Posts Tagged ‘free’

I was in OS upgrade/update hell.  Okay, maybe not hell, but hell adjacent.

I am of course referring to the latest Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks.  The actual download was not so bad, if you don’t mind waiting for a 5.3 GB download that is, but the related app updates afterward got to be a little tedious and time-consuming. Especially when you get one that you’ve already done showing up again like the persistent iMovie 10.0 update.  I’ve already installed the latest version, but for some reason the App Store wants me to install it again since it seems to be showing up with a different date even though the release number is the same.  sigh.  All in all, if you are doing the update, make sure you set aside a large block of time and LOTS of bandwidth/data.  Maybe find someone with unlimited data from their ISP.

mavericks-06Speaking of updates, I lost track of the number of them and the size, but suffice to say the first time I connected my Time Machine backup to the updated MBA running Mavericks, there were over 65 GB of changes to be backed up.  Thanks to a rather speedy Thunderbolt drive, it only took a couple of hours.
mavericks-04There were a few strange glitches after the Mavericks install. The first time I connected my iPad and synced it, the “finishing sync” lasted for an hour before I gave up and ejected it. Thankfully no harm done.  Another was the mail app that didn’t want to fetch new mail, even though it was set to “automatically” retrieve it seems to be on it’s own schedule.  I changed it to “every minute” and its working fine now.

mavericks-05I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but the install went smooth for me (it’s always a crapshoot on a x.0 release so you may want to wait for the x.1) and speed seems to be good for opening programs.  I’ve noticed that my fan on my MBA is not running as often, which makes me think they’ve done some nice behind the scenes work on power usage.  To that end, in the battery indicator located in the menu bar, the “No apps using significant energy” is kinda cool.  I’ll have to try to bring my little laptop to its knees with some graphic and memory intense apps and see what that readout changes to.

If you were already running the last version of OS X you may not notice a lot of changes on the surface, aside from some new icons for a few apps.  Seems most of the big changes are behind the scenes.  Maybe they are running low on major changes to the operating system, after all its been a decade now since OS X debuted.

old iPhoto

old iPhoto, new Maps & iBooks

new iPhoto icon

new iPhoto icon

Speaking of changes, I have to say, bringing the Maps App from iOS to the OS X version has made it much nicer to find and adjust your route on a larger screen and then have it automatically appear in your recent’s on the iPhone and iPad. Sweet.  Also a welcome change was moving iBooks out of iTunes to become its own app and allowing it to be synced across all devices.  Sometimes I like to read on my Mac, not just my iPad or iPhone, so for me it is a good thing.  Depending upon your setup, you may not be as excited, but picking up where i left of on any device makes reading more accessible.

mavericks-08One thing that hit the news after the update was the fact people were seeing the latest iWork apps for free on some computers.  Turns out if you had a trial version of certain Apple software on your Mac, the trial allowed you to update to the full version after installing Mavericks.  I read a little about the issue and wondered if it still worked after the install was already done.  As a proof of concept – you know, purely for scientific reasons – I tracked down an installer for the trial version of iWork ’09.  It is still out there on a number of mirror sites if you hurry.

I installed the trial from the nearly half GB dmg file, and as soon as I opened Pages on my Mac I was greeted with the window telling me there was an update and asking if i’d like to install it.  No “purchase now” tab, just “update” in the App Store.  To ensure it worked, I of course installed it and yes, in fact, it is a full-blown version of Pages.  Same thing happened with Numbers and Keynote.

mavericks-07As was reported from an Apple source on MacTrast’s website… “Rather than maintain separate updates for these in addition to the Mac App Store versions of each app, Apple has decided to eliminate their legacy software update system for apps entirely. Instead, when Mavericks discovers legacy apps installed on your Mac, it provisions them as a Mac App Store purchase using your Apple ID. It saves us a lot of time, effort, and bandwidth. After the provision is complete, it will appear in your Mac App Store history as though you have purchased the Mac App Store version of the app.”  

Apple knows about the “glitch” and seems to be fine with it, figuring most people are honest and won’t abuse it.  They are probably also hoping that not many sites will continue to host the iWork ’09 Trial, but I personally expect a resurgence in the popularity of that particular download.

There will always be small problems with any major update to an OS and if you are using your Mac for business you may want to wait a week or so until the 10.9.1 update comes out, but I for one am happy so far, especially with having a few new free iWork apps to play with.  You know just to ensure they work.



(This is a guest post by the developer Digiarty.  From time to time I get notified of new software directly from the developer, such as below.  I don’t always have time to do the reviews myself especially when time limited contests involved, so I allow the developer to supply the info with only minor editing on my part.  After all its my blog, I get the final say.  In this case, I’ve used this program for years myself and have reviewed it previously.)

Read on…

Having jailbreak on iPhone allows me to unlock the iOS restriction so that I gain more access to iPhone. In a similar way, if you want to make full use of DVD, say, make digital DVD backups for safe storage, you need a DVD converter to bypass the copy protection and convert DVD to videos to have further edition or playback. It is truly a pleasure to be informed of the new WinX DVD Ripper Platinum and its Thanksgiving giveaway information.

The developer, Digiarty Software, has launched a giveaway in honor of (the USA) Thanksgiving holiday to provide everyone with unlimited serial keys of new WinX DVD Ripper Platinum. For a limited time period, you can grab a serial key for free and download this software from The giveaway is going to expire on 11/27.


  1. If you are a lucky person who got the Thanks version for free, please activate with the serial key before 11/28;
  2. If you fail to get new version of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum during Thanksgiving period, you can still enjoy it in full and final version at (Life time technical support and update are supported)

To handle WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is not a hard task as there is already a how-to instruction on its UI that has been renewed. I can load a piece of DVD and then get conversion started quickly and easily. It almost takes a short time to complete the conversion under dual-core and I think it could be much faster as it allows 8 CPU-core maximally with rebuilt core.

What I am going to use it for? Actually I’d like to convert 1 or 2 pieces of DVD to MP4 playable on iTunes, or I may sync the output files to iPhone. A tip to make full use of it is you can select “add mp4 to iTunes library after conversion” in the “Option”. The latest version has over 300 profiles settings for almost all popular mobile phones and tablets like iPhone 5, iPad 4 and Mini, WP8, Surface RT/Pro, Samsung Galaxy SIII, etc. Apart from the portable device support, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is capable of converting DVD to various video formats saved on hard discs for further playback, conversion, air stream with AirPlayit, edition, and so on.

Well, it is very easy for average users to handle with the basic instruction. If you request for more outstanding performance from the output files, I think WinX DVD Ripper Platinum will meet your needs as well. But the premise is that you have to get familiar with the advanced settings. You can set the tags, adjust video bitrate, switch audio channel, change display language, clip segment and so on to balance the output files before you start conversion. By the way, you can also extract audio files from DVD saved as MP3 or AAC to create some music.

Summer for me is a busy time. Seems like the days are full from the sun coming up to when it goes down with very little time to do anything but try and stay ahead of all the chores.

For kids, at least for mine, it seems to be a time to goof off and do very little except maybe recharge, relax and sleep in often.  Thankfully it only lasts about 2 months or I fear mine would turn into gelatinous masses before school started again.  Speaking of back to school, that’s what an email I received a couple of days ago reminded me of, only a few more weeks and those little couch-potatoes will be trying to get back into the routine of getting up and living on a schedule like the rest of us.

My friends over at Digiarty are doing their best to give us an easy way to rip some of those DVDs & BluRays to our portable devices in order to help pass the time in the car as we all squeeze in those last family trips this summer.  This one is for both Mac users and Windows users who want to rip media from DVDs or BluRays to formats that work with your iDevices.

As always, their software, which i’ve reviewed numerous times over the years, is very user friendly, self-explanatory, very fast (about 45 mins to rip a standard length BluRay movie) and very capable.  In short it is just a pleasure to use, but like all good things the giveaway is time-limited and only lasts until the end of August.  Don’t be confused by the name either, this software isn’t just to rip to iPads, it also rips to iPods, iPhones and AppleTVs. (check if out here)

Now getting back to what I mentioned in the title of this blog, there is a little potential slip from the developer that excited me a little.  In the email it stated … “This DVD ripper can rip both protected and regular DVDs to iPad (even iPad mini), iPhone, iPod, Apple TV with high quality. It works well on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion/Tiger/Leopard/Snow Leopard.”

even iPad mini” – sounds like a definitive answer to whether or not we will be seeing a smaller format iPad soon doesn’t it.  So don’t wait, go grab your copy of the software while the getting is good, its free and you’ll be ready for your new iPad mini when it comes out this fall.


I’ve been using TvMobili for a while now to get digital media off my Mac wirelessly to my DNLA TV, (even wrote a blog post about it here) that is until it started acting up last week and either not connecting or not letting me see my media.  Seems to be related to the amount of media being shared due to a cap on the free monthly allotment, although i’m certain I haven’t streamed that much and only on my own home network.  Something goofy with the way it is monitoring streaming i think, or possibly the fact it seems to be always running in the background regardless if anyone is actually watching anything.

An email to the developer got me the answer.  It doesn’t matter if you are streaming over the web or on your home network, the cap is the same: 10GB per month is free.  It’s no problem as long as you don’t mind shelling out some cash to share you media if you go over that.  Me, I’m not digging that idea, last thing I want is another monthly expense, especially when it comes to watching my own media on my own devices over my own network.  There is the option of shelling out a one time fee of $30, but thats a bit too steep as far as i’m concerned.

Along comes Twonky. It’s not free either, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.  Aside from the silly name, I really wasn’t sure what I needed to install since the website leaves a little to be desired, but throwing caution to the wind and grabbing the TwonnkyManager App was the right call.

First things first, the install is one that seems to put “stuff” everywhere.  Not very Mac-like in that respect, since we mac-users are used to the program being self-contained and only having preferences to worry about other than the main file.  That being said, using the default settings and letting the installer do its job resulted in an install that just works right out of the box.  No silly settings to guess at, no tweaking of ports on the router, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. (yeah, not sure where that came from, too many kids shows being watched on tv perhaps?)

Within minutes of installing, I had changed the default “shared” folders (it shares your user/movies, user/photos and user/ music by default) to those I wanted to actually share and had connected my AllShare-capable TV to the TwonkyManager and was watching a TV show wirelessly with no streaming issues, no jittering and no fuss.


One of the great things is the ability to easily shut down the TwonkyManager too.  Just click on the icon in the menu bar and select Stop Twonky 7.0.  Thats a feature I like since, as mentioned previously, TvMobili seemed to stay running all the time whether I was actively using it or not, and due to that it seemed to want to connect to my TV whenever it was in its proximity resulting in an annoying pop-up on the corner of the TV screen.

There is a Free app for iPhone/iPod/iPad that allows you to control and connect to your Twonky library remotely and select where to present the media.  Basically you can use your phone to tell Twonky to play a video on your TV.  In theory you can also play the same media on your iDevice but that function is no working for me.  Something not quite right in the setup.  I just keep getting the message “unable to start playback”.  This might be a function of the fact I have not registered or purchased the server program running on my Mac either.  It might only work with a fully licensed version and I’m still just testing it out before buying.

The TwonkyManager which is the server software is a paid program.  $19.95 which is better than TvMobili, but still, not quite the free solution I was hoping for.

So far its working like a charm mostly, although, so was TVMobili for a while too, so we’ll see how this solution fares in the coming weeks.  I’ll be giving it a good workout since being at home in the summer with kids we tend to want to share more media around the house, especially into the basement to beat the summer heat.

Now if I can just train the dog to bring me a beer down here…


a guest post “how to” from the developer:

Many people worldwide are Blu-ray movies enthusiasts. What I’m gonna to talk about in this article is a piece of software named WinX Blu-ray Decrypter developed by Digiarty – a software developer engaged in versatile DVD backup/ripping, video converting and Blu-ray related programs. It is a nice Blu-ray backup tool to get you rid of troubles of Blu-ray disc scratch or loss.

WinX Blu-ray Decrypter works to copy and save Blu-ray Movies on computer hard drive for better storage and convenient watching by:

– Removing almost all known Blu-ray encryptions such as AACS MKB v25 and BD+ copy protection

Ÿ- Backing up Blu-ray to M2TS file or Blu-ray folder

Ÿ- Copying and saving full Blu-ray movie

Ÿ- Extracting and backing up Blu-ray movie titles

Ÿ- Converting and backing up 3D Blu-ray to 2D video

You can choose any backup method above according to your own situation. With advanced decrypting and copying technologies, WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is able to preserve the original video/audio quality in the output file. It has top fast working speed among all similar programs in the market. Usually, it only takes about half an hour to backup a whole Blu-ray movie.

How to Use it to Backup Blu-ray

That’s quite easy. Download this software first, install in on your computer and run it. The program will show you a very clean user interface:

Insert your Blu-ray disc to your computer, and do the simple work below:

  1. A.    Click ‘Load BD’ to let the program recognize your Blu-ray movie
  2. B.    Decide to backup full Blu-ray or just titles of it
  3. C.    Select the output folder
  4. D.    Click ‘Run’ button to start the backup work


Here are more information and operation tutorials at you can check. To download the program, just click here.

Digiarty Software, Inc.