iTunes Movies – I don’t get it!

July 31, 2007

So, my wife is madly in love with her Video iPod and my eyesight is way too good, probably from lack of strain. You can see where this is going – I’m ordering a video iPod.

Since it has a name that starts with video I, naturally, think of movies. I love movies.

Anyway I run off to the iTunes store to check out the movie selection and instantly become appalled. And, trust me, I much prefer to slowly become appalled. What is the deal here? The movies on iTunes cost as much, or more, than the same movies on DVD. This makes no sense to me – consider the following:

  1. Movies from iTunes are DRM protected.
  2. I can’t loan iTunes movies to friends.
  3. I can’t sell an iTunes movie when I’m finished with it.
  4. I can’t donate one to my library.
  5. I can’t burn a copy of my iTunes movie to DVD.
  6. If I lose my iTunes movie I can’t download another copy.

And as a bonus for putting up with all these limitations, which incidentally don’t exist for DVD’s, I get to pay a premium.

Consider the following random selection between movies on iTunes and DVD’s purchased from Deep Discount DVD (which includes free shipping and no sales tax).

  • Island in the Sky (Duke Wayne): iTunes – $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.52
  • 10 Things I Hate About You: iTunes: $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.52
  • Rocky: iTunes: $9.99, Deep Discount: $9.65
  • Lost, Season 3: iTunes: $34.99 (missing bonus material), Deep Discount: $46.12

Ok, I think you see the pattern. Oh, and this is just a guess, but I suspect the DVD movies are slightly higher quality.

I hope you’re listening Fake Steve Jobs!


What Tubes?

July 30, 2007

I was reading a blog today about Senator Ted Stevens and his recent spate of troubles and the writer referred to Ted’s career as “going down the tubes“. Ok, I’m not really sure who Ted Stevens is and, frankly, I care even less. What I want to know is where is this tubes expression came from?

I did an Internet search and, apparently, tons of things are going down the tubes, but, what tubes? I mean, if you think about something like draining a bath tub (love that little vortex funnel at the end) you would expect a reasonable person to say his career went down the pipes!

That makes sense, right? Come on – who has tubes and what goes down them?

I think this expression was probably started by some imbecile who didn’t understand the concept of a pipe. My guess is someone from England with all their funny talk – Loo and such. Then other people heard this expression and, not wanting to look foolish simply repeated it (Brilliant old chap!). We’ve got to stop this madness.

After reading this entry I’m sure you’ll agree that, if nothing else, this blog is going down the pipes! Thanks for riding along.

An Exciting Day for Spidey

July 29, 2007

This video of a male Jumping Spider trying to excite his mate is simply fascinating. I could never get laid as a spider – I just don’t have the energy!

End of an Era

July 18, 2007


I recently learned that Bill Pinkney died July 4th of a heart attack. Bill was the last surviving original member of the R&B group The Drifters. Bill lived, and apparently died, in Daytona Beach, Florida – current home of my brother-in-law who never even mentioned he was hanging out with famous people.

RIP Bill, I’ll keep listening to your music.

Winner: Coolest Headstone

July 16, 2007

Headstone of Russell J. Larsen in The Logan City Cemetery, Logan, Utah.


The Big Mac Rescue

July 14, 2007

I thought I’d share a story of how one of my Mac’s got screwed up and how it was saved. This story has a happy ending (for me anyway). Are you listening Alice Sebold?

From time to time my Mac would get the spinning beach ball of death. If you have a Mac and don’t know what this is, count your blessings. Basically the Mac’s wait cursor, affectionately called a beach ball or spinning pizza, shows up and the entire desktop is unresponsive. I mean, you can’t even get the Force Quit dialog up! You Windows users don’t need to snicker – you have the same problem and it’s not even as pretty.

When this happens I never really know how long to wait before doing something scary like turning off the power. Well two weeks or so ago that’s exactly what I had to do. I had waited about 20 minutes for the Mac to clear up whatever the problem was and I came to believe that it just wasn’t going to happen. So I reached for the power switch and kneecapped that baby.

When I turned the power back on the machine booted and everything seemed fine. Awesome. I went on my merry computing way. A few days after this happened, with still no signs of ill effects, I tried to print an email I had received in Thunderbird. The application promptly crashed and I was given a dialog that let me report the problem to Apple. I reported it and restarted the application but every attempt to print was met with the same results. So I’m thinking, “Thunderbird, you piece of crap!“. But I won’t be foiled that easily. I copied the email in question to the clipboard and pasted it into Microsoft Word, clicked on the print button and was allowed to lodge another problem with Apple when Word crashed. WTF is going on here?

Next I pasted the email into my trusty copy of TextMate. As an aside – if you are using a Mac and you don’t have TextMate rush to the Macro Mates site and get a copy. TextMate is, quite simply, the best text editor I have ever used! Ok, end commercial – TextMate will surely print this sucker. No such luck – my pride and joy text editor crashed just like everything else I’d tried.

My next stop was to search the Internet to find people who had this problem and reported a fix. I found tons of print related problems but nothing that matched this modus operandi.

Finally I decided to run a verification on the drive using Disk Utility. Following is the report I received:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking HFS Plus volume.
Checking Extents Overflow file.
Checking Catalog file.
Invalid sibling link
The volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired.

Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit

1 HFS volume checked
Volume needs repair

Ah ha! All I need to do is boot the system from my Tiger install disk and use Disk Utility to repair the hard drive. Viola! I did that and the repair tool reported this same error and advised me that it could not repair the problem. Oh my God – now what?

Well after spending more than a little time researching options I decided to back up my hard drive to a bootable external USB drive, boot from that drive and attempt to repair the problem using Disk Warrior.

For the backup I used the excellent SuperDuper! from Shirt Pocket Software. This took me about two and a half hours but luckily I had other things to do. When the backup finished I restarted my Mac and held down the Option key. When offered a selection of boot drives I chose the external USB containing the backup. I then ran Disk Warrior from this drive and had it rebuild the directory structure on my main hard drive.

After Disk Warrior finished analyzing my drive it reported a bunch of errors which meant nothing to me (not that I know what a sibling link is) and asked if I wanted to perform repairs. I figured I had nothing to lose. If the repair failed I’d have to reinstall OS X but at least I had a good backup to restore.

Well long story short – Disk Warrior completely repaired the drive. After the repair I ran a Disk Utility verification and got a clean bill of health. I then booted from the internal drive and was madly, and quite successfully, printing in no time.

Yea for Disk Warrior.

I am now looking for a new USB thumb drive on which I can install a bootable OS X with Disk Warrior so that I never have to be without this safety net.

Meet Celebrities and Get Rich

July 7, 2007

Earlier today I was cutting the grass and listening to Bon Jovi sing Livin’ on a Prayer (Live version). I can see what you are thinking – fertile ground for the big idea. Boy, are you ever right on – I had a doozie. Now I expect most of you, in the same situation, would be concentrating on Tommy and Gina and how in the hell they will survive on Gina’s pay from the diner alone. Not me! I was thinking about Jon Bon Jovi’s family. I mean this poor guy probably can’t go anywhere without being mobbed by people. Same thing for his wife Dorothea and the kids. Jon probably has to spend a hefty chunk of his rock fortune buying a little privacy for his family.

Then it struck me! I am surrounded by privacy and it is FREE! I’ll bet if you think about it you are probably in the same boat. So, here is my big idea – gather up some of that free privacy you have and sell it to needy celebrities. This costs you nothing and you get to hang out with famous people. Before long you will find yourself filthy rich and have, at least, a couple of BFF celeb relationships.

I’ve had big ideas before (and to those of you who have followed my advice I am profoundly sorry) but this one just feels different!

Maybe you just want the money without the hassle of celeb friendships. No problem, this is your choice although, speaking solely for myself, I could probably clear a little time to hang with, say, Anna Kournikova.

So that’s the big idea. You’re welcome and I have dibs on Bon Jovi.