Category Archive for Review

Boost.Asio C++ Network Programming

I recently finished reading “Boost.Asio C++ Network Programming” written by John Torjo and published by Packt Publishing. Information given by the publisher:


  • Augment your C++ network programming using Boost.Asio
  • Discover how Boost.Asio handles synchronous and asynchronous programming models
  • Practical examples of client/server applications
  • Learn how to deal with threading when writing network applications
  • Harness the power of Boost with plenty of examples that you can build upon

What you will learn from this book:

  • How to easily reference Boost.Asio programming
  • Synchronous versus asynchronous using Boost.Asio
  • How threading affects programming using Boost.Asio
  • Create your own echo client and server
  • More examples of client/server applications, both synchronous and asynchronous
  • Implement your own asynchronous operations
  • Co-routines: asynchronous operations with a synchronous feel
  • Use Boost.Asio for SSL Networking
  • Debug Boost.Asio
  • Use Boost.Asio for more than just networking

I love the Boost libraries, and I’m interested in network programming, so I decided to read this book. The book has a hands-on approach with a couple of sample programs. What I like is that these sample programs have been structured in such a way so they can be reused for your own projects. They are like skeleton examples, and all source code can be downloaded from the book’s website.

The book does not cover any real networking theory. For example don’t expect an in-depth discussion of how the TCP, UDP, or ICMP protocols work; that’s not the goal of this book. The goal is to show, with practical examples, how to use the Boost.Asio networking library.

While reading chapter 1, my initial reaction to the contents was rather negative. Chapter 1 is a bit convoluted, not so easy to understand, and even has a couple of errors in it. However, subsequent chapters are structured more logically and are understandable, though sometimes a discussion accompanying a piece of code can be a bit brief.

As an introduction to the library, Chapter 3 shows a basic Echo client/server example which is quite good. There is a synchronous and asynchronous TCP implementation of the client and server, and also a synchronous UDP implementation of the client and server. Subsequent chapters implement more useful client/server applications.

The book is not your one-stop destination for everything related to the Boost.Asio library, but it’s a great introduction to get you started with the library, to get to know the terminology used in the library, to learn about the difference between synchronous and asynchronous programming, to learn how to use multi-threading using the Boost threading library, and to get nice skeleton applications that you can reuse in your own projects. Several skeleton applications are provided such as synchronous and asynchronous versions, and single-threaded and multi-threaded versions.


CyberLink PowerDVD 12

A while ago I assembled myself a new PC in which I included a Blu-ray burner, so obviously I wanted to use the PC to play Blu-ray movies. The first thing I did was trying to find a freeware player that could play Blu-ray movies. I tried a couple, including VLC, but all of them had problems playing around 50% of my Blu-rays because they didn’t support the format on those discs. Next, I decided to look at commercial solutions and tried CyberLink PowerDVD 12. Installation on my Windows 8 Pro went without any problem. I tried all my Blu-rays and PowerDVD 12 happily played all of them without any issues. Image and sound quality for all Blu-ray discs I tested was great out-of-the-box. I played around with the settings and found a TrueTheater Surround audio option. After enabling it, audio sounded even better.
PowerDVD 12 supports a lot of different formats. Below is a list of the formats supported by PowerDVD 12 Ultra:

  • Movies: BD-R 1.1/BD-RE 2.1, BD-R 2.0/BD-RE 3.0, BDROM 2.2, BD-J, BDROM Profile 1.1 (Bonus View), BDROM Profile 2.0 (BD-Live), BDROM Profile 5.0 (BD 3D), AVCREC, AVCHD, DVD-Video, DVD-VR, DVD+VR, VCPS, VCD, SVCD, CD
  • Videos: 264, 26L, 3G2, 3GP, 3GP2, 3GPP, ASF, AVC, AVI, BSF, DAT, DIV, DIVX, DVR-MS, FLV, H264, JSV, JVT, M1V, M2P, M2T, M2TS, M2V, M4V, MK3D, MKV, MOD, MOV, MP4, MP4V, MPE, MPEG, MPG, MPV, MTS, MVC, QT, TIVO, TOD, TP, TPD, TRP, TS, TTS, VC1, VOB, VRO, WM, WMV, WTV**

PowerDVD 12 supports Blu-ray 3D, 4K video playback, and HDMI 1.4, and has optimization support for 3rd gen Intel Core processors, and GPU’s from both AMD and NVIDIA. Media can be enhanced in the following ways:

  • TrueTheater HD – Upscale SD video to HD quality
  • TrueTheater 3D – Watch 2D movies, videos and photo in 3D
  • TrueTheater Motion – Up-converts the frame-rate for smoother video playback
  • TrueTheater Lighting – Delivers superb colors and improves image detail
  • TrueTheater Stabilizer – Minimize the shakiness of your videos
  • TrueTheater Denoise – Removes blocky or pixilated effects
  • TrueTheater Stretch – non-linear stretches your 4:3 video to 16:9ratio

CyberLink also has an App called “PowerDVD Remote” which allows you to control PowerDVD from your smartphone or tablet. It supports full navigation and playback for Blu-rays and DVD’s. It can also wirelessly play and save videos and photos from your smart device to your PC; turn you smart device into a wireless keyboard and mouse pad for your PC, and it supports multi-touch control to remotely rotate and zoom-in photos. Unfortunately, the App is currently only available on the Apple App Store and on the Android App Market. Since I have a Windows Phone, I was unable to test this functionality. I think the App is a great addition to PowerDVD, so I really hope they release a version for the Windows Phone.

Visit the PowerDVD website.


Axialis IconWorkshop 6 Review

Axialis IconWorkshop allows you to easily create modern, great looking icons for your projects on Windows, Macintosh and Unix. It creates Windows icons up to 256×256 for Windows Vista and Macintosh icons up to 512×512 for Mac OS 10.5. Unix uses PNG icons. It also allows you to create image strips which can be used for your toolbars. Read the rest of this entry »


Cyberlink PowerDVD 7 Deluxe Review

BoxshotCyberlink PowerDVD was one of the first DVD players on the market and is still considered by many to be one of the best. The latest version is version 7 which I’m reviewing today. Installation went smooth on both Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Most people cannot be bothered to spend money on a DVD player because most of them are happy with the DVD player software that they got when they bought their PC. However, once you have used PowerDVD 7 you simply do not want to go back anymore. PowerDVD offers so much more. The deinterlacing quality of PowerDVD is much better than you get with most of those pre-installed DVD players. On top of that, the latest version adds support for high definition formats like MPEG-4 H.264 and WMV-HD and supports a wide range of audio formats like DTS 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS-ES Discrete and more. Unfortunatly if you want to experience DTS-ES Discrete, DTS Neo:6 or SRS TruSurround XT you will need to buy the advanced audio pack. However, even though version 7 supports the high definition video formats, it does not support playing movies directly from Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs. For this you need PowerDVD 7 Ultra.

The Say-It-Again option allows you to quickly jump back a few seconds in case you missed something. The Read-It-Clearly feature allows you to change the position of subtitles. For notebook users, an interesting feature is the See-It-All feature. This monitors the battery level of your notbook and will automatically speed up the movie to make sure you can see the entire movie before your battery runs out. Any speed increase between 1% and 20% is actually not bothering anything.


The default interface of PowerDVD 7 looks pretty clean and modern as can be seen on the screenshot. In my opinion the new GUI is better than the previous versions.

The price might seem a bit high but you get a very good and complete DVD playback solution supporting the latest in video and audio formats.