CRRRaSh! 374 We Have Lists

By Roy Mathur, on 2021-02-24, at 23:50:07--00:29:15, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Leak, Garages, Lists

The house leak is fixed. The water bill was GBP 500, it is now GBP 150.

The car is still unwell, and I really don't like that garage, not least because there was this really angry and scary mechanic there, who drove my car straight at me with the pedal to the metal. I don't know if he was just angry with me for criticising the garage or if he had, for whatever reason, a more deep-seated hatred, but I am not going back there.

I have a preferred list of garages, tradesmen, taxis, etc., and that one is no longer on it. Some people think that pencil-neck geeks are a soft touch. We are not because we have lists. Businesses should think about that if they want the geek pound.

My Knightly Quest for Groceries

There are only so many ways to make mundane quarantine tasks less onerous. One rather childish, but entertaining way is to pretend I'm a Stone Age hunter-gatherer as I shop.

Lately, my mother has been gardening. When she gardens, she wears a mushroom shaped hat. Due to her affinity to fantasy literature, I have taken to calling her the Mushroom Queen. And so on my next trip to the shops will be as Sir Roy on a quest for croissants and crumpets.

The Expanse

That's it for a season that really didn't do much for the overall story. Yes, there was Marco Inaros's spectacular space opera war and Naomi Nagata's gripping survival story, but those are completely upstaged by the giant interstellar ring gate looming over everything, with which they did... absolutely nothing.

Also, that has to be the most amazingly brutal way of ditching an actor who fell out of favour. I can't believe Cas Anvar was okay with doing that final scene.

Heroes

I've been doing an unofficial rewatch of Heroes. That is, I'm rewatching it, but, outside of this comment, I'm not doing a show about super-powered individuals and sinister conspiracies.

I noticed a historical error in Hiro's quest in 1671 Japan---a modern plimsoll---and jokingly pointed it out to Tim Kring on Twitter, then immediately regretted it, as it sounded like a mild troll, and deleted it.

Apart from that and a few minor quibbles about the script, I'm enjoying the re-ride.

Cheap PC, Mini PC, Netbook, SBC, Laptop, Ryzen, NUC, Windows Development PC

As part of my ongoing quest for a new PC, I recently bought a cheap PC with a nice AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with the built-in APU, and I got it working with Windows 7, there were a string of time-consuming incompatibilities that meant I had to send it back. Addendum: this is the second ASUS motherboard I've had trouble with recently, and it's really put me off the company as a whole.

So I'm still looking for a new PC and temporarily using my 10 year old netbook. Remember those? A weird thing about the Beats branded HP Netbook is that it seems to have an extraordinary output via its analogue mic and speaker sockets, making it easier than recording from the Mac. The levels are so high that I had to stop using my TritonAudio FetHead mic booster, but I think the quality of the Apple Mac Mini Late 2012 in an out audio sockets are better and the Mac has more of the grunt that Audacity needs. Why don't I just upgrade and use the Mac? Because my entire software tooling---multimedia, development, etc.---is for Windows. That is a pity as the Mac is undeniably more stable, but developing Windows programs on a Mac sucks very badly.

Why is it taking so long to find a new PC? Computers are expensive and scarce too because, due to the pandemic, factories that make components and assemble machines are understaffed, and people are buying them to work from home and for children not at school.

The PCs I'm considering are a mini system with the AMD Ryzen 7 4000 or the new 5000 series, or, if it's considerably cheaper, an Intel i7 NUC, though the AMD destroys it. I was initially against SBCs, but I have developed an aversion to looming tower cases due to a lack of studio space and the noise. I am also considering laptops, but they tend to be DIY unfriendly and expensive.

If you are also in the market for a new Windows development PC, here are some minimum specifications. Intel i5 10th generation or Ryzen 7 4000 series+, 8 GB RAM, 128 SSD. If you are developing games on a laptop, get discreet graphics, but avoid the budget Max-Q versions of Nvidia laptop graphics cards, and make sure your display is a 14 inch+ at 1080p with 300 nits.

Mp3tag, Kid3, Amvidia Tag Editor

I mentioned that Mp3tag was a vital part of my podcast producing workflow, and had to resort temporally and unsatisfactorily to Kid3 on a Mac.

Unfortunately, when Mp3tag recently came out for MacOS it was no longer free and besides I'd already found Tag Editor by Amvidia Ltd., which turned out to be nagware and not as great as I had thought, so I'm still aiming to return to the free Mp3tag, once I have a new PC.

Ubersicht

Ubersicht for Mac is like Conky for Linux or Rainmeter for Windows. It allows you to put widgets on your desktop.

Since I have been Mac-bound recently, I have been playing with it. So far, I've downloaded a system monitor, an international clock, and a calendar. I have customised their positioning and output by editing a few bits of CSS and shell script.

Google Firing Pretext

The Guardian reported on Saturday more firings from their ethics board. Following Timnit Gebru dismissal in December, Google fired Margaret Mitchell.

They told the Guardian, "After conducting a review of this manager's conduct, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct..." My translation: we found a lame legal loophole to fire them.

Bicycle Cruisers, AmazonBasics, Google Fit

Bugger Peloton (how the hell did they copyright a word for a group of cyclists in a race?), racing bikes, old men with saggy bottoms in Lycra; American 50s style cruiser bikes have been my thing for decades. What an era! Cars with fins, the Fender Stratocaster, and swoopy beach cruiser bicycles.

When my drive suddenly ejected I took a leisurely little ride to ease my frustration. On my return, when the blood rushed to my brain, sweat soaked my back, and endorphins took me to another plane of existence (yes, I'm that unfit), I realised that it probably wasn't my Mac or Seagate drive that was at fault, but the crappy AmazonBasics USB 3.0 hub, that was, in any case, slowly dying.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to take my word that I actually rode the bike because the amazing Google Fit app still can't understand bicycles. You'd have thought with all those Google branded bikes at the Googleplex in Mountain View...?