A movie museum on your Mac
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In repeated tests, Apple's iDVD2 software took in $6 blank DVD-Rs and spat out full-featured DVDs suitable for playing on almost all DVD players in American homes.
The iDVD2 interface lets users create discs with menu buttons for a large number of movies by simply dragging and dropping icons into a template. Professional layouts are available and one can create custom layouts with one's own photos as background, custom music tracks and animations.
The process starts with creating the raw footage in QuickTime MOV format, and the software renders it into the MPEG compression needed for DVDs. Up to 90 minutes of film or thousands of photos can fit on a disc.
The new Apple computers use special circuitry called Velocity Engine to speed up rendering of MOVs into MPEGs. Now it only takes from one to three times as long as a movie actually plays to burn it onto a DVD.
A iDVD2 feature lets users create discs with photographs that can be displayed as a slide show with the DVD player's remote.
The iDVD 2.0.5 software is included in Apple's OS X or you download it at Apple's iDVD Web page.
Computer networks without the wires
As high-speed broadband Internet access services become more popular, many are finding they want to have more than one computer in their home or office communicating with each other and sharing access to the Internet.
A router lets several computers share the one Internet account, but what if those computers are in different rooms? And what if you'd like to take your laptop out to the backyard and check your e-mail?
Wires can get in the way and besides, having Cat-5 Ethernet cables strewn across the living room floor probably won't win you any interior design awards nor the affection of your significant other.
Actiontec has just introduced its latest wireless router and DSL modem combination unit. With a built-in firewall and a range of up to 300 feet, any PC can surf without wires and the clutter of a separate router and DSL modem.
Actiontec also offers a wireless-ready router to which you can add a card making it wireless.
For more details and pricing, check out its Web site.