The First Apps and Custom ROMs For Android Wear Are Here

The First Apps and Custom ROMs For Android Wear Are Here

Android Wear is finally shipping to early adopters which can mean only one thing: a slew of third-party apps and hacks. Now, the first are here.

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Stage a demonic prison break in Hellraid: The Escape

Techland, the team behind the original Dead Island games for the PC and consoles, have just released a title for the iPhone and iPad called Hellraid: The Escape, an action-adventure game that is the first title in an all new franchise.

Hellraid: The Escape was actually developed by Shortbreak Studios in collaboration with Techland. It is set in a dark fantasy world that will test the player’s mind skills. The description says:

In Hellraid: The Escape, a sorcerer obsessed with dark arts has trapped your soul in a magic prison guarded by demonic creatures. Why are you there? Who are you and why can’t you remember your name? To find the answers, you must first escape from this dimension of agony hung somewhere beyond time. During your escape, you will face a multitude of puzzles that demand dexterity, cunning, and logical thinking. The challenges in the game have been specifically designed to take full advantage of the unique capabilities of Apple devices.

Techland promises that there are no in-app purchases or pay-to-win features in Hellraid: The Escape and that it will offer future updates to the title for free. Techland itself is working on the main game in the series, titled simply Hellraid, that will have more of an action bent. It will be released later this year for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

In the meantime, you can download Hellraid: The Escape right now from the App Store for $2.99

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How to re-download movies, music, and TV shows to your Mac or PC with iTunes in the Cloud

If you purchase movies, music, and TV shows from iTunes, it doesn’t matter what device you purchased them on, in most cases they’re available to you via iTunes in the Cloud, part of iCloud, from anywhere. Aside from your iPhone and iPad, that also includes iTunes on your Mac or PC.

How to re-download purchased iTunes content to your Mac or PC with iTunes in the Cloud

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  2. Click on iTunes and System Preferences at the top — on a PC click on Edit and then Preferences.
  3. Click on the Store tab and make sure Show iTunes in the Cloud purchases is checked.
  4. Close out of preferences and in your library, choose the media type in the top left via the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on the cloud icon next to the movie, music item, or TV show you’d like to download.
  6. Click on the downloads button to confirm the download initiated.
  7. Sit back and wait for your content to download!

If you don’t want to physically download media, you can stream most iTunes in the Cloud content right to your Mac or PC with iTunes without ever having to actually download it. This is a great option if you have a fast internet connection and limited space on your hard drive. Keep in mind, however, that due to licensing issues, some content may not always be available through iTunes in the Cloud.

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The Site That Tells You if Sites Are Down Is Down

The Site That Tells You if Sites Are Down Is Down is the site we all use to figure out if sites are actually down or not. But right now, that site appears to be down. I think? Is it really down? Or is it just me? I can’t tell.

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How to rip DVDs on OS X and get movies onto your Mac media server

Getting video from a DVD to your Mac isn’t quite as easy as iTunes makes it for audio CDs, but we’ll show you how

Part of setting up a Mac as your media server involves making it easy to access your media. For most of us, media includes movies and TV shows. And many of us have collected our favorites on DVDs over the years. Let’s look at how to get video from the DVD to your Mac in a way that will make it much more convenient for you to access next time.

If you have a collection of DVDs, the last thing you probably want to do is swap them out every time you want to watch something. The solution, of course, is to rip them: to convert them to a digital format the same way you may have done in the past with your audio CDs.

(For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to deal with Blu-ray Discs separately, so the tips I’m giving you are mainly for DVDs specifically.)

Copy protection

Thanks to copy protection and encryption on commercially produced DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, this isn’t just as easy as popping them in and hitting an “Import DVD” button in iTunes, like it is for audio CDs.

First, it’s worth noting that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and most content publishers say that you shouldn’t copy, convert, or otherwise mess with the content you buy on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs for any reason.

Horse hockey, I say. You’ve bought it, and it should be yours to do with as you please. I’ve been ripping DVDs for years because I didn’t want my kids scratching or damaging the discs, but they could all use a mouse just fine from an early age. I’ve also been careful to only rip DVDs I actually own, not ones that I’ve borrowed from friends, rented or borrowed from the library.

Proponents of fair use law agree with me that consumers should be able to do with media they own as they want; proponents of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) feel otherwise. So proceed as your conscience guides you.

You’re going to need software to manage the process of decrypting video from your discs. There are a few different options which we’ll get to, but first, let’s talk about what to use to rip.


By far, my favorite tool for converting video is an open source software application called HandBrake. HandBrake has myriad options and settings, but the developers have made it easy to use by setting up profiles for commonly used devices. Select your target device and HandBrake will re-optimize video format and settings for that system.

With HandBrake running, insert a DVD and HandBrake will begin to analyze it. HandBrake will divide up the DVD by logical groups called Titles, each representing a different block of content on the DVD.

The one that’s feature-length is usually the movie you’re trying to rip, though you sometimes have to experiment a bit here to get the right results. By the same token, DVDs containing several episodes of a television series will have several titles about the same length. You can group titles to rip in sequence using the Add to Queue button.

If you’re not sure if you have the right title selected, the Preview Window button on the app toolbar will let you spy on what you’re about to rip prior to getting it started.

For most DVDs you shouldn’t have to mess with HandBrake’s settings too much. Exceptions come into play if you want to make sure a specific language track is included, or, in the case of foreign language movies or movies you’re encoding for someone with hearing impairment, subtitles. Otherwise, the settings corresponding to whatever HandBrake profile you’re using will usually be just fine.

Once you’ve got it set up the way you want, click the Start button on the toolbar. HandBrake will then begin to rip the disc. Once it’s done it’ll pop up an alert.

The speed of decoding will vary directly on the speed and capability of your Mac. Macs with more cores can decode and rip content from DVDs faster. HandBrake is one of the few apps I run on my Mac Pro regularly that will light up all eight cores of the CPU. It’s kinda fun to watch.


Commercial DVDs, as I said at the outset, are encrypted. And if you try to rip them using HandBrake the first time, you’ll get an error message that will give you the option of installing libdvdcss.pkg.

Don’t panic — there’s no need to be alarmed. All HandBrake is trying to do is simplify the process of video conversion. Libdvdcss is a library developed by VideoLAN, the makers of VLC, a popular open-source video player.

Libdvdcss is very simple — in fact, its programming interface only has seven functions at present. All Libdvdcss does is unscramble content that’s been encrypted using a protocol called Content Scramble System (CSS, unrelated to Cascading Style Sheets that are used on the Web).

Libdvdcss works on most commercial DVDs. In their efforts to stop video piracy some major content publishers have complicated their encryption schemes in ways that libdvdcss won’t be able to handle, though, so just be aware that this software has its limits.

Commercial decryption and ripping software

So far I’ve tried to save you money by suggesting open source software to do your video decrypting and ripping. If you’re not comfortable using open source software, there is paid commercial software that you can use instead.

Mac DVD Ripper Pro from DVDSuki Software is one such application. It’s a one stop application that lets you rip content from your DVDs, edit what’s been ripped and sync it using iTunes. It has a lot of features for $24.95 and there’s even a free trial version you can download (you can rip five DVDs before it demands a registration code).

RipIt from The Little App Factory is another good choice. It’s extremely simple to use – rip complete archives of your DVDs, or rip and compress with a single click. It’s up to you. Likewise, you can try before you buy.

The bottom line

While the movie and television industry doesn’t make it easy for you to build a digital library of movies and television shows you already own on DVD, technology is available to make the process easier.

I wish it were a one-step process that was built into the OS, but alas, it isn’t. Between HandBrake and the other options I’ve listed here, you’ll be able to start importing video into your Mac media library in no time.

Note: For more on ripping and transcoding, don’t miss our podcast with the legendary Don Melton – Rene

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Google chose World Cup search trend stories that spared Brazil from further agony (update: Google responds)

If you love Brazilian futebol, this has been an especially tough week; that devastating loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals was a shock to fans used to victory. Thankfully for you, Google feels your pain. The internet giant has revealed to…

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Who Recorded the Best Ever Cover of “Summertime”?

Who Recorded the Best Ever Cover of “Summertime”?

We’ve recently seen some serious contenders emerge for title of official jam of this, the sweatiest season of the year. Grimes , Dodger Stadium , and, uh, Usher with his boys Lil Jon and Luda have all wooed Giz staff with their vocal talents. Well, forget about those fools. Today is the time to make your case for the best ever cover of that all-time classic: "Summertime."

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An Evil Alarm Clock That Only Uses the World’s Most Annoying Sounds

An Evil Alarm Clock That Only Uses the World's Most Annoying Sounds

When you’re staring down a day filled with work meetings and deadlines, there’s usually not much motivation to roll out of bed in the morning. So by blasting you with terrible sounds like drumsets and fog horns, this G-Buzz alarm clock uses negative reinforcement to make heading to work seem like the lesser of two evils.

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Most of the NSA’s intercepted messages involve ordinary people

It’s no secret that the NSA’s surveillance efforts reach far and wide. However, we now know which sort of people get caught in that dragnet — and most of them, it turns out, are very ordinary. About 90 percent of users in a cache of Intercepted…

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Living in Space Is Like Being Old and Having Type-2 Diabetes

Living in Space Is Like Being Old and Having Type-2 Diabetes

We’ve known since the initial Apollo missions that traveling through space does strange things to the human body, but the initial results from a study of Commander Hadfield during his time aboard the ISS suggest these detrimental effects might be much worse than we had thought.

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