Griffin Smart Deck Review

it sux

owned it for less than two hours. It doesn’t work. Tracks jump in the middle without touching the cassette deck or iPod. Pressing FF or RWD sometimes doesn’t change tracks. Griffin really needed to test this thing before foisting it off into the market.

Consolidating chargers

Can I use one charger for everything?

My Ipod charges over USB, my cell phone has a charger with a mini USB connector… Can I use the USB charging adapter for my iPod with my cellie?

The disparity between George Bush and Alan Greenspan’s assessments of the economy

should make every American who voted for W feel like an idiot.

Alan Greenspan says that the economy is doing pretty good at the moment, especially considering the blows from this Hurricane season. However, he looks at the deficit, America’s aging citizens and our debt which is being shouldered by foreign countries and he says “we need to do something about this.” George Bush says that the economy is doing wonderfully and that is thanks to his plan of deficit spending and tax cuts which are producing the crazy debt. He makes no mention of the future because he doesn’t think about the future, he doesn’t give a damn about it. That is the next guys job. He is a dorkus who is condemning the American people and the American way of life to decades of ruin to pay for his excesses. If I were reasonably young (which I am), I’d be making plans to get off this sinking ship and find a place where I won’t be paying off Reagan and G.W.B.’s get rich quick schemes until I die.

Another year, another pile of BS from the religious right

I guess they must raised a ton of cash last year, because the right are again trying to accuse the rest of us of stealing Christmas.

Since there are no recent ACLU battles to point at, this year Falwell, Limbaugh and O’Reilly are just starting to get kooky. Taking aim at retailers who say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Last time I checked, Happy Holidays was okey dokey since it referred to the entire season between Thanksgiving and the New Years and has been used long before the Politically-Correct-Speak of the 1990s. This just shows how much they are grasping at straws. Attacking the retailers and government for having “holiday trees” is also goofy, but I actually think those are dumb too. You aren’t fooling anyone by calling them Holiday Trees, so just don’t insult our intelligence. The most F’d up thing is where Bill O’Reilly claims that retailers are using the word Christmas “to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square.” Last time I checked, dipshit, Christmas wasn’t a Jewish holiday and I haven’t heard word one from you about retailers not wishing people a “Happy Chanukah.” So don’t pretend you give a crap for the non-Christians of the world, ’cause experience shows us way different.

Here’s a link to a Seattle Times story.

DVD+R DL Media

Some informal quality tests

In an earlier article I mentioned how I was burning a lot of dud disks these days. Well, I spent a lot of time trying to diagnose the problem. When I wrote that article I was using a Lacie DL lightscribe burner with my Powerbook G4 867 MHz. After some experimenting, I decided that the issue was a bad firewire cable. I switched to a different firewire cable and got better success rates, but in general I was still only hitting about 30% successful (as in verified) burns to DL discs. Then I did some checking and found out more or less that Toast 6 Platinum has some bugs in it that Roxio couldn’t give a damn about. At the time I was using the Memorex blanks exclusively because they were easy to find and are actually sold in spindles of 25 for around $4 each. There is also TDK and Verbatim discs. I’ve only found the verbatim in packs of 3 for around $7 each and the TDK in packs of 5 also for around $7 each. When I got my quad and switched to burning on that with the built-in Pioneer A110D, I started burning 100% duds. The disc burns would complete successfully, but each verification would fail because a certain sector (usually the same sector on different discs) couldn’t be read. I tried switching to the Verbatim, SUCCESS. I ran out of Verbatim and tried the TDKs 100% success.

AVOID the Memorex DVD+RW DL discs!!!!

sneaky phishers


I think at this point, the ruse of sending you a message from a bank or paypal saying that your account is suspended and you have to log in at some link is pretty much dead. Even the most naive of internet users should be wary of this kind of thing now. Now they’ve moved on to telling you that your ebay or amazon account is suspended, which is slightly more sneaky, but still kind of obvious. I just got a great (or scary depending on how you look at it) phishing e-mail though. It was a perfect reproduction of a “question from an ebay member” e-mail asking about a motorcycle cover that was for sale and asking why I was selling it when it came for free with the motorcycle. This was the closest I came to actually clicking on one of these e-mails yet. Of course, I knew I hadn’t put up a motorcycle cover for sale, but I immediately worried that my ebay account had been hacked or something. Luckily, I noticed that I got like 5 other of these exact e-mails so I figured it out immediately.

This kind of stuff has gotta be bad for Amazon and EBay, if I were them, I’d have some HUGE teams tracking these people down and either having them arrested or just doing DOSes to their servers.

More hot quad action!

impressions after the first couple of days

I’ve spent most of the weekend installing my software, so I haven’t been working on a new album or DVD project yet to talk about the performance in that respect. I did have to run my own personal benchmark though, heavy-duty Reaktor ensembles. If you are unfamiliar with Reaktor, it is a visual programming tool for creating modular software sythesizers. On my 12″ G4 867 MHz laptop, I can’t run the Heiddegger or Leviathan3 ensembles from the Reaktor user library at all. Firstly, they don’t even fit on the screen. Secondly, even throttled down to the lowest sample rates, they immediately max out my CPU. I can happily report that at 44 Khz and the highest quality settings, Leviathan barely makes my CPUs notice its existence at a paltry 12% CPU usage. Heiddegger maxes out around 28% but seems to be constantly spinning between 20%-28% (I don’t know if Reaktor knows how to measure 4 CPUs). Both ensembles show OS X thread scheduling is well done, Activity Monitor shows that Reaktor’s 7 threads are spread pretty evenly across the CPUs.

My only real complaint so far is with the Mighty Mouse which has already begun to squeak when I click. This is destined to be immediately replaced by something less annoying. Sorry Apple mouse guys…

Cool gig in Seattle tomorrow

transPacific and Euphondisson at the Rendezvous (2nd Ave, Belltown) 10:30 pm, Saturday November 19th

I play in this rock band transPacific, we’re a sort of Crescendo-Core Post-Rockish thing. We’re playing with Euphondisson who are also local and are very cool. I’ve been told by people for years that we should play a gig together and finally we are. In the very intimate Jewelbox Theatre at the Rendezvous on 2nd Ave in Belltown. We’ll be getting started around 10:30 pm.

This will be an especially interesting gig because we are short Robert on Guitar. This came up in the last minute and we didn’t want to cancel (’cause that would be lame), so instead we are going to try something new. We’re going to remix ourselves. Carl, Stuart and I are going to do a live remix of our own songs. In case that sounds scary to you, you should know that we’re professionals at this, you’ve got me as Intonarumori, Carl as InBOIL and Stuart has done this kind of thing with Sil2k and SubSonic.

If you dig the transPacific, you definitely owe it to yourself to check out this once in a lifetime show.

Got my Quad!

And I’m insanely delirious with joy

I’ve done the photos for a what-is-in-the-box kind of thing, but honestly it wasn’t too many frills. The CPU, keyboard, mighty mouse and a power cable, USB extension cable and a DVI->VGA adaptor.

Some initial thoughts:
This thing is heavy. It seems heavier than my dual-G5 at work, but I could be wrong. I never had to lift that out of its box.
It is sweetly quiet, it isn’t silent, but I don’t think I’ll need a box around it if I want to record in the same room.
I haven’t had a chance to install any software that will really put it through its paces performance-wise, but it is definitely speedy
I don’t get all the complaints about the mighty mouse, seems totally cool to me. May not even replace it with a trackball (my preferred interface device).

So far the best part was how insanely easy upgrading it was. I got my mac with 512 MB of RAM and the lowest size disk. Then while I waited and waited for my Quad to finally arrive, I got another 4 GB of RAM from Crucial and a 300 MB hard drive and they sat waiting for their host to appear. After booting the mac the first time to enter in my data and make sure it works, I installed all the system updates and then shut down. I skimmed the upgrade instructions in the manual and then bam! installed the extra ram and the hard drive in a couple of minutes. This is by far the easiest upgrades I’ve ever done on a system (although installing RAM into an SGI Indy was really easy), there is a ton of room in the case to work with and the system they have for mounting the hard-drives is dead simple and so insanely cool after having sliced my hand open trying to screw in a hard drive into a PC chassis.

Now, for the rest of the weekend, my goal is to get all my software loaded and really put this thing through its paces. Also, I’ve got to move stuff from my powerbook onto my quad. Looking to the future, I’m wondering about a new or additional video card. I’m wondering if there was something in between the default card which I got and the $1600 dollar card that was the other option. Also, I’m wondering if there are any other cool PCI Express cards to look out for…

I’ll post more when I’ve spent a bit more time, and I’ll post pics when I move my iPhoto library over.