Outnumbered 2.35 To 1


You can even get a big ass print of the Doctor Who/ MST3K comic

I know I’m a late adopter, but I just got my first Blu-Ray player in December. Having amassed and subsequently ripped/server stored/eBay’d a rather sizable DVD collection, I thought I was done purchasing movies via physical media. I bought the player mostly for Netflix, but seeing as it was there and that it had all those P’s (1,080 of them to be precise) I figured I might as well start re-acquiring A) My most favorite/ infinitely rewatchable movies (your Lebowskis, Ghostbusters, Princess Brides, Backs To Futures and such) and B) My most favorite gorgeous/visually stunning films (your Avatars, Fireflied Serenities, various Pixar’d Cartoonicals, Lords Of Some Rings,  and what not). On a lark I threw up about 25 movies on my Amazon wishlist and shit-in-my-biscuits if’n they weren’t nearly all purchased by your magnificent Fancy Bastards within a couple of weeks. Merry happy to me! It was the highest def’d Xmas I’d ever had! Many of them were sent anonymously or only with first names, so if I didn’t thank you directly please know that I am extremely grateful.

A couple of very nice FB’s got me the Lord Of The Rings (Extended) Blu-Ray set for the very Blackest of all Fridays (before we even had the Blu-Ray player), and my wife and I just sat down to watch Fellowship this weekend. I know I am a heretic, but I HAD to zoom that shit in. I can’t stand seeing the black bars taking up 1/3 of my TV. I’m just the type that would much rather see a full 16:9 picture than know exactly what the rest of that one Orc’s shoulder looks like before he movies fully into frame. I realized this type of zoom-happy behavior is a dealbreaker for many of your videophiles, but having crossed the threshold of fatherhood and 30-year-old-hood I find myself giving less and less of a shit about “BUT THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO NERRRRRRD!!!” and more about comfort, ease of use and simplicity. Zooming in my Blu-Rays to fill the screen is basically the entertainment equivalent of staying in sweatpants all day. Sure, it doesn’t look as nice, but who’s really gonna know besides me?

COMMENTERS: Is there a particular “accepted nerdy way” of doing things that you just refuse to bend on? Do you rip all your audio in lossless codecs? Do you get twitchy when you see that someone’s surround sound speakers are improperly placed [raises hand]? Have you ever managed to unburden yourself from any of these behaviors to positive results?

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  1. I must respectfully disagree on the zooming in. One of the reasons I made the switch to DVD's years ago was so I could see movies in their proper aspect ratios. One of my pet peeves with Netflix right now is that some of their titles shot in 2:35 to 1 are blown up to 16×9. (I'm looking at you Iron Man 2.) If the filmmaker chose to shoot in that format, the least I can do is respect his wishes.

  2. It's a ironic that one would get a BD player, which is mostly for videophiles who want the best picture possible, and then zoom in and discard the idea of wanting the image as it was intended.

    But I can't say much of anything because if you're a late adopter, I'm going to be an extremely late adopter. I spent so much time and money amassing my current DVD collection, I think that getting a BD player is akin to giving up on what I already have. Plus I'm not looking forward to spending $200 on a decent device (or upwards of that if I want a PS3 to kill two birds with one stone) and then spending $5 to $10 more per disc for things I want. People tell me it's worth it, but I'm still extremely hesitant.

    At least that's what I was saying until I won a contest and received Captain America on Blu-Ray. It came with the DVD, but the DVD doesn't have the extras! Plus I know the Blu-Ray is so pretty…

    • I'm surprised that so many people are expressing this sentiment – surely a videophile would be someone who wants the image on-screen to look as good as possible.

      While I agree that it's aesthetically preferable to see things framed the way the director/cinematographer framed them, it really depends on what kind of TV you have at the time.

      To use the example from the comic, they're not seeing "every blessed pixel" at all. In that example, you actually *sacrifice* "picture quality" in order to get the entire frame in. Now obviously the best solution is to get a big-enough tv that you don't need to worry about the trade-off, but those cost money and take up space – money and space are too things that most people don't have in glorious excess.

  3. I have a funny story to recount about aspect ratios.

    Bonus points: that above phraze has zero google hits, and I have a feeling nobody else has ever said it.

    I was reading the back of the DVD for "the Talons of Weng Chiang" which is a classic Who story, and was asked "What setting is it." and answered "Vicrtorian London." This was greeted with uprorous laughter, and I was informed I was in fact being asked what aspect ratio the telivision should be set to in order to facilitate proper viewing, as this was clearly the more important consideration. To this day I am still mocked for my frends and family for being so foolish to asume the content of what we were about to watch was in any way important or relevnet to out enjoyment compared to haveing the viewing rectingle the appropriate shape.

    Okay, so maybe it's not all that funny, but it is a story.

  4. I refuse to use electronic charicter sheets. Dog-eared pencil-smuged A4 was good enough for my father, so it's good enough for me, now get off my lawn.

  5. If you're not going to watch it right, then you have to give the set back!!!!


    (just kidding, we already have the set…)

    • On a 60" Plasma its just too much unused real estate. On the plus side, our couch is much further back from the TV than most peoples because of the layout of our living room, so the quality was the same slightly zoomed in (as far as our pathetic human eyes could tell). Also, thanks again.

      • heh, I just had to give you a hard time.

        And I am seriously envious you're going on JoCoCruseCrazy! We were going to go, but my hours keep getting cut (an IT contractor is one level above a serf, apparently). We have friends who went on the first one (and are going again) and they said it was fabulous!

  6. I don't get bothered by zooming in or out, but I absolutely hate it when people don't get the ratio right, or insist on the one that is ok in the center, but stretches out the sides. Agh! I want all my circles to be circular!

    My other bendlessness is the sub/dub conundrum. I refuse to watch anime in english. Dubs in spanish are great and my first choice, but since they aren't often available I will only watch subs.

    • Yup – thats mine as well – to a degree – I will not ever watch dubbed anime unless coaxed with a soundbite that does not peel paint or make me cringe – yes I am talking about you AnimEgo … er … AnimEigo.

      Mind you my language choices for dud is a bit broader than most but its getting to the point I may have to actually learn Japanese / Korean

    • I get teased whenever I go over to some friends house – "Oh, Laura won't let us watch it in fattovision", just because I want my circles to be circular! They can't even see it any more, they're too used to it!

  7. Ha! The accepted nerd way of doing things is liking – or even remotely caring – about Star Wars. Which I refuse to do.
    I don't think they are good movies. I don't think they led to good toys.
    Sure, the effects were groundbreaking – but honestly who can tell anymore because it's not as though we can actually watch *the movies* anymore. Now we have to watch the reshit-out and the re-reshit-out movies.

    Too much. Don't like it. Don't think George Lucas is god because of it. (Will probably see Red Tails in spite of George Lucas.)

    • You know what? Cancel that.

      I'm going to put your TV back into no-zoom mode, break all of your remotes, and then Clockwork-Orange-style secure you into a dentist chair with those little eyelid pullers and make you watch cinema like a fucking MAN, you filthy fucking heathen you. How could you do this to me? After all we've been through? I bet you bought 4:3 DVDs on purpose.


    And, I'm sorry, but zooming in on your blu-rays is not the equivalent of sweatpants–it's the equivalent of a SNUGGIE!

  9. I STILL do not have a blu-ray player. Even when Katrina took all the electronics and dvds (and the VHS!) I still didn't take the opportunity to switch over. Its on my list of things I get to buy myself this year to make up for the pain of not being able to attend SDCC this summer.

    I do not bend on tv series watching. I love when a friend gets convinced and wants to start watching a show I've recc'd but I will not let them just jump in anywhere. You have to start at the beginning! Why would want to miss all that delicious nuance and character development! And also, I really, really do not want to have to explain the small stuff to you. My best friend's husband did this with Supernatural so he could watch with us. He started watching season 7 with us and season 1 on his own. NO. This secretly drove me bonkers because he was doing it wrong!

    I also have a thing about talking during shows or movies even if we're watching at home. Its one thing to chatter box during the 500th rewatch of Bring it On. But just because Community is a "sitcom" that doesn't mean you get to make me miss dialogue. I will stop the tv/dvd and just stare at someone until they stop.

    And spoilers. I hate spoilers. I don't want to know anything past the trailer for a movie or the teaser for a show episode. Sometimes I can't even read the full back flap on a book for fear I'll know something early. Therefore it pains my insides horribly when someone says "Oh just tell me, its cool, I don't mind knowing, what's the twist ending? blahblabhldjskfla" I won't even budge on giving out spoilers most of the time.

    • Cat, we are disturbingly alike! No talking when we're watching something, watch the WHOLE series FROM THE BEGINNING (would you start a book in the middle?), and, on pain of DEATH, don't tell me what's about to happen! I watched The Big Lebowski for the very first time last October (I'm a very late adopter here) at an outdoor movie party at my sister's. Everyone there but me and my dad had seen it dozens of times before. There was this one guy who would say every line VERY LOUDLY a split second before it was said on screen. I just wanted to claw his eyes out.

      Re: blu-ray. I'm not getting one until I have the money for a huge flatscreen TV to match. Which may be decades. I still have a VCR (mainly for my Fawlty Towers VHS's), a cheap old DVD player that has never failed me, and a tiny tube(!!!) TV. Anything that needs better picture quality I watch on my PC.

      • That drives me nuts! I know there's a certain statute of limitations on seeing movies and that certain movies are general pop culture knowledge now. But if you need to say the lines along with it, which is fun, say them WITH the movie not before the line happens. OY.

        I agree..I feel like my 32 inch tv isn't worthy of Blu-ray. I'm going to scrape and try to get a 50+ inch this year then maybe a blu-ray. But I also really, really want a new Xbox. And I'm going to Harry Potter world. I need to start prioritizing my nerd needs for the year.

    • I agree with you on the recitation of dialogue, especially when it's said right before the dialogue proper. Actually, I generally hate when people start reciting the film unless you're doing some group interactivity thing, like a Rocky Horror Picture Show or whatever. I'm trying to watch a movie!

      But I think there is, or at least should be, a statute of limitation for when it's appropriate to complain about spoilers. My honest feeling is that anything on weekly television is completely acceptable to spoil a week later. If you're having the next-day water cooler conversation, just provide warning so that people can get away. Films are tricky, and my feeling is that they should have three months. If that sounds unfair, then they get until their DVD release. The greater the level of accessibility, the less one should be able to complain about spoilers.

      Except to kids. NO ONE has the right to spoil the biggest moments of films to kids. Granted, a lot of it is in pop culture for kids already, but many of them aren't smart enough to make the connection without its being made completely obvious to them. (E.g., "Junior, Darth Vader is Luke's father in Star Wars," is inappropriate. If they see a parody somewhere, they may not get it. One can hope they're that clueless.)

      • I agree about spoiler times too. The burden is on myself if I haven't seen an episode of something. I will stay away from reviews and discussions until I get to see something.

        And srsly? What kind of horrible joyless, asshole do you have to be to ruin a story for a child? The asshats who were driving by bookstores and yelling out endings to Harry Potter books should be punched in the face.

      • No way. Spoilers are unforgiveable no matter how long it's been. I say this as someone who routinely convinces friends to watch awesome shows that they have completely missed.

        There are few things more gut-wrenching than watching your budding protege be spoiled right in front of you by a third party.

  10. I absolutely refuse to have anything to do with Blu-Ray *spits* AT ALL and will often go into a lengthy rant if it's even mentioned because, DUDE, WTF I AM STILL RE-ACQUIRING MY ENTIRE COLLECTION FROM WHEN I HAD TO SWITCH FROM VHS WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO START AGAIN?!!?

    I was SO all over the idea of HD-DVD. Think about it: The resolutions are comparable to Blu(e)-Ray (fucking spell it right you assholes), but (1) There are no regions. NO REGIONS. Which means I can finally get "Erik the Viking" the original theatrical release on something that will play in my area instead of that stupid goddamned Director's Son's Cut bullshit which lost half an hour of punchlines, or ordering the Australian 2-disk special edition (which includes the theatrical release as a bonus to the D's S's cut)– but will I be able to strip off the region and burn a region-free copy so I can actually play it here?? Damn it, it's my favourite movie!! Just let me give you money for the original, you bastards– anyways, NO REGIONS. (2) Backwards-compatible. No, they won't suddenly play at super-high-def, but your current DVD collection WILL PLAY IN THE HD-DVD PLAYERS. So you don't need to replace your entire fucking collection AGAIN in a new format. (3) HD-DVD disks will play in a regular DVD player– albeit not in the high-def– so if you got an HD-DVD movie you wouldn't need to get a whole new player just to watch it; you'd only need the new player to take full advantage of the possibilities.

    SO MAD that B-R won out. SO MAD ABOUT THAT. SO MUCH NERD RAGE. It's like the whole VHS/Betamax battle all over again. First I had to replace my Beta tapes with VHS, then I had to replace my VHS tapes with DVDs (which I haven't finished doing yet because half of them aren't even available anymore, or at all, and I don't have the money to spend hundreds of dollars on movies I ALREADY OWN bastards), and now I am EXPECTED to get a BR player and replace everything AGAIN?!!? GET OFF MY LAAAAAWN.

    Did I mention that HD-DVDs don't have the same kind of copy protection that BR has? That, in fact, one actually CAN burn copies of your movies for archival purposes, or so your toddler (lovely though she may be) doesn't go and fuck up Disk One of the super extended fucking expensive Fellowship of the Ring box set so now you can't watch ANY OF IT?! AARGH.

    Fuck you, Blu-Ray. FUCK YOU. Honestly, I don't know why there wasn't a geek revolution over it. Blu-Ray only succeeded because the US RIAA/MPIAA/copyright guys forced it through because it's harder to copy. And it has regions. Which means they can control who gets to see what where. And also it's completely incompatible with DVDs so you have to replace your entire library AGAIN ooh look at all the lovely moneys.


    Also, I hate pan&scan/full screen with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. I first heard about letterbox back in the 80s and never looked back. Won't even buy a movie if it's a full-screen edition.

    I mean, sure, you want to zoom it in, whatever. And I think it's cool that some disks come with the wide-screen on one side and the full-screen on the other, that's awesome. But I want to see the MOVIE, dammit, not the cheap-ass playing-it-on-TV version. I dunno. Full-screen just feels really cheap and lame to me and I hate it.

    Heh. I may be slightly obsessive about ratios. I am currently suffering through having most of the text on my computer so small that if I can't zoom it in I can't read it, simply because apparently that's the correct setting for this monitor so my graphics don't get stretched. And apparently it's more important to me that I view things in the correct ratio than that I view them at a size I can bloody well read, ha ha.

        • The copy protection is broken, but most people dont have BD-Rom drives to rip the movies, and dont want to store the uncompressed 30-50gb file. If they're going to convert it to something of a more manageable file size, they might as well just go with the DVD.

          • Can't you still copy them using one of those programs that simply plays the file and records what's being outputted, like Handbrake?

            • "Simply"? Not to my knowledge. As far as I know the world of Blu-Ray ripping is still young and not for the faint of heart.

              • On the other hand, the world of internet piracy of rips that more dedicated individuals have already done is well established! Proving once again that copy-protection only harms legitimate uses.

      • What thevoxpopuli said. Blu-Ray players play DVDs; you don't *have* to replace anything. I got a BR player as a gift last year when my old DVD player died, but I have replaced nothing. I still buy DVDs. I own a handful of Blu-Rays, mostly because I got them on sale for cheaper than the DVDs would have been, or because they were gifts.

        For me, it would be a total waste to spend more on BR discs, because I own a crap TV. =P It's not even flat screen; it's from 2001 and it's giant and doesn't even recognize the idea of HD. One day it will die and I'll be able to justify getting a decent set, and then maybe I'll start to notice the difference in quality between a DVD and a BR, but for now I think I'm not even seeing DVD video as shiny as it should look!

        I agree about aspect ratio, though. Since I discovered widescreen in high school, I have not looked back – even though my TV is still built for the pan-and-scan version so I *always* get the bars on films. I guess I'm long since used to them.

      • I'd say ALL do. If you purchase a BluRay player that doesnt play DVD's you are going out of your way to find a player that sucks.

    • I was firmly in the HD DVD camp, due to it's vast amount of "consumer friendly" superiority, but its just a non-issue now. Just pretend the format war never happened and Blu Ray was always our HD disc standard. My only real gripe that kept me from adopting earlier was price. When BD's were $35 a pop I just couldnt see the point, but now they are the same price as DVD's and in many cases can be snatched up on sale or from amazon for $10-15 a piece.

      Our current rule is if it's a one time watch movie (Thor or whatever, something we dont care about), just rent it. Get the Bluray from Netflix or redbox. If it's a movie for our daughter or something we want to rip and take with us on iPads or for travel, get the DVD for the small filesize and ease of copying. If it's one of our favorite movies that we are sure to watch more than once then purchase the blu-ray.

      This way we wont end up with 100 Blu Rays that we dont really want or need in 5 years when physical media is all but abolished.

  11. Joel, you see? This? This is the right way to NERRRRRRD: actual profanity directed at a video format, a literary spit at the target of nerd rage, and EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPS LOCK. We can all learn from this master.

    • Haha Thanks!

      I'm actually really happy to hear that Blu-Ray players will actually play DVDs these days. I'm pretty sure they didn't use to, hence 99% of my frustrations as outlined above, but if I don't have to replace my DVDs AGAIN then suddenly I am a lot more mellow about the idea, ha ha.

      –Still ticked off about the Director's Son's cut of "Erik the Viking," though, but that's a whole 'nother rant. 😉

  12. Most things in this category are now case-by-case for me, based on a sort of Pareto/80-20 rule of opposable digits. If you're still trying to get the picture right and Marty's already being chased out of the mall parking lot by the Libyans, just put the remote down and watch.

    • Funny you chose that example, because our BTTF ultimate Trilogy Blu-Rays are actually 16:9. I was kind of shocked.

  13. It bugs the ever-loving crap out of me when a DVD has bad special features. THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER IS NOT A SPECIAL FEATURE IF THE MOVIE CAME OUT LAST YEAR. I pay that extra $10 for the gag reel and behind-the-scenes featurettes, not a 1.5 minute summary of what I just watched.

    • The first DVD i ever saw was Hackers and the special features were listed as "Interactive Menus" and … that was it.

      • OMG have you ever seen the easter egg on the "Dark City" DVD? You have to jump through like ten minutes of hoops, and the reward is a horribly executed crappy, short, and exceedingly lame animation. Good movie but that easter egg was SO not worth it.

  14. My problem is that I have a 72" DLP tv but the only sound we have is from the speakers built into the TV. Those are the speakers I think of as only being installed so that you can test things and if your main system goes down you can still know what's going on in an emergency. But my 'rents won't spring for even a sound bar speaker thing, let alone the surround sound because, in ma's words, "wires are ugly". Blu-Ray player? check Blu Ray disks? Check, huge, high-def TV? Check. sound? worse than my old 17 inch CRT

    • Thats a fucking tragedy. Sound in movies is one of my nerd problems. I move all of my surround speakers to optimal distance and run the diagnostics on my receiver to make sure everything is where it's supposed to be at the level it's supposed to be so that it sounds perfect. I recalibrated everything, moved my subwoofer and repositioned my surround speakers after we got the blu-rays and holy shit does it sound fantastic now. Good, proper surround sound is more than half the movie experience for me. It really helps to immerse you in the moment.

  15. This one will probably get me some flames, but you know what, I don't care. I'm strong enough to admit to a troubled youth. For the longest time, when I played games on my computer, I absolutely refused to use the WASD keys for movement like so many of my "hardcore" PC gamer friends insisted I should. I don't know why I was so stubborn about using the arrow keys, but I was. That has changed in recent years when I started playing more shootery-time games with a mouse, but for games like The Old Republic I still like to use the arrow keys to leave my left hand free for the number keys.

    As for the zooming thing… Aspect ratios are like religions. Pick one that works for you and go with it, just don't try to force anyone else around to your way of thinking. Or something like that.

    • I used to be exactly like you.

      My logic was, "We haven't lost a war here! I am a sentient being. This computer is made for me, not the other way around. So I'm going to use the buttons with the arrows on them god-damn-it."

    • "Aspect ratios are like religions. Pick one that works for you and go with it, just don't try to force anyone else around to your way of thinking. Or something like that. "

      And if someone disagrees with you pelt them with stones and call them a heretic!

  16. I once worked on student (yes a student) film that shot on 70mm with an anamorphic lens!!! It was redunkulous! When shown in a theatre the film was about 3 feat tall and 30 feet wide.

  17. I am generally pretty flexible when it comes to this sort of stuff but I absolutely refuse to yield on one thing. I will not watch English dubs of foreign language films or American remakes of foreign language films.

    • I wont do the english dubs either, but I'll give the remakes a shot (though I have usually already seen the original). Amelie was the first foreign film where I realized I would be missing SO MUCH of the performances had I watched them dubbed. Eventually you forget you are reading subtitles and just start hearing the words in the actors' voices.

      • I'm am that way as well since I have been watching small independent foreign films and TV shows as well as Anime – my friends [not-geek – poor slobs] and family abhor subtitles. A common excuse is that the words go by too fast … riiiiigggghhhhttt ……

  18. One thing I forgot to mention in the post is that many of our Blu-Rays came with "Digital Copies." Since they require activation codes to work and are DRM'd as all get out, we just pretend they don't exist. I'll Netflix the DVD and rip it if I need an iPad'able copy. But what I didnt realize is that the digital copies actually have a set expiration date! That's crazy! These LOTR extended Blu-Rays came with digital copies of every film and the files die in a couple of months. Why would… how… who even… how is that a thing?

    • Wow. And I thought it was bad enough that they're only compatible with iTunes and Apple devices. (I've never had a problem with [reasonable] DRM in video games, since the medium already limits them to whichever platform I buy them for anyway, but when it's something like a simple video or audio file, there's really no excuse for not being able to play it on everything in existence.)

      What's next, expiration dates on gift cards?

      • No, most gift cards have gone non-expiring, or with 5 year expirations, due to state/federal laws. (Long stories I could bore you with on the topic).

        This isn't for any Apple things (that I've seen); this is buy the movie off a shelf from a store, and inside will be a digital copy with an expiration date on it like a ticking time bomb.
        WTH are you supposed to do if you've ripped the movie legally and the drive its on dies? Had presence of mind ot back the drive up 2+ times? And if the DRM for the movie won't let you?

    • An expiration date? What is this stuff, milk? I guess I better get my digital copy of Serenity before it's gone! Or I could just rip the protection from the DVD that came with the Bu-Ray and put that copy onto my digital device. yeah, I like that idea way more than fighting with DRM.

      • If Im not mistaken, it's not "get the digital copy before you lose the chance." It's "the digital copy stops working after this date." Your 2nd method is what I do every time. Even if I buy a blu-ray I will netflix the DVD so I can own a proper digital copy.

    • Yep, I've been running into that problem lately even with DVDs (don't ask I like them still) where I may collect a pile of thing to watch when I have a good chunk of time, start my OCD process to look at everything inside the case (so I can throw out all the marketing crap, etc.) and realize that the copy I could have legit burned to a computer unit expired months/year ago.
      It incredibly NERDRAGES me…it's like film companies are giving you a mini-SOPA for their own benefit, but because you don't have ADD and watch the movie 2 seconds after it you've bought it, sucks to be you.

    • Like the people who go from Level 1 to 50 in less than 2 weeks; obviously they read all the flavor text in the game along the way, right?


  19. I use to hate Widescreen (not enough of a movie nerd (I.E. not at all) to understand what people where bitching about. And then my Film and Literature teacher showed us (first day of class) a video showing the movies in widescreen and then all they cut out to show it in full screen on a TV. And from that day onward I could never watch a movie in anything but widescreen without being at least slightly annoyed. Worse if you're watching a set of movies and the first 2 are wide screen and someone grabbed the normal copy of the third one.

    I've had a Blu-Ray player for almost a year, but I've just now gotten a TV that's not 10 years old (and a crappy 10 year old TV at that) and holy hell does everything look amazing. It's like watching Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin kick ass and take names all over again! And Vera looks better than ever, be still my fanboy heart.

  20. I was very sad when I bought my mother a DVD of "Chicago" (the movie, not the band) for Christmas one year and discovered, after she opened it, that I had gotten the "fullscreen" copy and never even thought to check the box. SHE didn't mind, but then again SHE has never actually gotten around to watching it either. But I acknowledge that it was my fault that I got the wrong format.

    Probably more on-topic, it bugs the hell out of me whenever someone uses a widescreen display to play something that wasn't, and instead of pillarboxing it, it just stretches to fill the screen. I dunno if it's the cable companies' fault or the TVs, but every time I go to someone's house where they have cable, the analog channels are always shown in this form. And of course, I'm the only one who can even tell. (It disturbs me that MY brain knows there's something wrong with a person having a squashed head and nobody else's does.)

    Computer games have the same problem. I'm not asking that we go back to the days when LCDs would display lower resolutions at 1:1 centered in a sea of black, but is it too much to ask that my $200 monitor preserve the aspect ratio when it stretches them out? I had to hack my copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 to run in a window just so I could play it on my system.

  21. I found that having kids was the death nell for nerdiness/caring/personal hygiene. And recently I eBayed all my surround stuff – it was too painful to keep finding my 3 year old and 1 year old taking turns hammering the kit with other bits of kit.

    • Yeah the kids thing will really shift your focus from "important" things like surround sound and such to "actually important" things like your kids and their wellbeing. We left our surround sound system unhooked for the first 3.5 years of our daughter's life. It just wasnt worth the frustration when we hardly got to watch movies any way. Then i ran everything into the closet behind the wall the TV is hung on and used an IR blaster to send the remote control signal into the closet. This way the kiddo cant flip all the switches on the equipment and we still get our preferred home AV experience.

  22. Luckily, I never had to rid myself of my insistence on ripping all my CDs to lossless codecs, since storage and the ability of players kept pace (I mean, hell, my current smartphone has 64GB of space built in, and plays FLAC natively). Admittedly, I was never the kind of person to insist others do the same, but it wasn't that I didn't think others shouldn't be keeping the full quality of audio (although many people certainly can't tell), but just that the standard nerdy "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!!!!!!11" diatribes are the absolute worst way to convince someone. If people ask, give an honest and informed opinion (concentrating on the positives and negatives that would actually matter to them), and if they chose to just rip their CDs in iTunes at 128kpbs, well, whatever makes them happy.

    These days sites like Bandcamp (and most independents, for example the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack) all make the music just as easy to purchase in FLAC as anything else, so it's actually a case where I was staunch and inflexible and, as time went on, instead of softening my position the world itself changed. Now, the staunch and inflexible nerdy method is actually comfortable and convenient, too!

    (Note: offer only valid for non-Apple users; users of iTunes, please see related ALAC option. Don't worry, you won't notice any difference, that's part of what lossless means.)

  23. My friends and I did just this very thing only the other day. Only we used the extended DVDs, a projector, and one of the walls of the martial arts dojo two of them (married couple) happen to own. We started at 9 am, and went until about 11:30 that night (breaks between each disc, for sanity's sake.) If there's a better way to spend a Sunday, I've not yet found it.

  24. As a grammar nazi, I went well into the internet age resisting the word "dot." "It's not a DOT, it's a period or decimal point." I finally had to relent around 1996 or so, but I still die a little inside every time I hear "dot com." Or worse, when people turn it around and say things like, "you end a sentence with a dot" or "that station is 96-dot-5 FM."

    As for the widescreen argument, I used to get into it with people who hated the black bars, and didn't understand why they would cut off the top and bottom of the picture like that.

    • But it IS a dot. It is not a point, that's math, a URL is not math. It is not a period, that's prose, a URL is not prose. Stop dieing, "dot com" is correct.

      Calling a period or a decimal point a dot, however, is completely uncalled for.

  25. I'm very anal about my music, which has gotten more and more annoying as I've practically ceased buying CD's and begun torrenting more and more from potentially disreputable music sources/downloading straight from overclockedremix.org and symphonyofscience.com.

    Thus, I wind up painstakingly making sure all the titles are properly capitalized, all the tracks are in the right order, nothing has any ratings that I didn't give them (why a star rating is necessary in a digital media player, I have no idea, but that doesn't mean I want some random track off the Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack to have 4 of them when I haven't even listened to it yet), and that everything that's on multiple discs shares an album so that I won't crash when Physical Graffiti cuts out for a perfectly legitimate reason after "Kashmir" and I'm half a mile from home.

    That's about my only conceit to being a really, really anal* nerd.

    *at least, "anal", in an organizational/technological sense…

  26. A friend and I, both music geeks with vast CD collections, saw one of our other friends just manhandle a CD like a tostada, getting his unholy human oils all over the laser surface, and we both involuntarily gasped in unison.

  27. I am an audiophile, and I refuse to participate with iTunes! I am not going to pay $1 per song and then have Apple tell me that I don't own that file. BULL SHIT! I have so many friends who use iTunes and then can't share their music between devices, or they lose they're phone so they've lost every song they purchased!? That's ludicrous!

    But I confess to being generally ok with downloading stuff from, let's say, less official sources. If I hear an album I like, I buy the LP (I LOVE the sound of vinyl), and I go to the movie theatre a lot, so I have fewer qualms about downloading a movie when I've already paid $15 + to see it (sometimes more than once). It sometimes means a sacrifice in picture quality, but I have a terrible old TV right now anyway, so I'm not too concerned.

    Also, I remember very clearly the first time I noticed a pan & scan movie, and I was horrified! What a truly terrible idea!

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