26 February 2010


Hey all!

Last week I turned in a new prescription to restart full-blown therapy at the CSCIR. I would have told you sooner, but I've been a bit on the ill end. Anyway, start the countdown.

09 February 2010

la la la

Hey! Watch me advertise.

Antsy for some fresh tunes? Check out Amazon's stash of free mp3 [aka digital/downloadable] albums. The free library covers the whole spectrum of genres, from well-known artists to "what are these noises?", with a fair dose of non-Western-culture stuff. Some "albums" are merely single-song samplers, but oh well. I downloaded everything available a few days ago (DMC internet is speedy, even if I have to go to the lounge downstairs to use it), and it turned out to be 120 albums/675 songs... Do the math to figure out the ratio of whole albums to single-songers. It looks like they rotate stuff in and out often [frequently!], so it appears to be wise to check for new'uns every few days.

To get this goodness onto your computer, just make your selections and download away; Amazon makes you install their "MP3 Downloader" tool first (and only once per computer), but it's small, easy, and a truly convenient download manager. The songs are hi-qual mp3 files without DRM, so you can play them on any computer or music player that supports the mp3 format. BTW, that's essentially any device ever made - they're so commonly called "mp3 players", after all, as the format is beyond ubiquity.

I like having hi-qual, real, physical copies of music I like, so I could never depend on a digital download store for tunes - iTunes, Amazon MP3, or otherwise. However, repositories such as Amazon's free music are pivotal to supporting musicians; if I listen to stuff and actually like a band, I will...ohmy...buy albums from them! Scary how that works, I know. That's some of the purpose of the radio, too. What a strange world, people listening to music and buying what they like.

Also BTW FYI JIC, I did pick a few albums since I was trolling for recos from you:

Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano (thanks, j/a)
Aphex Twin - Ventolin [EP]
Ming + FS - Human Condition
The Postal Service - Give Up
KMFDM - Krieg
Beck - Modern Guilt

I suppose I have some listening to do. How terrible! Rock yourselves out.

Technical notes: the files from the Amazon digital coffers are MP3 format, encoded in the neighborhood of 256kbps VBR, though a few tracks are done at a constant [CBR] 256kbps. That's not quite CD-quality, but it's easily good enough for all but the snobbiest of audiophiles. Amazon's download manager is compatible with Windows (probably XP and newer) and "sufficiently recent" versions (meaning I don't know which ones) of Mac OS X. I didn't check it out, but I'm assuming Linux users are hung out to dry. Feel free to leave a comment if you can confirm/deny *nix compatibility with Amazon's downloader tool. To ballpark average file size, consider that my downloading spree ended up as follows: 675 songs; 2d 1h 34min 43sec (2:01:34:43) total time; 4.95GB total space consumed. I'll leave the dimensional analysis up to you...

06 February 2010

miles tone

Let's split up some posts!

As you've seen in various pictures, the old rehab locale houses a largeish track - four wide lanes, and circa 100m per lap - so last week I went back to push circles and record some mile times. Score 26:30 with the wheels on low assist; 17:00 on high. You are correct, that's not really even up to walking speed! I usually wimpily don't go that far without at least a tiny break, but it wasn't too bad rolling nonstop. The hardest part revolved [oh yes, pun intended] around remembering what lap I was on; a 100m track yields about 16 laps for one mile, which is about 15.8 laps beyond my attention span... I should write a lap-counter-and-music-controller app so I can focus on singing along with real lyrics instead of my current lap number ("Hard Day's Night" loses its appeal when it becomes "14 14 14 14").

It should be noted that these mile times were measured doing counterclockwise laps ("run fast, turn left!", according to Mr. Genta's classic track meet pep talk), and clockwise travel would likely have been slightly faster since I'm a lefty. It's a matter of linear and rotational speed/distance/work/[kinematics] that I can explain neither elegantly nor entertainingly... Ask Mr. Genta for some assistance there. Or, jarmstro.

Anyway, those are at least baselines for tracking progress. Dig it.