Skip to main content

Toys are fun, spam is not

I'm enjoying my new iPod. I ordered one of the new 2nd-generation iPod Nanos from Best Buy Canada. Green, 4GB. It arrived promptly in a little tiny box. I amalgamated my sprawling music library into something iTunes can manage by itself, sorted out most of the duplicates, and now I'm in the process of listening to it all and rating each song. I'm using a system I've seen outlined in various places -- one star for songs I don't really want to hear again, two stars for a song I can tolerate but would probably skip past, three stars for a song that's okay, four stars for a song I particularly like, and five stars for "this f'ing ROCKS".

I've thrown together a few "smart" playlists -- fifty Rush songs here, forty Ween songs there, a pile of short 90s tunes elsewhere, and so on. I tell the machine to serve me up a pile of songs that have no stars -- unrated. Then I rate 'em on the iPod, and when I plug the critter into Little Eddie Dingle, it syncs everything up with the master library, ratings and all.

A surprise for me has been how much I've enjoyed the Barenaked Ladies podcasts. They released a new album (or two) in September. While they were making it, they made podcasts. And they're fun. I've caught myself laughing out loud while listening. I'm gonna have to put the new BNL album(s) on the iPod for listening, since we have tickets for their Halifax show in January.

It's going to take a long, long, long time before everything's rated. It may never get completely finished, actually. But it's fun along the way.

Now, I'm a bit peeved at another of my toys: the Blackberry. I've gone for some years now with a Blackberry strapped to my hip, and not even a whisper of spam. But I got three or four spams on the weekend, and one at 4:43 this morning -- looks like some kind of pump 'n dump stock deal. I'm not even sure what I can do filter this crap out on my end.

Back to toys that work. I've been accomplishing a want-to-do that I've wanted to do for, like, five years or more. And that's transferring my old videotapes to digital. After failed experiments with USB digitizers and frustration with the ATI All-in-Wonder solution, I did some research and realized that the Hauppauge MPEG2 encoder cards in Little Eddie are the ideal solution for me. I run my old four-head Sharp VHS machine into a Datavideo TBC-1000 time base corrector to smooth out any timing errors and give fresh sync signals to the encoder card ... then run S-Video and stereo audio out, into the PVR-250. (The PVR-150, I've found, looks and sounds little crap in comparison.) The pack-in software, WinTV2000, is a little clunky but versatile, and lets me capture DVD-ready video to the hard drive. A quick trip across the BigAssSupernet to The Stallion (the more powerful PC in the house) makes it ready to edit, author and burn. So far, what I've been taping looks pretty good, and no dropped frames in any of the experimental burns I've seen. I'm learning a lot about digital video along the way. This weekend I began experimenting with an old video project from my university days, by splitting the audio from the video in an effort to remove some tape hiss and hum that's bothered me since the day the soundtrack was mixed in 1995.

The trick to getting all this done is finding the time to dump hours of VHS tape into the machine. Now that I'm going to the gym a lot, I can set the thing rolling, go get sweaty, and come back to find an hour or more of video encoded. Cool beans.

On a closing note ... best wishes to mom, who's going into hospital this week for an indefinite stay. The Bigass community (me, Amanda, and the few regular readers) are all thinking of you and wishing you comfort and good health. Love you! Love also to dad, who'll have his own challenges in an empty house! And continued good vibes go out to my sister, who's now about a month and a half away from birthing her first baby. Hell, good loving thoughts go out to everyone ... except those nasty spammers.

Follow-up (November 17): Looks like I'm not the only one to get a sudden burst of Blackberry spam. BBHub - The BlackBerry Weblog - wrote an article about the recent annoying emails, with several comments from users who've been getting them too.


  1. I just wanted to drop you a line as a general how do ya do. Im 4 days away from having my baby boy 9.5 lbs at last check! Hows Halifax treating ya? I could not find a link to yer email so i went thru here.

  2. email me back by the way...........


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the weirdness of time and how we feel it. As of today, my son Gordon has been without his mother longer than he was with her. The length of time Amanda has been gone is now longer than the length of time we were a family of three. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but that dangblasted calendar tells me it’s almost three years. I have not said a word about it to G, but tonight, for the first time in a long time, he pulled out the Missing Mummy book for bedtime. Today was my last day in broadcasting for a while, as far as I can tell. I spent the past five years as Program Director at Newstalk 1290 CJBK in London, Ontario. And in recent years, I was also the noon-hour show host, afternoon news anchor, a commercial voice guy, TV news promo voice guy, and more. Also in the past five years, I’ve bought a house, endured renovation

A request, as we reach two years

Wow, long time no write. I didn't enjoy this past winter. I was certainly in a long slump. Things were very challenging at work. Gordon was awesome, as always, but I was just in a sustained funk from last summer on. And I'm not sure I'm all the way out of it yet. I'm still largely in quiet hermit mode, but have been making progress at resuming social contact. Little dude and I have a very busy summer that will go by in a flash. This Thursday will mark two years since Amanda died. I still replay the events of that night in my head almost every day. I'd like to not. Sometimes it feels like forever ago, but sometimes I'm right there all over again. Hey, can I ask for your help with something? Two years ago, so many wonderful people told me that if there was anything they could do to help .... Well, I don't ask often. And I should've asked more. And I should ask more even now. I'm still not comfortable asking. But I'm asking for this. I put

Hard to believe it's been a year - but it has

One year ago today, we lost Amanda. Time plays tricks on all of us. We can think "that was so long ago" at the same time as "it feels like yesterday." I run into this all the time with Amanda's death. Yes, it feels like just yesterday, or last night, or later today, that Amanda collapsed in the kitchen and died after that long, brutal battle with ovarian cancer. But every day has ticked by at a pace like any other, and it's been a whole year of those days, with incremental and sometimes revolutionary change. As I move about our home, it's hard to fathom that she's been gone a whole year. Amanda's garden awakens, early Spring 2017. Many of the decorative items she carefully arranged throughout the house are in the exact same place as the last time she touched them. She had the vision, not me, so I've been reluctant to disturb her decisions on what looks good and works. In other places, I'm reminded that it's been at least