A so-so day. Was

June 12, 2003


A so-so day.

Was tired most of the day. Had a half-pot of coffee (20 oz, brewed half-caff) prepared as cafe au lait. This current crop of French Roast does that nicely, and now that the coffee is a little stale the milk helps cover up the stale taste.

Graded papers, planned class, did not get around to working on job applications.

While grading I was copying our cd collection to my hard drive. I got about 40 cds copied as a background task. I made a long post on the Sunword forums about the differences between digital music on the hard drive and cd music on the stereo. The gist of it was that it is convenient to have music available at 3 clicks of a mouse, but for serious listening the stereo sounds better, as it should since it cost about as much and is a dedicated device with MUCH bigger speakers.

I also put in my musings about the differences between digital music and digital books. Basically, several small publishers like Baen and National Book Press have been putting full copies of books online as free electronic downloads. What they have found is that having the full text of part of their catalog online has markedly increased sales of their full catalog, including the items that are on line. People are reading books or excerpts online and then recommending or buying to read for real, or buying the backlist of those authors. It is a low-cost way for the press to share its work and keep the in-print backlist in the public eye.

Eric Flint argues in his column on the Baen books web page that this is because a printed book offers a meaningful added value over an electronic edition. You read more easily, retain more information, and conceptually a book is a brick you hold in your hand and view all at once while a document is a string that extends above or below you and you view in small chunks.

John Dvorack, in this weeks column in PC Magazine argues that the music industry has already lost the battle over electronic file sharing of CD music and that their only bet is to copy the movie people and create high cost, large size, DVDs with extensive added values. Just as CDs were not shared over dialup lines or stored on old hard drives, Dvorack thinks that DVDs will not be shared over the current broadband internet or saved on current hard drives. He is assuming that the internet will not have any dramatic increases in bandwidth in the next 10 years, I do not know how good of an assumption that is.

I was wondering what added values a hardcopy CD actually offers. Janis Ian argues that it is more convenient to buy the CD than it is to download it from Napster/Kazaa, and she has a point. She also points out that the first thing she does with a new cd is drop it in the computer and make 2 copies, one for her honey and one for the car. It used to take 45 minutes to tape an album, it takes what, 3 minutes, to duplicate an audio CD.

For me, the hardcopy CD has liner notes, unless it is a cheap re-issue without any liner notes. It has the music in a single discrete quantity - I tend to play whole cds rather than burn a cd with the mix I think I want to play. Folks who use multi-disk players and a shuffle program would see less benefit to having a discrete group of tunes. A hardcopy CD was easier to copy, it is only now that I have a new computer that I have enough disk space to bother copying music to the hard drive.

Back to the diary.

Taught tonight. I was tired, almost fell asleep in the car while driving over. Stopped at the library and finally (I hope) got the readings put on reserve. It never happened last week. Checked out Tolkein's The Hobbit as a book on tape for my commute. I appear to be on a Tolkein binge at the moment.

I left my lecture notes on the printer, so I had to wing it. I spent too long on transportation revolution, commercial revolution, made it through Jackson but did not get into Jacksonian politics. Had a soda while teaching so I could drive home safely.

Home, J wanted a snuggle. Had some sandwiches then went and snuggled. There is laundry in the dryer so I am blogging this and copying a couple more CDs.

Finished a James Jones novel earlier today, A Touch of Danger, and I am now out of fiction to read on the can. That means I go back to the local library tomorrow. Even a good writer like Jones fall prey to the conventions of his genre. The cute young lady who charms the old cynical hero and is getting ready to re-start her life - as expected - was murdered by the villain 2/3 of the way through the novel. What I want to read next is to re-read Robert Frezza's novels. They are in a box at the back of the storage area, I will not see them for a while yet.

And so to check the laundry

Posted by Red Ted at June 12, 2003 11:13 AM | TrackBack