Nice One

Way back in January I converted the PAL DVDs of all three series of William & Mary I had bought from across the pond to NTSC for watching here. Donna and I had already seen the first two series via Netflix, so we just watched Series 3 and put the box away.

Last week I asked my manager at work, who is actually from Jolly O’l England, if he was interested in seeing the show. He said yeah, he already had it in his Netflix queue, but why wait. I brought him the boxed set. Sunday was a cold and rainy day so he and his wife, lit a fire in the fireplace and settled in on the couch to watch the show. He popped in Disc 1 that contained the first three episodes and nothing happened, the DVD player just sat there. To say they were a bit disappointed was an understatement.

He brought me the discs back on Monday and told be it wouldn’t play. I said I was sorry, I reminded him I told him it might not work because I couldn’t get past the intro stuff on my Sony DVD player before it stopped and told me it was the wrong Region Code for that player. He said his was a Daewoo and that it would do anything.

I brought the discs home and tried the first in my DVD players, the JVC, the Sony, the PC, the laptop, nothing. The PCs didn’t say no disc, but didn’t show any VOB files or any files for that matter. I tried the second disc and it worked as expected in all four places.

Can you guess what the problem was? Yup, that’s right I had labeled the DVD,but neglected to actually burn the files to it. DOH! 

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 134

The “My Album Cover” Game

Idea stolen from ted is preposterous:

To Do This
1 — Go to “wikipedia.” Hit ?random?
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 — Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 — Go to flickr and click on ?explore the last seven days?
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 — Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 — The original number five was to post the album cover to Face Book and tag others, but I’m still just an anti-social blogger, so the buck stops here. 

Started down, went up, back down, back up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 138

Daylight Theiving Time

We moved the clocks ahead last night, somehow apparently stealing an hour of my time. Unfortunately for both of us, the now missing time was blogging time, so you will have to hope that I can somehow squeeze in an extra post this week so you can read all about today’s events. And trust me when I say this, they were doozies. 

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 143

Hodge Podge

Remember Photofunia? You know that Russian site where you uplaod yor photo and the site does some magic in the background and integrates that photo into a scene? Well here is another one for you, WriteOnIt. Their selection of images is not as diverse as Photofunia, but they do have a couple of other options that make it worth a peek — magazine covers and adding captions to some of there own photos.

Via io9:
Cartoonist Chris Gine has decided that he’ll draw three new robots (with… stuff) each week for a year, giving you a glimpse into just how much variety there is in the robot world. He is up to sixteen with 149 to go. Bots with Stuff. My favorite so far: #11, a robot with a really cool jetpack, but no friends to show it to. Although the very first one, a robot with a delicious groundhog is a close second.

Via Techdirt:
Sita Sings The Blues. Because the cost of obtaining the of copyrights on songs from the 1920’s, a weird mashup movie of that eras jazz vocals, the epic Indian tale of Ramayana and sumptuous animation couldn’t be released as a for profit movie, so instead, the filmmaker has decided to press 4,999 copies on DVD (just below a level to keep the royalty fees at the $50k she has already put up) and make promotional copies available for downloading from several web venues. These promotional copies are not subject to royalty fees or something. The filmmaker is going to rely on other ways of making money on the project instead of the whole find distributor Hollywood route, one of which is the “pay what you want” model by accepting donations. I’ve probably got a few details of this whole thing wrong, more info can be found on the filmmaker’s blog, Rogert Ebert’s blog and the films site. I’m downloading the torrent now and plan on kicking a few bucks Nina Paley’s way.

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 143

Finis

It has been 1870 days (5 years, 1 month, 12 days) since taking the first Post Office picture of Summerall Station in Aiken to this one, the last, from Daufuskie Island last Saturday. In that time frame I have taken pictures of 453 Post Offices with the Emperor (or some portion of him) or his Mini-Me somewhere in the frame.

I started out with at least six more to do, those on the military bases in the state, but have decided that if I couldn’t get them all I wouldn’t do any of them. My out is that although the bases are physically located inside the state’s borders they really are on U.S. Government property. The two Marine Corp bases near Beaufort have no problem with visitors as long as they get a visitor’s pass. Fort Jackson in Columbia probably wouldn’t have been an issue either as it is a boot camp for the Army and they are used to visitors. The two Air Force bases are stricter and I would have needed to have been escorted on base by someone stationed there (only one of which I would have had someone to do that for me.) The Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek was going to be the deal breaker anyway. Just the name of the place doesn’t sound like the kind of place they let civilians wander about, with a camera no less. Plus they used to keep the nukes for the subs at the Charleston Navy Base before it closed down and for all I know they still house the ones the Air Force needs.

There is still a slight controversy as to whether to include the second Hampton PO. It looks for all the world like a backwoods county home with pickups out front and it has no outward indications of any postal activity, no blue box and no signage. All I have is one small photo I snapped from inside the car because Donna didn’t want me to get out. So when we got home from that trip I wrote to the Postmaster of that zip code. A couple weeks later I received a reply stating that it is a Community Post Office, but I’m still not so sure I should include it. 

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 143

Maybe I’m A Fossil

I just can’t do books any other way than holding bound paper in my hands. I’ve tried audio books, fortunately I didn’t buy any, only to be disappointed, but I’ve sampled some free choices from the corners of the web (LibriVox, LearnOutLoud, etc.) and it is just not for me. I can barely pay attention sitting, listening in front of the PC, let alone try and listen while driving. Another reason is I haven’t found a voice I enjoy listening to.

A couple times in the last week my daily dose of SciFi site directed me to some free electronic books, one was Suvudu Free Book Library with pdf files that look like a scan of a book (other formats are available) and today’s site was Baen Free Library which has been around since 2002 and offers downloads in various formats including HTML. So far none of the formats I’ve tried have been comfortable to me. The second place offers books in a Microsoft Reader format, but I’m not sure I even want to install the software for it.

Guess I’m going to keep patronizing the local used book store… 

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 144

Be Careful What You Wish For

My previous digital camera used to annoy me by always forgetting my settings. Because I usually favor one way of shooting, every time I turned it on I would have to change the same series of settings to my liking. My current camera remembers everything and starts up right where I left off. Even the zoom if I want.

The last photos I took were last Tuesday of Charlie Pace while monkeying around on the floor indoors. I had the white balance set for incandescent and the exposure set 1–1/2 f-stops open so I could turn off the flash. The ever helpful Panasonic TZ3 started right up that way Saturday in Hitchcock Woods which is why the dozen or so photos I took of trail name signs look like the one above, washed out and kind of blue. I thought the image in the LCD screen looked a little off while snapping away, but chalked that up to the very bright sun I was in.

Now I’m kind of wishing this one would forget sometimes.

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 151

Monty Hall Math Problem

I’m stealing this sort of from Joe Posnanski’s blog. I’ll change the wording up a bit to shorten it and remove the baseball content.

You are a contestant on ?Let?s Make A Deal.? OK, so, there are three curtains. Behind one is new car and behind the other two are goats.

You choose your curtain ? for simplicity, we?ll say that you choose what?s behind Curtain No. 1. And Monty goes, “Well, before we see what?s behind your curtain, let?s show you what?s behind Curtain No. 3!” They pull back the curtain and there is a goat grazing on a square of sod held on a leash by a model.

Now, Monty gives you an option. He says that you can stay with Curtain No. 1 or switch to Curtain No. 2.

So what do you do?

A: Stick with Curtain No. 1.
B: Switch to Curtain No. 2
C: It doesn?t matter because there is an equal chance the prize is behind either curtain.

The correct answer is B. You ALWAYS switch. If you switch, you are twice as likely to get the big prize.

I thought C, there are two curtains, one has the prize, so you have a 50–50 shot. I read his original post, and the next day’s about it, and still couldn’t see my way to believe that switching doubled the odds. Then I got to reading the comments on the second post and somewhere in the101 of them that there, are I became a believer.

If you remain unconvinced that B is the right answer, go read for your self — A Brilliant Reader Question.

If you are a smarty pants know-it-all, what the heck are you doing here reading my blog? 

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Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 160