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The 46th Annual Grammies

They kind of sucked I thought. I mean, Linkin Park didn’t win anything, I somehow missed the record of the year, Evanesence won something but then I learned that they disavowed their spiritual roots — even Jennifer Lopez knows better than to deny her roots (“I still remember where I came from� — that’s her, right”). I didn’t even get any calc homework done while watching. Oh, and the costumes were mostly atrocious, with some fun exceptions.

Impedence

Read the Blog and learn!

Here is the difference between speaker out and line out (credit goes to the original author here):

“Its all a question of impedance, speaker out is expecting a low impedance, 4-32 Ohm object to be stuck on it. Line-out is expecting a high impedance (I think 1kOhm) object to be stuck on it. If you dont put the correct matched object on each output you get a loss of signal quality.

With highly strung amps you can actually do damage but the cheap stuff on a soundcard is pretty immune. Also a PC soundcard generates so much noise that the increase by the impedance mismatch is hardly noticeably. Normally all I really see is a drop in frequency response.”
–Graeme

“Impedence” is the ratio of voltage to current – similar to, but not exactly resistance. Read more about it here if you are interested.

Music, Money, and Thanks

Music:
I have found that even high quality MP3’s reconstituted through a high quality player on my laptop into my stereo system simply cannot compete with the original CD. The weakest link here is, I believe, my laptop. I have tried similar tests using my desktop (with the audigy II platinum) and haven’t been able to detect reasonable differences. My laptop, on the other hand, even with the volume turned all the way up, doesn’t seem to output enough voltage to simulate a line out. Its plenty loud in headphones. I wonder how much line out is supposed to be?

Money:
I asked the CEO of T-Mobile for $4,000 today. Actually, he’s going to give the information I gave him to his marketing department. I hope I did a good enough job on it to get something. Also, I gave similar information to Mr. Chaplin of Chaplin’s Automotive Group, a contact that happened because of my mom, bless her. We’ll see how that goes.

Thanks:
I finally got around to start writing thank you letters to the very nice people who hosted Scott and I while on our roadtrip. I am now awaiting more addresses to write more letters. People are good, life is great, and I am indeed blessed.

Short Night, Long Day, Lots Done

Radio stations here in Seattle have gotten much better recently. First, 107.7 The End switched to a new format where music was emphasized, especially the alternative music that defined The End in its earlier years; DJ’s were deemphasized (a move I wholeheartedly agree with), and in general, there was more music to talk. Then I found out that 96.5, formerly The Point, an 80’s station, is now KRock, “Alternative Seattle,” an alternative rock radio station who’s musical selection seems to be even better than The End’s new format. Between the two I have found radio bliss, something I haven’t experienced in Seattle since 1997.

Today, I woke up at a sleep-defying 7:00 am in order to pick up Bobby and Jacob at the UW and get them to Larry’s around 8:00. We ended up pulling in at 8:40, but the three of us were able to turn the tide and convince the group that our idea for a strategy was feasible – basically, we’re building a huge arm that happens to not preclude any other strategy; it should make everyone happy. With another top-notch drivetrain coming from Larry and Dave, we should once again have the best combination of power and speed out on the field, and if we do the arm right, we should be nigh unstoppable. Hanging and small balls then become icing on the cake known as winning the Pacific Northwest Regional, and if we are able to raise $4000, the National Championship as well.

We broke for lunch, having crunched numbers and checked feasibility to determine that our arm could concievably lift 200 pounds at 5 feet – a figure which made us all giddy with excitement. After lunch and some small work on Inventor, we headed back to the UW with Chris and Tim. There, I soon fell asleep and got nothing accomplished before returning home, where I got my Dad’s new WET11v2 working for him before coming up here, writing this, enjoying 107.7 and 96.5, and feeling hungry for the fourth time today.

Cleaner room

Its been a few days. During these days, I’ve gone to bed too late, gotten up even later, and barely made it to school some days. I have also accomplished a lot. I developed my first roll of film, got Linux working – mostly – on the new laptop. Right now I’m compiling a 2.4.22 kernel, since the 2.6 kernel seems to be, while working, full of annoying missing modules and just not as friendly yet. I need to get ahold of a non-spyware version of Windows XP for the other 55 gb of the hard drive.

You may recall that I recently began using iTunes for Windows. It works well for buying music, but it is a terrible media manager. I tried importing all of my music and the program froze. I was forced to shut it down and feed it my music in smaller chunks. Quickly, with hundreds of songs, the library because unusable. So the store works alright, and the burning and other options seem nice, but as a media player is is crappy. Winamp, on the other hand, has been constantly upgraded from the good old days of 2.x, the version I, until recently, still used. Nullsoft, the developers of Winamp, began charging for a pro version of their version 5 video/music/everything else player. I didn’t want an everything player. I wanted a highly customizable music player, and winamp 2.x was good, but with plugins harder to find, support dwindling, and the entire project moving in an unfortunate direction, I decided I had to find something better. iTunes clearly couldn’t handle my needs, so the search began. This one ended relatively quickly with the installation of foobar2000, a highly customizable, extremely extensible, sleek, small, beautiful music player with built in support for global hotkeys. In short, it is everything I was hoping for and more. Congrats to the designers of this fine peice of software.

This is the third major software package that I have radically changed in the recent days. First I switched from Microsoft IE to Mozilla Firebird. Based on that incredible success, I tried, and adopted Mozilla Thunderbird as my mail client. Now I have migrated from WinAmp to foobar2000. I suggest to anyone with similar minimalist yet highly functional tastes as me to do the same.

Today my first class was Tennis; I seem to have a problem getting there on time. Most of the people in the class are beginners, but I did get a nice-looking girl as a partner; we’ll see if anything happens there. For a first-timer, she was pretty good, drawing on her badmitton experience I suppose. The teacher, whom I met at the Bellevue Club, mentioned that he saw me there yesterday, which is indeed true. It was my first stop there in over a month. It was strange, all the tables seemed very small; in fact the whole resturant seemed very small. And really, it is a small resturant, but the effect was still strange. I was looking for my last paycheck which, apprently, HR has, but I did not figure this out until after I left, having failed to find either Michael or Kytta. I did get to see Erica, Heidi, Jessi, Will, and Joe again – It was very good to see them again. Hugs from three pretty girls is certainly a perk of leaving the place on good terms. I will try again soon to pick up my paycheck.

Last night, two salepeople pitched an air filter and a surface cleaner (not a vacuum – its a medical device, you see) to us. We were impressed both by its ability to suck up what our vacuum missed and by its price tag. Within one week we will decide if we want to go for it. The salespeople were my age, and apparently the company is hiring; I’m going to give them a call and try to set up an interview to explore the possibility there. The hours might not be the best, but they said it was flexible – so we will see.

I just recompiled the Linux kernel again – it certainly is faster on this P4 2.8 Ghz than it ever was on Blackbrick, the P90 laptop that I bagan using Linux on last year. It looks like this kernel jams on boot… but wait, this time it made it. Interesting.

Somewhere between Linux and Windows is the optimal operating system. I have a 3 inch book to help me figure out if FreeBSD is that happy median. Complete control within a standardized system – so things work without trying too hard, but you can tweak things endlessly as needed for specific needs. Just that book is so intimidating. Speaking of books, I have quite a few I still have to begin and finish: The Bourne Ultimatum, Wild at Heart, Red Planet, A Beautiful Mind, and The Mind of Wall Street, just to name some that are in sight of me right now. But before I finish any of those, Timeline will have to go. Its just that much more itneresting.

Since this entry is pretty much just stream-of-conscience, here goes some more random information – I came up with a name for the new laptop: “Kleinoscope.” It combines the idea of the 3-D mobius strip known as the Klein Bottle with what I think is a much better sounding name. Too bad its not too colorful (yet), or the Kaleidascope connation would fit as well. The computer has a few interesting problems – the first is that its power cord doesn’t stay in as well as it should. It never falls out on its own, mind you, but jostling and make the cord fall out, so I have to keep an eye on it or it will randomly turn off from time to time, usually in the middle of compiling something while I’m away. Also, the PCMCIA port looks deflected and the left lower side doesn’t taper like it should. Also, its missing a 9-pin serial connection. Its hard to complain about much else though; its a solid machine with USB 2.0, DVD+RW, Firewire. Of course I’ll need windows for most of these features to be used in the way I wish to use them, thus I am looking for a non-spyware version of Windows XP and I’m contemplating even officially buying the Home -> Pro upgrades.

And Even More

“Who can rock a rhyme like this? Bring it to you every time like this? Who can rock a rhyme like this? Step, Step Up. Step, Step Up, Step Up.” –Linkin Park, Hyrbrid Theory EP, “Step Up”

Linkin Park continues to amaze me with their abilities to draw me into their music. Every album I hear grows on me until it is an obsession, and I still enjoy the material I’ve heard for over a year. I do hope they remix Meteora, although I don’t know how they could make most of the songs any better. Nevertheless, I have faith: Reanimation did amazing things to the best songs on Hybrid Theory and incredible things to the rest.

I got some more photos up, but I have discovered that I am some combination of:
1) too lazy to add captions to all of them and integrate them into popup windows,
2) too interested in finding a better way to put up a large number of photos with captions and automagical resizing, and
3) too corrupted by the way I put up photos during the road trip.
So I simply stuffed all the new photos into This Directory

Right now I’m evaluating phpWebSite, maintained by Appalachian State University for a more robost and full-featured replacement for greymatter, due in part to reason #2 above.

Tuesday

Yesterday, I finished the bulk of my shopping. Now all that is left is misundry items for non-family members, and of course, wrapping. On the way back from Seattle, I stopped by the church where a live nativity was being held. It was interesting… mostly because there was one movement invovled in the entire program, so I’m not sure why it was live. But then a hand bell choir performed, some very good songs including Carol Of The Bells and George Winston’s Joy. I then left to go to Jeana’s party, where a teacher from long ago, Sarah, was. We talked cordially despite my breakdowns and mistreatments of her during my junior year :-/. There were also lts of other people there that I hadn’t seen in a long time. We all reconnected, and some of us stayed at Jeana’s until 1:00. I picked up the album I am now listening too, and decided that One Step Closer wasn’t the right song to start with – its very screechy, but the rest are enjoyable after you get into the paradigm of the string quartet tribute.