2012 — 21 May: Monday

The fact that "No rain is expected" is, it seems, worthy of a surprised tone of voice. In similarly exciting news1 "things" are a whole lot tidier around here than they were 24 hours ago. I mean, you only Spring clean once, right?

Tea, Mrs Landingham. Now! (It's 07:42.)

I love the idea, but...

... somehow, I still prefer the printed page:

It actually took about six years for Recorded Books to catch on. At first, people thought that audiobooks were for the blind (indeed, the first audiobooks, on wax cylinders, were an initiative of the American Institute for the Blind in the nineteen-thirties; Helen Keller first opposed them — not on the grounds that they would compete with Braille but because she thought them an extravagance in a period of deep depression — but eventually supported the effort, lobbying successfully with President Roosevelt to create the Library of Congress Talking Book Program for the Blind). Commercial audiobooks started to take off in the early eighties, when suburbanites discovered that they were an ideal way to mitigate the horrors of long car commutes.

John Colapinto in New Yorker

That said, I do like the concept.

The Princess and...

... her troublesome pea have nothing on me. Despite having identical make-and-model Sony Freeview digital TV/radio boxes2 upstairs and downstairs, while I was flitting around yesterday I couldn't help noticing a slight audio timing discrepancy between the two systems. It turns out the Sony minidisc recorder I was using upstairs (in 'record' mode) to decode the digital feed and the Audiolab digital pre-amp I use downstairs take slightly different times to do their bit-handling thing.

However, letting the upstairs Sony box do the decoding (rather than the Sony minidisc recorder) seems to do the trick. Go figure.

Almost time for a spot of lunch, methinks. Next task is to dust off the electrostatic headphones, and hook the tiny Sure electronics Class D amp up to BlackBeast once again.

I know perfectly well...

... that books do a lot more than simply "furnish a room" but I'm starting to think that a case could be made for perhaps, occasionally, jettisoning a few from time to time. Since one of the (several) things I stopped doing after Christa's death was worry about keeping the relevant data base up to date, I now no longer know exactly how many of the things I have — though I know the hard way that just clearing the floor and the floor-standing bookcases throughout some of the house filled 178 storage cartons3 and did my lower back little or no good.

I was a bibliophile long before I knew what it meant. How about a cuppa, Mrs Landingham?

As I prepare...

... my evening meal (prawn mango masala, pilau rice, and aloo gobi saag) I can bask in the happy (re)discovery of two, perfectly fine, 500GB SATA drives, though (sadly) the external case that could accommodate them and provide an eSATA connection is, erm, knackered. I have a sneaking suspicion it's the case that I'd put the 1.5TB drive in a month or so before I dropped my atomic clock on it, which rendered it completely useless. The other possible case originally held a couple of such drives for use with the iMac, and sports a FireWire connection. It was horribly noisy, however, so I won't be pressing it back into service.


Somehow, I'd forgotten just how good my electrostatic headphones are. Mind you, I've had to disable the Creative X-Fi soundcard and use the RealTek hi-def audio "device" already on the motherboard. Haven't quite got to the bottom of that, yet. I see no compelling reason why the X-Fi can't be persuaded to output SP/DIF optical and analogue audio at the same time. After all, even a primitive iMac can do that :-)

Turns out to be easy enough to flip between analogue out and SP/DIF out on the X-Fi, but it's still apparently an "either/or". No biggie.



1  No need for sarcasm, surely?
2  Precisely to avoid audio processing synchronisation problems (and get the same number of time pips).
3  The capacity of one entire floor-to-ceiling room at the self-store warehouse just down the road.