boutell: (shave)
Please note: decimals are only approximate as roman numeral fractions are base twelve.

STAR TREK I: THE MOTION PICTURE

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN

STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK

STAR TREK III•: ACTUALLY A TOTALLY NEW MOVIE BUT MARKETING SAID WE COULDN'T GO WITH IV YET

STAR TREK III• NT: THIS MOVIE NEVER SUDDENLY STOPS PLAYING FOR NO REASON BUT IT CONTAINS NO PRETTY SPACESHIPS AT ALL

STAR TREK IIIS NT: NO REALLY, THIS ONE WILL PLAY TO THE END

STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME

STAR TREK IV NT: THE VOYAGE WORK

STAR TREK IV•: THE VOYAGE HOME ONLINE

STAR TREK V: WHAT DOES WORK NEED WITH A GAME PLATFORM

STAR TREK IV:·:: WHAT DOES HOME NEED WITH MULTIPLE USERS

STAR TREK V•: FIVE UNDISCOVERED EDITIONS

STAR TREK VI: THE COPY PROTECTED MOVIE YOU COULDN'T WATCH

STAR TREK VI•: SORRY WE PISSED OFF SEVERAL GENERATIONS

STAR TREK VI••: ACTUALLY AN UNRECOGNIZABLY DIFFERENT MEDIUM THAT ISN'T FILM AT ALL WITH A FILM STAPLED TO IT. PLEASE RUN UP TO THE FRONT OF THE THEATER AND TOUCH THE PROJECTION SCREEN TO CONTINUE

STAR TREK VI•••: PROJECTION SCREEN NO LONGER CATCHES FIRE WHEN YOU RUN UP TO THE FRONT OF THE THEATER AND TOUCH IT TO CONTINUE

STAR TREK VI••••: SORRY WE PISSED OFF ALL THE REMAINING PEOPLE. IF YOU STILL HAVE EYES YOU MIGHT ENJOY THIS MOVIE. HEY WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO?
boutell: (Default)
Once again a Mac-less friend is asking for something like Apple's iWeb: a truly friendly, inexpensive program that lets you make reasonably attractive, cross-browser web sites without many hours of learning

Last time I asked about this, Kompozer was a leading suggestion. Kompozer doesn't cut it. It's crufty and dated in design. It doesn't come close to the friendliness of iWeb.

Other ideas? Dreamweaver would of course qualify but it is quite expensive.

Thanks!
boutell: (Default)
1. Can't play all the stuff I've bought off iTunes. The most practical solution seems to be burning it to CD on iTunes and ripping it in again under Linux. The quality would be affected.

(There is a licensing issue here— the license doesn't allow it— but since I paid CD-comparable prices for all of this music, I really don't think I need to get weepy about it.)

2. Can't back up my Nokia phone's contacts and calendar. I'd heard there were good Linux solutions for this but now that I come to it, there really don't appear to be. Ouch.

One guy wrote an exporter... but not an importer. He says he'll write it when and if his phone ever crashes. Uh-huh, and then he'll find out if he's backed everything up adequately too...
boutell: (Default)
It's been a long time since I ran desktop Linux in any serious way.

I booted up the Hardy Heron Ubuntu beta. I was impressed by the fact that the display Just Worked With No Horrible Tweaking... straight to a nice desktop at the right resolution. This was a horrible problem with Linux for a long, long time.

Two issues, one big, one little:

1. It seems to recognize my wifi but it doesn't actually work. That's a big deal. However, I've researched this and I'm satisfied that it can be made to work on a fully installed Ubuntu system. There are other D610 owners out there happily wifi-ing away in Ubuntu.

2. I will be astonished if it recognizes my cheapo Firewire card. This is not a big deal— I could live with doing my miniDV editing on Eleanor's computer only, and if I really want to, I can go get a cardbus firewire card that other Linux users recommend.

So now I'm busily backing up to my external drive. Which would be easier if Windows wasn't such a PITA, giving up completely on any copy operation without even asking you if you want to skip that one individual file that is locked by the operating system.

Ugh

Apr. 4th, 2008 10:24 pm
boutell: (Default)
My Dell Latitude D610 was a very solid machine for a long time but now it just gets more and more unstable. Now I can't rely on it even to receive video from my mini-DV camera without massive skipping, even though I don't see any other CPU hogs running.

I've just ordered a firewire card for my daughter's PC (the good news it's only costing me $11.50, with shipping).

Sure, I'd love to buy a MacBook, but I'm a long way from having mad money just now. I might put Ubuntu on this thing in hopes of, ultimately, a more reliable PC. But I'll regret it if I'm not able to get the wifi working. Hmm.
boutell: (Default)
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 09:45:29 -0500 (CDT)
From: Boutell.Com Staff <boutell@boutell.com>
To: support@vmware.com
Subject: Migrating license

I am contemplating switching the main OS on my PC to Linux. Can I
continue to use my existing VMware license with a new host OS? Or will
I be required to buy VMware workstation all over again?

Thanks for any information you can provide.


I still need to do testing on XP, y'see.

Hmmm, but my daughter's XP PC works just fine, and I don't need to do that often anymore... very rarely in fact... HMM!

XP is mostly a good OS, unlike Vista. But my particular laptop is just plain unwell in XP, with lots of freezy crashy badness even in "normal use." So if I'm going to reinstall, why not go with Ubuntu and stop hating?
boutell: (Default)
I want something with ease of use not too far from Windows Movie Maker, but much much much much much more reliable.

You'll note that "and full of awesome special effects" doesn't appear here. That would be nice and justify spending a little more, but my main concern is the crashing and the freezing and the preview stuttering and the general inability to turn a handful of still images into a damn movie without making me Captain Mister Angry.

I've already done all the codec-disabling one can do. No dice.

Windows strongly preferred, I'm not likely to buy another laptop any time soon.

Suggestions? Thanks!
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I'd like to keep hitting "print screen" to produce snapshots on the clipboard, and not worry about hitting "paste" until much later. Anyone know of a good freeware tool for this on Windows XP? Thank you!

(Yes, this is an odd request from the guy that wrote WebLater, but that was a text-oriented utility, and I don't have time to write new software today!)

I tried 101 Clips, which looked like just the thing, but I took maybe 20 screenshots and only two showed up. Not so hot.
boutell: (Default)
A few problems:

1. My home theater setup is super-clunky, built around an amplifier with no remote.

2. My 19" analog TV is archaic, the picture is getting oversaturated, it probably won't live much longer. I can't complain, I got it off the curb and had a real live TV repairman (I found one!) fix it for $90. But it's about done.

3. My daughter's Gateway Astro is too slow for modern web sites. That might seem ridiculous AND IT IS, but the fact is that modern sites for kids are built around Flash activities that haven't been tested on older PCs. Everything c r a w l s.

4. My "testing Macintosh" is too old to test things. It can't run a recent release of MacOS X, so I can't test Safari 2 stuff on it.

5. Safari for Windows is based on Safari 3, so it doesn't give me a real sense of what Mac people are going through.

Solution... maybe:

Ditch it all in favor of a Mac Mini, an external hard drive and an LCD TV.

I'd wind up with a better DVD theater, a better audio system, a better computer for my daughter, reduced clutter in my living room, and the ability to test modern Mac stuff without pleading for favors. Eleanor's Flash-based activities would no longer crawl along at a snail's pace, so she'd be pleased too.

Eleanor's current computer could become an off-line, homework-only workstation in her bedroom.

One big downside: Netflix Watch Now doesn't run on Macs. That really sucks. On the other hand, I kinda got lucky when I tried it: they had a movie in my queue that I actually wanted to Watch Now. Which hasn't been the case since. Watch Now doesn't have much of a selection, not yet anyway. They might very well fix the Mac thing by the time I care.

I could pick up a used G4 Mini for $350, a new G4 Mini for $400+, a new Intel Mini for $500+. The savings on the low end don't seem worth it. Should probably just pony up for a new but low-end Intel Mini. Unless, that is, I know someone who has an angle?

I'm looking at this fairly sanely priced 26" LCD TV with HDMI input. Or maybe this Toshiba TV, which is slightly more expensive and slightly smaller but features a good name brand and a clearly stated resolution of 1440x900, which should be acceptable for computing. I really don't want to blow significantly more than $500 on a display. If that. But these two look good in a reasonable price range.

Now, both have HDMI connectors. That's good because if it will be the Mac's monitor, then the display connection must be digital. But finding out exactly what cable I need to hook the Mini to this has proven More Difficult Than It Should Be. Apple's accessory page comes up high in search results... and offers no DVI to HDMI cable. My impression is that the Mini's DVI and the TV's HDMI are not very different, but nailing down specifics is a bear. Any advice from the experts on how to get both audio (analog, unfortunately) and video (digital, via DVI) out of the Mini and into the HDMI-capable TV?

Also, will Apple ever allow us to have both Safari 2 and Safari 3 around for testing purposes? Right now Mac users who try Safari 3 beta are stuck with it as a total replacement. If I just wanted to test in Safari 3 I could run it on Windows and not bother with a Mac.

To be fair, Microsoft is jerktastic about this too. You can't really have IE 6 and IE 7 at the same time. I've seen one workaround that purports to do this but you wind up with a frankenbrowser that exhibits a lot of IE7 rendering behavior. I address that on the PC side with VMware, which is viable (and legal) for me because of an unrelated business venture for which it is essential to have several virtual Windows PCs.
boutell: (Default)
I finally got my laptop firewire card so that I can capture movies from my Canon ZR800 Mini-DV camera. Of course it doesn't work. Usually locks up the computer, more or less (massive delays, forced to power-cycle), as soon as I attach the camera. If it doesn't do that, it will occasionally recognize the camera, but video transfer never succeeds - eventually Windows Movie Maker locks up, and the tape never does start moving, though I get the "MINI DV" indicator on the camera screen.

Painfully extensive Googling reveals that there are a number of people with strange Windows XP SP2 problems with cameras like mine... but my machine was loaded with XP SP2 from the get-go, so I can't roll it back. Nor would I want to.

I have a cheap, cheap, cheap TechGear cardbus firewire card - cheap enough that it doesn't match the pictures on their nearly useless web site (mine has three ports, not two) or even the picture or most of the text on the instruction card.

But it's not just because I didn't buy a $50 card. The brick and mortar stores are selling the same damn card in most cases.

Tomorrow morning, between dropping off my daughter and returning to her school for the second grade play, I'll just have to suck it up and try to find a different card somewhere in Center City.

Do I have time for this crap? No, not really. Am I going to be able to put this problem down without solving it? No, not really. Do I need a $1,000 Mac? It's academic, I don't have the dough. And to be fair, PCs with built-in firewire seem to have a lot less trouble. I'm in sucksville because I'm using an add-on card in my Dell Latitude D610 laptop, which came with everything but firewire.

Heavy sigh.

Meanwhile MQ's computer is doing a pretty good impression of a dead fish. Which is, of course, a far more serious problem than my inability to make a new toy work, however crucial that ability is to my 48 Hour Film Festival plans. Especially when you're a law student. Ouch!

Hopefully I'll be able to help her out with it on Saturday... no, make that hopefully her law school's free tech support people will fix it for her tomorrow morning. But failing that. Yeah.
boutell: (Default)
... Who don't read slashdot, this is a must-read:

The Windows Vista system sounds were composed with the help of Robert Fripp. As in Elephant Sounds, as in King Crimson.

I can't make this stuff up, people.
boutell: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] da_lj's suggestion for smoothly adjusting the brightness of photographs in The Gimp wins big-time and I strongly recommend it to other Gimp users. It's way convenient and I'm a vastly better photomanipulator for knowing about it. Thanks.

P.S. Many Windows users may not be aware that The Gimp is available free of charge for Windows, and is not at all difficult to set up. Linux users are already well aware of it. You can run it on MacOS X under the X Window System layer. A native MacOS X Aqua port of the GTK+ graphics library used by GIMP has apparently been dormant for some years now.
boutell: (Default)
My little beastie just converted a WMV (as in, what people normally make with Windows Movie Maker) to an FLV (as in, what the largest audience can see on the web, as found on YouTube or Google Video).

It works, it works pretty quickly, and it will work with anything in WMV format.

The Windows Media SDK is so totally my scorned subordinate. With lots of help, to be sure, from my nonexclusive respected partner ffmpeg.

What remains: make a usable command line tool out of this, build the pretty GUI wizard I originally had in mind, and kick it out the door.

W00T!

Time to take Eleanor to my guitar lesson.

P.S. I'm buying those mailers today, my dears.
boutell: (Default)
Geeky update:

I should just polish off my little DVAVI-to-FLV wizard, but I did a little delving, and... I think I understand how to read a WMV file. Which would let folks convert the movies they've already made without doing a big dumb conversion to a big dumb file first.

Oooh, shiny.

The whole point here is to let Joe Windows Movie Maker convert his videos to Flash without being forced to use a video hosting service like YouTube or purchase expensive conversion software. Not that there's anything wrong with YouTube, but it might not be your first choice for video that's part of a professional web site design.
boutell: (Default)
Yesterday I dropped off my daughter at school and got some groovy work done early in the day. I needed to get to my daughter's school picnic way the heck out on Lincoln Drive. I failed to take the matter of train schedules seriously.

The school originally sent out flyers saying the picnic would run from 9am to 2pm; it was actually 10:30 or even 11:00 to 1pm, and that was abbreviated by rain. I knew all of this, pretty much, after dropping her off at school. But I failed to be flexible and adjust my plans. I did manage to bike there and back in a pleasant light rain, which was awesome and didn't take significantly longer than messing with trains. But only being at the picnic for twenty minutes was not cool at all. I missed the hike! She really wanted me to go on the hike!

So I appeared at Eleanor's school and hung out in the classroom until the end of the school day, which made both of us a lot happier.

Last night I gave a talk to the Philadelphia Linux Users Group, so I dropped Eleanor off out of turn at her mom's place. [livejournal.com profile] jeremym gave me a lift and came along to snark... actually, to ask me the right questions at the right times, and make sure I explained the "why" as well as the "what" of integrating Windows and Linux email.

Afterwards I was home by nigh-unto-ten with an extra nonparental evening on my hands. I seriously considered just doing the sensible thing, jumping on the housework and going to bed. Especially with my bike locked up at the school. And feeling those 20 miles on the bike.

So glad I went out anyway! Wednesday nights at Brasil's are, if anything, better than fridays. The cover is only five bucks, so the place is packed - a little bit annoying, but mostly it means thare are plenty of people to dance with. And I did dance, far more than not. I've reached a point where a certain percentage actually have something to learn from me. And a vastly greater percentage do not. But I'm no longer a partner to be suffered politely.

I didn't take the bus schedules very seriously either. So I arrived home at 1am. I really didn't want to clean the kitchen or take out the trash, and I had to do both before becoming horizontal.

Tired. Totally worth it.
boutell: (Default)
Co-author [livejournal.com profile] jeremym informs me that Windows ® and Linux Integration: Hands-on Solutions for a Mixed Environment has been picked up by the book club Computer Books Direct. As the main selection of their Winter catalog.

Book club copies in the hands of the coolest kids in every back office, compelling lesser beings to purchase likewise.

HELL yeah.

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