Saturday, March 2, 2013

A wild Llama appears...

Now I'm going to preface this story with this: Lots of things here are not the way you would do them. I am aware of it.

Last night (Friday) my younger son, who we'll refer to as 'Bub', got to sleep by about 7:45, which honestly is a touch early for him especially in light of the fact that it's the weekend. I read to my older son for a few minutes, said goodnight, and then headed to bed myself knowing that I might be woken up again by barking dogs when my wife came home from work. Luckily, my younger son was not woken up by the barking dogs. So then let's fast forward to 1AM. I hear Bub say "I need a drink" and I go get him some water and then go back to sleep. The next time I wake up is somewhere around 3:40, where I hear him telling my wife that he's going to go watch a movie on the computer and that he needs to find some headphones. He's awake, so arguing with him about how he should go back to sleep will only result in waking up the one person in the house who is still asleep. Bub suggests that all the headphones are in the room of the person who is actually sleeping (his older brother), so at that point I get up out of bed and successfully locate the pair of headphones that are in the computer room already and help him get his movie started. I did think that it was rather considerate of him to want to watch a movie far away from the people trying to sleep, and with headphones on to boot. He's watched DVD's on the computer before, and he can usually manage to operate Windows Media Player most of the time, so I figure I can go back to bed, and this is where (for me) it all goes terribly wrong.

By chance, this is a DVD that he hasn't watched on the computer before. From a statistical standpoint, I didn't figure that was a big deal, since we have several dozen kid's movies and he's only watched five or six of them on the computer. The movie he picked was Robots, a CG animated feature from 2005 made by Blue Sky for Fox. It's a movie that I'm fond of, but I would watch sock puppets in black and white low frame rate Flash video if you told me that Ewan McGregor and Robin Williams were doing the main characters. I like this DVD more than most of the kid's movies we have because it has a very well-mixed DTS audio option and good soundtrack music including a marching band rendition of "Get Up Offa That Thing". I had no idea that once we put it in to the computer that I would find that it didn't act like a normal DVD.

Windows Media player knows that there's a disk in the drive, but it won't start it because it's not convinced that it's a DVD. There's a program asking to run that I had not encountered before called "HOTLLAMA" which at this time of the morning seems rather suspicious. The logo is a bright red llama-shaped silhouette. Since I just want this to be over and done with, I go ahead and install it, knowing that I will be removing it after the sun comes up when I come to my senses. I am ecstatic that it doesn't make me restart the computer when it installs, but when it starts the first time it a) checks for updates (expected) and b) tries to configure TurboTax It's Deductible 2006 (rather unexpected, and honestly edging over into Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot territory). My first thought is that it will check for updates and find that the page isn't even there and the company packed it up years ago, leaving me with a hung install that knows that there's an update and can't get one. As it turned out, it just wasn't any good at talking to the internet unless I had a browser window open. Having done that, the update downloads and installs in a minute or so, give or take a dozen extra mouse clicks to get the aforementioned Turbo Tax module to stop trying to reconfigure itself.

Before HOTLLAMA runs the second time, I spot something in the EULA that says that if I don't agree to it that I should uninstall the program and just watch the movie in my regular DVD program. Since I have a six year old sitting next to me, I exercise some restraint and do not vocalize the idea that if it would just play on my regular DVD program, I wouldn't be messing with this stupid Llama program in the first place regardless of how Hot it is.

So, I let the movie run and go back to bed, and guess what. The program misbehaves - Bub says that it "randomly rewinds" when he comes in to tell me about it - and he ends up watching it on the DVD player in our bedroom anyway. Suffice it to say that I've already uninstalled HOTLLAMA and did some registry cleaning. Now I think I have to go find a Mac user with a copy of Robots.

EPILOGUE: Upon further inspection of the DVD case, I noticed that it specifically says that is not compatible with the Apple Macintosh. Also, around 11:30 Bub poured himself a bowl of Cheerios, ate it, and then promptly fell asleep behind me at some point while I was folding laundry on the bed. Since I wanted to tie this up neatly, I put on 'Robots' again. 

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