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Audio snobbery [Dec. 27th, 2007|05:00 pm]
I was pleasantly surprised to find a good article in Rolling Stone about how the sound quality of recent album releases. In short, the dynamics (loud sounds vs quiet sounds) are compressed so that everything sounds loud. This is done so that the music stands out even when listening on the crappiest of laptop speakers. The problem is, even on modest MP3 player headphones, this sucks the life out of the music, gives you a headache, and leads to the downfall of civilization. (... but I'm not bitter.)

For the short story, check out this very well done YouTube clip.
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(no subject) [Sep. 19th, 2007|07:51 am]
For those of you on the edges of your seats... I made my flight connection. I'm home.
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(no subject) [Aug. 9th, 2007|05:31 pm]
I rode the maglev from the airport in to Pudong. Totally cool. Too short a trip though. But hey, it's a muthafuckin maglev!

I had a chance to walk around Shanghai a bit on Wednesday. Yup, it's polluted. However, visibility isn't as bad as some photos would have you believe. Given the humidity (~90%) I would expect more haze. That's where the good news ends though. The entire city reminds me of New York's Chinatown on a really hot day. Restaurants are draining who-knows-what in to the streets. There is always some sort of odor. It changes as you go, but it is always something unnatural. The sidewalks and streets are all covered in a thick layer of soot and gunk (hmm, Firefox isn't flagging "gunk" as misspelled). After a day of walking around, I was covered in said gunk. I have not seen any R.O.U.S.s, but I do believe that they exist.

Audience: how polluted is it?

Well, this article is about Beijing, not Shanghai, but I'm guessing that the statistics are similar:

The traffic is like a smooth, well choreographed disregard for all rules. It's like a bowl of noodles. It's like a giant game of chicken without the machismo. It's agonizingly slow when there is no backup (imagine going 45mph on the I-5 when there are no cars around) and it's amazingly fast when there is a ton of traffic. Lane blocked? Go ahead and lane split, drive on the sidewalk, run the red light, drive in opposing traffic, and turn left in front of five lanes of oncoming cars. Also be careful of the scooters which are managing to break even more rules. Never mind the pedestrians, cars have the right of way. Of course, all of the sidewalks are blocked with crap, so the pedestrians are walking in the street.

Apparently, I don't exactly blend. I'm quite popular with beggars, pimps, and prostitutes. Other people are wearing T-shirts with English. Other people are wearing shorts and sneakers. Other people have backpacks. Perhaps I just look rich and horny.

I've had two meetings so far. The dude who has arranged my trip introduces me at the start of each meeting. He does so in Mandarin but I think I can make out something like, "Please forgive me for introducing you to this dishonorable son who has disgraced his parents by not learning Chinese."

Last night, after our meetings we treated to a big ol' Chinese banquet. I counted no less than 16 courses. Urp. I tasted jellyfish. It's crunchier than you would expect. I didn't like it, but I didn't gag.

Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. I've been showering at least twice a day. Once in the morning because my bedhead frightens children. And once in the evening to remove the layer of filth.

Despite all the bitching, I am having a good time exploring. I think my meetings today will end early in the afternoon. Hopefully I can go exploring again once more before I leave.

I'm off to Singapore tomorrow. Maybe it will be cooler there.  :P
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test via BlogMailr [Aug. 7th, 2007|07:29 pm]
I turns out that China blocks I'm using BlogMailr to post. If you can see this, could someone reply to the post? Hopefully, I'll see your reply via email. Thanks.
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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2007|08:52 am]
OK Racerxmachina, do your worst.

I was up fairly late last night so it was tough to wake up this morning. While in the shower, I heard an extra hissing sound. At first I thought this was simply the toilet tank filling back up. Half way through the shower, I took a look at the faucet head because the sound was still there. Nope. Exiting the shower, I found out what the sound was. It was the sink. I had left it on. I can't even remember turning it on.

Our sink does not suck. It sips a bit, but otherwise, the drain is veerrry slow. I might as well have loosed a hose on a counter top without a sink - except for the fact that certain joints around the sink leak down in to the cabinet below. And not in a nice neat path down one wall and on to the floor of the cabinet. It looked more like I attached an impact sprinkler to another hose and left it under the sink. Um, Deirdremoon, we probably need some new Q-tips... and hair scrunchies... and, um, girlie absorbent thingies.

The only saving grace is the (now proven) fact that our bathroom floor lists towards the door to the garage. Yes, our bathroom has one door that opens in to the garage.
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From the TSA's "you gotta be kidding" files... [May. 14th, 2007|11:41 pm]
While walking past security on our way out of San Diego airport, I noticed a table that they had set up displaying items that had been confiscated today. This was one of the items.
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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2007|11:40 pm]
Horrifying NYT article about melamine in animal feed in China.
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(no subject) [Mar. 24th, 2007|09:28 pm]
The Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

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PSA [Dec. 28th, 2006|04:48 pm]
Saying "fucking blow me!" to the Orbitz automated voice recognition system gets you to a human being immediately.
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(no subject) [Dec. 16th, 2006|04:44 pm]
Saturday at work I spent about an hour chasing a bug that ended up being a loose cable. Ugh! But I managed to get things to work in the end.

After that, we went to Little India. It was a bit of a letdown because the streets were fairly quiet. I had expected an area teeming with life and hustle-bustle. Instead, it looked like a sleepy town during Sunday services.

After that, we went to Chinatown. Yes, I know. The whole city is lousy with Chinese. Why do they need a Chinatown? To house a huge Chinese food court and sell crappy souvenirs, that's why. Don't get me wrong - I liked it. This area had the energy that I was expecting in Little India. I also smelled durian for the first time. Ick!

Got up at 3am to catch my flight this morning. I'll be home in about 24 hours or so.

The Singapore airport has free internet terminals at each of the gates! (And free foot massage chairs.)
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