There Is No Cat

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Friday, January 18, 2008

New Slash Music Download

One of the podcasts I've been catching up on during my daily commute to the city has been Slash Music, a podcast done by Tom Ravenscroft for Channel 4 Radio in the U.K. I fell many episodes behind, just as I did with every other podcast I subscribed to, and am now working my way through the backlog. But there hadn't been a new podcast in several months, which kept me from feeling too guilty over the increasing number of unlistened-to shows but still made me sad for the day not too far off when I run out of Slash Music shows to listen to.

Not to worry! I went to the Channel 4 Radio site this morning and found, right there in a big banner on the home page, that Ravenscroft has returned. The show is now called New Music Download and it's only every other week instead of every week. And it's not at the same URL as Slash Music, so if you subscribed to the old Slash Music podcast, you won't automatically get the new program; you'll have to resubscribe. But hey, beggers can't be choosers. I'm just glad to have new shows from the ever-droll Mr. Ravenscroft.

Posted at 5:44 AM
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Random observations after four weeks of commuting

I've been commuting into the city for four weeks now (not so much this week, because I've been home sick since Wednesday, but no matter), and I've noticed a few things of no particular importance.

  • iPods are ubiquitous.

    Some mornings I can look across an entire five person row on the train and every single person will be listening to an iPod. I have yet to see another kind of MP3 player. No Zunes, no iRivers, no aging Rios, nothing. They don't exist. There is nothing but iPod.

  • iPhones don't exist in the wild.

    There are a lot of smartphones in use on the train. Now that I'm spending so much time on the train every day, for the first time I feel a need for one. But with all the attention paid to the iPhone, you would think I would see some on the train. Nope, they're not there. I see some Windows Mobile-based phones, but mostly I see Crackberries. They're not as dominant as iPods are, but they're the clear leader. By contrast, in the office, I was treated to the sight of four of my co-workers holding their iPhones trying to figure out why it wouldn't work with Exchange. iPhones seem to be mainly for geeks at this point and haven't penetrated business culture as far as I can tell. Or at least not commuter train culture. Maybe everyone's doing what I'm doing and waiting for an iPhone that operates on 3G networks instead of AT&T's slow EDGE network.

  • It's better to be on the bottom than on the top.

    On a couple of occasions, I've had the opportunity to ride home on one of the newfangled double-decker trains that NJ Transit is starting to adopt. I think they're mainly for the Northeast Corridor line to start, but they've been used on the Jersey Coast line that I take as well, and will be increasingly so as they get more of the cars. The first time, I got a seat on the bottom level. It was interesting. When you pull into a station, your eyes are at about ankle level of the people on the platform. It's an interesting change in perspective. The second time I rode one, I got a seat on the top level. You can see more from up there, but every little bump in the tracks is magnified. If you're at all prone to motion sickness, and even if you're not, it can be difficult being on top. I'm not usually someone who suffers from motion sickness, but I found my stomach becoming a bit unsettled when I was on top. In either case, though, the double decker trains have one big advantage over the older cars that NJ Transit typically uses: there are no three-across seats. Middle seat on a three-across during a busy rush hour commute can be an unpleasant way to travel home.

Like I said, nothing important, just some observations.

Posted at 3:01 PM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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