Does Blu-ray blow or is it just my imagination?

Last night Michelle and I received the replacement Blu-ray disc for “Salt”. We had returned the first one to Netflix as being unplayable. This second one suffered from exactly the same issue: The disc would churn for the infinite amount of time a Blu-ray disc likes to churn, it put up it’s little custom progress bar (because heaven forbid there would be some consistency in the interface between Blu-ray offerings) which then stops at about the 90% mark.

Of course there is the usual “take the disc out and inspect and/or clean it”, “Turn off the Blu-ray player and restart it”, “Check for updates to the Blu-ray player” and all that hokum.

So I’ve sent this replacement disc back too.

I’ve also gone onto Netflix and adjusted my profile. I’m no longer paying the $4/month premium for Blu-ray access. The money isn’t a big deal, but it seems to me I’m paying extra for everything I dislike about new discs that I have absolutely no use for:

  • Super fancy custom menus
    • Just give me a “PLAY” option and don’t hide it or delay it. Better yet, just start the damn movie.
  • Pop-up windows ┬áthat block parts of the movie with folks yammering about what a good time they had making the film.
    • For some reason this always defaults to on. I need to figure out (it’s different every time) how to “Enable” the feature, then “Disable” it to get it off my screen.
  • Extra Features
    • I don’t know, am I just from another generation? If I wanted extra features maybe I could just order another disc with only those on it?
    • Deleted scenes, in my experience, were deleted because they were awful. If they weren’t awful they’ll be in the director’s cut in a few months and I can watch them in context then
    • I really don’t care about the behind the scenes action. I like the *movie* precisely because it is fiction. Except for folks who are intent on becoming videographers, I don’t really see the thrill of the behind the scenes action.
  • Stops me from viewing as I see fit.
    • Don’t make me watch those stupid warnings, and those cowardly statements about how, even though you’re publishing this Blu-ray and making all kinds of money from it, you take no responsibility for its content.
    • Don’t make it hard for me to skip the “coming attractions” I’ve either seen them before or I don’t care
  • Do not prevent me from setting bookmarks – how on earth will this jeopardize the profits that are to be made from the sale or rental of this disc?
  • (I think this is just my Blu-ray player rather than Blu-ray per se) Why does it ONLY remember the position of ONLY the Blu-ray disc that’s IN THE MACHINE WHEN I TURN IT OFF? I’ve got scads of storage in that player, surely it can remember the last 50 items I put in there so that it can offer to pick up from where I left off?

FYI I have a Samsung BD-P2500 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player if you have ideas about why “Salt” doesn’t play.

I’m now waiting for the non Blu-ray version of “Salt” to arrive so I can watch it.

Powers of Ten Video

I’ve said it before (it’s buried in there) and this video emphasizes the point. We are not capable of easily comprehending big numbers. Our brains, our frames of reference, our entire life experience and the evolutionary path that led to us are all confined to a reality that seems to consist of around 4 orders of magnitude.

Most of us can easily grasp time in terms of days, weeks and years, but start to move over about 10 years and challenges begin to occur and events blur and merge or degrade. Around 25 years and it seems we are completely divorced from the person that we were over a generation ago. Around 100 years is the limit of true understanding for us. Beyond that, time becomes an intangible backdrop to history yet we can still seem to maintain some kind of understanding and relationship to it if for no other reason than we can still kind of relate to civilizations that have prospered within the 1,000 year time frame. After that, when folks begin to talk in numbers such as 10 thousand years or 1 million years we simply stop trying to grasp the oceans of time we are spanning and recoil into just working with numbers. These spans of time hold no personal relevance for us.

Distance is similar. For the whole of human history before the 20th century, nearly everybody lived, worked and died within tens of miles of ┬átheir birthplace. A travel-filled day might involve travel over single digit miles. Our conception of the earth (if we even deigned to consider such esoteric matters) was simply our village (homestead), some neighboring villages (maybe) and then everything else. This map is, while funny, is scarily accurate even today. It’s who and what we are.

Videos such as this can help put our egocentric view of the world into some perspective, but you will still not be able to fully grasp the true magnitude of what is being conveyed after about 4 or 5 orders of magnitude. This informs our view of reality. If we can admit that we have such a weakness with conceptualizing “big” and can be comfortable with that fact, imagine the impact that has when you don’t necessarily *have* to have the answer for everything right *now*….

A full description of this video is available here at the APOD site .

Distracted Driving has consequences

I know two people who have been in accidents trying to email and drive (hey, we’re a little older).
The video paints a picture that focuses on texting and driving but the reality is that distracted driving of any kind – from hunting for that perfect radio station, to yelling at kids in the back seat of the car – will have consequences.
I do think that every one of you out there with kids behind the wheel needs that drilled into their heads. FIRST RULE – DRIVE THE CAR. Everything else, from that bee that just flew in the window, to that phone call, to that soda you just spilled in your lap (why are you even drinking that while you’re driving?) can WAIT until you pull over in a controlled, safe way.