A Call To Arms

I need your help. I’ve never used this site to plea for a personal favor before, but this isn’t for me. Last week, a longtime reader and commenter, e-mailed me with a unique request. He is a military serviceman who is about to be deployed to Iraq for a second time. His plight, aside from the obvious, is that it is next to impossible to watch a race from Iraq.

He explained that some units have readily available access to TV and internet, but those are not units that do combat operations. He is in a reconnaissance Troop that will be conducting extensive operations involving long periods away from any base. He wants to know if I knew of anyone who was computer savvy enough to download races from various race sites and burn them to a DVD.

This reader is a hard-core open-wheel racing fan. I am not that computer savvy, but I can sympathize with his problem. Missing a race is extremely frustrating. When Nashville was experiencing the floods this past spring, our local ABC affiliate dumped the Kansas race for weather coverage. The worst of the floods didn’t come until the next day and I didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation. All I knew was that a race was happening and I couldn’t watch it. I tried watching on-line, but it kept freezing up and was pretty much unwatchable. I felt cut off from the racing world.

I make a strong effort to avoid political discussions on this site. I have pretty strong political convictions and most can probably tell which side of the aisle I lean towards, but I don’t think an IndyCar site is an appropriate forum to discuss politics. There are plenty of blog sites out there to fill that need. But regardless of our political leanings, I think most of us are fervently behind our armed forces and try to support them in any way possible. You never know, he might share his DVD’s with others over there and it could lead to converting some much needed new fans.

He did not ask me to throw this out on the site. He simply asked if I knew of anyone that could help him. I didn’t. My contemporaries are about as old as I am and consider themselves advanced if they have mastered e-mail. It was my idea to throw this out to the blogosphere. If there are any readers out there that have the technical ability to fulfill his request and would like to help him out, please contact me at geophillips14@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with him. You will be doing your country and the IZOD IndyCar Series a great service.

George Phillips


16 Responses to “A Call To Arms”

  1. I hope you find someone to do this! What a great thing to be able to do to make life just a little easier for our brave soldiers! I agree that regardless of our political leanings, we all need to support our troops!

  2. good luck george, anything we can do to make life a bit easier for the troops is good. wish I could help but learning to leave a comment on a blog is about the apex of my computer skills.

    (and thanks for keeping the politics off your Indycar site. I’ve seen some comments sections deteriorate into senseless name-calling when things turn political.)

  3. I don’t currently have the ability; the computer I had with the necessary hardware died on me and I haven’t been able to replace it. If I did–I would.

  4. You know, it should be pretty trivial to pull that stunt off – someone with a video capture card could do it, no problem (No, I don’t have one) – but I have an idea: Send that email to one of the Indycar PR officials. I’d bet they’d be more than happy to burn off a DVD from the telecast recording and send it to the guy just for the publicity.

  5. Bent Wickerbill Says:

    This effort does not necessarily require a computer. A simple DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which have become relatively common these days will work just fine. I personally do not own a DVR, but anyone who does should easily be able to record the race and send the disc anywhere it needs to go by mail.

  6. Hello George,

    Like Redd and the others, I have limited computer skills. For example, I bought a DVR recorder as BW describes and I could not even figure out how to hook it up. My six year old neighbor boy was unavailable. So, it is still in the box holding up books. I am willing to donate it to you if you want it. It is a Memorex Dual Format DVD Recorder. Never used, obviously.

  7. Is this for races next year or is he just looking to take some past races with him? Also will he be playing them on a dvd player or a laptop? Sorry I have more questions than answers right now.

  8. Not sure if I understand what you’re asking, what with all the folderol about politics and such. You never really got around to saying exactly what he wants.

    If what he wants is to receive recordings of next season’s races on DVD, though the mail, in Afghanistan… that’s easy.

    The easiest, most straight-forward way to record an IndyCar race to DVD is to buy a DVD recorder, which works just like a video recorder. Something like this:


    Probably available even cheaper elsewhere, but ~120 bucks seems like a reasonably small price to pay to get IndyCar races mailed to Afghanistan. Your friend just needs to buy the machine and give it to someone willing to record the races for him.

    If you have a Tivo machine, you can hook that up to your home network via ethernet, or a WiFi adapter, and then transfer the video of races that you Tivo to your PC using free software from tivo.com. Then you “burn” DVDs using Windows Media Player.

    On a Mac you have to buy Roxio Toast ($80), which does both the transferring and the burning. It’s easy to burn DVDs on a Mac, but Tivo doesn’t provide any Mac software for getting the video off the Tivo machine. Bummer.

    If it was me, I’d probably just buy the DVD recorder, because screwing around with this sort of stuff on PCs is good way to drive yourself nutz. Nonetheless, it is possible to transfer Tivo video to a PC, and then make DVDs.

    If I still had a Tivo I’d do it myself, but mine died and I’ve felt no need to replace it. Guess I just don’t watch much TV anymore.

  9. It’s easier than you all are making it out to be. What I plan on doing is splitting the output from my DirecTV box and using a $80 TV tuner that hooks into the usb port on my computer and the recording it to my hard drive and then I can burn it to a DVD-R and the first one I’d send in different formats so that it’ll play for sure on almost any dvd player or computer.

  10. If I could I would. Thanks George for making the call to arms and it looks like it is going to work out.

  11. George: you may want to repeat this close to the beginning of the season…

  12. Randy Holbrook Says:

    George, I just got around to reading this and haven’t taken the time to read through all of the responses but if you haven’t found anyone yet, I would be glad to help. I am certainly no computer whiz, but I do have a DVD recorder at home that I use to archive the races. It works for me, I am able to watch what I record on a computer or a DVD player. Let me know if I can help. I really enjoyed your articles this year. I always read them but seldom get to comment because I am always a few days behind. Keep up the great work!

  13. mike davis Says:

    Thanks, George, for the kind gesture shown on our serviceman’s request. Wish I was enough of a computer geek to help, other than suggest recording the race on DVD.

    Your appeal was answered by a lot of warm-hearted people, with some great suggestions. I know our country’s guardian will appreciate the response.

    Mike D

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