Magnatune gets even better

Posted in Geek Stuff, Random thoughts by dave on November 23, 2008 No Comments yet

Anyone who’s read an installment or two of Saturday Morning Tuneage knows I’m a big fan of Magnatune Records. They offer DRM-free music from a lot of really talented independent artists. Among my purchases: Timecode by MRDC, Fall Submissions by Antiguru, and The Shapes that Shift Us by Brad Senne.

Aside from the fact that they don’t insult their customers by burdening downloaded songs with DRM, and that they offer lossless FLAC or WAV copies of everything you purchase, I’ve got a new reason to love Magnatune even more: They’ve expanded their all-you-can-eat, pay-what-you-want membership system and removed minimum monthly committments.

Freakin sweet, I tell ya.

Over the Transom

Posted in Car Stuff, Life Profundities by dave on November 22, 2008 No Comments yet

It wasn’t that long ago that our family owned a boat. We’re not exactly “pleasure boating” types, so it wasn’t the sexiest boat on the lake, but it got us out to fish, water ski and cruise the Finger Lakes in 17 feet of aluminum-skinned, charcoal-carpeted luxury. It was comfortable, functional and reliable, and as aluminum boats go, I’ve yet to see one that looked better.

We did have a few harrowing experiences with our 17-foot Smokercraft, though. One in particular comes to mind when I think about the word “bailout” … a beautiful sunny day that found us going through our normal launching routine at the Honeoye Lake state-run boat launch. We removed the canvas straps that held the boat to the trailer, dropped and primed the 90-horse outboard, unlocked the winch and disconnected the trailer lights. Moments later, the boat was in the water and I started the engine to back it off the trailer. And then I stopped. Something wasn’t right. The boat was sitting a little too low in the water, and all of a sudden the engine’s exhaust – which vented through an above-the-water port while not in gear – was making a bubbling sound!

Lifting up the canvas flap that covered the battery box and transom, I found … a lot of water. Turns out no one had remembered to install the plug during our hasty preparations. Fortunately, the boat was still winched to the trailer, so all we needed to do was pull it back up onto the pavement and let it drain.


Way Cool – How to Photograph a Space Shuttle

Posted in Random thoughts by dave on November 22, 2008 No Comments yet

Before I post anything more-epic, I thought I’d pass along something neat that came across my feedreader last night:

Rob Galbraith – photo industry pundit and one I consider a long-time amigo from my days working on Wi-Pics – has brought our attention to a video from Reuters photographer Scott Audette. In it, he describes the system Reuters uses to capture shuttle launch images and send them via 3G broadband to the editing center in NY.

You can check out Rob’s take on the video, or watch it directly at Vimeo in high definition.

The Weekend…Starts Here

Posted in Random thoughts by dave on November 21, 2008 2 Comments

Just arrived home from work, and as has been my custom of late, Fatboy Slim’s The Weekend Starts Here is rolling through Amarok and tumbling from my computer’s speakers.

Kelly and I are planning on trying out Sakura Home tonight; it’s a nearby Japanese restaurant that’s opened recently. I’ll bring the Coolpix along and grab a few nonchalant snaps with the wide-angle converter, and it’s pretty likely we’ll post some manner of opinion or review over in this space on the RocWiki.

Tomorrow brings a day to sleep in (7AM! woohoo!) and enjoy some extra blogging time over morning coffee. I’m debating as to whether to bite into the small matter of $25 billion for the Big Three, or surface an installment of the long-hibernating Saturday Morning Tuneage. Either way, expect a bit more depth to kick off’s weekend. And our recommendation for your weekend? Keep it laid back. Spend a little extra quality-time with your coffee, your music, your racecar or your sweetheart this weekend and really soak in all that makes what/whomever you’re enjoying great.

And if you close your eyes after that first sip and find your coffee is bitter, consider investing in a French Press. Seriously.

Lots doin’

Posted in Random thoughts by dave on November 20, 2008 No Comments yet

Ahh, so many things to blog about, and so little time. Between an early arrival for winter weather here in upstate NY, packed evenings every night this week, adventures with door locks and kitchen sink spray hoses, and adventures in computer land, there’s been no shortage of bloggable material. What there has been a shortage of is time.

Hitting closest to home, I’ve got a post stewing about the automakers’ foray in congress this week, and it might just turn out to be an interesting exploration of how to resolve the dissonance when one’s politics tread against the soles of one’s shoes.

For now, though, I’m headed for bed. After an hour of watching Gordon Ramsey play bull-in-a-china-shop on Kitchen Nightmares from our elliptical machine, I’ve got a good night’s sleep ahead.

Newsflash: Dave falls off wagon

Posted in Random thoughts by dave on November 19, 2008 No Comments yet

OK, so barring my [somewhat justifiable] late start, it seems I’ve missed a NaBloPoMo day. [*sniff*]

We all have our weak moments. I guess mine was after mawing a large amount of turkey chili, hanging up a bicycle from our garage rafters, and subsequently watching several episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force with Pauley.

After a short night’s sleep and with cup-o-tea in hand, I’m back in the saddle. Expect an extra post today as penance. And because this one doesn’t really count. Yeah.

The grass is always greener…

Posted in Geek Stuff, Random thoughts by dave on November 17, 2008 No Comments yet

(Note: All images in this post are ©GM 2008 and are used in accordance with the GM Creative Commons license)

So GM has some pretty nice products here in the US; I should know, I drive one of them and I love it. But I would like to know: when are we going to get some drop dead gorgeous cars like this on our side of the pond?!

Hell, I’d even be happy with some photos of our cars that are this good! Also cool? The fact that they released images of the new Opel Insignia during EMC testing, in the very same lab where I participated in the electromagnetics tests on the Fuel Cell Equinox:

No, the chamber doesn’t always have cool blue and red lights – those go away when the photographers leave, and the engineers are left in a world of white and gray-colored cones.

But back to the car… Heck, they even posted a few photos taken on the very same test track where we ran the FC Equinox – the Dudenhofen proving grounds…

I guess I can just hope that they bring the Insignia to this side of the Atlantic under the Saturn nameplate – maybe as the next Aura? Now there’s an Aura I’d buy in a heartbeat… I’ll leave it to you to track down some interior photos – and trust me, it’s beautiful.

Christmas for Thanksgiving?

Posted in Random thoughts by dave on November 16, 2008 No Comments yet

I’d be interesting to learn whether there’s actually a measurable trend in retail, wherein the Christmas decorations and music hit the store a day or so earlier each year. During a stop at the Waterloo outlet mall earlier today, Kelly and I heard Christmas carols playing in nearly every store we visited – and it’s barely halfway through November!

I know that hearing people griping about “premature” Christmas preparations is nearly as bothersome to most people as the actual early arrival of the holiday retail-spirit, so I’m not posting this to complain. I’m just curious if there really is an actual trend. Is Thanksgiving week really the “New Christmas Week”, or am I just acting all curmudgeon-like?

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