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The Rovers still rove August 28, 2007

Posted by truthspew in All Things Considered, iTunes, last.lfm, Mars, music, NASA, npr, Opportunity, robotics, rovers, Spirit, Steve Squyres.
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Some good news from NASA regarding the Mars Rovers.

I still find it amazing that those rovers were only supposed to be on the surface of Mars for 90 sols (Martian Days). They’ve now been up for 1,271 sols, or 14.1 times longer than they were supposed to be active.

Those rovers are a testament to engineering at its very best. It is nice to see that it still exists somewhere in the U.S. and NASA still pulls it off.

What I can’t imagine is the excess data being sent by the rovers. They had their hands full with 90 sols of info, now they’ve got much more than that. While the Viking landers may have found life, the rovers Opportunity and Spirit may help us get a much more focused picture of what that life on Mars actually happens to be.

So kudos to NASA and Steve Squyres on the re-starting of the rovers. For a while there I thought all was lost but it isn’t.

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Now playing: Jack Johnson – Better Together
via FoxyTunes

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The Fruits of My Labor August 5, 2007

Posted by truthspew in age project, gardening, iTunes, La Famiglia, Marijuana, Neighbors, Rhode Island Fire Code.
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So today was a momentous occasion. It was the first day I got to taste one of the larger tomatoes and the zucchini. It was a salad with some vinaigrette.

I’ve longed to taste real tomatoes again. I’ve been tantalizing myself with the little cherry tomatoes I grew. Just pop in your mouth and eat. But get this, the large tomatoes taste phenomenal. My total investment was about $10. Oh I tended them when they were sprouts, transplanted them a couple times, sprayed on fertilizer etc. and watered them daily once they got big enough. And the effort expended was definitely worthwhile.

I’ve been taking pictures of the 2007 Plantings as I call them and posting them online.

It’s a real treat. The other night my father was here with his wife Nancy and my aunt Carol. We were talking about gardening and apparently the green thumb skipped my fathers generation. My grandfather was a master gardener, could grow pretty much anything. I got the thumb from him. I can take the seeds from a watermelon and make the things grow, same with pits from cherries, peaches, etc.

The first thing I noticed is that my father doesn’t look like he’s nearly 65 years old. This bodes very well for me, since I don’t look like I’m in my 40’s either, but I am. My average on the Age Project is 33 years old, and if I colored the hair and shaved off the beard I’d probably rate at a lower age. Even my MD was taken aback on our first visit when I told him how old I was. I can’t help it, I come from a family with very youthful looks on BOTH sides of my family.

And I did note that my FoxyTunes extension in Firefox can now insert what I’ m currently listening to, sweet! In case you’re wondering, FoxyTunes lets me control iTunes from my web browser.

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Now playing: Kenny Lattimore – I Won’t Let You Down
via FoxyTunes

My Top 25 from Itunes July 18, 2007

Posted by truthspew in Bill O'Reilly, iTunes, Marijuana, music.
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Polt turned me on to this so I decided to paste mine up here:

Rank Name Artist Album

  • 1. Far Beyond – Sunburst Band – Beats and Pieces, Vol. 3 (Music for the More Discerning Dancefloor)
  • 2. Fantastic Voyage – Lakeside – Fantastic Voyage
  • 3. Mercy Mercy Mercy – Philip Bailey – Soul On Jazz
  • 4. Brother Man – The Brothers Johnson – Right On Time
  • 5. Spellbound and Speechless (Edit) – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 6. Dubfunk – Shur-I-Kan – Advance
  • 7. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing (Remix) – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 8. Everyday – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 9. Your Love Is On the One – Lakeside – Fantastic Voyage
  • 10. Still a Friend of Mine – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 11. “Love Come Down (12″” Version)” – “Evelyn “”Champagne”” King” – Dance Vault Remixes
  • 12 Colibri – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 13. Change (Bluey’s Remix) – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 14. You Keep Me Comin’ Back – The Brothers Johnson – The Brothers Johnson: Greatest Hits
  • 15. Funk It (Funkadelala) – The Brothers Johnson – The Brothers Johnson: Greatest Hits
  • 16. Ride-O-Rocket – The Brothers Johnson – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium
    Collection: The Best of the Brothers Johnson
  • 17. Deep Waters – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 18. Unpredictable (Dirty) – Jamie Foxx – Unpredictable
  • 19. Keep On Doin’ It – Aurra – Aurra: Anthology (Volumes I & II)
  • 20. Another Man – Barbara Mason – Barbara Mason: The Greatest Hits (Expanded Edition)
  • 21. Across 110th Street – Bobby Womack – Midnight Mover – The Bobby Womack Story
  • 22. Brazilian Love Affair – George Duke – A Brazilian Love Affair
  • 23. Yesterday’s Dream – Incognito – Best of Incognito (Remastered)
  • 24. Say Yes – Lakeside – Fantastic Voyage
  • 25. Freedom – Zapp – Zapp
  • When I look at it, the only recent artists in there are Sunburst Band, Philip Bailey (Still part of EW&F I might add.), Incognito, Shur-I-Kan, and Jamie Foxx.

    Another treat is Barbara Mason singing “Another Man”. This was a tune from the late 70’s or early 80’s that details her having been left, for another man. Interesting song.

    And some of those tracks, like those of the Brothers Johnson? I actually have the vinyl. Yes I’m a dinosaur. Actually Ride-O-Rocket is pretty damned funky. Take a listen for yourself and visit my profile on last.fm.

    A good Anti-DRM Rant March 20, 2007

    Posted by truthspew in DRM, iTunes, Marijuana.
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    This guy is definitely pissed about Digital Rights Management (DRM). He should be, this whole concept of licenses only allowing music to be played on specific devices/programs is ridiculous.

    I read it out loud and even Keyron was even pissed about it. You see he got bit by the Sony rootkit a few years back. And it took me a good amount of time to clean that crap off his computer.

    But I’ve reluctantly agreed to DRM since I’ve bought a ton of tune from the iTunes store. Oh sure, there’s a kludge to get the tracks into MP3 format. Burn them to CD and rip the CD. And there’s software that does it so you don’t have to waste the 50 cents on the CD.

    The music and video industry need a wakeup call. Granted, they learned this bullshit from computer software vendors. Have you ever actually read your license agreement for Windows? It’s filled with legalese that essentially says that you are using the software that you paid for under the good graces of the vendor, and should the vendor wish to arbitrarily disable your license, they have every right to do so.

    I realized they’re trying to protect an investment, but there has to be a better way. Maybe the first step is charging a more reasonable price per track. A track is ‘only 99 cents, but then I look in my iTunes library and see that in the last 6 months I’ve spent $200 on music. That’s $33 a month! I know a proposal had been floated around that would have charged broadband subscribers an extra $5 a month but they could legally download all the music they wanted. I would have gone for that.

    Put it this way, average CD has what, 12 tracks on it? And they charge what, $12-$17 for the CD now? About a buck a track on average. But think about the overhead involved. They need the raw materials for the CD and it’s casing and labeling. They need the energy to press the CD’s, and they need to pay the people to produce the discs.

    But with digital, it’s recorded, mastered, and then flipped online and they start ringing up a buck a track. Except the overhead doesn’t support a buck a track, maybe 25 cents a track would be more like it.

    We get fucked no matter what we do. It’s time to break the power of big corporations. They never deserved the rights they claim anyhow, it was just some asshole clerk in the 1800’s who inserted language asserting that corporations were the same as people when it came to the Constitution. We all know that’s false, don’t we?

    Some things I'd like to recommend February 3, 2007

    Posted by truthspew in iPod, iTunes, Marijuana, RSS, Zune.
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    First is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. I got introduced to RSS about three years ago. For you IE users, there’s an aggregator called Pluck and for those using Firefox there are a plethora of aggregators, but my favorite is Sage because of it’s simplicity and power.

    By now you’re asking, why the hell would you want an aggregator? First you have to answer a simple question, do you look at a lot of blogs and news sites every day? If you answered yes, then aggregation is for you.

    For example – every blog on blogspot.com has an RSS feed built into it. For example, the feed for my blog is http://truthspew.blogspot.com/atom.xml – you may have noticed I appended atom.xml to the end of my blog URL. Just place a bookmark to your favorite blogs to the Sage Feeds folder in your Firefox bookmarks. Sorry IE users, been quite a while since I used it or Pluck so just follow the documentation though if I recall correctly it’s pretty easy.

    Some of the other goodies in my feeds are to all my friends blogs, how my congressmen voted, digg feeds for tech, science and videos, fark.com, among many others. It’s one place I can go and when a feed is bolded under Sage it means there’s new items to read. Clicking on the title gives you a listing of the article titles and a first paragraph preview. You can then click the article and read the entire thing.

    That’s my brief take on RSS.

    Next up are podcasts. I know I’ve mentioned Mr. Deity here before and that’s one of the podcasts I listen to in iTunes. Others are most NPR programs (Science, Environment, law, etc.)and even language lessons (like learnitalianpod.com). And if you have an iPod you can sync the podcasts to it. Right now I have approximately one gig of podcasts. The other benefit of iTunes is the shared libraries – no you don’t download the tunes per se (Unless of course you’ve figured out myTunes Redux) you just connect to another persons library on your local network and can listen to their music.

    As far as players, all I can say is that I’ve had the chance to play with an iPod and a Zune and I do not like the Zune for multiple reasons, first of which is Microsoft caving to the RIAA and crippling the unit with horrible DRM, second it feels cheap in my hand. The interface of the Zune is pretty easy to use though so that may be its saving grace now that they’re popping up in clearance bins for

    A discovery December 23, 2006

    Posted by truthspew in iTunes, music.
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    So I’ve been keying everyone I like into TuneGlue and then expanding selections. I stumbled upon Leon Ware, very interesting stuff. I like that he lists his religion as sensualism which in essence feeds into hedonism, something I heartily endorse.

    Why the hell not enjoy life? Once you discover that it’s mostly absurd it becomes much easier. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and the world laughs at you.

    Other new oldies I picked up include Patrice Rushen’s jazzier works. She’s a very talented musician. You might remember her best for “Forget Me Nots” but her body of work is expansive. Same with Philip Bailey, he has a nice solo career doing some jazz work and I particularly like the track “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”. I also snagged The Gibson Brothers “Cuba” and Eric Sermon’s “Music”.

    It’s funny – my last.fm recommendations are getting more and more interesting. Why? because I also like Dave Matthews Band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, 10,000 Maniacs, etc. So it tends to bring some stuff I like and some stuff I don’t like into my recommendations.

    For example, my banned list includes Overise, Cake, Daft Punk, Chingy and E.S.G.
    I think with Chingy its the damned ridiculous name.

    my-tuneglue-map December 17, 2006

    Posted by truthspew in iTunes, last.lfm, music.
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    .flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }.flickr-yourcomment { }.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }


    my-tuneglue-map, originally uploaded by kd1s.

    So I happened upon this little online experimental site called TuneGlue. Key in an artist then click on the record and select the Expand option.

    What you see in this image (1280×800 – sorry but it just had to be widescreen) is just my lower left quadrant based upon a search on “Change”.

    So now you know how last.fm’s ‘tune by artist’ works. It connects relationships between artists. Oh and if you download and install iTunes and last.fm it’ll scrobble the tracks you play in your iTunes library. In essence, it looks and sees what might be related to what is in your library which explains how David Bowie ended up in my suggestions.