Somethings are worth your time, other things are BS

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This is my reaction to this article

There is no choice here. The problem is that with the right combination of sugar, salt, and fat food becomes addicting.  It's like cocaine, an McDonalds (as well as other food corps) know this.  So kids eat this crap, their addicted to it and don't even know it, then they can't stop eating it. (

The other problem is that tax/INS payers shoulder the burden because we have end up paying more treat fat people.  Maybe INS companies should have a "snapshot" on your scale and your mouth and adjust your premium like that.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Speeding up Barbri lectures (for Mac) and the philosophical dilemma

So you wanna speed up your Barbri lectures? (I presume that's why you are here) I have a few suggestions.

If you are anything like me, you walked into the Barbri class and though (among other things) t: F-this I'm going to watch these video's on my computer and finish the lectures early and save myself 30+hours. As there are about 30 lectures (not including the preview) each lecture being about 3 hours that's 105 hours of watching lectures watch them at 1.5 times the speed (some are do-able at 2.0x) and you are now looking at ≈70 hours! Almost 2 days of your life is handed back to you!  This leaves so much more time for Facebooking!  If only I hadn't taken that sabbatical from FB like all my other friends :-\ .

My Experience, a brief overview of what I have done to try to speed up the lectures:
 The problem: Barbri has changed they way they present their content, it is done by streaming Flash player.  And thanks to their friends at Brightcove, there is no way to speed up the lectures.
  1. Tried every shortcut I could think of--nothing
  2. Emailed Barbri 4 months ago--nothing (or they are trying to come up with a solution)
  3. Tried downloading lectures to my ipad and listening to them at 1.5x the speed.  This did work at one time, it now does not.  There are to explanations I can think of a) Barbri changed the way the content appears b) Apple removed the speed up content option that was embedded in their Quicktime player
  4. Read through numerous forums and blogs, all of which were pretty entertaining. Someone suggested Myspeed by enounce
  5. Bought Myspeed (≈ $30)--I now can speed up any flash video! Hooray beer! But, Barbri/brightcove does not supply sufficient stream/bandwidth speed to do this :-(.  Here is what I mean: the videos are sped-up for about 10 seconds, but then you have to wait for the stream to refresh, for about 2-10 seconds.  The time saved is marginal, I clocked it and I did about 12 minutes of lecturing in 10. In short Myspeed is a solution, it is however, not the solution your heart desires.
  6. Called Barbri tech support, he said to "try a different browser"or that "having my laptop plugged-in to a power source" might help...Genius.  Nice guy, but he clearly believes in magic. He did however say that he will add my suggestion to "speed up the stream rate" to the circular file, where all the suggestions go. ( Once you are barred are you really going to follow-up with your complaint? Didn't think so.  This is a great business model.
  7. Tried speeding up the lectures on a PC, this no longer works.
At this point I thought to myself: You know, it really odd how shitty business (or political) practices passively coerce people into breaking the law.  This is a perfect example, I am not asking for something extraneous, it should be a simple fix.  Yet if someone offered me a USB drive with all the Barbri lectures on it in MP3 format I would have a hard time turning it down. Even worse, if there was a torrent with all the lectures, it would be tempting to download it.  I'm so close to becoming a lawyer, should I chance $160,000 degree in order to save 2 days of my life?  What if they were the last 2 days of my life?  Indeed a moral/legal quandary.

Here are the options I am presented with:
  1. Record the lectures to my computer 
  2. Try to find a droid based tablet or phone and see if you can speed up the barbri lectures on the Barbri app. (which I will try later on today.
option 1) This doesn't sound like a bad plan.  However, recording the lecture, even for personal use is most likely against Barbri's terms and conditions ( I am just guessing), moreover it's probably not legal.  So that scares me from doing it, so I won't.  I will just have to wait for a better solution. However, if you call and ask Barbri and they give you permission (which I would get in writing). Here is how I would do it.
  1. Paid for programs, Wiretap, Hijack...use the Google machine.
  2. I already paid 4k to Barbri, let's do this for free.
    1. Download Audacity--Audacity  
    2. Download Soundflower 
    3. Follow these instructions
    4. Use the export to save File>export>mp3
    5. Download VLC player ( you should have this anyway)
      1. Use Command + (+/=) key to speed up.
      2. Missed a part? Use: Command+option+‹ To go back 10 seconds.
    6. Every night record the lecture, listen to it the next day and delete it.
Again, I don't condone doing this without the express consent of Barbri, and even still you might get in trouble.  I am only writing this blog is let Barbri know that they are causing people attempt to violate their terms and conditions because they are not providing the experience that: a) they did at one time, and we relied on that experience when choosing Barbri. b) That they could, with a simple fix.

Either way, Crush the Bar!