15.2.11. Dead SCSI Bits

Some time ago, there was a cool audio project hosted by Radiantslab called DeadSCSI. And there was also DeadSCSI 2. It all appears to be gone now, but there is at least some information available in the wayback machine. I contributed in both rounds as Eucci.

When Ergo Phizmiz recently tweeted a link to this page of failing hard drive sounds, it got me thinking about my bits of the DeadSCSI project that I had laying around on my studio drobo. I spent some of saturday doing some lightweight remastering. Early Eucci, where I abused the computer like I used to abuse tape, is pretty rough in its output quality. Levels are just all over the place. DC Offset lingers here and there. It's a mess. But there are some pretty spectrum graphs.

Last night I uploaded the tracks to my Rive collection on archive.org and cut a release as rive 058.

What is mildly interesting about this is that although all of the tracks were re-finalized on Saturday, I didn't upload them until last night. It was a process I was starting to put off, remembering that I needed to name the files properly, upload them, enter metadata, and make a web page on euc.cx. Not that big of a deal, really, but big enough to put off until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Last night, when I got home from work and after I had walked the dog (enjoying some unseasonal warmth before winter makes its fierce return later this week), I was thinking about what to do from that moment until dinner. I was starting to get ready to play the excellent Red Dead Redemption, but I knew I had to cut this release. Then I remembered something Merlin Mann said in the first or second episode of the Back To Work podcast. He basically said that it's easy to complain about needing time or certain circumstances in order to work on something, but that we don't complain about needing that time or certain circumstances to play video games, and we sure as hell can sit there and play a video game for an hour. It feels like a shame to have to be reminded of this ridiculousness, but it's something I apparently need to remember constantly. So instead of playing Red Dead for an hour, I spent the time preparing the release. It took a little bit longer than expected and the dog was getting impatient towards the end. But overall it was a nice use of that time.

There are many more releases to come, including some new material.


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13.2.11. To Laptop or Not To Laptop

PyCon 2011 is coming soon, and as it does, I find myself facing the question "do I bring my Macbook this year or not?"

My Macbook has spent most of the past couple of years serving as a vehicle for viewing DVDs, Hulu, or Netflix streaming from bed. It does get used occasionally as a home / travel development machine, but that use has declined significantly over the past year. I'm fortunate to be at the place in my life where I can leave work at work; but I also have been rather uninspired to do personal development work. Hence, the laptop is basically a DVD viewer.

And for DVDs, it's quite nice to watch TV series DVDs from bed. I only watch about 20-30 minutes a night before tiring out. It's a fun way to revisit personal favorites like HBO's The Wire and Deadwood. I'm currently watching Twin Peaks, seeing season 2 for the first time.

But for DVDs, it's also starting to become a liability, as I own more and more blu-ray. As soon as I decide to get a blu-ray player for upstairs (either a portable one or getting a second television), the laptop's uses will be near zero.

One potential use is for travel, at least for technical conferences. I brought the Macbook along to PyCon last year. I did the whole trip out of my day-to-day backpack, which accommodates the Macbook just fine. While at the airport and in flight, the extra weight and space did stand out, but that was only a fraction of the trip. I'm trying to remember now just how much I used it once there. I took far less notes on the device than I expected, and have done little with the notes I did take. They still sit in a folder on the Macbook's desktop.

I know I did some coding while there, but not much. I don't believe I made any major commits or pushes while at the conference. I wasn't involved in tutorials or sprints last year and won't be this year either, so there's little need to code while at the conference.

Finally, my co-worker had brought his laptop and while he did use it to maintain some situations back at the office, he told me he never used it on the conference floor. I think the most use we got out of our laptops was for watching movies on the plane. And hey, I've got an iPad for that.

So as this next tech conference comes up, I'm seriously considering leaving the laptop behind and just using good old pen and paper. Maybe my personal era of the laptop is officially over. Weird.


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