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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Thursday May 11 2006

I have a few USB devices,

by which I mean not printers or mice or keyboards or whatever - all my PC gear is a bit older than that (and God bless it) - but things I use that need to have sexual relations with the computer from time to time. These are, in escalating order of utility and general trouser:

- Palm Zire 21. After what seemed like a thousand years of wondering whether these were the answer to organizing myself, I had to buy the cheapest possible one to find out that it wasn't. Price of an education. I do sync it with the computer from time to time. If I could sync it with Moleskines, other cheaper notebooks, my wallet and bits of paper and Rizla packets it would be very cool. But I can't, so it's wack. For me.

- Motorola V3 mobile. I'd never be without the old telling-bone, but this one has iffy battery life, a shitey camera and is too slim for me to hold without dropping all the time. Drunk? Perhaps. On the plus side it's seen as cool-ish, it's robust and it lets me use my little Bluetooth hands-free in the car. I have become my enemy. Software provided for the PC in theory backs up phone numbers and so on. In practice it's a pig to use, and mungs everything up if you're not expert with it. I'm not. It was free. That's by far the best thing about it. I USB it to charge it, as it's more convenient than the mains charger.

- Creative Zen Micro media player. Love it. Don't use it. There's something about having bloody headphones on in public that is profoundly isolating, and I don't want to be isolated. I want to hear the bus before I feel it. No way of getting it hooked up in the car that doesn't involve a shitey radio thing. I've heard 'em. Unacceptable. What you can do, however, is visit friends and plumb it through their hifi thus improving your mood and broadening their minds. Or terrorizing them with Squarepusher. Good.

- I-Scream (and sorry, but that amuses me) 512 meg media player. £40 from HMV. Cheap, sacrificial unit for when one might fall in a river. User interface is incredibly frustrating - mind you, so's the touchy thing on the Zen, but I find it ok to plug through the stereo in my bedroom to listen to podcasts as I drift off. Into a river. Actually the Micro is more use.

- Olympus - er, I'll have a look - Greek-symbol-for-micro-mini 5 mega camera. This is a slavering optical toecutter which resists all fluids and takes great pics while having great battery life and is dead easy to use. I love it, and always have it with me.

Now, the real point of this exercise is of course to have a good old sunny-day-all's-well rant. The first three on this list have a mini-USB connector. So I use the same lead to hook them up, as it's fairly occasional in all three cases. The other two have their own variants of the connector. Why? Why the hell can't there be a standard connector on all of it so that I only have to have one USB lead-end floating around my severely burdened desktop? The voltages are all the same I know as I have checked. The amount of space saved by these smaller variants is negligible. It's a bloody pain, and simply increases clutter. Manufacturers, again I judge you wanting.

Posted at 12:57 pm by Jim Woods

And speaking of podcastly matters,

I am currently loving Ziepod. Whereas my usual podcast receiver, Juice, has always scored highly with me for being free, simple and reliable, I have also hankered after something that has a built-in player. Ziepod adds a lot of prettiness to the plot, to which I am not entirely immune. It also adds a built-in player, and the really nice ability to simply play a podcast rather than download it first and then fire up a third party player. Additionally, there's a lot more info on the 'casts available when using Ziepod. Mind you, Juice has a pretty incomparable directory on board. Still, I can hack the complexity of running multiple applications at the moment. Until one puts a foot wrong, that is.

Posted at 12:33 am by Jim Woods

Wednesday May 10 2006

When I saw a neat little Philips 256 meg MP3

midget-ghetto-blaster thingy for fifty quid in Currys (forgive me - I was weak) I should have bought it. It was a more elegant version of this. I'm not convinced that it was the bargain of the century, but I can't find one for less than ninety quid now. And I want it. It's just the thing for turning my ever-growing podcast downloads into tranny radio. For times like lounging in the bath. I'm always postponing purchases. Bugger.

Posted at 10:47 pm by Jim Woods

Tuesday May 9 2006

Sometimes it's interesting

to read some eloquent prose concerning music, whether one agrees with it or not. Sure, it may be as much about the writer as the material in some ways. Sure, talking about music is like dancing about architecture (was it Frank Zappa who said that?). Sure, it's better to just listen to music than analyze it. But the article is stimulating and thought-provoking, which is good enough for me. It's worthwhile getting the old brain in on the case sometimes, even with non-cerebral issues like getting on down.

Posted at 1:08 pm by Jim Woods

Monday May 8 2006

I have reverted to a wired mouse and keyboard.

It is not that I have a lust for cabling everywhere, but rather issues of power. The cheapie cordless mouse I was using was killing a pair of Duracells in a month, and although I can get my batteries cheaply enough I think it's fairly environmentally unsound to guzzle so many on such a frippery. I hate batteries. They're a bloody nuisance with their running out and charging up and running down and falling on the floor and being cylindrical and so on. And their proper disposal, for that matter. I tried using some of my stable of NiMH rechargeables in the mouse, but of course they are only 1.2 volt rather than 1.5 so I was getting semi-permanent low battery warnings and really, really short useful life between charges. So f*ck all that, my dears. It's back to the wire for Jimbo, mouse-on-a-leash-monger. I might eventually get a better, rechargeable, mouse. But I'll probably just live with the wire and be grateful that I'll never have to think about mouse power.

The cordless keyboard was harmless enough. One set of tiny AAA batteries, still going strong after a few months. But when you're sat at a desk, why use a cordless keyboard at all? Unnecessarily complex technology. Also shelved. Logitech gear is thusly rated as cheap and relatively cheerful. But then my original mouse and keyboard were and are Microsoft items, and as with all of Microsoft's hardware that I've used are very good. Welcome home William.

Rehearsal tomorrow. Filthy racket and beer. Spot on.

Posted at 12:01 am by Jim Woods

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