The last CD has been ripped. I now face the problem of finding out where to buy lossless audio files. Criteria for stores: Must sell something I’m interested in listening to, i.e. not just folk and jazz. Must sell to the US. Must have more than a token number of releases available in lossless format. Must sell music by someone I’ve heard of already. I know there are lots of talented unsigned artists out there, but I’m viewing that as a separate problem.
The problem I love music, so I’ve got a lot of CDs. I don’t want to have a lot of CDs, though, because they take up space. While I appreciate cover art and read liner notes, I find that I don’t ever hunt down a CD to gaze at the artwork or read the notes — I’m more likely to look for information about it on the Internet. So, for a while now I’ve been considering ditching the CDs and going digital only.
About 7 or 8 years ago I ripped all our CDs to MP3 and stuck all the music on a house media server. I used what was, at the time, a good MP3 encoder: LAME, with the –r3mix preset that had been tweaked by the members of an online forum for MP3 enthusiasts. MP3 encoder quality has made some strong progress since then, and disk space has become even less of an issue.
I gather that increasing numbers of people these days use their cell phone to tell the time, and don’t bother with a watch. However, the watch is fighting back. Behold, the quad band GSM phone in a wristwatch, with Bluetooth (so you can pair it with a headset for phone use) and OLED display showing analog hands. Plus 1.3MP camera, kinetic battery recharge, and MP3 player. At 13mm thick it’s still pretty bulky, but not much worse than my Casio G-Shock.
I just picked up some more Christmas music from the Amazon MP3 store. For all that I like the iTunes Music Store, the Amazon MP3 store is better in every way. First off, the selection is far, far better. I say that because I don’t buy DRM I can’t easily remove, so the iTMS’s rather anemic selection of “iTunes Plus” albums compares badly to Amazon’s library. Secondly, there’s the format issue.
German company TrekStore make MP3 players. For several years, they’ve had a series called the i.Beat series. Which was fine, until they decided to name the new model “blaxx”. Resulting in: The TrekStore i.Beat blaxx.
As the reality distortion field begins to fade, people are starting to wake up to the iPhone’s shortcomings. I’ve been assembling a list of issues I’ve seen mentioned: No SDK. No Flash. No Java. No Bluetooth file transfer. No DIY MP3 or AAC ringtones. Although the camera takes 2 megapixel photos, the only way to get them out is to e-mail them, which resizes them to 640×480. No Bluetooth keyboard support.
Well, at the weekend I had my first SXSW experience, and it was a good one. Last year I managed to miss John Watts, but this year I was prepared. We went to The Hideout downtown about an hour early, and waited in line. The rule was SXSW badges first, then wristband holders, then if there was still space in the venue proletarians could pay $8 each to get in.
I bought a Nokia N800. It’s an Internet tablet, about the size of a large PDA or a small thin paperback book; almost exactly the same size as a Nintendo DS Lite, in fact. It runs Linux. It connects via WiFi or Bluetooth. I bought it because I spend a lot of time reading web pages, PDFs and other electronic documents. In particular, my “killer app” was to be able to read the electronic edition of The Guardian with my morning coffee—ideally, in bed.
I find to my surprise that I’ve not posted here before about EBD. So, here goes… Over the years I’ve noticed that people who are exposed to Emacs for an extended period of time become unable to use other software. I don’t just mean that they refuse to use other text editors; I mean that they cannot tolerate any non-Emacs interface for any task. They read news in Emacs. They read their e-mail in Emacs.