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Television Media Hardware

DVD / Hard Drive Recorder With 28-Day Capacity 252

fenimor writes "Panasonic today unveiled new DVD-recoders with astonishing 709 hours video recording capacity. The top model has onboard components of a good PC: 400GB hard drive, Ethernet port, broadband receiver, SD Memory Card slot, and a PCMCIA card. The DVD recorder is the fastest in the industry as it can record a one-hour program onto DVD-R disc in just 56 seconds. Internet access allows users to program recording through cell phones or PCs while away from home."
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DVD / Hard Drive Recorder With 28-Day Capacity

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  • burnin' (Score:5, Funny)

    by dirvish ( 574948 ) <dirvish@fo u n d n e ws.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:30PM (#10194814) Homepage Journal
    Oooh, that will go nicely with my Netflix account. ;)
    • Re:burnin' (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:33PM (#10194848) Homepage
      Exactly... I think we're going to see some decrease in sales of DVD's as products like this start becoming popular (and cheaper). How long before the MPAA attacks these sort of devices (again) especially ones like this that will allow trading of content very easily.
      • Re:burnin' (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stratjakt ( 596332 )
        Does this decode CSS for you?

        If not, the MPAA doesn't care.
        • Re:burnin' (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jhylkema ( 545853 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @07:02PM (#10195669)
          Does this decode CSS for you?

          If not, the MPAA doesn't care.

          Wrong, buzzard breath. The MPAA cares a devil of a lot about any technology that enables people to view content other than through their "licensed" means. (Granted, we techies know that this is pie-in-the-sky: CSS was broken by a 15-year-old, Macrovision has been hacked already AFAIK.) Keep in mind that the movie industry fought VCRs all the way to the US Supreme Court [supremecourtus.gov]. The case was Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc. [findlaw.com]. The case headnote:

          Petitioner Sony Corp. manufactures home video tape recorders (VTR's), and markets them through retail establishments, some of which are also petitioners. Respondents own the copyrights on some of the television programs that are broadcast on the public airwaves. Respondents brought an action against petitioners in Federal District Court,
          alleging that VTR consumers had been recording some of respondents' copy-righted works that had been exhibited on commercially sponsored television and thereby infringed respondents' copyrights, and further that petitioners were liable for such copyright infringement because of their marketing of the VTR's. Respondents sought money damages, an equitable accounting of profits, and an injunction against the manufacture and marketing of the VTR's. The District Court denied respondents all relief, holding that noncommercial home use recording of material broadcast over the public airwaves was a fair use of copyrighted works and did not constitute copyright infringement, and that petitioners could not be held liable as contributory infringers even if the home use of a VTR was considered an infringing use. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding petitioners liable for contributory infringement and ordering the District Court to fashion appropriate relief. [Emphasis added].


          The sale of the VTR's to the general public does not constitute contributory infringement of respondents' copyrights. [In other words, told Universal to go stuff themselves.]

          Hollyweird has yet to learn from this stinging defeat and the aftermath. Turns out that, far from decimating the industry as Jack Valenti predicted, Hollywood now makes more off of videotapes than screenings. Hollywood makes more movies than before, not fewer.

          In business, you must either adapt or die. At least for now, Hollywood has chosen not to adapt.
    • It'll go even more nicely with the shouts of "Code Blue" and crash teams rushing to the offices of various MPAA and Hollywood execs. I predict this thing is going to have enough red tape thrown at it to reach to the moon and back in an attempt to prevent it getting to as many markets as possible.

      Meanwhile, the article a little light on the two details that matter most; "how much?" and "where from?". Anyone?

  • Does anyone know of anyplace that shows screenshots of the DIGA DVR interface. Plenty of places show the TiVo interface, but I find it quite hard to do an accurate comparison between TiVo and anything else, simply because I've never seen the interface available. Anytime I walk into a Best Buy, none of these units are hooked up to a TV, so that is no help either.
  • plenty (Score:5, Funny)

    by el_salvador ( 681607 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:33PM (#10194853) Journal
    of space for the sex lifes of all slashdot readers i guess
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:34PM (#10194865)
    The DVD recorder is the fastest in the industry as it can record a one-hour program onto DVD-R disc in just 56 seconds.

    Easy! All it needs to do is detect and remove the ad breaks.

    • yeah, removing the ads from typical TV shows leaves you with just 56 seconds of video... easy to record in 56 seconds. ;-)

      seriously, doesn't 56 seconds seem like a typo? I can't copy that much video from one spot to another on my hard drive in that time... how is a DVD recorder that fast? yeah, yeah, I'll go read the article now - except that it's slashdotted ... sigh...

      • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:45PM (#10195015)
        seriously, doesn't 56 seconds seem like a typo?

        Not really. It does seem like the marketing version of the story though, as they are certainly talking about raw write time, not including compression time etc. My guess is the steps go like this:

        1. Capture one hour of TV.
        2. Possibly cheat by removing ad breaks, leaving around 40 minutes.
        3. Compress to MPEG4. Think VHS quality, not near-DVD.
        4. Defrag hard drive
        5. Start timer
        6. Write to DVD
        7. Stop timer: 56 seconds.
        • by DotDotSlasher ( 675502 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @08:04PM (#10196165)
          If it's coming out this month, they must be using a 12x DVD burner. A DVD stream is about 1MB/sec, so 12x is 12MB/sec. 56sec at 12MB/sec is 672MB per hour of video. I'm sure they have MPEG-2 streams where an hour takes up 672MB.
          But, since 400GB can store 709 hours, they must have a quality setting of about 400000MB/709hr=565MB/hr. Maybe they're allowing some overhead in their write-to-DVD time.
          So they're not recording "normal" DVD video, a typical movie is about 1MB/sec. They're saving off MPEG streams to DVD-R which save video at about 160KB/sec. Much less than DVD-quality and doesn't play back in your DVD player -- but should play in their fancy player.
        • I don't know.... it's like someone marketing the water bottle being able to hold 12 gallons, when it's clearly a 1 gallon bottle.
        • Since your post contains nothing substantial but provable bullshit, and it got modded to +5 for some strange reason, here's your Basic Rebuttal :

          1. Of course.

          2. Of course not. Nobody will trust their machine to somehow automatically detect and skip commercials, particularly while in the process of burning to relatively expensive write-once media.

          3. Maybe, but probably not. TFA does not mention what format the machine writes DVDs in. But it does say that the stuff on the hard drive is MPEG2, and we
      • doesn't 56 seconds seem like a typo?

        Not at all. Since it doesn't say what level of compression was used on the one hour of video, I think it's reasonable to assume it's the one with the most. If so, and the thing can store 709 hours of video in 400GB, then that's just over half a GB of data, or about 10MB/s.

      • It's gotta be the compression they're using. After all, they can fit 709 hours onto a 400GB disk, so an hour of video takes up about half a gigabyte -- not 4.7GB. This is not going to be an hour of full-quality video.
      • BTW, the model number of the top model is the DMR-E500H (can't find link on Panasonic's site [panasonic.com] yet). Here's two more links with product info, both based on the press release:

        Panasonic Unveil New DVRs [dvd-recordable.org] (includes photo)

        Panasonic Unveils New DVRs [designtechnica.com]

        Important additional details I noticed:

        • will be introduced in Japanese market Sept 21 (no info on non-Japanese markets in press release)
        • recording capacity of 709 hours of video in EP mode (?)
        • offers high-speed dubbing from hard disk drive onto DVD-RAM at speeds of
  • Cost inefficient? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scowling ( 215030 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:34PM (#10194866) Homepage
    OK. I have a computer with video in, a DVD+-R drive and 300 GB of hard drive space. Just about anybody upgrade their system with the same for about $400. Right? A little more if you want digital video in.

    And it's user-friendly. Got a remote control and everything.

    So how much is Panasonic's system, and how would it be better for me than what I've already got.
    • User-friendly to set up, silent, attractive. Price notwithstanding, this is an option to most consumers, most of whom have never even heard of Windows Media Center. For you, though, if your computer isn't deafening, keep what you've got.
    • Re:Cost inefficient? (Score:5, Informative)

      by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:43PM (#10194986) Homepage
      So how much is Panasonic's system, and how would it be better for me than what I've already got.

      I've set up a few PC-based PVR's and the TiVo and Panasonic ReplayTV's that I've used kick the crap out of them all (I haven't seen MythTV yet).

      The interface is cleaner, it's easier to use, there is very little to set up, it doesn't require a clunky PC, and integrates nicely with whatever you've got in your home entertainment system (except for HDTV).

      What can it offer you? I don't know. Maybe you're superman with your gear and can set up a seamless MythTV install in minutes. I'm not, although I have the know-how to do what I need -- and in my house, I don't even own a TV, so it's all via my personal computer. The prepackaged systems are pretty cool though -- it's a compelling package no matter who you are.

      IMO, where your PC is really cool is for things like watching DivX and other downloaded videos...trying to integrate it into a system that you can use every day. I don't mind using my OS for that -- but again, the TiVo and Replay systems are pretty compelling like that. Cheaper to run, and they just work.

      • My PC is in a whole 'nuther room, so space and noise aren't an issue. I program when I want it to record, and it records. Then I can play it back via radio remote control while lying on my couch -- and I *also* get to do the same thing with all of those downloaded shows, which seems to me to be an added bonus.

        I guess the downside is that I can't use my PC at the same time I'm watching TV...

        I'm using ATI's card and software under WinXP, FWIW.
        • Everyone who complains about the noise from a PC in their living room must live in the middle of nowhere. I have a PC in my living room and there is no way I can hear it over the traffic, kids playing, sirens, ghetto blaster sound systems, dogs barking, parties next door, trains, and the occasional gunshot. Trust me, when I watch TV, the volume is up high enough that noise from the PC is not the problem!
      • The interface is cleaner, it's easier to use, there is very little to set up, it doesn't require a clunky PC, and integrates nicely with whatever you've got in your home entertainment system (except for HDTV).

        Erm. Try MythTV. Really. As you can run MythTV as a client-server program, you can do all the "heavy lifting" back on the server in the basement. Or, better yet, throw a Hauppauge PVR-350 in there (about $180) and get hardware MPEG-2 encoding AND decoding. Or h/w MPEG-2 encoding alone (I think

      • Maybe you're superman with your gear and can set up a seamless MythTV install in minutes.

        apt-get install mythtv

        Had to google for the Debian package repository first, and then add a line to my sources.list. After installing I had to run mythtv-setup, and then I had to find out how to get a DataDirect login to ZapIt. All told it didn't take more than about fifteen minutes. Don't have a tuner card in my laptop, or a TV signal to tune into, so I don't know if it works, but it sure looks like it should.

    • More and more people are going the laptop route... so it helps us I guess.

      Also the programability via cell phone and whatnot... all hackable solutions for a geek, but a nice freebie to get in a box.

      Now what'd make this something I might actually buy is if I can plug my laptop into it and use it as a regular DVD Burner as well. What'll make this something I'd never go near is if it records in some funky format that only it can read.
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:34PM (#10194873) Journal
    I wonder if you can plug a webcam into one of those things. 700 hours... yep, no need to change tape too often, and that DVD burning speed will also be handy for archiving. But now you will always be able to tell your girlgriend what exactly she did at 16:34, 15 days ago.
  • by gambit3 ( 463693 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:35PM (#10194889) Homepage Journal

    Surely, we can't let these BLATANTLY piracy-inducing machines to make criminals of all our poor innocent children!!

    Quick, someone call Jack Valenti!
  • Oh. Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by boomgopher ( 627124 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:36PM (#10194903) Journal
    I first thought "28-Day Capacity" meant the contents disappear after 28 days, and that this was just another MPAA scheme. :)

  • 28 Days (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:36PM (#10194905) Homepage
    DVD / Hard Drive Recorder With 28-Day Capacity

    Obviously, to fill that capacity you'll need one of these. [amazon.com]

    Okay... so its a dumb joke. Give me a break. I've got a chronic ear-wax build up and its giving me a migraine.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:37PM (#10194910)
    I've got a Tivo with 120 hours on it. I can't KEEP UP with it. Half the stuff "spills off" for having too many copies (I stick with the default 5 episodes max for most things) or the suggestions just time out.

    Granted, it's nice to be able to thumb through that much content when I don't feel like my normal stuff, but 700 hours worth!? (Yeah, there's always archival and keeping your DVD library on the hard drive is convenient but... c'mon... how hard is it to pull the DVD out of the case and put it into the drive?)
    • You could record in higher quality which will eat the disk space faster. Or perhaps you're a packrat and want to save copies of shows without burning them to DVD.
    • I completely agree.

      One of the reasons I don't have a TiVo yet is that I'm trying to avoid the "pack rat trap."

      Seriously, the only advantage I can see to having a TiVo with this much record time is to do "Video on Demand" if it isn't available in your area on the cheap.

      If this is where TiVo is headed, then why not push for the pay-for-play schemes, let the cable companies manage content storage, and watch what you want when you want?
    • I just got a 200 GB hard drive to throw into my ReplayTV, that'll give me 65 hours of high quality recording space. It's not that I watch a lot of TV, it's just that I like to watch TV programmes on my own time...if I record a little extra, it comes in handy whenever i get the couch potato TV-watching bug. And, do you know you can watch a 4 hour baseball game in under an hour !!! All that time they waste getting ready for a pitch ! i just hit the "skip 30 seconds button" and they still haven't thrown the
      • The wasted time during sports really puts regular programming to shame. A few weeks ago, a preseason NFL game was on at the same time as some olympic gymnastics that my wife wanted to see. I recoreded them both, and we didn't start watching until about 20 minutes in. Fast forwarding through the commercials, watching one channel while the other was on commercial and fast forwarding the time between plays and when they were standing around, we managed to watch both completely without missing anything excit
    • by ElForesto ( 763160 ) <elforesto.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:20PM (#10195377) Homepage
      That's the first thing I thought of. Using these things in large security systems to keep archives would seem to be the most likely application.
    • I have a coaxial cable carrying over 100 channels into my home 24/7. How will I watch them all!? I won't.

      And that's the point; you don't have to worry about running out of space all the time.

  • by Kotukunui ( 410332 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:38PM (#10194927)
    Great. Now all we need is some decent programs to record. I don't think there has been 700 hours of quality television in the history of the medium. (called a medium because it is neither rare nor well done - ba-dum-chhh!)
    • However, if it allowed you to copy your DVDs to the internal Hard Drive and access them from an on-screen menu, THEN we'd have a reason to buy it.

      This is surely the next step in evolution, but unlike the iPod and iTunes combo, nobody's made a DVD/DVR-with-Hard-Drive that stores DVDs as far as I'm aware
    • Oh come on now, I hope to live to see 100 year old I Love Lucy re-runs!

      Hmmm. You are right even if you toss in the two good episodes of Monty Python and some Benny Hill episodes you still come up waaaay short of something worth spending money on to record TV shows.

    • Yeah, there was only 500 good episodes or so of Star Trek every made: TOS, TNG, and DS9.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lies. The bandwidth total for a 30 min of NTSC is over 10 times the storage they claim is similar to a TV broadcast, expecially if the show was full of cut scenes special effects (music videos) and hi freq static.

    Advertisers love to lie by factors of 10

    Advertisers love to claim that standard VHS NTSC is three times crappier than it actually is.

    Sony loves to do it this month with their non-mp3 mp3 players specs and storage and battery life.

    Now the idiocy just keeps gettign out of hand.

    Remember the year
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:41PM (#10194969)
    As to a commercial deletion feature. I will settle for a gain detector (in case you had not noticed commercials are significantly louder than the program itself) that creates a seperate chapter for commercial breaks that can be skipped easily if the viewer desires. That will satisfy the broadcasters that the commercials are being seen, while letting the users do what they have every right to do, skip the ads on recordings.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:42PM (#10194976)
    My 80Gb Tivo will record 80 hours (3 1/3 days) of video at "Basic Quality," which is equivalent to a low quality VHS recording (by VHS standards). Therefore, a 400Gb hard drive, using Tivo's standards anyway, will yield 16 2/3 days of video--yet they claim 28 days at that capacity. If that is the case, the picture will suck so much that you'll have to up the recording quality level and will get much less than 28 days worth of video.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:42PM (#10194978) Homepage Journal
    a very useful part for my electrical engineering project,
    which I will be setting up in the girl's bathroom.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:47PM (#10195047)
    unveiled new DVD-recoders

    And they're going to keep re-coding the thing until they get it right!

    Beta - no relationship to Betamax.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:53PM (#10195106) Homepage Journal
    Internet access allows users to program recording through cell phones or PCs while away from home."

    This would be highly welcome as I'm often away from home and miss shows I might want to record, also could give peace of mind that it is programmed to record the show you really really really don't want to miss.

    Of course, it being PC-like and on the internet, I wonder how secure it is. I'd hate to got on a trip in July, hoping this is recording stages of the Tour de France and coming home to a title "SUXX0RS11 UR 0WN3D1!" and a mess of Oprah shows.

    the horror, the horror

  • Keep this news away from Jack, cause when Valenti hears this shit he'll have a heart attack!

  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:06PM (#10195229) Homepage Journal
    For years they've been dreading the spectre of easy conversion of DVDs to files on a computer. Now that it's *FAST* and easy they're going to be scared.

    I would expect to see more attacks against computer makers and users by the MPAA on the order of what happened/is happening with the RIAA.

  • Like someone can use the computer or watch TV 24/7.
  • PCMCIA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sunkist ( 468741 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:17PM (#10195331) Homepage
    Personally, I am in favor of devices that carry PCMCIA because I like saying that acronym.

  • by FreonTrip ( 694097 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (pirtnoerf)> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:30PM (#10195460)
    56 seconds? But I want it now!
  • by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:45PM (#10195567)
    I have an older model Panasonic DVD recorder with hard drive, the DMR-E100H. It's got a 120 GB disk which they describe as holding 160 hours. I usually record in higher quality so it holds half that or less.

    It does have a high-speed record feature and can record an hour DVD in a couple of minutes. I'm not sure how it works. Sometimes it seems like the quality is not as high when I do it like this, but maybe that's my imagination.

    I also have a TiVo and what I miss most on the Panasonic is the lack of a program guide. The best you can do is use the VCR Plus codes from TV Guide but otherwise you have to manually enter the time and channel. And the worst is, you have to manually enter the program name! Using a letter grid that you move a cursor around with the remote control! It's awful. I hate it when I record a movie with a long title, but I'm too compulsive to allow myself to abbreviate it.

    The remaining major problem is that you can't copy from a DVD to the HD, you can only go in the other direction. I'd think this was a copy protection thing, but you actually can do it if you use a DVD-RAM format disk, just not a DVD-video. So once you back up something from the HD to a DVD, you can't copy it back to re-edit it or burn to a new DVD. I don't know whether the new box will fix this.
    • Why not just dub from Tivo to the Panny via SVHS cables? At the top two Tivo quality settings and the Panny set to SP, the qulity vs. the built-in tuner is negligable. It's a nuisance, admittedly, and not an optimal solution, but it does work really well and eliminates any gripes about the Panny's scheduling, which is no better or no worse than the VCR.

      They could fix the letter-entry method, although I've kind of gotten over it (I gave up the compulsion of labeling both a recorded program AND titling the
  • by Whatchamacallit ( 21721 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @06:48PM (#10195583) Homepage
    Pioneer already did this and has TiVo to boot. DVR-57H DVD Recorder Player with Hard Disc Record and TiVo.

    Sure it's only 120 Hours but who really cares? I get 9 hours with a Series 1 TiVo right now and it's fine. I could upgrade it to 130 by replacing the one drive with two big one's but seriously, 9 hours is enough for me.

    I don't record movies most of the time. It's just shows that I watch and most of them are an hour.

    Frankly just waiting for both the Pioneer and Panasonic devices to drop in cost and I will buy them. But the Pioneer is $1,800.00 for 120 Hours plus you still need to subscribe to TiVo or buy a lifetime connection. I would rather buy a new PowerBook then spend the money on a new TiVo when I am still not exceeding the capacity of the series 1 unit I have now.

    Seriously, how many would really record a lot onto DVD just to avoid buying a series on DVD when it's released at the end of a season?

    Why rip movies from HBO, etc. to DVD when you could just stream it from Comcast or rent it?

    I have friends who rent and rip DVD's using 321 Studio's software. But I tell ya, it's easier for me to rent the iffy movies and buy the ones I care about. I just don't have the time to rip to DVD.
  • Does it have a true ad-skip feature or just the 30 second skip button?
  • With its dual tuners, this would be a great addition to a video surveillance system...

    ...or a hidden camera operation. ;-)
  • Panasonic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by payndz ( 589033 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @07:23PM (#10195833)
    Panasonic's DVD recorders that I used in my (not long past) days as a tech reviewer, I rated pretty highly. Yes, they had their annoying quirks, but probably less than the equivalent Pioneer-clone units, and certainly a lot less than the Philips +RW machines. It comes down to format - Panasonic, IIRC, uses DVD-RAM, and as yet none of the three (three!) rival formats have yet established a convincing lead in the market.

    The big question is, can they still be snapped up before Broadcast Flag compatibility becomes mandatory?

    • >Yes, they had their annoying quirks,

      By annoying quirks do you mean the fact that they seem to corrupt about 1 in every six DVDs that are burned on them?

      I guess it could just be my particular machine, but I'm pretty irritated at the poor quality my Panasonic DVD-Burner has exhibited to date.

      I do have to caveat my experience above with the fact that I've been using blank memorex DVD-Rs.

      I've recently, within the last four or five discs, opened up a pack of TDK DVD-Rs and I've yet to have a corruption i
    • I have one of the older Panasonic DMR-E30s (no HDD) and it works pretty well the way I use it. There are some drawbacks but it does what I need it to and it was cheap long before any other standalone DVD recorders were. I use it mostly to capture TV and VHS tapes to MPEG2 on DVD-RAM discs (these are really great for this, much better than DVD+/-RW) which I put in my PC's DVD-RAM drive and offload the MPEG2, I then can do basic editing of the MPEG2 and burn it to a DVD-R with a nice clean menu.
  • ...when you run out of hard drive space, 28 days later? [imdb.com]

    Do the zombies come after you?
  • I have been looking to get a DVD-recorder for my home theater system for quite awhile. I already have a Tivo, and I'd like to replace my VCRs with a DVD recorder. I partial to the Panasonic products, since they do DVD-RAM, which my Panasonic DVD player can read.

    One of things I really want, however, is a Firewire interface on the unit so I can cleanly and easily dump my camcorder tapes to the recorder. This seems like such an obvious feature to me and yet very few units seem to support it. The older Pan
  • I can put the entire extended version of Lord of the Rings on my PVR (almost).

  • I already have something that ruins my life every 28 days. Why rub salt in my wounds?

    No, Honey, really, it was a joke! Sorry! Sorry! Glaahkkk! mmmffffpppt! AIEEEEEEEE>>>

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.