tomo's blog


We were only just going to a cafe, just a two minute drive away. I pulled onto a wide one-way street, a stretch of road which connected four major throughways, and drove along the straightaway while doing my best to not hit anyone in front of me - the only rule of the Vietnamese road. But out of nowhere another bike came in on my right, leaning into me, tangling our bikes together like knotted headphone cables.

When I first learned to ride a motorbike, I was a foreigner who came from an extremely car-based culture to Vietnam, a country which shows how a society can be built to work around motorbikes rather than cars. I wasn't used to seeing so many bikes and so few cars on the roads, nor was I used to riding a motorbike yet. But living in Vietnam the Vietnamese way means eating with chopsticks (for noodles, but using hands to eat chicken feet) and getting around via scooter.

After several years of riding a Honda motorbike in Vietnam, including a fantastic voyage from Saigon to Hoi An via the central highlands, I finally got into my first accident. If you ride in Vietnam long enough, it will happen to you too. It's like cancer - survive everything else long enough and cancer will kill you. You can lead a safer life and reduce your odds but the odds aren't great. Cut out bad habits like texting while riding, rubbernecking at Vietnamese girls. But if you live long enough without anything else killing you you'll wreck your bike.

Each year some 11,000 Vietnamese, and a handful of foreigners, die in motorbike accidents. For those who like gruesome soundbites, that's 1.5 deaths every hour. The number of non-fatal accidents is clearly orders of magnitude higher as they occur more often. In the middle are the statistics who sustain serious injuries and who will not be able to work to pay for their own medical bills. Sometimes the dead ones are the lucky ones.

You can drive slow. You can ride a 50cc Honda Cub that can only ride slow at its maximum speed anyways. You can concentrate on avoiding hitting anyone in front of you, as you must trust everyone behind you also does. You can be the minority who uses turn signals and stops at red lights. But you can't do a damn thing about someone running a red light or quickly passing you and then pulling into you well before they've cleared you (which is what happened to me). You can't get out of the way when a drunk-driving car fails to stop at a red light and smashes through rows of stopped bikes.

If you ever do "put your bike down" while you're moving, your two options are to stop suddenly or to skid. Both have their downsides. Stopping suddenly can lead to death (unless your bike is equipped with an airbag), while skidding can cause road rashes (unless you're wearing elbow pads and knee pads and some protective gloves).

"Sorry, I couldn't see anything because of my hood and I was running late to class!"

In my case, either the impact or my bike getting twisted up with the other person brought my bike down quickly and I slid down the street for what seemed like a while and I mangled my fingers and slid on my arms, elbows, and knees and somehow tore my pants at the hips and crushed my chest, while keeping my passenger (and the laptop I'm writing this on) protected. In hindsight, I should have leaned away from the ground as much as I could including taking my right hand off the handlebar.

I have advice for both cases. If you die, I'd love to hear from you - please leave a comment. If you get road rashes, after cleaning out the wounds (you should go to the hospital if you see bones or anything more than the first few layers of skin), you should apply generic Neosporin, which you should go find right now, before you ever need it, under the generic name of the 3 drugs it contains. What you find may include a topical anaesthetic as a bonus. It's actually quite hard to find so you want to have it on hand before you get into an accident. If you get nothing else from reading this post, just go out and buy a bunch of bottles of that stuff and give them away to your friends and loved ones.

Face it, Saigon is a hot and dirty city. You want to keep the wound moist, but not sweaty. Once you venture out you'll see how many different ways that germs could get into your wound from the dust blowing in the air off the street. You'll stare at all the people nearby not washing their hands, sneezing and coughing at you. You might think how if there was another plague we would be so screwed.

General hygiene aside, if you do get a road rash, expect it to hurt fairly constantly for a few days. This is where basic painkillers like ibuprofen (ibu in "Vietnamese") and topical analgesics help a lot. Until they scab over, try to not let the wounds get infected.

I just wrote about how to ride a motorbike. It's not hard but fairly necessary in Saigon, but that also means you're sharing the road with a lot of people who shouldn't be on motorbikes (or cars). Until Vietnam starts taking public transportation seriously though you will have to choose whether to take the risks in choosing how you want to join and be a part of Vietnamese traffic.

Daily Twitter Posts - 06/08/2012 - 06/15/2012

Submitted by tomo on June 15, 2012 - 12:45pm

06/14 08:04 @redbrandbuilder For as many times as I had to click to redirect to a new link, in the end the link still fails. Won't get much help there. #
06/14 08:00 @madlyduck It wasn't even raining! What do you mean? Heavy rain can cause hearts to explode? #
06/14 07:33 Next door neighbor just passed away. No surprise there but cops came, autopsy says her heart exploded. #
06/14 03:51 @jonhoff The price per liter of pool water is pretty good speaking relatively. Free urine too. #
06/14 03:48 @nguyenhimself It's a play on the slightly more pro Saigon Heat basketball team. We're not bringing much heat, we're rather lukewarm. ;-) #
06/14 03:23 RT @ericburdette: Beautiful. RT: @Vietnam720: #NASA took this shot of #Vietnam from space #
06/14 00:44 "Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team." - Woz on creativity. Keep it in mind when managing creatives: protect them from distraction #
06/13 05:09 @ericburdette Yeah, why not? Want to call them up? Wonder what would get them interested more? #
06/13 02:40 @MienHPham Viettel in Saigon has been wide open for the past few months. What problems are you seeing? Just Facebook? #
06/13 02:37 @sonnylebythebay Yup, kids are already fattening up to the delight of proud Vietnamese parents. Diabetes, previously unheard of - now common #
06/13 02:33 @sonnylebythebay While governments should tax cigarettes, they shouldn't themselves get addicted to profits from those products! #
06/13 02:08 @sonnylebythebay Other fast food chains in VN: Burger King, Subway, Dominos Pizza, Lotteria, Baskin-Robbins (and small Singaporean ones) #
06/12 04:49 VNPT is blocking BlogSpot, WordPress, as well as Facebook (and others?) #censorship #
06/11 07:19 @laidbackfreak Yup. Cops shut it down early, although possibly allowed them to play music again later in the night after people left #
06/10 07:20 @lenabucatariu Japanese cuisine is more than sushi! Japanese and Singapore-inspired street snacks and soybeans in a contemporary setting :) #
06/09 13:37 At the Dose warehouse party but cops aren't letting any more taxis enter the area and music has stopped #
06/09 07:00 @caligarn @nguyenhimself Insomnia is a disease! Not fixed so easy. But laying in bed w/mind racing is no way to sleep fast, just waste time #
06/09 06:57 @Vietnam720 Cam on Ben oi! #
06/09 06:56 @caligarn The other night I couldn't sleep cuz it was earlier than I sleep, too hot w/ net & w/o fan, and you two were snoring right away! #
06/09 06:52 @1000vietmiles We took QL 1A and some local roads including dirt roads. We had no time for massages :( #
06/09 05:42 #oddballrequests Where can one have custom cardboard paper boxes made in Saigon? #
06/09 02:13 Skyline #saigon #vietnam #
06/08 09:48 @1000vietmiles I recently joined my friend on his 12-day cycling trip from Hanoi to Saigon. Two days and I was dead sore, but he made it! #
06/08 05:22 @tamkaizen @Vietnam720 Haha. Don't worry, I won't be the guy to tell everyone that you're married... wait... Whoops, sorry! #
06/08 04:35 Don't cheat w/ model sitting on plane next to you when she has 13k followers and is live-tweeting it: via @shilkytouch #
06/08 02:39 @garydale Motorbike accident. About the same rate of motorcycle deaths per hour in Vietnam as in Thailand, 1-2 deaths every hour #

Daily Twitter Posts - 06/01/2012 - 06/08/2012

Submitted by tomo on June 8, 2012 - 12:45pm

06/06 04:32 @jon7b It's either a brilliant piece of self-referential irony ... or it's just Vietnam being Vietnam #
06/06 04:10 @TwitVietnam Haha thanks for the RT Ben #
06/06 03:59 F You Karaoke. 'F the noise' #saigon #vietnam #
06/06 03:46 @torlangballe I haven't yet. Do you want to be the tester? If so, let's meet up for coffee too haha #
06/06 02:57 @nguyenhimself Or discourage citizens from being organ donors lest they're one day setup/convicted of a crime with potential death sentence #
06/06 02:20 @oc_f1fan @sonnylebythebay @bootsnall @ottsworld Haha. I grew up eating both at home, homemade. Soba itself is bland, can be made many ways. #
06/06 02:16 @PedroInSaigon It depends. There are a few kinds of tourist visas. One 3-month visa can be renewed more than 3 times, not sure of limit. #
06/05 04:28 @walterm In that case, maybe Saigon must go upmarket to keep Vietnamese (and expats) from traveling #
06/05 04:00 Have some cheese. Cheeses made in Thu Duc (Ho Chi Minh City) with local Holstein cow. #
06/05 03:15 Keep getting dumped into the sad world of Perl. This time decrypting the payload on a hacked server scanning for jboss vulnerabilities now. #
06/05 03:08 @garydale Things are significantly better than a week ago as I can type without incurring pain. How is Thailand? #
06/05 02:07 @walterm I think Saigon should really try harder to woo Khmer medical tourists. Closer at least. FV tries. #
06/04 05:29 @omgsupergirl Oh, sorry to hear you were sick :/ Better now I hope? #
06/04 05:09 @sonnylebythebay @SaigonSean Saigon has enough people depending on others for transport, the old/young/sick/drunk. But who cares about them! #
06/04 04:57 @TylerWatts @SaigonSean @dynamicscholar Ho ho! But only as a link from metro to bus station, depending on both, worthless alone. #
06/04 04:54 @dynamicscholar @sonnylebythebay I'd guess Singaporeans were no more 'enlightened' than Saigonians 2-3 decades ago; what changed? Leadership #
06/04 04:53 @omgsupergirl Oh, good news. Did you check out ADS? How was it? #
06/04 02:33 @sonnylebythebay @dynamicscholar IMO, HCMC should but does not see Singapore as a model. But we must copy at all levels, up to the top #
06/04 01:50 @TylerWatts @SaigonSean @dynamicscholar Seriously? Or are you making a Simpsons joke? :-) #
06/04 01:49 @SaigonSean @dynamicscholar I like trams. But a city-wide network of trams? Must be grade-separated. How would we justify the cost? #
06/04 01:23 @dynamicscholar The Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro will be underground in D1. I think it's a very expensive, difficult option. #
06/04 01:18 @shilkytouch I think it's still far too early for people to be talking about that happening at Cam Ranh, no reference as in Japan #
06/04 01:05 @dynamicscholar I think we need dedicated bus lanes/busways. There are also underground bus "subways" too, see Seattle. But digging = $$$ #
06/04 00:46 @NBNQ Another bike tried to "kiss" mine and we both fell over. Nothing broken but a lot of blood (and destroyed pants). Not recommended! #
06/04 00:45 @dynamicscholar I've ridden a golf cart in D2 :) Busses can also go overground, cheaper than trains. But last-mile connections will be bikes #
06/04 00:42 @NBNQ @ericburdette When you think about it, most Americans would think us insane for riding motorbikes the way we do here. #
06/04 00:41 @ericburdette Was it an imported bike? I've seen cheapo Chinese-made mountain bikes priced reasonably. I also have a folding bike. #
06/04 00:35 @dynamicscholar What do you think of BKK's network of boats/tuktuks/trains? I'd be happy if SGN had just a BTS. Or a better bus network. #
06/04 00:26 @ericburdette I also think many people can ride bicycles but don't ride motorbikes for various reasons. Among expats too. #
06/04 00:20 @omgsupergirl Girl on bike ran into me and my bike fell and skidded to a stop. Mangled fingers and gash and road rash along my arm and leg #
06/04 00:18 @ericburdette @NBNQ Totally confused here. My sense of balance is intact here, my right arm was injured after getting hit by a bike. #
06/04 00:15 @omgsupergirl I know how to ride a bike, I just can't close my fist or bend my elbow w/o pain right now, making it harder to operate :) #
06/04 00:13 @shilkytouch Guess you mean the visit to Cam Ranh. I think both sides say US will not have a base, and I think US is moving to "renting". #
06/04 00:12 @ericburdette @NBNQ This city is designed exclusively around motorbikes. You mean how does someone deal with not riding a motorbike? #
06/04 00:10 @NBNQ I occasionally meet (Vietnamese) people who don't/can't ride a motorbike... for me it's temporary b/c of a bike accident and hurt arms #
06/03 22:20 For the first time in Vietnam I wish I had a car so I could get around (since I can't ride a bike). Or better yet, wish the city had trains. #
06/03 08:33 TIL Octopuses have 8 semi-autonomous mini-brains in their tentacles which would be useful in robots: #
06/03 03:25 Facebook friends! Why do you "like" so many of the Facebook pages that you clicked "Like" on? #
06/02 06:46 @ourman There was a bug in Twitter where it would secretly unfollow people. Or at least that's what I tell people I unfollowed #
06/02 04:53 @nhhaidang Please tell me more about these Vietnamese academics! #
06/01 08:47 @areyouahuman Have you tried using Opera's mobile browser? No game appears on demo , using Android phone #
06/01 05:29 Xenophobe China, scary. RT @nicola_davison: Last night dozens of police stormed the bars/restaurants on Yongfu Lu demanding foreigners' IDs. #
06/01 02:51 Anyone recommend any company in Saigon for printing cardboard shipping boxes? #
06/01 02:10 @smpasiaorg Facebook is not blocked on my FPT connection @fisheggtree #
06/01 02:09 Some dangers of investing capital in Vietnam: #

Daily Twitter Posts - 05/25/2012 - 06/01/2012

Submitted by tomo on June 1, 2012 - 12:45pm

06/01 00:52 For the past 1-2hrs most major SSL sites (inc. Gmail) were failing due to SSL warnings - on multiple PCs. Now all ok. Attempted MITM attack? #
05/31 02:04 @Anita_Tran And I love traffic police. But does anybody use the side mirrors? Not the girl who ran into me the other day.. #
05/31 01:59 @HerDailyDigest Haha, I can't take credit for this innovation. Just saw it parked outside. #onlyinvietnam #
05/31 00:59 Who needs a side mirror when you have a scratched up used CD #
05/30 02:56 @HerDailyDigest: Fill in the blank: I like to __ride the local trains for a cheap city tour__ when traveling. #
05/30 01:25 RT @calvinhyj: Looking for a Vietnamese bride? You can get one for cheap with a "Groupon" in #China #Vietnam #fem2 #
05/29 02:07 @ericburdette Is it an RSI like tennis elbow for badminton? Swollen? Affected by typing? See any western doctors? #
05/28 02:42 RT @wmyeoh: Sickening: UN peacekeepers fathered est. 24,500 babies in #Cambodia; 6,600 #Liberia #
05/28 02:16 RT @KenRoth: 2 Tibetan self-immolations in capital Lhasa. First ever there, & first protest there in 4 years. #China #

Daily Twitter Posts - 05/11/2012 - 05/18/2012

Submitted by tomo on May 18, 2012 - 12:45pm

05/17 01:51 @ourman You mean hack as in to do something the way MacGuyver would? To take shortcuts? Much Vietnamese workmanship is a hack ;) #
05/17 01:49 @TravelinNatural Bicycle. Last time was a motorbike trip from Saigon to Hoi An - 1000+ km through mountains! #
05/17 01:01 @ourman Both meanings go way back but in general population it's unauthorized access to computer systems a la Wargames/Sneakers/Hackers. #
05/17 00:40 @TravelinNatural Looks like more than 400 km from Nha Trang to Saigon. Don't worry, there are busses and trains too, don't hafta go by bike #
05/17 00:36 @laidbackfreak Yep, cycling all the way - 3 days. Up to 170km per day. Friend started from Hanoi, so another friend wanted to join from NT #
05/17 00:15 Last minute plan to depart for Nha Trang by bus tonight, then immediately hop on a bicycle and start pedaling back to Saigon #
05/16 22:58 China: Foreigners caught just applying for a job w/o a work permit to be fined. Passports will be checked on streets #
05/16 22:01 @ourman Two connotations that go way back. 1) Rapidly write code (or a blog post) that may be ugly but works. 2) Like in the movie 'Hackers' #
05/16 05:18 RT @nguyenhimself: @Vietnam720 @tomosaigon I'm truly sorry for all the horrible, terrible things this guy has seen #
05/15 06:12 @Vietnam720 Haha! :-D Good to know that Firefox will also keep me "safe". P.S. Opera has great popup blocking, configurable per site. #
05/15 05:53 @Vietnam720 @nguyenhimself I have absolutely no imagination and therefore I am unable to pretend. P.S. Chrome Icognito is a great feature. #
05/15 05:43 @Vietnam720 @nguyenhimself Wait. Ben. Are you telling me it's possible to view pornographic imagery in my browser? Why did no one tell me! #
05/15 05:36 @nguyenhimself I have a browsing problem. Basically, lots of web/research projects continuously ongoing simultaneously. How many do u keep? #
05/15 05:34 @TravelinNatural RMIT is a pricey but high quality English-language (Australian) university with a nice campus, but w/o the prestige. #
05/15 03:24 Waiting for Chrome to 'reboot' after a crash takes the better part of an hour (with 200+ tabs). Computer nearly useless until 'OS' boots. #
05/13 11:10 @caligarn @dynamicscholar High Tech Soul is great! Another I remember from back then is Pioneers of Electronic Music: #
05/13 11:08 Idea tourist: Someone who thinks having a 'brilliant' business idea is enough to get free concessions #
05/13 04:51 @barijoe Clearly, we NEED an underground app store dealing in historic versions of auto-updating apps! #
05/12 00:32 @Vietnam720 @caligarn He is aware of the situation. :) He's missing out! #
05/11 20:19 Looking forward to a weekend of meditation in Saigon #
05/11 04:53 @springpad Can you please fix login via Google? I've been unable to access my account for days now. #
05/11 04:32 Good find, maybe an older draft rather than award winner? RT @jon7b: @tomosaigon is this the dissertation (PDF) ? #
05/11 03:51 @TravelinNatural Thanks! Are you coming through Vietnam/Saigon? #
05/11 03:49 @NBNQ Right, I was worried it would be behind a paywall. :-( Most likely, American taxpayers backed her research yet can't read the results #
05/11 03:45 @NBNQ Oh yeah? Do you have a link handy if it's available online? #
05/11 03:34 Anyone seen her around Saigon? Berkeley Ph.D. wins prize - dissertation on sex work in Vietnam, working in bars in HCMC #

Writing Vietnamese is a pain. You have several different input systems to choose from (VNI, Telex, VIQR, etc.) and they all require some effort to memorize and get used to. But as it turns out most Vietnamese text can be understood without those accent (diacritic) marks at all. Vietnamese people are accustomed to texting (sms) each other using Vietnamese words written without marks - because their phones often don't support Vietnamese characters. But it's better to have the marks and emails and posts on forums often do. GMail even supports a Vietnamese software keyboard built into the interface now.

But if Vietnamese people can understand Vietnamese without diacritics, can computers? Turns out there is software that can take unaccented Vietnamese text and ADD the diacritics!

Let's take some text:

Chuyến phiêu lưu khám phá bỏ nhà ra đi đầu tiên của bạn vào năm bao nhiêu tuổi? 
- Nghĩ lại thì thấy hồi xưa mỗi lần mà bị mẹ la là hay giận, bỏ nhà đi lắm, vì lúc nào cũng nghĩ mình đúng hết. Giận thì giận nhưng mà đi lang thang rồi lại về, hoặc về trong tình trạng được tìm thấy và lại tiếp tục bị mắng :D

Then we strip the accents and put it into a few websites to see the results.

Chuyến phiêu lưu khám phá bỏ nhà ra đi đầu tiên của bạn vào năm bao nhiêu tuổi?
- Nghĩ lại thì thấy hồi xưa mỗi lần mà bị mẹ là lạ hay gián, bỏ nhà đi làm, vì lúc nào cũng nghĩ mình dùng hết. Gian thi giản nhưng mà đi lang thang rồi lại về, hoặc vê tròn

chuyến phiêu lưu khám phá bỏ nhà ra đi đầu tiên của bạn vào năm bao nhiêu tuổi?
- nghĩ lại thì thấy hồi xưa mỗi lần mà bị mẹ là là hay gian, bộ nhà đi làm, vì lúc nào cũng nghĩ mình đứng hết.
gian thì giản nhưng mà đi lang thang rồi lại về, hoặc về trọn

Chuyến phiêu lưu khám phá bỏ nhà ra đi đầu tiên của bạn vào năm bao nhiêu tuổi?
- Nghĩ lại thì thấy hồi xưa mỗi lần mà bị mẹ là là hay giận, bỏ nhà đi lắm, vì lúc nào cũng nghĩ mình đúng het. Gian thì giận nhưng mà đi lang thang rồi lại về, hoặc về tron

The results are nearly the same except for the last word: 'tron'. This is because the real word is "trong" but it got cut off in the de-accenting process! So each different software took a different guess as to what the word was, but it was the wrong word to begin with.

All in all, they do a pretty good job and probably better than even some native Vietnamese speakers due to the fact that some tones are mixed up!

Today I spent the day hacking on the WordPress site for BarCampSaigon. I'm no expert on WordPress but trying to hack a theme with it makes me appreciate Drupal so much more. WordPress does have an "API" or at least some documented functions which are used internally which can also be used by developers but it's certainly not designed with developers in mind. Wordpress is great for bloggers. Drupal is great for developers and users who need something more than a blog will have to choose between working with Drupal or fighting against WordPress. :-)

Due to two recent conferences, BarCamp Hanoi and the opening of, I put together a presentation called "The Business Case for Drupal in Vietnam". I'll blog about those two events later.

I targeted two main groups: outsourcing companies based in Vietnam who want to attract more clients abroad, and any software development shop in Vietnam who is deciding what technology to use to develop websites. There is a third group, who are those companies with simpler website needs who perhaps only need one website and are not in the business of making websites.

I go over a number of common concerns that customers outside of Vietnam might have which Vietnamese companies might not expect. One point is being vendor agnostic when developing what is essentially a CMS. I make a strong point that one should never fall to the temptation of developing your own in-house CMS and as a consumer, you should stay far away from such "bespoke" solutions in the modern age where content management frameworks such as Drupal exist. I also think Drupal represents a strong brand name that is not well-known yet in Vietnam, but we all know how much Vietnamese people love brands.

On the supply side, I talk about why Drupal is a decent choice for Vietnamese developers, similar to any web developer. But the main recent news is that there is finally Drupal training being made available in Vietnam, much like for Joomla, and that PHP is widely known in Vietnam not just because there are books on it in the Vietnamese language, and that there is now a core Drupal community in Vietnam represented by (which I somehow became vice president of).

In general, I say go with your strengths. If web development is not your strength, then hire someone proper to do it for you while you focus on your core business. If web development is your business, make better use of your developers by using a CMS.

Anyways, here's the presentation.

Daily Twitter Posts - 04/27/2012 - 05/04/2012

Submitted by tomo on May 4, 2012 - 12:45pm

05/03 01:49 Indie rockstar Thao Nguyen interviews her ba ngoai about her ong ngoai over the strumming of guitar: #
05/02 05:58 Need less cars not more roads. RT @tuoitrenewsvn: It’s too costly to build expressways in Vietnam #
05/02 05:49 @MienHPham @chipro @barcampSaigon @caligarn @jodiehuynh BarCampSaigon will tentatively be on July 1. Still awaiting confirmation. #
05/02 05:48 @laidbackfreak True dat. Question: How do other countries solve it? #
05/02 05:46 @michaelcoyote Indeed that's been the case, uphill battle for Facebook. Other countries didn't have a dominant social network. #
05/02 05:45 @CoachLeaders Not much of a week left. :-) How's about Friday afternoon? #
05/02 01:07 [email protected]: Japanese are starting to get tired of Facebook b/c of their weaknesses: Peer pressure&separation of private and professional #
05/02 00:36 "Smoke and dust created by trucks are the main factors leading to the decline in air quality in Vietnam, especially HCMC" #
04/30 02:32 Right or wrong? Angry Dong Nai residents take volunteer action to seal up polluter’s sewer: #moitruong #
04/29 04:10 Even local media using quotes around "terrorism" RT @tuoitrenewsvn: US citizen arrested for “terrorism” #
04/29 02:41 Vietnamese granny eating lunch in her jammies. Large comb picked in her head. #textinstagram #
04/28 01:50 Cuối tháng này có một ngày lễ khá đặc biệt là Lễ Phật Đản (Vesak)! #
04/27 04:19 RT @tomoakiyama: POLL: Half of Japanese #Facebook users have *less than 10 friends*; 53 average [J] #

Fixing Subtitles in VLC

Submitted by tomo on May 3, 2012 - 12:21am

I don't want to forget this.

If you're ever watching a movie in VLC and you have downloaded a subtitle file which can be an .srt (the file extension for SubRip subtitle files) or .ass (whoever came up with that file extension) and the timing is off, you can fix it! One way is to modify the actual subtitle file which is plaintext. However, to fix timing offsets this way would require lots of changes since each subtitle line is an absolute offset from the beginning of the movie, rather than as an offset from the last line. This means you can't just fix the first line and have the changes cascaded.

There are some sites which purport to fix time offsets in subtitle files. They seem to all be down. But this is only really necessary if you want to reuse the file or share it again.

If you just want to watch the movie and have the subtitles be in sync for the one time you watch the move, with VLC player, it's easy although it might not be documented well. By default, there should be hotkeys assigned to change the time difference between the video and subtitles. You can change the delay both ways by making it positive or negative. By default the hotkeys should be control-h and control-j which change the offset by 50 ms each time and you should see the total offset appear briefly.

If those hotkeys don't work and you also can't seem to modify the hotkeys (this affected me) then you can edit the VLC config file directly. On OSX, it's installed at ~/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc/vlcrc.

Open up the file and look for:

# Subtitle delay up (key)
# Subtitle delay up (key)
# Subtitle delay down (key)
# Subtitle delay down (key)

Set accordingly, save, and you're done.

Daily Twitter Posts - 04/20/2012 - 04/27/2012

Submitted by tomo on April 27, 2012 - 12:45pm

04/26 06:54 @ahuk I didn't care to stop and find out. They were pulling over anyone they could. Easily could've caused an accident. #
04/26 04:10 What's with the recent latency surge to Google&Co. sites from Vietnam? It's like local servers have been dropped. Slowing down the internet. #
04/26 02:18 @TylerWatts I don't know man. The second option looks more attractive and easier. #
04/26 02:15 @jon7b @nguyenhimself On the brighter side of things, I did not have to use my AK, so one could say it was not a bad day after all #
04/26 01:52 @ianblakeslee Yup, back in Saigon. You guys should head down for #BarCampSaigon tentatively on July 1! #
04/26 00:05 @nguyenhimself Yes, they swung at me as I rode by and yes, it left a pretty nasty bruise #
04/26 00:01 Shoulder is painfully yellow and blue from being hit by the baton of a cop who tried to pull me over. It's got me singing N.W.A. songs now #
04/25 02:57 @CoachLeaders Remaining politically stable. Peace w/ China. 100,000s of Viet Kieu civilizing their homeland. Customer service revolution. #
04/25 02:25 @dylanduong Me too. Let's try out some vegetarian restaurants together! Organic was yesterday, but my local place is on D1 #
04/25 02:24 @CoachLeaders Roads clogged w/ cars like BKK. Failed push for public transit. Ubiquitous e-commerce. More hipsters. Mini-eco crisis. #
04/25 00:19 If only Vietnamese head massage/shampoo involved more cosmic energy and sound effects: #
04/24 10:15 Anyone know if air quality monitoring data is published about Saigon or points in Vietnam? Do we need the Americans to do it, like in China? #
04/24 09:51 @doortomykitchen I just came back to Saigon last night but I will stop by your store next time I'm in town! #
04/24 09:10 @MienHPham You missed a successful event with lightning talks in overtime! Hope you are better now and hope to see you next time I'm in town #
04/24 09:09 @Khoi_Le I was specifically at Hanoi Noi Bai at the time, but the statement could be generalized to most buildings in Vietnam #
04/24 09:09 @nguyenhimself @ericburdette 8 GB is still not enough! Apple h/w is picky. I got Crucial RAM verified for MBP, not all ram works. YMMV. #
04/24 09:07 @huongdothu For just a blog, WordPress. To develop a rich, social, ecommerce, innovative site/webapp use Drupal. Use the appropriate tool! #
04/24 09:02 @TheCartFood Service was without complaint. Later, regretted not getting a pasty to go. I will be back. #
04/24 09:01 @TheCartFood Falafel was good, but wrapped in the morning? Fell apart while eating. Veggies could use Lebanese lemon dressing/garlic sauce #
04/24 06:56 1000s of riot police overwhelmed villagers in Vietnam in land dispute, no local media coverage #
04/23 10:12 It doesn't matter what physical airport structure they build. It's still a horrible customer service experience & last memory for travelers #
04/23 09:29 @ericburdette I don't assume that. Went to a recommended Apple shop and asked for RAM. He looked up the price for him and LOL'd: $500. #
04/23 03:50 @nguyenhimself @ericburdette My last USA trip I picked up some generic ram to upgrade my MBP to 8 GB. About $50. Cheaper than power adapter. #
04/23 01:19 @huongdothu Yesterday I mentioned Drupal is also a content management framework. If out of the box it's not friendly then devs can make it #
04/23 01:19 @huongdothu But freshly installed, Drupal is more complicated to manage than WordPress. Next version improves upon that. Cheers :-) #
04/23 01:13 Mission accomplished. I'm at @TheCartFood in Hanoi #
04/22 06:59 @ianblakeslee Hi Ian, please come to Beercamp at 36A Tran Thai Tong around the corner from FPT if you're free! #
04/21 12:11 @MienHPham Hey will you be at BarCamp Mien? Yeah, I've enjoyed walking around a lot today! Not too hot, and not freezing in my room at night #
04/21 11:57 Hope to see some familiar faces at #BarCampHanoi tomorrow! This is the best weather I've personally experienced up here (see: Goldilocks) #
04/20 04:32 @PhamNguyen @tamkaizen @barcamphanoi That's what we are trying to do with and last week's Drupal conference in Saigon #
04/20 04:30 @ChrisInCambo @cnualart Must be coincidence. Doesn't explain the birthplace of karaoke, or the Philippines :-) #
04/20 03:27 What if millions of Facebook users unionized and started making demands? #

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