Netflix vs

So, Netflix Canada launched today. As a (fairly) loyal subscriber, I was worried, but to be honest, I can do without putting DVDs in the mail every week. Since we can watch Netflix on the Wii, I thought I’d sign up for a trial month.

I tried to find things I’d want to see. Netflix is drawing blanks. I took my list of 30 movies I have queued at Zip to see how they compare. It’s not so good:

# Title Netflix
1 A Single Man ✓ ✗
2 The Dish ✓ ✗
3 Becoming Jane ✓ ✗
4 October Sky ✓ ✓
5 Playtime ✓ ✗
6 The Commitments ✓ ✗
7 The Cove ✓ ✗
8 Storytelling ✓ ✗
9 Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back ✓ ✗
10 Princess Mononoke ✓ ✗
11 Kiki’s Delivery Service ✓ ✗
12 Whisper of the Heart ✓ ✗
13 Salesman ✓ ✗
14 Festival Express ✓ ✗
15 Fat Girl (A ma soeur!) ✓ ✗
16 Adam ✓ ✗
17 Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot) ✓ ✗
18 A Chorus Line ✓ ✗
19 This is England ✓ ✓
20 Crumb
✓ ✗
21 The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection ✓ ✗
22 Old-Time Banjo Styles ✗ ✗
23 Learning Mountain Dulcimer ✗ ✗
24 Animation Greats! ✗ ✗
25 Black Cat, White Cat ✗ ✗
26 Northfork ✗ ✗
27 Leningrad Cowboys: Total Balalaika Show ✗ ✗
28 The Turning Point ✗ ✗
29 Winter’s Bone ✗ ✗
30 Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam ✗ ✗

Available 70% 7%

The unavailable titles at Zip are ones they know about, and will try to find. Not surprisingly, all of them are also not available from Netflix. The only ones I could watch at Netflix are October Sky and This Is England. And would you credit it, but didn’t the DVD for October Sky just arrive yesterday …

Look, I know it’s early days, but Netflix needs to get a bunch better in the next 30 days. Oh, and it could do with some CanCon – it’s very weak there.

weirdness on a pirate dvd cover

Moat of the DVDs at the Toronto Public Library sale yesterday were donations that didn’t quite make it to circulation. Catherine picked up a copy of Monster in Law, which looks very professional at first glance:

Look a little closer, and all is not well.

  1. The subheading on the front cover is in German, despite the English packaging: “Sie traf perfekten Mann. Dann traf sie seine Mutter”
  2. The printed credits are for Dragon’s World: A Fantasy Made Real.
  3. The URL for the movie is for Constantine, as is the barcode
  4. I haven’t a clue what this is supposed to mean:
  5. The DVD inside is marked DVD-9 with Chinese characters under the title.

ripping dvd audio with Ubuntu

With more than a little help from How to Rip DVD audio to mp3 or ogg — Ubuntu Geek, here’s how I’d rip audio from a DVD:
for f in $(seq 1 12)
transcode -i /dev/sr1 -x null,dvd -T 1,$f,1 -N 0x1 -y null,wav -m $(printf "%02d" $f).wav

Your track count and device name will vary. You’ll note that I caved, and used the annoying $(…) syntax instead of good old-fashioned backticks (which some youngsters will claim are deprecated, but I claim as job security). WordPress munges those badly, so we’re stuck with the ugly.
You could use livemp3 to convert to mp3s (if I remembered to upload the version that handles wav files) under controlled circumstances.

you are what you eat… and you have obviously eaten something very stupid

I got the Absolutely Everything box set yesterday; all four series of Absolutely. I hadn’t seen this for more than ten years, and it was absolutely (ha!) my favourite comedy show.

The first season took a little while to get into stride. I don’t think I saw it ever, as I only caught it from series two in 1990. It is, in the words of Callum Gilhooley, “brilliant”.

… and I can’t wait

Your order #202-14XXX57-3781XXX (received 02-April-2008)
Ordered  Title                          Price  Dispatched  Subtotal
——————————————————————— items (Sold by Amazon EU S.a.r.L.):

1     Absolutely – Absolutely Ev…   £21.26      1   £21.26

Shipped via Royal Mail (estimated arrival date: 13-May-2008).


the computer does work

Picked up the new computer from Canada Computers yesterday. High-end it isn’t, but it’s more than adequate. It’s an AMD Sempron 3000+ (on a Foxconn K8M890M2MA-RS2H motherboard), with 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA disk and a DVD±RW drive. There was change out of $400, including tax.

It’s running Ubuntu for AMD64. While there are a few things I don’t have configured, it was all installed in under an hour. It reminds me a bit of OS X. There’s one thing it does better than the Mac; it knows about duplex printers, and assumes you want to be able to print duplex. Under OS X, you have to choose two-sided every time you print. Thanks to Davey for originally putting me on to Ubuntu. My life’s too short to mess with linux configs.

Now I need to move the old hard drive over as a spare, and fit the various cards from the old machine.

happy desktop

Did some upgrades/maintenance to the Linux box tonight:

  • added a DVD±RW drive
  • finally fitted the cheapo Zalman fan controller to take the edge off the CPU fan noise
  • got X11 working with the nVidia graphics card again, under 2.6.14. It was fiddly.

Some people might wonder why I keep maintaining a 3½ year-old Athlon XP1800+. It works, and with the amount of RAM I have in it, it’s plenty fast.

dvds by mail

I’m thinking of subscribing to, the Canadian DVD-by-mail company. I’ve browsed their catalogue, and they have some good things. But they’re not very clueful with computer security — they just sent my trial password in plain text back to me over e-mail.

Ryan is in the house

My DVD of the Chris Landreth/NFB animation arrived today. I’ve watched it, and the supporting material, several times already. There are so many tiny details in the frames that it’ll take me many viewings to catch even some of them

Ryan on Saint-Laurent

The closing scene is the most poignant for me, with the fragmented Ryan panhandling outside Schwartz’s on Saint-Laurent. Reflected in the deli’s window is the bold young Ryan of his Street Musique heyday. All the lettering in the Montréal street scene is reversed, as if to say that the reflection is the real world, and what we’re seeing a distorted mirror.