Rant Tech

I’ve finally found a company…

I had a good laugh this morning over a single quote in this Usenet post entitled THANKS SONY indeed !!! grr. The article is a very good rant on Sony’s disregard for its customers. “If the company can’t trust the customer, then why should the customer trust the company?”

The poster, David W. Poole, Jr., ends the article with the following:

NetMD software? I could write far more on this, but I hope it’s sufficient to say that I’ve finally found a company that produces shittier software than Microsoft.

Now that’s funny! Needless to say, anyone interested in fair business practices should never buy anything from either Sony or Microsoft.

Audio China

Sounds like China…

Yesterday, while looking for audio equipment for sale in China, I came across a very interesting collection of sounds. Most people who travel and explore their world like to put pictures up on the web for others to see, but this is an archive of sounds for you to listen to. There are quite a few recordings of Canada and many of China as well. I recommend the one of the steam locomotive in Kunming, China, but I also liked the recording of a cat chewing on the microphone. You’ll need a fast internet connection (or just plain old patience) as most of these files are greater than 1 MB in size.

Phonography Archive

This archive gives me some ideas of recordings I could make of my experiences in China. I have already recorded myself learning Chinese with friends, and I once made a commentary of my first visit to the Great Wall. So now, I’ll have to keep my ears open and “look” for further interesting sounds to capture.


Bonus Bluegrass!

This week I happily discovered some long-lost bluegrass in my minidisc collection. Apparently, right in the middle of my frantic move from Edmonton to Beijing, I recorded two episodes of Prairie Pickin’ without ever listening to them: 14 and 21 March 2002. I then made the mistake of not labelling the discs, so they got lost in my pile of non-blank “blanks”.

Well, I’ve seen these two mystery “blanks” for a long time now, but only this week did I find the time to pop them into my player and see what was on them. The rest is history, as they say. So I’m now listening to and editing these two shows that are a little over a year old. They’re a little rough, actually, as they come from the beginning of Doug Ritchie’s presence on the show.

In one of the shows, I found a real treasure: “A Member of the Blues” by Lonesome and Thensome, my favourite bluegrass band (from Edmonton, even!). I recall that at the time they were working on recording their first album. I wonder if it’s been produced by now?

Prairie Pickin’ is a Thursday night bluegrass show on CJSR, FM 88.5 in Edmonton.

Audio Tech

mp3 player as a USB key drive

I don’t really have a need or desire for a portable mp3 player. I’m quite happy with my Sharp Minidisc Recorder which I’ve had for over a year now. I’m not intending to go on a rant about the differences between the two devices other than to say that a Minidisc recorder is a portable digital recording studio, whereas an mp3 player, well, just isn’t.

But an mp3 player can be one thing that a Minidisc recorder can never be, thanks to Sony’s unwillingness to open the MD format: a portable file system that holds way more than a floppy disk.

I guess I’ve been in the dark for a while as far as computer hardware and gadgets go. But over the last year I’ve finally noticed and figured out what my colleagues were wearing around their necks. At first I thought these small devices they plugged into their computer’s USB port were wireless network cards. But it turns out they are what are called USB Key drives—tiny, memory-based “hard drives” the size of a key fob or a lipstick stick. What a cool idea. There’s been a need for portable, convenient digital storage that can replace the floppy (and hold more) for quite some time now. I think the USB key drive might be just that. You can even boot your computer off of the filesystem on IBM’s version of the USB key, I’ve heard.

So, when I was trying to find out what these devices were (once I new the function, I still didn’t know the name), I found out rather quickly on the Internet. But I found something better than just a plain old USB key drive in this article:

Creative Labs MuVo: The Singing Diskette.

In the article, you will learn that the people at Creative Labs have built an mp3 player which doubles as a USB key drive. Now that’s a cool idea! So you can store music and data, up to 64 MB or 128 MB. Not bad.