Friday, 26 February 2010

Women, Learning, and TV.

Shakespeare used to write stuff like I'll stop your mouth with a kiss. Which just goes to show that the Bard knew absolutely nothing about women. There is no force on this Earth that can stop a woman talking when she is in full flow. Actually planting one on her at that time is a good way to get your lips chewed off. The closest I've managed is

Darling epitome of beauty and affection, your worshipper does beg of you an insignificant sign of your pleasure. If it is convenient for you, and when you can get around to it, it would greatly help this lowly worshipper to appreciate your lovelyness if you would generously pause your delightful monologue long enough for me to get some sleep sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry.
After which the woman has been known to laugh so hard that she loses track of what she was saying.

I didn't get much sleep.

In the Mail 1: Learning

Soon I'll be starting back at University. My courses for this coming semester have been confirmed:

Edprofst 715 - Information Literacy and Learning (30points) starting on Monday 1st March as online class
LawPubl 744 - Human Rights in Education Law and Policy (30pts) starting on Monday 12th April as one week block course at city campus

I'm not sure what a block course is exactly.

Having come from physical sciences, I'm a bit bemused by the full time workload in social science. Full time, in p-science, meant that you sweated your butt off in a 60 hour week (and thanked mill-owner fer privilege). The education courses are structured to be just as tight if you also throw in a full time teaching career. As a result, things feel a little easy-going. That said, I found last semester a bit tight towards the end.

The two papers above, together, are a full time course. The block course is held in one week only, so I'm guessing that it will be really intense that week, but the rest of the time it will be like part-time study.

In the Mail 2: TV

I've been trying to watch TV On Demand (TVNZ) only to discover that the player will not, um, play. It tells me the stream is loading and just sits there. Investigating, I discovered that firefox users are expected to install the WMP plugin. Since this is available only with windows I decided to complain - pointing out the increasing market shore of gnu/linux in NZ. I got this reply:

Almost all of our shows that are shown in a wmv format are also
available in flash which works sweet on GNK/Linux (which I'm sure you
already know). The only exception to this is for our live streaming
where we use a windows format as it's much cheaper than flash streaming
(however we are looking to change this in the next 6 months).

Well, it was the flash player I was having trouble with. Windows Media Video (wmv) has been favoured because it supports DRM - I'm guessing that royalties to TVNZ are lower if they use it with. DRM, but the same otherwise.

The TV program owners will be worried about people conveniently copying the shows using plugins like flash-got. Which is silly really: all the shows have long been available via PirateBay.

It is usually possible to bypass a flash player by viewing the source code and extracting the address of the playlist (it is a .smil file, in this case) then loading that into a specialist player like VLC or Totem. But I cannot even do that - they've done something so that the attempt produces a blank stream. I'd have to pick apart the smil file for the individual video segments to troubleshoot that.

However, I figured out what this was, even if TVNZ Webmasters did not get it. Firefox users often take advantage of a plugin called AdBlockPlus. This can block the ads from which play between chapters on each show, and at the beginning. As a result, the player gets confused and won't play at all. To watch TV On Demand with firefox, right-click on the ABP icon (top right of firefox, next to the google search box) and select disable on this page only. Now you will see the ads as well as the show.

BTW: the last email also had one of those thingies at the end pointing out that the content is intended only for me to read. Like I'm supposed to keep it a secret. These passages have dubious legal weight, but, insofar as there is anything to them at all, I like to put the following at the end of my emails:

By sending an email to ANY of my email addresses you are agreeing that:

1. I am by definition, "the intended recipient"
2. All information in the email is mine to do with as I see fit and make such financial profit, political mileage, or good joke as it lends itself to. In particular, I may post it to the internet.
3. I will take the contents as representing the views of your company.
4. This overrides any disclaimer or statement of confidentiality that may be included on your message.

Though there are occasionally good reasons to show discretion in your use of received emails.

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