for a giveaway!

I was asked to do a review of “WinX DVD Ripper Platinum” by WinX as a joint promotional attempt, of sorts; In exchange for reviewing their software, I was given 10 copies of the software to give away to you folk. I’ll write up that giveaway later, but for right now, I want to do a review of the software, because I was actually thoroughly impressed.

Ta dah!

Functionality

First off, function, the most important part of any bit of software. To rip a DVD, all you need to do is launch the program, pop a DVD in the drive, and wait a second. The software automatically detects the video files on the DVD and chooses the one most likely to be the movie that you want to rip (as opposed to trailers, extra scenes, etc.). You additionally have the option to manually select the source drive or Video_TS folder (dvd video folder) by clicking the “Disk” or “Path” buttons at the top of the screen.

Selecting the video output format for your video is as simple as choosing a tab at the bottom of the screen. The software comes with a lot of pre-configured settings optimized for any output device. You additionally have the option to customize these settings manually. You have manual control over many aspects of the finished rip; the software allows you to  choose quality rates from drop-down boxes, select sample/frame rate for the audio and video, tweak the gain (in decibels) for the volume, select audio and video filetypes and containers, and adjust the resolution and aspect ratio. A large “Start” button allows you to start the conversion process.

The pre-configured outputs are as follows:
  • Direct, lossless backup
  • AVI
  • MP4
  • MPEG
  • WMV
  • FLV
  • MOV
  • iPod/iPhone
  • iPad
  • Apple TV
  • PSP
  • 3GP
  • Zune
  • Music (Just the audio from the DVD)

Extra Features

The software includes a few extra features to enhance the conversion process.

Advanced De-Interlace Accelerator – When recording video, some cameras use “interlacing,” when twice the required frames per second are shot, the heights of the frames are scaled in half, and the two frames are meshed into one frame. This can cause individual frames to be blurry (to see what I mean, check this out). The software uses the De-Interlace Accelerator to quickly remove interlacing from videos.

High-Quality Engine – Using a specialized rendering engine, the software can create high-quality rips, lengthening the time it takes to rip a DVD but increasing the quality of the final product.

Intelligent A/V Synchronizer – When I had previously tried to rip DVD’s, I had always encountered issues with synchronizing the video and the audio of  the films. WinX included an automatic A/V synchronizer into it’s software so that people like me don’t have to fuss with video files and audio files just to see a movie as it’s supposed to be seen.

Things to be desired

The software, despite the fact that it works, smoothly and without error, is ugly. Its gui looks like it was designed in the ’90’s, complete with a serif-typeface splash screen. The buttons are rather gawky, and the icons for buttons and the actual buttons themselves don’t match. For example, in it’s main window, it lists 3 steps to get you started, but provides different images to represent the buttons than what they use for the buttons themselves. Just look at the screenshot above.

Besides the crummy visuals, there is no option to convert a standard video_TS folder or something like that. You must select a drive physically attached to your computer, which is limiting. It’s not the biggest of deals, but it would certainly help.

Overall?

After spending a good 2 weeks with a working copy of this software (I had initially tried running it on my desktop, which currently has a faulty optical drive), I can honestly say that there has yet to be a DVD that I haven’t been able to rip easily. I’ve successfully ripped and played back in almost every format, from full resolution to the “iPod” configuration, with no issue. I tried playing a movie on my brother’s psp, which worked fine. Seriously, I can’t see anything wrong with the software, bug-wise.

Cost: $30, includes 2 years of free backup downloads.
Check back soon to find out how you can get a copy for free!

Check out WinX DVD Ripper

Contest Time! Headphone Giveaway!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a new contest. There’s nothing better to draw readers than a little intrinsic motivation. However, this contest is NOT for my blog. Rather, a blogger from Melbourne, Australia, named Michael Aulia, is giving a way THREE pairs of Creative EP-3NC earbuds. They’re apparently really nice headphones, and they got a really nice review by Mr. Aulia (which you can read here).

YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE INTERNETZ ON DEES!

Now, the headphones cost roughly $100 USD, but you can get them for free. The only things that you NEED to do are…

  1. Subscribe to CravingTech (Mr. Aulia’s blog) or to CravingTech’s Facebook fan page.
  2. Spread the word of this contest somehow, whether it be through a blog, facebook, twitter, etc. Make sure you have a link to show that you did, in fact, promote the contest.
  3. Leave a comment on the contest page showing that you did steps 1 and 2, and tell a little about why you’d want these earphones. This won’t help you win, but it helps show why the headphones are beneficial.

Now, go win some contests! [Also, if you don’t subscribe to technoheads.org, it’d be cool if you subscribed. K, thanks.]

Downtime. Rawr.

HyperboleAndaHalf.blogspot.com

In order to keep Technoheads.org served up hot and toasty every so often, some hardware on some server in a category-5-hurricane-resistant base somewhere in Florida has to be changed. I’m not sure what this means for this site particularly, but I DO know that from 11 PM EST this Friday, the 4th, Technoheads will be down. For FOUR HOURS. I know there are billions of fans out there that will cry over the lack of black, grey, and blue throw up on their screens, but that’s just the way it has to be.

And my summer starts in a week, so expect more posts, I suppose. And yes, I suppose. I don’t think, I suppose.