Sunday, December 2, 2012

Switching To FLAC (It's Only Rock n Roll)

A while back I bought a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive to replace a 250GB Hitachi that was losing sectors - it had already used up the 5 "spare" sectors, and any more failure was going to result in losing data. The disk was quite old, the SMART data showed that it had been powered up and running for over five years.  I think I'd owned it for longer than that - maybe ten years - the equivalent of over a hundred in "hard drive" years.  I'd used it on my last two PCs (I was actually surprised I'd been smart enough to buy a drive with an SATA and an IDE interface way back then!)

 I'd been watching the old drive fail for a while and was planning on replacing it with a new drive, but I had not been looking at such a monster. We were in the local Fry's one night a while back, buying a wireless router for my daughter and I asked the nice sales guy that was helping us what they had in the way of Western Digital drives. The WD 2TB SATA III drive (WDC WD 2002FAEX to be exact) was on sale for 130 bucks.  Well, I'd already read reviews that stated that this drive represented the state of the art in spinning hard drives, and the price made it too good a deal to resist so I went home with a damn big new drive.  It's been installed and running for 40.4 days (according to the SMART data) and I can heartily recommend this monster if you happen to be in the market.  Solid state drives will eventually be the way to go, but right now, these are too expensive to use as big data drives. (I would like to get one as a system drive.)

I suddenly went from having about twenty gigs of free space (only maintained by diligent scrubbing of  garbage files in cache and downloads out of my home directory) to over 1.3 TB of free space.


I conducted some listening tests this morning comparing CDs to MP3s (with a constant bit rate of 256) to FLACs using the Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (a magnificent album), an older Soundblaster sound card with a nice amp, and my trusty Grado headphones.  Did I notice a difference? Well, yes, I did, which was somewhat surprising to be honest.  So I decided I would have to re-do my music library from MP3 to FLAC.

Now I'm sitting at my PC, feeding it all our CDs to re-rip them in FLAC format. It took a while to figure out how to reconfigure Grip, and this blog post got me over  the last hump - Clemetine would not add the FLAC music to it's database due to missing Vorbis metadata.

Thank you, gnuru!

My wife has been watching this frenzy and thinks I'm nuts (she's probably right), and I'm starting to wonder just how many formats I used over the years with some of this music - vinyl, cassette, reel to reel, CD, SACD, MP3, and now FLAC. {I'm proud to say I never succumbed to 8 track tape.) I don't own the cassette player or the reel to reel anymore, but my record player and CD player are currently attached to a dead stereo amp -  a subject for another blog post - for now, let's just say that keeping a fifty year old tube amp running requires more than your occasional dusting. (Bugger!)

And I'm pretty sure I'll be switching my music collection to another super duper format before I'm all done. I suspect it will this new thing called vinyl or maybe a straight shot to FLAC.

But no matter how it's formatted, it's only rock n roll, and I like it...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wet, But Winter Awaits...

The weather here has been WET.  But that's fairly normal for this time of year on the PNW.  Bummer that it's cut into my bike commuting - I only got two days of riding in last week, yet I have not altered my caloric intake accordingly - I didn't stick to the salads, I'm gaining weight).

Hopefully, I'll get more skiing in this year with a pretty good season's pass deal for Steven's Pass.  Gotta burn the thighs, and the calories! And it's just one more chance to impress the twenty year old kids out there on the slopes with my retro (actually all original) eighties ski duds.

Hey, maybe I'll finally buy shape skis this year!  For those of you also planning on hitting the slopes, signing up for Larry's Powder Alert is a must:

Happy skiing!

And as a special treat - my lovely wife, kicking it old school:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Humpy Rabbit Socks

Cold weather riding home, but I'm warm in my comfy humpy rabbit socks.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post Coital T-Day Bliss - Back To The GRIND

So it was nice getting a couple of days off where, quite frankly, not too damn much got done.  I've still got wood to chop and house remodeling to finish.  Dorris is feeling a little crummy so I've been keeping the wood stove going and the house nice and warm.

Now, I'm getting ready for my Monday morning wake-up at 3:40 AM.  The weather's supposed to be good so I'm taking the commuter bike.  It's a 7:31 sunrise so I think I'll just take the van pool to work and ride home.  It's only a 4:22 sunset so I cannot stay too late either. (Riding home the the dark sucks - riding to work in the dark sucks too.)

I've been looking at my commuter bike - a bike I've owned for over thirty years and raced on in college.  It's over due for a little love and cleaning - I'll see if I can get that done this week.  Here it is back when it was my everyday ride and I'm coming back down Hurricane Ridge with Cliff (I'm on the left).

Man, I gotta lose some weight.  I think I can ride two or three days this week, and salads for dinner.

I'm using my new keyboard more (note the sudden interest in doing blog entries) and I'm loving it the more I use it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

From The Phone

So this is an attempt to add a blog post from my smart phone using Blogger. So far, so good. Let's see if I can put in a picture of my phone:
I ended up doing more editing from the PC because I could not figure out how to add more text after the photo, put in links and so on, but you can see that I've also upgraded my keyboard to a Rosewill RK-9100BR. Sweet! Now I can really hack away in the dark instead of just figuratively hacking away in the dark!

More posts on both on how I hacked my phone and the nice new keyboard are coming...