cat /dev/DiBona/brain: Sony Just Doesn't Get It
Competing with the iPod is a very difficult thing to do. You need to get a lot right to be even in the same league. In typical Sony fashion, they have spent a lot of marketing, design and PR dollars creating and promoting their "iPod killing" Network Walkman. This is a device roughly the same size as an iPod--or smaller, depending on if you believe the PR, but not smaller than an iPod mini...but whatever.
Before I rant a bit, let's compare their features:
Hard Drive Size: Sony appears to be offering a 20 gigabyte version or a 40 gigabyte version for its Network Walkman, depending on which report you believe. Either way, the iPod has a range of capacities as well.
Price: Sony's offering costs a bit less when comparing comparable capacities with the iPod. Yay Sony!
Support Software: Sony Connect vs. iTunes. iTunes is good, Sony Connect is not. But hey, you might like Sony Connect, so that's up to you. I prefer to encode my CDs myself at the insane bit rates I prefer.
Formats Supported: Sony likes you to use Atrac, Apple likes AAC, so who cares, right? You simply can play MP3s on them and forget their DRMed proprietary formats. Right? Right? Well, on the iPod you can. And on every portable player made in the last five years, you can. I don't have enough room or time to list every player that does, really.
But Sony doesn't play MP3. It seems it "supports" MP3 through conversion, and we all love trans-coded music, right? But nope, no playback of MP3.
Yes, seriously. Really, stop laughing. Transcoding is an abomination. Running your music through two lossy encoding steps is plain bad for the music if your standards are anywhere above 1950's AM radio technology. It would be like using a Xerox machine to do micrography, as in that old AIR article, which I couldn't find on-line.
So, in short, Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
Take a perfectly interesting product and make it sucky in one fell swoop. I mean, I know that Sony has their stuff together much of the time--don't ask me about VAIO build quality, please, I've repressed that. The PS/2 is a fine product, and the Sony classical label does some remarkable recordings, but these landfill worthy players should be abandoned as some Sony executive's bad-trip drug dream. Better yet, the firmware should be upgraded to play the freaking MP3 standard that litters most people's music collections.
This isn't the first time Sony has done this. About four years ago, it had a pretty drop-dead sexy little MP3, um, Atrac player that looked like a stuppy pen, and I would have bought one in a second had it played MP3s.
I know what you are thinking: "What about Ogg? MP3 is stinky patent encumbered crapola." All I can say is iRiver seems to get it, and its player looks very nice; I want one and all that (I'd love to review one, fellas). But you have to support MP3 if you want a player to be a commercial success. Sony obviously is the kind of company that, even if Ogg were the dominant encoding system the way MP3 is today, would not support it in favor of Atrac-on-memory-stick.
Also, can I say that Atrac stinks? Good. Atrac stinks. I have an old minidisk player that is great for recording lectures and interviews and such, but past that? Crap.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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