There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Monday, September 30, 2002

A retirement I'm sad about

Well, it's over. The Tigers finished their worst season in six years with another loss, and Ernie Harwell is now retired. I love that the Toronto radio network aired Ernie's call of the ninth inning over their network as well. I think that's such an incredibly cool thing. What an apt tribute to the man.

I already wrote about Ernie before, so I won't talk about keeping the radio under the pillow or any of that.

Posted at 10:58 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Nice! Nice! Everything is nice!

Michael Palin is apparently just a genuinely really nice person.

Posted at 10:32 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Torch extinguished

Huzzah! Now I can go into the voting booth next month without holding my nose. Good riddance! I've never forgiven Torricelli for his appalling behavior during the battle of Florida when he called for Gore to concede before any other Democrat. I wasn't looking forward to voting for him, although I would have just to keep the Senate Democratic. Now it appears I don't have to worry about that. I'm quite happy with our other Senator here in New Jersey (Jon Corzine), and with our two previous Senators, Lautenberg and Bradley; I even think well of my Representative, Rush Holt (motto: My Congressman is a rocket scientist!). Torricelli stood out among them like a rank fart in a rose garden. And now he's retired. I wish him a long and private retirement.

Posted at 10:15 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Is it live or is it Motorolodex?

The New York Times has an interesting article about pseudo-digital radio. Motorola has come up with a chipset that converts analog radio waves into digital form, then cleans them up in the digital realm, making for radios that (allegedly) sound better, particularly for distant stations. This is intriguing, although such capabilities have existed in very high-end tabletop shortwave receivers such as the Watkins-Johnson HF-1000 and the Ten-Tec RX-340 for a number of years. The existing implementations have been a little dodgy; I've always thought that DSP processing of analog signals seemed to require more powerful chips than have been used in some of the early groundbreaking receivers taking this approach. Maybe the Motorola chips are those more powerful chips. It'll be interesting to see if this technology starts to filter down on the shortwave side to portable radios with more consumer-friendly prices.

The Motorola chipset also appears to take advantage of diversity reception, where the signals from two different antennas are combined in a way that reduces fading and distortion. It'll be interesting to see if they do this on AM, where antenna sizes for diversity reception would have to be pretty large, or only on FM, where the antenna sizes would be a lot more manageable. I would expect the latter.

I've always been skeptical of the prospects of the US' preferred approach to digital radio, IBOC (in-band, on-channel), which combines the digital signal with the existing analog signal. If it worked well, I think we would have started to see it being deployed. Instead, the main players in the field merged in order to survive long enough to see their scheme implemented while they continue to work out the bugs. Other countries have been moving ahead with separate broadcast bands. Interestingly, Canada is one of them, and I think this is the first time Canada has ever chosen a broadcasting standard that wasn't already in use in the United States, a pattern that has long caused Canadians to gnash their teeth about American influence on their culture. While other countries move ahead, the U.S. has no local digital radio and no prospects for any showing up any time soon outside the confines of a National Association of Broadcasters convention. It could be that local station owners, who insisted on the IBOC approach rather than moving to a new band as a way of protecting their existing investments, may have ceded the market for digital radio to national providers like Sirius and XM Radio, thereby blowing an opportunity. The Times quotes an analyst who says that Motorola's approach may further dim any nascent demand for digital radio that might (or might not) exist. Then again, that may play right into the hands of the NAB members who were never terribly excited about digital radio to start with.

Posted at 6:13 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Teenage kicks all through the night

The former lead singer for The Undertones, Feargal Sharkey, is now the UK government's regulator for radio in Northern Ireland (roughly comparable to being head of the FCC, I guess). The Guardian doesn't say if his first move was to mandate all stations to play John Peel all the time.

Posted at 2:35 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

so much depends upon a red, er, hat

A red hat (as opposed to a Red Hat) is going back to Nebraska. Someone with more alcohol than brains in their system swiped it off a Nebraska fans' head after Penn State demolished Nebraska a couple of weeks ago. I'm glad to see that whoever did this had an attack of conscience, although it's sad to see that this happened in the first place. I found the reports of Nebraska fans being harassed after the game disappointing, because that's not what I remember Penn State football being about.

I remember in the 1980s when Penn State had a short-lived regular series with Alabama. A ton of 'Bama fans would drive up to State College in their crimson-and-white motorhomes. The tailgates were a joyful occasion, Lions fans and Crimson Tide fans sharing food and swapping stories. It was a good-natured kind of thing, occasional chants of "Round the bowl/and down the hole/Roll, Tide, Roll" notwithstanding. Nebraska is not my favorite team, particularly after they were handed the national championship in 1994 over the most amazing and explosive college team to hit the scene in fifty years. But Nebraska fans have the same kind of devotion to their team that Penn State does. I would have hoped there would have been that same kind of recognition of kindred spirits that I saw during the 'Bama series.

Posted at 1:47 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, September 27, 2002

Moses Znaimer Television; no ego there....

My friend Tracy was up in Ontario this past weekend and stumbled on the MZTV Museum of Television in Toronto. They've got a web site with some pretty neat stuff on it, including pre-war mechanical television sets, some of which were barely functional by our standards. The 30- and 48-line systems make our current 525-line NTSC system look like the model of fidelity, never mind 1080-line HDTV. They've also got a great section about the ultra-retro-hip Philco Predicta TVs. If you don't recognize the name, the pictures of the sets should ring a bell.

Posted at 12:09 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Prices coming down on satellite radio hardware

XM Satellite Radio and Delphi announced a handheld radio that picks up XM's service. I want to see the radio first, but this is intriguing. The price is $200, which is a lot better than the $400 or so Sony was charging for their first-generation portable XM receiver. According to the XM press release, there's also a boombox attachment that allows you to use the receiver at home; it's not clear to me if the "high-gain" antenna mentioned there will allow me to listen without having to place the antenna near a south-facing window. I'm still not sure I want to get an XM or Sirius radio when I can hear so much on my shortwave and such, but my resistance is starting to weaken. Maybe when they produce a receiver that can receive both XM and Sirius so I don't lose my investment if I switch from one to the other.

Posted at 6:55 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Maryland vs. Who?

The New York Times does a surprisingly good job of covering college football. They seem to have maybe three reporters on the beat, but make the best of them. Today's paper has a wonderful article about tiny Wofford College, a school with about 1,100 students, and their football team, who play defending Big East champions Maryland this weekend. As the guys on ESPN Game Day would say, what are Wofford doing playing Maryland? They're getting paid! But the story behind the team is what's fascinating, what with the former president of the college now coaching the tight ends, and the leading receiver on the team being legally blind. How can you not love a sport with stories like that?

Posted at 4:47 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

A not-so-pretty story of fraud

Back in May, I mentioned that Bell Labs was investigating charges of potential scientific fraud by one of their most prominent researchers. They did; the report came out yesterday, and it said that the researcher, Hendrik Schön, had committed scientific misconduct on well over a dozen occasions. They fired him. His co-authors were largely cleared. The researcher's boss (who was also a co-author, which is why I say "largely" cleared) was slapped on the wrist for not probing strongly enough when the results were initially presented, although once concerns were raised by others he acted appropriately.

It's a sad day for Bell Labs.

Posted at 4:37 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, September 23, 2002

In Defense of The Wooden Man

Sarah Vowell's new book, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, looks interesting. I love Vowell's work for Salon and for This American Life. She was a particular highlight when we saw TAL tape live in New York a few years ago. But I found one aspect of the book (which I haven't bought yet) mentioned in this review on Salon very troubling, and that's the way she makes fun of Al Gore for not being self-deprecating. She must not have been paying attention during the campaign, because that's so at odds with what I saw. It's cheap, lazy reporting based on the crappy, biased job the media did at the time. Because the Al Gore I saw on C-SPAN was nothing if not self-deprecating. He had a blast at his own expense. I think it was the Democratic Convention where he did his own personal version of the Macarena where he stood absolutely rock-solid stiff. Then there was at least one appearance where he had himself wheeled out onto the stage on a hand-truck. I know there were dozens of more examples of Al Gore's willingness, nay, delight, in poking fun at his own image as Mr. Stiff-and-Boring. But Vowell is apparently just parrotting the line projected by the media, who did a terrible job of hiding their biases during the last election. They would let nothing get in the way of the received wisdom that Al Gore was boring and had no sense of humor. I'm sorry to see that a writer I like and respect and who I've always thought of as very perceptive so totally misses the boat on this. It's a cheap shot that panders to a totally inaccurate misconception of what Al Gore was like on the campaign trail.

I'll still probably buy the book, but I'm less interested in it now than I was before I read the end of this review. I'll probably wait for it to come out in paperback.

Posted at 7:45 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Mary Lu wants to know about my radios

Mary Lu Wehmeier, radio geek, has a nice post about the GE SuperRadio and the Henry Kloss Model One radios, both of which I own. (It appears that there's a new Kloss coming out that does stereo, which she mentions. Looks interesting.) I was teasing her in her comments section that she didn't want to know what I used for AM radio, but she does. I tried posting this to her comments section, but it will only accept 2500 characters. So, Mary Lu, this is for you.

Well, if you really want to know....

In addition to the two SuperRadios, I've got an old Panasonic RF-2200, long noted as one of the hottest mediumwave receivers available. It's one of the last of the pre-digital readout radios, but has an excellent tuning system with crystal calibrators that allow me to be accurate within a kiloHertz.

My two main rigs, though, are a Drake R8, which I've had for about eight years, and an AOR AR-7030 Plus, which I've had for two years. I tend to describe the R8 as the Toyota Camry of high-end tabletop shortwave radios. It's solid, dependable, comes with everything you need, and never breaks down. The current model, the R8B, is better than my old R8, but not by enough that I've felt a need to replace mine. The audio on the R8 is excellent.

If the R8 is a Camry, then the British-designed AR-7030 Plus is a Triumph Spitfire: idiosyncratic as hell, a lot of fun to drive, and spends half its time in the shop. (Mine actually needs to go in to fix a blown preamp.) The interface of the radio is all menus. People who are used to computers tend to be comfortable with the radio; people who aren't find it drives them nuts. The audio on this radio is first class; the radio's designer, John Thorpe, also designs high-end stereo equipment, and the audio chain throughout the radio reflects that. When I send the radio in, I'm thinking of getting it retro-fitted so it can serve as the front end of a digital shortwave receiver as well.

I have two antennas that I use for AM. The first is just a really long piece of wire strung out in the woods behind our house. The second is a Kiwa loop, which is just a gorgeous piece of kit. It almost looks like a piece of sculpture or something. And it's an amazing antenna. With the regenerative tuning circuit that controls the antenna, I can tune the loop so it has a bandwidth of about 2 kiloHertz if I need to. If I'm getting crud on one side of the signal, I can detune that side of the signal so that only the clean sideband is peaked. It's unbelievable.

Unfortunately, our current house sits within two miles of two AM transmitters, which causes all kinds of problems. Before I got the antenna system worked out, I was getting mixing products between the two local stations and strong international shortwave broadcasters showing up all over the radios. Turns out something on the house is rectifying them, maybe the gutters. And I don't think the Kiwa likes the siding on this house, because it's not as directional here as it was when I was living with my parents some years ago. Back then, I used to be able to hear European mediumwave stations regularly, and some, like Spain, even qualified as pests. :-)

I told you you didn't want to know....

Incidentally, that monstrous Grundig Satellit 800 you mention is not half bad as a radio. The innards were designed by Drake, and were originally sold by them as the SW-8. It's a direct descendent of the R8 I mentioned above. The company that markets Grundig in North America, Lextronix, worked out a deal with Drake to build the circuitry in China and house it in a different (much larger) box so they could sell them more cheaply and sell a ton of them. It seems to have worked. I don't want one, because my house is too small for a radio that big. :-) But it's a very good deal at the price, particularly if you get one of the reconditioned units. Drake does all the servicing on the 800s, and their service department is legendary. There were quality control problems with the initial runs of the 800, so my take is that the reconditioned units from Drake were even better than new.

Posted at 11:30 PM
Link to this entry || 3 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, September 21, 2002

A sense of priorities

Doc Searls is moving to a new house, a mere 15 months after he moved into his current house, and he's doing it for a reason I can really vibrate to:

Better radio reception.

I particulary love this quote from his post: "Once you've been in radio it's a hard passion to shake. It's like some kind of mental herpes: you never get rid of it." Guess I'm stuck with it for life.

One of the reasons I wanted to rent the house we live in now so badly was that it had a big stand of woods in back of it that was never going to be developed. What's that got to do with radio? Well, it means that I have room to erect a large antenna for my shortwave radio of a kind I've never been able to before. I've got 250 feet of wire pointed directly at Africa, and it means that I can hear things like the UN telling the people of Sierra Leone how to cast votes in their first post-civil-war election. When I was home in the afternoons, before I got my current job, I tuned in almost every day to Radio Tanzania Zanzibar to listen to taarab music in mid-fi. The two Congos are the birthplace of the most popular music on the African continent; Radio Congo from Brazzaville is here loud and clear in the late afternoons playing some of it. After midnight, the music of western Africa comes through amazingly well from places like Guinea and Ghana, well enough that I occasionally dub CDs of old 1950s highlife music or more current kora tunes from their broadcasts. My ability to hear difficult-to-hear stations is so much greater here than any other place I've lived.

I really want us to own a house of our own, but it's going to be hard to leave this place. When we were out looking for a place of our own a few years ago, the first thing I would look at was the property, because I want room for antennas. So Doc, good luck with the move. Know that you're not the only radio geek out there who places a premium on reception conditions when looking for a place to live.

Posted at 12:32 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, September 20, 2002

Except he's different than the old boss

George Bush is a big fan of The Who. David Weinberger has video proof.

Posted at 9:00 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Say goodbye, fading

Volker Fischer at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany is writing an open source decoder for Digital Radio Mondiale, the digital shortwave format that's in testing right now (which shares the unfortunate acronym DRM with digital rights management....) The Frauenhofer Institute announced last week that they would be selling a software-based receiver for $60 that requires a modified analog receiver with an IF output at 12 kHz rather than the usual 455 kHz. But this open source software, aside from being free (free beer!), promises to decode the broadcasts not via the IF, but from the audio channel. That would be a lot cheaper than sending my AOR 7030 to England to be modified to output 12 kHz, particularly if the software is ported to Mac OS X, which wouldn't require building a cheap PC.... (Thanks Rik van Riel for pointing me to this.)

Posted at 9:12 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Don't tell Toho...

How much you want to bet that these guys are going to have to change the name of their product to Hubasaurus Rex or something like that.

Posted at 8:43 PM
Link to this entry || 4 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Joe Paterno's Newspaper Quarterbacks

When Penn State played Nebraska this past weekend, they beat them badly. They whomped 'em. They murdelized 'em. They destroyed them. They dismantled them, stomped on the pieces, and auctioned them off on eBay. So this week a lot of columnists are eating crow for saying that Joe Paterno was too old, that the game had passed him by, that spring chicken Bobby Bowden would be zooming past him any minute now in the all-time wins column. It's nice to see. Although ESPN's resident buffoon Lee Corso seems to have forgotten that Penn State is in the Big Ten now when he said that none of the Big Ten's wins this past weekend were over what you would call national powers. I guess three national championships in the 90s wasn't enough to make the Cornhuskers real contenders.

(I'll spare you the stories of the three years I spent working on JoePa's television show in the early 1980s, since most of the people who read this site have probably heard them at least a dozen times by now.... Short version is that Joe was no fun to have in the studio and not a very nice person to the people in the studio. But hey, he's a helluva football coach.)

Posted at 6:47 PM
Link to this entry || 8 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

We'll try not to get in the way of the guns as we always do

Fergal Keane has a rather bleak assessment of the situation in Northern Ireland these days. Seems like the US has just plain forgotten about trying to make peace there since Bill Clinton left office. I hope they manage to pull it off anyway, despite the official indifference of the current administration.

Posted at 12:18 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Sunday, September 15, 2002

And it didn't take a clue-by-four to get done

David Weinberger, Cluetrain co-conductor, Loose Joiner of Small Pieces, NPR commentator, newsletter editor and fascinating blogger, fixed something on his blog today that had been bugging me since I started reading it. I could barely distinguish his links. They looked like almost exactly the same color as his text to me (I'm colorblind), and there were no underlines. I sent him an e-mail yesterday explaining the problem, and like the clueful person he is, he changed the site. Thank you, David. Your site is much easier for me to read now. I would wish you a Happy Yom Kippur, but given the nature of the holiday, that's always seemed inappropriate to me. So Happy New Year instead. All is forgiven. :-)

There's a basic principle that underlies (or underlines) this, and that's that for the sake of accessibility, you want to design web sites so that there are multiple clues when something is a link. Don't count on solely color to distinguish links; change something else as well so that people who can't tell the difference can rely on another clue. Apple had an important page last year that showed whether certain consumer-level DVD players were compatible with SuperDrive-authored DVD-Rs. Unfortunately, the method they used to distinguish between compatible and incompatible players was to mark each with a little bullet of either red or green. Yeah, that's what traffic lights do, but traffic lights also have the position of the light to note the difference. Apple's site would have worked much better if, in addition to color, they had also used different shapes, for example, like maybe a check mark for yes and an X for no, providing a redundant channel for the information that would have made it possible for me to use their lovely chart without having to call in my fiancee for help. I sent e-mail to Apple complaining about the page, but I don't think they ever changed it. Or if they did, it was after I had given up on looking for it since the page was useless to me. Apple's decision to use the same color scheme in the LEDs on its Airport Base Station cost one of their poor tech support people 15 minutes or so in deciding whether or not my flying saucer was dead because I couldn't tell what color the flashing LED was. (It was.)

I'm always struck by how large the implications of small design decisions can be. I try to remember that when I'm doing my own web designs. Hopefully I mostly succeed.

I've been interested in accessibility on the web for a long time. Back in the mid-90s I worked for a year for a boss who happened to be blind, and it kind of opened my eyes, so to speak, to some of the issues, and sensitized me to the topic. The fact that I maintain some sites related to shortwave radio, where there is a substantial blind constituency, has also been important. There was a pretty good book on the topic of web accessibility published a number of years ago by the unfortunately-named Crystal Waters, but nobody but me seemed to notice. It's great that accessibility is finally starting to get its due. Thank you, Section 508.

Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into Accessibility series includes a colorblind person. I don't agree with all of Mark's characterization (and I really don't like that his colorblind persona has a ferret named Ralph, heh), but it does a pretty decent job of explaining the potential pitfalls and providing some decent remedies. Glasshaus has a decent book on the subject, and I really look forward to Joe Clark's upcoming tome on the subject of web accessibility, which should be out any day.

Posted at 8:07 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Saturday, September 14, 2002

If I don't see you, we'll all know why / I'll try to find you, left of the dial

Tomorrow's The New York Times has an interesting article about how right wing Christian broadcasting networks are buying up radio stations in the non-commercial section of the FM band and driving NPR stations off the air. I know some high-tech mavens like to claim that the era of spectrum scarcity is over, but they should tell that to the people of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The technology may exist, but there's a huge infrastructure in place on the ground, and the regular AM and FM and TV bands are still going to be with us for a long time, no matter what David Reed says.

Posted at 7:46 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion

I've heard of art being auctioned on eBay, but this is the first example I've seen of an eBay auction as art. And then, of course, there's the inevitable eBay auction of art of the eBay auction as art. Note that the eBay auction of art of the eBay auction as art is itself art, to be followed by the art of the eBay auction of art of the eBay auction as art. No doubt the result will show up on eBay. Makes my head hurt. (Found via David Weinberger's Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization.)

Posted at 12:20 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

The bloodletting never stops

This article in The New York Times about Lucent's plans to lay off yet another chunk of workers has a very clear explanation about the potential financial pitfalls the company faces in the next year or two. My reading of this says that the company was pretty clever in some of the moves it took to ensure its survival, like issuing convertible bonds, but it may not make much difference in the long run. And those bonds are not going to be good news for shareholders, as the value is diluted even further. Now I understand why the stock dropped more then 30% yesterday.

I feel bad for the many friends I still have on the inside there. I thought morale was in the toilet when I was laid off last December, but based on what I've heard from my friends, it's miles lower now, somewhere in the lower reaches of the septic tank or something.

Posted at 5:59 AM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, September 12, 2002

At least it's accessible

Damnit, people just don't get that they should be moving to XHTML by now. This tag is invalid because it's upper case. (Link found on Doc Searls' weblog.)

Posted at 7:53 AM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

 

Posted at 9:03 AM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Just Say NO

This past weekend, we visited a long-lost cousin of mine, and she was saying that she was planning on spending Wednesday at their beach house, far away from the television and radio and newspapers. That sounds like an excellent idea to me. Looks like it sounds like an excellent idea to a lot of people.

[ Just say 'NO' to the media - Remembering 9-11 without all the hype ]

(Found via David Weinberger's JOHO The Blog.)

Posted at 9:14 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Friday, September 6, 2002

BBC World Service shoots self in foot, again, feels no pain

It's not enough that the BBC World Service stopped broadcasting to North America on shortwave. Now they're forcing a station that has carried them on FM (their preferred medium) for 30 years to drop them. Next thing you know, they'll be pulling their signals from the satellites or something stupid like that. I'm sorry, I just don't understand the mentality at the upper reaches of Bush House. They tell us to listen to FM, then start driving their FM affiliates away from them. I just don't get it. And unfortunately, after the end of this month, neither will the listeners of WCPE in North Carolina.

Note this bit about the first clue the station manager had:

I really started worrying when the BBC dropped shortwave service to the United States a year ago. Whether that is related or not is speculation. Regardless, in a few days, the BBC News will no longer be heard on WCPE.

Bunch of damned fools running (or maybe that should be ruining) the World Service, long the finest radio station in the world. (Thanks Alan Knapp via Glenn Hauser's DX Listening Digest issue 2139.)

Posted at 8:09 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2002

Who plays Adrian Cronauer?

Fascinating story in The New York Times (registration required) about a new program, "Good Morning, Afghanistan", now appearing on Radio Afghanistan. It sounds like quite a departure from the usual fare on the Taleban's old Voice of Sha'ariah. I find it particularly interesting that the people who do the show are being advised by the BBC and the Voice of America, especially since those two stations in a way have the most to lose by the development of a trustworthy media alternative in Afghanistan. The BBC, in particular, is very highly thought of there. No less a person than Hamid Karzai describes BBC as "the main source of information for Afghanistan." So for people to start tuning in to a local station instead of the BBC is quite a feat.

Posted at 1:00 AM
Link to this entry || 1 comment || Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

It's Not Fair

Any fan of music from New Zealand, particularly of the Flying Nun kind that was so hip in the 80s, but even today's bands, could do worse than to visit NZMusic.com. They've got an excellent database of bands, message boards, and videos. Which was what brought me there. I was looking for some information about a defunct band, Able Tasmans, who I've been listening to a lot lately. Google sent me to the page about them there, where I found an absolutely incredible video for their song The Big Bang Theory. If you've never seen a planet sing a song, go immediately. There's also some neat footage of coronal mass ejections from the sun, thereby tieing together two big interests of mine, music from New Zealand and solar weather. There was one compilation of videos by Flying Nun bands released back in the late 80s or early 90s, I'm In Love With These Times. But since then, nothing. With DVDs offering the ability to cram all sorts of stuff on a shiny metal disc, including multiple formats, I would love to see Flying Nun release a DVD or three of all the videos produced by their bands over the years, in both PAL (the TV standard used in New Zealand and much of Europe) and NTSC (the TV standard used in North America and Japan) on the same disc. Because while NZMusic has a lot of these videos online, watching a postage-stamp sized video, particularly for one like The Big Bang Theory that's so full of quick cuts and motion, just isn't the same as seeing it on the comparatively big screen of the TV.

Posted at 11:35 PM
Link to this entry || 6 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Monday, September 2, 2002

Five words or less

I've seen this thing where you try to describe yourself in five words or less popping up all over Blogistan. I had to go through a couple of attempts before I came up with what I think is the best summation of me:

How do I do this?

Posted at 11:41 PM
Link to this entry || 4 comments || Trackbacks (0)

Happy happy, joy joy

Hallelujah, praise Jah almighty, someone figured out how to return the Happy Mac to Mac OS X 10.2. When I first installed Jaguar on my computer, I spent an hour or two digging through TIFF files to see if I could figure out how to change that bland, boring, dull grey Apple logo back to my old friend the Happy Mac, but kind of knew all along that the picture was undoubtedly buried somewhere in some hex code somewhere, since it probably had to display before the code to display TIFF files was booted. I also figured that someone out there would be clever enough to figure it out before long. Looks like I was right on both counts, and only a week after the official release of Jaguar. The procedure is quite fiddly, but I managed to pull it off the first try. Grab the files, grab the instructions, because no doubt you'll have to redo it when Apple releases 10.2.1, and who knows if Apple legal will allow the page to stay up that long. Maybe the next time I edit the startup picture, I'll make it a picture of the Happy Mac taking a piss on Steve Jobs. (Thanks to Mark Pilgrim, who noted this on diveintomark.org. Read what he says about the installation before trying this at home. There's a big chunk you can ignore if all you want is to restore balance in the universe.)

Posted at 11:26 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

Maybe he's with Francisco Franco

The AP ran an article today saying that Jimmy Hoffa is dead. Not that anyone is surprised, mind you. The rest of the article is a pretty decent summary of where the ongoing investigation into his disappearance is 27 years later, which is to say, nowhere. The man just walked off the face of the Earth. The story does say that it's unlikely that he's entombed in Giants Stadium. I always remember the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, because I was in Detroit at the time, visiting my grandparents over the summer, and it was my twelfth birthday. Big news on the local TV that day. And according to the AP, they don't seem to have learned a damned thing since.

Posted at 6:58 PM
Link to this entry || No comments (yet) || Trackbacks (0)

This site is copyright © 2002-2014, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


Stylesheets


This site is powered by Missouri. Show me!

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Valid CSS!

XML RSS feed

Read Me via Atom

Me!

Home Page
Resume
Married
Photographs
Flickr Photostream

last.fm

There Is No Cat is a photo Ralph Brandi joint.


Archives

Search



Family Blogs

Geneablogy
Jersey Girl Dance
Awakening
DullBlog
Mime Is Money

Blogs I Read

2020 Hindsight
AccordionGuy
Adactio
Allied
Apartment Therapy
Assorted Nonsense
Backup Brain
Burningbird
Chocolate and Vodka
Creative Tech Writer
Critical Distance
Daily Kos
Dan Misener likes the radio
Daring Fireball
Design Your Life
design*sponge
Doc Searls
Edith Frost
Elegant Hack
Emergency Weblog
Empty Bottle
Five Acres with a View
Flashes of Panic
Future of Radio
Groundhog Day
Hello Mary Lu
iheni
Inessential
Interllectual
Jeffrey Zeldman Presents
Jersey Beat
John Gushue ... Dot Dot Dot
john peel every day
JOHO The Blog
Kathryn Cramer
Kimberly Blessing
La Emisora de la Revolucion
Lacunae
Loobylu
mamamusings
Medley
mr. nice guy
MyDD
Orcinus
oz: the blog of glenda sims
Pinkie Style
Pinkie Style Photos
Pop Culture Junk Mail
Seaweed Chronicles
Shortwave Music
Slipstream
Talking Points Memo
The Unheard Word
Tom Sundstrom - trsc.com
Typographica
Unadorned
Vantan.org
WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Me on Flickr