Computers: December 2004 Archives

Star Wars Stuff

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I just watched the Star Wars trilogy on DVD. I'd heard about how they changed Han Solo from making a preemptive attack on Greedo, but I didn't know they removed the Yub-Yub song from the end of Return of the Jedi! And just when I thought that was the worst Lucas could do ... they show Hayden Christensen as the spirit form of Anakin Skywalker.

George Lucas, you, sir, are a cad.

Re: Any number large enough

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TorgoX quotes someone else, "How many more nations will have to, for example, prove that gun licensing works, or that gay-marriage legislation is a moral imperative, or that health care for all is mandatory for a nation's well being, before America finally looks at itself and says, whoa, damn, we are so silly and small and wrong?"

There's no evidence that gun licensing "works," and even if it did, it would say little if anything about whether or not it is compatible with liberty, which is the entire point.

There's no evidence that gay marriage legislation is a moral imperative, as this is opinion, not fact.

There's no evidence that universal health care is a good thing; indeed, there is more hard evidence against it than for it, as it tends to screw an economy, hurt jobs, decrease the average quality of care, and thereby lower the overall national "well being."

Precisely how "more nations" can "prove" things that no nations are currently proving is a mystery.

Return of the King DVDs

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Two years ago, I got Fellowship of the Ring extended edition on DVD, a few days before it was slated for release. The next year, I got The Two Towers in the same way. This year, I could not find Return of the King early, but instead got it the day after it was released, and then the first disc was corrupted so I had to return it a few days later and get a new copy.

I think I used up all my karma on the first two films!

But it does look good. I have another new TV (the HD TV I had new last year was a lemon), and I watched all three films over three nights. Amazing stuff. I only half-watched RotK as I had some work to do, but I will watch it again soon anyway. :-)


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Maybe something like this already exists, but I just wrote a quick little script that I call "highlight." It takes one argument, then reads STDIN and highlights that string on output with ANSI coloring (red).

my $word = shift;
while (<>) {

So I can do fun things like:

% somebigdebuggingoutput | highlight 'what i am looking for'

It works great in conjunction with ls, locate, grep, etc.

Fixing Overscan

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All TVs have overscan. That is, the picture signal received by the unit is larger than the area that is displayed. This happens for various reasons, mostly good ones. But on a high quality display, you want to see as much of the film as possible on your component or DVI inputs, and any overscan is annoying.

Not only is it bad for a nice film that you want to actually see all of, rather than losing 10-20% to overscan as on most TVs, but it sucks for when you plug your laptop into the DVI input and you have no Dock or menu bar.

So that means going into the service menu to fix it.

I have a Sony KF-60WE610 TV, and the normal things I found for Sony TVs didn't work (perhaps because mine is an LCD?). But I found some clues, and I discovered some things. Here's the procedure I followed.

  • Turn off TV
  • Press Display, 5, Vol+, Power to get to service menu
  • Use Video and Wide until you get the input and aspect ratio to adjust*
  • Put some sort of test pattern on the display (my Avia DVD has an overscan pattern)
  • Press 2 until the top service menu reads "MID4" (MID2 for 480i signals)**
  • Use 1 and 4 to scroll through items under MID4
  • Write down values for DHPL, DHSL, DVPL, DVSL***
  • Adjust the values, starting with *PL (which anchors the top/left part of the picture), then *SL (which stretches/shrinks the picture)
  • Make sure to check the geometry too, using a test pattern for that (optimized for your aspect ratio)
  • Write down new values when satisfied***
  • Press Mute and Enter to save permanently
  • Power off/on to resume normal operations

* The overscan settings appear to be unique per input/signal type/aspect ratio.

** I used MID4 for my DVD player on Video 5 and MID2 for PS2 on Video 4, even though both are component, because the DVD player uses 480p and the PS2 480i (usually; if I get a 480p game, I'll make sure to calibrate it, later).

*** So you can revert back later if necessary. Once written to NVRAM, it's permanent, so keep a written record!

Magic Bathroom

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mako132 notes that he does some of his best thinking in the bathroom.

Many of us are similar. As Dana Carvey noted in Opportunity Knocks, important decisions are made not in the boardroom, but the bathroom.

It's to the point where if I have a difficult problem to solve, and I run into a mental block, I go to the bathroom, and almost inevitably, I have the solution before I leave, often within a few minutes.

Today I could not figure out a regex problem, so I finally gave up on my own powers and trusted the Magic Bathroom to help me. Well, "trusted" is a bit strong: I brought Camel 3 with me. But after a few moments I put it down, and trusted in the Bathroom. A minute or so later, I had the answer.

I washed my hands and returned quickly to the computer and typed it in, and it worked. And then I had to have a coworker help explain to me why it worked. I think the Bathroom revealed this to me, but it didn't stick. Or maybe it didn't reveal it all to me, but just what was necessary.

Whatever. I love you, Magic Bathroom.


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Today UPS brings some capacitors to me so I can try to repair my dead graphite AirPort base station. I've essentially verified it's the two capacitors that are blown; hopefully, I can fix the sucker up.

I gave it to my father-in-law, and he needs it to connect to a modem connection, so third-party options are limited for replacement, and the Apple replacement costs about $200. I could always give him mine with a modem and buy a new one, but I want one with an antenna port (which I am planning on buying soon, the Dr. Bott one), and only the $200 base station has an antenna port.

So I am hoping this $13.50 repair ($1 parts, the rest shipping and handling) will take care of it.

If I don't post a followup soon, it's because I burned my fingers and can't type.

Module Updates

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I've started going through some long lost bug reports for my modules. Hooray. I've gone through most of what I have in RT, except for MP3::Info. Next up, I go through all my e-mail for ones saved there, getting through non-MP3::Info bugs. Then I do all the MP3::Info bugs.

I'm putting that MP3::Info to the end, in case it wasn't clear by now ... it's not been updated in nearly two years, and I have a small pile to get through; most are not serious, just lots of little things, but will take some testing, etc.

I am thinking of giving up MP3::Info after the next update. I don't use it much anymore, as I've recently reripped my entire CD collection to AAC with iTunes.

Mac-Glue-1.22 Released

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Mac-Glue-1.22 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.22, Monday, December 6, 2004
   local()ize $MacPerl::Target in Mac::Glue::Common. (Alan Olsen)
   Fix bundle targetting under Jaguar. (Ken Williams)

Posted using release by brian d foy.
Mac-AppleEvents-Simple-1.15 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.15, Monday, December 7, 2004
   warn, don't die, if app path cannot be found, because we might
   succeed anyway (if LaunchServices DB not updated for some reason,
   and app is open).

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Apps-Launch-1.91 Released

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Mac-Apps-Launch-1.91 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.91, Monday, December 6, 2004
   Fix tests for when launched apps are already open.

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Christmas Music Fun

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Try sorting your Christmas music playlist by song name. Then compare the different versions of each song!

In ascending order of preference, of the versions of Rudolph, I like John Williams/Boston Pops, then Burl Ives (from the Rankin-Bass special), then Barenaked Ladies, then The Ventures. BNL's is a nice jazzy little number, but it just doesn't have the raw rockin' energy of The Ventures. Of course, Burl Ives is the classic rendition, but it's just a bit overdone.
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Computers category from December 2004.

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