Saturday, November 24, 2007

Naughty device

I haven't posted anything in awhile. You may be wondering why. No, I didn't get so busy looking for music that I couldn't do anything else with my computer. I finally got my phone, and now I've been spending most of my computer time dealing with a naughty device.

The plan was simple - transfer files between my computer and my phone with a SD card, a medium both are supposed to be able to read. I say 'supposed to', because my Linux box is having trouble with it. It reads it just fine - I can get stuff from the phone to the computer using my plan. The other way though ... I can't for the life of me get my computer to write on the memory card. Some might point to this sort of thing as a reason to abandon Linux and rejoin the Windows monoculture.

But the problem I am having is not Linux' fault. See, I have a naughty device.

The card reader I have - an essentially unbranded generic device - would be a tremendous value if I could get it to work. It cost me all of 6 bucks for the reader/writer itself.

But with cheap hardware you often get coner-cutting. And here the corner cut was testing the reader on a variety of devices.

My understanding (and it took an awful lot of investigation to even get this scant info) is that many cheaper card readers will broadcast that they support standards that they do not. Thus, when the operating system believes what it is being told by the card reader and tries to communicate in full compliance with the standards the device CLAIMS TO SUPPORT - well, confusion results. And, apparently, eternal write protection.

Here's the kicker: Windows machines do not even try to use these particular communication standards - standards fully specified for the device! If the item is only tested on Windows and is not entirely supporting the standards it claims - well, you would never know.

So, it is the device itself that is naughty. Not (for once) Windows. Not Linux.

My naughty device.

THE MORAL: you should spend more than 6 bucks on pieces of computer hardware.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

One Weekend Under AGroove: The Chalets

And the winner is ...
You know, this would be a lot more suspenseful if I hadn't put the band's name in the title of the post.


Official Site

The Chalets are my favorite of the bands I was introduced to during 'One Weekend Under A Groove'. Although I had heard the name before (and even mentioned them here on the blog!), I hadn't actually heard the band.

Hoo boy was I missing out. This is what happens when the only way to acquire a disc is to pop for a $30 import. Folks generally aren't going to want something they've never heard. Yeah, there's Itunes and stuff, but 'haven't heard it=don't know if I want it' still applies. And some of us want the liner notes and disc artwork you don't get with itunes. Scans just aren't the same as the actual physical object.

I'm thinking $30 might just be worth it here. The Chalets deal with many of the things I like in music.
  • Lots of female vocals. Not exclusively in this case, but lots.

  • Harmony. Lots of it. Most of the Chalet songs I've heard are sung by two or more vocalists harmonizing.

  • Plenty of guitar. The Chalets don't exactly shred, but often songs are built around a strong, central guitar riff.

  • Great pop songwriting. Those guitar riffs back songs which have a great rhythym and flow. There is the occasional misstep (see "Love Punch"), but the writing is usually solid.

  • Fun. This is difficult to quantify, but the band seems to really be enjoying itself.

... and did I mention lots of female vocals?

If you doubt any of what I just said, just watch this video (yes, I've been messing around YouTube again). It's kinda goofy at times, but that just adds to its charm.

Second place in this non-contest went to The Long Blondes, whom I covered the other day. Long term I can see them overtaking the Chalets in my affections, but for now they come in second.


Other parts of my life didn't stop while I screwed around listening to music. Been building up a backlog of non-music topics to cover here. Also things are in the works that could either be really cool or horribly disappointing. We'll see. And no, this has nothing to do with women.

Well, only sort of ....