Dave Garrett

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Everything posted by Dave Garrett

  1. COVID 19 Poll For the New Year

    My friend did not make it. The damage to his lungs was too great, and his heart ultimately gave out. His memorial service was yesterday (it was limited to family but was livestreamed so I was able to watch it). He probably had the broadest musical taste of anyone I've ever known - he had been music and choral director at a local church for most of the past two decades, and was equally at home conversing about sixteenth-century liturgical music, Art Tatum, or Frank Zappa. He was one of a kind, and his loss is keenly felt by all who knew him. Two weeks ago, my wife's mother passed. She was 92 and had been in a long-term care facility for the past four years, so her passing was not a complete surprise but was also not really expected right now. She had tested positive for COVID a couple of months ago but remained asymptomatic. She had some underlying health issues, but one still wonders about the lingering effects of COVID even among those who are asymptomatic. Yesterday, my oldest friend's mother-in-law passed. She was 89 and had been in poor health for quite some time (cardiac issues, and had previously had at least one full-blown heart attack). She had recently tested positive for COVID and did display symptoms. I expect that, at a minimum, complications from COVID will be listed as a contributory factor in her death. The point at which we are able to dispense vaccines immediately and on-demand to all who require them cannot get here quickly enough.
  2. COVID 19 Poll For the New Year

    A friend of over 35 years has been in the hospital for close to six weeks after testing positive. It looked like he was improving to the point where discharge to a rehab facility was being discussed, then he took a sudden turn for the worse right before Christmas. He was moved to ICU and placed on a ventilator, and came very close to death on Christmas day. The last update I had was that his oxygen levels had significantly improved since then, but he appears to have suffered damage to his lungs and possibly other vital organs. It seems likely that if he is able to survive (and that is still a big if), his life will be far different from what it was previously.
  3. Have a great 2021

    I used to work with a guy who, whenever he heard anyone say "it can't get any worse", would get an extremely serious expression on his face and explain that he never uttered that particular sentiment anymore because the last two times he had done so, things promptly got MUCH worse. He passed away several years ago from Parkinson's. I hadn't been in contact with him for a number of years, but as he was someone who was very firm in his convictions, I'm confident that he stuck to his banishment of that phrase from his vocabulary even as he was staring down death.
  4. FWIW, Shipley's is not at all a purveyor of artisan/hipster donuts. It's just a local/regional chain, as opposed to a national one like Dunkin. I rarely set foot inside a donut shop these days, but when I was in college I used to hit up a local Dunkin almost every morning. Their coffee was a remarkably effective hangover cure. Point and counterpoint: The secret world of the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise kings Hot, Sticky & Sweet
  5. The USPS SUCKS

    As it so happens, I just ran across an article about that very subject earlier this week. The Payment Comes After
  6. Google Play Music - the end. Alternatives?

    Apologies for the delayed reply. The server refers to the machine on which you have installed the Plex Media Server software. This could be a separate, dedicated machine, depending on what your intended use case is, but I have it installed on my regular Windows desktop machine, which is fairly old and far removed from current performance standards. Plex transcodes media files on the fly depending on available bandwidth and the device you're accessing the files on (another computer, a TV connected to a streaming device such as a Roku with the Plex channel installed, a phone with the Plex app, etc.). This can be CPU-intensive, so folks that are running a Plex server with multiple users accessing it to view high-resolution video files are probably not going to want the server running on the same machine they're using all day. In my case, I use Plex infrequently and I'm never using my desktop for other things at the same time I'm streaming video to my Roku, so I can run the server on my desktop with no problems. It's quite common to store a Plex media library on an EHD or a NAS, but my understanding is that while it's technically possible to install and run the Plex Media Server software on an external drive as well, it's not really recommended due to performance issues. All of my (admittedly limited) experience with Plex has been with using it to stream video, but I'd imagine that using it to stream music files probably doesn't require nearly the horsepower that using it to stream video does.
  7. Google Play Music - the end. Alternatives?

    Plex offers this functionality. Here's a piece from last year comparing Google Play Music and Plex: I ditched Google Play Music for my own Plex server: The good and the bad
  8. Building a Website?

    Not going to say that kind of functionality doesn't exist somewhere in BoldGrid, but in my (admittedly limited) experience I've never run across it. The Esquire Covers site appears to have been built by a professional web developer, judging from the credit at the bottom of the main page, so there may well be some custom code involved. Sites built with plug-and-play tools like BoldGrid tend to have a more basic look and feel and a few canned bells and whistles. BoldGrid's main selling point is pre-built modules/templates that require no HTML coding, although for those who are comfortable with coding, it's very easy to toggle between BoldGrid's drag-and-drop Visual Editor and the raw code editor.
  9. R.I.P. Alex Trebek

    I've envisioned Mankiewicz eventually growing into the "elder statesman" role on TCM that Robert Osborne held (although, really, no one could ever completely fill Osborne's shoes). I'd likewise hate to see him leave TCM, but I bet he'd get paid more as host of Jeopardy, and given the slash-and-burn approach AT&T has taken since acquiring Warner, it's anyone's guess how long TCM will continue to be around in its current form.
  10. Building a Website?

    My company uses WordPress, but with BoldGrid, one of the plugins that sits on top of WordPress and allows you to build/maintain sites via a drag-and-drop visual editor: BoldGrid You can test out building a site on BoldGrid's site to see if you like it, then transfer it to a hosting provider when you're ready to do that. We went directly to one of the hosting providers linked on BoldGrid's site, InMotion, and built the site there after setting up an account, so we skipped the transfer step and just published the site when it was ready. My perspective is probably a bit skewed - I have a tech background, but almost none of my past experience is related to website design/building. Still, BoldGrid (and similar plugins) seems to make it relatively painless for novices to get a basic site up and running without a steep learning curve.
  11. R.I.P. Alex Trebek

    I didn't know that Art Fleming had also died as a result of pancreatic cancer. Coincidence, or little-known occupational hazard of hosting Jeopardy?
  12. Recordio Ad Absurdum

    "This product is no longer available". Apparently it didn't take long for someone to open up their checkbook.
  13. Any motorcycle riders here?

    I had a Vespa 125 in college for a while that served me well as a low-cost, two-wheeled commuter before I jumped fully into motorcycling with a 400cc Suzuki. I spent years with a bike as my only transportation, and my last one was a modified '81 Honda CB750F (last of the great air-cooled Honda fours). I still have that bike but it hasn't run in well over ten years after I had to put it into storage due to my living arrangements at the time. At minimum, it will need to have the carbs and brakes rebuilt before it's roadworthy again, a project that I keep intending to tackle before I get too old and infirm to ride safely (although I was suitably impressed a while back when I saw an article in a bike mag about an 80+ year old British guy who was still riding his Vincent Rapide on a regular basis).
  14. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    To paraphrase something I saw elsewhere, wearing a mask isn't a political statement, it's an IQ test.
  15. Yankee T-Shirt

    I liked last year's version better.
  16. TCM website change

    I likewise refused to pay another $10 a month to keep TCM when Comcast/Xfinity moved it to the premium sports & entertainment package. And it really pissed me off to do without it, as TCM is one of a handful of channels that I watch for at least a little while almost every day. However, my two-year service agreement (and the associated bundle discounts) expired last month, and after dropping by one of their storefronts to see what deals were available, I wound up bumping up my internet package to gigabit speed, dropping the phone service (which I rarely used anyway, and only had because I was able to get a much bigger package discount with it than without it the last time I renewed my agreement), and adding the sports & entertainment package to get TCM back. More significantly, those changes cut my bill by almost $50 a month, which is how I was able to justify adding TCM. This time around the agreement term was only for one year instead of two, but the rep claimed the pricing would stay in place for a second year after the one-year agreement term. So if you're on a service agreement nearing its expiration, it's worth checking to see if a similar deal's available in your area. I've gotten much better results in general from in-person discussions at their storefronts than trying to deal with their frequently-clueless CSRs over the phone.
  17. Now reading...

    You may already be aware of this, but in the event you're not: Rip It Up and Start Again: The Footnotes
  18. Recs needed re: 20s-30s jazz and other music online

    Library of Congress: National Jukebox
  19. A question for all youse guys about CDs

    Quite true, but I would hazard a guess that many people, even those who know better, are nowhere near as diligent as they should be when it comes to keeping backups of their digital data current. If you have a bunch of external USB drives sitting around that only get backed up occasionally, if ever, I would posit that the risk of one of those hard drives failing is far higher than that of CDs getting damaged, lost, stolen, etc. Hard drives have a finite lifespan that, all other things being equal, is much shorter than that of a CD. There's also the issue of user error as related to specific software used to manage digital music libraries, leading to the loss of digital music files. As an example, I've seen more than a few complaints from pissed-off iTunes users who accidentally nuked their libraries when something in the feature set changed during one of Apple's upgrades and they weren't aware of the consequences. That's not going to happen with a CD.
  20. Oldies.com

    That may well be. The link I posted earlier had something that appeared to contradict this, stating that the dye color was a cosmetic issue, but I'm somewhat skeptical since they didn't really provide anything to back that assertion up. I think a bigger issue is that the shelf life claims are based on accelerated aging tests rather than real-world use. I've frequently seen claims of a 300-year shelf life for Mitsui Gold CD-Rs as opposed to a 100-year shelf life for garden-variety CD-Rs. Such essentially unprovable claims instill a false sense of security in users. What's downplayed, if it's mentioned at all, is that the dyes are photosensitive and if they are exposed to direct sunlight for any length of time, they will degrade to the point that the disc becomes unreadable. This is obviously not the case with pressed CDs.
  21. Oldies.com

    The color of the CD-R does not matter. The silver ones still use organic dyes that are modified when exposed to laser light. Pressed CDs use a glass master to physically stamp the data into the disc (sort of analogous to how a vinyl record is pressed). The dyes in a CD-R are inherently less stable and more prone to degradation over time than a pressed CD. As for sound quality, I've never seen anything to indicate that there is a discernible difference between a CD-R and a pressed CD. That's possibly a heretical statement in some corners of the audiophile world, but so be it.
  22. Oldies.com

    There's this: https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/bear-family-and-cdrs.895471/ but that's not the one I'm thinking of. There is a 368-page catchall thread on Bear Family releases, and I think some of the CD-R discussion was buried in there, like on this page: https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/your-favourite-bear-family-releases.418974/page-49 I got these from Google, and you can see other relevant search results from the Hoffman site here: https://www.google.com/search?q=bear+family+cd-r+site%3Astevehoffman.tv but it may be better if you just do a search for "bear family cd-r" on the site itself. As I recall, some folks were pretty hot under the collar, and it probably didn't help matters that one of the forum members who does work for BF was conspicuously silent about the matter.
  23. Oldies.com

    What about the Diamond Silver cd-rs? From https://www.genesysdtp.com/faq.htm: "Q: DiamondSilver cd-r's - what are they? Are they better quality than silver/silver cd-r's? DiamondSilver cd-r's have a record surface which, before recording, is practically indistinguishable from the standard silver lacquer label surface. This is achieved by using a 'neutral' or 'colorless' dye, as compared to the light-green hue or other colors/variations of many other cd-r's. When a disc is fully burned, DiamondSilver cd-r's will look as close as possible to pressed cd's (already with content)." There have also been some discussions over at the Hoffman board about cd-rs in certain Bear Family box sets that were visually indistinguishable from pressed cds, but I have to admit I never saw what I would consider to be conclusive proof that the discs in question were really cd-rs.