A blog about the many neat things in life, along with the many other things that are lying around. Categories include: political things, philosophy things, design things, template things, garage things, music things, and lots and lots of other things!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Amazon's MP3 Download Store

Amazon just released their MP3 Download Store, and so far, it's been pretty awesome. While browsing, I actually found music I like, by artists who aren't exactly mainstream. ILS and Thunderball were in there, even with some of their newer albums. The Itunes Store has these CD's, but for $3 more and loaded with Apple's FairPlay DRM crapware. They're also sold at Itunes' standard 128kbps AAC encoding, as opposed to Amazon's 256kbps mp3s.

I've downloaded one song and one album off Amazon's service. They give you a free song for signing up ("Energy" by The Apples in Stereo -- subtle jibe, eh?) and I bought a cd of ILS remixes. 35 tracks of excellent breakbeats for $8.99 - beat that, RIAA. The download times have been surprisingly fast (about 5 minutes later it's downloading track #26, and I'd guess their servers are getting slammed today), and the quality is pretty good. Maybe not up to Beatport's DJ standards, but leagues better than what you'll find on typical p2p networks.

My only beef with this service is that Amazon requires us to download and install their downloading software. It's a small program (1.1MB on Mac), and it's well designed - pretty icons and an easy-on-the-eyes interface. The adding to iTunes is convienent, especially since the program leaves the mp3's themselves in an external folder for later reorganization. But it's still a little worrisome to have to install software to use a web service - Amazon's privacy agreement seems pretty straightforward, but do I really want to trust them with access to my applications folder?

I suppose for now, with excellent cheap, legal music at stake - the answer is yes.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

The View

Originally uploaded by agius.
The Warren Dunes, if you don't know, are a collection of sandy towers on the beach of Lake Michigan. It's a pretty incredible place, full of space and life. It reminded me why some of my favorite places on Earth are beaches. I took a couple photos, and posted them here, if you're interested. Major thanks to Travis, Adam, and Claire, without whom this whole shenanigans would not have happened.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site - New York Times

Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site - New York Times:
"In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free."
Good going, Times. Nice job getting with it. The Times has tried a couple different methods for generating revenue online, and it seems they predict the most growth in on-page advertising, which means the Times will be making money the same way bloggers and other online content producers do - ads. This will probably bump their web presence and linkage up a few notches, and hopefully they'll make money off of it.

Lesson learned: ads are the revenue source for content on the internet. Web apps, games, and rich internet applications may be different, but in the content world, ads are king.

Job Fair Things

I went to a job fair yesterday, here at Purdue. Cisco was looking for C monkeys - my first thought was, "No thank you - I prefer working in a language that's been updated since 1978."

I don't much care what I work in - if I don't know a language, my learning curve is about 3 weeks. But I want objects.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wii Things

Originally uploaded by agius.
My roommate (pictured here batting in Wii Baseball) bought a Nintendo Wii last night. My projector now runs a Wii60. It's pretty amazing, though it is disconcerting to switch so quickly between harvesting Little Sisters in Bioshock and Golfing Without Arms in Wii Sports.

Personally, I'm not too big a fan of the Wii - explaining why I haven't bought one. It's a big deal, no doubt - casual gaming is the new golden market and Nintendo has captured it. I understand why my friends love it. But it's just not the system for me.

I've found the controls to be a little iffy - I kept throwing the ball backwards in bowling, for example - and the lack of depth in Wii games really turns me off. How many minigame collections can you have? According to Nintendo, infinity. The only "deep" game that's really come out for it is Twilight Princess - and Zelda games have never grabbed me in the way that, say, Halo did.

The 360, by contrast, has Gears of War, Bioshock, Command & Conquer 3, and Blue Dragon. It's got a lot of variety, a lot of depth, and extremely shiny graphics. It's not for everyone - if you hate racing games and FPS's, then the 360's library narrows significantly. But right now it's my favorite, because it's brought a lot of joy to me personally. And it has Space Giraffe.

Correction: I have just been informed that Metroid Prime 3 is out. I couldn't get into the first two, almost entirely because of the controls. But if the controls are better on the Wii version, it could be very promising.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

1 Year Left

I have 1 year before I'm supposed to be employed somewhere. How many more things can I learn in that time? I've averaged 3-4 computer languages per year since I've been to college. That should mean I'll be learning C++, Python, and PPC-Assembly this year. Of those, Python is the only one I don't have a class in, but that should be the easiest to learn (come on, I know Perl and Ruby). Also, for the first time in college, I actually have some free credit hours to spend on whatever class I want to take. Current list includes: intro philosophy, greek / roman history, art appreciation, and underwater basketweaving.

Now that I'm off-campus, I'm learning lots of other crazy stuff, too. How to cook, how to wire a home theatre setup, how to manage earned income, and how to be the best host EVER. This year's gonna rock.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

MFM Things


Last weekend I went to Mephit Furmeet again. Four years in Indiana, four trips to Memphis for a convention celebrating my most unusual hobby. I wouldn't say time flew by, exactly, but it's crazy to think I've been pulling these oddball convention stunts for that long. Anyway, the trip was a total blast - I got to meet some cool new people, play some super-fun LAN games, and take lots of interesting pictures with my shiny new Canon Rebel XT.

I think my photography has improved vastly since last year, considering I had 250 viable photos from this year's con, as opposed to 17 from last year's. Of course quantity isn't quality, but the fact is I probably had roughly equal numbers of photos taken at the con, and this time most of them came out well enough that I feel I can post them online, as opposed to last time where most of them were too blurry, discolored, or generally craptastic for me to feel comfortable showing them to others. The year before I hadn't gotten my Nikon Coolpix yet, and only my Freshmen year did I make the mistake of using disposable cameras (limited shooting, horrible color, expensive development). So I think this year I'm really doing better, and that's exciting.

And to all the cool people I met, a grand hello, and I hope to maintain contact. Feel free to email me any time.

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