March 30th, 2007


The Moving Finger Writes

I don't remember a lot of the day Wednesday. I think sleep was involved.

Wednesday evening, of course, was spent at the Hamptons. Awesome, as usual. Much that was randomly quotable. And three new discs donated by jeffercine.

I spent most of Wednesday night and Tuesday morning ripping those and entering them in the database. Which is a ridiculous amount of time, except that two of them were Pocket Songs discs.

Pocket Songs is the only choice for a number of show tunes, but they have some idiosyncrasies. One is that they deal with the number of singers in a song oddly. There's even a lyrics book included that has the lyrics (and singers) largely as they're presented on disc. Except some of those are sung for you, and some must be sung by you. Figuring out which one requires listening to every song.

Then, well, those two didn't quite rip correctly. Even though they're new, there were a number of errors in the CDG data. So I went through and corrected those. Which takes a fair amount of time.

I got a little sleep in there somewhere - and nothing at all done productive in terms of moving.

I had everything ready to go to print update sheets for the Thursday show, when I suddenly discovered that, while fixing up the display of accented characters for Monsieur Bublé, I broke something else.

Lines too long for a field on each page are shortened, with the last part of the line that fits replaced with an ellipsis. There is no ellipsis character in the ISO Latin 1 encoding. Instead, I found each long line now ended with ¼. It now simply uses three periods, as a result of some extra-fast coding: I needed to get ready to see an apartment with timenchanter at 5:00pm.

Surprisingly, we made it on time. Even more surprisingly, the owner (who lives in the other half of the duplex) is willing to rent to us. The place ain't fancy, but it's good enough. We'll be getting the deposit and first month's to him tomorrow.

Timmie and I followed that with a nice meal at the Macaroni Grill, some time at Nerdvana (Milpitas), then the bar.

I think the best descriptive word for last night's show would be "pleasant". It was a fairly low-key night. We made it through 6 rounds, ending at 1:50am. I started a little late because of a relative lack of customers, but only a little late this time, and the first round filled out to 7 before it was through.

Roberta brought her friend Jane, who's an excellent singer, if perhaps almost a little too gregarious.

After the show, I shut down rapidly, then ended up doing a Denny's run with spawrhawk and his friend Ron (who, if I heard correctly, was in "Aida" with him).

Then home, and hopefully, shortly, a bit of sleep. Today Timmie and I are going to be dumping a large fraction of the house into the debris box. It's going to be both liberating and painful.

And, running through all that, I've been researching a "feature" in XP, which indicates exactly how bloody stupid they are up at Microsoft. I've been disturbed by the fact that ripping from a disc on my karaoke system disturbs simultaneous sound playback, and for good reason: My idea for handling other people's discs is to rip them to hard disk, then play from there (and delete afterwards). That's going to have to happen while music is playing.

I finally discovered why the sound is getting garbled: Both CD drives are set to PIO transfer. Stuck, in fact. PIO transfer essentially means the main CPU is spending its time reading every byte off the interface, and so won't really have much time for anything else.

Microsoft will automatically reduce the transfer method to PIO when it encounters errors (such as, say, from a scratched disc), and will never allow it to be returned to DMA unless you take drastic measures (involving either registry surgery, or deleting the drives). In other words, while I can fix the problem right now, if a customer hands me a filthy, scratched-up disc (which, of course, never happens), I'll suddenly find myself, well, doing odd things to the sound playback. I'm... not happy about this.
  • Current Mood
    anxious anxious

Change Has Occurred

So. Yes. timenchanter and I are now officially renting half a run-down duplex on North 11th. It's been paid for, we have keys, and everything.

We've even now had a friend over, because Amy C. went there with us when we paid for it and got the keys.

That huge bin in my driveway? It's now mostly full. There're still things we can put into it, but there're also a lot of large pieces of crap that won't fit. I'm gonna have to order another damn bin.

On the one hand, it was liberating excising all that junk from the house.

On the other, it will very shortly get down to the "stuff I have to sort through" phase, which is a pain and a half.

But on the third hand, we're going to have access to both locations for several weeks, as well as the use of my parents' truck. So the move process can aid the cleanup process: As we move stuff we want to the new place, we can uncover - or at least get to - more of the stuff we need to discard.

Over on the PC karaoke front, some further investigation uncovered that the whole DMA/PIO fallback thing doesn't happen for USB connected drives, which isn't too surprising, given the nature of the connection.

So I went to Nerdvana (Santa Clara), and got myself a couple of USB to IDE converters. Those didn't take long to find. What took time was finding the internal USB cables.

Because they don't have any.

After considerable searching, I finally asked a salesman that seemed to have a glimmer of intelligence - and discovered that all they have is the little dual internal to backslot adapter things.

So I bought one of those, and unscrewed the cables from the plate.

I'll be performing the surgery shortly.
  • Current Mood
    lethargic lethargic