What has been happening? – Part I

Here is a relatively brief update given the preceding period of silence –

I had a little alone time here in PA as my folks and grandpa went to Florida for Spring Break! It was an up and down week for me.  It should have started with a phone interview with “Big Consulting Firm”, but that did not happen, which made me less than positive feeling. I fell off of the regular exercise, I did not run for about a week, the weather went into the cold cold place again with touches of snow, and I got a little cold that I am still fighting off. I almost never get sick so I tend to fight sickness with denial!

Odd timing – my folks came home and I had the phone interview the next day.  That went very well and has my spirits lifted. I am still pursuing some other leads, but I would really be pleased if this one worked out.  I should know more within two weeks or so. I am still a bit under the weather, but I am doing my stretching and exercises and running again.

Running –

That week long break is going to disrupt my first set of goals, but I will keep going and simply make new ones after the 20th.  It is now impractical to meet my frequency goal, and my distance goal, but I might still make the pace goal.  The pace goal was simply 5 runs at or under 9’00/mile pace by 3/20. I got my first one on a two mile run about 11 days ago. Last night I ran 1.4 at a 9’00 pace.  I did not quite make it up the hill after the break and with the sicky feeling, but it was awesome to get out there and run through the first wall of discomfort.  But that gives me two runs towards the goal of 5 at that pace.  I walked for awhile and then ran the last .5 back to my house when “For Whom the Bell Tolls” kicked in.

Tech goodness –

My Lacie 2TB firewire 800 drive arrived and I am very pleased with it.

Lil' Lacie

This allowed me to move all of my data off of the Seagates and reformat those.  They were still formatted for Windows, and had some suspect sectors as well.  Now all my data is not just stored, but actually backed-up. I have not gone to the next next level with off-site back-up but this is good enough for now.

In honor of the new drive, I decided to take the time to learn how to rip my dvds. I am not interested in piracy or anything like that – I just wanted to back-up my tv shows and movies as i already have several damaged disks, and I would like to be able to watch my collections without carrying the disks, and being able to watch on the iPhone and (one day) iPad is also a plus.

I knew that I had the software to do this as I have started this process several times, but got confused and quit.  You need Handbrake, which is free (or something similar).

I finally found a decent enough step-by-step guide online to help me have the “Ah-Ha” moment. For me, the problem was looking at all the files on a dvd and trying to figure out “where is the movie, or episode”.  Even in Handbrake, with a dvd inserted, then mashing “source” you get the same kind of view as in Finder or Windows Explorer – what files to choose?

The “Ah-Ha” moment came in realizing that all I had to do in the source window was select the DVD and click OK.  Then Handbrake would read the DVD and give me new options. For movies, it is pretty simple, you select the longest unit.  For TV shows, you have to do a little leg-work.  Note the total time of the individual eps, then you can select them and get the right names or ep numbers with the right episodes.

Smart folks can probably do cool stuff with all the options, I just left the stock settings and mashed the iPod 5 support button and hit start.  Voila!

These import into iTunes as movies and thus are under the movies tab instead of the TV tab (another good reason for giving your new files good names.) But that is a small issue and they move right on over to the iPhone – which is lovely.

I have not done my whole collection (much of it is still in India) but I did a few seasons of TV and some movies and some comedy shows. Not since the era of cassette tapes and Walkmen have I been able to listen to the comedy stylings of Chris Rock while out walking, but now I can – again!

Lil' Lacie playing with all her Apple buddies

The new iPad has been released and I did have to fight the urge to go get it.  Several things made that simple to do.  That’s a lot of loot to put on credit without a better paying job than the ones I have now. They two key elements I was most excited about did not materialize – the bigger 128 GB HD (which is still very small to me, but much better than 64GB, and a method to access a USB external drive to move data without needing a computer.  That second part was not in the official plans, but I can’t be the only one who is excited about moving into a “Post-PC” world (to quote Steve Jobs).  I can’t go on the road for very long with just a 64 GB HD.  I can go longer with a 128, but it would be best if they just built/released/fixed the interface to allow something like Finder to work on the iPad to move stuff on and off via the USB kit.

And finally, the Otterbox defender case will not be ready for a while yet. As cool as the new little magnetic cover they built is – that is not enough protection to me. I am not sure for whom that would be enough protection.  So, hopefully the universe will align and I will get a new job and Otterbox will release the defender case at about the same time!

4 thoughts on “What has been happening? – Part I”

  1. I have all of my films and most of my TV shows ripped, plus some things from Netflix and its UK equivalent LoveFilm – especially stuff like British kids’ shows and David Attenborough documentaries that I know will be hard to get hold of again in the States. I use AnyDVD to do the region-specific emulation to play non-region-1 DVDs. In Handbrake, I always use the Apple Universal preset since we’re watching on a TV. The external hard drives holding it all plug into an old desktop machine converted over to Ubuntu and running Twonkyserver, which streams the content on demand to the PS3, and thence to the TV. This has proven to be invaluable – of course they make devices (such as the appleTV) that do the same thing with fewer steps.

    As for living without a USB port on the iPad – its not the handicap that I thought it would be. For example, my iPad movie player of choice, Buzzplayer, can also find the Twonkyserver on the network and so I can load it up with content via the wireless network without synching. Most things I access (email for example) are already ‘in the cloud’ so data files aren’t a huge concern except for media anyway. There are exceptions of course, but I find I don’t synch to the desktop more than monthly.

    I hope your job lead of choice does work out.

    • Thanks Dave. That sounds like a cool set-up, and i am going to make some notes in case of future needs. I expect that if i did feel the need for moving my stored tv/movies to a TV, i might get the apple tv to simple it up (air play makes it easy if you stay “in the family”), since i do not have a PS3 or other gaming system. But i do not have a TV either and the odds that i will get one are not high – so it may not come up.

      On the iPad and USB, i do not imagine feeling the need for that at all while (or whilst) at home. But i do sometimes go on the road for one or more months at a time. My basic (not complete) music library is about 20 GB – even holding all that and the necessary work/personal files would be OK on a 64 GB until we hit media. I am a tv devourer. I pick series and watch them (and re-watch them) and this won’t work with 64GB. Examples – Babylon 5 – 57.18 GB, BSG 51.67 GB, Buffy – 64.2 GB, The West Wing – 80.25 GB…you get the idea.

      I believe someone will figure this out, and while i will acquire an iPad, i shan’t dispatch my laptop until it gets sorted!

      Thanks for good wishes!

  2. There’s a certain beautiful irony and a concrete sign of our times that you can be a man hopelessly addicted to TV shows who has no intention of owning a TV.

    • 🙂 One of the key reasons to get content moved onto the iPod/iPhone is that i frequently just listen to TV shows while walking, cooking, doing chores, or working. As a fellow who is much more moved by words than pictures – there are very few shows that i must “see” to enjoy…

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