Category Archives: Personal

All about me and stuff I care about

Irony

OK, here’s the universe laughing at me. About two weeks ago, I asserted that I would likely never wear my dress uniform again. Naturally, I’ve had to wear it again since then, and once more tomorrow. Very funny, Fates, very funny.
current_music: Ready for the World – Love You Down
current_mood:

Music

OK, in order to enlighten anyone who would be foolish enough to read this webjournal without already knowing me (there must be someone), I like music. I like it a lot. I’ve just finished burning a couple more CDROMs of MP3s. After adding their track lists into my database, I find I have over 5000 songs in MP3 format, plus the hundreds of CDs that I actually own legitimately.

So, that explains the song lyrics that are strewn about. I listen to a lot of music, of varying genres. Some of it touches me, some of it moves my feet, and some of it I erase. 🙂
current_music: The Beatles – I Will
current_mood: contemplative

Words, naught but words

What has happened to our society, when even college graduates don’t seem to possess a vocabulary that exceeds that of an elementary school dropout?

I Will Survive

At first I was afraid.
I was petrified.
I kept thinking I could never live
Without you by my side.
But then I spent so many nights
Just thinking how you’d done me wrong.
I grew strong.
I learned how to get along.

It took all the strength I had
Just not to fall apart.
I’m trying hard to mend
The pieces of my broken heart.
And I spent oh so many nights
Just feeling sorry for myself.
I used to cry.
But now I hold my head up high.

I will survive.
As long as I know how to love
I know I’ll be alive.
I’ve got all my life to live.
I’ve got all my love to give.
I will survive.
I will survive.
current_music: Concrete Blonde – Everybody Knows
current_mood: drained

Life skipped

Due to choices made at a rather young age, I’ve never done some “normal” things that I’ve got to start thinking about now.

For example, I’ve never had to fill out a job application or resume. I’m 30 and now I have to.


I’ve gotta figure out this dating thing too. I don’t like that.
current_music: Cake – I Will Survive
current_mood: pensive

Soft and Wet

Monday

Listening to Prince, thus the title of this page. Also, I’m in an uncharacteristically warm-and-fuzzy mood of late. I’m in a remarkably sane relationship, regardless of the complete lack of sanity surrounding the rest of my life.

I’m completely unable to express how totally happy my woman makes me, without sounding like a complete moron of sappiness. Since that’s not really my style, I’ll leave it alone. Just be aware that any excessive joy you may notice on the website is due to her influence. 🙂


More on the subject of web updates and such… For those 20 or so people that actually come back to my site more than once, I hope you noticed the little navigation aid I added back in May to these Thoughts pages. That was to be the first step in my complete revamping of my site, during some spare time I was hoping to have when the Army stopped jerking me around.

The cessation of jerking has, naturally, not occurred. In fact, I’ve been told today that I’ll probably be teaching new recruits up to the day I start out-processing the service. No rest for the weary.

So, no major site update for a while, but I don’t intend to stop this random webjournal. I have actually added a new page to the labyrinth: Internet Primer. For those of you who know people that still don’t understand that the Internet Button on their desktop does not contain everything that is the Net, point them to the Primer and hope they can grok it eventually.


In other news, the only close male friend I’ve made in the past ten years is getting ready to return to Korea, where I will undoubtedly lose touch with him as with so many other people in my life. (Kerry, where are you?)


Further making things interesting is the Freeservers monstrosity is having still more problems. Generally, the problems with my domain have been a blockade on my email forwarding. Some of these breakages have lasted for 3 days or more, a veritable eternity in net-time. Now, I’ve been unable to update my site for several days. So, although this page is dated 21 August, who knows when I’ve actually posted it.

The moral of the story regarding my Freeservers travails is a simple one and one you’ve probably heard before: you get what you pay for. As the name may imply, I don’t pay for my webhosting nor for my email forwarding. So, it is difficult to fault the service of a company that is giving away service. As soon as I get some real cash, I’ll set up my site on a stable, for-pay server, sans banner ads and everything!

And, since I do own my own domain name, you’ll still be able to find me with the same URL. Damn, I’m smoove.


Since I have to include a screenshot with every entry in my journal now (it’s a sickness, but I’ll get help someday), here’s one of my virtual terminals. Aren’t we adorable? Here‘s the smaller version (full-size is linked from the thumbnail).Rachel is adorable

Pine D’Music Review

The Pine D’Music SM200C, the first major effort to sell a CD-based MP3 player with ID3 tag support, is a qualified success.

The ID3 support works, and shows you the Song Title only, not the artist (picture). If the ID3 is missing, the display shows a simple Unknown Tag message instead. Once the track scrolls across the display once, it stops and shows only the first 8 characters of the title.

The navigation system for the Pine is a bit unwieldy as well, with no method of negotiating directory structure at all. The directories work, but you can’t delve into them specifically, as you can with the RioVolt.

The Pine unit also has the unfortunate problem of being limited to ISO9660 filenames. So, if you burn long filenames, as most people do, the Pine player will only sort by the truncated 8.3 filename. And, as many people have noticed, that doesn’t leave you much room to add sorting information if you have a lot of files from the same artist. For those that are unfamiliar with 8.3 filenames (welcome back to DOS), the Windows system that most are using was built on older standards that had file limitations of 8-character main name with a 3-character extension. So, you may have a file named This is a cool song.mp3, but the Pine will see THISIS~1.MP3 or, even more inexplicable to the newbie, may see THISIS~4.MP3, and will get sorted after another track you have named This is nowhere near as cool.mp3, because that track has somehow ended up with the short filename of THISIS~2.MP3. This ISO9660 limitation also extends to directory names, and there are even more problems ahead there.

If your directory and filename together are too long, the ISO9660 system gets confused. I have some disks that will play 3 songs from one directory, move to a different directory and play one track there, move back to the original directory and play the same 3 songs again, then go to some third directory and play the entire contents of that one normally. All this while I have the player set to play “straight through” from beginning to end, no less. As I said, inexplicable at times.

In order to move through the tracks on your disk, you can use the Scan button, or use the +10 mode. Hitting Scan will spin through all the tracks of the disk, playing the first 10 seconds of each before moving on. The +10 mode is probably more useful to most people, unless you’ve memorized what the first 10 seconds of your target track sounds like. To jump ahead more than one track at a press, you put the D’Music into pause, then hold the FWD or RWD keys for a second or two, then they’ll jump 10 tracks at a time instead of one.

The equalizer function works well, with several presets to toggle through, as you see fit. Strangely, I found the Classical setting helped most of my Hiphop and Rock tracks sound best. Go figure.

The battery life for the D’Music is about normal for a portable CD player: 4 hours on fresh batteries. It does, however, include rechargeable batteries (picture) and is used as the battery charger for them. This is a very nice feature, as you can leave the D’Music plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter for day-to-day use, then unplug it and feel confident the battery is fully charged and ready to go.

Overall, if there were no better options available, the Pine D’Music is a decent MP3 player, with a few major bugs (ISO limitations the biggest). As it is, since the RioVolt came out, Pine has dropped the MSRP of the D’Music to 150USD, 20 dollars below the Volt. It would consider the Volt to be worth the 20 dollars.

Perspectives of a 2000 computer-year old man

Wednesday

Wow!  I kinda missed August entirely, didn’t I?  Well, I’ve got plenty of good reasons for that, but let’s just say I have a life, pathetic though it may be, and work sucks the life out of me too.  🙂

I was pondering changes recently.  As I sit at the 400 Mhz machine with 128 megs of RAM and listen to a radio station in Dallas (5+ hours away) on my 512kilobits/sec always-on connection to the multinational network of interconnected computing devices (and soda machines and fishcams), I can’t help but think that we’ve come a long damned way in the past 10 years.

When I started using computers, home computers were toys for kids to play with and "real" computers were monsters tended to by elite cadres of geek-priests, never seen by common people.  Now, the government’s definition of a supercomputer includes a PlayStation. We’ve moved so fast that we’ve outstripped the Establishment’s ability to keep up. We’ve got the US Patent Office allowing people to place absurd patents on things as nebulous as "an online database of customer comments" or other bizarre things.

Although many other people have let loose an onslaught of rhetoric regarding our possible future, I’ve been bored, and the only purpose of a personal website is to vent my own useless views on things, so here goes…

I’m listening to the KDGE live RealAudio feed while I’m online, or more accurately while I’m sitting at the computer, since I’m online literally 24/7.  Why am I not listening to a real radio?  Simple: I live in Nowhere, Texas, and there are no decent radio stations.  Sorry, West Texans, it’s true.  This place has 4 radio stations devoted to "best of 70s 80s and 90s", several Christian, Country, and Tejano stations, and not one Classical or Alternative (read NEW music) station to be found.  So, ten years ago when I was here for my early days in the Army, I just dealt with it by listening to CDs I’d brought with me.  Now, I can get those stations that I want, just by jumping on the computer.  In the short-term, people have more power, as broad-band connections grow in popularity, and folks start to use the unusual aspects of having that fat pipe in their homes.  But, I think that in the long-term, local stations may wither to vestigial organs of larger networks of music/talk/etc stations.  Look at what has happened with television as an example.  Do you really care if you’re watching KLST or KABC, or do you pretty much just look for NBC or some other network?  I’m guessing the latter, since the only things that local stations are putting out now are local news programs, where the anchors are just biding time until one of the networks picks them up for the big time.

I have a website (ok, actually several) and so does everyone else it seems.  I’ve even got my own domain name.  "So what?" you ask.  Well, many folks online discuss the promise of one-to-many publishing without the middle-man of a publisher or agent or anyone else.  Well, notice how many hits I’ve got on my main page?  If I were charging a nickel a hit I’d starve.  I don’t think that I’ll be publishing my novel online first, without an editor, publisher, publicist, and all that.  Why?  Well, although I’m a great believer in the Internet as an information resource, we have TOO MUCH STUFF online now.  When I got online, via Fidonet et al, there was a small amount of stuff online.  When the Internet became a household word in 1995, I was there.  I won a t-shirt and CD in a scavenger hunt online.  It used to be possible to know, if not all, most of the content on the Web.  But, with every Tom Dick and Gary having a website, we have information overload.  So, although publishers are, by all accounts, blood-sucking leeches on the backs of creative artistes, we need them or something like them to filter the crap from the possibly interesting.  Maybe, just maybe, in a few years or decades, we’ll have intelligent software that will do the same job, but personalized to each of us.  Don’t hold your breath.

That’s all I can coherently rant about today.  More soon.