The Fifth Element still rocks

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I’ve just come back from me weekly movie with a big smile on my face(I often stay behind at work to watch movies on the company beamer witha few colleagues angel emoticon) .

We watched an old campy science fiction flic which I hadn’t seen in a long while: the Fifth Element.I had almost forgotten how much I loved the movie: it has great pace,comedy a dash of gratuitous violence but also romance and a moralcritique of where our society is heading.

more screencaps of the movie

In short, I was once again thoroughly entertained by this movie.

If you haven’t seen it: get thee to a video store now!

[see the trailer here (Quicktime)]

Forget the NSA, Flash is spying on you!

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Secret Cookie Stash in Adobe Flash Plug-In

I recently tidied up my "Documents and Settings" folder and came across some unusual files (*.sol).

It turns out that these are cookies placed by Flash movies which have run through the plug-in in a browser or through the stand alone player. This only happens in the newest version (v8) of the plug-in.

The nasty thing about these cookies is that I never realised that they were there!

Being an over-conscious web user, I occasionally check my browser cookies and delete the cookies I deem not welcome on my computer (cookies used for advertising, web-tracking, etc). But now it seems that Flash unobtrusively places cookies outside of the browser without letting you know!

Read on to see how you can take control of the situation.

Clean up

So how do you get rid of those nasty cookie crumbs?

You have a couple of options:

  1. Delete every *.sol file you find under your %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%Application DataMacromediaFlash Player folder (Windows only).
  2. Set up the Flash plug-in to globally deny the storing of cookies on your PC: [Link to Global Shared Object settings]
  3. Set up the Flash plug-in to specifically deny the storing of cookies by a particular site: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]
  4. Use the Flash Player settings manager to delete all cookies and shared objects from all the sites you have visited: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]

Normally I don’t mind too much: but with all those Flash banner ads on websites these days, I can’t help but wonder if some ad agency is tracking my surfing behaviour without my consent.

Seeing as I have no control over what happens to this data, and that it may contain material that could cause problems for me in the future (yes, I’m sometimes naughty on the interwebs); I’d rather block out these cookies than be harassed later on!

Daily Show vs Ford

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I laughed my ass off again today.
What got me laughing?
Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" of course!

In the usual fake-news segment, Jon Stewart took a look at the news about the impending job cuts at Ford Motor Company.

How a picture says a thousand words:

Gotta love those graphics!

[see the clip here]


DVD to CD conversion made easy

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This weekend, my Dad handed me some music DVD’s he’d recently bought.

He asked me if I could convert them to music CD’s so that he could also listen to them in the car on his commute.

I accepted the challenge: looking forward to trying out new tools and such.

First I thought I might have to use a gamut of tools: dvdDecrypter for ripping; a VOB demuxer and a converter for AC3 to wav.

But to my surprise I found a great tool for the PC that does all the work for me!

It’s called Xilisoft DVD Audio Ripper.

The fabulous people over Xilisoft have released quite a fewexcellent multimedia conversion tools and they have been gainingpopularity in the DVD scene over the last couple of months.

The software has a very clean interface and is so easy to use that even a n00b like my Dad can use it.

Nine Easy Steps

To make an audio CD from a music DVD you only need follow these easy steps:

  1. download your copy of DVD Audio Ripper from the Xilisoft website. [cost: $29]
    (note that the shareware version only rips the first 5 minutes!)
  2. Put the DVD in the PC and start up the programme
  3. Goto the File menu item and select the DVD from the file explorer. Theripper will scan the DVD and show the various title groups on theDVD.
  4. Ifyou want to have the CD split up into different tracks, you can select the tracks you want by selecting them individually from the list of chapters.You’ll probably select all the chapters from the title group with the longest playingtime).
    Otherwise tick the box next to the name of the title group andthe audio will be ripped as a whole (usefull for continuous music suchas DJ sets)
  5. Next, you need to select the audio channel you want to rip:you can select this from the Audio selectbox at the top of the screen. (Iwould advise you to find the English 2-channel stream for best results).
  6. Now for setting the output: at the bottom of the screen you’ll find a selectbox titled Format. Scroll through it and select the "WAV (*.wav)" format.
  7. The lastbut certainly not least important setting: you need to make sure that the tracks are saved entirely. Check to see if the Split selectbox is set to "Chapters".
  8. We’re ready to rip!
    Make a note of the folder set up in the Destination box at the bottom of the screen. You’ll need this to find the WAV files at the end of the rip.
    Just press the red button to start the ripping.
    (It will take aprox. 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the speed of your PC).
  9. Having ripped the DVD, the files have been copied into a new sub folder of the destination folder.
    The last and final step involves copying the WAV files to your CD burner of choice (Nero, Ferio, EasyCDCreator, etc) and making a music CD out of the WAV files.

Et voila!

You have your very own music CD from a DVD!

Enjoy your commute. ;P