Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - January, 2003
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World Conquest
January, 2003
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because ... well ... why the hell not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Friday, January 31st


Wide World of Upgrades:

With the American Film Market (AFM) 2003 sneaking up rapidly, I finally decided to give in to temptation and get Roo (my video editing computer) set up for DVD authoring. Kanga, by the way, is my main computer, but audio and video editing and production is persnickety enough that I figure it's a task best run on a dedicated machine--not only so that it doesn't mess up the results, but also so you don't have to stop everything else you're working on while its sitting there encoding video.

I figure I can reduce the amount of equipment I need to haul out with me by encoding everything onto DVDs and not have to worry about bringing enough VCRs for all the display stations--plus I can play DVDs on the laptops as well. I'd briefly contemplated getting a few of the combo DVD/VCR machines, but after touring the local electronics shops long enough to determine that every last one of them was terribly designed. In particular, most of the outputs only worked when playing DVDs, which largely eliminated the whole point of having a "combination" player in the first place.

Buying computer hardware these days often involves a moment or two of reverse-sticker-shock. When I first upgraded the dialup lines out here to V.90/56K, I'd bought a Lucent/Livingston Portmaster PM-3 for what at the time seemed a bargain price of $850. Two weeks ago, I picked up another one (with modem cards) for $15.

Now, if only the cost of having a couple of trunk lines would drop similarly....

But last week I picked up a couple of Western Digital WD2000JB "Special Edition" 200-Gig hard drives for $199 a pop, and Pioneer's new A-05 4x DVD-R/RW burner for another $199. Together, that bumps Roo's hard drive space up to 880Gig, which is close enough to a terrabyte that I'm tempted to add another drive just to get that prestigious extra digit. Compared to my first hard drive (as opposed to the disk or drum storage on a computer I was merely working on), a CDC Hawk, that's a drop in cost-per-megabyte of nearly a million-to-one.

Kanga--which is the main workstation I use for everything but video--is more modest when it comes to disk space, though as long as I was in an upgrade mood (who am I kidding? I'm always in an "upgrade mood") I figured I'd add another eight IBM Ultrastar DDYS-T36950 Ultra-160/LVD drives, which also ran about $1 per gigabyte. A mere thirty-six gigabytes per drive probably sounds pretty paltry these days, but I'm just paranoid enough to derive a significant degree of emotional satisfaction from keeping everything (except video) on RAID-5 arrays and having spare MegaRAID controllers on hand, just in case.

I guess we all have our share of weird turn-ons and one of mine is hardware RAID. ...well, except for those low-end RAID-0 IDE controllers built into so many motherboards these days; those don't even count for a cheap thrill--it's got to be RAID-5 to keep me satisfied. Now, if I can just scare up some cheap and good hardware RAID controllers for my fibre channel arrays, that'd be some real excitement.

Friday, January 10th


The persistence of Santa:

Earlier I saw crews collecting some of the remaining flat Santas that were still draped across the roofs of stores and restaurants. Appealing as it was--in a "Salvador Dali/Norman Rockwell" kind of way--it's long enough past Christmas that it's time for them to come down.

Everywhere you went this year, the stores were selling giant inflatable Santa and Snowman figures, and soon enough they started adorning the rooftops of shops and restaurants around town. Trouble is, all the inflatable figures I saw were made from some very lightweight plastic material that would naturally be inexorably attracted to any sharp edges of the flashing or other inflatable-plastic-penetrating pointy bits that tend to adorn rooftops more often than air-filled Santas do.

Soon enough, there were more than a few eight-foot empty Santas draped over the edges of the rooftops. I imagine that must have led to at least a few challenging questions from curious youngsters this year.

a surprise under the tree

The fondue restaurant up the highway from me had one of the empty Santas hanging head-down off the edge of its roof for several weeks. I guess it's appropriate, somehow, for a fondue place to have a melted-looking Santa on top.

Thursday, January 9th


Get too many DVDs for Christmas this year?

cd/dvd shredder from Alera Technologies

If you, much like absolutely nobody I know, were plagued by just too many DVDs and CDs this year, Alera Technologies has come to your rescue with their new DVD/CD Shredder.

According to Alera's brochure, this handy-dandy disk destroyer can shred up to thirty CDs or DVDs per minute. I don't even know anybody whose dog works that fast.

While it sounds like a weird product idea to me, it may be that I'm not really representative of Alera's target market for a product like this. Judging by how popular they seem to be, I'm probably the only person left in the continental US who's never even gone out and bought a paper shredder. It's not that there aren't things in my life that I'd like to have shredded: tumbleweeds, for example. Unfortunately I suspect that if I tried to feed even a modest-sized tumbleweed into either a paper shredder or a DVD/CD shredder that the shredder would wind up in worse shape than the weed.

On the other hand, I could branch into the business of selling tumbleweeds over the net. Prairie Tumbleweed Farm does, and presumably somebody must buy them. (Their tumbleweeds, BTW, are guaranteed to be 100% Y2K compliant.) I'm not sure how much a good-sized tumbleweed would go for on Ebay, but it's worth a try. Doing a quick search on Ebay, I see one hundred and forty current auctions for AOL CDs, and if somebody will buy an AOL CD on Ebay, the odds are good that they'd go for some prime-quality lawn debris too.

For that matter, maybe I should put my own AOL CD collection up on ebay. I'm sure nobody will mind too much that I'd melted them and folded them into Christmas ornaments. At least they haven't been shredded.

After all, AOL CDs are easier to ship than tumbleweeds and It's not like I won't have amassed a new AOL CD collection in time for next Christmas.

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