One of the advantages of working at home, which I do every Friday, is that I can put music on actual speakers, rather than use headphones, which I sometimes do in the office. Plus, my selection of music is bigger at home than at work, because I haven’t ripped my entire CD collection yet. For example, right now I’m listening to Tom Cochrane’s excellent live album The Symphony Sessions, which I haven’t listened to in ages. But every time I hear the Tom Cochrane song “Good Times”, I have to shake my head at the following lyric:
Oh, good times we had
Wouldn’t worry about tomorrow ’cause tonight was all we had, yeah
Oh, good times we knew
I’d tell you about them baby, but you were there
you were with me too
“I’d tell you about them, but you were there”? C’mon Tom, surely you could have done better than that.
I got a couple of new things this week: one available to everyone, and one specific to me. Mozilla Firefox 2.0 was released a couple of days ago, and I’ve already upgraded both my home and work machines. Honestly, I haven’t noticed much of a difference. Everything I use pretty much works as it did before — seamlessly. One difference is that there’s a spell-checker built-in, so hopefully my blog postings won’t contain any
speling mistaiks spelling mistakes. Strange how the word “blog” is marked as being spelled wrong, and it doesn’t like html tags either…
The other new thing I got this week was a new radio for my car. My old radio was a JVC MP3 player that I got a few years ago, which served me very well, but was starting to get flaky. First off, one of the letters on the display was broken (probably because I dropped the faceplate one too many times), and more importantly, the CD player stopped working reliably. If there was no CD in the player, it would complain a lot, with some cryptic error message, beeping, and cutting the radio out for a couple of seconds. If you tried to put a CD in, it would frequently complain about it and spit it back out, or accept it, spend 10-15 seconds reading the disk, and then spit it out. I’d spend 10-15 minutes trying to get the damn disk in the player, and then I’d have to keep that disk in for the next couple of weeks, because taking it out and trying to put another one in was just too much work.
The new one is made by a company called “Dual”, which I’ve never heard of, but the radio was cheap at Wal-Mart (sorry Tom). Mine doesn’t seem to be shown on the Dual web site, but this one looks exactly the same and has the same features, though I think mine has less power. It has all the features of my old one, I think, plus it will play WMA files, which the old one wouldn’t. There are a few things that annoy me about the new one, though:
- You can’t see the radio station / CD track name and the clock at the same time. However, powering on and off is much faster, and it shows the clock when the power is off, which the old one did not (unless you pressed the “Display” button).
- The old radio would let you name radio stations, so if I was listening to Q107, the display would say “Q107” (once I programmed that in) rather than “107.1”. This one just shows frequencies.
- The new one takes a long time to decode MP3 tracks — when I switch from radio to a CD (even one that I was listening to before I put the radio on), it takes upwards of 15 seconds before a track starts playing. Surely the computer in the radio is advanced enough that it can pre-read the CD so that it has the next, say, 30 seconds of music in memory and ready to play once I switch to CD mode.
- When playing MP3 tracks, my old one would display the album name once at the beginning of the album, and then display the track name, and leave the track name on during the song. The new one shows whatever you ask for (track name for me), but nothing else unless you cycle through the viewing options.
- When navigating through songs and albums, they’ve decided that the most useful thing to show is the track number, rather than the song or album name. To jump ahead to another album or track, I need to: (1) let the song play long enough to identify it, (2) wait for 5-10 seconds until it decides to show me the track name, or (3) start clicking buttons until it shows me the track name. Of course, this is a car stereo, so it would have been nice for the designers to give a little bit of extra thought to the usability factor; if I’m futzing with the radio while driving, I want to be able to do stuff as quickly as possible.
All in all, it’ll be fine. I’ll get used to the limitations quickly I’m sure, and it no longer takes 15 minutes to change CDs, so that’s a plus.