Fairly Symmetrical

February 2005 Archives

08:31 AM by Eric: I love the smell of sawdust in the evening... Music | Personal | Reviews | Tech

...it smells like... victory. ;)

So Saturday we ripped all the carpet out of the office and bought enough new laminate flooring to replace all the carpet left in the house. Unfortunately the laminate needs to acclimatize to its new environment (you know, sniff around, set up its den, mark the perimeter... oh wait) for 48 hours before installation, which meant that the office was empty all weekend but for stacks of laminate--which meant that the front hall was full of office furniture, and the living room was full of stacks of books. (We have a lot of books. It doesn't seem like nearly so many when they're on the shelves, but we could build fairly substantial forts out of these stacks of books, and still have paperbacks left over for ammunition...)

So last night while Jen was at a New Works (er, sorry, The University Co-op Presents the Cohen New Works Festival) meeting, I spent 3 hours putting the new floor down in the office. I think I've gotten the hang of this flooring, since that was all it took. Tonight I'll do the closet and the bedroom hall, put in the mouldings, and then we can reassemble the office.

I'm really digging my Creative Zen Touch. My first impressions were that it is a bit more substantial than Jenny's iPod, specifically slightly heavier and slightly wider. I'm okay with that; it's still pretty small, and the extra size is due to a larger battery. So far it seems as if the claims of ~24 hours continuous play life are more or less true (it's hard to say because I'm not using 96Kbps WMA or whatever the claim is based on; I have both high bitrate MP3s and some WMAs that were automatically converted). I am a little disappointed with the software integration. The Touch isn't yet 100% compatible with Windows Media Player; you can copy over all the songs on a playlist (or all songs in your library), but you can't copy over the playlist(s) themselves. Supposedly a firmware update due in March will bring it up to full MTP compatibility, after which AutoSync should make life wonderful, but until then I have to use Windows Explorer to create playlists. I didn't bother to install any of the Creative software (except the required drivers), since I've never had a good experience with Creative software. :)

As far as sound quality, I'm very happy. I'm not sure I can hear any difference over Jen's iPod, but it might be the default earbuds; the sound is very clear, though. The player's interface is interesting; it does a very good job of not ripping off the iPod without sucking. It has a touch-sensitive strip used for scrolling; I've read a lot of complaints that scrolling through long lists is painful since you have to repeatedly stroke the strip. Apparently none of these people discovered that if you stop at the end of the strip and hold your finger there, the player will keep scrolling. :-P Anyway, so far I'm really happy with the player itself. The carrying case is annoying, though. It's very protective, but once the player is inside the case the only control you can actually access is the power button; you can kind of get at the volume buttons through the elastic sides, but the play controls are all covered by a stiff protective guard. It's really a shoddy design. The worst part is that nobody makes MP3 accessories for anything but the damned iPod; there's no such thing as a third-party Zen Touch case. Sigh. I'll probably post an update to this once the new firmware comes out.

10:00 AM by Eric: Best Valentine's Day Ever Personal | Work

So yesterday was, of course, Valentine's Day. This year Jen and I went to a place here in town called Zoot--one of those places where the servings are small and they have a designated waiter just to bring you pieces of bread. ;) We had a lot to celebrate this year; I hadn't planned it that way, but yesterday I got the last of 3 and a half* job offers, and it was a doozy. So I'm changing jobs, to one with no travel, no long hours, more time off, and a much better salary. I'm really excited to start working with these guys; my interview was great, I really felt like I would fit in well there. They seem like a company that puts a lot of emphasis on treating their employees well; they told me that pretty much everyone they hire is either there for a very long time, or gone almost immediately because they hold their employees to very high standards. I'm not afraid of high standards as long as I'm taken care of. :)

So Jenny put on this very nice new dress, in which she looked totally hot, and I put on my very nice new suit, and we had a wonderful evening. The presents this year were great too; I got a Creative Zen Touch (which I've been wanting since approximately forever; I figure I'll use it for a month and post a review, though from what I've read and my 4 hours of use so far they're nice devices ;) ) as a "congrats" present, and some very nice shaving products and the Band of Brothers DVD set as actual Valentine's Day gifts, so on top of the job thing I'm on about cloud twelve. :)

* Oh, the half offer was because a company I had talked to a while ago randomly e-mailed me to see if I was interested in a job. It's flattering to know I made that much of an impression. :)

10:35 PM by Eric: "iTunes" Quiz Music

Jen wants me to do this iTunes quiz. The only problem is I don't use iTunes. ;) So here's my Windows Media Player quiz...

How many total songs?
Home: 2406 items; Est. Time 160h, 12m, 17s; 12.44GB
Work Laptop: 705 items; Est. Time 46h, 57m, 58s; 3.30 GB

Sort by Song Title - first and last songs?
First (Home): --- by John Mayer. I have no idea what song that is. First song I can actually identify is "01 Breathe (2AM)" by Anna Nalick, which for some reason keeps reverting to the filename even though I've set the title manually like 6 times now. I hate technology.
Last (Home): Yo-Yo, Mandy Moore. 3 different copies of it actually. I think I need to clean out the collection. :)
First (Work): 3AM, Matchbox 20
Last (Work): You're So True, Joseph Arthur

Sort by Time - first and last songs?
First (Home): Welcome, The Offspring, at a whopping 9 seconds.
Last (Home): Live in DC, Chris Rock, at 55 minutes.
First (Work): Theme from Flood, They Might Be Giants: 27 seconds.
Last (Work): The Lady Of Shadows, Loreena McKennitt: 11m, 32s

Top Ten Played Songs

  1. On a Sea of Fleur-De-Lis, Richard Shindell
  2. The Dance, Garth Brooks (I am so ashamed)
  3. A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress, Richard Shindell (okay, I'll buy that)
  4. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams), Dixie Chicks
  5. Two Satellites, Mary Beth Maziarz
  6. If I Wrote You, Dar Williams
  7. Closer To Me, Dar Williams
  8. Beautiful Disaster, Kelly Clarkson
  9. Mermaid, Cory Sipper
  10. Broken, Seether
  1. A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress, Richard Shindell
  2. Wisteria, Richard Shindell
  3. If I Wrote You, Dar Williams
  4. Two Satellites, Mary Beth Maziarz
  5. Iowa, Dar Williams
  6. Holding Out For A Hero, Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2)
  7. 100 Years, Five for Fighting
  8. Come Clean, Hilary Duff
  9. My Happy Ending, Avril Lavigne
  10. She Will Be Loved, Maroon 5

Last Ten Played

  1. Brick, Ben Folds Five
  2. She Will Be Loved, Maroon 5
  3. Wisteria, Richard Shindell
  4. Broken, Seether
  5. In Time, Robbi Robb (seriously one of the greatest songs ever ;)
  6. Everything, Alanis Morissette
  7. On a Sea of Fleur-De-Lis, Richard Shindell
  8. This Love, Maroon 5
  9. Desert Rose, Sting
  10. Snow On The Sahara, Anggun (what ever happened to her?)
  1. Long December, Counting Crows
  2. Iowa, Dar Williams
  3. In Time, Robbi Robb
  4. Electron Blue, R.E.M.
  5. Breathe (2AM), Anna Nalick
  6. Winter, Tori Amos
  7. February, Dar Williams
  8. Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson
  9. Leaving New York, R.E.M.
  10. Behind These Hazel Eyes, Kelly Clarkson

Find 'sex.' How many songs show up?
Not a one, either at home or work.

Find 'death.' How many songs show up?
At home, just one: Rob Dougan Clubbed To Death Ve (the song title is chopped off there...) by Moby. None at work.

Find 'love.' How many songs show up?
Home: 124 items -- but I have Love Shack three times, and lots of other dupes too. :(
Work: 30 items, no duplicates.

02:23 PM by Eric: Holy wow - gmail invites Personal

So I glanced at my gmail account today (which I pretty much only use for mailing lists) and I have 50 gmail invites to give away.

If there's anyone who doesn't have a gmail account yet, and wants one, let me know. :)

10:20 PM by Eric: I'm not dead yet... Personal

So much as work has tried to kill me lately, I'm still ticking over. I've spent every other week since mid-December in Phoenix, worked a couple of weekends, a couple of 70+ hour weeks, and one marathon company strategy meeting. I need a cigarette, or at least a week off. Neither will be forthcoming, of course.

On the plus side, January marked the first deployment of our next-gen software, the software that's spent the last year gestating in my head and which I've spent the last 4 months actually building. Not to come off as totally arrogant, but the software is probably the best I've worked on, and certainly the best I've written. As much pain as the last year has cost me, I feel like I've learned an incredible amount, and really started to get good at this software architect stuff. Along those lines, I am now officially 60% finished with my MCSD--and officially certified as a Microsoft Certified Application Developer--having passed the SQL Server test earlier today. Only Web Applications and Solution Architecture stand in my way. Then I'm going to Disneyworld. Or something.

I'm really digging the new Battlestar Galactica series on Sci-Fi. I was a little leery; they tend towards some cheesy stuff (Chupacabra: Dark Seas springs to mind), but BSG is probably the best non-HBO original series I've seen in a very long time. Watching an episode of it does produce this intense desire to go play Homeworld some more, though, which I'm sure Jen considers an unfortunate side-effect. Here's hoping the series doesn't get canceled.

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This page was last updated Sun 23 September 2007 at 08:46 AM CDT