Paper and memory

My wife is a design geek who uses iPhone and SkechUp 3D software. Yet does not remember almost no passwords and phone numbers. I admit I cannot reproduce any mobile number of my contacts either without checking my phone, even my own number. Imagine she travels far and her iPhone gets lost, then what? Who would she get in touch with? Phone directory? Those paper monster books, do they still exist? These days it is easy to be vulnerable without paper records and good memory, yet it contradicts our technology-advanced present. My kid was playing once with my iPhone which has company-set protection for pin guessing. After the sixth try — poof! — the phone erased itself, making the phone as useful as a brick.

Anyway, what I started doing some time ago, I print essential information like phone numbers and keep those memos in a safe place. To write in stone would be better, but they are too heavy to travel with.


Convert DVD movie to iPod Touch or iPhone format with Handbrake

Handbrake logoMy favorite serial is British “Fawlty Towers” with brilliant John Cleese as Basil Fawlty. All twelve parts are full of sharp-tongued hilarious dialogs. As people say: “the best farce ever written in the English language.” I wholeheartedly recommend. Anyway, I wanted to convert the DVD I bought few years ago on Amazon to m4v format, suitable for my iPod Touch (previous generation) to watch “Fawlty Towers” during the business trip. The key requirement would be to keep the subtitles, as I like to savour the wording (that movie in particular) along the watching these episodes. The hard part was to choose the right program to convert DVD into iPod Touch format as the selection looks excessive at first glance.

In the past I used to convert with CloneDVD, so I started this time with it. Unfortunately CloneDVD did not recognize the subtitles. I tried also Nero 10, Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate, Xvid4PSP, Aimersoft Video Converter, and DVDFab with its ugly monkey head. No luck. That is the conversion was OK, but no way to put subtitles together. Almost at the moment of desperation I tried a program called Handbrake, which is an open-source converter available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It supports video in following formats: MPEG-4 (ffmpeg), H.264 (x264), and Theora (libtheora). Handbrake also supports chapters and all kind of subtitles (Vobsub and Closed Captions). I used version 0.9.5 for Windows.

So here’s the screenshot of the settings that did work with my iPod (click to enlarge):

Handbrake settings to convert DVD movie with closed captions

That worked nicely. So in iPod Touch (or iPhone) you just select subtitles in the menu:

And enjoy the movie:

A little disappointment is the capital letters of the subtitles — that I could not fix yet.