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Archive for March, 2005

Cool New Find of the NIght

Ok so I’ve known about aspects of this for a long while, but I keep discovering more. Have you ever checked out the Internet Archive? It’s a beautiful site.

If something is free, and downloadable, it’s most likely referenced or archived on the site. Two of the coolest resources to date are:

1. The Feature Films Section which has tons of old b&w films (well known and not), all downloadable in mpeg-2 format. That means that you can download them, and burn them straight to DVD. If you don’t have those capabilities, you can watch the movies straight from the site. I’ll probably attempt to d/l the Charlie Chaplin Collection (2.8gb) over the weekend. Four classic Chaplin movies!

2. The Live Music Archive has TONS of concerts all legally recorded and distributed. Most of them come in a high quality uncompressed format which means two things: large sizes and some technical skills to get them playable on yoru computer.

But I’m sure you can figure it out. Go have fun perusing the vast amount of free information available!

And starting now I’m about to empy out my RSS reader of all flagged items, which means tons of new posts on my link blog 🙂

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Geek Toys!

Today my brand new Lacie Big Disk Extreme external hard drive arrived. That’s 500gb of space. Half a freakin’ terabyte..

I was actually pretty impressed – Apple lists the item as “Ships in 3-4 weeks”, I figured I might get lucky and have it in about 2 weeks. Nope. I ordered it Friday, and it arrived today. Over a holiday weekend. IMPRESSIVE.

So you might be asking – Winston, why does a 20 year old kid need half a terabyte of hard drive space? Well actually, I already have 80gb on my Powerbook, 120gb in a quasi-external (it’s an internal drive hooked to one of these), 40gb in a drive that I use to back up my iPod, and 40gb in the iPod itself. Oh, and 3 currently non working 20gb laptop drives and a 3 year old Vaio notebook w/ 20gb.

The answer to that question is that I make movies. Well, videography, but ya know it’s all the same once you’re in the industry. (not really) Right now I do wedding and corporate and promo stuff, but if I get my way then in college I’m going to make some movies. All sorts. And movies take up space. Lots of freaking space.

And so I bought lots of freaking space.

Out of the box I am impressed with the Big Disk (that’s a brilliant name). It’s pre-formatted in HFS+, which is the Mac drive formatting system. So All I had to do was pull it out, unwrap the power cords and plug it in. It showed up on my desktop in about 10 seconds – ready for any sort of data to be loaded on it.

Another great thing about this drive is the selection of cables it comes with. When I bought the Wiebetech DriveDock (for about a third of the price of this drive – with no actual storage capabilities), it came with a USB cable and a Firewire 9pin to 6pin cable. Which was crap – it advertised Firewire 800 capabilities, but came in box with no way to take advantage of them.

And I have yet to find a consumer electronics store that carries a Firewire 800 cable (9pin to 9pin). The Big Disk however, comes with a 9pin to 9pin, a 6pin to 6pin, and a 6pin to 4pin. If you’re familiar with firewire that all makes sense.

PC people at this moment are asking, but what about a USB cable? Well the Big Disk doesn’t have a USB port – because who wants USB 2.0 when you have firewire 800? (Not me). There is a Triple Interface version available, but I didn’t need it.

As far as speed goes, this drive is beautiful. I plugged it in via firewire 800, and immediately copied my iPhoto library folder to it, for a speed test. That’s 45,000 files, totalling 6gb, and all of it copied in in less than 9 minutes.

If you were to transfer one large file (a video file of say 20gb) it would take about 15 minutes, based on other testing. That is insanely fast – I can remember when I would watch a 500Megabyte file take half an hour to copy to my USB external drive. No more! HAHAHAHA.

The last thing I have to rave about is a sweet little program that comes on CD as well as on the drive itself. It’s called Silverkeeper Pro, and it’s a beautiful backup program. Three clicks will get you backing up your entire hard drive, or anythign of yoru choosing.
Click 1: Define folder to be backed up
Click 2: Define location to back up to
Click 3: Click the big “Go” Button.

It took about 35 minutes to back up my entire documents folder – around 40gb. A freaking mazing.

If you’re into video, or just a space freak I highly recommend this drive. Some may point towards the G-Raid”, but the 320gb runs just as much as the Big Disk – which has 180gb more. The G-Raid does offer USB 2.0, but since it’s obviously aimed at Mac people – do you really care about USB 2.0?

In summary, go buy one.

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Some music for your prying ears

After that pointless post, I feel obligated to say something somewhat productive and content-ish tonight. So I’ll recommend some music that has been gracing my ears as of late.

I’m the type of music listener who always has music playing. I wake up to it, listen to it while in the shower, while on my way to work, all day at work, while i work out, while i play on the computer, while i’m reading, and while i’m going to sleep. It’s weird for me to not have music playing.

You would think therefore that I listen to a lot of music. And while yes, my 40gb iPod is nearly full – I must admit I’m a repeater. I get hooked on a a song (or sometimes a band, or sometimes a cd), and it just plays on repeat. Many many times. While I have 3000 songs that have never been played in iTunes, I also have about 25 songs that have been played over 100 times. Such are my music listening habits.

Anyways music for you to check out:

Sigur Rós (currently playing):
Melodic icelandic pop-rock. If you like music you can hum along too – this is not exactly the best. You might pick up on themes in the melodies, but typically this functions as great (exquisite) background music. You won’t really be able to understand the music but it sounds soooo soothing. This is my dependable go to when I’m reading and need some background noise. I like their first cd Ágætis Byrjun better than their second one ( ) (also called Parentheses), but both are excellent.

Rich Mullins (yesterday, due to Easter):
If there is one Christian artist I will never grow old of, it is this man. Before I say anything of his music though – you must understand part of my respect for him. He despised the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) industry – and felt that it was cheesy, sold out, and not worthy of respect (I don’t have the exact quote, but that’s the gist if I remember correctly). Like a monk – he lived on a yearly allowance, and never knew how much he made off of his album sales. All money that would have been his that exceeded the yearly allowance went to charities he was personally involved in. In between touring and recording albums he actually lived on an Indian Reservation and was very involved in the lives of those people he lived with. More than any other artist I know of he lived what he preached – and knowing that gives his music that much more authenticity.
His music falls into the category of singer/songwriter with a bluegrass feel. He learned to play the hammer dulcimer to honor his father’s appalachian roots, and his music was deeply influenced by that. Yet time and again I find myself drawn to his music because it is not happy Jesus music, it is real. Like reading the psalms takes us through the gamut of emotions – from pain and desperation to joy and praise, Rich Mullins music takes us on the dangerous adventure that is the Christian life and reminds the listener to continually lean on Christ.
Yet in between modern hymns of great depth, Mullins music also carries a certain innocence and joy with it, as he sings about waking up on Christmas morning in You Gotta Get Up and how faith without works is as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
I really can’t say enough about how wonderful Rich Mullins music is. If you are new to his music, his first best of, called simply Songs has so many of his wonderful songs. The second best of, Songs 2 is a great follow-up album. I recommend both highly.

All Star United (My official warm weather band)
Yes! Another Christian band that rails against the system that made them popular. It’s Christian indie snobs with a fun Beach Boys influenced sound. This band hasn’t been around for awhile that I know of, but they had two albums that are just so much fun to listen to. It’s definitely old-school Christian indie rock. I bring them up because their song Theme from Summer is just that for me, the official song that compliments warm weather.
But more than that, this band has wrapped up in their fun (and admittedly sometimes cheesy songs) some poignant messages about the shallowness of modern social gatherings, the hypocrisy of the CCM industry, and surrender to God. A great band that will always rank as one of my all time fave Christian bands (of which there are few!).

The Flaming Lips (happy weird alt rock)
I can’t claim to be flaming lips biggest fan or know too much about them, I have their latest album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and a few songs from previous albums, but not much else. To me they are the happy version of radiohead. This might be blasphemy to fans of either of the groups, but I find it’s true. They have the same lack of trademark style, the same desire to always try new things, but unlike radiohead (which is often somewhat dark and depressing), the Flaming Lips always deliver much happier beats and songs. And it’s just fun to tell people that you’re listening to “The Flaming Lips”. If you’re a radiohead fan, or just looking for something different than what comes on the radio, then I highly recommend the Flaming Lips as an offbeat and happy band. Perfect way to compliment the oncoming spring weather!

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::dreamy sigh::

Michele Catalano e-mailed me!

/pointless post.

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The tragedy that is Terri Schiavo

I was going to write a post on recommended Christian music. Because there is some out there, and at some point I’ll recommend it.

But as the clock rolled past midnight and the day became Easter Sunday, I was reading a few posts by Glenn Reynnolds, Charles Johnson, and Michele Catalano regarding Terri Schiavo.

I must say I think the situation is horrible, but my opinions haven’t really been expressed anywhere else, so that’s why I can’t just say I agree with such and such.

I don’t know much about the science behind the situation. There are so many conflicting reports. Some say she’s brain dead, some say she isn’t. Some say her EEG is flat, some say it isn’t. And on and on. I really don’t know. I really don’t know who I trust in this issue.

But here’s what I don’t understand. Terri’s parents desire to care for her. They desire to keep her alive. They desire custody for her. Her husband very obviously doesn’t want to keep her alive. He’s living with another woman and they have two children. Why won’t he divorce Terri? Why won’t he simply transfer custody to her parents? What are his underlying motivations?

My opinion on this tragic situation is that his obstruction and faulty memories regarding her living will are not worth the legal and ethical effects this case will have. Like every issue nowadays this has been highly politicized, democrats want her to die, republicans want her to live (for the most part). Is it worth that?

Is one life worth the turmoil? I just don’t know. Something about this is so unsettling to me – but it’s due to my lack of information regarding Michael’s side of the story.

This situation is horrible. But as those posts I linked above evidence – it’s become way to emotionally charged for all of the misinformation flying around. I wish that right now Schiavo’s would accept that they did everything within their power, and so did everyone else who was on their side. It is now time for people to let go, and let the family deal with the tragic loss they are experiencing.

Update: 15 minutes after I rambled this out, I found a great post echoing my thoughts on OxBlog.

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Related to Previous Post

The lyrics of Fred Jones Part II by Ben Folds seemed to echo some of the thoughts I had in the previous post:

“There was no party, there were no songs
cuz today’s just a day like the day that he started
nobody’s left here who knows his first name
yeah and life barrels on like a runaway train
where the passengers change,
they don’t change anything

you get off, someone else can get on”

The song is simply about a man who is fired from his job at the newspaper… it’s one of the most beautifully written and haunting songs I’ve ever heard. It’s definitely a song of mundanity – a typical event examined in a fresh light.

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Allow me to Ramble (on connectivity)

Ever the observant one I am, as I drove to the thrift store today I noticed a familiar car. My brother and I used to be able to name every car that was less than 20 years old by it’s headlights at night. Because of our familiarity with cars – I recognize friends cars pretty quickly.

This red car in particular I hadn’t seen for about 2 years. As I passed the vehicle in question, I looked inside and lo and behold – a friend from long ago. We had actually been best friends for a full summer 3 or 4 years ago – then he got married (to another friend of mine), and we lost touch. Different circles, different stages in life, it was pretty inevitable. I was also pretty jealous that he was getting married – barely a year older than me. Lucky guy.

But I digress. This got me thinking about how life moves on – always in and out, friends going and coming, people coming and going.

I’ve read that with my sanguine personality – I’m your best friend if you’re in the room, but once you’re gone, I won’t think about you much. Not because I’m being fake or because I don’t like you – but merely because I am an extrovert to the extreme. I am most focused on the person in front of me. And while i actually recognized this about myself a few years ago, and attempted to do something about it, that book is eerily correct.

I have met tons of people in the past 4 years. Some that rubbed me the wrong way, but the overwhelming vast majority of them (I would venture over 97%, as a ballpark) I have hit it off with well. That’s awesome to me.

I’ve met people via working at a Bible Camp, via working at a Christian bookstore (blech), travelling with Communicators for Christ for a semester and teaching at their big conference 3 times (I was a participant once as well). I did speech and debate for 2 years and attempted to meet everyone I could (fairly successfully too). Out of all these people that I’ve met (thousands probably), I’ve met some amazing people.

Yet time and again, they “leave the room” and I forget about them.

Recently, out of the blue I got a text message from an ex girlfriend/best friend. Also recently an important and very dear friendship ended rather abruptly. Then today I saw Wes driving in his little red car. As I transition in life to college – I’m at a stage where I want to be everyone’s friend, but I also realize that come September most of the friendships I have no will effectively begin to fade. It’s inevitable. It’s the ebb and flow of life.

But what if it weren’t – completely. As a dreamer I wish that it didn’t have to be this way, but I know that practically friendships come and go, and that’s life.

But what if the people I meet never completely became distant memories?

I’ve connected with so many people in the past few years. People who in one way or another have common interests (whether it’s a shared Worldview or just a shared interest in speech and debate or Apple computers). The whole goal of all our technology is to be able to manage contacts and keep in touch with people, but I find that in most circles I’m in, that’s kind of failing.

If I can add it to my list of things to think through, I wonder how we could reverse that, where even if I move on in life, and go to college, and don’t talk to those people for many years, there were still a forum for that circle, that was both idealistic enough to have goals beyond a subculture contact directory as well as intriguing enough to keep people interested. Or at least engaged.

Hmm. Big goals winston. (part of these thoughts were stirred by Mrs. Beatty at the GA open. She challenged me to figure out something like this – but I can’t start with that assumption. I have to start from scratch and convince myself. And that’s what I’m attempting to do)

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