Boundary Turbulence

Freya’s day again, the leading boundary of the weekend. The day of change from weekly activities to weekendly activities. One of the least enjoyable of these is downloading podcast episodes for my somewhat (decidedly!) aged Creative Zen MP3 player.

Used to I had this task easy. I could do it on any of my Linux boxes. Then the MP3 player decided it didn’t like gNomad any more and I had to fall back on the transfer utility that came with the player.

Now that sounds simple enough but it precipitated a host of derivatives. First of all, I couldn’t find the CD of the transfer utility or find it anywhere on the Creative website. So I had to live with machine that the utility is installed on. Normally I use that machine, a laptop, as a Ubuntu box using a separate HD. So I have to physically swap the drives before I can do anything. Then I have to boot. And wait. Try as I may to clean out the Windows boot sequence it takes a good quarter hour for the OS to get to the point where I can load gPodder (commonality across boxes) and start downloading podcast episodes.

gPodder is no bed of roses. It works quite well on my Linux boxes but somehow the Windows version won’t handle any of the device add-ins, so after I download the podcast episodes I switch to a metadata tag editor to get the tags consistent with my taxonomy. This is another constructive comparison between Linux and Windows. The Windows tag editors have much more capability than the Linux tag editor I use. They also require a lot more time, about a factor of three to five, to alter the tags on a single episode. Some of this is write time being longer under Windows but most of it is mouse overhead. Changing a tag in the Linux editor takes three mouse efforts; the Windows editor takes seven.

Having revised the tags so that I can navigate on the player, I have to start the transfer utility and once its running, plug in the MP3 player. The MP3 player synch takes the same time – approximately – under both OS, as we should expect, but again, the Windows transfers seem to take a lot more time because of the mouse overhead.

I know I should just switch to a new MP3 player. This one is well used and deserves retirement if not interment. Sadly however this type of MP3 player is no longer made and quite frankly I don’t like, as in vehemently hate, the iPod type of player. So I did some research on alternatives and I broke down and bought a new MP3 player that is basically a file management device. It isn’t quite as easy to use and I am still learning how to live with it, which means that in the interim I have to carry along two MP3 players.

The good news is that the new player works well with Linux, and gPodder talks to it under Ubuntu so at some point I can shit this task away from Windows. In the interim however, it gives me a nice comparison between the two OS because I repeat everything (sorta) on Saturday on the same box running Ubuntu. Yes, I do another drive swap. But the telling thing is that the work, downloading the same podcasts, editing tags, and transferring to an MP3 player takes about 0.35 as much time on Ubuntu as on Windows. Even the podcast download is a bit faster.

So I get to reinforce my empathy for all those MegaHard serfs (slaves?) out there.

Meanwhile, back at the feeds – plenty of time to read articles while Windows does its bumpy grindy downloading podcast episodes – I find out from the American Cancer Society [Link] that there is a correlation between degree of sedentaryness and discorporation risk.  While that sounds sorta reasonable it is a masterpiece of dyscalcula. Of course that could be sour grapes at MegaHard for all the time I have to spend sedentarily waiting for its OS to perform?

And I note the Los Angeles Times asks, “Are America’s fattest states starved for fine restaurants?” [Link] The issue being that Alibam, among other states, have high obesity rates. Having had to spend entirely too much time in the land of Golden Earthquakes I can honestly answer that if Alibam lacks ‘fine restaurants” then so too does California. From my perspective the vast majority of restaurants in both states are fast food purveyors of unhealthy stercus. The biggest difference in the two is that the name Jack in California is Jack-in-the-Box while in Alibam it’s Jack’s. And from a quality of food standpoint both a terrible but the California variety more so.

I am not sure what fine restaurant means. In advertising parlance it means a chain restaurant, indistinguishable from a fast food restaurant in terms of quality of foodstuffs offered, that lacks a drive-through and requires people, in the main, to sit at table and eat off of real ceramic plates. Most of the representatives of this genre originated in California or are as common there as here. So if we devolve to not-a-chain restaurants I would have to observe that the nature of these are different in Los Angeles than they are in Huntsville. The biggest part of this difference is that the chefs in California are more pretentious and thus serve smaller portions of badder food to satiate their egos.

But I will posit that the real difference between the two in obesity rates has to do with the nature of local motherhood.

On which note I have to go kick the downloading laptop.