technology

A Quick 2017 Survey Of Rolling Linux Distributions
originally posted: 2017-03-14 02:14:20

tl;dr: I tried a bunch of rolling Linux distributions. Then I gave up. Then I won!

What I'm Using Right Now, And Why

When I switched from Windows to Linux in 2007, I had to choose which "distribution" to use. What's that mean? Well, Linux isn't like Windows or OS X—there isn't just "one" Linux you go and get. Technically Linux is just the kernel,...

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An Adventure In Buying Home Audio Speakers
originally posted: 2014-12-19 23:43:22

True story: up until five years ago all I ever had were cheap all-in-one stereos that came bundled with speakers. It was all I could afford. Oh, how I dreamed of owning an expensive "component stereo"! That's where you have a separate receiver, turntable, tape deck, eight track, and speakers—gosh, maybe even a subwoofer!

Finally in September 2009 I took the plunge and bought a component stereo. But by then you didn't need all those...

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The 2014 Lenovo X1 Carbon: Lenovo Giveth, And Lenovo Taketh Away
originally posted: 2014-06-19 16:57:13

If I could stand using trackpads I'd probably buy Apple laptops. Apple laptops have amazing build quality. And since they sell so many of them, an enormous ecosystem has emerged behind them—they get lots of neat peripherals, and you can get them fixed anywhere. Sadly I hate trackpads—my laptop mouse control of choice is the little rubber joystick mouse.

So I only buy Thinkpad laptops. Thinkpads also have excellent build quality, and tend to run Linux...

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Getting 7.1 HDMI Audio Working Under Ubuntu
originally posted: 2011-11-19 23:40:01

I run Ubuntu and XBMC on my home theater PC (hereafter HTPC). I connect my HTPC to my receiver and TV via HDMI. The HTPC is an nVidia ION 2 machine, so it's using nVidia's HDMI implementation. I also have a full 7.1 speaker system. But out-of-the-box, Ubuntu refused to recognize my full 7.1 system. All it would let me choose were stereo and 5.1 configurations.

After beating my head against this for a day or two I finally stumbled on the solution. The trick is...

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Vista: The World's First User-Hostile Operating System
originally posted: 2007-02-23 15:11:59

Engineers have been joking for years that a particular software package, far from being "user-friendly", is actively "user-hostile". But Vista is the first operating system that is deliberately user-hostile, and it is entirely by design. I don't ever, ever want to buy Vista or own a computer with Vista on it—and I've been a "Windows" guy for more than 15 years. (In fact, this is the straw that broke this camel's back—but that's a topic for another day.)

You...

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Spyro Soundtracks, Part 2
originally posted: 2006-11-30 04:37:16

Since my original posting, I've learned even more about the Spyro soundtracks. Specifically:

  • I've uncovered seven new Spyro 1 tracks.
  • I've found three new Spyro 2 tracks.
  • I've discovered three new tracks that I don't even know which game they came from, though I suspect they're from Spyro 3.
  • I've learned that we US citizens are lucky with regards to Spyro 3. (And Spyro 2 too, though less so.)
Read on, for a treatise in...

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The Spyro Soundtracks, And The Inscrutable XA Format
originally posted: 2006-07-23 07:42:31

Last decade, three fine games came out for the Sony Playstation: Spyro The Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro 3: Year Of The Dragon. They were all well-crafted, with excellent graphics (for the time), a captivating art style, plenty of professional voice acting (including Tom "Spongebob Squarepants" Kenny as Spyro in the second two), and hours of fun—and occasionally challenging—gameplay.

The soundtracks for these three fine games was created by...

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ReplayGain
originally posted: 2006-01-12 23:13:11

From the "good idea!" department.

If you listen to a lot of music, surely you've noticed that some of it is very quiet, and some of it is very loud. Classical music can be very soft, wheras modern pop hits are engineered in the studio to be as uniformly loud as possible (using a technique called "compressing" the signal).

That's all well and good, but what if you've got both queued up in your MP3 player and you listen to both tracks in a row? If the volume is loud enough for the...

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FLAC
originally posted: 2006-01-12 10:14:11

I have a lot of music. I genuinely don't know how many CDs I own; it's been a long time since I invested the time to count them. I'm sure it's over 2000, and it may be as many as 2500 or even 3000.

Over the years, I've ripped most of it to MP3s. I've used various quality levels over the years, and re-encoded my archive a couple of times. Most recently, starting on New Years's Day 2001, I started over using 256kbps-average VBR "quality zero" joint stereo. These music...

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