Zippier Clip

You’ve already heard about my acquisition of a Sansa/SanDisk (choose one) music player. What you haven’t heard is that it came with a built-in issue: given any really ginormous number of files, it chokes on the database refresh, which it never quite finishes. Meanwhile, your battery plummets.

There being no easy way out of this other than to give up the extra space, I opted for something way out of the ordinary: a third-party operating system called Rockbox, versions of which are available for dozens of players, including the Clip Zip. Basically, it patches the Sansa firmware to hand over to the Rockbox OS, which has a much grottier, Unix-y interface, but which can update its database in three minutes rather than three hours. The trick was getting it to recognize both “drives”: it took a couple of hours of fumble, but I now have a proper 5000-item playlist.

And did I mention it’s now dual-boot? Yep. This experience raises my Techie Rating from “positively awful” to “merely clumsy.”

Addendum: The inevitable YouTube video.

Comments (3)




I, geezer

In fact, here’s one way you can tell:

I didn’t even know that AOL still existed.

Or that people still had email accounts with them.

Very, very old people, apparently.

Still got mine. Then again, I actually spent some time as a room guide in the old QuantumLink service, which eventually spawned AOL, so I’ve never really felt compelled to kill it off.

And yesterday, when I got home from work, an 8-year-old girl on a bicycle was being warned to stay off my lawn, or at least off my driveway — but not by me. I spoke with the nearest adult, and pointed out that the reason my driveway was in demand was because it’s the steepest slope on the block, and were I a kid on a bike, I’d have been launching myself from there all along.

(No, I didn’t ask the youngun who was best pony.)

Comments (4)




A lack of Accord

Mao would never have put up with this:

They may not have western-style unions in China, but workers sure do strike. Workers at Honda’s transmission plant in Foshan, Guangdong Province, walked off the job on Monday after their pay increases weren’t as large as they had hoped.

According to The Nikkei, Honda agreed to bigger raises, and workers were back on the job on Tuesday.

Neither would Mitt, I suspect.

Comments off




Still more than meets the eye

The other day, I was bewailing the lack of recent Markie Post pictures. (Yes, I did watch a lot of Night Court. How did you guess?)

And then this drops into my lap:

Markie Post for the Hub

Here’s Marjorie Armstrong Post, 62, at last week’s official unveiling (the air date is tomorrow, 22 March) of Transformers: Prime: Beast Hunters, the third (and last) season of the Hub’s other big draw. The plot:

The season will begin with the Autobots recovering following the Decepticons’ attack on their base. It will also feature the Autobots having to face a new beast-like Decepticon called Predaking and the return of Shockwave. A recent trailer reveals that Shockwave will create the Predacons, but will lose control over them, and the Predacons will come to Earth to hunt the Autobots one by one.

And since you’ll ask: Markie Post is in the Prime series, as the voice of June Darby, Jack’s mom.

Aside: Hasbro ordered 26 episodes of Prime for each of the first two seasons, only 13 for the third. Now where have we heard that before?

Comments (1)




We’ll handle that for you

I’m guessing you’ve probably already figured this out. Bill Quick certainly has:

[I]n an effort to save TBTF banks, the government crashed interest rates into negative numbers (adjusting for inflation) which destroyed the incomes of millions of retirees and others, forcing them to depend entirely on government payments of one kind or another.

At which point the government noticed how dangerous the savings and investment environment had become for older folks, thanks to the government’s own actions — and so it arrogated to itself the necessity of taking over the management of retirement savings for the saver’s own good.

My bank statements come out today, so I can stare in disbelief at the incredibly low interest rate I’m earning, although it’s only half as low as it was last year.

Eventually, I suspect, the Feds will actually try to confiscate those savings, there being no reason to think that Washington is any more competent and/or scrupulous than, say, Cyprus.

Comments (2)




How can this be?

How can this be? Shortly after Google announced the impending death of its Reader, as reported here last week, I somehow picked up a few extra feed subscribers. Which turned into a few more, and then a few more again; I’m now up nearly 200 from that day last week. If you’re one of them, I thank you, even as I wonder why.

Weirdly, the plugin I use to track feed readers lumps all Safari users together, but breaks down IE and Firefox and Chrome users by version number. Still, Safari comes in second only to Google in terms of actual subscriptions.

Comments off




Zipping by

Amazon’s two-day service served up a box containing a SanDisk Clip Zip (4 GB, black) and a SanDisk microSD card (32 GB, teensy) in a mere 39 hours. (If you pay attention to stuff like that, it was shipped from good old Lost Wages, Nevada.) It may take me that long to load it up.

I’ve decided that it sounds easily as good as the old Sony, though the controls are a tad more inscrutable, a function of the ridiculously small size of the device. (Surface area is barely over three square inches, and half of that is display.)

USB cables are getting shorter and shorter. The one SanDisk sends is less than 10 inches long.

Still, Desideratum #2 — “shuffle routine that will indiscriminately mingle files in base memory and files on the expansion card” — is apparently met. From the manual (for some reason not included, but downloadable): “Selecting Shuffle List will play all content saved on the device in random order.” I dropped a hundred and fifty songs on both base memory and SD card to test this.

And what the heck is the brand name here? It says “SanDisk” on the case, but “Sansa” all through the manual.

(Yes, they did have an 8 GB model. It was almost twenty dollars more, a factor when you’ve allowed $75 for the budget. The difference between 36 and 40 GB total — well, if I copy the whole iTunes work-box install, it’s 42 GB, but I wasn’t planning to load up all seven thousand songs.)

Comments (1)




New dial tone

Nice little booklet with the landline bill this month, with some news that may or may not be disturbing:

As a result of recent changes in the law governing telecommunications services, most of your Local and Long Distance services will no longer be governed by tariffs filed with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Instead, beginning May 1, 2013, the enclosed Residential Service Agreement (“RSA”), as well as applicable Guidebooks or Service Guides, will govern the prices, terms and conditions of these “de-tariffed” services. This RSA, as well as the applicable Guidebooks or Service Guides, replace any other agreements that you have received from AT&T for these particular services.

“Services and prices are not changing,” they say in the next paragraph. Not now, anyway. And given Cox’s voracious pursuit of landline customers, they may not for some time.

Perhaps of greater interest is the provision that disputes go to either arbitration or small claims court, rather than courts of general jurisdiction. This is a smidgen better than the Arbitration Only language that’s springing up all over the place.

Comments off




Grindhouse 3: Eclectic Boogaloo

The Memphis Grizzlies have one tempo: a slow grind, heavy on the abrasives. How slow? They had only 44 points at halftime — and it was enough for a six-point lead. This kind of thing has won them 45 games this season so far, including one of two against the Thunder. OKC made up five points of those six in a 19-14 (!) third quarter; with 15 seconds left, it was Oklahoma City 78, Memphis 76. Exchanges of free throws followed; five seconds later, it was 83-80 OKC, and with 3.7 left, Jerryd Bayless drained a trey to tie it, and then it was Extra Fine Grind. The Griz won it, 90-89, as Marc Gasol tipped in a Zach Randolph jumper with just under a second left. (As someone at the Oklahoman once said, “Gasol, folks.”)

You might expect fairly lousy shooting numbers in a game like this, and you would be correct; Memphis shot only 36 percent, OKC 35.7. (The Griz were a little better on the long ball, making six of 15; the Thunder made only two of 18.) Memphis’ tall timbers, Z-Bo and Gasol, both knocked down double-doubles (Randolph 14 points/15 rebounds, Gasol 15/18.) Mike Conley led Memphis with 24; all but two of the 22 bench points came from Bayless.

Batman and Robin garnered 52 points between them, though it took them literally 53 shots: Kevin Durant was 11-28 for 32, Russell Westbrook 7-25 for 20. Kevin Martin was in rare good form for a road game, pulling down 17, but that’s pretty much the extent of the Thunder offense. And the Griz had a 54-46 edge in rebounding, 19-14 offensive; that 19th one won the game.

Off to drown the collective sorrows in Wally World; the Magic, you’d think, wouldn’t present much of a threat, but you never can be sure.

Comments off




Phlegm-phlagm men

I suspect they may give themselves away rather easily:

Upper Allen Township [PA] police are trying to identify two men who stole more than $1,000 in Mucinex.

Police said it happened at the CVS on Gettysburg Pike around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Consumerist notes that a grand worth of Mucinex is “less than twenty 100-packs.”

Comments (1)




Go like yourself

Old and busted: People or organizations pleading for Facebook likes. New hotness: The machine does it for you:

I bought a new Logitech wireless mouse the other day. The only installation it requires is to pull it out of the package and plug the receiver in. I already had a Logitech wireless mouse and love it, so when I needed a second one, it was the logical choice.

I noticed some very brief windows opening & closing when I plugged it in, but I figured it was my system processing the hardware.

But then I noticed an item in my newsfeed that had been put there by Logitech sharing an item. I clicked over to see why I was getting stuff from Logitech, and right there, the “Liked” button was clicked on their page.

There seem to be two possibilities here: either Logitech has somehow taught meece to press their own buttons, or there’s a Facebook script hiding in the woodpile. (Would Facebook countenance such a thing? Would Lindsay Lohan let someone buy her a drink?)

Comments off




He grunts and writes the check

According to the annual insure.com survey, $1510 is the national average yearly auto-insurance premium; once again, Louisiana has the priciest policies, averaging a startling $2699, and this may be why:

Compared to the rest of the country, Louisiana drivers who get in accidents file more bodily injury claims than drivers in other states. Louisiana also has a high rate of comprehensive claims, which include damage from natural disasters… Louisiana’s judicial system may also be to blame for high rates. Lawsuits involving claims under $50,000 go before judges instead of juries. Some observers say elected judges are more likely to side with local people than insurance companies.

Maine drivers pay an average of $934 for their coverage.

No reason is offered for #4 Oklahoma ($2074), though I’d suspect it’s due to the humongous number of uninsured drivers.

Comments off




Oh, come now, Emanuel

A possibly cynical segment from Gilbert Magazine’s News with Views (1-2/13):

As if one Chicago Democrat Machine stooge as President of the United States wasn’t enough, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is said to be considering running for President in 2016. The Daily Beast reports that Emanuel is “considering” running if Hillary Clinton decides not to run. Please. We get increasingly impatient with a media that insists on dancing this two-step with politicians. This is Chicago. This is the man affectionately known as the “Rahmfather.” If he is “considering” a run for President, he’s going to run for President. If he says he will run only if Hillary Clinton opts out, then a way will be found for Hillary Clinton to opt out. Maybe this is justice for Bill, who after all his extra-curricular activities, is getting run over again by the Chicago Machine, as his carefully laid plans to install his wife in the oval office crumble before his eyes. We have a suggestion for the Clintons: Hillary should switch parties and run as a Republican. As dysfunctional as the Republican Party is, she would at least give it a definite identity again, and might actually pull it Rightward.

I’m not even wanting to think about any plans of Bill Clinton’s being “carefully laid.”

But I have to admit, I like the idea of Hillary jumping to the Republican side. For one thing, it would destroy their “Who’s next?” order of precedence for Presidents. And I suspect both parties ultimately would benefit: the rank Democrat opportunists would be reduced in number, and not just by one — I have to figure Hillary would take lots of operatives with her — and the GOP could pitch that “big tent” business almost convincingly for once.

Comments (1)




Whose little pony?

Apparently Lynn was squicked out by the Herd Census after reading about it here:

I can sort of understand adult female Pony fandom but guys being interested in the activities of cute, pastel colored ponies… well, frankly, it’s just a wee bit creepy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can be as creepy as you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone. Viva la diversity!

There is creepy, and there is creepy. This is creepy:

To you I’m sure Twilight Sparkle is just a cartoon character you think is really hot, so I imagine you wouldn’t think anything of having your friends draw sexually explicit art of her as birthday gifts for you. And hey, I think she’s really attractive too so I get where you’re coming from there. I often go on [redacted] and [also redacted] to see what new erotic art people have drawn of her. But to me she’s more than a cartoon character who’s sexually attractive, she’s my fiance whom I love with all my heart and soon to marry. So it’s been bothering me lately every time I go on these sites and see a dozen or so pieces of art people have drawn depicting my girl in various sexual situations with the same person over and over…

I must note here that I have written (marginally) popular fanfiction about the love between a human and a pony — yes, that pony — and in the fourth story in the trilogy (bless you, Douglas Adams) they will be wed. Then again, as of the second story, he’s no longer human. (Will explain if necessary.)

But the operative word here is “fiction”: it never happened, and if it had, well, you wouldn’t be reading this, would you? I suspect the irate groom-to-be to be trolling — for one thing, he calls her “Twiley,” which she would not tolerate from anypony other than big brother Shining Armor — and if he’s not, well, he’s been exposed to too much Rule 34 stuff anyway.

Comments (3)




Tough Nuggets

We start with a Telltale Statistic: the Thunder hit four of seven treys in the first quarter on the way to a 34-26 lead, and then missed the next eighteen. Denver wasn’t much better on the long ball, but the Nuggets dominated the stats — 72 points in the paint — and won their 13th straight, 114-104, taking the season series 3-1 and climbing to within 3½ games of OKC in the Northwest.

As usual, Denver posed multiple threats. Ty Lawson, not always a factor in previous matchups, went 8-13 for an efficient 25 points; Kenneth Faried put together a double-double, 13 points and 15 rebounds; Andre Miller, who came alive in the fourth quarter, led the bench with 20. George Karl played only nine tonight, but everyone scored, six were in double figures, and the Nuggets gleefully pulled down 52 rebounds, 17 from the offensive glass, while leaving the Thunder one-and-done for most of the second half.

The Durant/Westbrook combine did what it could — 34 from KD, 25 from Russell — and Kevin Martin was close to his usual home form, with 14, but that 16-point third quarter undid them all; the Nuggets, down one at the half, quickly pulled ahead and stayed there.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the following three words can be downright frightening: “Tomorrow in Memphis.” The Griz are 26-8 in the FedEx Forum, and it’s the rubber game: so far, the series is 1-1. Memphis at this writing is #4 in the West, but they’re only half a game behind the #3 Clippers. Things are getting crowded, and they’ll likely get more so.

Comments off




Nobody can hear you screen

I bought a fairly indifferent monitor about four years ago; it has worked, generally, but it’s had three stuck pixels since Unboxing Day, and of late it takes about nine minutes and several dozen button-pushes to warm up. Weirdly, we have several of this model, similar vintage, at work, and they work just fine. On t’other hand, after hearing me rave about the Toshiba laptop I bought on eBay, they bought several of them for the shop, and each and every one of them died within a year; mine continues to run, and it will be a teenager next summer.

Soyo, the distributor of this screen, has long since packed its bags and fled, so it’s pointless to ask them for help. (I couldn’t get parts from them when they were still in business.) So I have turned to these guys, and it turns out they have some sort of history: they’re a direct descendant of Admiral, which made TVs and appliances back in the day when TVs and appliances were a big deal. “AOC,” it seems, stands for Admiral Overseas Corporation, set up in Taiwan by the American company in the Sixties; when the mothership went down with the rest of the American TV industry, AOC kept going, but didn’t attempt to sell anything Stateside for twenty years.

Woot had a pair of AOC refurbs for the past couple of weeks: a 23-incher for $100, and a 22-incher for $90. (Yes, children, an extra inch is worth an extra ten bucks.) I ordered the smaller, mostly because the larger one was already out of stock.

Comments (4)




Live by the Golden Drool

Fingerprinting? Too much trouble. Retinal scan? Get that thing away from my face. Here’s the, or at least a, future of Positive ID:

We finally meet extraterrestrials and they’re friendly and want to do business with us. But they think our habit of signing everything is primitive and hilarious. They have devices that can instantly scan and identify DNA in saliva so they “sign” documents by spitting on them. Humans being the way we are, some people find this amusing, some people think it’s unsanitary, gross, and offensive, some people consider anything involving DNA a violation of their privacy, but about 80% of the people are just like, “Alright, whatever.”

Which is probably enough to get the other 20 percent in line, don’t you think?

Comments (2)




Queen Grimhilde will hear of this

Tina Fey takes a meeting with Snow White:

Tina Fey with Snow White at Walt Disney World

Determination of who’s the fairer of the two is left as an exercise for the student.

Comments (7)




Have you Herd?

Pony fans with double-digit ages graduated to Sociological Phenomenon some time ago, and the most recent Herd Census has turned up some numbers I found interesting:

The mean age of the fandom is 20.19 years. The median age is 19. The standard deviation is 5.36 years. 79% of bronies are between 15 and 25, 95% between 10 and 30.

I think this is the first time in my existence I’ve ever been seven standard deviations away from anything.

[N]early a quarter of bronies report[ed] that they had a significant relationship in the past year.

That many? I’m guessing this means “significant relationship with another of the same species.”

Nearly a third of respondents did not know their household income, and another 13% refused to answer, meaning that only 55% of respondents even tried to answer.

This is a function of median age, modified by “Who wants to know? We don’t give out that kind of information.”

In the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 6.4% of Americans indicated LGBT status, as opposed to 17.7% of Bronies. The Gallup poll, unhelpfully, does not break down into individual categories.

Depends on your definition of “helpful.” That number surprises me very little, actually.

This one, however, does. Before respondents took the survey, they were asked their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator if known; if not known, they were offered the test, and as a result there is data for nearly 86 percent of respondents. The INTJ indicator is among the rarest, and in some populations the rarest. Not in bronyland, though:

INTJ (introversion, intuitive, thinking, judgment) is thought to occur in perhaps 1-­3 % of the population, while it seems to occur at something like 10‐20 times that rate in the Herd.

You already know where I stand, or fall.

Comments (2)




I suppose I should have mentioned this earlier

But, you know, things happen:

[T]hey say that the first serious work on the subject [dates from] 1992, when Noach Milgram wrote a piece titled Procrastination: A malady of modern times.

According to this link, the manuscript is still unpublished (This list was last updated August 1st, 2005).

Disclosure: This piece sat in Drafts for 22 hours or so before being given its release.

Comments (2)