Stuff Yaron Finds Interesting

Technology, Politics, Food, Finance, etc.

More DVD Fun with OS X

Marina had the idea of sending my father a copy of UNCONSTITUTIONAL. My father returned the favor by sending us CELSIUS 41.11. Ironically enough while both UNCONSTITUTIONAL and OUTFOXED ran fine on VLC but caused my machine to crash on Apple's DVD player pretty much the opposite happened with CELSIUS 41.11. It ran on Apple's DVD player without problem but if I tried it on VLC then VLC got an error that screwed up the sound. In fact, if I ran VLC and then ran Apple's DVD player the sound stayed broken. The only way to get the DVD to play right was to kill VLC and run Apple's DVD player which for the first time didn't crash my machine! I guess Apple must be right wing.

OS X + G5 != DVD Player, but there is hope!

I just got a new DVD, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I intentionally didn't run it full screen because I didn't want my machine to crash again. Unfortunately that didn't work. After running for twenty seven minutes and fifty seconds my machine died hard. Keyboard, mouse, DVD player, everything dead. The only sound a stuttering from the speakers. The only difference from my previous experience is that a friend told me to hold down the power button for five seconds or more instead of just pressing it the way I did last time. That did work so I didn't have to pull the plug. Of course the point of buying a Mac was to not have to know things like that.

It appears that I'm not alone in having this problem. The previously mentioned thread suggested two possible solutions. One was to turn off one of my dual processors but a number of people said this still caused problems for them. The other was to use a different video player than Apple's DVD player. VLC was suggested. As an experiment I played OUTFOXED full screen in VLC, turned off the sound and went to bed. I came back to my computer the next morning to find it running just fine. So for the moment I have a workaround. But I can't say it's a great work around because the VLC player is no where near as easy to use as the Apple player. Also note that at least on my LCD screen I found switching to video-deinterlace-blend made a big difference when blowing the picture up beyond normal size.

Come on Apple, this is pathetic! The previously referenced thread lists numerous people having this problem and you can safely assume for every person who posts there are many, many people like me who have the problem but didn't post. Just admit the problem exists and fix it already!

Yaron's Guide to the Washington/King County/Seattle 11/2004 Elections

My Voter's Guide to the November 2004 Elections in Washington/King County/Seattle is now on-line in multiple parts:

In the guide I go through the various candidates and issues and explain what my vote is and why. My goal is to provide something I can talk to my friends about, provide myself with a record I can use when seeing the same candidates in future elections and just possibly influence a vote or two. Below I go through the process I use to decide who to vote for.

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11/2/2004 General Election – Various King County & Seattle Propositions, Washington State

King County has four questions up for vote dealing with reducing the size of the ruling council and doing 'something' about transportation, I'm basically voting no on all of them. Seattle also has an initiative up for vote, on killing the ability to build the monorail, and I'm voting no on that as well even though I dislike the monorail. In each case the details are pretty slippery and there is a non-trivial amount of trickery involved.

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11/2/2004 General Election – Who I'm Voting For President – John F. Kerry

I can't say I particularly like any of the choices on the Washington ballot but the least objectionable to me is John F. Kerry. I fundamentally disagree with him on many things but I believe that his presidency would make it possible to undo some of the damage George Bush has done to freedoms in our country and to our foreign policy. So I'll be voting for John F. Kerry.

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11/2/2004 General Election – My Choice for Senator from Washington State – J. Mills

Patty Murray committed the unpardonable sin of voting for the Patriot Act. She was tested and she failed. George R. Nethercutt seems to think he is George Bush Jr. which makes not voting for him easy. Mark B. Wilson, the Green candidate, seems to think that throwing money at problems will solve them. So I am left with J. Mills, the Libertarian candidate. His campaign is a bit sloppy and some of his ideas are a bit extreme for my taste but on balance he is the candidate I would most like to send to the U.S. Senate.

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What If Al-Qaida Wasn't A World Wide Terror Network? What if Dirty Bombs Didn't Work?

Is there a massive world wide terror network called Al-Qaida or just a lose uncoordinated collection of intellectually affiliated groups? How many people would a dirty bomb kill exactly? These aren't questions I've ever seen asked before, even in the press I read which tends toward the more alternative side. There is apparently a documentary on BBC Two that is asking exactly these questions but I'm guessing I won't be seeing it here in America. It almost makes me want to get satellite. The Guardian has a good summary of some key points the documentary makes. I have no idea how accurate the documentary is but I think it is asking important questions. It's too easy to turn the rats in the shadows into monsters. It's too easy to be scared and demand 'something' be done. It's hard to look fear in the eye and make honest assessments about the real dangers we are facing.