Archive for May 2005

My Music

My main music tools are Winamp, CDex and FLAC. I would use Vorbis Ogg since it has significantly better sound quality per megabyte used (192kbps is indistinguishable from the real thing. In MP3, 256kbps is almost as good)

Support tools I use for music:

flac112a.exe – The FLAC tools so that CDex can convert files to FLAC. Note settings in CDex:

  • Encoder: External Encoder
  • Encoder path: C:\Program Files\FLAC\flac.exe
  • Parameter String: -8 -o %2 -T “artist=%a” -T “title=%t” -T “album=%b” -T “date=%y” -T “tracknumber=%tn/%tt” -T “genre=%g” -“
  • bitrate: doesn’t matter
  • file extention: flac
  • Make sure that in the generic tab, “ID3 tag version” is set to “none”

FLAC plugin for Winamp – FLAC_plugin_with_library_support for Winamp.exe by Michael Facquet. It lets Winamp read FLAC files. Library support means that tags are read correctly :-) Winamp Reference.

out_lame – A Winamp output plug-in to create MP3 files directly from Winamp. IE: if it can play through Winamp, it can be converted into an MP3, which is great for building CDs for my car’s new mp3 player. Reference.

SqrSoft ACF Disk Writer – It will write ANYTHING that can be played through Winamp to the disk, including streams that usually can’t be. Winamp Reference. Homepage.

Installed New Random Image

The Random Image script that I had gotten from Photomatt was ok but it isn’t able to show images when it’s run from alternate folders.

I’ve replaced Matt’s script with a slightly modified version of Matthew Dingley’s Random Image Generator. The code is a bit more elegant, runs quicker and it runs from arbitrary locations.

I’m very happy with the new script. You can view the results in the upper right corner of each blog page.

Here is the source code for it.

Not the Computer Guy

I’m not The Computer Guy anymore. I just sold the business to a guy in the neighborhood who is doing the same kind of thing that I was. He didn’t have nearly as many clients as I did, but now he does.

It was really a bit of shocking news when I was standing there at his place; I had just signed a contract and was looking at the check he gave me. It suddenly dawned on me that if one of my clients called me tomorrow, I would have to refer to them to Charlie. I didn’t have any clients. I’m not The Computer Guy.

This is an official demarcation point in my life.

Gronk!

Man Gronks God
Got’cher nose!

Just One Fatal Flaw: The Omnifi DMP1 Mobile Digital Media Player

Many years ago, there was this fantastic bit that they did on the Carol Burnett show.

The scene: two men wearing suits sitting in an office. Blueprints sit on the desk in front of them

Owner: I have to thank you again for doing such a great job on this building. 64 stories tall, and you built it faster than expected and well under budget. And you got more office space inside this building that we originally thought you could! You are a genius!

Architect: [looking visibly nervous and disturbed] Yes well, I’m glad that you like it. I’m just… Yes well, we did a very good job. I’m very… happy… Well you know, this building isn’t without its flaws.

Owner: Yes but, everything is looking really good. We can clean up any small flaws that were made with the money that we saved in the construction and the increased rents that I’ll be be getting.

Architect: [starting to look despondent] Yes I’m sure you’re right. We can work this out.

Owner: We can discuss these problems after lunch. But first I have to go to the bathroom. Where is it? I think I saw it on the way in. Is it down the hall and on the left?

Architect: No.

Owner: Where is it then? Is it on the other side of the building?

Architect: [putting his hand into his hands] No.

Owner: [looking quizzical, and then with the look of happy realization] Ah, I see, you only put bathrooms on every other floor to save money. That’s how you did it! So is the men’s bathroom one floor up?

Architect: [starting to pull his hair, and speaking with a whimper] No.

Owner: [starting to realize that something is up] Then is it one floor down?

Architect: [he looks up at the owner and silently nods “no”]

Owner: Two floors up?

Architect: [he stares into the owner’s eyes and doesn’t flinch]

Owner: Two floors down? Seven floors up? Ten floors down?!!

Architect: Just a few… small flaws. I only forgot that one thing. [He sets his head down on the desk and puts his hands over it]


That brings us to today’s fatal flaw.

Since the tape deck in my car broke several months ago, I’ve been looking for a replacement, a way to play recorded media. I tried using my Pocket PC and a radio transmitter as a poor man’s iPod but the user interface isn’t all that good for automobile use. I came across a really groovy 20 gigabyte MP3 player the the car. The Omnifimedia DMP1 Mobile Digital Media Player. It sells in some places for $600, but I came across it for $149. (I later found that it sells in many places for under $200) So I looked into it. It looks like a fantastic device. Rugged, reliable, attractive, and an all around great marriage of technologies. You can even download your music from your home network using WiFi, pretty cool.

I came across a review on Amazon.com that mentioned that the device has no fast-forward button. That sounded ridiculous. I considered how I would probably be listening to very long MP3s, things like four hour long concerts, hourlong radio programs, 30 minute long pod casts and the like. I found the manual online and gosh darn it, it’s true. Tape decks and CD players have fast-forward. You can skip forward with vinyl on a turntable. But not this device. The last device I’ve heard of it didn’t have a fast-forward button was an 8-track tape player.

What’s old is new again.

My Detritus

a friend recently asked me about the detrius that I’m unloading. My response:

Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe how much junk I have. And I have been trying for the last several years to reduce my junk-load. But everyone has a CD collection right? And a book shelf or three of books. And furniture in storage. And old decorations that were only supposed to be used once. And old unused computer equipment. And clothing that they will never wear again. And insignificant knickknacks that really turn out to be completely insignificant. And the collection of valuable junk that we just never get around to getting rid of. Now all I need is an EMP pulse to wipe the slate completely clean. Because there is no way I am going to get rid of my wonderful collection of old computer programs, files, and archives.