Ripping update

After updating MakeMKV my film ripping process is going a lot smoother. I'm pumping out DVDs like nothing (well, at a reasonable pace).

The blu-rays are going quite well too but I've had to put them on hold. I can't bring myself to convert them to m4v files. The MKVs that I get just from MakeMKV are flawless, subtitles are built in and I get the jpeg cover. But damn, I'm looking at roughly 20gb a film.

If I want to rip all my blu-ray films and have a back-up I'm looking at a very expensive array of hard drives. My nice cheap mac mini solution works perfectly as a media system but I could easily spend £1,600 to have the NAS storage system I would want and even then I'd argue I wouldn't have that much room for growth. I could do the back-ups on tape but the cost grows even more.

I hope hard drive sizes keep growing and prices keep falling. I don't think I can afford to keep up if I want to rip everything I've bought and will buy in the future.

Posted by toadwarrior on 14 Apr 2014, 10:23 p.m.

Remake hate

I've recently purchased Spike Lee's Oldboy on blu-ray. I've watched the film when it was out in the cinema, I enjoyed it and left it at that. But since I keep a log of my films with IMDB links, I had to go grab that and noticed it was rated fairly low (5.5 out of 10 as of today).

I thought that was a bit unfair. While I definitely prefer the original I think Spike Lee did a solid job so naturally I thought I'd sift through the comments on its IMDB page.

Not surprisingly there's a group of people hating on it because, in my opinion, it's a remake. Often it's understandable to hate on an American remake of a foreign film. I never got why Americans are so anti-subtitles anyway but then also feel the need to Americanise the remake. But I do think some people are equally ignorant in hating on remakes just because it's a remake. Is the 1983 Scarface awful because it's a remake of the 1932 Scarface film? Hardly.

I think Spike Lee did a decent job at keep his version true to the original film while also keeping the original Manga in mind. Without spoiling the story, some elements of the remake are more true to the original manga where as Park's is not. In fact both films differ in many ways from the original story. They are different takes on a story. Both are good takes on it. Park's happens to be better but the internet does really make people intolerant at times.

If you've never seen Old Boy, I'd say you must see the Korean version but you can't go wrong by seeing the new remake as well.

Posted by toadwarrior on 14 Apr 2014, 10:14 p.m.

Ripping films

I've finally been getting around to ripping my film collection to a digital format. I believe at my current rate it will take me about 2 years to complete it. Granted I could go a bit faster but this process would take over my life and I doubt the gain would be worth it.

It's a shame that ripping films still doesn't seem to be easy as ripping CDs. There's no meta data look-up database. The process can seem a bit sensitive and tv box sets just seem to take forever.

Perhaps there are better tools if I would choose to pay but I'm trying to avoid that. I've bought my films and all I want is for them to be in another format. I would like to avoid paying more to achieve that. More so when you never know if what you are buying is just the free and open source tools under handedly packaged up as commercial software.

I suspect half my problem is that I'm making my attempts on the mac. Admittedly it seems more DVD / blu-ray rippers still target Windows only. Some of the well known open source tools (hand brake) seem to act differently between Linux and Mac. That or I may very well have a duff external drive.

Posted by toadwarrior on 3 Apr 2014, 9:44 p.m.

Plumber wars

I've bee helping a local Ely Plumber with his website. I'm primarily helping him by point out where I think it's lacking like having pages with only images or a general lack of text content.

Through the process though I realised it might not be so easy to bump his website up simply by helping add / rewrite text. It seems plumbing is a fairly competitive area within search. Some businesses are resorting to questionable tactics which could arguably see them get punished at some point.

But perhaps the worst thing about search results, both for plumbers and for customers, is the fact search results are now plagued with directory or rating sites that simply add yet another layer on top of your attempt to find a decent plumber in your area.

It's my opinion these sites are leeches. They don't add anything to the search results for me as a customer. As websites go they're usually fairly poor and I would have to question the validity of some of them given plumbers are expected to pay to be listed. Is someone listed higher because he's good or because he doled out the cash for that position?

By the time you get the Google Ads out of the way, the directory site listings and the google maps listings, there is only really room for two or three actual plumbers on the coveted first page. Granted the google map listings can be helpful. It is still mildly annoying I've got to click through yet another layer of pages to get to the information I want.

I'm happy I do know a local plumber who can service my boiler and pipes and exceeds my expectations. I'd hate to have to be starting from scratch and trying to find a plumber online these days.

Posted by toadwarrior on 30 Mar 2014, 9:05 p.m.

NSA Prism: It's time to question our relationships with corporations

The big news today has been the NSA, Prism and the fact nearly every big technology company is supposedly giving the NSA access to data. Naturally they're all denying and I would specifically like to point out that Eric Schmidt is denying that Google has a backdoor.

Why should we trust him? In my opinion his company, along with the others listed, have shown contempt for the citizens of the countries they operate in. They would apparently rather pay no tax than help contribute to society. Profits come before all else. This scandal can hit their profits so why should be we believe they would tell the truth if it meant losing money?

More importantly, can they even tell the truth? On page 2 of the Verizon order It states "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that no person shall disclose to any other person that the FBI or NSA has sought or obtained tangible things under this Order, other than to: (a) those persons to whom disclosure is necessary to comply with such Order;..." and while there are some other clauses where they can disclose the information none of them apply to telling us what they are doing.

If Verizon were dealt these terms then there is a pretty good chance Google and the others would have as well so even if they wanted to tell us, they can't.

The bigger problem here is that unfortunately not enough people care about their rights and we keep voting in the wrong people and we keep trusting corporations. Hopefully this will be a wake up call and people will start caring more about their privacy and question their leaders and the companies they deal with.

Posted by toadwarrior on 8 Jun 2013, 12:40 a.m.