Newsletter 28 - 11/04/2011
Thank you for reading the 28th DVD Catalyst Newsletter.
While it doesn’t look like it, this week has been quite the week for me. On Sunday, my host, PowWeb, decided to suspend the www.tools4movies.com website without warning, so as a result, the rest of the week I have been getting ready for a website-move.
In addition to recreating (and improving) the tools4movies website on a different location, I have also been busy finishing up DVD Catalyst 4 v22.214.171.124.
More on that later. First off,
The Motorola Xoom2 has been announced, and while the original Xoom was ground-breaking by being the first (official) Honeycomb Tablet, unfortunately, the Xoom2 appears to shape into a major disappointment. For some reason, Motorola must have thought that if it works, don’t fix it, and as a result, the specs of the Xoom2 are nearly identical to that of the Xoom1. Come on Motorola, are you serious?
The only new thing about it is that alongside the 10″ version, there will also be an 8.9″ version, which, if priced right, might end up in my collection, but with the Asus Transformer Prime (with a quad-core Tegra3) being (hopefully) released before the Xoom2 (with a dual-core processor), I seriously doubt that the Xoom2 would sell.
Next week, B&N is planning something big. In order to be able to compete with the Kindle and Kindle Fire, B&N supposedly will announce the NOOKcolor2 / NOOK Tablet. Rumors have been flooding the web, and it seems that the new NOOKcolor will receive some major upgrades, under the hood. While the look (and screen) remains the same, the NOOKcolor2 supposedly features a dual-core processor and 16GB (instead of 5) of memory on-board. With a price-point similar to that of the Kindle Fire ($250) it should compete quite nicely. I just hope that B&N didn’t change the boot-from-sd, which made it so much fun to mod. The NOOKcolor Tablet will be officially announced on Nov 7th, and should go on sale on Nov 16, just like the Kindle Fire.
DVD Catalyst News:
DVD Catalyst 4 v126.96.36.199
As mentioned above, I’ve been finishing up DVD Catalyst 4 v188.8.131.52 this week. Most of it has been ready, however, additional testing needed to be done, and I tweaked a few settings and options for better compatibility with newer DVDs. The official release will be in a couple of days, but here are some of the release notes:
Device profiles: Galaxy Nexus, Transformer Prime, Kindle Fire, A100, Droid Razr and a collection of Ice Cream Sandwich profiles for devices currently in development.
Conversion formats: AVI, MKV, Mp4 and MV4 containers, with a choice of H264 or XVID video and AC3, AAC or MP3 audio formats.
Quality profile: For most popular devices, a new quality profile has been added, HQXT. This profile used better compression, and rather than adding a HQ3 profile, I decided it would work better as something that could be used for both DVD-sized content and HD (720p) without producing really large file-sizes.
Problem DVDs: Of course for some of the more tricky DVDs, I implemented some changes to make things easier.
Due to the website work of this week, I have not had time to do anything with MovieGallery.
Just like with MovieGallery, due to a lack of time, I have not been able to work on ImageGallery.
Rant: PowWeb Webhosting | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
Not much to say on this at this point. After 2 years of dealing with a webhost that continues to decline in performance and customer support, they made their last move this Sunday. Their official response was that the Tools4Movies website was taking up too much bandwidth, however the hosting plan I use for the Tools4Movies website is advertised with “Unlimited Bandwidth”. I guess they actually found a limit to unlimited.
The Fighter (2010) DVD
The Fighter (2010) DVD | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
A bit late, but while I had some questions on this DVD back when it was originally released, I never gotten to actually picking it up. For some reason, the last week, I had a couple of people ask about this DVD, so I decided to pick it up to make thing easier.
Cars 2 (2011) DVD
Cars 2 (2011) DVD | DVD Catalyst 4, the ultimate app for movies & tv on the go
Cars 2 was the biggest new-release movie this week, and of course, with it being a Disney DVD, it was a little tricky to convert. Thankfully it wasn’t as severe as Toy Story 3, but it still has a large number of fake “tracks”.
Rant: Outsourcing Support
I could continue to rant about PowWeb, but unfortunately, the issue is a bit more wide-spread than just one company.
I mentioned something about support in a few previous newsletter, so I will try not to repeat myself, but I am so disappointed in the way businesses treat their clients/customers.
Many companies, in order to save money, use different companies to provide support for them. Paying a dedicated company a fee based on support calls is often a lot cheaper than running your own support department, however, these same companies blindly trust these other companies without any form of quality control. They don’t know how their customers are being treated or if the issue actually gets resolved or if the customer is just worn down to a point where they just say “F this “.
With PowWeb, I’ve had issues for the last 2 years. It started with database limitations, then it moved to server instability for either the database server or the web server (what load balancing?), and back in July even had to endure an outage for 36 hours.
For most of the questions people ask me, I have articles on my website that provide all the information needed (and more), so when I get a support question, I often visit my own website and grab a link to the article needed. At least 4-5 times a week, I end up on either a dead website or a partially working one. In a few minutes the site is back up and running, but if I run into this a couple of times a week myself, it makes you wonder how many times it happens when I am not visiting my site.
When I question PowWeb regarding these issues, they respond 3-6 hours later with “everything is working fine”. I’ve suggested for them to check the logs, but for some reason their support department never reads what I write in the support ticket. I receive copy & paste responses about clearing cookies and cache, along with other vague, bs responses. 2 weeks ago, I started a ticket and kept it open, and I received multiple of the same copy & paste responses, all from different people, all who do not actually read anything in the ticket itself.
Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is all too common these days.
While companies might think that outsourcing their support will save them money, I strongly believe that it actually costs them a lot more than they realize. Unless they actually do some form of quality control, it doesn’t matter how fast the customer/client might receive a response, if they are being sent around the bush (and realize it), the customer/client will be lost forever. If they believe in their business, they provide the support for their clients themselves.
As I mentioned, I am moving hosts, and this week I have been spending long hours on rebuilding the tools4movies.com website on a different location. Based on good reviews from people that I know and trust, I decided to move to GoDaddy. Of course the web is flooded with reviews, and while I do read them, everyone has different experiences and demands. With the setup, as well as with the domain-name-transfer, I had a few questions, and GoDaddy was quick, treated me as an actual customer and showed honest interest in my scenario. Coming from numerous support jobs myself, I know a lot about how things work in support departments and call centers, so I am pretty forgiving when something doesn’t work out, but I have already experienced a difference of night and day between PowWeb and GoDaddy. I feel very confident about my decision to move to them.
Next week will be a big week. The website will finally be moved to a different web host, DVD Catalyst 4 v184.108.40.206 will be released at the same time (which should prove to be a nice stress-test for GoDaddy).
In addition to that, this weekend, I’ll be getting the place ready for the carpet people on Monday morning. Home Improvement never ends
Thank you for reading the 28th Newsletter, and enjoy your weekend.
11-03-2011 11:15 PM
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