For all you (one) Linux based ipod video supporters, I have mastered the art of painless DVD to ipod video transfer. I could not get this to work at all in Windows; nothing on Manticore (the Windows box) seems to want to rip my DVDs. Apparently in Windows they’d prefer it if I just pirated it off the web.

1) Make sure you actually have all of your DVD codecs installed. No really, double check that. To do this, put a DVD in the computer, open your DVD playing program of choice (I’m partial to Xine myself since it supports the menus and installing it always magically fixes my missing codec woes.) and try to play a DVD. If it works then you’re golden. If not you’ll need to fix that or ripping will not work.
2) Install AcidRip. I’ve had just about every DVD ripping program in the Ubuntu repos installed at one point or another over the last four days. This one starts with A, which means it’s at the top of my menu. It also has a fairly intuitive interface unlike Handbrake (Everybody swears by it, but the lack of GUI kills it for me), DVDRip or K9Copy.
3) Open AcidRip with your DVD mounted. If your DVD isn’t mounted, go to places>Cdrom and double click. That should mount the DVD for you and make it readable. In AcidRip, load the DVD.
4) Pick the track you want to rip. For a movie that is probably the longest track on the DVD. I’ve been ripping TV shows so I go for the ones that look about the right length for an episode. Then I go to the “Preview” tab and preview the file to make sure I have what I want.
5) Name the file what you like (DrWhoS3E7, for example), select .avi format, tell it to start, and walk away for roughly however long the file is to play. You don’t have to walk away, I’m still using it right now, but it is making firefox rather cranky. Then again, I’m running stage two of the process at the same time, so my system is taking a double whammy.
6) When your file is done you’ll have the DVD file in .avi format. This is great for running around with it on your harddrive, the quality is good enough that it’ll still look good if you wire into a TV, and I rarely ever see sound syncing problems with .avi files. The downside is that without doing some major cracking of the firmware on your ipod, you need it in Mpeg-4 format. (AcidRip will rip in mpeg format, but this is not what you want, and the file quality is wretched. Don’t go there.)
7) Go to this page and follow the instructions. In case the webpage disappears they are to
A) Download the script from here.
B) Make sure you have ffmpeg and ruby installed. You can do this through synaptic, and if you have DVDs working (as you should) you probably already have ffmepg.
C) Make the script executable: chmod +x mp4ize
D) Move it to: sudo mv mp4ize /usr/local/bin. This will make it available everywhere in your system instead of just for your user.
E) Open a terminal, navigate to the directory containing your .avi, type: mp4ize DrWhoS3E7 (or whatever your file is)
F) Leave that terminal window alone for about 2/3 the length of the file.
8) Now you have the file you need for your ipod, you just have to get it on there. If you don’t have it, install gtkpod.
9) Get your ipod mounted in gtkpod. Go to the playlists menu on the left side and click the +File button. (Or +Dir, if you have two seasons of TV show you’ve spent the weekend ripping and want to add it all at once)
10) Highlight all of your newly added files, right click, and select copy to Marduk’s spare brain>podcasts where “Marduk’s Spare Brain” is the name of your ipod.
11) Save your changes and close gtkpod. Unmount your ipod. Dance around with obsessive joy for now you can carry the Doctor in your pocket. Or, erm, your favorite movie or what have you.

Can I get a pocket watch that’ll turn me into a Time Lord? Pretty please? I promise only to steal the Tardis on alternate Apocalypsi.

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