Oxford Comma

Posted in Music, Nerd, Technology on March 31st, 2008 by Tom

Hey kids.

SO yeah. I am slacking on blogging, and just about EVERYTHING else too.
Here’s the cool thing though: This week, what I lack in one creative medium, I make up for in another!

My big news of this week is that I just finished my first program as a Radio Disk Jockey.
Dobson Radio is a super-small operation that reaches barely most of the Truman campus, but they let you play whatever you want, and they let a bum like me on the airwaves! I’d been fretting over this for the past week or so, and wanting to do it for much longer than that. Suffice to say that when 4 PM on Saturday rolled around, I fulfilled a bit of a dream of mine.

It wasn’t anything flashy, and I need to work on cutting down on dead air and verbal pauses, but it didn’t suck. And the music was good. I won’t elaborate much more, except to say that you can check out the online archive of the first (and following) shows at radio.schrodignersblog.com. I finally settled on the radio-person name that Ian came up with, and so henceforth I shall be “DJ sHogun”. Get it? (Let’s hope so)

The name of the program is still being determined, but tune in next week at 4 to find out!

In other news, the internet is a delightful place of wonder and magic, but with it comes some perils and pitfalls. I tend to complain a little too much about these things, particularly to Ian and sometimes Lizz, and so I thought I’d make it official:

Tom’s Official List of His Most Hated Things on the Internet

  1. Adobe PDF Files-
    “But why Tom? How can you hate these useful image-documents? Haven’t you seen that cute commercial where they look like presents? [NOTE: I tried to fine YouTube video of this, to no avail. There was this ad a long time ago that had all these people opening up the same little gold-wrapped-red-ribbon present, and at the end the ribbon turned into the PDF logo, and it was supposed to be like ‘everyone loves getting PDFs’. …]

    Well guess what! I HATE THEM. Whatever little mechanism that has to gear up for my browser to read PDFs always causes it to hang, nearly to the point of crashing, which is a bit of a feat with Firefox. And plus, people slip them in everywhere like it’s no big thing. I’m cruising through my google research, havin’ a terrific time of it, and I click the link, and suddenly there is a whole manner of slowness about my browser.

    “Damn you PDF, DAMN YOU TO THE ETERNAL FIRES!” I scream with such fervor that Ian makes in inquiring face. Perhaps the shaking of the fist is what confused him. Perhaps it was that I do this on a nearly-weekly basis. Suffice to say, I hate PDFs being all big and everywhere and everyone pretending to love them when they really just make my life more complicated.

  2. Real Player-
    Congratulations, Real Media. You’ve successfully created, maintained, and perpetuated an audio format that NO ONE ASKED FOR AND NOBODY WANTS and everyone just wishes would leave the party because it is becoming hell of awkward for the cool kids (MP3, MOV, even WMF for heaven’s sake) that are supposed to be there because they are popular.

    I just get really mad that this file serves like… no purpose. Windows has the filetype for its media player. Apple has one for its. MP3 works for everyone! Happy day. And suddenly *.rm shows up, as if to say, “Alright! Let’s ROCK THIS!” and everyone just kinda stares.

    What’s the point? What magical substance has RealMedia laced these files with that makes them so much better? For years I was able to avoid these, but finally I needed to watch some lectures, and they only format they were available for was Real Audio. I downloaded RealPlayer. It was like purchasing a prostitute, in that I felt like I needed to take a shower afterwards. Gross.

    It’s just another way to get me to download some thing that will throw advertisements at me.
    NO! [In a fit of rage, I literally took five minutes here to uninstall RealPlayer right now. I hate it THAT much.]

  3. Streaming Audio-

    Why is streaming audio and podcasting done in seven thousand different ways? There seems to be some consensus that videos are done via YouTube/Google, images are .jpg, or .gif, and if you want to stream audio, you write your own code, poorly, and invent some protocol by which to deliver it.

    That’s silly. And it confuses me.
    And it’s also taught me how to truly loathe the gerund “buffering”.
    If I have to wait longer than the length of the media clip for it to load and begin playing, that makes a streaming audio clip LITERALLY pointless. You might as well just download it at that point! Madness.

  4. Win a Free Blank-

    Once a year I try one of these things becuase I think I may have finally found a way to outsmart them and get free stuff. And once a year I hate myself so much that I almost download legacy versions of RealPlayer as punishment.

    I’m sorry. A free iPod nano (lame!) does not equate to me purchasing a year of satelite TV, three metric tons of microwave popcorn, and vinyl siding for the home I don’t have. [That’s how they work: you have to buy all this stuff from their sponsors, get some confirmation code for it, and with enough codes, you get a “free” thing] It just doesn’t make sense. And that’s the worst of it. I always tell myself at the end, when I fail, that if I’m going to make a big purchase in the future, I’ll remember this, and get a special code for something I was already going to buy.

    But you can’t do that, becuase it means you have to buy a years worth of flowers delivered to your home weekly, a new muffler and set of break pads, and three seasons of Dallas on DVD. I can think of no such situation when I would need all of those at once, and so no matter how you spin it, it’s a scam.

I’m at the end of my quick list off the top of my head, but I know there’s more. I’ll keep you posted if I remember any more. Geez. I really get bothered by this stuff. Probably because computers are kindof my thing, and I get upset when I feel like they’re turning on me.

That’s it for today.
Keep checking back for updates on the radio program, and life in general.

P.S.: Sorry for going rage-blackout on you there. I’m even more sorry that it was over something as esoteric as file types and internet scams. Oh well. It’s been a weird day.

The Bleeding Heart Show

Posted in Life, Maintenance, Politics on March 12th, 2008 by Tom

Hope everyone’s lives have been going well. Mine’s been OK.

I actually had a pretty cool Leap Day. I always wanted to make sure and do something special on Leap Day, because it only comes around every four years… I feel like I should make the most of it. This year, I was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. Since I’ll probably be a member of that for some time to come, I thought it was slick that my “induction date” was 2.29.2008. Leap Day Mission: Accomplished.

Sunday night Ian and I were up really, really late doing physics work. After he went to bed, I kept at it, and then had some Chemistry to tackle. I was up until 5 AM, which was a first even for me. Luckily, since I’ve been back home, I’m recharging on sleep, which has been terrific.

In other news, I’m getting really frustrated with my coursework. I know the semester is only halfway over, but this has just not been a very engaging one for me. Chemistry is tedious and frustrating, I’m tired of German, Math, as always, is a really brutal struggle, and both physics classes I’m in are really, really abstract. So in addition to being spent… I’m finding it really hard to even think about going back, much less trying to get work done over break.

But that is, in fact, what I’m about to go attempt to do, so wish me luck.

Heute Auf Deutsch:

“Wenn ich ‘USA’ höre, denke ich an Wolkenkratzer und Gettos, an den Grand Canyon und die Rocky mountains und natürlich an Iowa.”
[Translation: “When I hear ‘USA’, I think of skyscrapers and ghettos, the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains, and Iowa, naturally.”]

And how about those primaries?
How about I’m getting really sick of them.

I’d still rather have Hillary win, but I don’t think she can pull it out at this point. I’m getting sick of dreading every single caucus because we know Obama will win them, and I’m also getting tired of holding my breath through every single primary. It’s just old at this point. I’m resigned to ol’ Barrack winning, and I just want to focus on the general election now.

There’s no real good way to differentiate between the two, which makes all this drama over which is better incredibly silly. They’re both terrific, and one of them seems to have a bit more traction, so why fight it?

I dunno. I also have no clue as to why I’ve been sucking it really badly at StarCraft lately. No idea.

My house is being replumbed. It’s loud.

On a final note, my webservice got bumped up to a WAY nicer package for free! We now have what I believe is 350 GB of space… which is 3.5 times larger than my entire harddisk. So! I no longer have any reservations about posting excessive amounts of music and video.

We also may be hosting Paula’s website soon, which will be fun as well!

I like how this went from an entry about nothing to an entry about EVERYTHING.
(Sorry for my lack of coherence, I’m typing this at like… 11 AM, and I’m normally not up that early. At least not in the past few days.)

P.S.: I heard today’s song in a TV commercial the other day. It was kinda surreal.