The Misery of BluRay.

15 12 2014

I’m a music lover, and I’m usually looking for new vinyl or CDs, but once in a very rare blue moon, I fancy watching a movie.

So at the supermarket today I thought I’d grab Guardians of the Galaxy and give that a spin.

My PC is newish and has a bluray drive in it, but I’ve not had a BluRay movie yet, so this would be a first.

Around Ten, I popped the disc in the drive and prepared to watch it… it wouldn’t run in Windows Media Player, or VLC.

A quick Google search suggested that I should go to a page which would let me tweak VLC with a few clever files, which should sort out the problem.

it didn’t work.

Then I tried Cyberlinks DVD player, it’s a commercial player, which I didn’t have, but as there’s a 30 day trial on it, I thought it’d be ok to get.

Well that didn’t work either.

A friend told me that basically a certain movie distributor is so paranoid about piracy that it basically forces you onto a torrent site, because you’ll never get the original movie to play.

It’s now 1:17am, I’m fed up.

This bluray will be going cheap on e-bay tomorrow.

MP3s Quality over Quantity.

1 12 2014

The first time I heard about MP3s was on “Beyond 2000″ in the Late 80’s (Australian version).

They were first used to store samples for sampling synthesizers, but then moved on to be a way to store a song digitally.

There was a shop in Japan which sold MP3s as singles, on an early kind of memory card, inside a small box which looked something like a small CD package.

Then, They began to appear freely on various websites, and these MP3s were tiny and sounded pretty bad, because back then we mostly used dialup internet, and so the smaller an mp3 was, the quicker it could be downloaded… it seemed that to many people, sound quality didn’t matter all that much.

I have a friend who works in a recording studio, she feels frustrated because at one time, music was mixed in a way that would sound beautiful when played back on good equipment, and she found herself mixing audio for MP3 use, which is something akin to using artificial chocolate in place of the real thing, it’s nowhere as good.

So the whole idea of MP3 was to transfer files quicker or to take up the least amount of space on our devices.

But things have changed, as things do… and people forget why we did things, and still do, this is where habits or needs become traditions, and everyone just goes with the flow without asking why.

Our devices have loads of space, and our internet is faster than before, so why do we persist with a format which is known for poor audio?

Yes, you can still have five thousand songs on the one device, but might it be better to have half of that for audio which sounds a lot more like my sound engineer friend would approve of?

Part of the reason MP3s sound better or worse is because of something called “bitrate”, and about the best MP3s come in at 320k, you can check the bitrate of your MP3s by right-clicking the file and selecting properties, have a look around in the box which appears and it should tell you.

What people don’t realise is that MP3s sold at a popular online store are lower than 320k

(Please don’t be confused, 320k is not the file size)

There are different files called FLACs which are considered lossless, meaning that they sound as good as a CD, I personally don’t think that’s quite true, but a really good FLAC beats a really good MP3.

At this point in time, online stores should offer a better option for those who want it, and MP3s should probably be at the point of being phased out completely.

- Wolfie Rankin.


Walking the Facebook plank

23 10 2014

Thrice in recent months, I’ve lost my Facebook page.

Once was over a slightly naughty image of a bloke laying on the beach, nude, with a sunburnt scrotum. The photo was quite far away, and who knows if it was real or not, probably not real, and most people would have laughed.

Except this person, who flagged my page and had me suspended.

A few weeks went past, and one morning I woke to find a friend had left messages on Twitter to ask what I had done with my page, as it had vanished.

As it turned out, Facebook had suspended me due to it’s real names policy, I had been on Facebook for over five years, surely they’d know by now if I was a good “netizen” or just a creep with a fake name?

Facebook wanted me to change my name or offer proof of legitimacy, I went with the latter option and it wasn’t long before my page was re-opened and all was well with things.

Then about two weeks later it happened again, and was resolved a few days later (my fault it took so long).

As it turns out, if a person doesn’t like you for whatever reason, they can flag your page and it is then suspended pending review.

And that’s what was happening, I simply had a person whose hobby it was to try and wipe me from Facebook.

The Fake Names policy is a contentious issue, with one side claiming everyone with a “fake name” is a troll, stalker, possible rapist… while the other understands that plenty of performers use stage names like Boy George, Marilyn, Elton John, David Bowie… and there are various people who wish to get their thoughts out to the public, while maintaining some secrecy for their own safety, such as political activists.

Drag Queens, Furries, LBGT People, Pagans and others who were not causing any trouble for others, and who were good “customers” at Facebook, have simply been evicted by club bouncers, a simply pointless attack.

This same issue was a huge stumbling block for Google+ too, who in the early days decided this was a great policy, but found that it was much like shooting yourself in the foot, as many enthusiastic people who joined Google+ simply lost their account and although Google+ no longer adheres to the rule, many were offended and didn’t return.

And yes, I have to remember that I was a mod once too, and sometimes I took rules too seriously and acted too strongly, it’s fine to intervene when someone is clearly doing something wrong, but often, just talking about the issue can resolve things really well too.

Wolfie Rankin.

Radio Wolf – AD-15

13 10 2014

Radio Wolf - Ep15 - 9/10/14 by Wolfie Rankin on Mixcloud

Radio Wolf, with Wolfie Rankin.
Available to listen to at any time!

Wolfie Rankin.

An old friend

30 09 2014

When I was at high school, it seemed that most of the other students were bullies, and I hated the place.
I did have three close friends though, but they didn’t stay with me long, one moved out of the area with his family, another was moved to another school… which was probably not such a bad idea, and the other was killed by a truck on his way to school.

I was left with people who were friendly, but they weren’t like the one’s I’d lost, and missed.

Two of them are who I want to talk about.

One, was a year older than me, the other a year younger.

They came from a very poor family, and lived in a house which seemed like it was barely there, and not big enough for the family who lived inside it.

A family member had, at some point, banned television, so the boys would come to school and hear us talking about things we saw on tv, and were left out of the conversation… I admit, I don’t watch tv much at all now, except for iview, but it was the 80s back then, no internet… I live on the internet as most of you know.

This idea to get rid of tv didn’t help the boys one iota, in fact it deprived them of development… yes they could have gone out, they could have done things, but they were shy and reserved as I was… after school, they’d go home, and stay there until they had school again the next day… or monday.

I had television, a VCR and my records, things were being listened to, I had an interest. I also had my pets who were always, and still are, considered family members.

Mum took me out to socialise, I was shy too, and would only go out with my parents, it would either be a drive to a country market, or a day out to one of the restaurants in the Dandenongs, the local hills just on the outskirts of Melbourne.

I was shy anyway, but had been made worse by the bullying I got at high-school, I should have got out of there earlier, but I didn’t have the nous to do so at the time.

I needed a mentor, or a close friend I could rely on, but didn’t have that, so coped the best I could.

The boys and another friend would come here on the weekend, and I would record music for them, and I mean vinyl to cassette, which meant we would listen to the records as we recorded them.

The older boy was quite eccentric, for instance, one day at school, it was red hot, and we were all in shorts or t-shirts, but not he, he wore his full uniform, with jumper on, and a leather jacket over that, done right up to the neck.

I remember the PE teacher looking at him and almost pleading with him to at least undo a few buttons.

This kid didn’t even look hot, or sweat.

Anyway, I could talk about them for ages, but I want to come forward to now.

The younger of the two comes to visit me, and it frustrates me, because although he’s ok, I only just barely see him as a friend, the two would seem to sit just at the level of my annoyance, sometimes if I could just scream at them it would help… I did tell the other to bugger off once.

The older brother, I should say, has since died.

This leaves the younger with very little to do, and therefore, he seems to have got it into his mind to come over, since what we have in common is dead family members.

This kind of annoys me, as I feel I have stuff to do, and want to keep doing it.

I like company, but what I want is to be with someone who understands me, someone who gets it, this guy doesn’t get it.

I have a friend who I can talk about anything with, including the full spectrum of my sexuality, and he doesn’t flinch, but then I know his too and his doesn’t bother me either.

But this guy is still, somehow a nervy little fourteen year old boy who titters about anatomy and “poofters” and prostitutes.

and I’m a bit sick of it.

I think the next time he does, I’m just going to floor him with “Hey, I’ve sucked a cock, and I’ve had mine sucked many times… yes, by MEN!”

I’m not sure what that will do, he might just giggle and blush, he might go home and not return, I dunno.

And I don’t want to talk about Maturity, I’d like to think that I’m still a playful pup most of the time, even though I’m really a tired old dog, No, Worrying about maturity is the domain of fourteen year old girls, nobody gives a shit about maturity once you’re older.

Is this guy a friend, or do I just feel sorry for him and tolerate him? I think it’s mainly the latter.


On and Off

27 08 2014

What if…

There was to be an experiment, in which a whole state of a country was involved, one which has a fairly evenly spaced population, a popular radio station, and an Astronaut watching and in contact with the radio station below….

And the listeners had their fingers on their light switches, and were set to flick their switches as the Astronaut says…. on, off, on, off, on, off, on….

Would the Astronaut see the state flash like a neon sign, in a fairly even, flat pattern…

OR, Would He see something more like ripples from a pool, because people who were closer to the transmitter, would hear the commands quicker than those further away?

Like a Primitive Man.

25 08 2014

If you watched Catalyst´╗┐ You may have seen how our gut is supposed to have “Caveman food” or at least a more natural, less processed diet.

It made me think.

While growing up, my Father who ate very well due to Mum feeding him, had a lot of gut problems, he would say he had ulcers, but I don’t know if that was ever confirmed by a Doctor, maybe it was… He would often complain about “burning up” on the inside, and burp a lot.

But He would slather on butter an inch thick, even just after WWII ended, and Mum was still on rations (I actually found the ration book). She was often angry with him for this habit.

Dad also loved his salt “I don’t see why salt is bad, they used to give us salt pills when we were in the army up north” Yes but it was very hot up there in the Islands.
So he would sprinkle salt on everything, even before he’d tasted it.

Sugar and coffee were other things, and cream.

Mum also had a sweet tooth, so there were always cakes at our place, and Dad loved those.

Now here’s the thing.

Mum was of an English background, and while Dad had his share of English blood too, Part of him was Aboriginal.

So while Mum was closer to her proper diet, peas, beans, lentils, potatoes, meat etc, She never really had any problems.

Dad should have probably fed on a diet more suited to the Aboriginal… Of course this was impractical, but we could have come up with something similar, there’s fish, there’s fruit and veg which is similar to the Aboriginal diet, it could have worked.

Not that you could get Dad to do anything fancy, he was unmovable, and kept on eating as much of the good stuff till the day he couldn’t eat at all.

My Sister had her own gut problems, Mum noted that Fish and Chips or a BBQ would cause a migraine, but like Dad, She rarely listened and suffered for it later.

When I turned 21, I asked my Parents if I could go to an Indian restaurant with them, that’s all I wanted, I’ve never been a mad party person.

We all loved the curries, and became regular customers.

However, I wonder now if that caused more damage than it was worth?

Last year I had begun to buy Indian food from the supermarket, had this intensified my UC to the point that I needed medical help?

Had it made my Dad sicker?

And if the food was bad for us, what about Mum and her English gut? Why didn’t anything seem to affect her?

It’s worth noting that unlike my Dad, I will tend to drop things completely if I feel they’re not doing me any good.

I stopped drinking coffee and tea as a teenager, and did not start drinking it again until the age of 39, because the cancer treatments had left me feeling cold inside.

But I am in a bit of a rut at the moment, and need to get out of that.

So, should I too be eating snakes, lizards, turtles, fish, wild fruit & vegetables, grubs, moths etc?

It’s unrealistic, and to my Western tastes, is a bit off putting, and I had lizards and tortoises as pets, they were family. I am not eating witchetty grubs, although a cooking teacher at high school said that her Hubby, a chef, had come home with a mystery soup one evening… She tried it and ate four bowls of it… witchetty grub soup! She said she felt revolted, but at the same time, it was delicious.

However, everything seems to suggest that possibly a Raw food diet could be the way to go, or at the very least, just using a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Catalyst also mentioned that good bacteria can be added to the gut, by eating lots of particular vegetables which have the bugs already inside them, which in theory, makes fecal transplants look like treatments for emergency cases.

There is research being done in the US where they collect poo from all around the world, they will send you a kit for this, for free when you sign up online.

They are trying to trace gut bacteria and produce a kind of map, they also show you which bacteria they found in your gut, and compare your findings with others.

I think this could be worth trying.

Tonight, while having my enema, I heard Michael Jackson singing “Man in the mirror”, wise words?


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