30.11.07

It's all just sick.

I've spent the last 3 days trying to fix issues with my computer caused by the upgrade to the latest and greatest (?!) OS, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

I had an urge the other day to watch one of the DVDs I brought with me. It happened to be a PAL DVD, Region 2 encoded, as it was one I ordered from here a couple years ago. It didn't work. In any way, shape or form. The built-in DVD player is very DRM-laden and very adherent to the way media content creators want players to behave, meaning with my DVD drive currently set to Region 1 playback I couldn't watch a Region 2 disc with the standard software player. That would be fine except all other players failed.

It's not a format issue as a CD I bought shortly after arriving came with a bonus DVD, and that disc plays back fine in Apple's software player even though it's PAL. The key is that disc is Region 0, and for some reason that baffles my mind not only does the Apple software prevent one from playing a Region 2 disc in a Region 1-set drive under Leopard, I couldn't even use any ripping software or other means to circumvent the issue relating to my (legal) DVD.

I hunted down a firmware update for my DVD drive to change it from RPC2 to RPC1, aka region-free. However neither it nor the bridge software (the hardware can be region free but the OS still thinks you're region-locked so you need intermediary software to tell the OS that it's seeing something it's not) operate under Leopard, so I had to set up an install of the previous OS version so I could use the patch and bridge. That's when all hell broke loose.

I've spent the last two days (and then some) prepping the machine for the second OS. It's been a trial of partitioning the drive, optimizing the drive, installing, false starts, stupid blunders, obvious wrong paths and so on that have finally all been swept aside and after today's escapades (create a single-layer DVD version of Leopard so I can burn a bootable disc: 5 hours; optimize the HD: 4 hours; partition the HD and install 10.4: 2 hours; update 10.4 with all the latest patches since the version I own was released: 1 hour) I've got the machine dual booting and the DVDs work as expected under 10.4. The reason this is important is because future DVDs I buy here will all be Region 2 and therefore with my laptop as the only means of watching DVDs, I need it to be able to operate as expected, even if it's via a kludge.

So that's been my week, basically. That and I've had a cold. I woke up feeling iffy on Sunday and it's been up and down since then with coughing, nasal issues, dehydration (despite drinking 10-15L of water a day!) and the usual gamut of cold-style crap. I blame sitting outside at the pub last Friday night so I could actually hear the people I was with speak as the inside was overcrowded. I dressed warmly, I even wore a scarf (which I rarely do) yet I wound up with a cold. Oh well, it's one of those things that has to be dealt with.

Basically this week, other than meeting someone on Sunday for a couple drinks, I've done nothing except futz with the computer and gone nowhere except the market to buy food. It gets boring to be sure (especially when I've read most of the books I've brought with me and I can't use my computer while the 4-hour defrag took place!) but it's one way to not spend money I guess.

Apple on Friday (technically now today since it's nearly 2am as I write this) is having is Black Friday sale for parts of the world other than the US. I don't know what's on sale or how big discounts are or if I even need anything (I'm sure I don't) but as soon as the Apple Store (online version) is back up I'll see what's what and maybe if I feel up to it take a trip to Regent Street and do some retail therapy.

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