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Ask TUAW: Ripped DVDs in Front Row, Sleeping MacBook, game controllers, and more

Mat Lu

In this round of Ask TUAW we've got questions about viewing ripped DVDs with Front Row, sleep issues with a MacBook Pro, the best game controllers for Mac, saving a Boot Camp partition when installing Leopard, controlling AirTunes while in Front Row, and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. And now on to the questions!

PixelMix asks

I am keen to rip a few DVDs to my mac as a backup to save my getting the discs out - mostly music DVDs etc. Are there any formats which are Front Row compatible (ie I can play the footage from Front Row) whilst also allowing me to retain the chapter data? It is a real bind to fast forward to the last track on a DVD when you can't just hit the right arrow key ten times! I know I can do one or other, but I have yet to find a solution which allows both front row compatibility, and retains chapter markings.

I haven't done this myself, but it looks like you need to rip the DVDs' TS_Video folders to your ~/Movies folder and then use the little application DVD Assist to allow Front Row to see them. You can rip the DVDs with MacTheRipper.

Russ asks

A while ago I forgot to completely shutdown my macbook pro before putting it into my backpack to go to school. To my surprise when taking it out about a half hour later the computer was sleeping but not even a little warm. With power saving modes what they are, is this safe for macbooks/macbook pros in lieu of shutdowns/safe sleep? I can't figure out how it could be damaging since there is no heat buildup even in an enclosed space. On a related note, how long exactly can a macbook pro run while sleeping?

Frankly, I think most people transport their Mac portables while sleeping most of the time; I certainly do. Just make sure it's actually asleep (so that the power light is throbbing) before you put it in your bag, as sometimes a Mac notebook won't actually go to sleep when closed. When that happens the Mac can overheat, and definitely run down the battery. As far as how long it can run while asleep, it should be at least 2-3 days.

Michael asks

Long time reader first time writer and all that, just thought I would let you know that I received my notice (via email) that my order of Madden 08 for the Mac from the Apple Canada web store had shipped and was expected to arrive next week. Now could you just tell me what controller to buy?

Apple actually has a nice guide to gaming controllers. Believe it or not, I'd personally recommend getting the Xbox 360 wireless controller together with the USB dongle. You'll also need the free driver software. Of course I'm the local Xbox 360 fanboy, but you'll notice that the Mad Catz gamepad Apple features is basically the Xbox 360 design.

maybenot asks

So with Leopard quickly approaching, I was wondering what happened to the Screen Sharing feature in iChat. I know the new Finder will allow for "controlling" of a networked computer, but Screen Sharing was one of the coolest new features in iChat and it seems to be missing from Leopard's current page. The icon for it is still on screen shots of the iChat window, but it could also be an icon for iChat theater, any developers out there know if Screen Sharing is still in the cards??

The iChat screen sharing feature is demonstrated in Apple recent Leopard guided tour we posted on earlier.

Steve asks

With Leopard coming out, I want to do a clean install to get a fresh start, but I also have a boot camp partition that I dont want to lose. Will this clean install erase that boot camp partition or leave it intact?

You'll be fine so long as you don't doing anything to affect the disc partition scheme. So long as you select the correct partition to erase and install your Boot Camp Windows partition won't be affected. Just make sure to pick the right partition in the Leopard installer.

5cents asks

I plan on upgrading to Leopard shortly. I recently (perhaps two months ago) purchased licenses for Pages and Keynote however. Will I be able to run Pages and Keynote 2 with my existing license under Leopard or will it install the trial versions (v3 I think) over them and force me to buy another license?

You should definitely be able to run the older versions. I don't know if Leopard will install trial versions of iWork, but if it does it will install them in an "iWork '08" subfolder of the Applications folder and leave your older iWork subfolder alone.

Richard asks

I am using an Airport Extreme (AirTunes) connected to powered computer speakers located on top of a cabinet (i.e. I cannot adjust the volume on the speakers without climbing up some shelves). I can adjust the volume in iTunes using the volume slider but the same does not hold true with the remote through Front Row.

This thread on Apple Support site shows many other folks have the same problem. There doesn't appear to be a solution built-in to Front Row, but one reader suggests you can achieve what you're after with third-party Apple Remote software. That persons used Mira ($15.95); personally I prefer Remote Buddy (€19.99). In any case, you could try both out and see which you like better.

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