Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wikipedia : Caveat Emptor

You'll have noticed I link to Wikipedia a lot.

Wikipedia is one of the internet phenomema of the last couple of years - an online encyclopedia which is compiled by anyone who cares to contribute.

Personally, I think it's great, but beware ...

Wikipedia is useful if you use it as a start to your internet quests for knowledge. Usually it is a good source of information regarding concrete, factual information on such items as .flac or cricket.

However, Wikipedia's strength is also its weakness. Subjects which are open to interpretation can be biased and even misleading.

So treat its information with caution. Don't base your newspaper article, thesis or even your homework on it without verification.

You have been warned.

WiFi 02 : Streaming

There are a couple of choices when it comes to using your WiFi internet radio to play your music collection; running a music server and streaming audio. The Noxon iRadio can do either.

I use streaming to play a random selection of my music library across our home wifi network. It's possible to listen to the stream via a computer on the wlan as well as a device such as a wifi radio.

Probably the easiest way of doing this is to use WinAmp and its associated SHOUTcast software.

Installing WinAmp is straight forward enough. There are possibly better music and media players, but WinAmp is reasonably easy to set up as a streaming application.

In addition you need the SHOUTCast DSP plugin for WinAmp and SHOUTcast Server. Both come with instructions on how to associate with WinAmp. The plugin is activated from WinAmp's options menu, but the server requires a little setting up via a .txt file. The settings are all fully explained in the file, but do require careful reading.

The advantage of streaming in this way is that you can play any music file format you like - or at least have the WinAmp codec for - despite the fact that the iRadio will only play a limited number of formats. For example, the iRadio will not play .flac or .ape files, but WinAmp/SHOUTcast transcodes the stream into an .mp3, or in my case, AAC+/48kbps format for the iRadio to play.

The disadvantage of streaming is that it is not possible to effect a choice of what's played through the iRadio. The music is directed by WinAmp's playlist. However, it does mean that from time to time you rediscover the little gems hidden away in your music collection.

*See my hifi index here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Gridiron : Eagles vs Giants

Well, I did baseball, and now it's American Football's turn.

So a cold, dull day saw us drive across to Phillie to the Eagle's stadium to watch my first US football game. Not my first ever gridiron; I have watched it on tv and local UK teams in muddy fields in the corner of the park, but nothing like this.

The stadium was immense. Several tiers of seating rising high into the sky. Hey, the section where we were even had waitress service. Not like Plymouth Argyle's Mayflower stand at all really.

The protagonists, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants - Linda's team - were at more or less opposite ends of the league, but that didn't stop the Eagles making a good start against the high-rolling Giants. However, the Giants doggedly made a slow, but not particularly elegant come-back to take the game by the end.

US football is a great game spoiled only by the fact that an hour on the field takes over three hours after all the stoppages and intervals are factored in. Fortunately, although it was a cold day there was no wind in our faces, so apart from frigid feet we survived quite well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rackett : Joe's Pub, NYC

Hey Rock and Roll!!!

Just how do you categorise Rackett?

I mean, do you measure rock and rollers by their teenage acne or by their ability to wear a rather nice sports jacket?

Well, by the second measure Rackett were right up there with the best ... And by musical standards they were up there too, especially when combined with their librettist (?) Paul Muldoon, award winning poet and darling of the New York Times.

Okay, so he's not the darling of the New York Times, but they don't get everything right, do they?

Anyway, a great evening was had by all. By my estimation half of Princeton's literati were there. Actually, they laughed at the same lines I did, so I must be cleverer than I thought.

The venue, Joe's Pub is one of the best in NYC, and thus by extrapolation I suppose, one of the best anywhere. It's certainly a place to get close up and personal with whoever's on stage. But watch your sports jacket... It will get grabbed by Joe's coat Nazis for sure ...

*See my hifi / media index