December, 2004 browsing by month


The big Three-Oh

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Ugh, I’m can’t believe I’m going to be 30 in two weeks.

I want my twenties back!

… Not without its stumbles

Friday, December 17th, 2004

The phones in my office were out of commission half the day yesterday.

Why? Because they’re voice-over-IP phones (simply put, phones that transmit and receive voice audio over a computer network), and the network was on the fritz.

Also irksome, as I discovered, is the fact that the phones take about a minute to boot up. Did anyone foresee the day when they would have to wait for the desk phones to boot up before using them?

The march of progress…

Friday, December 17th, 2004

Last week I bought a couple 1-gigabyte flash memory modules from Fry’s for about $50 each.

Now, a while back I complained that the problem with solid-state (i.e. flash-memory-based) music players was that they don’t have enough memory to overcome the generally cumbersome music upload process. In other words, transferring songs to the player is something of a hassle (or at least, a time-consuming process), and the devices didn’t have enough memory to make that hassle infrequent enough to be worthwhile. Additionally, flash memory was expensive enough that it the cost of keeping multiple memory cards on hand (like one might CDs or cassette tapes, back in the day) was prohibitively expensive.

Assuming 96kbps for reasonable sound quality (easily achievable with the latest Windows Media codec, or variable-bit-rate MP3), $50 for a 1GB flash memory equates to 3.6 cents per minute of music. A high-quality cassette tape costs roughly $2 for a 60-minute tape, or 3.3 cents per minute.

In other words, for the purposes of storing music, flash memory is now as cheap as cassette tapes, so keeping a wallet of memory cards around for your solid-state music player is now an option. (Not to mention that flash memory is reusable without any loss of audio quality, unlike audio cassettes.) With memory cards are large as 4GB starting to come out, it’s now possible to have a solid-state portable music player with the same capacity as some of the hard-drive-based players like the iPod. The solid state units may soon win out because of much better reliability (no moving parts) and longer battery life.