May 9th, 2012

#3353: I think the DVD drive fried itself

I tried making another DVD and got exactly the same behavior--big surprise--and so it occurred to me that perhaps the DVD drive had died.

Well, c'mon--you can buy a DVD+/-R/RW/CD-R/RW/WTF drive for $20. This is a far cry from the $400 that CD-R drives cost in 1997, and it's to be expected that the cheap drives have just a bit less longevity. all I had to do was find the replacement drive, pop it in, and see if I could burn a DVD.

Ha. "All I had to do"--I went downstairs and tried digging through the junk to see if I could find the drive, and came up empty. Returned to my room, and as I was thinking I'd borrow the SATA DVD drive from El-Hazard, it occurred to me that perhaps I actually did something SMART for once and kept the spare drive in my room.

There it was, on the shelf below El-Hazard. Holy shit.

It didn't take long for me to pull the old drive out and swap the bezels. The Gateway DX420B has a fancy curved faceplate. The 5.25" mounting bay has exactly one set of mounting holes, so you can't just put any old OEM DVD drive in there and have it look halfway decent. There'd be a big gap there if I couldn't swap the bezels...which is why I have a Lite-On DH-20A3P for a spare drive. It uses the same chassis as the DVD drive (read only) that came with the system, so all I have to do is pop the tray and wiggle the two bezel pieces off, do the same with the replacement, and then reassemble.

Got everything buttoned up and presto! The program didn't hang at "burning 1%"! It showed "16x" for the burn speed instead of "2.4x"! Progress!

...the disk got to about 90% and the program bluescreened.


Shut down the power again, and this time I pulled the RAM and dusted it off. It's been literal years since I had the RAM out of the system, and I've gotten a few other random bluescreens which looked like "memory errors" to my admittedly untrained frontal lobes.

Once everything was back together, I was able to back up all 26 eps of Hanasaku Iroha to two DVD+Rs without incident. (In fact, the latter 13 eps of it came over the network from El-Hazard.)

So I'm gonna have to see if I can't find an appropriate DVD drive to have on hand as a backup, since this one's probably no good.

But right now I think all I'm gonna do is go to bed, because I've been up since 8:30 and I haz a sleepy.

#3354: Because we're all morons who don't know any better.

Now there will be two unskippable anti-piracy warnings at the beginning of every DVD and BluRay!

"...ICE Director John Morton announced in a statement yesterday, 'Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort.'"

Yeah, because no one knows that it's illegal to pirate videos!

Every single bit of DRM technology which has been emplaced since the founding days of DVD has done exactly one thing:

Inconvenience legitimate users.

It has not reduced piracy one whit.

With every single practical system for storing and displaying any kind of media, sooner or later the output must be understandable by humans...and once you get to that point the pirate can make a copy of it which is indistinguishable from the original. (Or at least "so close it doesn't really matter.")

It does not matter if you are talking about books, videos, music, or pictures. All you can hope to do is to slow down pirates by including all this bullshit...and in the meantime you're punishing the legitimate users of these products.

But this is te kind of nonsense you get out of government. "If making something illegal doesn't fix the problem, we'll make it more illegal!"

* * *

Hey, atheists...Jesus was not fictional. Even if you dispute the divinity of Christ you can't claim that Jesus was a fictional character. Or if you think you can, I'd suggest you talk to someone who knows history.

(But this is the best they've got.)

* * *

It's "racist" to prosecute islamic pedophiles in England. Ace is trying to noodle out what the story means by "rape" but it seems obvious that it's the statutory sense. These guys are sexual predators, plying young girls with vodka and then having sex with them after they're drunk.

* * *

The labor participation rate is part of how the unemployment rate is figured, which is why it looks like unemployment is "only" 8.1%.

...but in fact 11.1% is just as accurate as the official number is.

There is, however, no need to fret. If Romney wins the election, the press will begin being skeptical of the unemployment numbers and we'll hear all about U6 and the labor participcation rate and-and-and, don't you worry.

* * *

A fun story about a landmark gas station.

* * *

Denninger's got two on Europe today:
He advises Greece to give Germany et al the finger:
I'd be more sympathetic to the German position if their banks were forced to eat every nickel of the credit expansion that they shoved down everyone's throat and were operating in a completely transparent fashion with "One Dollar of Capital." But they're not and won't; instead they are applying to the government to use its monopoly on force to demand that Greece protect their bad investments.
Hard to argue that. The financial industry has been running rampant for decades, with the aid and support of government.
Incidentally it appears the Troika is making noises about threatening not to release the next scheduled tranche of funds. That's fine; they don't have to.

And the Greeks can have a bonfire with the so-called "renegotiated" bonds and mark them at zero, instantly detonating everyone who "bought" them and then repo'd them a dozen times or more back into the ECB or somewhere else.
Of course all of this will result in many banks being reduced to--Denninger's words--"smoking holes". But something's got to give, here, and as long as the status quo is maintained the economy is going to continue to limp along. It might be better to have a catharsis.

Or maybe not. WTF do I know?

Meanwhile the situation in Spain is heating up. I've said it and said it: even if Greece is fixed (and as we're seeing it is not) there are still Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland to worry about.

* * *

Celebrate 20 years of Wolfenstein 3D by playing it in your browser!

20 years. Shit.

...I was actually thinking about that a couple nights ago. It's been 20 years since 1992.

20 years ago I bought my first camcorder. 20 years ago my first girlfriend dumped me. 20 years ago (in July) I lost a friend to AIDS.

And since then, what? What have I done? Anything useful? Any accomplishments or anything? No! I live in the house I lived in as a kid, I don't own my own home, I don't have a career, or a wife, or a family, or anything--

--when I was thinking about this, Monday night, I was startled to realize that I don't consider the time wasted even though I've ended up back where I started. I tried to gin up regret at the time that's gone, but couldn't.

Where have those twenty years gone? I've been living. That's where they went; I lived them.

That's what you do.

One of my core principles is to thine own self be true. So in doing what's right for me, I have not followed the typical path of the average guy who gets up every day and goes to work at a job he hates because he's supposed to do that; I've done what I thought best and done my best with every job I could do (and never quit, was always laid off or fired...with one exception) and have tried always to be as good as I could be at whatever they were paying me to do.

But at the same time, I've been fortunate in having the latitude to be a writer, to be able to polish my craft. I'll have to see how that serves me (if I ever get this damn edit job done!).'s a strange sensation, though, being able to look back now and think, "Well, okay, maybe 'wasted' is the wrong word after all."

#3355: That was fun.

So I had that "$10 off any purchase" thing Best Buy Corp. sent me. And I wanted to go somewhere farther than usual on the motorcycle. And I needed another spindle of DVDs.

So I rode the bike to the Best Buy in Tinley Park and bought a 100-disk spindle of DVD+Rs for the princely sum of $19 (with tax) after the $10 coupon was applied. Win-win-win.

The only real problem came about the time I arrived at the store. My stomach--despite having absorbed all of the remaining goulash and ginzo bread--was empty to the point of growling and needed food, and in fact I was in the earliest stages of hypoglycemia to boot.

Well, I went into Best Buy and found what I wanted and bought it, then browsed the hard drives a bit (3 TB is $170; 2 TB is around $115, and 1 TB around $90, but that last is on sale) and then decided there was nothing else there I cared about, so I made my purchase and left.

Buzzed over to the Taco Bell located in the same area; I had a taco salad and a small Pepsi. I inadvertently filled it with regular rather than diet, but it was probably less than 12 oz of sugar water...and with my blood sugar on the low side it was probably not entirely unwarranted, anyway.

Ate my food, got back on the bike, rode home--and took a less-direct route home so I could ride on curvy roads a bit. I probably didn't go two miles out of my way, but it was fun.

Got home and put the bike away, feeling just a wee bit chilly. I'd worn a hoodie under my jacket, and for the most part I was on the cool side of comfortable for the entire trip; though I'm not sad to be home where it's warmer.

It didn't take me any longer than it would have taken in the Jeep--except for stopping to have some food--and it was fun. I got sprinkled on a little bit as I was riding away from home but not nearly enough to get me wet--a few small drops at most--and the weather was brisk without being cold, and just required an extra layer of clothes. I've ridden in worse! Yet I didn't see so much as one other person riding a motorcycle the entire time.