Get a free DVD ripper and video converter

As I've mentioned before, the makers of DVD rippers and video converters seem to offer a new giveaway every month or two -- meaning there's little point in actually buying their products. (Don't feel guilty; this obviously works out for them, otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it.)

Digiarty Software, for example, is currently running two separate giveaways on five different programs. Sort of. Stay with me, because this gets a little confusing.

From now until May 20, as part of its Hello Summer promotion, you can get Digiarty's WinX DVD Ripper Platinum (Windows) for free.… Read more

Three-deal Thursday: A Canon EOS Rebel, Nook Simple Touch, and free video converter

It's a Thursday three-fer!

Deal No. 1: Convenient though it may be to snap photos on your phone, there are times when you want a real camera -- one with interchangeable lenses, a big image sensor, lots of shooting modes and manual settings, and so on. In other words, a dSLR.

Today only, 1SaleADay has the Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.3-megapixel digital camera for $399.99, plus $4.99 for shipping. That's about $100 less than the prices elsewhere.

This isn't just the camera body; the T3 comes with Canon's 18-55mm autofocus lens. Plus, it'… Read more

Convert your images with AVD Batch Converter

Certain image formats are better suited to particular tasks than others, so if you do a lot of work with digital images it makes sense to have a program that can easily convert between a variety of formats. AVD Batch Converter is definitely not the fanciest file converter we've encountered, but if you need a no-frills way to convert batches of images from one format to another, it can get the job done.

The program's interface is intuitive, if not particularly attractive. Three panes let users navigate to specific directories, view a selected directory's contents, and preview … Read more

XE Currency Converter for Chrome

Need quick access to a currency converter? Then maybe XE Currency Converter from Kurisu is the app for you. The free software is a Google Chrome add-on that accesses currency conversion information directly from

XE Currency Converter, once installed, is very easy to use. Access is through Chrome's Productivity Tool Kit. The app has a very simple and very understandable interface. Just put in the amount and the currencies you want to use, click on the Convert button, and that's it, instant real-time currency conversion. Really a whole lot faster than going through the XE Web … Read more

Wowed by Woo's new 'CD player'

I've frequently raved about Woo Audio's all-tube headphone amplifiers in this blog, so I was surprised to see that the company's new WDS-1 digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is a solid-state design. Woo still offers the full line of made-in-New-York-City headphone amplifiers, with prices starting at $495.

There's also a new matching WPT-1 CD transport. Build quality is superb; these components have the sort of detailing you see on high-end gear that sells for two or three times the price of Woo's products. Each unit is 9 inches wide and 13 inches deep so they can be … Read more

Get WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe (Win) for free

Looking to convert a video or audio file into a different kind of video or audio file? Freeware favorite HandBrake can handle some video formats, but it's a bit out-of-date -- and nowhere near as comprehensive as a utility like WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe.

That tool normally sells for $49.95, but from now until tomorrow, April 11, you can download WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe absolutely free. It's available for Windows and Mac; the license codes you need are listed right on the download page.

Update: My apologies! This giveaway is for the Windows version only.… Read more

Read it right with Hamster Free Book Converter

While e-books are steadily gaining in popularity with the reading public, an overabundance of devices and formats keeps the lid on. The market will probably sort out the competition the way it always does, but until then, your options are to limit your reading to titles available for your reader, or convert e-books into a format your reader supports. That's where Hamster Free Book Converter enters the story. This simple, free tool lets you drag and drop or add e-book titles in a wide range of formats and either choose your device or file type to automatically convert them … Read more

Halide Design's tiny black boxes improve your computer's sound

If you think a lot of audio has become far too complex, check out the Halide Design digital-to analog converters (DACs). They're plain black boxes, without even a single LED, display, control, button, or connector jack (the DACs come with permanently attached USB and RCA cables).

The elegant simplicity of the Halide Design DACs is a brilliant alternative to most of today's overly complex gear. They have just one function--zeros and ones go in at one end--and analog signals come out the other end. The little Halide black boxes are the best-sounding DACs I've heard on my … Read more

Convertible Range Rover Evoque follows in ill-conceived footsteps

It wasn't the first convertible crossover to reach production, but I was hoping that the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet would be the last. Unfortunately, Land Rover will also be peeling back the top of its own Range Rover Evoque crossover at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show next week.

The Range Rover Evoque Convertible will feature a power retractable cloth top with a glass rear window pane. A Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) protects passengers in the event of a rollover by instantaneously popping up roll hoops behind the rear passengers when the vehicle senses that it's about to roll. … Read more

Patio table shifts for dining

A party on the patio is just not complete without a few pieces of furniture. Or at least one that tries harder.

Patio furniture is what you make of it. The rules of etiquette that we adhere to while dining inside do not always apply when eating out of doors. The relaxed atmosphere of the backyard enables us to kick back, put our feet up, and use tables as chairs and vice versa. Sometimes, the furniture can even bend to our wishes.

The Outdoor Convertible Coffee to Dining Table, from Hammacher Schlemmer, transforms the outdoor dining space--literally. Featuring four hinged … Read more