Thursday, October 27, 2005

iPod, Therefore I Am

Lori recently gifted me with one of those brand new iPods with video capabilities. With the pending doom of the MiniDisc format, it was time to find something else to groove on.

And I'm quite sorry that I didn't join the iPod cult sooner. It integrates with iTunes (for Windows) well, holds a lot of stuff, is small, and looks cool. I haven't held too many of the prior models before so I can't do a real good comparison, but the screen is bright and crisp and the sound is great.

In the past I've encoded most of my collection in 256kb/s mp3 and then have subsequently transcoded the mp3 to 132kb/s ATRAC to listen on the MiniDisc. I've always thought that the sound quality was better than adequate (and I don't have golden ears), but I have to say that non-transcoded, higher bitrate audio sounds much better (duh).

There are a couple things that bug me. The manual says the battery life should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours, but after about 2 - 3 hours of on and off usage through the course of a day the battery indicator tells me I'm about down to half. I also noticed the new resin finish scratches easy. It's apparently the same type of scratchable finish on the new Nano that others are complaining about.

And, although the pricing is a bit cheaper than past comparable units, Apple went cheap on the included accessories. You get a CD with the software, a set of headphones, a docking station adapter, and a USB cable to connect to the computer. But no docking station, which after another 40 bucks you find out it doesn't come with it's own connection cable. You're going Gates on us, Stevie!

iTunes is adequate jukebox software, but it's got a little ways to go. They've tried to retrofit the way the Mac OS works into a Windows application, and it's a bit clunky. Most operations involving encoding or other work with mp3 files pegs out my CPU (P4 2.5 ghz) utilization at 100 percent. I'm not sure how they do it, but MusicMatch rips my CDs much faster and only uses a small fraction of my CPU.

It was a bit expensive, but it's a good buy. I haven't tried video out with it yet but will within the next few days. It's worth the money just for the music playing features, although watching missed shows on your iPod is an intriguing idea.

Now that iPod, my colleague asks if iBelieve?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hide The Beer, The Pastor's Son Is Here

Matthew Westerholm, son of the pastor of the church we currently attend and a worship minister himself, has his own blog named "[retro] evanglical" which I stumbled upon while going through the logs of my church's website.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Coffee

Not just good, but good for you.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

$1 per Gallon Gas Coming Back?

William Sargant thinks so, within a year or two. He argues that special interest groups in the form of environmentalists and agricultural activists have successfully lobbied the government into creating a network of "boutique" gas formulas which, when you take into account the different octane ratings, comes out to 59 different types of fuel among the 50 states. He also argues that speculative investing is creating an artificial demand for oil.

While there may be a ring of truth in those, it doesn't follow necessarily to me that consumers are going to become aware of these issues within the next couple of years and produce results at the polls that would cause us all to move towards a simple set of fuels. Consumers have not curbed their demand for oil much through the recent price hikes, and unless they are spending something approaching five bucks a gallon I don't think they'll take it seriously.

And have you seen the taxes on fuel lately? I'm inclined to believe our government officials will make up the savings gap on fuel simplicity with more taxes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rubik's Cube Madness

I used to think I was something special in grade school when I could solve the Rubik's Cube, but Chris Hardwick is a madman, solving it in seconds blindfolded or with one hand.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Global Warming Strikes Again!

Mt. Everest is actually 12 feet shorter than previously thought, according to some Chinese scientists.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Diamonds Are Moore's Law's Best Friend

USA Today has an article on the future of diamonds, which are apparently becoming increasingly easy to manufacture. There are multiple applications for diamonds in computer technology, especially where storage and wafers are concerned.

Come On Over...

We're still commiserating.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Is This Thing?

I caught this thing out of the corner of my eye when getting into the house this evening. It was sitting on the edge of the screen door railing.

It was only a half inch long or so, but after taking it's photograph I bid it good day and let it be.

MiniDisc, R.I.P.

Well, this is something for me to cry about. It appears multiple outlets are reporting the imminent death of the MiniDisc format. Sony is laying off a load of workers, and with them goes the MD technology. At least, that is what is being rumored at the moment.

As much as I've hated the software (with it's death already imminent), I was willing to put up with it because of the recording capabilities and what not. At this point I'll either try grabbing one of the new MD devices on the cheap which support MP3, or bite the bullet and use a different device for playing back tunes. I'll still keep an MD device around for recording purposes as there is really nothing that beats it. In either event, this will provide the impetus for me to ditch the ATRAC format.

Geophagy

It's one of those "is this an April Fool's joke?" type of stories, but apparently there are people who enjoy eating dirt.

Thank you, and now I will go retch.

Via MedGadget

Saturday, October 01, 2005

First Photos of LIVE Giant Squid, Ever

National Geographic is offering up the first photos ever of a live, giant squid. Several have been caught dead or washed up on sea shores before, but have never been photographed alive. This particular one was guestimated to be about 26 feet long.

Daytrippin'

Lori and I took the back half of last week off to disconnect from work for a little while. She's headed off to Honduras for a missions trip next month, working with a group of physicians, dentists, and other health professionals to render aid.

We generally take a good couple weeks off this time of year to vacation, but it's not to be this year. In lieu of that and the busy time coming up in the next couple months, we decided to take this mini vacation. Some photos from our trip to Newport, RI are here, while a scant few photos from our trip to The Big E are here.

Turntable Art

A gentleman by the name of David Ellis has a way with turntables, including this trunk turntable. No picking up miscellaneous vibration here!

Via Gizmodo.