12. February 2006 · Comments Off on Technology, What a Blessing · Categories: General

I tried to record a cable TV program on my newly purchased DVD burner ($69.95, Wal-Mart, Black Friday, whatahoot competitive shopping). Loyal readers may recall that I have been assembling the killer home theater system (for that one movie a year that seems to require more than my 14 inch kitchen TV). Well, it didn’t work. I don’t know why, other than something is not connected properly. I am not stupid when it comes to matters technical – after all, I WAS a SAC Master Technician and have survived since then mostly as an engineer. I had the very first ever personal computer in our entire corporation (1983, IBM 5150 – 2 floppies, no hard drive). I introduced electronic machine controls to my company (TI 510 controller). And the legal part of my career, contrary to popular belief, did not make me more stupid, and finally I quit smoking pot years ago. I even have three patents, and have prosecuted over one hundred others.

No, the problem is that the documentation that comes with home electronics sucks. I have to believe that it works for the majority of its audience, after all, the use of home theater technology is unprecedented. I have tried to work with it – even to the extent of drawing schematics of my whole systems. I keep running into blocks in the diagram that can only be labeled as “A Miracle Occurs Here”. Even when everything works as advertised, it takes several remote controls, all used in concert, to achieve the desired result. Real Wife questions the value of this investment because the operation of which is beyond her ken. I cannot fault her because I need to get all of the manuals out to perform the simplest of tasks. Red Haired Girl is helpful – being twelve she is of the generation that doesn’t question how things work, but rather how to get the desired result.

So what are we to do? Comments are eagerly solicited.

I have made progress on recording music on-line. Beware though, it can be like drinking from a fire hose. I spent this weekend sorting through over 5GB of music (roughly 1200 songs) that I had 2 computers ripping simultaneously from Internet radio stations. It’s all legal, but the keep/record ratio is pretty low. Plus, the song beginnings and endings are kind of approximate in relation to the overall audio stream. In a few cases (check out the band My Morning Jacket and the song Beeswing from Richard Thompson), I paid for pure downloads from Walmart. Problem there is that they are infested with Digital Rights Management (DRM). Good luck trying to move it to another machine, even when legally entitled to do so. I had hoped to have all of this transferred to my new Philips 2GB mp3 player (another Black Friday victory – one almost requiring a blood commitment) for the trip to Germany this week, but their software for loading music to the player is also intelligible. Just as well, riding in an airplane or walking around in a foreign country with headphones is contrary to situational awareness, a mode to which I firmly ascribe.

Well, in 36 hours I will be en route to Munich, from which I will blog, with pictures, as well as keep in touch with the home front via cell phone. I suppose that one should not complain when their mouth is full.

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