Barcelona Dakar 2005

Jan 28, 2005 | | 0 comments |

We've been watching the wrap-up of the 2005 Dakar Rally on OLN for the last couple of nights. It's been amusing to watch the over-cocky Robby Gordon get put in his place. The guy thinks he's some sort of superhero because he's competed in some Baja races and won. He seriously thought he'd win the Dakar too. Well a quadruple roll beat the smugness out of him early on, and he got continually demoted and demoted by the VW team until he became second support driver. They interviewed him during the last couple of days and he was lacklustre and didn't even want to finish because he was nowhere near the top of the class.
Eventually he admitted he'd radically underestimated how difficult the Rally would be.
It was amazing to watch as he just got more and more pissed off at the fact that they'd thrown millions of dollars at the race and couldn't even break the top 10. Whoever he is (I'd never heard of him before) he proved that money + arrogance does not equal race win. I hope he doesn't sully the 2006 Dakar Rally with his arrogant attitude again. The world of Rallying could quite do without this cocksure little prick.

Nearly the end of the day.

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*Yawn*.

And relax...

Jan 27, 2005 | | 0 comments |

That's it for another year then. The Fed and State accepted out e-filed tax return today. So we're done. Just wait for the refund now :-)

"Legal" downloadable music pt.2

Jan 25, 2005 | | 0 comments |

I delved into the murky waters of downloadable music again today. This time looking for "I Want More" by Faithless. Shock of shocks, itunes actually had it!
Plus they had a neat offer - sign up using PayPal and get 5 free downloads. So I popped the latest iTunes on my PC and set up and account, and downloaded the track for free. Great.

Well, no. You see iTunes downloads files in .m4p format - it's an advanced version of .aac encryption with digital rights management built in. ie. you can't play the music on anything other than the PC you used to download it. ie. it's a crap system. Fair use does mean that if I purchased the music (which I have) then I can play it wherever the hell I like (which I can't). I need the files to be in .mp3 format so I can play them on my various mp3-reading audio systems, like my car radio. But iTunes would rather I didn't do that. They'd rather I installed this PC in my car and play the music like that instead. Or they want me to buy an iPod. Neither of these is going to happen, so I needed to find a way of using my music in the way I wanted.

First of all you need to get the .m4p file into a format that is more useful to you - like an MP3 file. You need to strip the DRM out of it. I eventually discovered iRevolt, originally linked from this forum, and JHymn. These neat little apps incorporates something called FairKeys which allows you to recover your DRM key from Apple. After all - you own it!

Now you've got a .m4a file, you can do what you like with it - in my case convert it to an MP3 file so I can play it where I want. I used dBPowerAmp with their .m4a codec.

And now, sweet bliss, I have the music I paid for, in a format I can use. The mp3 file has the same quality as the downloaded .m4p file, but now I can play it in my car radio. Which, if I'd bought the CD at a store, I'd also be able to do.
To the world of DRM-strippers and music converters : Thank you.
To iTunes : let us use the music we purchased where we want, not where you want.

Jan 24, 2005 | | 0 comments |


The Holland supporters were in full presence Posted by Hello

Speed skating

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We just got back from an entertaining afternoon's sporting, watching the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval. It's the first time we've been to that venue - very nice. It was satisfying to see a huge Dutch contingent present - more so than any other country. They brought along the supporters club and the Kleintje Pils brass band. Which was nice, because they handed the Americans their asses on a plate in the men's competition. At 13 of the 15 pairs raced, the Americans had podium positions 1 and 2. And then in the space of two races, they'd been pushed off completely by two Dutchmen and a Canadian. Of course the Dutch supporters had a party. It was a lot of fun.