Bootcamp Day 69 — Chrome

When I told Diane that today’s Bootcamp channel was Chrome, she thought that it was going to be music from the golden age of chrome and fins, the 50s. Of course, that’s not the case — and anyway, Bootcamp’s already visited the 50s.

No, today’s Bootcamp stop takes us to the age of chrome without fins, the disco era.

I missed the disco era and haven’t felt any strong need to remedy that situation (I have yet to see Saturday Night Fever, though I think we saw Flashdance a long time ago). But duty called, and I turned on Chrome when I got to work. I recognized quite a few of the songs, and found that almost all of them set my toes to tapping — it was much better listening than I’d expected.

I don’t think I’ll spend a lot of time listening here, but I could see coming back when I want a dose of energy.

Bootcamp Day 68 — Fine Tuning

I’ve been in the Almaden Institute all day, away from XM (but as a consolation, most of the day was devoted to listening to good and interesting speakers or interacting with good and intelligent people — that, or killing brain cells with wine), so I’ve had very limited time to listen to Fine Tuning today.

But I have been able to spend some time on the channel, and I’ve listened to it quite a lot since getting XM, so I’ll go ahead and blog it today anyway.

Fine Tuning claims to play “the world’s most interesting music”, and that’s pretty accurate. There’ll be classical, jazz, folk, and rock, all within the space of 30 minutes, and they’ll all fit together very nicely. It reminds me of the kind of shows that the most talented programmers put together on WRPI (hi, Jamie!) back when I was in college — I aspired to create this kind of blend, but rarely was as successful.

It’s definitely a channel I’ll return to frequently!

Google continues to amaze me

I have to wear an ID/access badge at work; I find it easier to wear it on a neck strap than to clip it to my shirt. Neck straps often have an imprinted message, so I can make a statement by choosing an appropriate neck strap.

I used to wear one I got at the National Cryptologic Museum (it said “National Security Agency”), but I worried that it was bugged and stopped wearing it.

IBM, of course, gives out neck straps. Some are pretty innocuous; some push various corporate messages; and some commemorate events or organizations. So I have one which says “IBM Academy of Technology” and another one which says “CTRE“.

But the one I wear most often came from a visit to the IBM Haifa Lab. I’m wearing it today, in fact, while sitting in the auditorium during the Almaden Institute.

Someone sitting behind me asked what my neck strap said, and I answered with what I remembered it saying (IBM Research and Development in Israel). But she knew enough Hebrew to be more curious, and so we tried to actually figure it out. The last part was easy (“shel IBM b’yisrael” is “of IBM in Israel”). And after a bit of hunting around, I found My Hebrew Dictionary, which let me verify “research” and “development”. But that left the first word, laboratory: And then a light went on, and I decided to Google for the answer. I used the “character map” tool to type the word into the Google search bar, which got me a page of results. A quick scan of the results made it obvious: laboratory: really means “Laboratory of Research and Development of IBM in Israel”.

It would have been easier to find a Hebrew-speaker, of course (there are several in the room), but Google was more fun.

Bootcamp Day 67 — XM Classics

XM Classics is one of the three channels we usually listen to at home (the others being XM Pops and The Village), so I knew today’s Bootcamp visit would be a good experience. And it has been.

My only real complaint with XM Classics is really a complaint with the display on the receiver — 16 characters of artist and 16 of title is not enough room for the information I want about a piece of classical music (artist, composer, work, movement, conductor, and so forth). It’s often not enough for other music, either, but it’s really limiting when it comes to classical.

This problem isn’t limited to XM; I’ve been importing my CD collection into iTunes, and I’ve found that the information in Gracenote CDDB for classical discs is often messed up, with the composer listed as the artist (probably the most common problem) or other errors — on the other hand, popular music albums are almost always right. I did fix some of the albums when I noticed the problem before doing the import, but there are still plenty which are wrong.

Bootcamp Day 66 — Radio Classics

As I tuned into Radio Classics, I was greeted by “a fiery horse with the speed
of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-ho, Silver!'”

It was The Lone Ranger — and I probably would have enjoyed listening, if I hadn’t had to concentrate on work.

This channel, like Sonic Theatre, would be a great companion on a long trip, but it’s not very good in the office.