Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, September 17, 2005

For the MacOS users: Camino 1.0 alpha 1 is out.

If you haven't used Camino, give it a look. Camino is what Firefox on the MacOS should be.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Nice touch in Apple's new iPod Nano. It requires a USB connection to sync. The FireWire connector is the same shape, but if you plug one into the Nano, a message appears on the screen to the effect that FireWire won't work.

But here is the nice touch -- it still charges. I suppose the connectors are the same, so this shouldn't be surprising. But still nice to be able to charge with another person's iPod cable.

"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget."

I swear to God that was not an Onion headline.





Fashion Week
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It is fashion week here in New York.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bloomberg: Time Warner Rises on Report Microsoft May Share AOL

Oh my God. I don't care why they want it. Give it to Microsoft for free. Just have them assume AOL's debt. Lets get rid of that lipstick-wearing pig and get back to business.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I am on a quest. I listen to music on the go. A lot. Usually on an iPod; either a shuffle or a 30 gig. And when I'm on the go, I want to use in-ear headphones. Not the disc-shaped ear buds -- things I stick into my ear for a snug fit.

I want in-ear headphones because they seal out some ambient noise. Sealing out ambient noise means that I can hear the music better, but it also means that I won't have to play music as loud as I would with open headphones. Yes, this is another headphone rant.

On this quest, I've tried a lot of headphones. Here is the rundown.

Apple iPod Ear Buds

Overall, not too bad. A lot like Bose speakers, these ear buds are carefully tuned to feel punchy when listening to pop music. Punchy often doesn't mean accurate, but Apple tried to make them sound pleasing. Downsides? Don't bother listen to strings with these headphones. They are OK for LCD Soundsystem, or something like that. To sound good, they need to be snug in your ear, but they tend to wiggle loose. Additionally, the little foam covers that help keep the ear buds in your ear tend to fall off the headphones rather easily.

Apple In-Ear Headphones

Wow. Very disappointing. I expected these to sound much better than they do. Seriously lacking in bass and harsh upper-mids. I really didn't like these.

Sony Fontopia (MDR-EX71SL)

This was the first set of replacement headphones I bought, and I seem to have been really lucky. The first pair sounded really pleasing. Deep, abundant (if not a little overemphasized) bass, good mids, but somewhat attenuated upper frequencies. I remember how well they handled Radiohead's The Bends. Good stuff. The also sealed the ear fairly well. I used these Sony headphones for months, finally wearing them out. Each replacement set I bought sounded terrible. Harsh highs, little bass. I bought three replacement sets; all three were equally bad. I'm not sure if the first pair was a fluke, or if I somehow managed to purchase three sets of defective headphones. Very strange.

Future Sonics EM3

These are interesting because they are built around a foam earplug-like material, so they block out a great deal of ambient noise. Sonically they are pretty good, but you can tell their heritage is that of a stage monitor. Mid tones are emphasized at the expense of the far ends of high and low frequencies. Still, they have a relatively even, pleasing sound, particularly good for rock. Nice with Led Zeppelin III. Vocals and electric guitars sound particularly good. The only thing really lacking is the kick of very low bass. Also, quite a comfortable in-ear headphone.

Shure E5 isolating earphones

These have an interesting sound. I didn't find them as pleasing as others I've used, but I can see why people like them. Very rock-sounding earphones. They feel uneven to me; I didn't enjoy listening to them. This may be a little unfair, because these are rather high impedance headphones. I'm not sure if an iPod can really drive them. The headphones are also less comfortable (to me) than others. The pads were rather hard, didn't hold well in my ears, shaking loose too often.

Etymotic ER-4P MicroPro

These should be the best in-ear headphones I have, probably by a large margin. I really want to like them more than I do. They are terribly expensive (for ear bud headphones), and Etymotic markets them with such gusto. And they come in this snappy case with ten sets of "ear tips," extra "filters," a "filter changing tool," a headphone carrying case, and an instruction booklet. You can't beat that with a stick.

First the bad, so I can dwell on the good: bass, dammit. These headphones seem to drop off between 60 and 150 Hz. This is particularly frustrating, as they are really, really flat above that range, and very clear, reproducing the subtlety of a recording terribly well.

If I only listened to string quartets or orchestral music, I'd love these headphones. It is particularly nice to listen to a well recorded string piece and to feel the texture of the bow on the strings. Or to feel the clear separation of the microphones on the piano in Joni Mitchell's My Old Man. If anything, these headphones are notable for their excellent separation between tones. They really preserve a stereo image well, and are a pleasure to listen to. I just miss the lowest tones that I know are present, attenuated by about 5 dB. To get the best sound, though, these headphones have to really be jammed into your ear. Unnaturally so, like you wanted to stab your brain. A nice side effect of this is the isolation; you can't hear a thing with them in your ears.

Lest you think I'm some bitchy kook who won't be satisfied with any headphones, I can't say enough about the quality of the Sennheiser 590s I use when I'm stationary.

Listening to a recording through these headphones really is exciting. You hear unexpected details and subtlety. Fingers dragging across frets; pads closing on a saxophone; Eliot Fisk breathing as he works through some Scarlatti. Closing your eyes and listening to a good recording really is a pleasure with these headphones, because the sound is so good, so clear, and so even that you have an experience better than being there. These headphones put you in the middle of a performance in a remarkable way.

I so clearly remember the big moments in my music listening past. Each time I heard music through a better system, it was like hearing the music for the first time. From 33rpm vinyl a bad needle and junky speakers, to a cassette tape with better speakers; a CD through better speakers; a Marantz SA-CD player through McIntosh speakers. Each time the differences are subtle, but audible and important. You think, "yes -- this is how it should sound." Each time the music is new, better, and you discover little surprising things. This is the difference between junky headphones and the Sennheisers.

There is no "best" music for the 590s. Everything sounds wonderful.

And the bass; ah, the bass. You feel the punch of DMX's Keep Your Shit the Hardest deep in your brain, the kick drum in Metallica's Enter Sandman is like an hammer hitting an anvil. These headphones are remarkable for the range of tones they reproduce, the clear separation of tones, and the flat, even response while doing it. I'm tempted to get a set of HD 650s just to see if they can possibly be better.

So I'm still looking. Always open to suggestions.

Why I'm so concerned that the President and Congress just dumped $60 billion on New Orleans: there is a culture of corruption and waste that pervades politicians and officials from top to bottom.

I'm not confident that money thrown at Louisiana will be spent well.


Flag Shirt Man
click for high-res

The strange part? This isn't the first time I've shot this guy on the street.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Washington Post is starting to track the spending FEMA is doing in response to hurricane Katrina.

Monday, September 12, 2005

12 -- Tilt

Wadi -- Paul Oakenfold

I Found U -- Paul Oakenfold

Peter Martin Presents Anthanasia -- Perfect Wave

Ocean of Love -- DJ Suzy Solar


checking for SSL_new in -lssl... yes
checking struct ip... yes
checking ip_v in struct ip... yes
checking if sockaddr{} has sa_len member... yes
checking if struct icmp exists... yes
checking if struct ip exists... yes
checking if struct ip has ip_sum member... yes
configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating Makefile
config.status: creating nsock_config.h
( ) /\ _ (
\ | ( \ ( \.( ) _____
\ \ \ ` ` ) \ ( ___ / _ (_` \+ . x ( .\ \/ \____-----------/ (o) \_
- .- \+ ; ( O \____
) \_____________ ` \ /
(__ +- .( -'.- <. - _ VVVVVVV VV V\ \/
(_____ ._._: <_ - <- _ (-- _AAAAAAA__A_/ |
. /./.+- . .- / +-- - . \______________//_ \_______
(__ ' /x / x _/ ( \___' \ /
, x / ( ' . / . / | \ /
/ / _/ / + / \/

Fyodor just released Nmap 3.93. The 3.9x series is worth downloading, particularly if you use Windows. Microsoft restricted RAW socket access some time ago; nmap 3.9x can now sent raw Ethernet packets to work around this windows restriction. 3.90 introduced a huge number of updates to the code and the fingerprint database. Check it out.

Brown resigns.

Resigns. Right.

This might be the first termination-for-cause in the Bush administration.

Oh my God. Someone here at work has Carole King's Really Rosie album in their iTunes share. Totally insane.

I couldn't bring myself to shoot the "tribute in light" at the World Trade Center. It has already been done. Way done.

But Overshadowed managed to make it new. Excellent.

If you post a comment asking if I'm interested in tooth-whitening, you get deleted. Simple.

Also, Walt Mossberg sent me an e-mail correction. Apparently he gave a less-than-gushing review to Apple's Mighty Mouse.

I stand humbly corrected.

(humble, my ass!)

Ebay buys skipe. Oracle buys Siebel.

I used to joke that, some day, we'd all end up working for Time Warner or Disney. Huh huh huh.

I already work for Time Warner. All you people will be assimilated next, though maybe we should add Eskype or Siebicle to the list of potential employers, too.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Flickr is fun. Every once in a while, as a click through (seemingly) endless cat photos, I'm blown away by someone's stuff.

Check out Nachosan's photos. His NYC, Spain, and People sets are particularly nice to view as a slide show.

A great find.

September 11

September 11

September 11

click for high-res
click for high-res