I'm getting ready for a two week long business trip to Asia. My Toshiba Tablet PC is great, but it doesn't have a DVD drive, and I don't want to carry a player. My solution is to rip a stack of DVDs to DivX so I can watch them on my laptop without a DVD drive. (Divx is like MP3, but for video. It's a compression scheme that has reasonably high quality at reasonably good compression rates.)
I've tried this many times before with limited success. I had a lot of bad results, e.g. out-of-sync audio, messed up aspect ratios, and so on. It always took a batch of tools, and it was just time-consuming.
So, I was very please to find a pair of tools that have finally taken most of the pain out of this effort. DVD Decryptor does a good job getting the data off the DVD onto your hard drive for processing, then AutoGK converts that data to Divx, converts the audio to MP3, and syncs the two.
There are very few settings, and the ones that there are almost understandable. The only ones I really mess with are the size (I picked 1G per movie to allow me to put them on my USB flash drive), and the encoding format (I picked DivX instead of Xvid because I already had the decoders installed and because there are some DivX DVD players coming out now.)
It's still not as easy as ripping MP3s, but it's getting closer. It's very cool to have a stack of my movies on my harddrive so I can watch them on demand. I love it.
Doom9.net is the best resource around for this kind of activity. It's still pretty geeky though, so roll up your sleeves.
(Yes, yes, yes, I'm only ripping DVDs I own, blah blah blah.)