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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Isn't Technology Wonderful

Basket Maker lent me a DVD last week.  It was 'Alice in Wonderland' with Johnny Depp, and I have never seen it and thought it would be nice to view it over the weekend.

So last night, nothing really on TV, I thought I'd give it a go.
My beloved wasn't bothered.  She's pre-occupied with knitting woolen hot-water bottle covers.  She sells them, with the proceeds going to Te Omonga hospice, and staff at Nuova Lazio High have ordered 20, in varying colours at $10 each, so she's trying to get them all finished ASAP.  They're really cute, knitted in cable stitch, with a sort of polo neck for the top of the hottie, and some staff want them as little Christmas presents for their friends and rellies.

Anyway, she said OK, and I started the process of watching the bloody thing.
First I opened the DVD tray of our new(ish) DVD/HD recorder/player.  Well I tried to open the DVD tray.  I could hear the motor whining and a sort of clicking, but the tray wouldn't extend.  It's occasionally done this before, but a slight twist at the corner with a butter kniofe usually did the trick.
Not this time.  It just wouldn't work.

No problemo, I went to the first back-up option.  We have an older DVD/VHS recorder/player we brought with us from the UK.  I brought it out of storage and plugged it in.  Pressed the DVD tray extend button.  EXACTLY THE SAME.  I could hear the motor whining and a sort of clicking, but the tray wouldn't extend.

No problemo.  I went to the second back-up option.  We have a portable DVD player we bought in Singapore about 7 years ago for our son (to watch in his room), that he had left with us when he moved into his Wellington flat.  No DVD tray on this baby.  I hooked it up to the TV, popped in the DVD and voila, the menu popped up on the TV.  We were ready to go.

I got out the wine, beer and snack and pushed the play button.. it went through the introduction screens, and started to play the piracy warning that always accompanies these things (Why?  If I'm using a pirated version, do they think I'll phone them up and turn myself in?)then the trailers started.  AND then the menu popped up again.

Repeat 3 times.  It just wouldn't start to play the main film.

Hell's Teeth.

No problemo.  I went to the third back-up option.  My trusty computer.  Put the DVD in, and it played straight away.  Now to connect the video card on my PC to the TV.


I'd changed my video card last year.  The previous video card had RGB outputs my TV would accept.  My new one didn't.  It had an S-video output, but I didn't have an S_video cable.  It had a conventional PC output that my Sony LCD large screen would accept, but my cable wasn't long enough to reach the TV.

I went and got my toolbox and took the original DVD/HD apart. 


Everything inside was modular, the DVD player module was a sealed unit.  I cleaned it out as best as I could.  Still didn't work..
At this point I reverted to what all guys revert to.

Brute force.  I used pliers and screwdrivers to force/pull out the DVD tray, and gave it a squirt of WD40.  And a good thump just in case.

Put it all back together, and IT WORKED.

Re-connected all of the cables and wires and we were in business.

Total elapsed time:  2 hours 20 minutes.

Sat down to watch the film, pouring my third glass of wine (A cheap and robust Aussie Cab Sauv. from Banrock Station.  Look, all that fiddling about made me thirsty, OK?)

I fell asleep.

My last memories were of Alice watching the Red Queen playing croquet with the flamingos and hedgehogs.

I never saw the rest of the film, as it was close to midnight, and we were planning on getting up early to watch the ABs smash the Irish.

My beloved said the film was OK, but not great.

Then I had to put away all the cables, tools and the other 2 DVD players I had dragged out.

At one point I had 4 DVD players out, and none did what I WANTED.

Isn't technology Great.


  1. Only solution is to buy a PS3. I regularly fall asleep during DVDs at home. The movie is not great but kids seem to like it and the performances are suitably over the top to analyse for a year 9 drama class. Feel free to take it home again on Monday and Tuesday to try again?

    A PS3 plays DVD and Blu-Ray but you already knew that.

  2. I'm with you TSB. There is no machine yet invented that cannot be made to work without a hammer, a screwdriver and a good thump. I remember a scene in The Longest Day where Kenneth More gave a stuck bren- carrier a good thump with his walking stick to make it go.

  3. "Sat down to watch the film, pouring my third glass of wine (A cheap and robust Aussie Cab Sauv. from Banrock Station. Look, all that fiddling about made me thirsty, OK?)"

    Totally OK.
    I proudly introduced that brand to New Zealand and marketed it for 10 years. I believe in the ethics behind the brand and know that it 'over-delivers'.
    It also, unlike a lot of cheaply priced wines, has a decent dollop of alcohol. Perhaps that is what induced the sleepiness.


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