Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Life (Page 2 of 139)

Re-ripping The Classics

On my way to the grocery store yesterday morning I discovered that one of the songs playing on my phone was misbehaving a bit. It skipped forward randomly for most of the first minute or so before settling into something resembling normal playback. In a moment of brilliant forethought I made note of the glitch (thank you, Obsidian) to check on once I got home.

Sure enough, that song (and indeed every song on its particular album) had been ripped with a barely-out-of-beta version of the Ogg Vorbis codec, which means it hadn’t yet been optimized for decoding in mobile device environments. Then I checked a number of other albums by the same artist and… all but a few were ripped at basically the same time with the same (new then, but obsolete now) codec. Clearly at some point in 2002 I was super busy ripping CDs.

Guess what I spent yesterday afternoon doing! Ripping CDs again!

On the upside, I have dbPoweramp‘s CD Ripper software on hand and a solid & reliable LG optical drive to work with. On the downside, some of these CDs are quite old and are showing their age. (Plus, in some cases, there’s actual physical damage. The kids got into my CD collection once when they were very very young…)

Overall the operation went well, and the only three tracks which indicated failures in the ripping software were tracks I don’t particularly need. (The first is a duplicate bonus track available in remastered form on a different album, and the remaining two are live versions of songs I can probably source elsewhere.)

Why even bother, then? Because this time I have more advanced codecs available, at higher bitrate (thus slightly better overall quality), and if anything went horribly wrong with my source CDs (further bitrot or an actual physical catastrophe of some sort) I want the (reasonably) best available archival copies I can get. (No, I didn’t FLAC these albums. They’re not important enough to me to justify the vastly increased storage requirement.)

And now when those songs come up on my phone in the random playlist, they shouldn’t go all glitch-y on me. Priorities, y’all.

Are You Experian-ced?

Dealing with financial stuff is already on my list of least-favorite activities, but when you pair that with a security breach at the Oregon State DMV, it’s just doubly frustrating. See, it turns out that identification information for 3.5 million Oregonians was being shuffled around on a file transfer platform called MOVEit, which recently had a series of security vulnerabilities disclosed.

(Let’s just pretend I wrote a very lengthy rant asking why, in the name of all that’s holy, ID info for millions of citizens was being shuffled around on the Internet without being, oh, at the very least, encrypted in some meaningful fashion. It’s late and I’m tired and if I get started, before long I’ll just be keysmashing in fury. So let’s not and say we didn’t.)

The point is, the State of Oregon has basically said, “Welp. Guess you need to start watching for suspicious activity in your credit reports. Have fun!” But what we actually did, in this household, was freeze our reporting.

Mind you I didn’t even know that was a thing until this event. On the upside, the three credit reporting agencies seems to deal with “freezes” fairly regularly, as evidenced by the fact that all of their websites seem to lead with, “Are you here to freeze your credit reporting? Here’s a big friendly button.” It took me about forty minutes all told to get signed up at Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion… and that included some general puttering around trying to get a feel for things, not to mention some concern & annoyance over one of the services’ “security questions.

At any rate, theoretically it should be more difficult for identity thieves to use our names to ruin our credit by doing whatever-it-is they do with the information that the State of Oregon DMV so carelessly mishandled. Yay.

So long, Wonderduck

On March 8th, Eric T Carra lost his final battle against the ravages of ill health.

I found out about this over the weekend, when I decided to check his website in case there’d been any updates on his condition. (The news is in the comments thread of the final post.) If you read the slate of posts during the calendar year 2022, entered as he had the time, opportunity, and energy, you’ll see a litany of indignities (including COVID, but that was well after the initial problems had commenced). Through it all, when he could, he tried to inform and entertain in his clever, self-deprecating style.

It must’ve been hell. I can dimly imagine all the posts he didn’t complete, drafted then scrapped, about the ongoing interminable misery his life had apparently become.

To me, he’ll always be the one of the biggest fans of my silly webcomic project, Quacked Panes. Heck, early on I sent him the twin to my cast-iron duck, Rusty. I always looked forward to his reactions to my latest bad joke, and enjoyed following his interests on his blog (even if I’ll never understand the appeal of Formula 1). It’s no exaggeration to say that without Eric and a few other dedicated fans, I’d not have lasted four months at the webcomic project let alone four full years.

We shared similar-enough tastes in music, anime, and other odd bits of common culture to sustain a kind of distant friendship. Never close pals, but always cordial and supportive. Now I wish I’d been a better friend overall. Regrets, eh?

A font of knowledge and humor has left this world, and I’ll miss him always.

“Next episode: More zombies?”

An hour of jet-lag twice per year

Seriously, can we just stop doing DST changes? Nobody actually wants this, right?

I know it’s only an hour, but throwing off my sleep schedule absolutely wrecks me for the four or so days afterward. Today, for instance, I’m struggling to type these words despite “only” losing an hour of sleep. And yes, I went to bed on time last night and (more or less) slept well, inasmuch as I ever do.

It’s annoying, pointless, probably causes actual harm (it’s a good thing I don’t drive, I’d almost certainly crash into something or someone today), and should just get done away with.

So say we all. Probably.


Right smack dab in the middle of the week, here we are at another birthday. It’s not a round-number birthday, I’m not doing anything special to celebrate (beyond taking the week off from work), and there’s definitely no party planned.

The weather decided to give me a present this morning anyway:

There shouldn’t be any sound, I was doing my best to remain silent and fortunately nobody was revving their car’s engine or walking any barking dogs at the time.

It didn’t last or stick, but seeing snowfall while sipping cocoa on the couch certainly cheered me up.

Oh, and Vyx got me a little something:

That’s Edelgard von Hresvelg from the Fire Emblem: Three Houses (and Three Hopes) game(s). Behind her is the From The Earth To The Moon DVD boxed set, alongside is a little bit of Fullmetal Alchemist merch in the form of a tiny mug, and all around are CDs, Blu-Rays, and manga.

Her Imperial Majesty fits neatly on a DVD shelf, which she’ll continue to do until I need that shelf space again some day. (Speaking of media, I also received a Blu-Ray of Princess Mononoke. Excellent!)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I shall return to my vacation plans… mainly goofing off. See you next time around, I hope.

Backups & Archives

It’s 7pm on a Monday night. Do you know where your data is?

OK, good. Where else is it? Which is to say, if “where your data is right now” goes kaput for some reason, is your data somewhere else as well?

Are you sure about that?

I spent the afternoon of the first “real” day (not a weekend day, which I’d normally be “off” for anyway) of my vacation making sure my backups are pointed at the right folders and are working, complete with testing file restoration.

(Rule One of Backups: Assume that if you haven’t tested them lately, they’re broken somehow.)

Then I updated my archive drives.

My what, you ask?

I have a pair of high-capacity solid-state external drives that I use for media files archiving. Two of them, so in case one goes kaput for some reason I still have another to copy from. These don’t get used regularly for enjoying media (I have other devices for that), they’re just archives to backup (& potentially restore) music and videos. While the process of keeping them updated is a bit cumbersome, it beats paying for the kind of online backup storage I’d need to keep all those gigabytes of shows and songs “professionally” safe.

My music library also gets a couple other copies made, including an upload to a virtual private server I control, because it’s kind of important to me. Okay, a lot of important.

Anyway… backups are good. If nothing else, a tiny bit of peace of mind can’t hurt in these chaotic times, now can they?

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2023 greyduck.net

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑