The last time I wrote about the winter solstice was four years ago. Back then we were in Cleveland and went for a nice hike in the Cleveland Metroparks.
My sentiment now, however, is very much the same. Maybe more so since we’re further north here in Seattle and the days are shorter here. We only got 8 hours and 25 minutes of daylight here compared to 9 hours and 10 minutes in Cleveland. (We make up for in the summer though!)
Having spent the last two winters here I have to say that the darkness does get to you. That said, I’m still happy that we don’t get snow — the little victories. :-)
Surfing on Google News I got a story that Sonos now supports a new lossless-compressed streaming service. In other news there are now lossless streaming services.
The service in question is Tidal.
Up until now I’ve been streaming Spotify to the Sonos and I’ve been happy with it. Spotify, as far as I can tell, streams 320 kbps Vorbis (like MP3, but different) to the Sonos system. This seems like a pretty goodly bit-rate.
Oddly I was having a conversation about this at work yesterday. How 320 kbps or high quality vbr (variable bit rate) is good enough. My comment then (and still is) is that 128 kbps sounds passable but my ears get fatigued after a short while. I still contend that 320 kbps sounds good.
So I signed up for a trial of Tidal.
Comparing Tidal to Spotify back to back they both sound good on my living room Sonos system (2x Play:5 + Sub). That said I think the Spotify sounds a bit muddy. I’ve been happy with Spotify, and likely will continue to be, but I think I’ll also keep around Tidal for my home listening.
As I was typing this the Run DMC / Aerosmith “Walk This Way” came on. I have to say that it sounded better than I have heard in years. Of course, for years I’ve been listening to compressed versions of it.
Does lossy compression have a place? Yes it does. I think my mind’s been changed though — where high bandwidth is available, I think that I’m moving back to lossless.
I suppose this means I have to haul up the box of CDs and re-rip all of them. This time I’ll rip them to FLAC instead of MP3.
As much as it can be to watch someone hurting you can’t do anything to make them happy. You can offer support or assistance in getting over whatever it is they are going through.
But the final responsibility for the last effort depends on the person that it matters to the most — the hurt person.
The problem with this is that it can lead to all sorts of defective behavior. The unhappy person can use the leverage, perceived or not, to control those around them who are trying to help them. This can range from pure passive aggressive bullshit to just being unaware of the problems they themselves are causing to those who are only trying to help.
Looking at someone hurting is hard.
Trying to help them is a natural response.
Helping to the point that the problem is worse than the cure just damages everything.
Trying to help someone who doesn’t want to be, or can’t be happy will simply cause pain.
Back a couple of weeks ago I went up with my co-worker Trenton on a flight on his (well, partly his) Cessna.
We were planning on taking off at around 3PM and flying around for a while before coming back. As we were getting the plane prepped there was a bang like someone slamming closed a hangar door.
Taxiing off the ramp to the taxiway he radioed the tower asking for clearance to taxi to the runway.
“Taxiway foxtrot is closed from foxtrot three south.”
Pretty much definitive there. The only way for us to get off the ramp we were on was onto taxiway F. No other way would work.
We were parked on the lower right corner exactly where the 342.5º arrow is pointing.
Emergency vehicles started showing up.
We took a walk around the hangar and came upon this sight:
If you take a close look you can see both wingtips of the Piper are hanging down. Looking at the hangar in front of the plane you can see some damage as well.
The pilot (who thankfully walked away from this) screwed up the landing in the crosswind and went way off course clipping his right wingtip on the hanger before (breaking the left wingtip), then pivoting off that and bouncing his right wingtip off the hangar you can see.
- = -
Trenton was saying you shouldn’t count on general aviation if you need to get somewhere for real. I have to think that even on a commercial flight if something like this happened — a crash — the airport would be closed for a spell while things were getting investigated and cleaned up.
So, a few weeks back I wrote about my new Samsung washer and dryer — mostly the dryer. The dryer was freakishly loud; it was louder than the 15-or-so-year-old one that it replaced.
The new new dryer came today and the problem is certainly a one-off. Other than Best Buy forgetting about the order originally, they are standing behind what they sold so I can’t fault them for that. (All things have a certain failure rate… it happens. I got unlucky.)
So I guess all’s well that ends well. I can say that I’m happy with how things are working now.
Many times I find myself in the position where something doesn’t look the way I expect things to look. I ran into something like this today — actually my co-worker ran into it today but I ran into it yesterday if I recall.
Looking through the company directory most of my team is in one department while two of the newer guys are in a different — unique to them — department. He asked if I knew why that was?
I saw that yesterday and just kind of shrugged. One of the Amazon leadership principles is “Dive Deep.” I didn’t dive deep in this case. It’s just something in some database that really doesn’t affect anything; there’s nothing operational that it would affect.
At it’s most insidious it’s something that is a portal to some secret project that’s so secret that the people on it are unaware of it. I would lump that in the “above my pay grade” category. If it’s that hush hush, I likely don’t want to know. On the other hand someone just fat-fingered (conceptually, since it’s just different words and all) the department when they were getting entered into the system upon starting at Amazon. That case is a “meh, whatever.”
Neither case would merit me asking and diving deep to figure out why.
If you questioned everything then you’d never get anywhere. If you never questioned anything you would never learn.
Not news I know… just something that struck me as an interesting idea on my ride home today.
Every once in a while a service you just expect to be up isn’t.
YouTube for instance.
It’s like if you go to Amazon.com and you see it down.
Mind you, I’ve seen Amazon down both before I was there and from the inside when you see how the sausage is made.
I lump Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and the like into the same camp. Companies that have enough of an Internet presence to effectively ensure that almost no amount of outage is enough to take them off the net.
Then something like this happens.
Oh well… maybe it’s just a sign that I should get back to something more productive. :-)
I couple weeks back I took delivery of what seemed like a defective clothes dryer as part of a washer and dryer set. It really just sounded like someone added a few marbled into the drum and let them loose.
I called up Best Buy that night to try to resolve the issue and dutifully they created a new order for another dryer to replace the only-two-loads-old one that was messed up. The promised a delivery date of Monday the 15th (2014/12/15) (tomorrow) for the new unit.
I was expecting a call about when the dryer will be delivered and by the time three in the afternoon rolled around I thought that they may have just not called — a non-standard order like this that wasn’t placed normally may not have triggered the same set of procedures.
They just didn’t process the order.
WTF Best Buy?
So now I have another couple of days without a properly functioning dryer with a new delivery date of the 17th.
Every year the folks around Green Lake have a walk with luminaries by the path around the lake.
This year I brought along the tripod.
There were people all over. Don’t let the pictures fool you; it’s amazing what at 30s shutter speed does to pedestrians. :-)
Ghosts of people and dogs walking on the path.
Even the boats had lights. (This was hand-held as you can tell from the background. How I got the shot I might never know…)
If you look at the sky you can tell how much the Earth moved over the course the exposure. Look at the stars.
For the past month and a half or so I’ve been aiming to lose weight. I got to the point where my fat pants were starting to get tight and I was not about to get another size bigger.
I also have a scale that I’ve been getting on every day to dutifully report my slowly shrinking weight.
I noticed an alert on my phone that the scale’s battery was starting to get low. I figured I have a whole mess of mostly full batteries that I pulled out of the smoke detectors (which is why I didn’t throw those batteries out) so without thinking I swapped out the four AA cells and got back on the scale.
I’m guessing there is some voltage-dependent non-linearity. The scale immediately read three pounds lighter.
Sometimes surprises can be rather nice.