Copy Protected DVD

It’s no big mystery that we all love movies. This is our key source of entertainment inside and outside of the home. What, you don’t buy that statement? Think about how much time you devote to viewing films in your living room and out at movie theaters.

Probably quite a bit. Just to elaborate, I spent six years working in three different video stores. American rents a LOT of videos and DVDs. I witnessed it first-hand week after week. If you want further proof, just check with your local Blockbuster Video or Hollywood Video and ask for your total rental history sum.

They can easily tell you how much you’ve spent thus far. But, get ready to cringe with regret. Folks often do. Now, one way customers seem to be getting back at the rental companies is by making copies. I know several individuals who do this relentlessly. My only concern is; what about the copy protected DVD spiel? Isn’t this against the law?

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the ad they play at the beginning of many DVD rentals. it addresses the issue of piracy and copy protected DVD laws. They are basically saying that you shouldn’t download films for free off the web, and you certainly shouldn’t make copies of your DVD rentals. After all, when you think about it, this is stealing.

You rented the DVD to view; you didn’t pay for it! Nevertheless certain folks will continue to do this with little regard for copy protected DVD laws. It would take one heck of a smack-down by the authorities to obliterate this issue, or at least cause it to die down. If people can rent DVDs and copy them on their personal computer, they certainly will if they please. A buddy of mine does this with every flick he rents online. I can’t help but laugh at the guy because he now has around 7,000 DVDs. All of which were rentals. Ridiculous huh?

Don’t forget about the fine! When it comes to copy protected DVD laws and piracy, you’d better keep that fine in mind. Isn’t it 250,000 or has it gone up? I can’t imagine being fined that sum of cash just for copying a DVD. But, I will tell you one thing, I have no interest in putting my butt on the line by making illegal copies of DVDs. I will get my flicks the old fashioned way; by paying for them.

Filed under: Audio

Universal Remote Control

Men love remotes. There is no way around it. If something has a remote, my husband will get it just so that he can control it. The problem is that we end up with fifteen different remotes and we don’t remember what half of them go to any longer. Not only that, my daughter likes to hide them, and she always ends up hiding the ones that we really do need. We have gone out quite a few times to buy a universal remote control but so far, we have not found one that can do it all.

The first universal remote control we got was by far the worst one. It was too small, and you had to look through some long booklet to figure out how to program it. It did not have enough features, and it did not take the place of the remotes that we have in our home. It wasn’t so much a universal remote control as it was a pain. It turned a few things on and off, but it didn’t do much more than that.

The next universal remote control we got worked very well, but there were still some things missing. We have things set up strangely though, and I’m not sure there is a universal remote control out there that can handle it. My husband has things set up so that one thing goes through the VCR and the other goes through the DVD player, and I am quite honestly very confused most of the time. If I wanted to play a VCR tape I had to hit six buttons on six different remotes, including the universal one. It didn’t seem like it was doing what it was meant to do.

When we signed up for digital cable they gave us a great universal remote control. It goes with the system, and it was very easy to program in the rest of our stuff. We can control the surround sound, television, DVD player, VCR, and the cable box all very easily. There are still a few things that we have to do by hand, but for the most part, this is by far the best universal remote control that we have had in our home. We have been able to put away almost all of our other remotes, and this one is large enough to find no matter where we may absent mindedly set it down.

Filed under: TV & Games

Big Screen TV Entertainment Center

A few years ago, all entertainment centers were more or less the same. TVs had not gotten as big as they are, you see, and so it was easy to come up with a design that could fit all of them. All of that has changed, and as a result, people need to buy new furniture every time they upgrade their digital equipment. Big screen TV entertainment centers have to be specifically designed to fit the TV.

Recently, we bought a home theater screen. We measured the big screen TV entertainment center from our most recent TV – the one we were getting rid of it. It was a plasma TV, and it was of a similar size and shape. We thought we would be able to fit the new TV, but we were wrong.

Every entertainment center for big screen TVs is different. In this case, the footprint was off. The thing was just a little bit too wide from the front to back to fit in big screen TV entertainment Centers like the one we had. It almost did, and I spent an hour trying to find a way to negotiate the last few inches. After all, the difference between fitting and not fitting – although it was only 2 or 3 inches – could cost us another 600 dollars. In the end, we had to cough up the dough.

It is just amazing how expensive big screen TV entertainment centers have become. I wouldn’t think that they would cost as much as they do. After all, they are nothing but a simple cabinet. Most of them are not even made out of wood anymore. They are certainly not handcrafted, so what is the cause for the expense?

Whatever the reason, big screen TV entertainment centers cost a fortune. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we had been budgeting for it, but we haven’t. We spent all the money that we wanted to spend on the television screen. The big screen TV entertainment centers were an additional expense that we had not anticipated.

In the end, we had to temporarily give up the idea of big screen TV entertainment centers. Instead, we simply put the TV on a heavily reinforced table. We just could not find anything that fit the TV that we had! It was that overwhelmingly massive! I figure that in another six months, I will look at big screen TV entertainment centers again and try to find something that works. In the meantime, however, I am happy watching the TV while it is sitting on the table.

Filed under: TV & Games

Online Photo Printing Service

I received a digital camera for the holidays this past year and was amazed at the difference in a traditional camera. It was so much fun to take pictures and to be able to view them on the camera. I soon realized though that I had no way to print them, and although having them on my computer was great, I really wanted to be able to put them in frames and albums. That’s where online photo printing came into the picture.

I went on the Internet in search of a way for me to print the images I took without a printer. I knew that there had to be a way to upload the images so they were online pictures that I could then send for online photo printing. I found two different avenues for this.

The first was a company that was in another state. They’d allow me to upload the images from my digital camera to their site. Their online photo printing service promised two day service with delivery by courier on the second day. I was actually amazed at how inexpensive it was, considering that they images were going to be hand delivered to my door in just forty-eight hours.

Patience isn’t a strong suit of mine and I really wanted to see how the images looked right away. During my online search I was able to locate a local photo shop that offered the same service but they would do the online photo printing within hours not days. They’d send me a notification email once the photos were ready and I could drive over, pay for them and pick them up.

What I found especially appealing about their service was that they also had a photo editor on their site. This meant that I could fix any imperfections in my online pictures. Some of them had too much going on in the background, so I was able to resize the images to focus more on the people in the image.

Another thing that was fixable using their site was the dreaded red eye problem. I’d taken a few pictures of our dog. He looked like the devil with bright red eyes. I fixed that easily and could view the online pictures after I edited them and before I finalized the order.

A photo printer would be great and I do plan on getting one eventually. For now though, using the online photo printing site is a great and affordable choice. I only print the images I want and I can order them for pick-up in just a couple of hours. Technology really is remarkable.

Filed under: Cameras

The Smallest Digital Camera

My grandfather is fond of all kinds of high-tech gadgets and gizmos.  Not only does he collect electronic equipment of all shapes and sizes, but he even has worked as an amateur inventor.  He has made several unsuccessful attempts to strike it rich, and has managed to make a tidy profit on his hobby over the years.  So when he presented me with what he proudly said was the world’s smallest digital camera, I was not all that surprised.

Naturally, I was impressed by this so-called smallest digital camera.  It certainly was a mini camera.  It was about 2 inches wide, half an inch deep, and had a viewfinder that was scarcely big enough to fit your eye to.  It may have been the smallest digital camera, but it was not the most practical.  When the miniaturization craze hit, it made some sense.  Things like computers, Walkmen, VCRs, and all other manner of electronic devices were much larger than was practical.  The first computers were simply huge.

But now that things have shrunk to a rather impressively small size, I fail to see the point of continuing to make them smaller.  People are always looking for the smallest digital camera, or the thinnest cell phone, failing to think about whether or not these are practical things to own. 

As soon as I started using the smallest digital camera, I realized how impractical it could be.  You see, having the smallest digital video camera has no real advantages, and many drawbacks.  It is hard to hold it steady, hard to see the pictures in the viewfinder, and hard to get just the shot that you want.  A miniature digital camera might look cute, and it might help indulge a fantasy if you fancy yourself to be an amateur spy, but it will be less entertaining if you fantasize about being a decent photographer.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Not all technology is geared toward projects like finding the smallest digital camera.  There are many people who are busy trying to make technology more usable, more practical, and more efficient.  But even still, I think the craze for gimmicks should have ended a long time ago.  It really seems to show a lack of imagination. 

There are much cooler things to own than the smallest digital camera.  Any serious photographer, or even any amateur photographer with half a mind, would rather have a moderately high resolution digital camera than the smallest one, no matter how high tech the latter is.  But try telling that to my grandpa!

Filed under: Cameras