Saturday, October 30, 2010

BluRay Disc Capacity (the real story)

I just burned 4 BluRay coasters (and am now out of BluRays since you can’t purchase inkjet printable BR disks at ANY store on the planet).  Image Burn was telling me “Cannot Write Medium - Incompatible Format,” but I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  What it should have said was “that file’s too big, dummy.”

Even though Adobe Encore shows the capacity of a disc as 25GB (which is also what’s printed on a BluRay disc), a BluRay disc can ACTUALLY only hold a little over 23GB (sometimes even less).  If your Encore project says anything over 23 GB is being used (the big blue progress/capacity  bar under “Disc Info”), you’re write is going to fail.  Believe me.  Anything near that 25GB capacity isn’t going to work.

Heed this advice.  It will save you a lot of time, money, and wasted discs.

I usually burn a BluRay .iso rather than burning straight to disc.  I then use ImgBurn to burn my BluRay later.  It makes it easier to burn multiple copies, and often circumvents problems with Encore.   Encore will let you burn an .ISO image up to 25GB, even though that image will not REALLY fit on a (single layer) disc.

Now you know.

Why in the Hell Don’t STORES Sell BluRay Media?!

I need to send out some BluRay media tomorrow.  I’m out of blank BluRays.  I drove to four stores.  NONE of them sell inkjet printable discs, two of them didn’t sell media AT ALL (Costco and Staples), Office Depot has only ONE (a shitty single-pack for $10), and Best Buy sells a 10-pack for almost $50.


I’m ordering more from Amazon right now, but I won’t get them for two days, and that’s two days too late.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unfair Language on Election Ballots

I am APPALLED by the wording on my Colorado mail-in ballot.

All of the amendments to our constitution make things sound like a cut-and-dried "no brainer." Listen to Amendment 60:

"Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning government charges on property, and, in connection therewith, allowing petitions in all districts for elections to lower property taxes; specifying requirements for property tax elections; requiring enterprises and authorities to pay property taxes but offsetting the revenues with lower tax rates; prohibiting enterprises and unelected boards from levying fees or taxes on property; setting expiration dates for certain tax rates and revenue increases; requiring school districts to reduce property tax rates and replacing the revenue with state aid; and eliminating property taxes that exceed the dollar amount included in an approved ballot question, that exceed state property tax laws, policies and limits existing in 1992 that have been violated, changed, or weakened without state voter approval, or that were not approved by voters without certain ballot language?"

"Well hell yes! Why wouldn’t I lower my taxes, especially when things 'aren't fair?!'" one would think after reading the above. However, what is failed to mention is that these MASSIVE tax cuts (when the state government can already *barely function* on their existing budget) will cripple not only our state, but most importantly our school systems. Colorado has already been slashing school budgets like nobody's business, and this amendment would cause 92% of the state's general fund to go to schools. Not only does this leave only 8% for EVERYTHING ELSE, but it will hurt schools by drastically cutting their funding.

How about "fairer language" on election ballots? I realize you can't explain everything in that little tiny space, but writing things out as if they are one-sided no-brainers is irresponsible and unacceptable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

AVG Free 2011 DEFINITELY Slows Down Gmail

I haven’t seen problems with most sites I’ve been visiting, but the new AVG Free 2011 upgrade definitely makes Gmail nearly unusable.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I realized the slowdown was mostly isolated to Gmail and then remembered I upgraded my AVG security this morning.

Just thought you might like to know why your Gmail feels like running through molasses today.

Windows Live Essentials 2011 listed as “important update”

It’s extremely annoying to me that Microsoft is listing the Windows Live Essentials 2011 update (basically a bunch of bloatware) as an “important update.”  In no way do I want to install 160MB of garbage (Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety, and Windows Live Mesh, Bing Bar, Messenger Companion, Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, Microsoft Outlook Social Connector Provider for Windows Live Messenger, and Microsoft Silverlight).

So you know: you can right-click the update in the update installer list and select “hide update” to discontinue receiving notifications about the update.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sorting and Organizing the Netflix Queue

I am baffled by the fact that Netflix can’t get their sh*t together and make it easier to organize your queue.  Currently, every single freaking movie you drop into your instant watch simply goes on a numbered list, and there is NO WAY to organize them other than by numbers on the list.  It SUCKS having to scroll through 300+ movies to find the one you want to watch.

I understand why I have to deal with this on my Panasonic BluRay player (Panasonic needs to pull their heads from their collective asses and make the VieraCast Netflix interface more user-friendly –scrolling across one horizontal line of titles is a massive joke), but the fact that Netflix, the company in charge of everything, can’t get it right… well that’s just unacceptable.

Seriously?!  You figured out how to license and stream video/film media to the entire U.S. via the internet, but you can’t figure out how to let your users organize a g*dd*mn list?!

Here are some VERY EASY solutions that I can think of right off the top of my head.

  • Sort by genre, actor, director, etc.
  • At LEAST give us sort by star rating
  • Display the covers in a grid instead of a list (like when you are suggesting things to me… you’re already DOING THIS ELSEWHERE! Why not do it on my queue page so I can see more titles at once?)

Right now the best bet for sorting your queue is creating multiple profiles, but if you’re using a device this requires logging in to a different profile (read: pain in the a**) when you want to look at a different list.  You also can’t transfer selections across profiles, so you would need to log into the appropriate profile to add a movie to that profile.

Some people are using a GreaseMonkey script to be able to sort by title, genre, length, star rating, etc.  It’s so easy (for someone who knows code, not necessarily the average Netflix user), so why wouldn’t Netflix implement something like this?!

It also seems crazy that there are other websites organizing titles better than Netflix itself.  Try for an example of what I’m talking about (no organizing your queue, but a great way to find things you’re looking for as well as suggestions and various groupings for instant watch titles).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Logitech Revue: First “Full Internet” TV Box (not really)

People have been anticipating the release of the first major-brand box to use Google TV.  The “big thing” that Google is touting, the reason why they are “better than the rest” is access to the entire web (not just access to a few streaming or VOD sites).  The actual quote from the Google TV website is: "TV, apps, search, and the entire web ... together at last."

However, Google just confirmed today in a press release that Hulu will be blocked from their service, so “the entire web” really means “not the entire web.”

Google does claim to be in negotiation for use of Hulu with their service for Hulu Plus customers.  We’ll see how that goes.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Authoring BluRay in Adobe Encore CS4

For nearly a month I couldn’t create a BluRay in Adobe Encore CS4.  I tried all kinds of different export options for my media (H.264 vs. MPEG-2, different audio formats, different file sizes, different bit rates, VBR 2 pass vs. VBR single pass, etc.).  I tried changing the location of the files used in the project and the location to where the .iso was being written.  I tried shortening the name and removing spaces from all files involved.  I even sacrificed a live rooster under the full moon while chanting preset options.

None of it worked.

The answer to the problem is so simple it’s embarrassing… for Adobe.  If the thing that ABSOLUTELY prevents Encore from creating a disc/image is this simple to fix, why wouldn’t Adobe release a patch to fix it?

Here it is: the name of the disc, in other words, the name you give the disc in your project (not the .iso file, or the name of the project file, or the name of any of the other files involved), cannot be more than 15 letters, or the disc cannot be created.  You will get this error:

Blu-Ray error: “fatal error”, code: “6”, Note:”

I did come across this solution in my previous searches, but I didn’t understand that when people were referring to “disc name,” they didn’t mean the name of the file you were creating (the .iso image) or the name of the project.  Because it seemed like something as simple as the actual “name” couldn’t possibly have anything to do with an entire BluRay authoring session failing, I didn’t realize they meant the name you type in in this field:


If you make sure that the name in the “name” field above (where it says “Disc Name”) is short, your BluRay will burn.

Really?  FIX THIS (or at least document it), Adobe.


For what it’s worth, these are the settings I use when exporting my media from Premiere via Adobe Media Encoder:

MPEG-2 BluRay, 1920x1080, 23.976, VBR 2 pass, bit rate min: 25 – target: 30 – max: 35, Dolby AC3 audio at 320Kbps, “maximum render quality” ticked.

When creating a new Adobe Encore project, I select NTSC, 1920x1080, 23.976 (but oddly the Encore timeline still always shows 30 frames… can’t figure this out).

If you alter the length of the audio or video on the timeline, you are apt to receive other error messages that will prevent the project from rendering.  I advise making sure the audio/video are exactly as you want them in your Encore project before exporting them from Premiere.  I also am a fan of setting the Encore Chapter markers in Premiere.