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The Syndicate

 Early Christmas   
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Saturday, December 10 2005 @ 06:59 AM PST
 Viewed:  1572 times  
LifeOkay, I'm wildly overtired right now, so I'm not going to be able to give this subject matter its due attention.

Just saying.

So, Christmas came early this year. My company has received a round of funding, and, without going into specifics, instead of my monthly budget netting around -100, it'll be netting an actual positive number. Furthermore, we took a pay cut months and months ago, and we got the difference in a lump sum via direct deposit, so we already had the money by the time they told us about it.

This leads me, inevitably, to the discussion of what kind of fun toys I bought, since I'm such a fucking consumer that I make myself sick.

Right then.

After I paid off car insurance and sent a fat check to AMEX to shut them up, my first order of business was to get myself the coolest damn MP3 player there is. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive, but hey, what the hell, right? Since Apple's prices are pretty much locked across the board on new products, I ended up going to Best Buy (because it's close, not because it's a particularly good place to buy things.) When I left, I had a damn fine looking black 60GB video iPod, along with a case and a charger/fm transmitter for the car.

I had always been skeptical of the iPod craze, with people talking rabidly about how it changed their life, and blah blah blah. I've had it for a couple weeks now, and to a certain extent, I understand what they were talking about, but at the same time, it's a very time consuming habit, at least initially.

For example, I was perfectly happy with using WinAMP and m3u playlists and such on my various computers, and I had taken the time early on to organize my mp3 collection into folders by artist. The thing is, when I put all that stuff into iTunes, I realized that more than half of it wasn't set up properly in terms of meta-data. On the one hand, this didn't prevent me from doing anything I had already been doing, but it kept me from being able to effectively use a whole bunch of features that I immediately wanted to use, like searching by genre.

In that respect, iTunes has become a blessing and a curse for me, because it fulfills a fantasy I've had about being able to operate entirely at the meta-data level without worrying about the filesystem, but it also means that I've had to spend a shitload of time re-tagging everything and making hard decisions to do so. Is a "Porcelain" by Moby "Ambient", "House", "Techno" or "Electronica"? Is "Rock On" by David Essex "Pop", "New Wave", "Classic Rock" or "80s" (even though it's from 1973)? Now, the ideal of course would be to be able to apply multiple genre attributes, etc., but that would also mean a hell of a lot more data entry, about 10 hours of which I've already done - and I'm up to "L".

I've also, god help me, started subscribing to podcasts, including a few video podcasts. So far there are only five that I listen to with any degree of regularity (as opposed to the 14 that I'm subscribed to), two of which are once a week-ish video podcasts. Unlike listening to music, I can't really listen to podcasts while I'm working because they take most of my attention, and my Jeep is too damn loud on the highway for them, because my transmitter isn't ideal.

Meanwhile, there's a bug in (5th Gen. iPods|iTunes|Windows2000) (depending on who you ask) that makes charging the thing difficult, and may actually cause me to upgrade to XP now that it's nearly mature enough for me to bother with.

All that being said, the gist is that I would've like to have spent a little less on it, but I'm happy overall - which, I suppose is exactly the feeling that Apple's business-minded folk would want me to have, so bully for them. I will say that, behaviorally speaking, I have noticed that I'm listening to a wider range of music than I normally would be, which is a good thing.

Anyway, if that wasn't enough, one of the guys at work found a monitor for sale up in Lawrence that he was excited about, and, long story short, three of us went up there and bought five monitors from an off-lease liquidator. The one that I bought was one of the four 24" Sony/HP Trinitron widescreen CRTs that we hauled out of that place (the fifth was an Apple 20" LCD, if you're curious). It supports a maximum resolution of 2304x1440, and a recommended resolution of 1920x1200, has the flattest screen I've ever seen in a CRT, and weighs in at a hefty 93 pounds. It originally retailed for about $2500, and I think we got ours for $220 or so. Yeah, it's old enough that the built-in USB hub is USB 1.1, but they all look great, and even taking into account depreciation, we got ours for more than half off.

There is always a problem though - I have to move a lot of crap around to be able to get this thing on my desk, and I'm not sure if my keyboard will fit. My desk, and my bedroom for that matter, are so small that I may need to move most of the furniture in here in order to get comfortably situated with this behemoth.

The crosses we bear, y'know?

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