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And we have a new favorite vegetable, which is asparagus.

Funny note:

So I got this cool CAC (Common Access Card) -- the new DoD ID card, complete with chip, three encryption certificates, etc., when I was back in NJ a few weeks ago. But it has "1LT Jeff Squyres" written right on the front.

Hence, when I get promoted in the near future, I'll have to get a new card. But Ft. Huachuca doesn't have the CAC yet (sounds like a disease, doesn't it? "I've got a bad case of the CAC...", "My CAC flares up whenever it rains", and "Friends don't let friends get the CAC"). So when I get promoted and get a new card, it will be the old green, low-tech one.

How amusing.

I finally broke down and got one of those windshield reflector thingies for my car. I did, however, manage, to get an annoying blue one rather than the default/de facto silver ones that most others seem to have. This has the unexpected benefit of making my car easy to find in a crowded parking lot.

It does make the car noticeably cooler after sitting in the sun, and makes it possibly to touch the steering wheel without burning one's hands.


On the topic of pine vs. mutt...

I was recently reviewing mutt (again) on the promise that it was "much better" than pine. After trolling through its web pages and supporting material, I decided that I needed to make a qualitative comparison.

The following uses a scale of: poor - adequate - average - good - excellent.

Feature Mutt Pine
MIME support Excellent (many hooks) Good ($HOME/.mailcap)
Index/message threading Excellent (graphic depiction) Good (no graphics)
Index coloring Excellent Excellent
Message coloring Excellent Good
gpg support Excellent (builtin) Average (use external hooks)
LDAP access Excellent Excellent
Remote personal addressbook N/A (nonexistant) Excellent
Remote personal configuration N/A (nonexistant) Excellent
Roles / identities Average (can sorta do it) Excellent
Message scoring ? Excellent (not quite regular expressions, but quite functional)
Message filtering ? Excellent (ditto)
IMAP support Average Good
Documentation Adequate Excellent

(I think that mutt supports message scoring and filtering, but mutt's documentation was so poor that I didn't want to spend the time trying to figure it out, so mutt got "?" for these categories)

Generally, mutt:

  • more sophisticated MIME support than pine
  • threading support is much better than pine's
  • mutt's message coloring is somewhat better
  • mutt has builtin gpg support; pine can do good stuff, but requires external hooks

Here's a list of roughly equivalent features:

  • index coloring
  • LDAP access

pine seems to have better everything else:

  • remote addressbook -- this is extremely important to me because I check my mail from lots of different machines

  • remote configuration (including local exceptions) -- ditto on importance

  • roles / identities
  • message scoring

  • native IMAP/SSL service. mutt supports IMAP/SSL, but pine has better built-in support (particularly for multiple folders).

  • built in filtering
  • built in NNTP client

  • oodles and oodles of built-in documentation. Not just on-line descriptions of key bindings, but paragraphs and pages describing concepts and features, all cross-indexed with each other. That rocks. mutt's formal documentation consists of short man pages, and oodles of personal web pages on the net saying "here's my .muttrc -- hope it helps you."

Something that pine is missing -- features like the BBDB offers. That each member in the addressbook can have multiple e-mail addresses, and when you "reply", it will automatically trim the "to" and "cc" lists so that there's only one address per recipient.

So in my mind, pine rocks. It seems to have a lot more functional features, and craploads of high-quality documentation.

Some random quickies:

  • I had a long conversation with Tim about the stock market and technology.

  • Conversation with Liza about USC band actually liking to come to ND because we were "nice" to them.

  • Because the price of Pepsi never went up in Greely Hall, the Coke machines went forced to go back to $0.50. All is now Right in the universe.

  • www.osl.iu.edu has an uptime of 107 days. heracles.lsc.nd.edu has an uptime 187 days.

  • "You can hear the pink. This is what I'm saying."

  • "It's all the little things. I can't think of anything bigger."

  • I saw Vanilla Sky. Hmm. Somewhat disappointing. 5 minutes.

I found some CD's at home that I had forgotten to take to AZ, notably the Go soundtrack, the Office Space soundtrack, the Groove soundtrack, and Music for the Masses (a collection of Depeche Mode covers). I re-encoded them with Ogg/Vorbis and noticed some new effects that I never heard before. For example, in the initial dialogue on the Groove soundtrack ("No obstacles; only challenges"), it sounds like it is raining.

Perk did a MP3 vs. Ogg analysis:

Cdawg and I have spent many, many hours comparing digital audio CODECs. We have reviewed MP3, AAC, VQF, and Ogg Vorbis at various bitrates. We "critically listened" to them, a process developed by audiophiles to track subtle distortions and colorations in music. I listened to "Closer" by NIN, since it it such a versatile song that I am very familiar with. I must have listened to it about a hundred times this week.

If you are interested in reading about our results, you can browse:


However, as Jeff pointed out, the paper may not be that intelligible without a glossary of audiophilia, so that you can understand what we mean by "bright", "attack", "airy", "sound staging", etc. However, some of the terms are adequately descriptive, like, "muffled", "harsh", etc. Or, I should say that they have a lot of adequatulence.

If you don't want to read the pdf, just take my word for it that Ogg Vorbis is the best technology available, across the boards. If you are looking for the best quality, multi-channel compression, variable bit rate, open source (i.e. no annoying royalties and licensing), and general coolness, you cannot loose with Ogg Vorbis. Encode at >= 96 kbps, and your sound will rock.

I'm going to start looking for hardware that supports Ogg Vorbis. So far, the only one I've found is Creative Lab's Nomad, but that costs like $400. A device that plays .ogg files off of CDR's would be optimal.

This audiophile course has been really fun and I've learned a lot of useful info. I think that it was a bit overboard in some ways. For example, I will never care that much about sound to analyze the difference between $2000 and $3000 speaker cables, but overall most of the information will be useful.

This came up in the Thought For the Day today:

Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
-- D.E. Knuth

I'd heard it before (from Rich and/or Jason Z, IIRC), but it's still a great quote, and is still very true.

I was stop-lossed last week. This means that I cannot voluntarily leave the Army. This does not necessarily mean that I can't be de-mobilized (i.e., go home and go back to reserve status) -- it just means that I cannot leave the Army.

Doh. We'll see how this plays out.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 15, 2002 3:01 AM.

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