I had a drive like Jehu

Who would’ve thought my first and most personal victim of COVID would be my computer?

A few days back my computer stopped booting. That’s unfair. A few days back my computer had trouble booting. I tried a few things, opened it up, and managed to get it working sporadically. I was Surprised Pikachu central. How could this happen? My otherwise fine computer suddenly having a hard time? Then I thought more, my computer wasn’t a spring chicken. I did the math and worked out that it was nine years old. Egads. THEN I thought harder. My computer was a DIY job, at least for one of my friends. He worked out the parts to get, then helped me through putting it together in his lounge. It has two hard drives. We bought a 2TB drive so it would have lots of space, and I already happened to have a 500GB drive from my previous computer. Turns out that drive was eleven years old. When drives are that old, it’s less of a tragedy and more of a mercy. A friend chimed in and pointed out that yes, the older hard drive was the problem. Fortunately, I’d separated my two drives by uses. The old drive was purely for Windows and other program files. The second drive was where I stored all my media, documents, applications, etc. It was a clear delineation, which meant I could replace the old drive, install Windows on a new one, and have a working computer once again.

It took hours. He’d worked out that the reason why the drive wasn’t booting, is that it was clicking. He said this was a sign of overheating, that the drive had expanded and was now struggling to spin. He said there was a slim chance it could still boot, and if that was the case he’d be able to replicate the drive. He tried holding the drive and physically spinning it to encourage the boot process. No dice. He had drive repair software, but it didn’t manage to connect to the drive. Turns out new drives are pretty cheap. A 500GB solid state drive was $90, so he bought one and did the install. Fortunately I’d kept a folder full of applications and drivers over the years. It made the whole thing a shit ton easier. We had most of what we needed ready to go. He finished the install and refused any kind of payment, so I offered to donate to a charity of his choice instead. I think it’s important not to take your friends skills for granted, especially if it’s something they normally charge for.

Holy hell it’s a long and laboured process reinstalling software. Sure, Ninite is exceptional. But there are so many Windows updates (especially since I had to stay on Windows 7 to enable my Pro Tools hardware to keep working). Now that Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows 7, the files aren’t all available. There are supposed to be shortcuts, but the critical downloads had been removed from Microsoft’s site. So many programs need certain prerequisites before they can be installed themselves. It took me until about 2am to get all the security updates installed, to get drivers, antivirus software, and finally (probably most importantly) Magic Arena. Woof.

You know what though? The system had been bloated for years, and I just assumed that was regular wear and tear. Now I can clearly see how long the boot drive had been in decline. It was taking upwards of ten minutes to start up my computer. Now it takes maybe a minute. It was entirely unable to sleep. Instead I just logged out and turned off my screen. Now it automatically goes to sleep, the drives stop spinning and it’s like a whisper. If I clicked on an internet video and hadn’t recently watched any, it’d be maybe 30-40 seconds before it’d actually play. Now they play immediately. It’s running like a dream, and I can’t believe how long I slept on fixing it up. I mean, at some point I’ll just have to replace it anyway. Nine years is already too long.

Though if this was really supposed to be a COVID victim, it would’ve at least have been taken down by a virus.

Young Pope in the hand is worth Two Popes in the theatre

Main screen turn on.

I had big plans today. I was going to get out of bed and onto my computer instead of scrolling endlessly through social media while lying down. My bed is a trap, and I knew if I leapt out of it, I’d stand a better chance of making it to the gym before work. Spoiler, it didn’t happen. I got out of bed, but watched the newest episode of Rick and Morty, then listened to a Snake Jazz loop on YouTube for 38 minutes. I missed my cut off time for safely getting to the gym and not missing work, so here I am. I have an extra hour up my sleeve and I’m gonna use it to do nothing productive whatsoever.

Speaking of which, I spent half an hour in a mouse based wormhole. Scenario: The guy at work who’d borrowed a mouse from his room mate for the studio has rightfully taken it back. I’ve been roaming the office late at night, cannibalising mice from unused desks. Unfortunately, they’ve all sucked. They’ve had slow response times, shitty scroll wheels and have really thrown off my productivity. I didn’t think I had so many feelings about computer mice, but here we are. I’m doing editing work, so having a snappy mouse is ideal. In Pro Tools for instance, I always have Smart Tool turned on. This is an editing function that allows different editing options for a sound clip based on where you click. If it’s at the start of the clip, it’ll crop. If you click on the centre of the clip, you can move it. If you click close to the start of the clip, it’ll go into fade mode. Its actually incredibly useful, but requires precise movement. I also spam the scroll wheel as part of my process. I briefly tried a trackball, but couldn’t handle how slow I felt. I know these things are a process, but I’ve got very little patience when I just want to finish more work. I went through a couple of lists, gaming mice rose to the top. They seemed excessive for my needs. I don’t need a wireless cybertruck on my desk. I don’t know that I’ve used programmable buttons before (though when I think about it, they could be really useful). I don’t know what kind of DPI I’m looking for, or if I need customisable weights in my mouse (though actually, that sounds kinda neat). The point is, there are a shit ton of options, and that’s put me solidly into analysis paralysis. A new mouse will probably cost $50, and will make all my working hours that much more enjoyable. It’s a very small price to pay, and I wonder if I can still somehow charge it to the department. That would make it an even smaller price for me to pay. I would, however, have to decide on a mouse before.

Check and mate.

Also, speaking of things that are not mice, I’m more excited than ever to see Cats. It sounds like a Lynchian nightmare of arcane insanity. Edibles are legal here in Canada now, and they seem ideal to let my mind dissolve by.

Farewell. I won’t.

I’m a cell out like everyone else

I accidentally left my phone at home yesterday. It was great.

It also made me take stock of just how addicted I am to my phone. Grabbing my phone has become an automatic response for damn near everything I do. It’s unrelenting. In countless situations I had a physical reaction of reaching into my pocket, only to find empty air (and old tissues). I realised after I’d gotten on the bus and reached the station. Maybe a ten minute walk from my house. I couldn’t be bothered going back, when my only worry was that people might want to contact me and couldn’t. But I was gonna be at work until 12.30am. It’s not like I had anything urgent to get to or talk about. What was I gonna miss? A bunch of robocalls telling me I’d won a cruise? I didn’t turn back.

I also realised I had a topic for today’s writing. I could simply list all the times I thought about using my phone. So without further ado I’m gonna turn to my favourite crutch, Bullet Point Time:

  • Once I realised I wanted to write about this, I reached for my phone to write it down in a notepad app. None was forthcoming. I crossed my fingers and hoped I remembered on my own.
  • On the TTC I saw a photo for some pantomime, Little Red Robin Hood. Every year the same company does pantomimes for kids, usually revolving around some fairytale. The same guy seems to be in each poster. A jovial looking older dude with bright red hair. He usually seems to play some kind of uncle type character, and he has this infectious smile. I saw the poster and wanted to take a close up photo of the dude to post on Facebook. Something like “this guy is my favourite part of the Christmas season. Hands down.” Obviously, I didn’t.
  • I usually listen to a podcast on the way to and from work. It’s a great way to unwind after a shift. Instead, I listened to St Vincent. I’ve been delving into her back catalogue over the past few days in order to figure out my preference order of her albums. Currently I’m at Strange Mercy>Actor>Marry Me>St Vincent>MASSEDUCTION. In saying that, I think every song on MASSEDUCTION is great, which should speak to how much I love her stuff.
  • On my break at work I usually catch up on social media. Last night I had nothing to do, so I kind of just ate and went back to my work. You’d think that working in TV, having access to years worth of programming for 40+ channels I’d just watch something. Nope, I just ate mashed potato and meat with a large plastic serving spoon because I couldn’t find a single piece of workable cutlery.
  • I had to DV an episode of Charmed. At numerous times I wanted to post something about how stupid it was. Seriously, this new series is fucking terrible. The writing is clunky and obvious. You know how characters will fare based on how good looking they are. They’re playing in a world of almost endless possibilities (as a character in this episode said, with the right spell, anything is possible) and still they choose the dumbest narrative options to pursue. Overall, the episode still hasn’t aired, so I’m glad I didn’t post spoilers.
  • I’ve been talking about that song Low Rider for the past few days, and how it used to be ubiquitous in soundtracks everywhere. Whether it was TV shows, trailers, or ads, its funky rhythm made it perfect for endless applications. For some reason I don’t feel like I’ve heard it much over the past few years, which weirds me out a little. I realised that I had no idea which band made the track, and had no way to look it up on the go. Then I forgot until now. Turns out it’s a band called War.
  • I’ve gotten really used to posting whenever something crosses my brain. It distracts me from my work all the time. Turns out when I have no phone around, I’m more productive. Last night at countless times I turned around to check my phone, only to find a space absent of solid matter.
  • The only thing I was even remotely worried about was using my phone to check bus times post shift. Without the Rocketman app, I had no idea. So I had to walk back to Union Station in the snow. No big deal, but also not ideal.

Today I have both my phone, and my work party. So no doubt it’ll be stowed in a pocket somewhere and largely forgotten. Keeping the dream alive.

A capital idea, old chap

Black Friday is coming up on Friday, and I have nothing left to buy.

Don’t worry, I’m not posing this as a problem. I’m also not gloating. In the past few months, since I got my new job, I’ve been purchasing things almost non-stop. I’m earning more now, and part of that means I feel comfortable upgrading items that’ve languished over the years. I was doing fine before, I wasn’t suffering for income, but I wasn’t at a place where I felt okay about buying bigger ticket non-necessities. Let’s take my computer speakers for instance. A few years back they kind of stopped working. Like, they still produced sound, but the left speaker would cut out periodically. Sometimes for 10-15 minutes, sometimes for a few months. I could still hear audio, so technically they were running, but it was a disappointing way to experience all of my favourite media. Not a tragedy, but ultimately sub-optimal. It felt wasteful to buy something new unnecessarily, so I put up with them for literal years. When I got my first pay check, speakers were the first thing I bought. Decent ones. $200 or so speakers instead of the refurbished $30 I bought first time around. The idea was to get quality goods, treat them well and hopefully have products that would last for years. The “buy it once” policy. Of course that’s a pipe dream in today’s built to fail environment, but at least if I could get two channels of working audio (that sounded great), it’d be a vast improvement.

I bought a bike. That was a big cost. I didn’t realise that getting a bike committed me to buy so many other things. Once I had a bike I needed a helmet. I had to get a heavy duty lock to make sure nobody took it. I needed reflective patches. I needed a front and back light, one for vision, the other for visibility. Plus a tune up and other little trinkets. Getting the bike running was a serious investment (but then again, each month I don’t buy a TTC pass saves me $140 or so), and I was in a position where I could spend a little more on solid gear.

That wasn’t all. My beloved iPod broke a few months back (as they do. I think this was my fourth or fifth one in the past 12 years). It was gonna cost almost $500 to fix, which seemed unreasonable. So I was in the market for a new mp3 player. I did a ton of research, waffled between options and eventually got myself something decent. Once I had a new mp3 player however, it dawned on me that I could get a new earbud option in lieu of my wonderful m50x headphones. The headband had been broken for the better part of two years. Like the speakers, they still produced audio (and still do. Damn fine audio at that). Until I was earning more, it seemed wasteful to get something new when they were only an issue while I was being active. Sure, they’d slide down my face when I ran, or did pull ups, bench presses, deadlifts, squats, or anything where I wasn’t strictly vertical, but I could manually adjust them as I went. Why neglect something that mostly did its job? In the past week, I bought new bluetooth earbuds. They’re great for biking. They’re cordless, so they’ll be less intrusive at the gym or running. Their sound isn’t quite as great as the m50x, but those can be used while I’m stationary or in transit.

What I’ve realised now, is that I don’t need new stuff, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I still live in a capitalist society, and I’ve wondered what happens to all those other people who buy everything they need. I realised, it’s insidious. You don’t “need” new things, much like I didn’t “need” most of the things I bought, but you have the option of greater convenience and that’s where money goes. Money allows us to cast aside discomfort in favour of ease. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until I get a new computer. That’s not ridiculous, it’s seven years old by this point. What comes next? Will I decide that it’s finally time to get a lounge television option? Or buy matching sets of plates/bowls/cups? Maybe we’ll get tired of the usable, but ratty couch. Or perhaps we’ll want nice art options for our walls. Would any of this stuff be necessary? Hell no, but that’s how capitalism works. If you’re not buying things for validation or comfort, what’s the point? What else am I supposed to do? Save so I can buy something bigger like a house? I’m a millenial. We both know that’s not gonna happen.

They don’t do Black Friday deals on those.

It’s like you don’t even listen to me anymore, Zucc

What does your Facebook advertising say about you?

Mine tells me it’s about time to clear out my preferences again. Okay, let’s scroll through my feed and see what Facebook wants me to buy…

  • Alan Dupetit: Suits. I’ve been seeing these ads A LOT. The most common ad involves a dude sitting at a table in a suit. He has a bowl of dry cheerios and an empty coffee cup in front of him. I noticed it immediately, and now I have trouble remembering anything else about the ad. I think the kitchen has wood panelling, but I couldn’t tell you what colour the dude’s suit is. They also have another one in rotation where some guy is wearing a suit, standing in the middle of one of those garden things where they have sparse plants within a cluster of rocks. I don’t know what the ad is really implying, it’s just a baffling situation. The ad I’m currently seeing is for Black Friday and has a headless body wearing a white suit. They seem to be more conceptual than they are effective. In fact, if I were in the market for a suit, I’d specifically go somewhere else. I have a head, I’m clearly not their target demo.
  • Mill Street Brewery: They’re a Canadian beer that’s pretty okay. They tout the word “organic” as if it’s an improvement. No, it’s not piss water like Molson, but neither is it a Good Beer. It’s the kind of beer a corporation would offer at their Christmas party. It’s a beer you can ignore, but not one I’d ever spend money on. I don’t know if I’ve ever bought a Mill Street, but I’ve drunk a few of them.
  • Nordstrom: They’re selling gift packs for Under $100. By the looks of it, they’re all cosmetics. I’m curious what I clicked on to get sent this ad, but since I spend most of my time ignoring ads, I’m not super bothered.
  • Beam Me Up: It’s a disco party from a local bar. This one makes some sense. I’ve been once or twice to this event when it used to be hosted at The Piston. It’s honestly a great party, with some deep disco cuts. I would 100% go again. They must’ve scraped my event attendance (dance event attends) or something?
  • Zaful: Okay, this one I totally clicked on. I was at a party in the park, and saw some dude wearing a cool dinosaur T-shirt. It had little dinos of all varieties in multiple colours. I asked him where he got it, and sheepishly told me that it’d been a Facebook ad, and he ended up actually liking their stuff. I have yet to buy anything, and probably won’t, but it’s a pretty inoffensive company to have on my feed.
  • Independent City Market: I think this is an off-branch of Loblaws or something? They’re peddling dietician services, with points on offer. Weirdly, I bank with PC Financial. I joined them when I first arrived solely because they were owned by Loblaws, and Bob Loblaw is the name of a character on Arrested Development. I can’t see myself being bribed with points into spending money with their dieticians.
  • Polestar: It’s an electric car. You’d think Facebook could gauge my lack of income by the kind of things I click on. In what world could I afford a car? Let alone an electric one? I just bought a bike and that was a Big Fucking Deal. Where am I supposed to get the money for a car Facebook?
  • BoardGame2Go: A board game rental place? That’s not a terrible idea, considering that some are more like bored games, amirite? Nonetheless, I’m a few years past tired of picking up new board games. I think they’re great, but I get really anxious having to constantly learn new rule sets.
  • Dior: I think I fucked my Facebook up good. Why would Facebook ever think I had a cultivated sense of style? Or is it more that they know I have all the style of an ant, and are seeking to change that?

I think what we’ve learned is that Facebook thinks I have money, and like to spend it on my appearance. You’d think they were better at spying than that. Let’s clear out my preferences and start the roulette again.

C’mon Facebook, you already have all my data. At least use it wisely.

Getting a bit blue in the tooth

Hey, it’s me. I’m writing on a train.

It’s snowing, and I made the last minute decision to skip that nonsense and transit to work. I had a hidden motivation: I wanted to try out my new mp3 player. After humming and hawing for months, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. First impressions, it plays mp3s. I guess that’s good enough. The turning point in actually sitting on my arse and buying one online was realising that I’d never be truly satisfied. Or rather, I realised I’d probably be fine with a much wider range of players than my narrow desires expected. I wanted a dumb machine. Something that played music without a stack of extra features and apps. I wanted something weighty enough that it felt sturdy and safe. Definitely no internet. I was against Bluetooth and FM radio. I just wanted a simple player, nothing more. It’s weird, I’ve been obsessed with having hardwired things for some time. I think there was some fear founded on the idea that this technology is fickle. Thing is, Bluetooth has been around for 10+ years. I think it works just fine. In fact, I decided to road test some average earplugs I had lying around for my commute. Turns out Bluetooth works. Who’d have thought? I’ve been clinging to outmoded notions. I’ve been jogging and working out with studio sized monitor headphones for years, when I could’ve had a far more lightweight option. Based on today’s performance, I might even get some new Bluetooth headphones for active stuff. I’m not an old enough dog that I can’t learn a few tricks.

It’s rad having 100 or so gigs of portable music on the go. Over the past few months I’ve gotten by with podcasts and DJ mix sets. When I’ve been at a computer, I’ve streamed from Deezer. It’s mostly been working. What I’ve realised though, is that having nigh endless access to music from across history is somewhat stifling. There’s so much of it, and it doesn’t pop right out to you. You need to search up what to listen to, and without a bunch of curating, I found myself listening to roughly the same 40 or so albums most of the time. When I use a portable player, I have a long list of artists to choose from. I can continue getting new music and adding it, while still remembering old favourites. Not to fall into an adage, but what’s old is new again. I’m discovering all these bands I love, but had forgotten about. It’s kind of a gift, and today’s commute has been spent reacquainting myself with Dan Deacon.

And like, cramming into a bus with some dude’s bag pressed against my face. But mostly Dan Deacon.

Yeah yeah yeah, you turn it into a rectangle, then how do you not get tangled?

Oh I love The Internet.

It probably consumes most of my waking hours. Whether I’m scrolling through Reddit/Facebook/Twitter, playing Magic, streaming shows or, well, doing exactly what I’m doing now. I’ve become used to the internet as a forum for arguments, hatred and showcasing the worst that humanity has to offer. Political rhetoric may not have overtaken porn as the central use of the internet, but it’s zooming right up its butthole. Even with the absurd amount of time I spend on it, I still forget how genuinely useful the internet can be.

I’ve had this muscle in my arm that’s been sore for days. At the top of the forearm, kind of on the outside, by the bicep. I don’t know how I stressed it (some kind of overuse, no doubt), but it’s been making itself known quite profoundly. Any time my right arm has been bent and doing some sort of pulling motion, I’ve felt pain there. Bicep curls, obviously. Pull ups, definitely. Outside of gym stuff, certain gripping actions have inflamed it. Feeling down the arm, I noticed that the muscle was connected somehow to my index finger. I wondered if it’d been because of workplace RSI. I’ve tried at multiple junctures to do trigger point release. In short, finding points on the muscle where pressure created strong pain, and holding that point firmly until the pain eased. Letting the muscle relax, basically. I did a bunch while lying in bed last night, and found the stress abating a bit. Pleased, I nodded off. I woke up this morning, with the pain still there.

Disappointed, I consulted the internet. Google has gotten adept enough to handle my dumb queries (“muscles connected to the index finger”), and I found a page full of individual arm muscles. I looked through them all until I found the one that seemed to fit my symptoms/arm location. The brachioradialis. I then searched for brachioradialis stretches. Within a minute I’d found a YouTube video of a British physiotherapist giving a stretch for the muscle. I tried the stretch, it went straight to the source of the pain. I tried on the other arm just to test. Nope, no pain. I’m pretty sure that I’ve found how to ease the strain over the next few days. I consider this a total success.

It’s so easy to forget this part of the internet, but it kinda feels like that was what people originally had in mind. The internet, despite all the trolls and clickbait, is a massive repository of human knowledge. Chances are, anything you’ve asked has already been solved (and/or, pornified. Thanks Rule 34). I don’t know how many times I’ve asked the internet questions like:

  • How do I fold a suit for travel?
  • How do I fold a fitted sheet?
  • How do I iron a shirt?
  • How do I cook ______?
  • What is a remedy for _____?
  • How do I sew a button?
  • Sorry, I forgot the fitted sheet thing?
  • Which bike accessory fits my needs?
  • What do I eat/drink/see in this city I’m visiting?
  • Is there a free alternative to this software?
  • Is there an easier alternative to fitted sheets?

Mostly, the internet has delivered. There are any number of tasks that get so much easier with guidance, and if you’re willing to look, the internet provides.

Also, thanks to The Google effect, I still haven’t bookmarked that Martha Stewart folding fitted sheets video.

Fiio fo fum

Hi there. Welcome to my day off.

It’s a marvellous thing. My only problem right now is that I’m wearing my trusty lion onesie, but I’ve also loaded up on coffee. I have no problem being a perky so and so, but I’m engaged in a constant battle between robing and disrobing. Back and forth, to and fro, from one seat to another. At worst, I guess I’m keeping active. I have a bunch of days off ahead of me, and very few plans set in stone. It’s understandable that I’m fidgety, and caffeine certainly hasn’t helped.

Sorry, I just got distracted looking up mp3 players for an hour. Oh, and now I need to bathroom again. I guess that’s my day.

It’s 2019. I can’t believe that I’ve spent months trying to find an mp3 player. I know we’re in the darkest timeline, where the nail in Trump’s coffin might be a Nickelback meme he made. Still, this mp3 player thing is bonkers. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Honestly, it’s analysis paralysis. I want to make a good investment in something that will last, but I also have preconceived ideas of what an mp3 player should be, likely based on owning many iPods. I want something sturdy with physical buttons. I don’t love touchscreen stuff. It feels more vulnerable, and I hate the idea of a screen sapping my battery life. I want a large capacity (at the very least, iPod size), and decent battery life. At the very least, 10+ hours. I want good sound quality, but I also realise that I’m gonna be loading it with 320kbps mp3s, not FLAC. So midrange will be fine. I have very specific tastes, and I’m sure that the ideal player for me is out there.

But here’s the thing, I have too many options. I made an excel spreadsheet with pros and cons, features, etc. It’s not comprehensive, so when I get the gusto back up to start searching for mp3 players again, I forget all the stuff I’ve left out. Then I’ll be like “oh I like this one. I should buy it”. I’ll read a review or two and realise I don’t like its battery life. Or it has a weird, unintuitive UI, or it’s touchscreen, or has wifi. I’ll dive down the rabbit hole of alternative options, and after an hour I’ll bury my head in my hands and close my browser. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s not getting me any closer to buying a new player.

I know what the answer is. I just need to find something that ticks off enough boxes, and not worry about it being perfect. But I waaaaant something perfect. If I’m spending $400+ on a new device, I don’t want it to ship along with mild disappointment. That’s a pretty hefty investment for me, in something that I’ll use daily for several years. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure to make the right call, but that’s all in my head. Just because I know it’s not as big a deal as it seems, that hasn’t cognitively helped me to look past my preconceptions and biases to find something suitable. So it’s back to square one every time.

I know I should just buy the Fiio X5 Mark ii, but what if there’s a better option?

I guess we’ll find out six months down the line, when I finally make my choice.

Is there such thing as an outernet?

Remember when we used to be offline?

First and foremost, here’s what this entry is not going to be: It’s not gonna be an exercise in ripping on “millenials” and their “phones”. It might be an exercise in “excessive quotation mark use”, but that’s about it. I have no leg to stand on in shitting on phone use. It takes very little downtime for me to be checking Facebook/Twitter. It’s a habit I’d like to curb, but it’s one I’ve developed. I love having my finger on the pulse of what’s happening. That’s how I sell it to myself. Realistically, I’m addicted to a combination of stimulation and validation. If I get “likes” for something I’ve written, it makes me feel great. The concept that people enjoy my output is obviously compelling. It’s the world we live in. The other side, of course, is that these smart tech companies and their R&D departments have zoned in on how to make their stuff really addictive. My brain receives the message that I’m keeping on top of things, when really, I don’t need to know that much all the time. It’s a fallacy. If I instead went several hours without checking my phone, I’d probably get the same info. I’m just hooked up to that ol’ stimulation IV and I feel like I need my fix. I’ve gone for periods without Facebook before. It turned out I felt less anxious about the state of the world, and far more present. Does that mean I’m gonna delete my app today? Hell no. If it were that simple, I would’ve done it already.

What I do find interesting, are those moments where our reliance on “The Information Superhighway” (I think I might be done with this “quotation bit”) gets in the way. At work last night, our company internet went down for a few hours. No problem, I thought, I use offline editing software. I could just do my job, and still get what I needed from the internal network. It turns out that while my software is offline, it does regular license validation checks, and that’s cloud based. I was midway through describing an episode of The Real Housewives of Dallas (and an aside, these Real Housewives shows are fucking bullshit. Terrible, terrible TV. I’m not judging anyone who wants to throw on an episode and forget about their troubles, but hoo boy it’s wall to wall rich white women arguing about manufactured tension. Abysmal), and I got an error message. My license couldn’t be validated, and the program was shutting down. I blinked, saved my work and waited. I tried a restart, but no dice. I was hamstrung, and couldn’t do anything. My supervisor suggested scripting the rest of the episode so I could finish it once the internet came back up. It made sense, so I followed through. I waited. Eventually internet came back in, but I didn’t know our License username and password. One of the other dudes did, but he had gone home hours ago. I hated having to call him at 11pm, but thankfully he slept through it. No reason why he should need to be on hand for that. So I went home. I couldn’t believe that a lack of internet meant I couldn’t work on something that had nothing to do with the internet. Who would’ve thought that was a pre-rec?

But it makes sense. We’re always online. I’m sure that makes sense.

I think.

iPod, iSaw, iCompared

It’s 2019. I did not expect that I’d be struggling to buy an mp3 player.

My ipod classic shat the bed, and it’s gonna cost $450 to fix. It cost $350 to buy, so this seems like a big stretch. It’s probably the fourth ipod I’ve owned in the past 15 years. I use them all the time, 1-2 hours daily. I’m not kind to my electronic devices, and that’s clearly shown in the life expectancy of my gadgets. With an ipod, there was so much I didn’t need to think about. Since it was the market leader, the proof was on them to make a solid product that was easy to use. I didn’t love going through itunes, but it worked. Everything was categorised and simple to scroll through. I liked the tactile, physical nature of the product without touchscreen. I could operate it without looking. It sounded good, and was surprisingly robust. I could take it to the gym, and it weighed enough to not constantly bounce around. The UI was excellent, and while I didn’t use most of the features, I didn’t have to. It just worked.

With my ipod dead, I’ve had to do my research on figuring out what to buy next. For the past few months I’ve been using my phone. I hate it. It’s too bulky, and fits awkwardly in workout clothing pockets. I don’t have an online music subscription, primarily because my internet connection isn’t reliable. I want something with a huge storage capacity, so I can curate what I want on there, but also don’t have to worry about filling up any time soon. I’ve had so many issues with my ipod over the years, and it’d be kind of cool to have removable stuff so I don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Removable batteries, storage, etc. That way I can just get a new microSD card instead of having the whole unit repaired for hundreds of bucks. I want something sturdy and rugged, physical controls rather than touchscreen. I want a decent battery life of around 10-15 hours per charge. I want 200+ gigs of storage. I want a UI that’s functional, easy, categorises by artist, album and whatnot, taking ID3 tags into account. If I’m stuck with a file tree to navigate, that’d feel clunky and undesirable. I want a player that sounds good. I’ll most likely just be using mp3 320kbps. It’d be too much work to start getting FLAC by this point. Still, to my untrained ears 320kbps plus my M50x headphones should be good enough. Who knows, maybe I actually try buying a good pair of earbuds for active work like running or gym stuff. I don’t want apps, internet connectivity or wifi. I want something that runs as a self-contained unit, that just plays music and does it well. I’m sure that’s not too much to ask.

And yet, holy hell it’s a lot of work navigating the landscape. There are things like the Sandisk Clip that would be perfect if only it had expandable storage. The FiiO III Mark 2 looks like exactly what I want, but it only supports storage up to 120 gigs. The FiiO III Mark 3 doesn’t have the same weight or size as the Mark 2, which is disappointing. But at the same time it’s still an all tactile, non touchscreen unit, plus it handles larger expandable memory. The UI is apparently a little slow. The HIDIZ AP80 has so many features that I like. It can hold up to 1 TB of expandable storage. It’s a little smaller and dinky than I’d like though. Apparently the UI is functional, but it’s all touchscreen with tiny onscreen buttons. My fingers are not diminutive. Then there’s the Ibasso DX50, which looks like it mostly has everything I want. It’s a tactile unit with decent weight. It has up to 2TB expandable storage. The battery is user replaceable. But I can’t find any in Canadian stores. It’s gonna cost a mint to import from the USA. Apparently the software is a little sluggish, but if I can find one that works, maybe that’ll be the go. I spent hours last night looking up models, comparing specs, figuring out how one of these units would fit into my life. I even made an excel spreadsheet to help make my decision.

It’s almost enough to make me want to resurrect my dead ipod once more.