23 January 2006

- Still Raining -

So my troubles continue. I have a talk tomorrow that required me to author my first DVD. Well, first I produce an elaborate soundtrack in iMovie3. Yes, I know it's hopelessly out of date, but I'm still running 10.2 (more on that later), and since I mostly juist put in fades I've always gotten along with what I have just fine. In any case, let me just say that producing a reasonable soundtrack on iMovie3 is no easy task. First of all you only have two audio tracks to work with; second the editing of individual sounds is very clumsy; third, if you have a large iTunes library, the sound effects are extraordinarly slow to load; and fourth, once you have even a few sounds on the audio tracks (and anyone who has done work building a soundtrack knows how many effects need to be dropped on the audio tracks. I do have Final Cut Pro, but the start up costs for learning anything in that program are very high, so I use it mainly to import video (since the version I have does not recognize macrovision).

Well, I manage to get the soundtrack built but I don't have a DVD burner on my laptop. No sweat, I think. I'll just author it on iDVD and then port it to my computer at school, which has a superdrive. So, I bring it in, tweak the layout. Ahhh, I'm thinking, now I can burn this thing and be done. The disk refuses to burn. Apparently I don't have a superdrive. At least the machine at school won't recognize it as such.

Plan B: I buy a DVD burner. I go to the computer store. I talk with the Mac guy to make sure that the model I'm buying is compatible with a Mac and my system. I'm thinking all is hunky dory. I come home load the software and plug the drive in. Everything seems to be working. Ahhh, I'm thinking, now I can burn this thing and be done. So I go into iDVD, do some tinkering on the layout (as you can see I'm fond of tinkering), and get ready to burn. I push the burn button. Nothing happens. I look at the menu. The "burn disk" is gray. Uh-oh. WtF? So I do some research. Apparently all versions of iDVD prior to iDVD5 can't burn to an external burner. Leave it to Apple...

Plan C: I go to the discussion area of Apple support, which thank goodness has a huge number of people who know what they are doing. In any case, there is a patch that allows iDVD recognize external burners. Ahhh, I'm thinking, now I can burn this thing and be done. So I download the software and install it. I restart the computer, I open iDVD, naturally do some tinkering on the layout, and get ready to burn. Now the burn button won't even open and the "burn disk" remains gray.

Plan D: I go back to the instructions for installing the patch. I realize there is an ambiguity in one bit of the instructions so I try an alternate installation. Ahhh, I', thinking, now I can burn this thing and be done. I open iDVD, do so,e tinkering on the layout, and get ready to burn. And it actually burns! Woohoo!!!

All of that took place this weekend. Now cut to this morning. I have a handout that I need for my presentation, but I can't find a hard copy. Now this is a handout that takes special software to print, and that software resides on an old laptop running system 8 or something. But I decide that instead of turning the house upside down that it would be better to boot-up the old laptop, port it over to Spouse's desktop computer (which has a Zip drive) and print it out from there. Well the laptop starts up just fine (miracle 1), I find the file (miracle 2) and I manage to make a printer file and port it over to Spouse's computer. Yay! I'm thinking, now I'll just print this sucker out. Uh-oh. It prints, but the necessary fonts are missing.

Plan B: Since I don't really want to reboot Spouse's computer into system 9 and install the fonts (which was always tricky business to begin with) I decide to connect the laptop to the printer. Fortunately, the printer predates the laptop, so compatibility isn't an issue. I print and cross my fingers. It works! Yes, yes, yes!