#196 Search on Podfeet, More Pedias, Moral Dilemma, VHS to DVDs

I go without power till 15 minutes before showtime, GOOD search comes to podfeet.com, DVDpedia and all the other pedias starts a wave of emails from bruji.com. I struggle with a moral dilemma. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart and I are joined by Steve to talk about how he moves videos from VHS tape to beautiful DVDs, and we talk about the future in this process.

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Today is Sunday March 22nd, 2009, and this is show number 196. Have you guys thought up anything clever for the 200th show? I think Steve is working on an idea but I have no idea what he’s up to – has me intrigued! Emergency power

Search on podfeet.com
I want to thank all of you for never once yelling at me for how AWFUL search is on podfeet.com. For crying out loud guys, it’s dreadful and nobody ever pointed that out. It’s not that I didn’t know it was dreadful, I just couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I tried to put in google search but for some reason it just wouldn’t work. then research assistant Niraj suggested I try out the WordPress plugin Search Unleashed. Sounded like the answer to my problems, but I installed it and it didn’t work! I mean, it didn’t work at ALL. I couldn’t even find Honda Bob with it! I complained to Niraj that his plugin was dumb and then he asked me I’d configured it. Now of course I TRIED to configure it but I couldn’t find the configuration settings! Here’s one of the problems – WordPress has been updated a bunch lately, and the version I was used to using had a section called Manage and that’s where plugins configuration options are shown. The latest version though, 2.7, doesn’t have a manage section. Niraj helped me dig around till we found it in Settings, and sure enough there’s a button you have to click that says “index”. Um, duh, I guess if it hasn’t indexed it, no search engine could ever find Honda Bob, even on MY site! I clicked on index and sure enough, we now have REAL search on podfeet.com! Go give it a try, and thanks again for never pointing out how lame it was.

DVDpedia and more
I don’t think any application I’ve ever reviewed has gotten more response from users than the one I did last week on DVDpedia. One of my favorites was the comment on the blog from Conor – (a different Conor) when he wrote that he was listening away to the show when he suddenly realized that I was reviewing the product that HE wrote! What fun for him – especially since I liked it!

About 126 people sent in emails after the review about the free iPhone app called PocketPedia, but I have to give first dibs credit to Jena because she told me about it AGES ago and I forgot all about it! Pocketpedia allows you to sync your DVD collection from DVDpedia over to the iPhone.

I downloaded & installed it from iTunes onto my iPhone, and sadly it was empty. Well I guess that makes sense, have to get it to talk to my collection first, right? Well luckily it wasn’t without entertainment though, because you can search Amazon for movies which is pretty fun.

When I got home I synced up my iPhone to my mac, and then in Pocketpedia there was a sync button all of it’s own. I clicked sync and in about 2 minutes, my DVd library was in my phone. It’s beautiful. It looks just like Address Book, except all of the entries have nice album art next to them. click on an entry and you get the full info about the movie, and click on the tiny album art and it flips around and you get a full screen picture of the album art. It all works exactly like you would hope it would work!

But that’s not all! I got an email (or I should say several emails) about the plugin for Front Row that allows you to view your DVDpedia library, which is really cool if you have an Apple TV or Mac Mini hooked up to your TV. Scott told me about that, and while that sounded nifty to me, I told him I thought it would be a big ol’ tease though because while you could see the images of your DVD collection, and everything ABOUT them, it would be really frustrating to not be able to play them. He wrote back and said he CAN play them. He ripped his DVDs to his hard drive using MactheRipper, then was able to link each DVDpedia entry to the ripped DVD. He said his kids can play their movies to their hearts content and he never has to worry about them wrecking the originals.

Now I started to get really greedy – I asked about the DVDs I’m ripping which are home movies, and he says I can do them too. I’ll have to mount each disk image, and copy the VIDEO_TS folder and AUDIO_TS folders out of the mounted disks but that shouldn’t be too hard. That means yet another copy but since my plan is to send the hard drive with all the images on it off site it makes sense anyway. I’m not sure I have THIS much energy but who knows, maybe that will be my summertime project.

Ok, you’d think that’s enough people telling me about the wonders of DVDpedia, but wait, there’s more! Michelle pointed out that I completely missed the idea of smart collections in DVDpedia. She makes collections for her Christmas movies (I’m SO going to do that – especially with the when viewed option we can make sure we methodically get through them all every year and don’t forget which ones we’ve watched). She also has scanned in her older VHS movies and he has them as a smart collection along with shows and movies she taped off of TV. She uses the Front Row plugin but she told me about the plugin called IMDB options that lets you choose certain credit categories from imdb.com. Then she told me about TVRage that lets you download info for TV episodes and series! sheesh – what can’t this thing do? If you’re wondering, she suggested the forums over on the DVDpedia website.

You’d sure think we were done, but we’re not! Margaret and many others told me that there’s a whole bunch of other pedias. Let’s say you’re not really fanatical about your DVDs like I am but you’re a book collector, you might like Book pedia. Like music? the CDpedia is for you. Gamer? Gamepedia! they have bundle purchase options so you can get the combination that excites you. the bundles are only $39 and you get three of them for that price. or if you only want two, they have the “little pedia bundle”. Isn’t that adorable? I’m telling you, if you can’t find what you want over at bruji.com you’re way too picky! Thanks to all who wrote to me about this fantastic suite of products, I guess I was the last to know!

Moral Dilemma
You may know that I do reviews every other week for Tim Verpoorten’s Mac Reviewcast. I used to play the reviews here too but some folks complained that they didn’t like to hear them twice, so I stopped doing it. I wanted to tell you though about the one that I did this week for his show, because it had an interesting angle. Tim did the meanest thing you could imagine – he sent me an application that’s a direct competitor to ScreenSteps, which as you know is not only one of my favorite shareware applications, but also one of my advertisers! This created a moral dilemma that left me arguing with myself over how to handle it. I went back and forth on whether I should do the review, could I be fair? and what would it do to my business arrangement with Greg and Trevor over at ScreenSteps? Should I only review it if I hated it? Well, no, clearly that would be the wrong approach. The good news is that I had this argument with myself before every loading up the application. I decided I had to make a decision before I started playing with it.

Then I had an idea, I decided to ask Greg and Trevor what they thought I should do. Their response floored me. They said I should totally go ahead and do it, put the two applications head to head, and give my listeners the review they deserve. They said that if I liked the other application better, I should say so. I should tell you what I like better, and that would help them to create better software. Isn’t that amazing? I’m not going to spill the beans and tell you the name of the competing application and I’m not even going to tell you the results, I’m just going to tell you to head over to macreviewcast.com and listen to episode #203 to hear the review. I think I was fair and I hope it comes off that way.

I wanted to tell you all of this here because I want you to know how much my integrity means to me. I have my biases like anybody else (heck, there’s an EVER so slight Macintosh bias already, right?) but I try to give you the lowdown as I see it. I won’t ever be purposely mean, I try to say “this could be improved by…” instead of, “this sucks” which might actually be what I’m thinking! I also wanted to tell you about this because I wanted you to know how dedicated the ScreenSteps guys are to creating the best product we can. You know I like the software, but to know that the guys behind it have this kind of dedication is even cooler. I didn’t go into this intending this to be an ad for ScreenSteps but I guess there isn’t much of a better endorsement that I can give for them than this.

If you find yourself creating instructions for people – one step instructions where you need to put words and images together with annotations, or a series of complex steps, or even a full fledged manual, I can’t more wholeheartedly suggest you give ScreenSteps a try, and after you use the free download for a while, make sure you use the coupon code NOSILLA when you decide to buy (and you WILL decide to buy once you’ve tried it). With that code you can get 25% off the purchase price and get teaching!

Robert’s dad

Robert Lachman lost his father this week, but put up a fantastic tribute to him on his website. Unknown to me before, Mort Lachman was a writer for Bob Hope, All in the Family and many other shows. I really encourage you to go over to photographyandthemac.com and watch the video. If you can watch the part where Mort talks about Bob Hope in the USO without a tear in your eye then you’ve got a heart of steel. Go check it out.

Honda Bob

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Contact Bob at hdabob@aol.com, (562)531-2321

Chit Chat Across the Pond
In Chit Chat Across the Pond this week, Bart and I are joined by Steve Sheridan who talks about his process for converting VHS tapes over to DVD using GarageBand, and we talk about the future of home movies on DVD. Steve used the Hollywood Dazzle, but that’s not made any more. Here’s some alternative A/D converters for your VHS home movie conversion:
Neuros OSD for $100: Neuros OSD Media Center (6011000)

High Def camcorder with analog passthru for $900: Canon HV20 3MP High Definition MiniDV Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

Standard Def camcorder with analog passthru for $500: Canon ZR700 MiniDV Camcorder with 25x Optical Zoom

Check out the MacRoundtable #60 at macroundtable.com

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet, email me at allison@podfeet.com. And don’t forget to send in your dumb questions!

1 thought on “#196 Search on Podfeet, More Pedias, Moral Dilemma, VHS to DVDs

  1. Debbie T - March 28, 2009

    oh my gosh, what a fantastic video Robert shared about his dad. Wow, I enjoyed every part…yes, it was long, but I was disappointed there wasn’t more! thanks Allison, for sharing this.

    And my thoughts go out to Robert and his family.

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