My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

MP3 Player Advice

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for years… and having just spent the last two months shopping for one, and getting pestered by friends who know I’m an uber-nerd, I’ll give it a whirl. MP3 Players come is a couple different flavors and price points, all varied for the needs of the individual. Here is a quick breakdown of the available options on portable MP3 solutions:

High Capacity Players:

TV, Movies, and Digital Photos are these physically largest in class aim. The gold standard was the classic iPod, but has since been supplanted by the Toshiba Gigabeat. The Gigabeat may not have the iPod name, but it is lighter, has a better screen, more video capability, and longer battery life. There are also other options in this category, such as the Creative Zen (a good choice, but heavy), the Philips Gogear (slow with a small screen), and the Cowon iAudio X5L whose main drawback is its lackluster controls and proprietary cables. The iPod, while no longer the technological standout in this category, is the cheapest High Capacity Player for the buck, and the only one that is able to connect to iTunes (the worlds largest online music library). Expect these models to start at $250 and up, depending on how my gigabytes you “need”.

Mid-Capacity Players:

Smaller in size, storage, and “wow” appeal, these 4GB(ish) models work off of flash memory instead of the hard-drive setup used in the High Capacity Players. This leads them to be a bit more problematic, but less expensive alternative for those not interested in watching Star Wars or 24 on a 2” screen. There are a bevy of new options in Mid-Capacity Players, including the Archos (ill-refined in my option), the Cowon iAudio 6 (which was slow when I tested it), the iRiver (a good alternative to all others with excellent sound and controls, but iffy screen), Samsung YP-Z5 (basic player for a high price), Sandisk Sansa E260 (good for music only people, meaning it doesn’t support video at all), the Siren Edge (should be avoided at all cost for its terrible design), with the he easy leader in this category as the iPod Nano. All of these models fall around the $200 range.

Mini Players:

Cheap(er), basic, and easily portable, these tiny flash players are the small, go-anywhere, models that fit most people’s essential needs. The only option here is slightly larger storage capacity, and a screen. To me, the screen makes all the difference. The best player of the group is easily the Apple iPod Shuffle. It’s tiny, cheap (under $80), and clipable to almost any piece of clothing. Unfortunately, it is one of the last models in the category that does not come with a screen. So playback consists of either a random setting, or a shuffle setting. The other options in this category, the Creative Zen V Plus and the Sandisk Sansa C140 are both better options to me. The drawback with the Sandisk model is that it only runs on AAA batteries, which requires either a separate battery charger, or a never-ending supply of batteries. The Creative Zen is ugly, larger, and was hard to operate with my fat fingers, but did everything that I could have wanted in a Mini Player.

Things to Remember:

1,000MB = 1GB, and each song (MP3) is about 4MB.
1GB of memory in a player is equal to about 250 MP3s.
1 hour of video is about equal to 800MB.
Each picture is about 3.5MB.

So a smaller GB High Capacity Player (30GB) will hold 7,500 songs or about 37 hours of video, a Mid-Capacity Player (4GB) will hold 1000 MP3s, and a Mini Player (1GB) will hold about 400. Almost all models have adapters that can send their signals from the player directly into a car stereo, but only one (the iPods) have special controls prebuilt into some new vehicles and home stereos. Also, the iPod models are currently the only players that work with iTunes, but you can expect this to change as soon as some of the current lawsuits work themselves out.

So the real questions you need to ask yourself are as follows:

Am I going to want to watch video on my player?
About how many songs am I realistically going to store on my player?
How physically large of a model do I want to carry around?
Do I want an icon, some nice techo arm candy, or something that I’m actually going to use?

And of course, how much do I really want to spend to conveniently listen to music?

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Hope it helps someone out there.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Quote for the day

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

Epicurus 305 BCE

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quote for the day

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" - J.D. Salinger

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hoses are black,
Mallets are steel,
Two days in a diaper,
Tells you just how I feel.

Have a safe and happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

After 9-11, what should have happened?

I think we can all now admit that the War in Iraq was a bad idea and that the War in Afghanistan may be a lost cause.

Now before you start in with all of the “Hindsight is 20/20”, and “Monday morning quarterbacking”…, let me tell you we study the past so that we can deal with the future. So as the Pulitzer Prize winning biographer and historian David McCullough said, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are”. Or more simply put by Thucydides, “History is Philosophy teaching by examples”.

So what examples should be taken from the post 9-11 tragedies that lead towards our failed campaigns? What should have been done differently or not at all? And what can we do to instill this knowledge into future generations?

Follow this question on Yahoo Answers

Thursday, February 08, 2007

And I feel fine...

About a year ago I wrote a blog on how, in order for the keep up interest, the 24 hour news stations had to make every insignificant story the most important thing ever. At the time, I felt it was just the news. Now I realize that it is all of us who equally share the blame. And if these actions continue, and somehow unify into one self-important, cosmic collection, it may eventually rip apart space and time, wholly undoing the very fabric of our universe.

What we all seem guilty of is maintaining a constant state of fanatical movement from one angry mob to another in a hopeless attempt to find a unifying, cohesive cause. Everything from the "war for civilization" we are fighting in the Middle East, to the "global emergency facing our plant through our own careless lifestyles", all the way to whether or not everyone is praying enough, to the right God, in the right way, so that He will not send down upon us a Judgment Day of boiling blood and bowl-shaking demons, hell bent on ripping our souls from our still pulsing bodies.

Is this cataclysmic scaled arguing overwhelming the good causes in all of this? How do we get excited about real issues in a level suitable for intelligent action? How do we keep perspective when the norm is believing we are catastrofucked? Why are we so damn addicted to feeling like every little piece of our lives must be the most important moment ever? Who knows, maybe everything that is going on right now is the most important thing to have ever faced humanity as we know it. Or maybe it's just our stem cell destroying, endangered species consuming, eroding morality, democracy annihilating, war mongering, self inflicted narcissistic, gas guzzling bandwagon, which is on a direct collision course with the apocalyptic death machine that is reality, that haunts us.

Or maybe, we all know that reality happens to be plain and boring - and that scares us the most.