PB good "Jack of all Trades" Machine?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Baldanzi, May 12, 2005.

  1. Baldanzi macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005
    I'm about to buy a 15" PowerBook (tonight maybe) for my wife and I. I really want a PowerBook (need? that's relative :D ). We are going to be living in Italy this summer (for my job) so it has to be portable (an iMac would be ideal for us if it was not for the travel this summer). We'll need it to be our primary home machine to edit photos, burn DVDs, watch DVDs. I also want it to function as our entertainment system together with an iPod and some small external speakers. As I get ready to head over there in 2 weeks, I have some odd Mac questions...

    1. If I rent a movie DVD in italy, can the superdrive read it? In other words a superdrive is not DVD "region specific" right, like home DVD players.

    2. Before I go I want to record some DVDs of american childrens shows from TV for my son. Can I record TV right to the superdrive - or do I need a video capture device? I know its probably a dumb questions, but I really don't know?

    I'll also be doing some CAD work and Architectural models in sketchup which I know will be fine....Its just that I'm a total newbie when it comes to this digial video stuff
  2. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    we have a 15" combo 1.33 that is a jack of all trades. I edit video on it (use ext hd), rip dvd's w/ mactheripper and compress them using ffmpegx to take on trips, use it to manage mine and the wife's ipod and our 40 gigs of music, both our dvd players broke so i connect to either the bedroom or living room tv to watch movies, i download bittorrents of tv shows that we miss, it has AE so we take it everywhere, etc etc.

    in fact, if it wasnt' for the fact that it gets used so much i would have bought an el gato eye tv to use as a tivo!

    as far as reading a dvd from a differnt region, i believe you can do so up to 5 times, the 5th being the last and final choice and from then on it will only "read" dvd's from that region. so my guess is you could temporarily switch to the european region for your trip.
  3. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    I thought that only applied to stand alone set top DVD players?
  4. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    Doesn't Mactheripper let you strip away the region coding? Couldn't he just use that s/w to rip the dvd into Region 1, watch it off the hdd, then delete it?

    OT, my 1.33GHz 15" PB is serviceable as a "jack of all trades" computer. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
  5. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
  6. Baldanzi thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005
    According to the above link the 5x thing has to do with just watching the DVDs not recording them...this is all beginning to sound a lot more annoying than I thought. Stupid movie studios and their DVD regions. Sure I can hack around it, but what a pain! I'm about to go out tonight and drop 3 grand on a powerbook, applecare, etc....and I'll have to deal with these hassles? - sucks. I know during the day my wife will be letting my son watch the occasional DVD we brought with us from the states and at night I'll be bringin DVDs home fom the rental store. I'm better off going out an buying a cheap italian DVD player for $50 than buying mactheripper etc. So much for being multi-media friendly.
  7. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    Fortunately for you, Mactheripper is freeware .
  8. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    buy an external

    buy an external - maxor diamondmax III 250gig or 300 gig are extremely good value/quality right now. only about $100-150 Stick that into a cheap enclosure. Reccord all your USA DVDs onto it.

    even with no compression, that's still on the order of 50 DVDs. Saves on weight and baggage allowance :)

    If there's spare room you can use it for storing your holiday movies and photos while in italy.

    Plus when you get back home you have a lovely 300 gig drive, instead of a $50 italian dvd player which wont work anymore in the usa.

    come to think of it, with a wife and a kid, it might be worth buying the $50 dvd player anyway to save on stress and hassle in the home :)

    Italy is a much more 'do things outside the house' environment than the USA (and more family friendly) (and more pedestrian friendly) so you might not be watching many dvds anyway...

    Enjoy your time there, you lucky bastard



    ps. I have a 15'' PB which is lovely for hardcore work, DV editing etc but when it comes to casual webbing and emailing on the move, I find i'm always borrowing my girlfriend's 12'' ibook - it's so much more handy than the PB for travelling or webbing in bed.

    Brought the iBook 700MHZ second hand at half the price of a current new iBook, and now I'm thinking of buying a second one just for myself. (greedy pig!)
  9. Baldanzi thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Yeah, just notice that too - my bad :eek: . Still, DVD region encoding sucks!! I am going to be running back and forth to Italy a lot over the next year, and that 5x limit changing will be an issue - definitely. OK mactheripper is free...good! I'll rip the 4 or 5 US (region2) DVDs to the hard-drive I want to bring with us. Once I get to Italy, I'll set it to region 1 for the summer and beable to rent european (region 1) DVDs no problem.


    ...good tip about the hard drive, I can burn all of my CDs too!! That will take up a lot less space.

    I do consider this job a dream come true for me. I know how lucky I am! For the summer, we'll be in a short-term "residence" type hotel. Some have DVDs, this one does not. The main reason for the DVD player is our son - every once and a while you need it as a "pacifier" I embarrased to say. I'll be heading back in the fall for a 1-2 year contract, by that time, we'll have a real place with a DVD player and TV for real.

    I take A LOT of digital photos and am just salivating at the opportunity to use a Mac and iLife to make slide shows and DVDs for the family. I tried using my PC for that over the holidays, windows locked up and I lost a lot of work. I can't wait for my PB and iLife.... In time I'll be doing some CAD work on there so that's the reason for the PB over a much cheaper iBook.

    Thanks for the tips!!!
  10. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I don't mean to appear nit-picky, but I do want to make sure you don't screw up and eventually lock yourself into the wrong region on your PB...US/Canada is Region 1 and Europe/Middle East/Japan/South Africa is Region 2, not the other way around.
  11. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    There is a hack to disable the region lock on the superdrive - not sure where to find it though. Anyone recall this?
  12. panda macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2004
    good stuff!

    what a stunningly informative thread.

    it sure puts to rest some of the 'region' issues i have been pondering. thank you too cory, for his precise info posted on boingboing.

    enjoy your time in italy... it seems like the ideal place to be at this time of year.

    if you have any other european issues, do enquire (even directly with me) as i deal with your issues (including cad) in denmark and have family in rome.

    you might consider taking an airport express with you, it is just so versatile and handy and 110v/220v. remember that when/if you buy your external hard drive (a smart idea).

    have you looked into skype? if you can get an adsl connection, or find a hot spot, your phoning to other computers will be free, or you can even call for very little cost to normal phones anywhere in the world. no need for a mic, but a headset is desireable.

    you will be surprised how often one can piggyback on other people's wifi. some friends i know, even leave there's purposely open as a public service statement of friendship.

    get a good sleeve in neoprene.

    the 15" will be great for movies.

    tiger has some new translator dictionary widgets, that could certainly come in handy, if there is one for italian/english.

    if you are running any kind of business, i would give some thought to myob, it is a multi-currency accounting/contacts/etc package that i depend on greatly and makes life easy. you may want the uk version for vat taxes.

    basically, have pb will travel - in ease.

    have fun! :)
  13. Baldanzi thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005

    yep that is nit-picky...but you're right...so its OK
  14. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Are you joking. or are you really electronic naive. I am going to say electronic naive, NO computers will play DVD's from other regions and that is not the computers fault, that is the fault of Movie studios who want to condone movie theft and to be straight up greedy. There are applications from time to time of which i dont know the name that will make your DVD Superdrive work with all regions, However From a person who uses both operating systems every day, The Apple is superior in Multimedia especially Video, Video Editing, Audio, Audio Editing, Photos and Movies, If you come to this forum to criticize a product, do it for a valid reason, When i tavel abroad, if i have been in any one location for more than a month, it means i would be in an apartment or dorm and with that I would buy a cheap DVD player from that region, they work and they are cheap, but let me warn you, DVD rental stores are few and far between outside the US.

  15. Baldanzi thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Wow dude, read the whole thread..and relax! so much for being nice to a new guy. :p I WAS criticizing the movie studios not Apple...just frigging chill. I know Apple is better...did I say that a wintel machine would fix the issue? I still say that dropping 3 grand on a state of the art PowerBook (or windows laproaster) and not being able to watch DVDs from multiple regions sucks big-time...and ITS NOT APPLES FAULT - SO RELAX....but it still sucks.

    And if you read closely..I did say I'd buy a local DVD player.

    Oh and by the way..I bought a 15 PB and 30g iPod photo last night so it did not stop me from switching :D
  16. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    If anyone is naive, it's you. Don't get on your high horse, especially when you are so stunningly and insultingly wrong.

    My PowerMac has played DVDs from various regions and also PAL & NTSC formats.

    Manzana is right. Currently, on the Macs for super-drives it's set at 5 region-changes with the 5th one being the one it finally 'locks' at.

    Get your facts straight before taking a pop at other people.
  17. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    You can change regions 5 times with your DVD player in Mac OS. There are also ways around this limit (Region X etc.)

    However, my point is this: Italy is an amazing place, why the hell would you want to take DVD's with you in the first place?
    I went all around europe last summer and didn't watch a single DVD!
    Just take your iPod and listen to some music on a pair of speakers, or - go out and see the sights and eat the food and have the fun!

    If DVDs are so important to you why not pack a small case of the (around 20 discs). It won't take up much weight or space and will be there if you really *need* a DVD. 20 DVDs =~120GB ripped.
  18. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    You're wrong, sorry! :(
  19. Baldanzi thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2005
    I've spent a lot of time in Italy, so its not much of a sight-seeing trip for me. It'll be work for me. Especially with an 18 month old son...and a wife that doesn't speak Italian (yet) - sometimes you just want to chill and watch a movie at night. Our son in bed waaaaaay before any self respecting Italian would go out to dinner so I doubt we'll be going out to dinner too often. Trust me I'm not going to be watching movies all of the time, but a good bottle of local wine, some reggiano, and a nice movie can make for a relaxing evening.

    The gist of this whole question was how flexible is a PowerBook from a multi-media point of view. I'm sure it'll suit us fine, and it'll be great for some CAD work and photo editing too! This thead went sort of off topic with the whole DVD region thing...It's just annoying that copyright issues restrict the use of technology....I'd need multi-region usage for totally legal reasons...some actually work related too, not just movie watching - I get a lot of vendor DVDs some from European customers, some US. I'll be doing a lot of back and forth over the next 2 years. Reading that article on www.boingboing.net just made it seem so annoying.

    "Mactheripper" here I come
  20. Pjoltergeist macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2005
    Ås, Norway
    Region free?

    I've used VLC with great results for playing different region DVD's.
    Just put in the DVD, ignore the whole region message, (Don't press cancel yet, it ejects the disc) and play your movie in VLC. When you're done, press cancel on the region selector, and your DVD comes out. Simple as that, at least on my PB12" Combodrive. But I assume it should be the same for a superdrive.

Share This Page