Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bad Dog! No Biscuit!

I posted this to the CNN discussion board about yesterday's implementation of the new merged Sirius/XM Radio lineup:
I think the sound quality is awful, now. There is way too much digital compression, and too little dynamic range. I can't make out drum/cymbal parts in the songs I listen to, because the overuse of digital compression makes those details too muddy, or worse, nonexistent. I gained an NPR channel, but when I got in the car for the drive home yesterday, there was no "All things considered" feed. I used to like XM82 for my workout soundtrack, but it's gone now. Also, I'm sorry, but I also think that asking for another $4 a month for "the best of Sirius" is ridiculous. I realize that neither company was turning a profit, and that I could've been faced with the extinction of either or both services. I'm paid up with a year's service, so we'll see how things look when my renewal comes due next year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My new stereo system

In my last post, I mentioned how I was the proud owner of the first car CD player in 1985. Back then, *nobody* my age settled for a factory stereo system in a car.

The sound system in my new car sounds better than some high-end home sound systems I've heard. Bose managed to design a sound system in my Infiniti G35 that has all the sound coming at you from the front of the car, instead of coming from behind you, as is the case with most mobile sound systems.

I'm also testing the email-to-blog-posting feature from my iPhone. While I was at it, I attached a photo of my car. I made this photo the morning after I bought the car, and really liked the setting. It was early morning, and the car was sitting in my Mother-in-law's driveway. This was my last visit to her old house last May.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I went to my 25th High School class reunion yesterday evening. I've not seen much of my best friend from High School, since I've been busy raising two children, and he's been working on his PhD. We ended up spending the whole evening catching up. He had taken a tour of our school campus and remarked about how much had changed. When we were there, physical security amounted to a laminated ID card with our photograph on it. Now, students at our old school carry swipe cards they use to gain admittance to classrooms. Our school was pretty forward-thinking for it's time. In the early 1980's, a local family endowed the school with a couple of dozen TRS-80 Model I computers, and the school made a 1/2 credit computer science course mandatory for graduation. When I graduated, typing classes were optional, and of course, they were taught on typewriters. Now, I suspect students are turning in a good part of their homework electronically on laptop computers. It'll be a few years before my children attend High School, and I'm trying to imagine what their educational experience will be like.

I had a few other rememberances from those years:
  • The heavy metal band, Pantera, was a local group, and they played at some of our school dances. I don't think Darrell Abbott had his 'Dime Bag' nickname back then.
  • I worked two summers to get enough money together to buy my first computer, an Apple II. The computer solidified my "geek cred" for years to come, and was the first of many computers I bought over the years. The summer job wasn't bad, either. I worked at an appliance sales and repair shop, and that skill has come in handy many times over, now that I'm a homeowner.
  • I heard my first demonstration of a Compact Disk player the summer before my senior year. I've written before about what a music and stereo nut I was (and still am.) I still remember hearing Boston's "Don't Look Back," and Carlos Santana's guitar on "Nowhere to Run," during that CD player demonstration, and I remember clearly how breathtaking that level of sound quality was. It made me wonder what people thought in prior generations when they heard an Edison Phonograph for the first time. I went to work straight out of High School, and bought a CD player as fast as I could (in the summer of '84,) and bought the first in-car CD player (summer of '85.)
In other milestone news, this blog will be a year old very soon.