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Site Update
September 17, 2009

The site was down briefly tonight as I uploaded some code updates. I have migrated the site to a different database platform and have cleaned up the code a bit, added some more .NET 3.5 features, and deleted some old files cluttering up the server. All in all, there are no visible changes to the site, everything changed was behind the scenes. Just saying... the site was down, nobody noticed, and now it's back and better than ever (you'll just have to trust me on that).

Song O The Day: Fire It Up, Thousand Foot Krutch.

Apple Doesn't Come Through
September 10, 2009

I've been thinking about getting a new iPod for a few months. My current iPod is a 30GB Video model, the fifth generation of the original line. It's over 3 years old now and is about 80% full, but the main problem with it is the battery life keeps getting shorter and shorter. When I first got it, its battery life was 12-13 hours when using earphones, 6-7 hours with an FM transmitter. Now, it's down to 6 with earbuds and don't even think about using the transmitter without it being attached to a power source.

So I've been thinking about replacing it. Specifically, I've wanted a Nano. The problem is that the Nano maxes out at 16GB, so it would not be able to store my full library. But Apple unveils improved iPods like clockwork every September, so I patiently waited, thinking that Apple would more than likely release a Nano with 32GB of storage. They have a knack for doubling storage, after all. Every year. Clockwork.

Not this year. Apple held their conference yesterday and announced a larger capacity iPod Touch, a larger capacity iPod Classic, and a Nano with a video camera and FM tuner at a reduced price. But the max capacity on the Nano stayed the same, 16GB.

I'm still thinking about it. But if I go ahead and get it, I'd have to meticulously manage my music library and constantly tweak it every time I bought new music. I couldn't have my entire library on the iPod and have new music automatically get added. I would need to selectively load the iPod, clear space as needed from time to time. It's almost like work. But still... I'm thinking about it.

I'm not interested in the latest classic model or the iPod Touch. It's Nano or bust at this point.

Song O The Day: Monster, Skillet.

Down a river in a red canoe
August 15, 2009

Around here and in other parts of the country, a popular sports phrase begins with "You can't get to heaven in a red canoe," but it sure seems you can go down a river in one. The youth group went to New River in West Jefferson today and took 9 canoes down a lazy river for 3 and a half hours. "Lazy" isn't what I would call it, though, because there was nothing lazy about it. The next time I work that much, I want to get paid. It was fun though. Well, except for the fact that I have a sunburn in the classic farmer's tan pattern. That's going to extend the fun for another few days...

Song O The Day: Only This Moment, Royksopp.

Transfer Solutions
August 9, 2009

I complained yesterday about the slowness of the movement of files from my desktop (running Windows XP) to my laptop (running Vista) and how it was apparently a widespread problem. So I went to Best Buy with the intent of getting a USB flash drive to aid in the tranfer of files from my desktop to my laptop. The best value appeared to be a 16 GB Geek Squad drive for $40. Once I got there, though, I saw external harddrive options that blew away the flash drive. I ended up getting a 320GB hard drive for $90. Sure, it's larger than a flash drive and isn't fitting conveniently in a pocket or anything, but it's not incredibly large, either. It's probably about the same size as smart phones people are carrying around these days. It's fairly light, too. So now instead of merely acting as the middle man in the moving of files from one machine to another, it can be a backup option. Yes, this is much better than a flash drive.

Song O The Day: On The Move, Paul Taylor.

Quick Thoughts on the Laptop
August 8, 2009

I'm growing used to using the thing, first of all. I bought a mobile mouse for it, and it's about two-thirds the size of my mouse for my desktop. I've been doing some switching back and forth between the two computers, and the desktop mouse has almost become the one that feels odd instead of the laptop one. Strange how that worked out... I spend all day at work with a normal sized mouse, yet the smaller one at home feels already feels more natural. I don't get it.

Anyway, speaking of switching back and forth between the machines, I tried to move some files from the desktop to the laptop. I first used the Windows Easy Transfer utility that comes in Vista, but it was running extremely slow. I cancelled out of that and tried to network the machines the old fashioned way and manually move folders over, and it ran just as slow. It turns out that slow movement between Vista and XP machines is commonplace. I think I may just go buy a USB flash drive and move things that way. I have several gigs of music (all legal, thank you very much) to move over and that would take a mighty long time if I left it to the computers to take care of it.

Lastly, I just ran a simple and unscientific power comparison. I wrote a small program on both machines to basically repeat a set of instructions a billion times and then spit out the timed results. I ran it multiple times to factor out any first run compilation delays, and the new laptop is about 3.5 times faster at that simple comparison. With the old axiom that computing power doubles every year and a half, my 5+ year old desktop held its own pretty well. You would normally expect a new machine to be almost 6 times faster by now. Then again, perhaps new top-tier desktops are getting that fast. You sacrifice a bit of power for the smaller form factor of a laptop, after all, and I didn't get the beastliest processor available. But thinking about it a bit more, the 3.5x speed ratio might be about right. My desktop is a single core, 32 bit processor running at 3 Ghz. The laptop clock speed is actually slower at 2.53 GHz, but it's a dual core, 64 bit processor. Being dual core basically doubles the effective clock speed. Processing data in 64 bit chunks instead of 32 doubles the computational power again. Looking at it that way, it's relative power is 10.12 to the desktop's 3. That's in line with the 3.5x speed ratio I experienced with my simple program. Keep in mind there also other things to factor in, like system bus speed and memory. Also keep in mind I might not have any idea what I'm talking about. It's well past midnight, you know.

With that in mind, I'm going to bed. I'll come back and proof-read this post in the morning. (And by morning, I mean whenever I get around to it.)

Song O The Day: Teardrop, Massive Attack.

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I'm Anthony Pegram. This site is a place where I can talk about things that interest me in music, video games, programming, and other parts of life. It's also a place where I test the latest and greatest in programming technology. Thanks for stopping by.