Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets

It has been a long time since I’ve upgraded much of my personal audio gear. For years I’ve been content with a basic cassette walkman because most of what I do is listen to the radio while I walk to the bus and travel to and from work.
Alas my radio has pretty much given out as I can no longer turn it off without removing the batteries. Switching from AM to FM has become an adventure in pushing buttons. This plus The desire to record a bit of audio on our trip to England, Ireland and India has caused me to browse around and see what’s out there. And now I’m reminded in part why I haven’t upgraded for years.
A trip to the local Circuit City yesterday showed that actually touching most of the radios, digital audio recorders and MP3 players was pretty much out of the question. At best, products are blocked by so much plastic packaging that actually feeling them was out of the question. At worst they are behind glass so you can not even do this much.
Oh sure you can ask folks in the stores to get stuff and such but my experience has been that I really need to feel and use the products to know if I can use them. It is a bit frustrating to read about this and that great feature in a gadget and then to take it home and realize that there’s no way to actually use the feature.
Blind Cool Tech and The Mosen Explosion help of course as folks here are way into gadgets. Still with the pace of change in the consumer electronics market the product that everyone figured out how to use tends to come out with a new model and suddenly it is back to the drawing board.
That said I guess it is time for me to take the plunge again. Things are better of course today then say 10 or 20 years ago given the fact that you can find most product manuals online and the availability of the net to ask others and share your own tips.
So now I’m deciding between the all-in-one great product that will do everything I want or picking individual products. I think the short term solution is going to be a basic radio and the Olympus DS2 voice recorder. We’ll see with a second trip to the gadget zoo, otherwise known as the local electronics shop.

Kitchen Pics Online

Kitchen remodel 2005 is just about finished. More on the entire process in a different post but after so many have asked how things are looking I’ve put some pics online. You can see everything done to date in these photos. The project should be done sometime this week and final pics will get posted then.
These photos have no alternative text and are really just a file copy of a directory of pictures. Once I figure out the best digital recording device I’m going to put more audio of this and other happenings online.

The Good Death?

Earlier today I read this article from the New York Times Magazine talking about society’s efforts to arrive at the “good death”. As I sat down to write about the article I happened to turn on the radio and heard the news that Peter Jennings had died.
There’s a strong temptation to write my memories of Jennings and all the news brought to me through his coverage. Although journalism isn’t my profession today, Jennings and ABC news of the late 1980’s was one of the reasons I did get my degree in journalism.
That said today was also my mom’s birthday. In a phone call with my mom to wish her a happy birthday, she mentioned to me that an uncle of hers died.
All the discussion of death and the magazine article remind me of a book idea I kick around in my head from time to time. When “famous” peple die we have such an intense discussion about them and this societal sadness that strikes me as somewhat not quite real.
What about the others who died today or any other day for that matter? The media picks the “fortunate” few, and celebrates their accomplishments with what seems to be an undo importance.
I toy with the idea of a book titled “They Died Too”. The book would pick 15-20 people who died on the same day as someone who’s death was given strong media publicity and focus on the impact those people had in their own circles of influence.
Obviously everyone can not be famous and the theathers to which each of us play out our own lives are of differing sizes but I think it is important to keep in mind that we are all important to those in our world. The media-driven culture we have today tends to make it seem like the accomplishments of a select few are what matter.
We’d do well to step back, look around our immediate environment a bit more and remember that whether it is the person at the neighborhood store or the person running the largest corporation, the contributions we each make to the world are worth celebrating. Life is a precious gift and many do wonderful things with this treasure.

“inattention and failure to yield”

And yet again I read another reminder of that frightful day almost four years ago. Tears, fear, shame, blame, anger, danger, pain, and all so impossible to
explain. Thankfully the result for my being hit by a car as the result of a driver’s inattention and failure to yield” was much
less serious than death–the outcome for 103 pedestrians during the period this article describes.
“Inattention and failure to yield is what you are pleading guilty to,” said the judge to the person who hit me. And the ultimate
in irony, due to Washington traffic laws, promise to be good for a few years–seven I think– and you get no fine and a clean
record.
It was two years ago that I sat in a King County court room listening to a judge speak those words–the same words I’m guessing
are spoken dozens of times a year here in King County alone? I really wonder if the drivers realize the pain, damage and lifelong consequences they cause in the people they so “inattentively happen to hit with their cars? I know the driver in my case didn’t since a witness told me that the person was more interested in borrowing a cell phone to tell another that they’d be late for dinner, repeatedly interrupting medical personnel who were attending to me.
Inattention and failure to yieldā€¯ We couch such wanton disregard for the safety of another in such mild terms that it sounds
almost like the person did little more than spill a glass of milk. Make no mistake, it is the blood of another human being
spilled and trust me there’s more than enough crying to go around afterward.
Where’s the inattention and failure to yield” of the pain I feel after doing nothing more than walking for a few miles? I guess
I’m the lucky one who gets the gift that keeps on giving because the docs say “that’s just the way it is.”
Oh rest assured I’m more than thankful to have the pain. After flying 12 feet in the air, doing a flip I’m told would do a
gymnast proud and banging my head on the pavement, I’ll gladly take the pain. The alternative, given to 26 folks a year here in
King County for the period covered by this article, is something that I’m all to aware of could have happened to me.
I’m also all to aware that pedestrian safety is not taken seriously nearly as often as it should be. Ironic that my own home town newspaper publishes an article on the topic of pedestrian safety where the police chief of a neighboring city says cars don’t stop for folks in crosswalks often enough.

Finding a Name

I’m looking to move the Webwatch and Disability-News e-mail lists I moderate to my own hosting service. Finding a good domain name to attach to the lists has proven frustrating.
I’d like to avoid using a hyphenated name but most of the two word combinations that interest me do not sound good when read with a speech synthesizer. The words are frequently run together and the result sounds like mush.
I have to laugh a bit at myself. At work I can get bored when discussions drag on about whether some image is a pixel or two off but in my own way I guess I’m just as picky.