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Everything and Nothing / Re: good old vinyl... yet another article...
« on: December 12, 2009, 06:52:14 AM »
I lost almost all my vinyl during Hurricane Katrina, but I will admit to purchasing a vinyl album per month over the last couple of years.

Recently there was an annual vinyl record convention in town for a weekend.   The place reeked of mildew and older men like me.  I was able to replace a lost record or two.


Squeezebox is the framework of my home music server.

I have an energy efficient Atom-based desktop in a closet upstairs, hardwired by Ethernet to my home network via my router.   Connected to it is a single "green" 2TB external hard drive with about 1.8 TB of FLAC and MP3 files (72,000+).  The Squeezebox software is installed which indexes and streams the music.   Squeezebox will also serve up any internet radio stream including Live365, Pandora,, BBC, NPR, etc.

On the player side of things, I have a Boom by my bed, a Radio by the guest bed, a Duet in the living room attached to the main stereo, and another Boom in my office.  Each player is connected to my home wi-fi network and each has a remote control (even the Radio can be controlled by the Duet remote control).  In fact the entire system can be controlled from the Duet's remote control from anywhere in the house.  I have mentioned before that a home music server has revolutionized the experience of music for me, releasing me from having to change CDs, and allowing me to have music on at all times.  This last aspect is hard to appreciate until it happens: it's incredible.

Squeezebox is just about to release the Touch which will have a bright touchscreen and a higher fidelity chip, likely it will replace the Duet's receiver.

Each Squeezebox player can play something different or you can sync them up.  You can also control the whole shebang from any computer that connects to your home wireless or wired network.

Sonos has a similar system that is very sleek and a bit easier to set up but it's about twice as expensive and limited to 65,000 files unless you install Windows Home Server.   If you like the Mac aesthetic, you will like Sonos.

Other major players are getting into the home music server game, but Squeezebox and Sonos are more developed at this point.

The other options are mentioned at the end of this article.

I hope you guys have a musical and wonderful holiday.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Roomful of vinyl reduced to a hard drive
« on: November 29, 2009, 07:11:41 AM »
I have multiple redundant backups:

2 other external hard drives
DVD-R backups
backups on my main computer hard drives
backups on external hard drives on my main computer
...and I have the original CDs.

However, I do need to move some of these backups offsite in case of fire, tornado, or nuclear apocalypse.

Everything and Nothing / Re: What's the verdict on Thanksgiving?
« on: November 26, 2009, 07:31:28 AM »
The verdict from me is as follows:

1.  Have a nice vegetarian meal
2.  Enjoy the splendid Austin fall weather
3.  Post my pictures from a recent trip to Big Bend National Park
4.  Listen to some ambient music
5.  Watch a few episodes of Lost, Season 4, on DVD
6.  Exercise at the gym - if it's open

I don't have any family nearby and friends doing their own thing, I guess.

Black Friday:  well, I'll enjoy it online, but I doubt any substantial purchases.  I'm trying to think of handmade items, gourmet fruit, or just CDs this year for that upcoming gifting holiday.

On now: a northern holiday - low light mix (found on this site)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Sigur Ros' first CD
« on: November 26, 2009, 07:21:47 AM »
I've been listening to "Von" and I'm really enjoying it.

I give thanks to Sigur Ros.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Selling my CD collection
« on: November 23, 2009, 04:51:44 AM »
As a service to my fellow forum member, I placed his CD for-sale list on my site.

Blackinfinity, if you want me to take it down, let me know.

Everything and Nothing / Roomful of vinyl reduced to a hard drive
« on: November 22, 2009, 11:44:04 AM »
I moved into my first home in 1998. 

I had a huge vinyl record collection which I had collected from 1976 onwards, consisting of approximately 15,000 units.

Unfortunately the room that held my vinyl records was inundated by flood water from Katrina in 2005.  I was heartbroken (although I did get a huge tax write-off for uninsured losses).  Also when I moved to my current home, I didn't have to move and store the roomful of vinyl (a huge heavy task)

Over the past year I have been ripping and downloading music files for my music server.

By my estimates, I now have 2-3 times as much music as I had in the roomful of vinyl on a single 2 terrabyte external USB drive.

Somehow in 1998, I never thought that the roomful of vinyl could be reduced to the size of a book.  This makes backup possible and future loss much less likely.  Also, moving this amount of music is effortless.

Technology is still surprising to me.

Computers, Internet and Technology / Re: Web browsers -- what do you think?
« on: November 21, 2009, 12:14:01 PM »
I have both browsers and, no, although I notice a difference, it's not too significant FOR ME.  I guess I'm not too impatient?

One or two seconds here and there doesn't mean a lot to me, but that's a personal valuation.

I checked on both browsers and Firefox was actually a little faster on my page. opened faster on Chrome.

I'd just prefer to have the ability to add functionality as desired or needed.

Have a good day.

Computers, Internet and Technology / Re: Web browsers -- what do you think?
« on: November 21, 2009, 08:29:50 AM »
I like the extra functionality available from the hundreds of Firefox extensions.

In my opinion, if you have a good internet connection and a reasonably contemporary processor, the difference in speed will not be terribly noticeable.

And if you value the ability to add functionality to the browser, module by module, FF is the best.

I use the following extensions:

Google toolbar
Delicious bookmarks (web-based bookmark storage)
DownThemAll! (download all the links on a page)
LastPass (web-based password manager - I couldn't do without a password manager
Better Gmail 2 (adds features to Google mail)


np: 40 songs by Celer

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: CDR prices too high
« on: November 19, 2009, 04:15:18 AM »

...don't get me started on this thread ;)

I'm still ripping music into my Squeezebox music server.  I currently have over 67,000 files on the server.  My experience with a few CD-Rs has been bad, but also a few pressed CDs have not held up to the test of time.  The CD-Rs that were bad were mainly from one artist/label.  So in terms of durability, I don't see a big difference between pressed CDs and CD-Rs.

I also download FLAC files and lately due to space limitations for storage of physical media, I am increasingly in favor of downloaded files.  Naturally they need to be redundantly backed up.  I store them on the music server's hard drive, my main computer's hard drive, and I burn them to DVD-R.

Based on my experiences over the last couple of years as I assemble and use my music server (which in my opinion is the best way to listen to music in the 21st century), the transport medium for music is not important.

Everything and Nothing / Re: The Prisoner - remake
« on: November 19, 2009, 03:56:46 AM »
The original series is now available on Blu-Ray.

Everything and Nothing / Re: VISTA
« on: October 25, 2009, 06:47:47 AM »
It's on a need-to-upgrade basis only.

My current XP system is running very smoothly on a quad-core processor that's a year old.

So far I haven't had any needs to move to Vista or Windows 7, either the 32-bit or 64-bit flavors.

However, I am intrigued by Windows 7 64-bit and its ability to handle lots of RAM.  I can see where in the future if I edit huge photos or do video editing, running a 64-bit application might have an advantage.   Some of you may need this for music editing?

I have a good old scanner and printer.  I'm sure I would have some difficulties with them if I moved to Windows 7.

Right now, for me, Windows 7 would be eyecandy with a rotten center.  I'll let it mature a bit and buy a new PC in 2010 with it to try it out.  Perhaps I will get a netbook for travel, and it may have Win 7.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Sad News
« on: October 20, 2009, 04:00:30 AM »
I count myself as fortunate for knowing Jim through this forum and his music.

Via the latter, Jim & Rigel Orionis will live on.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Get Well for Jim Brenholts
« on: September 26, 2009, 03:28:26 PM »
Great news, Jim.  Glad you made it back from the Land of Code Blue.

Everyone step up to the bar.  I'll pay for a round of Crestor and aspirin.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« on: September 26, 2009, 03:21:10 PM »
I'm a big fan of Sylvian AND Manafon.

It's Sylvian crooning over almost classical instrumentation with found sounds in a jazzy context (if that makes sense).

I like his ambient stuff too.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Get Well for Jim Brenholts
« on: September 25, 2009, 03:39:22 AM »
Jim, you are in my thoughts.

Get well soon.

Everything and Nothing / The Public Option
« on: September 07, 2009, 05:39:14 AM »

As a physician practicing public health for the last 22 years, I have seen countless folks who have lost their lives or health, and prosperity due to

1.  pre-existing illness
2.  losing their job
3.  inadequate coverage via their insurance
4.  and, of course, not being able to afford insurance.

A government-managed option like Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans Administration benefits is very, very important in the new healthcare plan.

Please don't let the proponents of scare tactics and misinformation win this one and deprive Americans of a government option for insurance.

Remember the insurance and pharmaceutical industry are heavily funding the hatchet job on the public option.  The reason is, of course, money.

There are no death panels, no threats to existing programs, no loss of choice of physician, and no rationing of healthcare.

Sign the petition and consider a contribution to the effort.  As you know, I never, ever send out solicitation emails, but I feel like this is a critical time for a crucial issue with which I am all too familiar.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Please consider asking your friends to sign the petition also.

Happy Labor Day.

Jim Zachary MD

Another alternative is to use a docking station for SATA hard drives.

You can find the exact SATA hard drive that you prefer and can afford.

Fill it up via the docking station and then insert another one, just like a cartridge.

I have one by Masscool from NewEgg but there are many others.

In case you need a quick fix mp3 or lossless download:

Everything and Nothing / Re: Kombucha tea
« on: August 15, 2009, 08:47:09 AM »
The kombucha tea has been around for a long time.

In the early 90s it was supposed to help with HIV infection.

Sadly, the devotees of the tea have now gone on to a better place.

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