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Slipped Disc: The Hell of Computers

You'll have to forgive me. I'm distracted. I spent all weekend staring at my laptop, working on a little 10-minute video for my father's 70th birthday party.

I heard it was nice over the weekend. Sunny, was it? Warmish? Flowers blooming, etc.? I didn't see any of it. Instead, I was looking at video and photographs of warm, sunny days from 10, 20, 60 years ago. While you were gardening, riding your bikes, swaying in the hammock, I was scanning old Polaroids and newspaper clippings, easing snapshots out of photo albums, importing VHS and 8mm video into my MacBook. And then putting it all together, adding music, snipping clips to make them fit, looking for music to fit the mood.

Up until midnight last night, I was, my masterpiece complete. And now I can't seem able to burn it onto a DVD. My laptop keeps ejecting the disc before it's done. Talk about a tough critic.

Computer impotence is a particularly horrible sort of impotence. I always feel like if I was just a little bit smarter, I could figure out what the problem is. But I'm not just a little bit smarter. I'm as smart as I am and no more. And so I Google the various error messages I get, about my archive having an error or my QuickDraw being "deprecated." I find message boards where poor souls have had the exact same problem as I, and then try to decipher the suggestions they were given by strangers in the ether.

Do I trust someone in Sweden when he says to "Delete iDVD pref file -- or rather start a new user/account -- log into this and re-try." I don't know what a pref file is or a new user/account. I just want the thing to work. If I'd wanted to tinker, I would have kept my PC.

I have until Thursday to figure this out, then we drive to North Carolina for the party. I suppose if I'm unable to successfully burn a DVD I could gather everyone around my computer, all 60 or 70 people, and press play in iMovie. That seems to work for now.

By John Kelly  |  April 6, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
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Find out if anyone in your family or the facility where you are having a party has some sort of projector you can hook up to your MacBook. Or see if someone can rent one for you.

In the long run, it might be cheaper than the technical support needed to fix anything you might break on your Mac.

Good luck :D

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 6, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Honestly I don't have problems like this with Ubuntu.

I don't know why you're still trying to do this on a Mac. And please don't explain. It isn't working after a full weekend of goofing around with it. Take the hint and run.

Posted by: dubya19391 | April 6, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Fix a mac yourself? That's a very PC-like attitude. Just take it to the Apple store--you paid a premium on the computer for that level of service, presumably, so why not take advantage of it?

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | April 6, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Hi, I'm a PC...
And if you were on a PC...well you know what to do...

Posted by: resq1diver | April 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I would say there are 3 possible problems

1) The Disk you want to burn is damaged, or incompatible
to your mac.

2) As tech support points out, the prefs file is corrupted
in your OS, and just needs to be deleted.

3) your user account is damaged and you need to
create a new user account.

now if you can't burn this to disk, have you considered
saving the MPG to an external hard drive?
for small videos i save them to my thumb drive, for
bigger videos i save them to my external drive.

As someone above pointed out, try getting a projector,
it's always a cool toy.

and you can stop in at the apple genius bar, they can
fix this, it may be an electronics problem

Posted by: patb | April 6, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I called Apple support this morning and he had me make a quick movie with just some clip art and the iSight camera and burn it. No problem. That wouldn't show in my TV's DVD player because it was a double-layer disc. So the tech guy said that's the problem. I should get single layer DVD-R discs. I'll try that, but I'm suspicious that it could be so easy a fix.

Posted by: JohnFKelly | April 6, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

You might also try slowing down the spin rate on the DVD drive. If it spins too fast it won't record correctly. The default is usually the highest the drive supports (16 times or 16x, or 8x) - setting it down to 2x or 1x usually fixes this.

Posted by: rogernebel | April 6, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but the Apple guy was right. When I used single-layer DVD-Rs it burned just fine. Now, of course, I see things I wished I'd done differently. I think Scorsese felt the same about "The Godfather." Maybe when I do the Pop Pop director's cut....

Posted by: JohnFKelly | April 6, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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