Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lots -O- Stuff

Nothing will kill visits to a weblog faster than not posting. I guess that I have just been lazy in the past little while, or maybe it is that there isn’t much to tell. I have read quite a few blogs, and web pages that I would like to link, but it seems dumb to dedicate a whole post just to a link when I don’t have a lot to say about it. JeffCroft has that part right in that he keeps an “hrefs” feed and a regular feed. The hrefs are just things that he found on the net that he wanted to make a brief comment about while the blog has the content. Rather than rambling on about Jeff’s blog, I’ll leave it at that.

Apple goes x-86
That is pretty darn cool eh? Apple says that they will make sure that you can’t just install their OS on any machine with an x-96 processor though. I am cool with that, but I think that it certainly is a step in the right direction. While Apple designs are awesome to look at, and as my cousin tells me, the BMW’s of the modern computer, they are still too pricey for me. Yes, I know that I can get a Mac mini for $500, but that still seems like a high price to pay. Maybe someday Apple will decide that their loyal hardware buyers will always be loyal, and that poor people like me should be able to install their OS on our non-Apple computers. I would even be willing to pay a higher license fee, as it would still be cheaper than buying one of their computers. Of course, device drivers would be an issue.

I love iLife
iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband. The more I play with this software on the computers of my friends and family who have Macintosh computers the more I become re-converted to the idea that there really is a better way for user-friendly software that empowers the user to do great creative things. I love the iLife software more than I like the Apple hardware, and I like it a whole lot more than the OS. Again, I would pay good money to have iLife ported into the Windows environment. They did it with iTunes, why not the rest of the suite? If you have had the opportunity to play with iPhoto, and have also played with Picasa, you would quickly learn that Picasa, while possibly the greatest free photo organizer and simple editor for Windows machines can’t hold a candle to iPhoto. Seriously, it is a great suite of software, and one of the major reasons I would like to own a Mac. You Mac people are lucky with all of your media creating power. I sometimes wonder if you realize what you have.

A Great Recording Session
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go and help a friend record some of the pieces that she has been practicing for the last year or so as she has been pursuing her Master’s degree in vocal accompaniment and coaching at the U. Yesterday was the third time that I had engineered a recording for her, and I think that I am finally getting the hang of making a good recording. Getting a good recording of the piano is hard because of its dynamic range. We used two AKG condenser mics that we rented from Performance Audio, and the rest was pretty simpl -- through a pre-amp mixer and into the iBook to be recorded in Garageband. I am pleased with the recording, and think that she will be too. The only complaint, or question I have is, how do you get a piano recording that is at the right level all the time? The way I did this recording was to set the levels at the beginning for the loudest part in the whole song, so that when playing at double forte, there was no distortion. The only problem with that approach is that the soft parts of the recording get really soft, and you have to have the volume up louder than normal to hear.
Someday, I guess I should learn the ins and outs of recording so that I can actually do it right. Maybe I will put up a sample recording here one of these days.

Spinning
I determined that I spend far too much time in my various chairs. Work, car, desk at work, the list could go on, but I’ll spare you. At the beginning of this year, I said that I would take a fitness class at the U. Well, because of my shyness, I never got around to it. However, wanting to complete the goal, and feeling a particularly strong need to check something off the list I decided that I could take a fitness class with my father. Spinning it would be. “How hard could riding a stationary bike be?” I asked myself. Let me tell you, it can be quite difficult -- Especially for someone as sedentary as I am. I got up early this morning, and we were at the hyper center by 6:30 for our morning class. Let me just say it was utter and complete Hell. Ten minutes into the thing, I knew that I wouldn’t make it through the whole 50-minute workout. Admittedly I am out of shape, but I thought that I could ride a bike. I certainly learned otherwise today. I stumbled out of the class 15 minutes early this morning, ready to fall on the floor and die. Seriously I couldn’t tell if I was going to faint or vomit, neither of which actually happened, but that is how I felt. The next class meets again on Thursday, and I haven’t decided if I am up for that kind of torture again. Perhaps if I just slow down and swallow some of my pride, realizing that there is no way that I am going to be able to do it all on my first, second, third, or even fourth go with this. It’s a goal, so if I want to check it off, I have to finish it though. The question is, who will win? My mind that wants to check off the goal, or my body that feels like warmed over death.

Conclusion
Well folks, I think that does it for today. There is more to tell, but I don’t have time to tell it right now.

  • There are some good articles to discuss about UI design.

  • There is some really great stuff going on over at webgraphics right now.

  • I am still reading Algorithmics, but it takes so much thought to read it thoroughly. Finishing it is still high on the list though.

  • I just finished reading Ender’s Game again – great book, and one could have some interesting philosophical discussions about it. If I get into an essay mood, I may attempt.
    In the meantime, I would like to read the rest of the “Bean” series. Aside: You know, fiction of any flavor is a lot faster to read than this technical stuff I have been focusing on the past few months!

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