Friday, December 31, 2004

Make Mine An R32

Via Jalopnik:
After three full years of declining sales in the US, VW, in need of rescue, turned to a novel marketing gimmick: free insurance for a year. Company executives won’t comment on the alleged program, which some dealers in Illinois and Wisconsin say will be offered on Golfs, Beetle coupes and Beetle convertibles in February and March 2005.

Thank You Santa

After some negotiating Santa delivered a little toy that I have been eyeing since it came out. I jumped onto the MiniDisc bandwagon when NetMD arrived on the scene and owned a couple models, the Sony MZ-N505 and the Sony MZ-N1. I liked the ability to upload tunes to the devices via the USB port, but hated the software that you had to use to do it with... until Real provided a driver that worked with their RealPlayer software.

Well, the good:
1) 1 GB of pure loving goodness available on the new disc format
2) Backwards compatibility with older MD discs
3) Discs can now be used to store PC data
4) New jog-dial navigation is schaweet
5) Analog recordings can now be uploaded to the PC

And the bad:
1) Same schtoopid software to upload songs, only it's the 2.0 version
2) Same schtoopid DRM in the software
3) Same schtoopid ATRAC format conversion

Well, actually, there is nothing wrong with ATRAC, per se, but when you're entire collection is already in MP3, why would you want to bother with a transcoding process? Hello? iPod owners don't seem to need to do this?

I've only had it for a day, so there will be more to say as time goes on. I've not tried the uploading capability yet, and that's one of the big reasons I upgraded. I record the sermons for my church and after editing and compressing to MP3 the sermons go the church's website. I had been using the MZ-N1 for the recording duties but would have to "play" it back into the computer through the line-in and then do the editing. Bleah. I've heard some so-so things about uploading from the MiniDisc forums, so we'll see how that goes.

After opening the package I promptly gave the included headphones away (those are so 80's). I use a set of Sony MDR-EX51LP earbuds and, for 40 bucks, they provide pretty good sound quality... at least to my non-audiophile ears. They stick in your ears and provide pretty good bass. Not the kind of head phones you want to share with your room mate, though.

The headphones come with a chincy "thing" to wrap them in. I ended up getting one of these hoedads from Sumajin called a "SmartWrap." Pretty nifty, although I wonder if the constant wrap/unwrap will shorten the life of the wire over time.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, this model also has an AM/FM tuner built in to the remote, which is kinda neat. Not being able to record the FM output is not neat. The remote is a little less elegant than the model that came with the MZ-N1, and the jacking doesn't seem to be compatible with other models. Although I never use the remote much, I hope the older models are compatible with this unit.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

This is a test...

...of the emergency broadcast system. This is only a test.

If this were a real blog, then I would have readers, maybe even subscribers. Then I would feel important.