mississippi john dalek

I really, really don’t know what my iPod was thinking when it rendered a perfectly good mono MP3 of Mississippi John Hurt like this:

Mississippi John Hurt – Frankie (accidental robot mix)

Mississippi John Hurt - Frankie (accidental robot mix)

My Name is not Alvin

When I first heard of Alvin Lucier‘s “I Am Sitting in a Room” I thought it would be interesting to attempt a recreation with the tools I had on hand. Rather than shuffling tapes around, I recorded on my iPod Touch, and then e-mailed the file to my laptop to play back. I repeated this sixteen times. This is what I ended up with: my name is not alvin [mp3].

"My Name is not Alvin" recording rig

I’m pretty sure all I ended up recording was the hard drive and the backlight on my MacBook. By the final iteration, the cricket-like chirping is centred pretty close to 5400 and 16000 Hz.

good, not quite great

I accidentally dropped and broke my car mp3 player, so had to come up with another music solution. I caved and bought an iTrip for my iPod Nano. It sounds pretty good.

What’s good about it is that it allows you to charge your iPod from a standard USB Mini-B. What’s not so good is that it doesn’t have full USB pass-through, so you can’t sync your iPod, and have to stick with that stupid dock cable.

(and don’t get me started on the really annoying connector on my work cell phone …)

mini revived

I revived Catherine‘s old (old?! it’s less than half a decade old!) iPod Mini with a new battery from iDemiGods. The kit was under $10 shipped, and took about 10 minutes to install.

Strange how large and clunky the Mini feels compared to recent players. Of course, I immediately installed Rockbox

iTunes ate my iPod!

Kind of what my iPod now does, until the battery runs out
Kind of what my iPod now does, until the battery runs out

I have, well had, a 2GB second-gen iPod Nano. Now I have a very slim brick.

When I upgraded to iTunes 8, it offered an update for my iPod. I let it do its thing, then resync’ed it. I noticed that the iPod rebooted after the sync — no big deal — but then kept rebooting (back and forth …) forever.

I tried resetting it; nope, it would just start doing its thing again.

I tried putting it into disk mode, then restoring it; nope, back and forth, back and forth

In desperation, I tried restoring it on a PC, which needed to reformat the iPod. Partial success; it sync’ed music from the PC, but since my working music library is on my iBook, I had to restore and resync, and guess what? back and forth, back and forth

I’d heard that the problem could be caused by empty podcast folders, so I cleared out and rebuilt my library, put the iPod into disk mode and restored it on a PC, resync’ed on the iBook and … back and forth, back and forth

As a last try I’m going to fsck it under Linux. I might be stuck using yamipod, which is probably a bonus, as all I use iTunes for is as an iPod conduit. I really miss having a Rockbox-capable player, as it just worked the way I expected.

UPDATE: yeah, that last one did it. Shame about yamipod’s UI.

glitch out

ipod glitch

I really don’t think that my ipod was supposed to do that. But then, it was playing Columbus Fruge’s Saut Crapaud at the time, which is enough to make anyone shift a few pixels to the side:

Saut crapaud
ta queue va brûler
Prends courage
a’va repousser

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

iCaved

Yeah, I caved in and bought a 2GB iPod Nano at the weekend. I had various gift cards and cheques come in, so…

It’s a lot better than the Shuffle was. I still don’t particularly like being tethered to iTunes, but I can live with it.

outlook contacts to palm, iPod, etc …

This is a neat workaround: Export Outlook Contacts using a small VB script. It works, too — I now have all my work contacts in my Palm.

completely not feeling the love for the iPod Shuffle

Shuffle mode on the iPod Shuffle isn’t random. It seems to play the same tracks in the same random order every time you restart the device. It only seems to get a new randomization when you sync with iTunes.

Oh yeah, and it’s too wide to fit alongside a standard USB plug on an iBook. I’ll check the BestBuy returns policy, ‘cos this thing just ain’t doing it for me.

iPod Shuffle: meh

There’ve been a couple of times that my 256MB USB key wasn’t quite big enough, so I was in the market for a 1GB unit. Since the iPod Shuffle was only slightly more expensive than a plain memory key, I thought it would be a good purchase.

Um, wrong. While it’s undoubtedly a decent (if slightly portly) USB key, it has huge deficiencies as a music player:

  • you can’t skip to the next album in the play list.
  • shuffle mode seems more like ‘play a few songs out of order from the same album until you manually skip to something different’.
  • why is my music hidden away in weirdly-named files?
  • iTunes doesn’t always sync all of the tunes in the playlist, leaving you with missing albums.

For me, I think the most the Shuffle will be is a way of listening to the couple of albums I’ve bought on the weekend. It is small, light, and sounds pretty reasonable, but it won’t replace my iRiver H120 for musical goodness.

needed another box

I wrote earlier that an iPod Mini failed to just work, straight out of the box. Thanks to Chris Slothouber‘s suggestion, it now works fine with an additional firewire cable.

It’s still very annoying to have to fork out $$ (and a lot of $$, too) for an extra cable that should have been in the box.

failing to work just out of the box

Bloody iPod Mini. Catherine’s 10.1.15 eMac sees it, but iTunes says “No iPod Connected”, despite the obvious. It just sits there, flashing “Do Not Disconnect” from the USB port. iTunes 4.7.1 says it has iPod Mini support. So go on, do what you’re supposed to!

I’ve spent more time futzing with this crappy thing than any hardware on my Linux boxes. It’s just an MP3 player, it should just work.

iPod Shuffle works under Linux

Very pleasantly surprised to find that Paul’s iPod Shuffle appeared as a bog standard USB mass-storage device on my Linux laptop. Of course, there’s the small matter of the metadata required to get it a Linux box to make acceptable playlist, but it’s a start.

I susect I’m being sad and old when I say I remember the COOL It Works With Linux logo scheme …

very small, but not cheap

The iPod Mini: 4GB, US $249, available next month in the US, April worldwide. A larger capacity and higher price than many people expected.

This would have been neat if they hadn’t brought the price of the 15GB iPod down to US $299. That’s 375% the capacity for 120% the price of the iPod Mini. And I guess there will be a raft of the discontinued 10GB iPods hitting the market soon.

I would have paid US $150 (CA $192, probably not including the Canadian media tax) for a 2GB unit. I’ll have to think longer and harder about what they’re offering. Apple have never really done the low-end very well.

practising detachment (badly)

As if I don’t have too much stuff already, these are things I
know I don’t need, but want:

  • Mini iPod — I can’t
    afford one of the big ones. If this can’t be used with Linux when
    it’s announced in early January 2004, the game’s a bogey.
  • Lomo LC-A
    camera
     — yes, I know it’s an overpriced, unreliable
    ripoff of the
    Cosina CX-1
    , and that digital is much cheaper to run, and that
    my Yashica
    Electro-35 GTN
    gives better performance for less money,
    but…
  • Green coffee
    roaster
     — freshly-roasted coffee tastes better than
    you could imagine.
  • Wacom Graphire
    graphics pad — because my existing cheapo pad doesn’t
    actually do much.
  • Fluke
    ukulele
     — I missed out on getting a uke when I was a
    nipper, and I’ve wanted one ever since.
  • Blondel
    Cittern Guitar
     — because if I’m going to learn to
    play the guitar, I might as well get a portable one.

I think this all goes to show what you already know:
blogging makes you shallow.