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IvanF's CD-Recording Tipping Those Dweaks FAQ!
No, your computer doesn't like you. One day they'll take over the world & use us a sex slaves... wait, that was Robocop... Oh well, AOL, moving on... Those little geniuses that work their entire lives to make at least one bulletproof CD somehow install a guard module into their CDs that checks if the Cd's key number is valid. Somehow the game is programed to not run without accessing that CD key which of course cannot be accessed properly is a Cd is recorded even a tiny bit different than the original. Of course that guard module is encoded so don't bother looking for it. I know that the guard module acts sort of like an executable to the game. If the guard module is happy, it will start the program for you. Isn't that oh-so very kind of it? So how the heck do crackers & CD-burning (ARRRGGHHH! Read that CD-ROM section already! They are NOT called BURNERS!!... ACK!!! I said it again! I've gotta wash my mouth or something...) programs make your little backup game work properly? Well, those geniuses spend their nights & days disassembling the CD's code, trying to figure out how the security actually works. They can find a way to crack it (emulate the exe & replace it) or find a way to copy the Cd key. Many of the extremely expensive copying programs (for businesses - I'm not talking about any that anyone below Bill Gates can afford) can transfer CDs bit for bit for an exact copy. I think my cousin's uncle has one of these... Or the easiest way to crack a CD is to have a fake bios or key that tricks the module into thinking that it just got its full course meal.
Whoah, cool it with the *$@^ing language already. Some people get offended you know... There are new CD protection gizmos coming out every year. Back in March or something I read about a new top-of-the-line security that periodically checks for the CD. This weird randomizing seems to be scaring crackers for the moment... oh well, AOL, I'm sure everythings' gonna be all right... But now that surveys say more & more people are PURPOSELY stealing software from the internet & CD copies (who would've thought?...), I'm sure Microsoft & their little computer posse willtake out the gloves and relaly step up on the security. But as of April 2000, here is a list of all the security measures I know:
80 minute CDs : Games like Tiberian Sun put some extra crap data (like Internet Explorer 5, probably...) onto their CDs to get 700 MB onto it. A normal CD can store only 650 MB & an overburned disc can store just 670 MB. You can buy 700 MB CDs today (although I've never tried them) & I've heard GCDs are out too (1 GB.. yummy...) but if you can't find either of these for a good price, try copying the game anyways. A lot of those 80 min CDs really only contain the normal 74 min of data...
Bongle : Bongle uses a "dongle" (who the hell comes up with these names anyways? Then again, who thought up the name 'CD-Burning'... God, I said it again! ARGGHH!!!!) attaches a unique serial number to the CD (I think) which is nearly impossible to reproduce by even the most expensive of CD-Recording kits. Oh well, AOL, we still don't know if Bongles are really copyable (is that how you spell that? Probably not... God, I miss Grade 3 spelling, eh...) because they still are not being mass-produced.... yet... but soon, resistance will be futile... I hope that line doesn't get over used. It just sounds oh-so too much groovy, man & woman...
Discguard : It encrypts the Cd's executable & attaches a digital signature to the CD; if the signature isn't detected, an ad will usually come out & tell you to buy the program or try the demo. Cd's are usually given this signature using a program called TTR's DG-Protector I think & this is a pretty widespread security measure. You'll have to check the Cd-R sites for ways to crack each game that comes with this because they all have unique signatures.
Dummy Files: Just like the Illegal IOC below, it just points to files that have already been copied & makes the CD look like its over a GB in size. What a dumb idea... no offense to the geniuses who made it up, though...
Illegal IOC : Okay, I have to admit that I really hate this one. This uses what I call shadow tracks to make a CD seem to be over a GB in size. Really, the later tracks on the CD are really just pointing back to the first data track & I think this security is easily copied in Nero Burning Rom (who said burning? Who said burning! Wah ha ha ha!!!!... Me thinks me need my medication now...).
Laserlock : Laserlock does exactly what its name implies & puts encryption into their Cds... okay, that didn't go right. What I meant was snow is not equivalent to meatballs & Laserlock uses special laser markings on their CDs to make CDs pretty impossible to duplicate. This security is one of the most popular out there: I think there's already 4 revisions of it on the market. The first revision is pretty easy to beat with Nero: all you have to do is tell it to ignore Cd read errors. Revisions 2 to 4 are god-oh-so annyoing because they let you copy the CD with no problem but when you pop in the CD, the game says it can't find it! Oh well, at least they're keeping the cracking business busy... and rich...
Musicguard : Musicguard is stepping up to bat against all those MP3 users out there (how many of you are there? 2? 3?...). It makes DAC recording a pain in the derriere because it drastically reduces the quality of Cd ripping simply horrendous. I'm not sure how to beat these things but considering how many MP3s are on the internet today (Go Napster go! Back in my day, Napster was just the name of that cute lil' hamster, you know...), I'm betting that its getting pretty easy to do so.
Physical Erros : Companies will stoop to everything & anything, from actually following the law to actually damaging sectors on their own Cds. They hope that this will cause the recoding process to freeze and screw up, but all it does it annoys me! I hate how my first recordable Cd gets ruined! I hate it! I ate it! I ate it for breakfast!!!
ProtectCD : Damn those weird 80 min or something CDs! ProtectCD goes beyond that 80 min range & sets aside a little margin outside of the Cd's data that contains special copy protection data or something. When you try to record from one of these CDs, it won't record that little security data that's off in limbo & voila, you've got a defective CD. Luckily, its too difficult (or too boring?... I mean, lazy... wait, that doesn't make sense either) to put into CDs now... but you never know about DVDs...
SafeCast : This is a "try & die" solution in which the CD will simply wither away after a certain amount of uses... Don't worry, no commercial games use this. If you find that your CDs are melting, its not from SafeCast. You'd better check the PH of your house's air & if that checks out... take a breath mint...
SafeDisc : Like Discguard, Safedisc attaches a signature to its CDs & but of couse, sir, the signature cannot be copied. Damn. There goes my honeymoon... But Safedisk is notorius for its anti-hacker security that is pretty good at slowing down the cracker advance. Everyone is so impatient for a game that if they can't copy it for the first 2 weeks, they'll probably buy it... My God, has the world gone mad?... However, this security is used so often that crackers have really gotten used to it & cracks come out for these CDs all the time. But because each signature is unique, you'd best be checking those CD-R sites daily for updates....
SecuRom : I think that this is the Playstation's security type. Afterall, it is made by Sony, the one and only Sony that deserves to grovel at Nintendo's feet & beg for its mercy... huh? Who said 'burning'?... ACCKKK!!! I said it again! Die you stupid word! Die!... Okay, now that that's out of my system, I can tell you that SecuRom uses a decent form of CD authentication. It knows what a clone disc looks like & will tell you if it spots one. Damn that Sony, they're always one step ahead of me... But of course, any popular security measure just turns into putty when tinkered by the best of the best crackers out there. Check the CD-R sites for daily updates.
Sega GDROM : Is this what the Dreamcast is called? No, wait, the Dreamcast is called the Dreamcast. Nevermind... the GDROM has 2 sessions on each CD, with the second session having the most important game data. There is a large gap between the 1st & 2nd sessions, which confuses our little Cd-Recorders and usually copying these Cds won't work. Then again, Hong Kong found out how to just a few weeks after the Dreamcast's release...
... & yes, it's really simple to copy Playstation games but sometimes you need a crack to get it to work with those mod chips. I bet everyone copies playstation games now... that's the only reason they're beating my beloved Nintendo, that's why... grumble, grumble... at least I never hear the word 'burn' for the Nintendo... ACKK! I said it again! Die foul demons! Die! Die! Die!...
No need to fret, noble citizen! Cds are fully capable of holding an entire DVD with a quality level that, uh, well, um... well, look at it this way. The movie still works. So how can a noble traveller such as ourselves fit 9 GB of data onto a tiny 80 min CD? Thank God for Microsoft... Uh, I mean, thank God for their MPEG4v3 & DIVX codecs that convert huge multimedia files to AVIs (well, a type of them anyways) that have far better quality than those crap .asf ones. I've heard stories of 1GB of graphics being compressed to just 20MB, & the trailer still looked better than most Quicktime movies out there. Of course, you will need "tweaked" Mpeg4 codecs to do this so head on over to Cdr-info to get them (I think). This DVD ripping process was first discovered (or put online) by CDR-info so all the credit goes to them.
The first step in backuping up your, um, own DVDs is to use little programs that like to be called DeCSS or DOD DVD (who comes up with these names anyhew?) to rip the DVD onto your harddisk. Considering I'm stuck with a 4 GB Harddrive with 1GB of that being hostile bad clusters, I don't really thinki ripping DVDs is fun... Just make sure you have Adaptec's newest ASPI before you try this, or else Scooby Doo and the rest of the fire squad will come knocking on your door... uh, wait, sorry. That's just my fantasy.
There are a bunch of different digimon-digital (God, how I hate that show...) types of files on a standard DVD. the VOB files are the movie screens, the IFO files navigate your DVD to read those stupid VOBs, and the BUPs take extra room by being backups to those dumb IFOs that navigate to those stupid VOBs. CDRInfo recommends that you only copy the 1st and 5th VOB files to disk because those contain the whole movie. Just in case me forget, the first file is usally 1GB large. The other stupid files carry babies and other annoying stuff like trailers and that selection screen thingy. And if you feel lucky tonight, you might as well merge those two little tracks together to save a little room and to cut out all those, uh, cut-outs and um, well, the cuts in the movie. Buoya.
We now have to get those DIVX tools which should be found at: http://divx.ctw.cc/ or somewhere in Roger's neighbourhood. To be wee bit honest, I have no idea what those tools are doing in our hood. But I do know that we need some other programs to convert the little bastard VOBs into happy little deranged DIVX files. Flash MPEG can be found at http://go.to/flaskmpeg , some other AVI plugin can be found at http://sr8.xoom.com/agrab/ and if you're one of the lucky-Reno type people who managed to, um, borrowAdobe Premiere from the internet, you can download Panasonic's Encoder from http://www.pwi.co.jp/products/mpeg/index_e.htm . In the event I don't keep pace with the DVD world (I have a bloody 4GB hard drive for Christ's sake!), just go over to CDRinfo for more little MPEg encoders. Oh, me almost forget: You need the Bitrate Calculator too, so say allo to your friends at: http://go.to/maddvd
Now, let's see if I can follow myself because me getting a tad bit confused. First install the Panasonic encoder, then find the file CM-MPEG-PWi2.0e.prm or something of that species, copy it to your Flash MPEG folder (ok, I'm lost now... since when did we have a newborn in the family?) and rename the file to FlaskMPEGpeasopeich.dll. Ok... Then unzip that AVI plugin to that same directory. And voila, we can run Flash MPEG and everything little things gonna be alright, right? Um, wait, there's still more...
When FlasMPEG gets sterile and acts which AC3 channel we want, just pick the first one because that's the English one. Make sure the program is set to AVI output, and then you can Flash the crap movie onto your harddrive. Okay dokay, now CDRinfo in ordering me to go to the options screen. In the Video tab, make sure the order of those rations reads first 4:3, and then below it, waddling in digimon hell (ACK! I hate that show...) is the 16:9 ratio for widescreen stuff. If your movie is from North America, make sure the NTSC format is checked for 30 fps, and if you live down under in the European sagas, click off PAL for that lovable 25 fps. In the Sound tab, choose between 28 KHz and 44.1 KHz. If you've got a Sound Blaster Live or something, you could use 48000 Hz because me just love that digimon sound (damn, gotta get that stupid show out of my head...), but most sound cards can only do 44.1 KHz properly so if you want to be a turtle beach safe person, use the lower setting. Oh, and make sure you left the decode audio setting checked.
Now, lettuce go to the Run -> star conversion thingy dingy and pick either low-motion of high-motion. High motion has a variable bitrate (quality in sound and video stuff) so the more intense scenes in the mvie (American beauty, anyone?...) have better quality than the not-so great scenes (American beauty, anyone?...). This kinda screwey ups your compression so I recommend going with the low-motion. Low-motion forces the movie to have a static bitrate which kinda makes some screens crappy but at least it'll all fit into one little snug CD. Now it's time to let the Bit-rate Calculator out of its own cage, but it won't play friendly with you if you want to use High-motion. Record a clip from the movie in low-motion and bitrate will tell you its optimal static IP bitrate or something on that crap lines. Insert the bitrate into Flash MPEG and for sound, its better if you used WMA (damn Microsoft... even if they are split into three companies, they're still gonna make more money than me...) or better compression, but for compatibility, you can't beat those joy-joy MP3s (Napster should die like that Hamster...). Now start the conversion process and it should be done in a day or two (2 weeks for my computer, not like I can fit a movie onto my harddrive anyhew...). When its done, you should have a pretty nifty little file to plop onto your little Nsync CD for burning by the fire.
If the file is above your Cd limit, get a program called Virtual Dub and go to that lavish video tab. Pick direct stream copy, and do the same in the adios-audio tab. Now here comes the hard part... In the video /select rage or something like that tab, you must select a rage starting from zero and end it at a key frame. What who doesn't like key frames? Who the hell don't? Well, a freak-an-egging key frame is a one of those frames that if you cut the movie off there, you won't lose any other frames at all. I don't know how to tell where a key-frame is, but if you can bloody find out where and you bloody make maries out of your files, you will end up with 2 smaller DIVX files that are sure to please the belly. It's a pain in the beetle's arse to have a movie on 2 discs but hey, at least you, uh, backeruppered your old DVD... ahem, ahem...