Useful Consumer Review

Sony has a newish version of their “sporty” headphones branded “Walkman” (or “NWZ-W273”).  They have a built-in mp3 player.  I’ve got big headphones with built-in mp3 players, but it would be nice to have a pair in a more convenient form factor.

IMG_5365I bought the previous Sony iteration, but they were huge and fell out of my ears all the time, so they were basically unusable.  This version is much smaller, so *crosses fingers*.

They come with an impressive number of very small manuals.

IMG_5364 IMG_5363

They also  come with a pretty big cradle (heavier than the headphones). You have to plug the Walkman into the cradle to charge them and transfer data to them.  The cradle is symmetrical, but the headphones have to be put in the right direction, so I got it wrong the two first times.  Tsk, tsk.  Bad design.

IMG_5367Apparently the Walkman doesn’t want me to write anything to the built-in storage in anything but utf8.  When rsyncing to it I get errors like

rsync: mkstemp "/run/media/larsi/WALKMAN/MUSIC/Prize/.06-Ex 
  Pregui\#347a.mp3.vrixrA" failed: Invalid argument (22)

rsync can do anything, though:

[larsi@building ~]$ rsync -av --iconv=utf8,iso88591 \
  --exclude '*.flac' \
  "stories:/music/repository/Arto\\ Lindsay/Prize" \
  /run/media/larsi/WALKMAN/MUSIC/

So what’s the sound quality like?  Surely the Walkman should be charged now after I’ve typed all this…

Geez, there are a lot of teensy weensy buttons on this this…  Ok, after studying it under a magnifying glass, I managed to switch it on.  Oh, nice.  There’s a nice lady telling me what button I just hit.  “Shuffle.”  “Shuffle.  Off.”  She sounds like she’s an actress in a sci-fi tv series.  A slight metallic tinge.

Oh, sound.  Hey, it sounds pretty nice.  There’s quite a lot of bass.  I had never imagined that teensy headphones like this would have so much bass and such “big room” feeling.

There’s a slight hiss if you pump the volume up beyond what’s comfortable.

They block out a lot of external sound.  Since these are in-ear, you end up listening to yourself breathing a bit.  But overall, these are way better than I had thought was possible.

And I tried headbanging a bit now, and they don’t fall out of my ears.  Wow!

Hm…  so there’s buttons to skip to the next/previous track.  And if you press them a longer time, they skip to the next directory!  That’s perfect for skipping to the next album.  Very nice.  Hm.  But when you switch them off and then on again, it starts playing at the start of the current song instead of continuing from where you left off.  That really sucks for listening to podcasts and the like.

But overall I’m really impressed.  I’ll probably start hating them once I start using them for real, but right now, I’m loving them.

My New Horticultural Blog

Due to the exceptionally warm winter, or exceptionally studly plants, the roses on my balcony survived.  But one of the bushes looks kinda…  odd…

IMG_5361 IMG_5360 IMG_5359 IMG_5358 IMG_5357

See?  There’s a white powder thing going on, and there seems to be a lot of spider web action going on, too.  But mainly around the buds.

So is this a disease of some kind?  Or is it environmental?  They’ve been renovating the neighbouring house the last few weeks, and there’ a lot of white dust flowing around everywhere.

But I do think it looks kinda diseased.

Should I get rid of the roses?  I had kinda assumed that they would die during the winter, so I would plant vegetables there this summer…

Mmm.  Peas.

Summer Workwear

When being handy around the house, I prefer using professional workwear, because they have straps to hand the hammer off of, and lots of pockets for tools and screws and stuff.

And now it’s summer, so I went to buy some shorts.

IMG_5343See?  Super practical.

But at the Blåkläder store they also had workwear kilts.

Yes.

So I had to buy one.

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So it’s a rather long strip of cloth that wraps around you once and a half.

IMG_5352 IMG_5351

Hm…  It’s different…

It’s rather a lot cloth, so it’s kinda warmer than you’d think.  Even when worn traditionally.

So I’m not sure whether this is super practical. I’ll give it a try the next time I have to fix something.

Indoors, where it’s not windy.

 

CM&C Redux

Hey, that didn’t take long at all.

IMG_5328
Gaffa is the force that holds the universe together
IMG_5329
Special Effects

What I’ve learned from watching 100 movies and making 100+ cocktails is: 1) There are a lot of bad cocktail recipes out there.  2) New movies suck. 3) The WordPress spell checker doesn’t think that “movie” is a word.

But I swore to never use the word “film”.  Just to annoy people.

Oops.

My selection turned out to be a bit Now That’s What I Call Quite Early 90s Film Club, which is kinda natural, since that’s where I left off.  I tried getting a bit more current by buying dvds3a few handfuls of movies that had won Sundance awards during recent years, but most of them turned out to be lower-ish budget Hollywood-like schmaltz like Beasts of the Southern Wild.  They look kinda indie and interesting, but are excruciatingly boring to watch.

I mean, I do have patience with “boring” stuff as long as it’s good.  (For instance India Song or  Blue.) But when my bullshit detector goes off, I get cranky.

And I have little in the current crop of European art movies, like Antichrist or Irreversible.  And I loathe Haneke.  Basically crappy and dehumanising movies that have delusions of relevancy.  While probably functioning like the R&D division for commercial movies.

Anyway.

I’ve tried scoring the movies based on whether they’re good or not, and not whether I like them.  I do have great taste, though, so these are correlated, of course.  I sometimes like bad movies a lot, and (somewhat less often) I hate some good movies.

Here’s the complete list.  1 star means “awful”, 2 “bad”, 3 “not good, but watcheable”, 4 “not bad, but misseable”, 5 “good”, 6 “fantastic”.

★★★★☆☆ 1978 Jubilee Derek Jarman
★★★★★☆ 1972 Solaris Andrei Tarkovsky
★★★★☆☆ 1981 The Pee-Wee Herman Show Marty Callner
★★☆☆☆☆ 2009 District 9 Neill Blomkamp
★★★★★☆ 1947 Black Narcissus Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
★☆☆☆☆☆ 2005 Batman Begins Christopher Nolan
★★★★★☆ 1938 Bringing Up Baby Howard Hawks
★★★★★★ 1964 Bande à part Jean-Luc Godard
★★★☆☆☆ 2008 The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan
★★★★★★ 1996 Nénette et Boni Claire Denis
★★☆☆☆☆ 2012 Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin
★★☆☆☆☆ 2005 Red Eye Wes Craven
★★★★☆☆ 2005 Me and You and Everyone We Know Miranda July
★★★★★★ 1963 Federico Fellini
★★★★☆☆ 2004 Palindromes Todd Solondz
★★★☆☆☆ 2010 Tron: Legacy Joseph Kosinski
★★★☆☆☆ 1968 Rachel, Rachel Paul Newman
★★☆☆☆☆ 2008 Be Kind Rewind Michel Gondry
★★★★★☆ 2009 Κυνόδοντας Yorgos Lanthimos
★★☆☆☆☆ 2011 Like Crazy Drake Doremus
★★★★★☆ 1959 Hiroshima, mon amour Alain Resnais
★★★★★☆ 2004 Mean Girls Mark Waters
★★★★★★ 2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Peter Jackson
★★☆☆☆☆ 1980 Rude Boy Jack Hazan, David Mingay
★★★★★☆ 2009 The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch
★★★★★★ 1975 India Song Marguerite Duras
★★★☆☆☆ 2010 L A Zombie Bruce LaBruce
★★★☆☆☆ 2013 Elysium Neill Blomkamp
★★★★★☆ 2013 I’m So Excited Pedro Almodovar
★★☆☆☆☆ 2007 Superbad Greg Mottola
★★★★★☆ 1993 Blue Derek Jarman
★★★★☆☆ 2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Michael Bay
★★★☆☆☆ 1930 Menschen am Sonntag Kurt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann & Rochus Gliese
★★★☆☆☆ 1996 Bottle Rocket Wes Anderson
★★★★★☆ 1937 Shall We Dance Mark Sandrich
★★★★★☆ 2000 In The Mood For Love Kar Wai Wong
★★★★★☆ 1988 Chocolat Claire Denis
★★★★★☆ 2010 Winter’s Bone Debra Granik
★★★★☆☆ 1963 Shock Corridor Samuel Fuller
★★★★★☆ 1945 Brief Encounter David Lean
★★★☆☆☆ 2011 Scream 4 Wes Craven
★★★★★★ 1979 Woyzeck Werner Herzog
★☆☆☆☆☆ 2013 Pacific Rim Guillermo del Toro
★★★★★★ 2007 Paranoid Park Gus van Sant
★★★★★★ 1983 L’Argent Robert Bresson
★★★★☆☆ 2007 Eastern Promises David Cronenberg
★★★☆☆☆ 2005 New York Doll Greg Whiteley
★★★☆☆☆ 1985 Subway Luc Besson
★★★★★☆ 1980 Berlin Alexanderplatz Rainer Werner Fassbinder
★★★☆☆☆ 2002 Solaris Steven Soderbergh
★★★★☆☆ 2002 The Rules of Attraction Roger Avary
★★★☆☆☆ 1971 Two-Lane Blacktop Monte Hellman
★★☆☆☆☆ 1934 Of Human Bondage John Cromwell
★★★★☆☆ 2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Peter Jackson
★★★★★★ 1965 Pierrot le fou Jean-Luc Godard
★★★☆☆☆ 2002 Resident Evil Paul W S Anderson
★★★★☆☆ 2005 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Garth Jennings
★★★★★☆ 1953 Tokyo Story Yasujirô Ozu
★★★☆☆☆ 2004 2046 Kar Wai Wong
★★★☆☆☆ 1999 Jawbreaker Darren Stein
★★★★★★ 2006 Inland Empire David Lynch
★★★★★☆ 1990 Cry-Baby John Waters
★☆☆☆☆☆ 1970 Husbands John Cassavetes
★★★★★☆ 2012 Hunger Games Gary Ross
★★★★★☆ 2010 Sound of Noise Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson
★★★☆☆☆ 1993 Three Colours: Blue Krzysztof Kieslowski
★★★★☆☆ 1930 Animal Crackers Victor Heerman
★★★★★☆ 2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Michel Gondry
★★☆☆☆☆ 2008 The Day The Earth Stood Still Scott Derrickson
★★★★☆☆ 2011 Midnight in Paris Woody Allen
★★★★★☆ 1981 Death in Venice Tony Palmer
★★★★☆☆ 1943 Destination Tokyo Delmer Daves
★★★★★☆ 1987 Out of Rosenheim Percy Adlon
★★★☆☆☆ 1977 The Serpent’s Egg Ingmar Bergman
★★★☆☆☆ 1995 The Flower of My Secret Pedro Almodóvar
★★★★☆☆ 1992 Simple Men Hal Hartley
★★★★☆☆ 1988 Heathers Michael Lehmann
★★★★★☆ 2013 G B F Darren Stein
★★★★☆☆ 1994 Prêt-à-Porter Robert Altman
★★★★☆☆ 2013 Gravity Alfonso Cuarón
★★★★★☆ 1935 Top Hat Mark Sandrich
★★★★★☆ 2009 White Material Claire Denis
★★☆☆☆☆ 2012 Promised Land Gus Van Sant
★★★★☆☆ 2008 Adoration Atom Egoyan
★★★☆☆☆ 2010 You Again Andy Fickman
★★★★★☆ 1960 Breathless Jean-Luc Godard
★★★☆☆☆ 2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Francis Lawrence
★★★★☆☆ 2011 Limelight Billy Corben
★★★★★★ 1948 Bicycle Thieves Vittorio De Sica
★★★★☆☆ 1973 Day For Night François Truffaut
★★★★★☆ 1942 To Be Or Not To Be Ernst Lubitsch
★★☆☆☆☆ 2013 CBGB Randall Miller
★★★☆☆☆ 1936 Theodora Goes Wild Richard Boleslawski
★★★★☆☆ 1939 The Rules of the Game Jean Renoir
★★★☆☆☆ 2009 Inglorious Basterds Quentin Tarantino
★★★☆☆☆ 2005 A History of Violence David Cronenberg
★★★☆☆☆ 2010 Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance
★★★★☆☆ 2006 Small Town Gay Bar Malcolm Ingram
★★★★☆☆ 1940 Foreign Correspondent Alfred Hitchcock
★★★★☆☆ 1948 The Red Shoes Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

I started CM&C partially because I had too many unseen DVDs on the shelves. After finishing it, I have more unseen movies than I started with.

cocks3

And I have way more booze in the cupboard than anybody should have.

I peeked at imdb scores for the films I was watching, and it seems like virtually all movies get a rating between 6.5 and 7.5.  The only exceptions are truly awful ones, that get 5.7-6.3, and totally horrible fan service ones that get a rating of 8.0-8.5.  Any newer movie with a rating over 7.5 is almost certainly execrable.

Hm…  perhaps I should do a correlation matrix between my ratings and imdb ratings…  but that seems like work.

And now I never have to watch another movie again in my life! Whoho! I have my life back!

Monitor losing HDMI connection whenever xscreensaver runs: It’s a thing

After upgrading my TV machine (the old one wasn’t powerful enough to play BluRay media), whenever xscreensaver runs, the TV would claim to have no inputs.

IMG_5331I know.

After trying various things, I started looking at the DPMS stuff, because that’s, like, power handling and seemed like something that might be relevant.  Perhaps Linux/xorg/whatever turns HDMI output off when we get into “power saving” mode?  And doesn’t know how to switch HDMI on again?  Intel Xorg things are often kinda funky:

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200
 v3/4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 06)

So DPMS seemed like a likely guess.  However, I already had the following in my .Xscreensaver file:

dpmsEnabled: False

So what could it be?  Reading through the documentation, it seems like xscreensaver has gotten a new option called dpmsQuickOff.  (Makes total sense that if you have DPMS disabled, then “quick DPMS” would still be enabled, right?)

I disabled that in my  ~/.xscreensaver file, which made older xscreensavers on the other machines start complaining about an unrecognized option.  (Yes, I use nfs.)

Instead I put the following in the .Xdefaults file on the TV machine:

xscreensaver.dpmsQuickOff: False

And everything works perfectly.

If somebody had written this on the Internet somewhere, I would have been spared minutes and minutes of work.  So here you are, Next Person With Obscure Linux Intel Xorg Xscreensaver Blank Screen/Disconnect Problem.

CM&C:XCIX Foreign Correspondent

Foreign Correspondent. Alfred Hitchcock. 1940. ★★★★☆☆

I think I’ve seen most of Hitchcock’s post WWII movies, but very few of the earlier ones. I had forgotten I had bought a couple of box sets of the early ones, but I found them today. Just in time for the penultimate CM&C.

But it was a bit disappointing. It has lots of nice technical stuff going on, but the tension collapses all the time. Hitchcock reused some of the plot elements to great effect in the 50s.

Frozen Banana Daquiri: 😃