atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5217: Rumbles

Why am I awake at 7:45 AM on a glorious extra day off?

Last night Mrs. Fungus and I watched The Boy before going to bed, and I have to say it turned out to be better than most of the horror films we watch. But it meant getting to bed about 2 AM after I'd woken up at 7 AM the previous day, and I was tired.

Finally awakened by terriffic hydraulic pressure, I staggered--half-awake--into the bathroom.

And that's why toilets are sometimes referred to as "thunder jugs".

* * *

"Can I get the FM chip on my phone enabled?" *sigh*

I get these calls every so often. Yes, cell phones have the ability to receive FM radio. That's kind of what they do, you know, anyway. It's just a matter of being able to tune the correct frequency range; the rest is just software.

But the capability has to be enabled from the factory, and the only way to get that functionality turned on where it is not already is to root the phone and install custom firmware.

Of course, when morons call me and ask that question I will continue to provide the company line, because if you start trying to root your phone and you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's perilously easy to turn an $850 phone into a paperweight.

"I want to have all the capability that I paid for." Sure. You didn't pay $850 for an FM radio, though; you paid $850 for a highly sophisticated portable data terminal which can access any computer in the world. The FM radio part is maybe $1 of the total cost of the thing (if that).

Listening to the radio just irritates me. Most of the time, when I turn on the radio, they're in the middle of a decent song, and when it ends, it's time for 4.692 hours of commercials...after which they play something egregiously crappy.

If I'm going to listen to music from my phone, it's going to be stuff I previously copied to it. And in case of dire emergencies, I have several portable radios. I don't want or need FM radio in my cell phone. This is stupid.

* * *

Last night I tried getting El-Hazard hooked up to the Internet. The computer now connects to the router just fine, and the OS reports that it is connected to the Internet, but I can't do anything. After uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and-and-and, I let it chew on accessing Google while I tended to some things in the basement. I managed to get a sackful of trash out and an entire shelf cleaned off, but Google never showed up.

Signal strength is excellent: four of five bars. The connection doesn't waver. But the damned thing simply will not access the Internet.

I'm starting to consider getting another SSD and throwing it in there to help with the speed issue. Actually, I don't think I need an SSD; that 500 GB drive is vintage 2007 and I'd probably get more bang for my buck by tossing a newer and bigger drive at it. But the thing will do a word processor just fine, and the long boot time is not the reason it won't connect to the Internet.

Next step is to locate drivers for the WiFi adapter on-line, but I am not going to do that right now.

* * *

One thing I tossed was a copy of IBM CAD vintage 1990, optimized for the PS/2 line of computers. I garbage picked it when I worked at Sears Business Centers (the very beginning of my doing-computer-stuff-for-money days) but never even tried installing it. That was back when software came on floppies tucked in three-ring binders with thick manuals. 26 years later the disks are probably still readable, but why bother when you can get DraftSight on-line for free and get the benefit of two decades' worth of user interface improvements? The copy of IBM CAD is something I never used (and never will) and it's not even valuable as a curiosity. It's just trash.

Also gone: a shirt box full mostly of receipts, circa 2000, and a few mementos. I kept exactly two items from it and otherwise dumped the entirety. That's twenty minutes I'll never get back. And I found my copy of The Story of Star Wars, which is basically the audio track for Star Wars (the first one, before there was a sequel and Lucas retitled it Star Wars "Episode IV: A New Hope") pressed onto two LPs. I listened to that a lot in 1977 and 1978, let me tell you, which is why I can mouth the dialogue in that film along with the characters even now. (And when I go to that SW schematic scroll-a-thon page, I can hear the movie play out in my head.)

* * *

Yesterday I was listening to music on my way home, this time from a disk of MP3s found in the Jeep's center console. Saturday I'd had one of the songs from Def Leppard's Pyromania going through my head and I knew one of the disks in there had it, and this seemed the most likely candidate.

Well, no joy Saturday, but Sunday I found it on my way home, and--of course--could not remember which song it was. I skipped through it, listening to a few tracks in their entirety. Oh well.

One of the folders on the disk is...I'm not sure what it is. I mean, I made the disk, so I put this on it, but I have no recollection of what it is, and I'll have to toss the disk into a computer to find out.

It was not very good.

It was instrumental guitar, mostly jazz fusion, and it tried really, really, hard to be good, but it just wasn't. I tried really hard to like it, but simply could not. The music was like someone with an IQ of 90 using long words he really doesn't understand in an attempt to sound intelligent. All the songs sounded the same to me, in that the musician would start off with a theme, get three or four phrases into it and--just when the ear is almost starting to understand the theme--make a sudden detour, then detour from there, get lost, get found, and finally abandon the original theme at the end of the refrain, only to start over with the original theme and then do the exact same thing with only minor variations.

I understood enough to know what the artist was trying to do--the same way I can usually understand what our hypothetical 90 IQ man is trying to say when he misuses a long word--but he wasn't any good at it. Too many musical detours; it literally sounded as if the artist got lost in the middle of the refrain, except that he kept doing exactly the same thing so I know it was intentional.

Something I've noticed about jazz: some songs will play a phrase, then shift keys and play it again, then maybe shift again into a third key and repeat the phrase before moving to the next phrase. This guy's songs did that, but without repeating the phrase; it'd play A, shift keys and play B, shift keys and play C, and it'd keep doing that through D, E, and F, and by the time he got to E my ear was totally lost and asking What IS this shit? The ear has to have something to hang on to; you have to keep the key or the sequence of notes pretty even. Without that, there is no euphony.

This was, I think, music for music sophisticates--"emperor's new clothes" kind of stuff, where if you don't think it's good that's because you're a lowbrow who doesn't understand or appreciate fine art, and not because it's artsy crap no one can really enjoy.

So, yeah--once I know what the artist and title is, I'm going to delete it from the hard drive, assuming I haven't already. Further bulletins as events warrant.

* * *

And now, back to bed.

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