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02:01pm 15/08/2007
Johnny Doormat
So I went to watch a movie last night, I wanted to watch Cars, I mean OK, I've seen it a few times before (ok , a lot), but it's not very often you settle on a movie, no particular reason, just wanted to watch it, problem was, it's not here, there, or anywhere, in fact, there's quite a bit of slack space on my DVD shelves, which given that I was posting stuff above, sideways and length ways to make DVDs fit on CD shelves and all sorts not too long ago doesn't make any sense at all, I didn't have time to take stock of it all last night but there's definitely more stuff missing than just Cars.

The last thing I lent out was Labyrinth, and I got that back last week. I don't mind lending stuff out, you know where it is after all, I do mind when stuff is borrowed without asking, especially given the tendency for such stuff to be on-lent and/or never returned until it's spotted by chance and you get the "Oh that, I borrowed it off Jeff who borrowed it off Mandy who got it from Fred" until apparently Jesus owned it and they picked it up when it looked like he wouldn't be using it for a few days.

Like Lo Pan said, now this really pisses me off to no end!
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(no subject)  
11:34am 07/06/2007
Johnny Doormat
Trying to get mine shit together for everything that needs doing this year, pinching pennies from the wherever, gods I'm down to drinking staff coffee rather than just getting a drink at morning tea time, you know things are serious when saving $15 per week is significant enough to make a difference, seriously I better get work running properly so I can pull off a bonus this year.

Not really to much else going on, hoping to get over to Thailand in November for at least a week, hopefully two, should be booking the tickets sort of Mid-July I guess (shortly after the 12th of June actually since that's when I'll get the last pay I need to afford the tickets!)

Yeah, hopefully it all works out
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11:26am 18/05/2007
Johnny Doormat
So, I managed to totally bugger up the right side of my chest somehow, no immediate reason comes to mind, no heavy lifting etc. The injury consists damage to the intercostals on my right hand side and at least one of the axial muscles under the arm, which by their powers combined are really really painful, and of the jarring twitching variety, quite unpleasant, no quality sleep since last Sunday, 5 days without an real contiguous sleep really messes you up, let alone not being able to really function being right handed and not being able to manouver my right arm properly.

Finally starting to wind up some serious long term debt, stuff that been hanging over me since I was living in Wellington, and thats a hell of a long time ago, it's quite nice to think that in something like 5 months it'll be all gone and I'll just have my car left to deal with, I even had just over $1000 available for like a couple of days until my car went into the shop today for it's 100,000km maintenance, yay cam belts :| I'm sure that's going to take a nice chunk out.

But yeah, should be in pretty good shape for heading to Thailand towards the end of the year provided I can keep this up until October, the laugh there is I'll probably have to borrow money to make the trip, piling the debt straight back on, life is funny like that.

Our Wii got replaced, the original one was apparently not fixable at all, I should really get around to plugging it all back in, and go have a look at the new games for it, although theres not going to be any remote swinging for a few weeks, by me at least. I am considering getting a cheap widescreen TV for the lounge since the duddery one I got off my dad is slowly (or not) dying, not sure, I'm waiting to hear back about a suitable screen stand for the lounge, then it won't really be an issue.

[Edit] 100,000km service for car very expensive, holy brick shitter!
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LOL, Stand and deliver bitches  
10:48am 28/03/2007
Johnny Doormat

It finally passed into law, that cracks me up, crazy Texas.


The solution to my projector cabling problem, excellent.

Made of Win and Common Sense: http://p2pnet.net/story/11785

Our Wii hass died :\ back to the shop it goes on Saturday, only 3 months old as well, how annoying.
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Every day is repost day  
11:29am 23/03/2007
Johnny Doormat
OK, I'm going to sin here and repost something I read, while I'm probably taking more than is 'legal', I think this really echo's so many consumer concerns (including my own) that I'm going to do so anyway.

The article in question is here (in full): http://consumerist.com/consumer/drm/how-i-became-a-music-pirate-245644.php

various rights and copyright have probably been breached in the reproduction of this article and I'll certainly take it down if asked to do so (although the irony would be substantial).


How I Became A Music Pirate

I thought I was the music industry's dream consumer.

As a 40 year old male with a long-standing passion for "all things music," I've spent a bundle on my collection. In college most of my waking hours were spent wandering around record stores, swap meets and record conventions, much to the dismay of the women I was ostensibly dating. Then again, the fact that I also worked as a DJ at the radio station and hung out with obsessive record collector types probably didn't help matters in the romance department.

Then while in grad school in the 1990s, I became busy replacing many of my vinyl releases with CD's. At the same time, entrepreneurial music industry types began to exploit the market for out-of-print recordings by reissuing long out-of-print records on CD formats, which of course I instantly snapped up.

So here I sit circa 2007 with a house filled with over 1000 vinyl records and around 800 CD's. If you figure about $12 per recording as an accurate average, that's somewhere around $20,000. Not a bad chunk of change for the music business, I say.

Last week while I was busy importing my CD's into iTunes so I could listen to them on my iPod (a most tedious task), I hopped on the internet. iTunes was busy importing a Luna CD, one of my favorite bands, so I decided to see what they were up to since they disbanded a few years back. After a few clicks in Google, I found a blog site describing a posthumous, internet-only release of a collection of covers the band had recorded throughout their career. While I already had many of the songs (they were often featured on b-sides and imported singles, etc.), I couldn't resist tracking down this compilation. As I read further on the blog site I encountered a link to a .zip file containing the entire collection ripped as 128kbps mp3's.

While I must admit being tempted to simply click away and download the collection, I though to myself, "Well, if I buy the music it's only $10, and this way I will get high quality .WAV files. Besides, it's not like Luna were getting rich off of their careers, they could use the money..."

So I headed to Rhino's online store, purchased the music, and downloaded the files.

A little later that evening, I tried to move the .WMA files into iTunes, when I received an error message telling me that iTunes could not import them because they were copy protected. I downloaded the files again (which took another 12 minutes) and again, the same message.

So I called Rhino customer support and after an 8 minute wait spoke with a representative. She informed me that the files were indeed copy protected so that I could only play them on specific music players, most notably not iTunes.

"You don't understand," I said, "These files were not copied or pirated, I actually purchased them."

"Well" she responded, "You didn't actually purchase the files, you really purchased a license to listen to the music, and the license is very specific about how they can be played or listened to."

Now I was baffled. "Records never came with any such restrictions," I said.

She replied, "Well they were supposed to, but we weren't able to enforce those licenses back then, and now we can"

She later went on to explain that I could burn the songs to a CD and listen to them in a regular CD player, but I would need an additional Windows based music player to listen to them on my computer. But either way, she suggested there was no way the files could be played on my iPod.

Frustrated, I hung up and began my search for a Windows application to allow me to burn the music to a CD. After downloading Nero and firing it up, imagine my frustration when I receive another error message telling me it cannot locate the licenses for the music I purchased.

I call Rhino again, and this time speak to a young male CSR. He explains that I need updated licenses in order to burn the music and often the problem is that many firewalls will allow the music to pass through the firewall, but not the licenses because of their encryption schemes. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I included below the following text from their website (apparently this is a big enough problem that it warrants mentioning in their FAQ):

1. Temporarily disable all firewall and pop-up blocker software you may be running on your computer.

2. Attempt the download again

If the Licensing portion of the download is still hanging, please update the Digital Rights Management (DRM) component on your computer via the following URL: http://drmlicense.one.microsoft.com/Indivsite/indivit2.htm

The friendly CSR representative then suggests that I try once more to download the files and licenses and if I still have no luck to try accessing the internet from other providers such as a local coffee shop, library, or work computer.

"Basically, just keep downloading the music until you find a gateway that let's your licenses through without problems"

While I would like to say I responded with something witty, I must admit to being completely flummoxed. There I sat, a loyal music fan who has shelled out actual money to a business that is supposed to be having financial problems, and the best they can do is tell me to wander the streets of Seattle looking for different internet providers who might allow me to download the music that I have already paid for, music that I have spent the better part of three house trying to listen to, and which is still unusable?

How on earth have things come to this?!?!?!

Honestly, if this is the best you can do, you're business is in really, really serious trouble.

I mean, could you imagine the consumer response if Coke could only be consumed from specific Coke-approved equipment, and then only in the specific ways that the folks at Coke wanted the product to be consumed. "drinking Coke with fast food is no problem, but we must warn you that your license forbids the mixing of Coke with any alcoholic beverages..."

In the end, I never was able to get the music to play on anything--my computer, on a CD or on my iPod. I invested $10, several hours of my time, and my reward was, well, nothing.

I'd like to say I was outraged, but in the end I must admit to feeling remarkably sad and deflated over the whole process. See, the thing is, I was raised on music. I was saved by music. I (used to) live for music. Lester Bangs wasn't my idol, he was my soul mate (in a matter of speaking).

I've devoted a not-inconsequential chunk of my life to collecting music; to tracking down obscure records, cassettes, 8-Tracks and CD's of all genres and styles. And now apparently that is all but over. Music has somehow evolved from tangible things into amorphous collections of 1's and 0's guarded over by interested parties as if they were gold bullion. How so very sad.

I would like to think that someone at a place like Rhino would care enough to not let these kinds of things happen. But alas, my suspicion is that anyone who would have been cool enough to work at Rhino in their heyday some twenty years ago would never be so callous, foolish or shallow to allow these kind of absurdities to occur.

Since I've resigned myself not to waste any more time with the music business, I suppose I'll have to resort to purchasing used CD's & records, or having my friends occasionally make me a copy of one of their newer CD's.

Call it piracy. Call it whatever you want. But at least I tried. I gave you several chances and you failed miserably at every level.


[end quote]

Anyhow, full credit foir the quote goes to http://consumerist.com/ and Jarrett, whomever you are

I salute you.

[Edit] As an attedum, I have never purchased music online and I have no intention of doing so until the current state of absurdity has passed, more is not less and I won't stump up for it.

[Edit 2] Caved in and bought a replacement wireless router for home (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=9351736), sick of the cross-applicaton slowdowns and other oddities we're currently experiencing
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Wireless internot  
12:15pm 08/02/2007
Johnny Doormat
Damnit, we finally have internet at our place and it seems like my computer is sitting in some kind of wireless deadzone as if some evil precognative builder turned the room into a faraday cage, Kurt's Wii can connect just fine and it's further way from the AP than my PC

I guess I'll grab a better antenna (or maybe two, I hope not at $50 a pop) and see it that makes any difference :\

Well, we're finally semi settled into our new place in beerescourt with only a few boxes left to be unpacked and most stuff out of the way, it's pretty quiet except for the occasional hoon driving down beerescourt road in the wee hours, but we're so far back from that road they have to be doing something pretty exceptional for it to come through to us.

The predicability and engagement of my clutch continues to slowly deteriorate with it sticking twice mid-shift yesterday and then again this morning which (a) sounds bad, (b) feels bad and (c) makes it look like I don't know how to change gears and (d) is fscking dangerous because of the momentary imbalance generated; I wasn't trying to do anything fancy at the time either, just regular driving from supermark -> home and home -> work.

I've been trying to put it off since it'll cost something like ~$2000 to get the work done and I'm not sure what to do since it's gotten to the point where I have to nanna-drive it and it's pissing me off, maybe I should trade it in on something four-doorish (i.e. practical) like an toyota-altezza, madza-atenza, honda-accord or subaru B4/RS or anything similar of the 4 door manual transmission variety, I'll look into it.
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Who KNew  
09:30am 19/01/2007
Johnny Doormat
Happy Birthday to Me!

I hope today turns out better than the rest of the week.

Who knew that the secret order behind the monopolistic 17th century weavers and button makers was now in control of the music industry!

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Something swings for the consumers.  
11:40pm 23/11/2006
Johnny Doormat
Relevant to my interests,


Should be able to unlock my V3 a bit more, hopefully. Liked a number of the other exceptions also, good common sense stuff.

Better remember to book my car in for getting the slave cylinder replaced next week so I can drive my car normally again.
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Bloody Cars  
10:59am 17/11/2006
Johnny Doormat
It never ends,

Yesterday I was in the process of getting all set up for christmas, and now, I find I can't drive my car long distance for fear part of the clutch system will fail, actually I shouldn't drive it anywhere at all, shit.

Part of the hydraulic system which allows a mere mortal to overcome the pressure at which the clutch plate is engaged is damaged (the slave cylinder specifically), probably just from 90,000kms of use, now, if this fails it may become impossible to put the car into gear, or worse, disengage the car from gear (should I be driving at the time), which could cause no small amount of problems (a British understatement).

Luckily this is quite cheap (as far as car parts go) however, my other concern which was that the clutch operation itself was happening high on the action. As it turns out I was right and it means that the clutch is badly worn and will need replacing "shortly". Now clutches due to their position between the engine and the gearbox, are time consuming (i.e. mind buggeringly expensive) to work on, so, well, shit again.

On the upside I finally managed to specify a few things on my insurance policy up to basically the maximum amount allowable under my policy (about 25% specification I think) so that if anything ever does happen I'll get replacement value (lots) rather than the indemnity value (jack shit), which I recommend people check (if you're insured) as finding out that some of you items are only covered at "indemnity value" after an event will probably end up being quite a blow, especially if you have a decent size DVD and/or CD collection, indemnity restriction vary per insurer so be sure to check your small print.

This particular thing is only newsworthy because every previous time I have tried to do just this, I have ended up being confronted with some unplesant office hefalump who would basically make this (entering a few lines of text onto my insurance register) seem like such a monumental and difficult task that they would defer and deny and basically make it dificult until I ran out of time and had to leave, bitches. This time however, I meet a very nice lady who had the same experience with her sons collection of wrestling DVD and software and was empathetic with my situation and hooked me up in like a few minutes, I even ended up with about $10,000 more cover for no additional cost, nice people sugoi!

Otherwise it was a pretty good day and I got to do a fair bit of shopping, I found somewhere that sells Pawel Kwak beer in bottles ($6, which is cheap if you know the beer) and a shop that sells "Summit" shirts (Very nice NZ made shirts, neither boring nor ordinary) and finally tracked down a silicon bulb basting syringe which should be very handy, no more hand burning with ladles and spoons etc.

All I need to do now is clear all these fecking car bills so I can actually buy christmas presents, or rather present in the singular.
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Ruinous downward spiral  
05:51pm 09/11/2006
Johnny Doormat
Well, since my last little (inordinately expensive) miss-hap, I've been looking at my long term financial goals, which are now strung out something like... (organised by monthly available money)

This Month: Clear outstanding $1000 before it starts accumulating interest
December: Christmas bills
January: Clear Christmas bills
February: Start servicing car repair bill
March: Clear car repair bill (yeah, it's not small)

Yeah, that's what I'm looking at, hopefully I can keep chipping at my CC during this as well, if not, Aprils going to be the start of the CC repayment slog. I mean, I don't really mind so much except that it's getting in the way of a few things I'd like to do, but at least I'm regularly chipping away at lots of stuff, I mean I have two HP's that will finish in March as well so not only will I be clear I'll be well clear.

Hell, I won't know what to do with myself.

Scratch that, I know exactly what I'll be doing.

Just in case theres anyone that hasn't seen this; Theres a New Crew In Town.

Relevant to my interests

To Quote Judge Trager; My Rights Hero of the Week

"[P]laintiffs can cite to no case foreclosing the applicability of the due process clause to the aggregation of minimum statutory damages proscribed under the Copyright Act. On the other hand, Lindor cites to case law and to law review articles suggesting that, in a proper case, a court may extend its current due process jurisprudence prohibiting grossly excessive punitive jury awards to prohibit the award of statutory damages mandated under the Copyright Act if they are grossly in excess of the actual damages suffered.....Furthermore, Lindor provides a sworn affidavit asserting that plaintiffs' actual damages are 70 cents per recording and that plaintiffs seek statutory damages under the Copyright Act that are 1,071 times the actual damages suffered. Aff. of Morlan Ty Rogers, ("Rogers Aff.", [pars.]5, 6. See also Aff. of Aram Sinnreich, ("Sinnreich Aff."), [par.] 2, 3 (attesting that popular music sound recording downloads and consumer license to use same are lawfully obtainable to the public at 99 cents per song, and of that 99 cents, roughly 70 cents per song is paid by the retailer to the record label). As FRCP Rule 12(b)(6) requires that this figure be taken as true for purposes of the motion, Lindor has alleged a factual basis supporting her affirmative defense."

Which (if it stands up) would limit the amount that the RIAA could sue people for, to about $0.70 USD per song you're caught file-sharing, which would amuse me no end.
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