Urban Dictionary

UrbanDictionary.com isn’t your typical slang dictionary. For one thing, it is primarily comprised of user submissions. Maybe for that reason, it seems to be more personal and a lot less stodgy and academic than other similar sites I’ve come across. Worth a gander…

Happy Holidays!

I’ve obviously been offline for a couple of days over Christmas, and that may continue through the New Year as we again prepare for guests. It should be a fun party, but for those of you that aren’t dropping by, I wish you a safe and Happy New Year, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed your holidays so far.


Merlin’s Lists Of Five Things are pretty damn funny. Here’s a recent example:

Five good responses for telemarketers or collection agencies

1. I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with human sacrifice?

2. Seriously, will you still be this interested in me after we’ve dated for a while?

3. Would you be able to tell if I were defecating right now?

4. I am French. Your money means nothing to me.

5. I can smell your panties through the phone.

Gotta go; got some catching up to do…

Digital Music Stores Review

Are you as confused as I am about the various online music stores? Well, BBSpot has taken the plunge and reviewed seven different stores, including iTunes Music Store, Napster, MusicMatch, Rhapsody, Wal Mart, BuyMusic, and EMusic. Unfortunately, their conclusion was that no one service was “perfect,” although I guess that would be way too easy. I’ve only tried iTunes so far, and although I really like its interface, I feel that an online store should let me buy unrestricted digital files (preferably higher-quality MP3s), something that EMusic apparently offers, albeit with a more limited selection. However, I’ve gotten around the MP3 limitation of iTunes by simply burning a CD and then re-ripping tracks as MP3s, a technique that will work with any of the stores that let you burn a CD, but still an annoying extra step.

I still think that around $1 a track is too much to pay, though, especially considering that the end product is a compressed, lossy digital file rather than the perfect version you’d get on a CD. Granted, if a track is encoded properly into MP3 or other formats, then the difference is difficult to hear. However, iTunes at least is only encoding into 128kbps AAC files, and at that quality you can actually start to hear the difference in some instances. If I’m paying for a music track, then I expect as close to the original as possible, and I’m not sure that any of these services are delivering that yet. eMusic may be an exception, since the review points out that downloads are available as 128-320kbps VBR MP3 files, a very good alternative. I may need to investigate eMusic further…

I doubt I’ll ever buy a digital version of an entire album any time soon online. Besides the issues of compression and loss of quality, for less than the $10 these services typically charge per album I can easily buy a used version of the album that comes with a jewel case, liner notes, and cover artwork. In most cases, this is the best solution, although there are many instances where I only want one single. So far, that’s the only time I’ve ventured onto iTunes for anything…

I guess it may be worth experimenting with some of the other digital music stores to see whether they better meet my needs, although after reading the review I suspect I’ll come to a similar conclusion – that a combination of several will be the only “perfect” solution, and those quotes are definitely an understatement.


AwasuSeveral months ago I posted about my initial forays into RSS and news aggregators. Since that time, I’ve been using RSS readers daily, and I’ve finally found an application that I like enough to recommend. After trying Amphetadesk, News Monster, and Feed Reader, I’ve gotten to absolutely love Awasu. I must point out that although I really liked News Monster, especially its seamless integration with Mozilla/Firebird, I could not install it at work because I don’t have admin privileges on my machine, making it all but useless for me :-(.

Awasu is simply the perfect RSS aggregator, intelligently organizing all of the different feeds I subscribe to with an interface that is attractive, easy to navigate, and easy to customize. The biggest selling point for me is the recent addition of the ability to synchronize all of the information about your feeds between multiple computers, finally allowing me to read feeds at home right where I left off at work. There are loads of other features that I’ve skipped over here, including the use of plug-ins, but the nice thing I’ve found is that you can work your way up to advanced features while still getting into the swing of how everything works. I definitely recommend Awasu for anyone looking for a news aggregator. It’s a big time-saver for me, and I’m sure that you’ll find it equally useful it if you haven’t tried it yet.