Saturday, January 07, 2006

Burn This

I finally got a DVD burner for Christmas. I’m actually way behind in this technology. I got a CD burner before anyone else I knew had one. I bought a DVD player when they were still $300 and you could hardly find a DVD to rent at Blockbuster or anywhere else. But the DVD burner I’ve been putting off. The burners and the blanks have been way to expensive for my married tastes (were I a single lad I’m sure I’d have bought one ages ago). I had also put it off because my computer didn’t seem quite up to the task of handling the huge amounts of data in a DVD. With the new laptop I’ve been salivating at the thought of a burner, but alas our time in France didn’t allow me to satisfy those desires.

Finally, I have been fulfilled. Well, almost. I have spent the last week trying to successfully burn a DVD. I plugged the burner in and installed the appropriate software. I selected a DVD to burn, Lost: Season 1: Disk 4, that was on loan from Netflix, and went at it.

Error #1: The disk is copyright protected. Seems DVD manufacturers don’t want us making copies of their movies. Crap. After doing a little research I get lost in the myriad of complicated materials available on the web. There is literally too much information out there for me to comprehend.

I give up and wait until I go to work the next morning. A coworker and I have been discussing my eventual foray into DVD burning for weeks and he has offered his services since he is an old school gadget man. He promises to give me some software that will bypass the copyright protection.

Error #2 The software works like a charm and I bypass the copyright protection without fail. I tinker with my burning software and tell it to rip the DVD to my hard drive. Simple I think, I’m an old school CD burner and immediately understand you get better copies if you first put the data on your hard drive. Lada di lada da, the disks is ripped with one complication: its like 12 gigs of data! Um my 4 odd gigs of blank disk can’t handle that.

D’oh!

I try a different method. I go directly into the DVD and try to rip only the movie, leaving out all the extras that come with a DVD nowadays. Double D’oh! It’s still like 6 gigs of information.

Ok, I go to my coworker again who promises to help out. He tells me that he uses an earlier version of my burning software and it has an easy way to compress the DVD data. I can’t for the life of me find this process on my software and my coworker burns me a copy of his version.

Minor Error #1: My CD/DVD ROM is on the fritz. The little button in the middle that holds the CD keeps popping off. Sometimes while in the ROM. I’ve had to struggle to get it out a few times. It will screw back on and that lasts four or five times. During my struggles I’ve broken a couple of prongs off of it, making it hold the CDs loosely.

I don’t know if this is the problem, or if it is something else, but I have the darndest time getting the burning software off of the CD. The computer keeps locking up mid stream. Several times I think I have it only to get errors while I’m loading the program. After a couple of long nights of fury, I finally get the thing executed and begin the process again.

Copyright protection removed, DVD ripped to the right size and then nothing. What the…? It just disappeared. A little window was up telling me where it was in the process of ripping and when it finished it asked if I wanted to save a log and then nothing happened.

I could find the ripped files but I couldn’t burn them singularly, or together. The software kept giving me grief over it. Finally I tried again.

Error #3After many cursings, sleepless nights, and rethinking my own mortality I tried again. Everything went smoothly. No copyright, ripped to the right size, started burning.

Hallelujah! I’ve finally got it, right? Wrong. Mid way, it gave me an error and booted the blank. Ay Carumba! A coaster. Tried a second time, but had to go through the whole process again. Why? I don’t know, but I said record again and it went through the whole ripping big again.

Guess what? Another coaster!

I’m thinking of throwing the whole thing into the Potomac.

I’ll keep you updated if I actually manage to burn something.

No comments: