Chivalry among warriors

Posted by Admin on March 10, 2013
Personal / No Comments

In a world where warfare has become “high-value” asset assassinations at the hand of a remote controlled drone, it’s fascinating to read about honor among warriors in the field of battle.  Or skies, or seas of battle.  Fascinating stories here:

Misappropriation of resources?

Posted by Admin on November 05, 2012
Politics, WTF? / No Comments

Several years ago, the City of New York went around digging up and replacing sidewalks.  I’m not talking about the ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’m talking about the city determining that your sidewalk is in a state of disrepair, and showing up one day with jackhammers, digging it up and replacing it before you have a chance to complain about the noise.  Of course, a very costly invoice arrives shortly thereafter.  This invoice is generally two to three times what such work would cost in the private sector and failure to pay results in the usual collections and seizure tactics.

While the public-safety motivation behind this policy is obvious, the simple fact is that landlords, not the City are liable for slip and fall accidents and the extremely subjective and unpublished criteria by that determines whose sidewalk gets dug up makes the process suspect.  Universally, landlords and supers see this as another form of taxation: a cash-grab by the New York City.

Sidewalk Replacement in NYC on 11/5/12

And now, the point of today’s post: this morning, I saw the sidewalk being dug up on 111th Street and Broadway, in front of the Citibank.  I stopped in to joke with a friend who works there.  He informed me that the city is replacing the sidewalk, pursuant to the policy I’ve just described.

My question: could these work crews not be more useful helping clear debris in the communities ravaged by the hurricane?

Oh, and for the record, this sidewalk was absolutely fine and did not need replacement.  What qualifies me to say this?  Simple: I walk on it every day.  Unlike the sidewalk on the opposite side of Broadway, where I’ve twisted my ankle several times along the uneven surfaces.


Look for yourself:

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A Valid DVD drive could not be found

Posted by Admin on May 23, 2012
IT, Personal / 16 Comments

I have a MBP and recently upgraded it by adding RAM and by removing the internal CD/DVD super-drive and replacing it with a second hard drive.  There are some pretty nifty kits for doing this; I used the Data Doubler, which I bought from Other World Computing. You can also get a nice little USB-connected plastic case in which you can mount your newly-naked CD/DVD super-drive.  The rationale here is that you hardly ever use the CD drive, but it’s nice to have when you need it.

The problem is that now, your MBP doesn’t know how to find the CD drive.  This is extremely annoying when you want to play a DVD.  OK, let’s be honest, more realistically, it’s extremely annoying when you want to rip and compress your DVD so you can take it on the road or  convert it to an MP4.

While searching for a solution to my problem, I contacted the support people at The Little App Factory (the makers of an excellent app called Rip It), and in a quick response, someone named Jane asked me if I could actually play the DVD using Apple’s DVD  Such a dumb question… oh wait, let me try… hmmmm… Good question… heh, no I can’t… it doesn’t work! SONOFABITCH!  No wonder it couldn’t rip the disc!

Call me an idiot; I didn’t think these problems had anything to do with the fact that I had ripped out the guts of my laptop and moved the CD from internal to external.  I thought maybe these problems were because I hadn’t ever used the SuperDrive to play a movie, or hadn’t set the region or jumped through any of those annoying first-time hoops.

Digression: did you know that region-free DVD players are perfectly legal?  Content providers impose regions on their discs, and the manufacturers of media players play along with this non-competitive behavior.  The end result? I bought French DVDs from and can’t play them in America.  This is bullsh*t.

OK.  back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So I asked support people for help and was told to check the OBVIOUS.

Yup, today I’m the one asking dumb questions instead of googling it.  I ran a search for the DVD error that I received: “A Valid DVD drive could not be found”.  In less than 5 minutes, I ended up in this forum,  where a self-declared notebook geek proposed downloading this script: DVDDriveSwitcher.

DVD Drive Switcher

Drum roll please… everything now works.  The DVD loads, I’m asked for the content molesting region settings, DVD works, I can play DVDs, VLC works, Rip It, FairMount, and all the other wonderful tools you’ve ever needed just work again.

Yay – Problem solved.
Thanks for the sript, Notebook Geek!

May 20, 2013 Update: uh oh… looks like that link to the DVDDrive Switcher script is broken 🙁 .  Good thing I saved it!  Looks like a super tidy perl script, but I couldn’t find anything about the author.  Sadly, I can’t give the author credit.

My Grandparents in 1975 at JFK

Posted by Admin on May 10, 2012
Personal / No Comments
Arthur and Madeleine Morris circa 1975

Arthur and Madeleine Morris circa 1975

Grandma and Grandpa: RIP May 3, 2012

You are sorely missed.

In Memory of my Grandma and Grandpa

Posted by Admin on May 08, 2012
Personal / No Comments

Madeleine F. and Arthur C. Morris

Madeleine F. and Arthur C. Morris, Summer 2011

Aged 88 and 89, they passed away on May 3rd, 2012, succumbing to the elements after a minor car accident in the Catskills. Learning that numerous 911 calls failed due to poor cellular coverage worsened the loss.  Arthur, originally from Cambridge (OH) was always a gentleman whose quiet disposition belied a dry sense of humor.  He graduated from Juilliard; a pianist and organist, he taught music and was a church organist on Long Island. Madeleine, born in Bellegarde, France, endured Nazi occupation and was named one of the Just for her actions during the war.  She immigrated to the USA; widowed at 30 and with two children, she earned a Ph.D. in French Literature at Columbia University.  She was a pioneer as one of the first women to become a professor at Brown University, and later taught at Queens College as well as the CUNY Graduate Center. She was an energetic leader with a passion for life, and remarried in 1963.  Arthur and Madeleine were inseparable, even in death, just shy of their 50th anniversary.  Arthur is survived by his niece Emily and nephew Carl.  Madeleine is survived by her sister Dr. Colette Jeantet, two sons Ronald and Robert, a grandson Jeantet and a great-granddaughter, Lyra. A memorial service will be held at Noon on Saturday, May 12th at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, on 73rd Street. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Doctors Without Borders in their names.