A Few More Holiday Gift Ideas . . .

Your blog master, has a few, more ideas for gifts for your friends and family. I wanted to tell you all about a couple of great companies that make gaming and Disc playback easier and more efficient. Each gives great value, and some added toolsets for their respective tasks.

First on deck is LaunchBox, a portable Games Launch for DOSBox, SCUMM engine point & click games, emulators, and PC Games. This comes to us, in the community, by Jason Carr, a passionate and dedicated gamer/developer, who feels everyone should be able to catalog and launch their games, their way. Some highlights, include TheGamesDB.net integration, custom DOSBox launcher options, fan art and cover images, downloads, etc. The software comes in two flavors: free and a Premium version.

LaunchBox 3.6 Screenshot

While the free version has nice features, the paid version is only $10 USD, and allows for custom themes, fonts, filters, as well as further development for all versions. Jason is a very nice man, and I know you will love his software, as I do. Drop by, and pick up a copy of this, and check it out. I know you enjoy your games, in a whole, new way.

Second on our review, is a seminal program, bridging the digital divide between open-source O/S software and corporate DRM media protections. It is called, MakeMKV, a cross-platform (Windows/Linux) Blu-ray/DVD decryption/ripper program.. As many of you may know, Linux distributions do not have HD-DVD or Blu-ray decoding/playback in their software repositories. The main reason is two-fold; a move to digital-only media (Netflix, Hulu, UltraViolet, etc.), and membership costs for Blu-ray Disc Association. That is why, you also cannot find free Blu-ray player software for other O/S’s as well.

With the advent and steady development of MakeMKV, you can take you Blu-ray discs, and either transcode stream them on the fly or rip them to you HDD. Once you do that, you can create digital files that have the same image quality, if you so elect. Now you can watch your legally purchased movies, in whatever O/S environment you choose.

The software has been in extended Beta for sometime, but a retail version is on the horizon. Once that drops, Blu-ray decoding will become a pay-only version. The author is offering an option to pay $50.00 USD, now as an incentive to finish the title’s development, and give early adopters a rock-bottom price. Check out the beta, and see what you think. For my vote, get this ASAP. You will not regret such a purchase, and will find it’s benefits vast.

As a final note: As we enter the final week, before Christmas, keep the truth of the season in your heart, and give from the heart, not just the bank account. Godspeed, and I hope you get what you want on your list this year, and always. From my home and family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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