Saturday, October 27, 2007

Glitches: Power & Data

I'm en route to Vilnius for five days and Brussels for two, checking to see how our test deployments of SchoolTool are going.

So in preparation I took out my extended battery for my laptop. When I'm at home my laptop is almost always plugged in, so the regular battery gets worn out pretty quickly. So when I bought this laptop a year and a half ago, I bought the extended battery which I'd only use on trips, just letting the regular one crap out. As long as it can get me from the living room to the office, that's all I need from it.

Anyhow, I just used the travel battery on Monday for the trip to Philly. It worked fine, and since I try to treat the good battery well, I drained it completely, as you're supposed to do periodically. Well, today when I popped it in the battery applet says it is 85% charged, but the little hardware LED on the laptop itself is flashing like it is dead, and it won't charge at all. I remember that I still have Windows on this thing and switch over to check the more comprehensive battery diagnostics over there and am told that the battery is irreparably damaged. In what way, I don't know. I guess it is something to research... or maybe the POV guys know something about batteries. Actually, this happened to the original battery for the laptop as well, but I just wrote it up as the end of that battery's long deterioration.

So then, I got disgusted with the whole matter, slapped my working battery in and stuffed the laptop into the bag. Once we were half way to Boston I realized I hadn't subsequently packed my power cord. So I'm now the not terribly happy owner of an iGo Juice 70 universal adapter, conveniently available at a Brookstone Kiosk in the international terminal at Logan. At least now I can plug into car and airplane power adapters now, and I can leave this cord permanantly in my bag.

My other small disaster today (are you on the edge of your seat?) is that I discovered that I'd deleted about 75% of the meticulously compiled song ratings from my iTunes. My iPod's capacity is much greater than my G4 PowerBook's, so I had started storing most of my music on an external hard drive, but I had done this by making a copy of the library from the original drive, but putting new music onto the external drive. So when I needed more space on the laptop, I just fired up iTunes without the external drive connected and deleted all the songs rated *** and lower. Unfortunately, the two song libraries share the same metadata, so while the songs are still on my external drive, as far as iTunes is concerned they're gone. Which isn't that much of a problem except that all my ratings of songs *** and lower are gone.

I tend to react to this sort of situation by starting completely over, taking it as a sign that my entire approach is flawed.

So I'm considering my options. I could move my library over to Linux on Rhythmbox at this point, perhaps re-ripping everything in mp3 to get rid of the hodgepodge of bitrates and formats I've got now. I've only bought a handful of tracks from the iTunes music store, nothing I'd miss. I'm actually more interested in seeing if I can put enough music to satisfy myself on the 75 gig iPod using Apple Lossless Compression. I spend far more time listening to music from my iPod on reasonably good stereo equipment than I do on the earbuds. Using a unfree format isn't a big deal in this case because I can always re-rip things from cd if I finally completely disengage from Apple. I'm going to have to check and see just how big those files would be.

Flight delayed a few minutes... I'm actually going through Dublin on Aer Lingus.

Later... the fact that I forgot my iPod charging cord and can never find my phone charger makes uniting my charging needs under iGo seem like not such a bad idea, albeit an unexpected expense.

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