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Monday, 25 July 2011

Blus and Rants

We got a T-box installed on Friday.

This is the equivalent to the MySky box, but designed for the Telstra cable system.  It lets us record two programs and watch a third, and with a 320Gb storage disk, we can store plenty.  I managed to persuade my Beloved that we really needed it to record all the All Black World Cup matches, and since our DVD player/recorder died last month, this (I said) was a better option.

Secretly, my son and I hoped (in vain as it turned out) that we would at last be able to watch something else on weekends apart from continuous bloody Rugby.

Bloody Rugby

We put up the argument that she could record the Rugby matches, and watch them late at night when everyone else is asleep (She suffers from insomnia, and quite often doesn't get to bed until 2 or 3 am)
Unfortunately, my Beloved insisted that watching the matches live was the best way, and that was that.

I wouldn't object if it was an AB test match, or even a regional ITM match, but college rugby??

However, as I mentioned our DVD recorder/player died last month, and we didn't have any means to play our collection of DVDs (kept for the few times that there's absolutely no rugby matches on, and there's nothing on the TV).

Our son recommended getting a blu-ray player, and we picked one up yesterday.


Being moderately well informed regarding the technology thingies, I knew I'd need an HDMI cable to link the blu ray player to the TV to get HD resolution, but when I checked the prices at Bond & Bond, where I bought the player, I was astounded to see the prices for a cable started at $40.
Nope; too much I thought, I'd get one cheaper elsewhere.

I went into Harvey Norman next door, where I saw the bloody HDMI cables ranged from $65 to $275.

$275 for a bloody cable, not much more complex than a USB or an ethernet cable.

Bloody Robbery.

Eventually got one from the Warehouse at $20, and it worked perfectly.

I just wonder how many folk get ripped of unknowingly.

Anyway, back home, and I was certainly impressed with the first blu ray DVD we played (Inception).

Then my Beloved thought she'd try one of her older DVDs.


Most of our older DVDs are from the UK and our new blu ray player is locked into Region 4 (NZ & Australia & for some reason Singapore)  I'd completely forgotten this stupid bloody region system.

THEN I found that the blu ray regions are different from the original DVD regions.

There is no real reason for these bloody region codes and every time some petty f*cking idiot at an organisation implements some f*cking stupid rule which makes life more difficult for me, I reach for:
  1. My Hypertension pills.
  2. My favourite malt
  3. My trusty 7.62 SLR

As my Beloved was now installed in front of the HD TV watching her Rugby, I thought I'd get ready for our short break to Napier. It's a fairly long drive (about 4½ hours) and I though it'd be nice if I downloaded a talking book from the Interwebthingy.

I'd done it before and could vaguely remember it was a bit of a palaver getting the book onto CDs to play in the car.  (We both quite enjoy listening to these talking books on long drives. It removes the need for conversation, which can be dangerous.  Sometimes, when I'm concentrating on the driving, I carelessly let slip some awkward fact I was trying not to bring to my Beloved's attention. Like saying "Your bum really looks big in those trousers dear", or "I really hate couscous" or "My goodness, look at that busty young wench in that fetching miniskirt".  Up to now, I've always managed to avoid "You know, Dear, I really think your religion is a complete crock of shit", but you never know.)

I paid and downloaded a couple of books.  One is "My family and Other Animals", by Gerrald Durrel, narrated by Nigel Davenport; an absolute cracker of a story, well written and beautifully told.
Then, while I could play the book quite easily on Windows TM Media Player on my main computer, it refused to burn onto CDs.
What? What do you mean it wont f*cking burn the CD?


The audio books had been formatted in a strange code, using an .aa extension.  Further investigation indicated that they could ONLY be burnt onto CDs if I bought a program called Nero to burn it, or installed i(bloody)Tunes on my computer to burn the disc. I refuse point blank to install i(bloody)Tunes as it causes disruption to my carefully organised libraries, and it is a notoriously sticky and jealous program.  Once installed it is very difficult to remove all traces of it if you wish to uninstall it, and it takes over all media playing.

Then I found I couldn't even transfer it onto my Phillips MP3 player, as that action was also blocked. (my new car CD player has an additional USB connection and an auxiliary input allowing other devices to play through it.




So I installed another program DRM Media Converter from Aimersoft which completely removes all the encoding put in by the original publisher, and converts it to any file format I wish (MP3 is probably the best).  It cost me $24 for the program, but I can use it on as many files as I wish.  It's slow ( it actually plays the files  through a virtual sound card then re-records them into the chosen file format) but I HAVE CONTROL.


Now I can store it onto my MP3 player or burn it onto a CD.
If I wanted to, I could now put the files on my main website kiwidoug for anyone to download or use.

But I won't.

That would be wrong.

I've bought the rights to listen to this book and that's all I will do, but it infuriates me so much that these bloody publishers make it so difficult to do a simple task, that I'm tempted to publish them to the web.

My, I do feel better after all that. Time for a listen to another audio book ON MY MP3 PLAYER YOU BASTARD PUBLISHERS, and a small libation of tranquillising whisky.

Ahhhh. Peace.


  1. A quality rant delivered by an expert.

    I bow low before you........


    And I get the rugby thing completely!

  2. We had to have our T Boxes replaced several times. They get quite hot, so don't put anything on top of them, one of the men installing them did this and caused the first fault. (Our cat likes to sleep on top of one of ours because it is so warm!)

  3. Scotty some of the technique things were a bit hard to understand but i think i get most of the humor. Up to standard as usual which is why i keep reading. I read Richard's blog after he left a comment here. Not so funny i think.

  4. Alistair: Thank you. It's strange, the older I get, the angrier i find I become. Especially with outright bloody stupidity. And rudeness.

    Second: Yes, I've heard of the problems, and of the heat from the systems. I've taken precautions. I shot the cat.

    Bela: According to The Curmudgeon and to my inner gut, I'm afraid you're probably just another figment of Richard [of RBB]'s imagination. Seek help. Now.

  5. I think The Curmudgeon is jealous because I don't visit his site.

  6. The Napier Tourist Board could make more of the busty wenches in miniskirts angle. Over here, all we her about is the architecture.

  7. Bela: Bye.

    Looby: Busty wenches in miniskirts are forbidden under Napier's decency laws. The most I can hope for is a girl wearing a 1930's flapper dress. We here about the architecture as well. All the bloody time. The fruit, wine and ice cream from the area is pretty good though. Think of it as the Belgium of the antipodes, but without the chocolate.

    I know you like Belgium.

  8. Sorry but I cant deal with the technical stuff*Reaches for the Pinot Noir instead*

  9. Apparently in the 1970's the Meter Maids in Surfers Paradise wore gold bikinis. Can you imagine that.. I BET. Not sure what they wear now days. Check it out next time you are over there.

  10. yeah.......step away from the box and keep your hands off the remote.....what are you talking about???!

  11. "I shot the cat."
    Wish I'd thought of that.
    Rhyme unintentional.

  12. Northern Snippet: I have to deal with the bloody technical stuff every f*cking day. How do you think I feel? *Reaches for a Magnum of Cabernet Sauvignon, but prefers the 1.5 litre bottle of whisky instead* *Glug Glug Glug*

    Valley Girl" Works for me, gold lamé bikinis are tasteful. Especially in a cold breeze.

    Young at Heart: The T-box allows recording of the current program plus at least one other recording, so the while famly is happy. Right.

    Second: Please lay of the magic mushrooms or whatever other mind altering substances used in Petone. I never talked about cats. Although the funnist reference about cats was on the BBC Radio 4 program called "I'm sorry I'll read that again" when Willy Rushden sang a ditty called "I'm sorry I farted and shot the cat"


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