This is what I'm using right now.

Read more... )
 I am getting sick of having to dump my browser cache due to this "The website wants to run the following add-on: "Microsoft Data Access - Remote Data Services Dat..." pop-up warning. If you ever get that, it's apparently always something malicious, a cracking attempt. I got rid of it earlier by cleaning my cache, but apparently I must do so again.

If you want to know where that Social Class Meme came from, and why it seems so weirdly geared towards American college students, please see its page at Indiana State University. Of course it's flawed; it's meant as a basic class exercise to get young people started in thinking about the topic, rather than being intended as the be-all, end-all statement on social class and economic privilege.

If you want to read something potentially useful about privilege, see 10 Mistakes White People Make When Talking About Race. Most of this stuff is 101-level, but I still know otherwise well-meaning adults, mostly of my parents' generation, who do this stuff and just don't get that it's not appropriate. (Also, enjoy the rampant insanity in some of the comments to that post. Sheesh.)
Hey kids, I figured at least one of you might have some ideas...

I have a Sony VAIO laptop around 3 years old, which is currently my main resource for playing DVDs, until the TV is back from the repair shop.

When I first got it, DVD playback was fine, in either of the programs that came with it: Windows Media Player and InterVideo's WinDVD 4 (which I prefer). Some DVD or another installed the InterActual player at some point & I assume playback was OK there, too, though I'm not sure I ever used it.

I used to have no trouble with DVD playback, but lately, when I try to run one, it occasionally slows down, then starts playing jerkily. This happens no matter which program I'm using. It doesn't happen consistently on given DVDs - one DVD that wouldn't play one night played with no trouble a few weeks later. It doesn't matter whether it's a recent release from the video store, or a very obscure instructional DVD from the library. (So, I don't think it's caused by copy protection on newer releases.)

Sometimes the DVDs will shudder completely to a halt over the period of a few minutes, other times they will catch up to speed, play well for a few minutes, and then start "stuttering" again, catch up after a few minutes, but get worse and worse throughout the course of the DVD. If the DVD is going to play well at all, it usually does so in its first 10 minutes, before it starts having problems. No DVD has started off with problems and then started playing smoothly after a few minutes and continuing smoothly through the rest of the program.

I have tried: disabling screen savers (when I realized one was enabled, I thought, "Aha! That will take care of it!" - but it didn't), deleting the InterActual player that I don't like and don't use, cleaning up my desktop, disabling all programs that have icons in the system tray (stickies, Winamp, Quicktime), turning off the anti-virus scanner... none of this seems to help.

I have not tried: defragging the hard drive, using CCleaner on the registry again, or cleaning the lens on the CD-RW drive. (If it's probably the latter, I need to know how to do that safely. Also, I have been having problems with copying CDs lately, but I just assumed that the CD in question had copy protection on it, and that's why a failed copy was the result.)

It could be: I run a fan panel under the laptop, because this model of VAIO tends to overheat. The fan could be making playback unstable, like how a cd skips when you go over bumps in a car. However, I think this is unlikely, because if I put a music disc in the drive, it plays perfectly.

Any more ideas?

Edited to add: I tried defragging the hard disk, as well. Analysis said I did not need to defragment, but I went ahead and did it anyway... it had no effect.
Does anyone know of good Firefox extensions that back up your bookmarks?

Possibly even ones that convert them to Favorites format? (In the same extension. I had a separate extension for this, was unable to use it correctly, and once lost all my bookmarks.) Even better if it has a stand-alone area that allows you to organize bookmarks quickly - the Firefox bookmarks manager is a little clunky for my taste.

It needs to work with older versions of Firefox. Anything that only works with the newest releases will defeat the purpose. I'm trying to back up my bookmarks before I update Firefox. The last time I updated, it wasn't supposed to erase my bookmarks, but it did anyway.

I swear, that's the one thing I hate about Firefox. MSIE Favorites are much, much, much more reliable. I've never had them overwritten; it would take a catastrophic hard drive failure to kill them off. Firefox bookmarks are somewhat touchier. The one thing I have never managed to do successfully with this browser is back up my bookmarks - even when I've used extensions that were supposed to do just that.

I do try to keep up with del.icio.us, but I bookmark much more than I feel like posting there. (Strongly considering using GBrain in the future, although it may not be the best idea on dial-up, or the best thing for security purposes in an anti-Orwellian sense....) So, I know I could handle my bookmarks off of my machine, but I'd rather handle them on it for the time being.

ETA: I am using Firefox 1.0.6 on this computer.
I have a newer version on the computer upstairs, but the experience of installing it and losing all my bookmarks was so annoying that I never updated the version on this computer. I want to update now because I want to be able to use the DownThemAll extension, but the version of Firefox that I'm using is too old. In general, though, I need to update the bookmarks anyway.

ETA2: Solved this one on my own.
There are at least two ways to go about this. One is that you can go to the Bookmarks menu and open the "Bookmark Manager", then select File->Export when it opens, and save all your bookmarks as a single HTML file.
The other is to download and use MozBackup, which will save your whole profile, not just your bookmarks.
The Cat in the Hat is on. It's pretty awful, but that's no surprise.

We finished NausicaƤ the other night... it was OK. As I said the other day, I think Miyazaki has tackled the same themes better... it's basically Princess Mononoke with a small element of Spirited Away at the end. But it's not like NausicaƤ is "bad" or anything. It's over 20 years old, and I just didn't like it as much as the more recent stuff. Will get around to reading the manga someday.

T.'s birthday is this week, and next weekend is his last day at his current job. At the new job, he'll work a normal schedule and have weekends off, which we are both very happy about.

I have been reading a lot. Currently in the middle of Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail, which is a lot of fun - if kind of meandering in terms of structure (so far). Have been reading Caitlin R. Kiernan's A Murder of Angels. It's the sequel to Silk & helps explain exactly what was going on in that book (which I liked, when I read it 7-8 years ago, but the last quarter or so confused me). However, now I'm at a point where I probably need to reread Silk so that this book will be less confusing.

I think I might need to acquire one of those cooling pads for laptop computers - my computer has been overheating a lot in the last few months. It shuts down after maybe two hours of normal use, a lot less if I am trying to update my iPod or use the cd drive. I can make it better by turning a fan on it, and by putting cds under it on my lap desk (although, when I do that, it slides around, of course). Anyone have any experience with them?

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