It's been a long time since I have written here. I've been meaning too. I've missed putting a lot of stuff up, that would have helped me. Got to start again sometime, and now is as good a time as any.
Last I wrote, I was struggling to rip my DVDs under Linux. No more struggling. I got that whole thing working smoothly. I do it all at the command line, I had a nice smooth and fast workflow with a bunch of shell scripts I wrote, and I ripped my entire video collection. Every DVD, all the movies, all the TV series, all the weird stuff. Every single bit of it. I ended up with about 4,000 video files, taking up about 2 terabytes. The basic tools were vobcopy to rip the DVD to hard disk, lsdvd to work out what was on the DVD, mplayer to check portions of the DVD, and Handbrake to encode to mp4 format. All the files got stored on one big 2T hard disk attached to my Mac Mini. This is broadcast via iTunes, and picked up by my Apple TV device attached to the home theatre. I get to view everything, easily.
No more having to wade through previews that I cannot stop or fast forward through. No more being thwarted in controlling the DVDs. No more having to switch my PAL or SECAM DVDs to my special DVD player. No more having to fuss with regions. All the hateful mess that the media companies force on us is gone. I can watch all the video, that I bought and paid for, the way I want to watch it. Quality is good, sound is good, I'm really happy.
I could be happier. iTunes and Apple TV work fine if you have 20 or video files to choose from. Just like iTunes might work fine if you just have a couple hundred music files. But once you get large collections, iTunes' flat interface to the data just plain sucks. I have 120,000 mp3s, and about 4,000 mp4s, and moving around that with iTunes sucks. I stored the movie files hierarchically in categories that suit my tastes, but iTunes ignores that. Never mind, it's the only part I don't like.
I do have another way of accessing the video. I installed ServeToMe on the Mac Mini, and StreamToMe on my iPad, and it lets me browse my video collection and respects the hierarchy. I can find a video within seconds by traversing the directories, instead of ages when I have to hold the down arrow down and scroll forever using iTunes.
So anyway, the big video ripping project is done. Now I am enjoying the fruits of my labour by watching everything. I remember the sense of relief I felt when I finished ripping all my CDs in one big burst that took about a year, ripping about 5,000 CDs. I had the same sense of relief after finishing ripping all my DVDs. It's time to settle down and enjoy my music and my videos.
And also time to think about the third form of media that I used to collect - books.