Yesterday a very cool/random thing happened. Nicole, Johny and I were outside playing with this new toy that Johny got for his birthday and also chatting with some of the neighbors, one of whom works as a policeman in a nearby county. While talking, a police helicopter started circling overhead, obviously searching for someone. At first we were all thinking that there was a shooting or something similar that happened nearby and that’s what they were searching for.
After about 5 minutes of wondering what was up with the chopper, the neighbor went inside to get his handheld police radio and tuned into the local police channel to see if he could pick up the chatter and figure out what was going on. THE VERY MOMENT we heard on the police radio that they were looking for a missing woman, we saw this old lady wander onto our street looking extremely lost and confused. He radioed to the chopper and identified himself, giving our location and a description of what he was wearing and telling them that he found the woman! The chopper flew back overhead and radioed to a nearby cruiser to come to our street and pick up the woman to give her a ride home. It was so cool to see my neighbor help out like that and watch the chopper fly off into the distance after the issue was resolved.
Basically, the old lady had dementia and had wandered away from her house. Her son had called in the missing person report so that’s what all the commotion was about. Just thought I’d post about it since stuff like that doesn’t happen everyday.
Backstory: Once upon a time 5 years ago, I ordered an audio player called the Neuros. What a great audio player it was! It was big like a brick, but I didn’t mind that since I only used it in my car. It supported MP3, ogg, WMA, & a couple other file formats and it could transmit on FM radio frequencies, so I could listen to it on my car stereo. However one sad day in about December of 2005, it died and I was (GASP!) forced to go back to using CDs.
Fast forward to about now, I’m looking to get that awesome capability of being able to play my music in 3 main file formats (MP3, ogg, and FLAC) back and listen to it on my car stereo, while having many GigaBytes of storage space. The Ipod won’t work because it doesn’t support ogg or FLAC formats and is rather expensive. I can’t get another Neuros because they discontinued it! And besides, I want to be able to listen directly through a plug-in line rather than over a transmitted signal, because the sound quality on the Neuros, while being pretty good compared to other wireless audio solutions, was still rather poor.
Well, I have a Nintendo DS and a slot-1 cartridge for it called the EZ-Flash 5+, or EZV+ for short. It allows me to use my DS to run homebrew software of all kinds, including one called DSOrganize which can play MP3, ogg, FLAC, and many more formats! The cartridge has a small slot in it that reads microSDHC or microSD cards, so that is where all of the data is stored. The SDHC spec supports cards up to 32 GB, although at the time of this writing there are only 8 GB cards for sale. BTW, the cards are the size of my fingernail.
I downloaded DSOrganize today and tested it out. It works great, supports playlist files, and played every file I threw at it flawlessly. Now I just need a car stereo head unit with an aux-in jack in the front, which are surprisingly easier to find now than they were the last time I looked for them just 2 years ago. Even most of the low-end car stereo units have them now. Basically, I get one of those and install it, then run an audio cable from my DS-headphone jack to the car stereo and I have musical bliss.
So let’s compare prices and capabilites of the setup I want to an Ipod 8 GB. I’m not going to include the price of the car stereo, since that would be required for both.
Nintendo DS lite: $100-$130
EZ-Flash V+: $25.50
8 GB microSDHC card: $38.50
Pros: Plays all the music formats I want it to, supports playlists, swappable memory cards so you can load different/more music onto it without going back to your computer, can be upgraded to have more capacity when bigger microSDHC cards come out, and can play games.
Cons: NOTHING EVER (completely objective viewpoint)
Ipod 8GB: $194
Pros: Can play more video formats (actually a con, I don’t want to crash my car because I was watching Romper Room while driving)
Cons: Can’t play all the audio formats I want, can’t swap memory cards out on the go, can’t be upgraded, can’t play games on it.
Conclusion: With the Ipod, you spend more to do less. With the DS, I get the novelty of playing music off of a gaming system, yay! Really, I already had the DS and the EZV+, so for $38.50 extra I get to have enough storage space to rival modern audio players. Plus when the bigger microSDHC cards come out I can swap one of those in for more capacity. Try doing THAT with an Ipod! I just ordered a new car stereo and will have it installed next weekend, and also just ordered the memory card which should arrive this week. The setup should be complete by next Sunday!
Clint&Carolyn, you’re responsible for this:
|This Is My Life, Rated|
|Take the Rate My Life Quiz|
My body could use a little work, as I’m probably in the worst shape of my life right now. Not excessively bad shape, just worst shape of my life so far. Once I’m done getting my Masters, I’m going to get back into some kind of physical activity, probably martial arts. That’s something I can take Johny to as well, as long as he doesn’t go using it to beat up other kids or pick fights.
I expected the low spirituality score, and Clint I agree with you that spirituality doesn’t matter for much. A good moral code can come from logic/reason, so there is no need for any ancient books written by madmen running through the desert 2000+ years ago telling me not to eat pork whether it is refrigerated or not. Also, I like the section of the Bible that discusses the ethics of releasing exploitable computer code to spur corporations to clean up their programs.
I’m a bit surprised at the high finance score since I think you two are in much better financial shape than I am.
I expected the “mind” score to be a bit higher, but they asked the wrong questions regarding that. Just because I don’t read literature I tend to get knocked down on that in many tests. They don’t ask if I read online though. I keep up with the latest current world and techie events and news and the discussions that come from these things. I think that has to count for something, but since they don’t ask about it, it doesn’t get factored into the end score.
Their family questions were about immediate family, which I took to mean blood relatives. If I answered those assuming that they meant the family in my house (wife & stepson), I think the score there would have been higher.
This is my first attempt at posting a blog, you know… putting your opinion out there for everybody to grammar check and insult your intelligence with. So please, use KY when posting comments.
I have never attempted to hide the fact that I hate indie rock. However, I find my reasons for hating it to be quite valid. Listening to the crap makes me cringe… actually, it made an entire crowd of us at Lollapalooza ’94 collectively cringe as Pavement played their set. Some people thought the music was so crappy that they wanted it to end ASAP. They communicated this to the band in a way that words like “Boo” and “You suck” just can’t… more specifically, by throwing piles of mud and garbage at the stage. The deluge was so great that Pavement was forced to flee the stage, cutting their set short to the relief of everybody who wasn’t tone deaf. Oh sure, Pavement will play it up now as if the collective crowd anger had something to do with their fued with the Smashing Pumpkins at the time. Most anybody who was there and forced to listen to that crap will tell you otherwise.
If electronic music causes that same gut-cringe reaction in you, I have no problem with that. What gets me is the people who list reasons for hating the genre, none of which are real. They are made up, regurgitated arguments that really have no bearing in reality. I’ll list a few:
1. I like music with real instruments.
A girl I knew at college once said this to me. Shortly thereafter, Tupac Shakur came up on her random playlist. WTF? Electronic music has fake instruments, but rap/hip-hop is legit? I could maybe, possibly understand this reasoning had she been a fan of music with guitars, drums, bass, violins, etc., but hip-hop and electronic music use pretty much the same equipment! Samplers for beats and sound effects, editing tools for production effects… hell, even turntables are prominent in both styles.
Even this argument coming from a die-hard rock fan makes no sense. How is a keyboard, theremin, synthesizer, sample-driven drum pad, even a set of human vocal chords not a real instrument? Anybody care to define a fake instrument? This kinda sorta leads into the next one:
2. Why would I want to see somebody press a button on a keyboard?
Somebody lied once. Somebody told hundreds of people that electronic music shows consist basically of someone coming out on stage and pressing a button on a keyboard then walking away as the song is pumped out of the speakers. Apparently they all believed him and propagated the myth and we ended up with millions of people who think that a computer automagically produces the music while the composer sits on stage and eats a sandwich. I’m not exaggerating. Well, ok… I am about the sandwich part, but the rest I’ve heard. Where do people get this?!
I’ve been going to electronic music shows for years (not to be confused with DJ sets) and I’ve never seen a show that even remotely resembles the scene described above that has been regurgitated to me countless times with slight variations. It’s very obvious to me that anybody who says this has never been to a show put on by an electronic music artist. In many cases, the number of instruments on stage is far, far greater than bands with “real instruments”. The last electronic show I went to was Massive Attack, and they had 2 drummers (because you need that many to accurately reproduce the complex beats their music contains), a guitarist, bassist, and four different singers that would sing during different songs, their voices run through an effects machine that the main singer would operate in real-time to add the right effects at the right time. Actually, thanks to electronic musicians’ superior understanding of production, the sound of electronic music’s live shows more closely resembles the original sound on the albums due to all the effects machines and skill of the operators using them live, in real time, right in front of your eyes. Sure some samples are pre-recorded and played back during the show, but the majority of the music is played live. Somebody please explain to me again how this even remotely resembles somebody telling a comupter to “play song for ppl plz, tnx”.
For all the doubters…
Goldfrapp: entire band on stage (singer, drums, synth, bass… some other stuff too). This video here is pretty much what it was like when I saw her live:
Juno Reactor: Look at what it takes to recreate this electronic music live:
More to add later, or post comments with links and I’ll add them here.