This post is a followup to the quite dated tutorial I wrote in 2005, called How to rip a DVD: A Tutorial. At that time, DVD decrypter and AutoGK were the tools of choice, but they’ve been supplanted as technology has improved by more user-friendly, automatic programs.
As of 2011, I would recommend using Handbrake, an open-source multithreaded and cross-platform ripper which works on Windows and Apple Mac OS both!
Step 1: Download & Install
Please download and install Handbrake to get started. At about 6MB, it shouldn’t take more than a minute.
Step 2: Launch the DVD Ripper
Put in your DVD and launch Handbrake. You should be greeted with an informative screen similar to the following:
By default, nothing is selected yet. There are a few options you can set, such as your preferred subtitle capture language and dubbing language preferences. I prefer the movies in original audio with English subs.
Step 3: Select the Source
I just popped in a Coen Brothers DVD, so when I click on the “Source” dropdown, it shows up there right away. Unfortunately, you can’t directly rip a commercial DVD this way. You need to dump it to disk with DVD Decrypter, after which you can select a DVD rip saved to a folder on your harddrive:
After some time (“Processing Title: 1 of 15…”) you will see the main screen populated with information. If you get stuck on the “processing title” bit, remember you need to open a folder you saved from DVD Decrypter (the decryption will take 20-30 minutes for a feature film).
Step 4: Choose a Title
Titles are like the chapters of a DVD. Usually there will be a single long title that contains the movie, like the 1 hr, 56 minute “Title 1″ I am selecting:
Step 5: Choose Output Settings
You have a lot to choose from. You can pick one of the Handbrake presets for iPod/iTouch/iPad, or customize one of your own. I’m going to use the “High Profile” setting to watch on my PC, but override the target file size to 2 CDs, or 1400 MB:
Step 6: Encode the video
Just click the “Start” button to kick things off, or “preview” to make sure you’re OK with the quality:
It’s going to take me about 52 minutes to encode this; on my i7 with 4 cores x2 hyperthreading, CPU usage is at 100%.
If anything goes wrong, there’s an entire Handbrake community who can help you out. Why don’t you start by looking at their How To Request Support for HandBrake thread?
TechCrunch refuses to let their claim that Last.FM gave CBS user data which was passed onto the RIAA lie. In a post called Deny This, Last FM, they claim that:
CBS requested user data from Last.fm, including user name and IP address. CBS wanted the data to comply with a RIAA request but told Last.fm the data was going to be used for “internal use only.” It was only after the data was sent to CBS that Last.fm discovered the real reason for the request. Last.fm staffers were outraged, say our sources, but the data had already been sent to the RIAA.
Reddit has noticed that TechCrunch is censoring comments critical of the post. Last.FM emphatically denies handing over the data:
Any suggestion that we were complicit in transferring user data to any third party is incorrect. [...] It really seems like someone is trying to slander us here.
Here’s a more realistic, simpler explanation of what happened–one that wouldn’t require any special access to Last.FM’s private user data at all. The RIAA either asked CBS for the data, or got it themselves, from the public song timeline of Last.FM users. For example, at http://www.last.fm/user/elliottback/tracks you can download ~400 pages of songs I’ve listened to:
This gives them the following data: user, song, time. This is enough to tell that a user is listening to unreleased music, which is probably part of what the RIAA would use in trying to make a case against music pirates. For example–the Eminem Relapse album came out on May 15th, so theoretically anyone listening to it before then is a pirate.
Knowing how many gigabytes a month you’re using can be important if you have a metered internet connection, or your ISP measures your bandwidth and charges you if you go over. I know many Universities in the US have implemented bandwidth-overage charges (which students decry as unfair and stifling) to help combat bittorrent P2P filesharing, which will sap even a wide broadband connection. So, whatever your reason, you may want to see what applications are using bandwidth on your PC. The following instructions are for Windows XP / Vista.
The solution is to download and install NetLimiter 2 Monitor, a free application for bandwidth monitoring. If you like it, and want the ability to shape your internet traffic (limit the bandwidth used per application), you’ll need to pony up and buy the full version. Note that it uses the Win PCAP libraries to capture internet traffic, you may need to install them if you don’t already have them.
The main monitoring tab shows you how much you’ve uploaded and downloaded per application, in real time. For example, in my screenshot I refreshed the firefox tab I was working on, so you see Firefox using 99% of the activity. Steam, a gaming platform from Valve, is always chittering to their servers, so you see a .01 kbs from them.
The statistics tab is where it gets useful, telling me I’ve downloaded 95 GB this month, and uploaded 49 GB. You can also click on an application or time period and get detailed statistics across either of those dimensions. Fantastic!