DVD Release in Europe – Help

Can somebody offer some guidance on this? I have noticed that DVD Box sets of series 4-6 of Gilmore Girls have been released in continental Europe, but not in the UK. Since I tend to travel into Europe once every six weeks or so, I’d quite like to pick them up. For example, the European release of season 4 was well over a year ago, but it’s still to show itself in the UK.

Is there any particular reason why I shouldn’t get these from France/the Netherlands if I see them?

I’m guessing they’ll be Region 2? Will they be in PAL or some other format (is it SECAM in France?) Am I likely to have to pay huge amounts of tax on the way back (if I have a shopping bag full of DVDs will that even arouse suspicion?)

Of course, I’ll check they even have the English language on them 😉 although I vaguely remember the Netherlands broadcast of Gilmore Girls was in English with subtitles.

New look YAB

For those of you not glued to your RSS reader, you’ll notice I’ve tweaked the design a bit – a complete rewrite of the CSS in fact. The design is now in three columns – I have ‘plans’ for further content on the right-hand side. At the moment you’ll see my current subscription list in Google Reader (umm, yes I do subscribe to myself…).

It’s also “degradeable”, so the design resizes gracefully if, say, you’re on an 800×600 display (or one of those crazy mobile devices).

Any comments are, of course, welcome

Next on the agenda: fiddle with my toolbar/header design (it’s not quite as graceful as the rest), and go forth with metadata galore.

Blog subscriptions

Hurrah. Russell Beattie is back to blogging again. His blog has always been a quite reliable source for mobile news. Subscribed.

I also found a few more blogs today that seemed quite interesting. Subscribed to those too.

However, Freakonomics blog seems to have switched to condensed feeds since they moved to the New York Times. Since the majority of my reading is done on a phone on the train, I’m Unsubscribed. (and there’s rather a lot of discussion about this on their blog).

RFC 1149

Right then, a quick technical overview for those of you not in the know. RFCs are specifications that have been developed in research or in the course of work that people publish in order to receive peer review. They usually document important features of the Internet, such as how mailservers should talk to each other, or how a browser should behave when it connects to a webserver. The most important ones get promoted to standards, and in the course of a day’s work on the web you’ll have plenty of RFCs to thank for things running smoothly…

Naturally, with thousands of these standards and documents floating around, some sillier ones tend to get through, particularly around the beginning of April… some of my favourites include:

  •  RFC 3514 – The Security Flag in the IPv4 Header (the “Evil Bit”). A proposal that a flag be added to malicious Internet traffic that is set by the attacker to show whether the traffic is benign or evil.
  • RFC 2550 – Y10K and Beyond. Discussing how the Y2K ‘bug’ will again raise itself come the end of the year 9,999.
  • RFC 4824 – The transmission of IP Datagram packets over Semaphore. Networking with wavy arms and flags.

There are plenty more on Wikipedia. Then there’s RFC 1149, my favourite April Fools. This RFC discussion the transmission of IP over Avian Carriers. A serious discussion of networking with pigeons. A good humorous piece, with a good analysis of the issues (“storms can cause data loss”) and observations (“with time, the carriers are self-regenerating”).

Then I discovered that a Norwegian Linux group had actually successfully implemented RFC 1149. Their findings describe the process taken to implement the specification, with a ping log:

vegard@gyversalen:~$ ping -i 900
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=6165731.1 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=255 time=3211900.8 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=5124922.8 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=6388671.9 ms

--- ping statistics ---
9 packets transmitted, 4 packets received, 55% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 3211900.8/5222806.6/6388671.9 ms

So, if you’re planning on using pigeon networking, it takes an age and there’s a lot of data loss (due to cage problems, apparently), but it’s possible!

Does a trillion pounds of debt really matter?

Interesting BBC News article countering the common press belief that such a massive debt is a really bad thing. Essentially debt is fine as long as it’s managed; debt growth is the sign of a healthy economy (debt will naturally grow anyway with inflation), and bad debt accounts for such an infinitesimally small proportion that it’s hardly worthly of the stark headlines currently plastered on the front pages.

One small thing though, I wish they would at least acknowledge that 1,000,000,000,000 is a US trillion (it’s a UK billion – a UK trillion has twice as many 0s again).


Heroes Season 1 is released in the US on August 28. It will cost $38.99 plus shipping at Amazon.com. For those of us who eat Roast Beef and drink tea all day, that’s just shy of twenty quid.

For that you’ll get 7 discs containing some 1035 minutes of footage.

Skip to the UK, where they’re releasing Heroes in two parts. Amazon.co.uk appear to be selling Part One (four discs, 11 episodes of 23) for £41.98. That immediately strikes me as a bad deal! Curiously Amazon don’t seem to list the second part at all.

Play, being the realm of slightly more reasonable pricing (yay Channel Islands) and less complicated websites, are offering Part One for £26.99 delivered (available in October). Part Two in December will cost £26.99 delivered too – that’s £53.98 for both, and two & a half times what the Americans will be paying.

Fortunately for you and I, Play will sell you the complete box set in December for ‘just’ £41.99 – still over double the price across the pond.

Back to Amazon, whose listing for Part One is due to be released on 10 December too (which is when Part Two and the box set are out at Play) so… confusion abounds. I can only assume (but don’t go out and buy stuff on this assumption) that Amazon’s listing is in fact for the box set, but trying to make sense of their appalling over-burdened and messy pages is futile at best (wasn’t there a time years ago when Amazon was applauded for its web design?)

Naturally, Amazon’s customer comments box and other DVD news sites read like a slagging match:

” Unforgivable profiteering” “Import it now and give Universal Studios a 2 finger salute!!” ” Wow, you guys got F**KED on your R2 release” “Thats officially me boycotting the Heroes DVD then.”