December 8th, 2005

the mark

The stumbling advance of personal technology

I had been agonizing for a while whether to replace my lost Swiss Army knife with a new one or switch to a Leatherman, and finally went with the the Leatherman. It's just been a couple of days, but I'm already having the feeling that I made the wrong decision...perhaps if I were still in the Reserves and stripping WD-1 phone wire on several weekends a year the Leatherman would be better, but I don't have that much occasion to use the various tools on the device. I may take it back and trade it in on a knife yet.

On another front, the Radio Shack CD player lived up to my low expectations of TandyCorp merchandise and died over the weekend. I dithered over whether I should invest money in another one or just make the leap to an MP3 player of some sort, and eventally went with an inexpensive Memorex CD player from WalMart. (I'd already replaced the broken headphones a couple weeks ago.) Still, I have a chance to pick up a Rio Carbon player for 70% off the MSRP, and most online sites seem to rate it highly. My main problem with getting the Carbon is that I haven't made much headway on ripping, mixing and burning the various mix CDs I've wanted to turn out and am unsure that I'll make any better progress on ripping music for the Carbon...and I'll need to rip a lot of music, since that puppy holds 5 GB. I'm pretty sure I have that much music, though I'm not sure I want to listen to all of it.

Meanwhile, there are clothes and dishes that need washing, and garbage that needs tossing. Whither musical timewasting against the challenge of housekeeping?

From Hadrian's Wall to the Sunni Triangle

I haven't read anything by James Webb since A Country Such As This, which cut too close to the bone at the time I read it, and didn't see Rules of Engagement, for which Webb wrote the book. However, all the talk about his new book, Born Fighting, finally convinced me to pick it up.

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