Posts Tagged DVD

How to create an ISO in Brasero

This will explain how to create an ISO image from a CD/DVD using Brasero in Linux.

First, insert the disc from which you want to make an ISO image. Wait until, and make sure, an icon for the disc appears on your desktop, indicating the disc has been read and mounted.

Next, open Brasero and select the Disc Copy function.

On the Copy CD/DVD dialog, change Select a disc to write to to ISO by clicking on the drop-down itself (not the properties button) and choosing Image file.

Click the Properties button and choose a name and location for the output ISO image and then click Close.

Verify your settings and then click Start copy.

Brasero will start creating your disc image, which will be quite large — up to the full capacity of your media (4.7GB for single-layer DVDs, 8.5GB for dual-layer).



How to rip a DVD to m4v (mp4) or mkv using HandBrake in Ubuntu, Windows, or Mac

After writing my previous post about ripping DVD to avi using k9copy (and the ddrescue workaround), I found HandBrake. After doing a little reading on it, the general consensus is it does a better job at reading DVDs, even those with some issues. I was able to get HandBrake to completely convert my DVD easily and, although it is a little slower than k9copy, it is quite capable. Another nice thing about HandBrake is it’s cross-platofrm support — it’s available for Windows (exe), Mac (dmg), Ubuntu (PPA/deb), and Fedora (rpm).

This comes with the same general disclaimer as the previous post: Notice: This walk-through is not intended to encourage or facilitate piracy. It is the user’s responsibility to observe all applicable licensing and copyright laws.

That said, on with the how-to.

Installing HandBrake

You can either install HandBrake via the HandBrake Releases PPA (Ubuntu) or the HandBrake download page (Windows, Mac, Fedora).

PPA for Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) or newer (Recommended): Open a terminal and enter the following three commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

Direct downloaders: Download your installation file from the download link above and follow the installation procedure for your operating system.

Using HandBrake – Ubuntu Linux

HandBrake has a lot more flexibility (and therefore a lot more options) but only a few need to be changed to get the best rip possible. You can find HandBrake in the launcher after installing it.

After starting up HandBrake, click the Source button in the top left.

In the new window that opens, go to the bottom and find the “Detected DVD devices” drop-down box. Select the device appropriate for your system and click the Ok button.

After a few moments of scanning your DVD, the summary tab will populate with information.

On the video tab, click the “Target Size (MB)” radio button. The default value of 700 is correct.

Go to the chapters tab and uncheck “Chapter Markers”

Click Start to begin the ripping process.

Using HandBrake – Windows

Windows usage is similar to the above, but with some slight modifications. Also, the below is based on the latest version (0.9.8).

First, go to Tools > Options > Output Files and make sure a directory is selected for Default Path.


Next, insert your disc and click the Source drop-down, and select the disc.

After a few moments, select your preset on the right (based on the intended playback device — if unsure, use Regular > Normal).

Then, click Chapters and uncheck Create chapter markers.

Now, click Start to rip the DVD.

For more information, see the HandBrake Users Guide.

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How to rip a DVD to avi using k9copy in Ubuntu

I have a DVD here that contained a video that was shot and burned by us. We wanted to upload it to YouTube as well as send a copy to a friend, but have since lost the original digital file. Fortunately there’s a fairly easy way to rip the DVD back to an avi file (which is accepted by YouTube) by using k9copy. This walk-through is for anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation and needs to rip a DVD back to their hard drive. I wrote this after trying dvdrip (DVD::Rip), VLC, and Avidemuxk9copy seems the easiest program to use of the bunch. UPDATE: Actually, I’ve had a better experience using HandBrake for DVD ripping. I’ve written up a how-to which you can read here.

Notice: This walk-through is not intended to encourage or facilitate piracy. It is the user’s responsibility to observe all applicable licensing and copyright laws.

If your DVDs are scratched or damaged (like mine was), you may have bad blocks on them and k9copy may crash during the ripping with a segmentation fault. You will need to use ddrescue to recover the good parts of the DVD.


If you need to use ddrescue, follow the instructions in this section. If your DVD is in good condition skip to the next section. You can always come back and use ddrescue later if you experience problems. However, you will not do any harm using ddrescue if you don’t need it, you will only add time to the process.

From Synaptic or command line, install gddrescue.

sudo apt-get install gddrescue

Rip the DVD into an ISO using ddrescue

ddrescue -n -b 2048 /dev/dvd output.iso

(If /dev/dvd does not work in this or any following example, try /dev/sr0 instead)

ddrescue isn’t a miracle worker. If your DVD is severely damaged, it may be unrecoverable.

k9copy assistant

Install k9copy using either Synaptic or via command line:

sudo apt-get install k9copy

Run the k9copy assistant using the launcher.

Note: If k9copy is available but k9copy assistant is not, run k9copy then click ‘Wizard’.

Specify the source location for your DVD extraction.

If you had to — or chose to — use ddrescue as previously described, choose ISO and select the full path to your ISO image (by clicking the disk icon). If you didn’t use ddrescue and want to rip directly from the disk, use ‘DVD Drive’ instead, and verify the correct drive is selected.

Select the titles to include in your encoded file.

If your DVD includes more than one title, select the ones that you want included in your encoded file. You can use the preview pane and controls on the right side to ensure you’re selecting the right title. You will likely only select one. Note that there is no audio in the preview — that’s not a bug, it’s by design.

Next, select the audio and, if available, the subtitle streams you wish to keep. If in doubt, the defaults are generally correct.

Make any other codec-specific changes you wish. If in doubt, accept the default.

If you are ripping a DVD which is in widescreen format, you can optimize the output file by clicking on the ‘detect’ button above. This will open a preview screen and another detect button. Play the preview stream, then on a frame with clear contrast between the video and black bars, click ‘detect’ again. This will auto-crop the stream and optimize the resulting encoded file.

Click the Finish button to begin the copy/encoding process.

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Toshiba L515-S4960 and Windows XP

Windows XP is not officially supported by Toshiba, and they offer very limited software downloads. This guide will attempt to give you the best installation instructions and driver download locations that apply to this model. Also, you may find the detailed spec sheet handy when looking for drivers.


Before installing Windows XP, go into the BIOS and change the SATA Operation mode to “Compatibility.” Read why here.


Insert your Windows XP disc. Immediately after powering on the system, tap F12 repeatedly to enter the boot device selection menu. Manually pick “boot from cd/dvd drive” and follow the on-screen directions.

Post-Installation (Drivers)

The following attempts to list the device IDs and driver download locations for Windows XP drivers. You may want to check your device IDs to verify same hardware.

Required Windows Components

The following Windows components are required for some drivers to successfully install:

Ethernet (10ec:8136) – Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller

WinXP, Win2K, Win2003 Auto Installation Program (SID:1453654) [link]

Wireless (Unknown Device ID) – Realtek RTL8187SE

Windows driver auto installation program [link] may or may not work.

This is the device that’s installed according to the spec sheet. However, several of these have the below Atheros chipset device.

Wireless (168c:001c) – Atheros Communications AR5BXB63 (AR5006X) /
WLL3141 (Toshiba PA3613U-1MPC) 802.11bg Wireless Adapter

Driver is here [link], but you will have to use the inf installation method, as there is no exe. Point to the netathwx.inf file in the download.

Video Controller (8086:2A43) and (8086:2A42) – Intel Graphics 4500M

Intel Graphics 4500M [link]

PCI data aquisition + signal processing controller (8086:2932) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) Thermal Subsystem

Seems to be satisfied by installing this driver [link] – Feedback is appreciated.

Sound (8086:293E) – Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller

Intel® HD Audio Controller – Realtek [link] (partially working – reportedly needs SMbus driver to work)

SM Bus controller (8086:2930) – 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller

Satisfied by [linkNote: It seems after running this driver (even though it uninstalled the above Intel HD Audio driver) then running the Intel Driver Update Utility (below) appears to completely satisfy audio drivers.

Modem (11C1:1040) – Modem device on High Definition Audio Bus / Agere Systems HDA Modem

Toshiba Software Modem Driver for Windows XP [link] – But reportedly doesn’t satisfy this device. The Lenovo driver at [link] may work instead.

Audio device on High Definition Audio Bus (10EC:0268) – Realtek Audio

Windows 2000, Windows XP/2003(32/64 bits) Driver only (Executable file) [link]

Intel Driver Update Utility

Available at [link] – May detect some drivers but not all.

It appears that this Toshiba has hardware similar to the Dell Vostro V13 [link] and the Dell Studio 1555 [link]. You may be able to find some drivers to fill the missing pieces by checking the links above. Please let me know what works for you so that I can update information.

If you own or use this model Toshiba laptop and have different hardware, or have a link to a driver not listed above, or even an alternate driver download location, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will be updating this article as I find applicable drivers. If anything here has helped you, please let me know by leaving a kudos!

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My first thoughts on the Wii 2 (The Wii HD?)

A BBC News article passed to me by my friend NMI contains the first announcement I’ve heard about the Nintendo Wii 2. However, from the limited information in the article, I honestly can’t say for sure whether or not I’m excited by it.

Let’s review:

No technical details about the machine have been revealed, but gamers will get an early preview at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June. … However, sales have been gradually declining in the face of tough competition from PlayStation, XBox 360 and mobile gaming platforms. … Wii was the first console of the current generation to offer motion controlled gameplay.

This was (and still is, in my opinion) one of the Wii’s strongest selling points: Motion-based gameplay out-of-the-box. With the Wii, motion control is accomplished with the Wii remote (“Wiimote”) and optionally the nunchuck. With the PlayStation Move and XBox 360 Kinect, the motion-based controls are sold as add-ons to the console, and not all games support them.

Some observers had speculated that the Wii 2 would simply update the existing machine, adding a handful of features such as high definition graphics. … “The talk was about Wii HD, but I do not see Nintendo doing that. It will do something more innovative,” he told BBC News.

The Wii fell short when it was launched with only support for 720px graphics; not the 1080px of the PS3 or the XBox 360. I believe this is something that ultimately hurt Nintendo and helped Microsoft and Sony.

Mr Minkley noted that Nintendo marketed the original Wii around its motion-sensing handset, rather than technical specifications – something he expects to see repeated. … “Nintendo would never launch a console based on the strength of hardware. Theirs has to have a gameplay point to it,” he said.

No kidding. The Wii is considered by many to have the weakest graphics and hardware of its console generation. In fact, the Wii is the only console that doesn’t support any type of native CD/DVD playback. The earlier generation Wiis had the hardware (and homebrew software could take advantage of it), but Nintendo quietly fixed that in the newer white, red, blue, and black Wiis.

A combination of its relatively low price and its appeal to non-traditional gamers – including women and older players – helped the company sell 20m units in the first year.

Nintendo did something really great with the Wii — they didn’t just make it family friendly, they made it player friendly. In most cases, it doesn’t take much to pick up a Wii and start playing — games typically have very intuitive controls and a very gentle learning curve. The uniqueness of the Wii motion controls made it the first gaming console to be adopted for physical therapy use.

So what’s new on the horizon for Nintendo? What do you think, what have you heard, and what would you like to see? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Why aren’t you backing up your data?

Would you only ever have one house key? Car key?

Would you only get one picture of your child? Your spouse?

Then why would you not treat your computer data the same way?

Being a computer technician, I can’t tell you how many times (a day!) I hear “Will this affect my data/hard drive/information/etc…” You know who I always hear that from? People who don’t have backups.

If you’ve ever lost an important file because of a system crash, hard drive failure, or mistakenly deleted it, or even worse — suffered at the hands of a theft or destruction from a computer virus or malware, then you’ve likely already learned this very important lesson (rather painfully, no doubt).

If you’re working on something that is so important you’re worried about it, why wouldn’t you keep a second copy of it?

I’ll tell you exactly why: Because it takes time and effort.

But for something so important, there really are very simple (and inexpensive) solutions.

You could burn a CD or DVD. CDs only hold about 700MB of data, and most people have far more than that. Dividing up folders and folders of pictures and music over 700MB CDs is frustrating at best. Download movies? Most won’t even fit on a 700MB CD. There’s DVDs, sure. However, one of the biggest drawbacks to optical media is their shelf life (5 years or so, often times much less). Optical media degrades with exposure to light, heat, and may warp if stored vertically. Rewritable media has an even shorter shelf life, as every write cycles “burns” the disc and degrades it further. That leaves you with a very real possibility that when you go to reach for your data, it won’t be there.

You could use an external hard drive. External hard drives are just as inexpensive (per MB/GB) as optical media (sometimes more so), and have a longer shelf life. They are a great backup destination for large amounts of data, and can be backed up to quickly and easily. Unfortunately, magnetic media can’t be exposed or stored near strong electrical or magnetic fields. They are also fragile while powered on, they too do degrade over time, and can sometimes fail without warning. You could spend some money on a RAID array and have a nearly fail-safe solution… but it doesn’t protect against fire or theft.

You could backup to a flash drive. Unfortunately flash drives are actually the smallest capacity and the highest cost of any removable media. They are great for carrying around a small amount of data (some files back and forth from work, for example), but as a backup solution, they are impractical.

I prefer the set-it-and-forget-it approach of online backups, and I really encourage you to try the same.

Online backups charge you a small fee (usually monthly or yearly) and store your files on a remote server in case of a disaster. All you need is a reasonably fast internet connection. Storage and retrieval are limited to the speed of your internet connection, but this really takes the effort out of it. Backups are done routinely in the background and happen automatically. If disaster ever strikes in the form of a lost file, you simply connect to the online service and re-download your file.

So here’s a few suggested services and the last pricing structure I recall them having and my thoughts on each:

CrashPlan (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Cost: Free if you’re backing up to an external drive or a friends computer (even off site); $59/yr for one computer or $100/yr for all your computers to back up to their storage center (“CrashPlan Central”).

Pros: Inexpensive, unlimited storage space. Easy to use application. Supports local destinations for rapid backups and restores. Supports encryption. Cross-platform. Data de-duplication reduces upload size on changed files.

Cons: Requires payment for the service term up front. Minor display issues related to GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS under Linux. Some features require additional “CrashPlan Pro” license.

My thoughts: If you’re a Linux user this is the service for you. Slightly cheaper than Mozy for a single computer for the year; much cheaper for multiple computers.

Mozy (Windows, Mac)

Cost: Free for the first 2GB of storage; $5/mo per computer for unlimited.

Pros: Inexpensive for a few PCs. Easy to use application. Option to display icons on files to show what is backed up and what is pending. Easy to use options. The option to order restore DVDs is available for disaster recovery, but it is expensive.

Cons: No plans for a linux client. Slow transfer speed.

My thoughts: For Windows-only users this is a great service. Automatic monthly payments make the cost easy to budget.

JungleDisk (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Cost: $2-5 per month and $0.15 per GB. Transfer rates apply with storage on Amazon S3, or no transfer fee with storage on Rackspace.

Pros: The price structure is fair — pay for what you use. A very reliable infrastructure in the two providers. Encryption. Multiple datacenters to assure your data is safe. They’ve been around for a while. Inexpensive for small amounts of data. Data de-duplication reduces storage space, cost, and upload size.

Cons: Can get expensive with large amounts of data. The application is somewhat confusing at first.

My thoughts: Another good cross-platform provider. Although a bit more costly than CrashPlan or Mozy, the thought of multiple data centers is appealing to those with mission-critical data.

Symform (Windows, Mac, Linux [Beta])

Cost: First 10GB free, $0.15/GB/Month each additional (or free if you contribute)

Pros: Generous amounts of free space, and no limits on the amount of space you can earn if you contribute storage. Contribution is not required. Interface is simple, and setup is easy. Support can be paid by contributing space as well.

Cons: No option yet to select files to exclude, or for single file restores. Contributing requires setting up port forwarding.

My thoughts: Symform is a good, spacious alternative to other backup providers, and especially appealing for users who have space to contribute.

Bottom line: There really are no “perfect fit” backup solutions, but the best practice is to use one or more different methods and keep at least one at a second location (“off-site”). Worst case, your home could burn to the ground or be broken into, and your optical discs and external hard drives would be forever gone. Online backups do alleviate that fear, but rely on an internet connection to recover your data. I’ve found it best to keep one backup copy on an external hard drive (for accessing large amounts of data quickly) and use an online provider for worst-case recovery (the backup hard drive crashes, or fire or theft claims the backup). It’s all about how valuable your data is to you.

Comments and feedback are welcome, as always.

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Ubuntu Karmic post-install Guide

Ubuntu Post-Installation Guide v9.10

Note: Unless otherwise specified, packages are installed/uninstalled using
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Repositories are updated in
(System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager > Settings > Repositories)
(System > Administration > Software Sources)

> Third Party Software (for Jaunty) or
> Other Software (karmic).

Java, Flash Player

By default, openjdk-6-jre is the Java VM used on Ubuntu. This is because OpenJRE is actively developed, while Sun’s Java VM is not. Also, by default, Flash is not installed. To install Sun’s Java VM (which can be successfully installed alongside OpenJRE) as well as Flash Player, install: ubuntu-restricted-extras

Medibuntu (DVD, MP3 and WMA support, etc)

Additional codec support (MP3, WMA, etc) is provided by the non-free-codec in the Medibuntu repository. (See for information) Running the following lines in a terminal will install the correct Medibuntu repository as well as the required keyring to authenticate packages:

sudo wget  -cs).list
--output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list &&
sudo apt-get -q update &&
sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring &&
sudo apt-get -q update


Following that, install the following packages:
libdvdcss2 (Allows to read encrypted DVDs)
non-free-codecs (Additional codecs)


On supported video chipsets and with the correct video drivers, Compiz can enable a variety of visual effects. If Compiz is supported on your system, it can be enabled via System > Preferences > Appearances > Visual Effects and settings the level to Normal or higher. If compiz is enabled, it is recommended to install compizconfig-settings-manager

Other Useful Programs

The following packages are useful, and installation is encouraged:

–sound and video:
(music management application which also supports a wide range of MP3 players)

While empathy is the new default IM client, pidgin is recommended for facebook users. Empathy, at the present time, does not have the same level of facebook
support that pidgin has). install:
pidgin and pidgin-facebookchat

–system tools:
gnome-format (a tool to easily format removable memory cards)

fglrx-amdcccle – Catalyst Control Center for ATI graphics cards
nvidia-settings – Tool for configuring the NVIDIA graphics driver
nautilus-wallpaper – Adds ‘Set as wallpaper’ to right-click menu
nautilus-image-converter – Adds ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ image commands
to right-click menu


A free Virtual Machine system.

virtualbox-ose is available directly from Synaptic, but does not support USB device pass-through (allows the VM to communicate with USB devices). Sun’s VirtualBox 3.0 does support USB device pass-through easily.

See for instructions on how to add the VirtualBox repository to your system. After adding that repository, you can install the virtualbox-3.0 package.

Be sure to give yourself access to VirtualBox using System > Administration > Users and Groups
and give yourself User Privileges to ‘Use VirtualBox’

Intel microcode update

Systems with Intel CPUs should install the intel-microcode package. This provides an updated microcode to the processor at boot-time which can address processor errors and lock-ups.

Broadcom wireless issues

Systems with broadcom wireless cards which are detected but do not show any wireless networks should install the b43-fwcutter package. This provides an updated firmware for the card which fixes numerous issues. This would have to be installed using a wired network.

Dropbox on Ubuntu

Add the repository line for your Ubuntu distribution and install the nautilus-dropbox package (Reference:

Other Software

It is strongly recommended to use software that is distributed in the repositories. If you need to install a program from another source, the .DEB format is the best choice. This installs the program and adds a listing in Synaptic for easily unisntalling the program when you want to.

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