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Posts posted by badmigraine

  1. I've been out for awhile due to babies and knee surgeries, and I don't have much cartilage left on either side. Last season I went snowboarding one moderate day at Naeba, but the hammering and shock put the hurt on my knees for three weeks afterward. I'm thinking that skiing posture and independent-leg suspension will be easier on my poor boys than boarding.


    But what kind of boots and skis should I buy? I haven't looked at two plank setups since the 80s, and haven't shopped or looked at mags for gear in about 3 seasons.


    As for skiing style, before I took up boarding, I liked to go fast, carve it up a bit, and do some moguls and powder glades. All mountain stuff I guess. I don't want spatula powder skis or big-mountain skis for Niigata day trips. Ability level was advanced intermediate. I'm sure I'll be super great now, after doing all the same things on a board.


    178cm tall



    Recommendations, anybody?

  2. Note that DVD is not an easy format to edit. It is not designed for that. I got a mini DVD vidcam to film my baby. The camera and DVDs are great, easy to view and to copy. However, it requires various different applications to transcode or convert them into an editable format, and the conversion results in further loss of quality. In addition, mini DVDs don't fit into slit-type DVD players found on MacBooks and other computers. You or your family/friend who will view the DVD needs a tray-type drive for that.


    A couple months ago I ended up getting a miniDV vidcam. It is bonehead simple to edit from these using a Mac or PC. MiniDV vidcams are also the cheapest kind of vidcam around these days, which is nice.


    I vote miniDV!

  3. The leaf-polishing crew isn't Japan-only. We had that in my L.A. high-rise office back in the 90s. You rent the plants, they come around in purple polo shirts and water/polish them regularly. They also have small snips and trim the dead leaves.


    My idea of Japan-only jobs is the one I've had here for a decade. When I returned to Michigan, vowing never to come back to Japan, I couldn't find squat to do. Nobody would hire me. I ran out of money in 2 years, then came back here again as Mr. Employable and here I am making a great salary. Weird.

  4. I like my MacBook well enough, but here are some things I dislike about Apple:


    I don't like those little balls for closing and minimizing/maximizing apps.


    I don't like how Safari fails to display some Internet pages correctly when IE or Firefox or Opera all work fine (including encoding errors).


    I don't like iPhoto. I hate the way it wants to organize my pics into "rolls". I never thought of digital pics as "rolls" of film, it seems to me a stupid goof to help somebody like my Dad or Stepmom organize their pics. After using Picasa for a couple of days, I just don't want to bother with iPhoto so I leave all my pics on my Windows machine now.


    I find iTunes to be somewhat clunky, slow and, well, gorpy. Watching videos in iTunes is lame, it really needs replacement. I also hate how I would have to upgrade to iTunes 7.02 (Windows version) if I want to buy video content from the iTunes store. Why? I could buy and view vid content before this version came out. Is it all about forcing customers to upgrade to the latest DRM? Or maybe the format of vid content in the iTunes store is no longer compatible with previous versions, such as 6? Seems odd to me. Why don't I upgrade to 7.02 for Windows? I've read way too many horror stories about how it loses parts of your library or chews up all your RAM and grinds to a halt or crash. I just can't be bothered. Not that I enjoyed watching poor-quality vids on my computer screen anyway.


    And there is one particularly annoying Apple fanboy reaction that I often see on BBS comments: an OSX newbie or maybe former Windows user asks why you can't do something simple and basic (e.g., Apple mouse with right-clicker; close an open app completely with one click like clicking on the "X" in Windows, etc.)...and the answer is something like "What you are trying to do is wrong..." Yeah. Wrong. "Think different." How silly of me to expect that since right-click functionality is built into OSX, the mouse would have a right-click button. "Think different..." How silly of me to want to completely close an app with just one click.


    The other thing I hate is the typical teenage Apple fanboy on some BBS posting something like "The reason Steve told them to make std. optical drive not burn DVDs was by choice, to increase customer options. What Steve will do next is adapt DVD burning functionality in a new way as this is by intention and Apple will overtake the market" or some such utter drivel. Fanboys who seem to think they are attuned to some special Appleness vibe and mix fact, fantasy and consumeristic idiocy into pathetic assertions dripping with butt-kissing and reflexive conformism.

  5. Jibs, I saw the same kind of thing at Meguro Station in March, 2004. I showed up around 10 am and noticed a couple of women lying on gurneys and blankets on the upper floor and there was a puddle of vomit next to one. I thought maybe they'd had food poisoning. Then I heard the announcements...


    When I got down to the tracks, they were just backing the train up slowly from where the mess had been, so the crew could finish the cleanup. You could see where blood had jetted on the cement wall several meters behind the track, and, as I will never forget, some pieces of skin on the rails. You could see some hair on one side, and a kind of yellowish fat on the other, like what you see on a chicken breast before trimming it for cooking.


    As far as I could tell, the person had gone under the wheels not too far from where the train would have been just about to stop. It isn't moving very fast then. It might have been very horrible to see, and I guess the ladies lying prone on the upper level had had front row views of this and decided to faint.


    A horrible and violent way to go.

  6. Last night I downloaded trial versions of both DVDxDV ($20) and Cinematize ($129). Here's the report.



    DVDxDV is for Macs only. I downloaded and installed it into my MacBook with no trouble. The MacBook slot loader can't take miniDVDs, so I had to use my PC to make a regular-sized copy of the source miniDVD using Roxio DVD Suite. Then, on my MacBook, I started up DVDxDV and inserted the DVD. The program opened the DVD with no trouble, but the audio and video tracks were out of synch. The built-in and online help menus suggested this was a bug in previous versions that has now been fixed, yet I still had the problem in the latest version. The help menu suggested I select "de-interlace" as this sometimes fixes out-of-synch audio/video. I tried this but it didn't work.


    I went ahead and selected a segment and saved it in Quicktime format (the only choice available) to my desktop. Then I tried to open it with iMovie, but iMovie could not open it. iMovie gave an error message saying something like "unable to open file".


    I fiddled for half an hour and tried various things, but I could not make this program work. It's a shame because the user interface is clean, operations are simple and the price is cheap. Maybe it would work with some other DVDs, but it didn't work with mine.




    Cinematize is available for both Mac and PC. I downloaded the PC version, since my PC DVD drives accept miniDVDs (unlike the MacBook). Having Cinematize on my PC saves me the step of having to copy the source miniDVD to a regular-size DVD for MacBook use.


    I downloaded and installed the program with no trouble. It recognized the source DVD. The user interface is clean but far less intuitive than that of DVDxDV. I had to spend 10 minutes reading the Help menu manual, then during operation, had to constantly check back to make sure I was doing the right thing. The basic version feels almost like a "Pro" version. I felt lost in a sea of video and audio acronyms, formats, ratios, codecs and technical choices explained to clarify their differences from each other, but with no indication why a person would want to do one or the other. You kind of have to be an AV head beforehand I guess, and I am not, though I learned a lot and next time could do it all much quicker.


    Eventually, I muddled through and successfully marked and selected a segment and saved it to Quicktime format. This program will also save in over a dozen other formats, including for iPod.


    Then I saved the resulting 3 files (a video file, an audio file, and an envelope file) to a USB memory stick and transferred them to my MacBook's desktop. iMovie was able to open and edit them with no trouble. This program works for me.




    Cinematize is rather expensive, but it might be worth it if I am really going to edit these miniDVD home movies. It's a shame that DVDxDV didn't work for me, it's so much easier to use. I'll play with it some more to see if I can figure out what is wrong.

  7. Well, thanks to Mantas's link to the Apple support forums, I found there are two products that supposedly make what I am doing simple. The cheaper one is DVDxDV. You put in the DVD, select the footage you want, and it converts it to a Quicktime file, which iMovie loves. Of course there is a quality loss, but for home movies of babies vomiting, dragging themselves across the floor on elbows like auto crash victims trying to escape the wreck, and the odd shot of Mogski embracing a shrub at downhill speed, this ought to do the trick. DVDxDX has a 30-day free trial and it costs $20 to keep. I'll give this a try and report back.


    The lesson I learned here is that DVD is intended to be a "delivery format" only, it is not designed for editing. Something to consider when buying a vidcam.


    Seems iMovie is pretty much designed to edit from the tape-style vidcams. I think the next wave is vidcams with flash or hard drives, which would probably be nice to have.


    I do like the mini DVDs though. Easy to pop into the DVD player or take on a trip, and easy to copy and mail. Oh well.


    Thanks everyone for the tips and advice.

  8. Yeah, as Kumapix noted, iMovie can't grab scenes off the DVD camera even when its plugged in.


    I will have to figure out how to import the source DVD from vidcam into the computer. I thought it would be simple, but after 30 pages of user manual and dozens of screenshots and choices and acronyms, I gave up. I couldn't figure it out. I thought it would be simple, but it isn't.


    In addition to weird and unexpected complexity, it seemed that each DVD would take the full 30 minutes to download...there is no "4x" or "8x" type speedup involved. With over 25 of these 30-minute DVDs, we are talking 12+ solid hours of downloading, all done piecemeal. Talk about a major project.


    At my house you only get 15-30 minutes to handle something before my toddler comes up and sweep you away. I had expected to be able to quickly rip then edit with a few clicks, but it is just not so.


    Seems like these are my choices:



    Get a 3rd party ripping program, rip the mini DVDs to my PC (the MacBook DVD drive doesn't accept miniDVDs) in some friendly portable format, then put that file into the Mac and use iMovie to edit it.



    Screw it and get on with my life. DVD editing clearly just isn't ready yet. It's not worth the hassle considering the small benefit of succeeding. This is basically Ocean's recommendation and I like it a lot. At worst I can just burn quick copies of the miniDVDs then send them to the rellies. They can apply their thumbs to their remote control's "fast forward" button far more efficiently than I can make a highlight DVD.

  9. Thanks, Kpix. I guess this confirms what I found. It's not enough to simply connect a device that can play the source miniDVD (or put it in the computer's optical drive). None of iDVD, iMovie, Roxio's latest PC DVD suite or another one I tried on a trial version will edit from source this way. You first have to transcode or convert the ENTIRE DVD file into another format, then you can start editing. The conversion part is always some clunky add-on or command-line type process that doesn't always work right and takes a long time. It's just too much fiddling for this to be an easy or regular, let alone fun, pasttime.


    Additional annoyance:

    Slot-type CD/DVD drives, such as on MacBooks, don't take miniDVDs. You need a tray-type drive for this.


    I love the vidcam and the miniDVDs are so easy to burn copies of, but the editing part truly sucks.


    This would be the case for editing from any DVD, not just vidcam-made ones. So I am hoping that an easier software solution is out there, or will be soon.


    As for crashing with 30 min. video files, is that right? If so, I better just drop this and come back in 5 years. That, or buy a dual-processor machine and Final Cut Pro. If I end up making 5 DVDs, it will work out to maybe $1500 per DVD. That's Hollywood I guess.

  10. What's the golden road to sucking scenes off a collection of miniDVDs, assembling them into a single movie, then burning it to a regular-sized DVD?


    I've got a Sony vidcam that records onto mini DVDs. We've made dozens of these 30-minute mini DVDs over the last couple years. But only a parent could watch one from start to finish. No outside person could stand to see yet another shot of a baby gurgling or the dogs at the jikka. This pile of DVDs can all be edited down to a single short flick for family and friends abroad.


    But I can't seem to find any easy way on either a Mac or a PC to grab scenes from a mini DVD.


    I can hook up my vidcam via USB or firewire, but this is a clumsy way to do it. The setups I've seen want me to copy the entire DVD to my HD. If I do that, then the editing software can't open it up or select scenes. And I don't want to copy the entire stack of 30-minute miniDVDs, only to take 15 or 60 seconds off each for the final cut.


    Also, the DVD editing software that came with my new MacBook doesn't seem to allow for sucking video off DVDs. Maybe this is a copyright protection goof, but let's face it, these miniDVDs are mine and I own the content. Shouldn't I be able to pop in the source DVD, copy only the scenes I want, then assemble/edit them into a single flick and burn it to a blank DVD?


    I can think of a few ways and workarounds to do what I want, but it all just seems so kludgy.


    Is there a way I can put a series of miniDVDs into the DVD drive, use editing software to pull off the scene or scenes I want, then burn the final product to a regular DVD?


    Do I have to spend $$$ to get "Final Cut Pro" or the PC equivalent? Say it ain't so. What are people using to do this?

  11. Holy crap, you guys are all getting much faster speeds than me. Listen to my tale of woe...


    In 2000-2002, I had "12 mbps" Yahoo BB that actually only worked around 300kps.


    Then from 2003-2004 in the US, I had Comcast DSL advertised at maybe "5 mpbs", but again it actually worked at only 300 kbps or so.


    Now from mid-2004 I've had the "54 mbps" YahooBB, with no problems or complaints except that it only works around 300k or 700k.


    WTF?! Why me? I think it's time to change providers.


    I own an NTT phone line, got it 10 years ago, but I don't need to use it if my provider gives me cheaper IP phone access that actually works. I would have to pay about 1800 yen/mo. to keep the NTT phone line active. But I think I can put my NTT phone line to sleep for free, and then reactivate it anytime I need to in the future.


    Maybe I should sell it. Is the whole NTT phone line racket finished, e.g. no more ridiculous 70,000 yen initial line charge? Is there any reason not to sell my NTT line? Can I get a new one for next to nothing, or should I put mine to sleep in case I need it in the future?

  12. Seems like there is no longer much of a price difference between these two services.


    I've had Yahoo BB for a couple of years now. I chose the fastest of their options. The speed was advertised as "up to 52 megabits". Actual speed depends on your distance from the exchange and the number of other customers on the same line. My actual speed is normally only around 300k or 700k, which makes me wonder why I had to pay extra for the 52MB service (there were cheaper services with slower speeds like 30MB and 16MB).


    I'm moving to a new place and could go either way. I hear fiber optic shilled out at "up to 100 megabits per second", but hear rumors that the actual speeds are even lower than ADSL customers are getting.


    Do any of you have personal experiences with these two services?

  13. Any ideas on how to make Japanese language input work when English is set as the system language in Ubuntu?


    In Ubuntu, if I set the system language to Japanese at login, then the Japanese input toolbar appears and functions normally. Naturally, all other menus and apps are also in Japanese.


    However, if I set the system language to English at login, even though I have Japanese support and fonts installed, and even though the Japanese input manager (scim-anthy) appears in the English menu and allows me to set the key commands and etc., the input toolbar/system just never starts or appears. I can't make it turn on.


    Does anybody know how to do this?

  14. Yes, for a long time even after Vista is released, Windows XP will still be on sale both as a standalone retail box, and also as the pre-installed OS on OEM machines such as Dell, HP, IBM, etc. And in XP you will be able to do everything people do today, going forward. Office, Media Player, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, whatever. Games, DVD burning software, iTunes, etc. None of that is going to change or be cut off for a long time.


    You can still buy Windows 98 today, brand-new.


    Even as late as 2005 I could still find, on the IBM site, ThinkPads for sale with the option for Windows 2000 preinstalled.


    And, Microsoft will keep supporting XP for a long time even after Vista comes out.


    If I had to buy a Windows machine right now, I'd buy a machine loaded with XP that is "Vista capable". All this means is that somebody judged the innards to be big and strong enough to run Vista. Then you can just upgrade to Vista whenever you want, for a hundred dollars or so.


    I don't want to beat a dead horse, but frankly speaking, why in the world would anybody want Vista? What does it do that XP doesn't do? It is just the latest way Microsoft gets money for needless upgrades. Vista is built on the same kernel as XP. It has the same security vulnerabilities, now they have added a layer on top to keep askng you "do you really want to do this?" as if that will help you avoid worms, viruses or malware...early testers report that annoying question coming up dozens and dozens of times, with no useful information and no way to judge whether it is a good idea to click Yes or No. Average users got fed up very quickly. Vista developers dropped plans for a new file system that was supposed to revolutionize things, so the file system is the same old NTFS as ever. You can run the new version of Office that just came out on XP. You can run Internet Explorer 7, which just came out, on XP. Media Player works fine in XP. What does Vista do for you? It is reported to run slower than XP, and takes up huge amounts of RAM and disk space. It sounds like a terrible thing. And all the bugs and problems haven't even hit yet as they try to iron out the flaws...if I were you, I'd just get XP and be done with it! Now is not the time to get Vista, you can upgrade anytime in the future, but you may decide never to do it as you eventually see that nothing you do on your machine will be any better than it is in XP. Maybe it's worth looking again in 2 years or so.

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