Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.
Saturday, February 26
They cut the price of the iPod by a third.
You can't win.
On Wednesday I ordered a new monitor because I noticed it had come down in price. $770 before Christmas, and only $450 now.
Of course, the reason it's so cheap is that they don't make them any more.
Sunday, February 20
While cleaning out the computer room at the old office, I kept finding ten volt, thirty amp power supplies. I have no idea why we'd even have one ten volt, thirty amp power supply, let alone a whole collection of them. Certainly none seemed to be attached to anything.
I put them aside for later. It's not every day you trip over a box full of ten volt, thirty amp power supplies.
Saturday, February 19
We moved office today. If you've done this, you know what it's like. Brief period of chaos, then everything gets fixed and you settle down in your new quarters and things go on much as before.
Yeah. That's if you're (a) not the lead technical person in the company and (b) it's not a phone company.*
All in all, it actually went smoothly enough. One of the frame relay links isn't linking, half our outgoing lines didn't go out for a few hours, and half our direct numbers didn't get switched across at first. Fortunately, it was the half we don't use much, so we only realised this when we found that we couldn't receive faxes any more.
Oh, and of the three redundant internet links ordered for the new office, a total of zero were installed on time. That led to a certain amount of scrambling.
And my carefully assembled package of rack-mount nuts and bolts got misplaced, and when I unpacked at the new site I found I had a grand total of two of the little clip-in nut thingies, out of several dozen. I have an electrician coming to install some patch panels at the new office tomorrow, and he's going to have a hard time doing that unless I manage to scrounge some more nuts.
* Admittedly, it's a small phone company, but the principle is the same. When you're a phone company, you can't just close for a couple of days.
Saturday, February 12
So here I am, browsing through the contents of my iPod. Look, I have three separate copies of Bananarama's Nathan Jones: The extended version from their album Wow; the version from the Rain Man soundtrack, which seems to be the same; and the compress-the-hell-out-of-the-dynamic-range version off their Greatest Hits. Which sounds like dog dirt by comparison.
Now I'm over the formatting debacle, I'm a lot happier with it. But why can't iTunes rip music from multiple CD-ROM drives at once? Huh? Why, Apple? Why?
(I have six versions of Glenn Miller's In the Mood on there too. It's not that I'm a Bananarama freak... Or not just a Bananarama freak.)
Apparently, it's not supposed to take fifteen hours to format an iPod. It should take maybe two minutes. If it does take fifteen hours, try the following:
1. Your iPod display will be showing a blinking "Do Not Disconnect We Really Mean It" message. Ignore it, it's gone insane. Unplug that sucker.
2. Remember how you plugged it into the USB port because the Firewire port was acting up? Well, the reason the Firewire port was acting up was that the cable that runs from the little USB/Firewire panel to the motherboard has come loose. Plug it in properly. And for good measure, reinstall that video capture card you removed before Christmas. And see if you can get rid of some of the dust bunnies that are multiplying down there.
3. All done?
5. Plug the iPod into the Firewire port. The computer will recognise the iPod, but it will not work, because you do not have the drivers installed.
6. Put the CD back in the drive, and install the drivers. This will prompt you to format your iPod. This time it will actually work.
7. After this, the installation program will die because you already have iTunes installed. Ignore it; this doesn't matter.
9. Waiting for the computer to come back... Waaaaiting....
10. Right, it's back. Now fire up iTunes. Click on the Synchronise iPod option or whatever it is. Realise that you're already late for work and you're trying to dump 4500 songs on your iPod. It's fast, but it's not that fast.
11. Leave iPod sitting on your desk at home, and head off to work, where you will spend your entire day moving computers from one end of the office to the other.
12. Your iPod is now ready. Enjoy.
Friday, February 11
Well, that blasted iPod is still formatting, so here are some short book reviews.
The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks
In Brief: A cast of badly-drawn P. G. Wodehouse characters searches for a map of the fabled London Underground, in space.
Banks does what many thought impossible, and produces a bad book, or at the very least a dull one.
Century Rain, Alastair Reynolds
In Brief: Disaffected Slashdotters, deprived of their favourite website by an all-consuming database bug, return to the Paris of 1959 in an attempt to exterminate the human race.
While there are some strong elements to this tale, the background setting and the motivations of the major parties make no sense whatsoever. Features nano-tech handwaving.
Ilium, Dan Simmons
In Brief: Descendents of humanity find themselves at a loose end, decide to while away the hours holding historical re-enactments and All-Solar-System Summarise Proust Competitions.
If possible, the background for this one makes even less sense than Century Rain. It's like a dumb-plague infected the universe of this novel some time back; I can't see any other way for the situation described to have arisen. Again, features nano-tech handwaving and a general disregard for the laws of physics.
Bah. There's a new C. J. Cherry out, Destroyer, book one of the third Foreigner trilogy, and it's apparently quite good. Doesn't seem to have reached Australia yet, though.
Browsing through the little booklet that comes with my iPod while it formats, I come across this goodie:
You cannot switch from using iPod photo with a Mac to using it with a Windows PC (or vice versa) without erasing all data on iPod photo.You morons.
This of course explains why the miserable piece of crap decided it had to be formatted before I could use it. (It's still bloody formatting.)
Look, Apple, I have a PC and a Mac. You want to sell Macs to PC owners, you have to make the iPod work with both. None of this insane reformatting bullshit, it has to just work.
Now stop sitting on your thumbs and fix it.
(I deleted the first version of this post, in which I was rude.)
Thursday, February 10
Mmmm. Sixty gig of iPoddy goodness... Charging... Charging...
The packaging is superb, too. I wonder if they learned that from the Japanese, who are fanatical about presentation.
And little details: My Palm T3 charges from the dock, which is a USB 1.1 device, and requires a power adaptor. Without the dock and the power adaptor, no recharging. If you want something different, you have to buy it. There's a cable that will let you sync and recharge from any USB port, but (a) it costs extra, (b) no-one has it in stock and (c) there's no online Palm Store in Australia.
The iPod comes with USB and Firewire cables which will both recharge and sync the device, plus a dock which can connect via either cable, plus a power adaptor which will let you recharge without a computer. (It's a mains to Firewire adaptor, which is probably less generally useful than a mains to USB adaptor, but I'm not going to quibble.)
Tonight, I drop 30GB of (entirely legal) MP3s on it. Yay!
One but: Apple Australia, you need to get a new courier company. It took a week for my iPod to get from Frenchs Forest to my office in the city. (Frenchs Forest is a suburb of Sydney.) Same day delivery might not always be possible, but a week?
Tuesday, February 08
One would think that if one were a major telecommunications company and one had a router that crashed every day, and that there was no explanation for this behaviour and that it had been happening for months, and was causing considerable difficulties for one's customers, that one might take steps to correct the issue, and that one might also consider notifying one's major re-sellers.
Of course, one would be wrong.
Oh, and one might advise one's service staff not to fob off customers by blaming the problem on line filters. This applies doubly in instances where there are no line filters installed.
And you know what? You know what? It's bloody hard to write consistently in the first person indefinite subjunctive.
Friday, February 04
I needed a new pair of jeans. And I speak as a guy here, so when I say I needed a new pair of jeans, I mean that there were real live holes in the old pair, and in inconvenient places to boot.
So off I trek to the local jeans store (Jeans West, Centrepoint), track down the style I want (they rename the styles every six months just to keep the customers on their toes), and grab two pairs in my size because then you get $20 off.
Only as it happens they're marked down just now - to $29.95.
I bought six pairs.
Which probably means that I'm going to lose a leg sometime soon. Or rather, since that wouldn't actually prevent me wearing the jeans, I'll grow a third one.
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