Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   under the influence of MP3 music
Thursday, September 5 2002


I took delivery of an MP3 player today, the unfortunately-named Roq-it (get it?) manufactured by D-Link (or a D-Link subcontractor). In keeping with its unsexy name are its unsexy packaging, display, and user interface. I like it nonetheless because it plays music acceptably and is built out of completely non-proprietary replaceable components. For example, it uses a standard 2.5 inch laptop hard drive for storage and provides a convenient hard drive access hatch should I ever want to replace it. As I get older and more technically savvy, I find myself avoiding technological innovations unless they take advantage of older, established commodities from previous mass-market technologies. MP3 players, which are simply storage systems with an additional dedicated application, are perfectly-positioned to benefit from existing miniaturized storage technology. For me, the only kinds of portable storage worth considering are multi-source open-standard commodities: Compact Flash cards and laptop hard drives. I'll never consider buying anything using such proprietary nonsense as a Sony Memory Stick or a SmartCard.

I went out on the street in Park Slope this evening to pick up a small bottle of bourbon for use as an ingredient in one of Gretchen's wedding cakes, and I decided to bring the MP3 player along on a shakedown cruise. It's been a very very long time since I last walked around in public listening to music on headphones (I used to listen to the radio while biking to and from work in San Diego, but I never walked around with those headphones on). Doing it again for the first time in something like 10 years gave me a weird nostalgic other-worldly feeling, not altogether different from the way I feel when I smoke pot after a long Nancy-Reagan-endorsed hiatus.
Music has a powerful effect on emotions and attitude, and when it's playing on headphones it blares privately into your mind and becomes a soundtrack, the cool soundtrack you've chosen in fact, to every action you see. You feel empowered by the sight of so many movie actors and actresses acting in a movie set to your favorite music. Confidence and rhythm appears in your stride where it might otherwise have been absent. You are one cool cat walking down the street. But make sure you look both ways before wading into that intersection!
I thought about going into Ozzie's coffee shop and reading the latest copy of The New Yorker (which I'd brought with me), but then I thought an even better investment of that $1.50 would be to ride the subway to some distant location and then ride it back again. Subways are great places to sit and read, particularly on a weekday evening, and I kind of wanted find out what it would be like under the influence of MP3 music. But in the end I just walked back home again. To give Gretchen some alone time, I did some work in the basement batcave, the first real use I've made of the place since May.

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