Sony Walkman NWZ-S615F

After hours of searching, I finally figured out that the free version of Any Video Converter will convert video files I have into ones I can view on my Walkman device.

I have used the mpeg4 option at a resolution of 320×240. I chose a bit rate of 112 and a frame rate of 15.

Using that method, I get a pretty good picture. A roughly 700 MB .avi file became a roughly 64 MB .mp4 file. Puzzlingly, a roughly 400 MB .avi file became a roughly 120 MB .mp4.

I’m afraid I don’t care enough to figure out what caused these differences. To my knowledge, I encoded these files using the same method.

Anyway, I hope someone finds some of this useful!

A Brief History of Privacy

September 3, 2008
Bill O’Reilly: Certainly the public has a right to know about Governor Palin’s life, and there are legitimate questions about her family’s situation, but Americans are very protective of families in general. So the questions have to be fair and balanced. So does the analysis.

…as long as society doesn’t have to support the mother, father or baby, it is a personal matter. Once the taxpayers do have to support the young family, it becomes a public policy matter.

December 20, 2007
Bill O’Reilly: On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.

Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves.

Continue reading A Brief History of Privacy

Quote from Richard Feynman

I met Arlene’s father at the hospital. He had been there for a few days. “I can’t take it anymore,” he said. “I have to go home.” He was so unhappy, he just left.

When I finally saw Arlene, she was very weak, and a bit fogged out. She didn’t seem to know what was happening. She stared straight ahead most of the time, looking around a little bit from time to time, and was trying to breathe. Every once in a while her breathing would stop—and she would sort of swallow— and then it would start again. It kept going like this for a few hours.

I took a little walk outside for a while. I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling what I thought people were supposed to feel under the circumstances. Maybe I was fooling myself. I wasn’t delighted, but I didn’t feel terribly upset, perhaps because we had known for a long time that it was going to happen.

It’s hard to explain. If a Martian (who, we’ll imagine, never dies except by accident) came to Earth and saw this peculiar race of creatures—these humans who live about seventy or eighty years, knowing that death is going to come—it would look to him like a terrible problem of psychology to live under those circumstances, knowing that life is only temporary. Well, we humans somehow figure out how to live despite this problem: we laugh, we joke, we live.

Continue reading Quote from Richard Feynman

Quote from Carl Sagan

“Sagan desperately wants to find life someplace, anyplace—on Mars, on Titan, in the solar system or outside it,” one of his Viking colleagues said recently. “In all the divergent things he does, that is the unifying thread. I don’t know why, but if you read his papers or listen to his speeches, even though they are on a wide variety of seemingly unrelated topics, there is always the question ‘Is this or that phenomenon related to life?’ People say, ‘What a varied career he has had,’ but everything he has done has had this one underlying purpose.”

Sagan was asked the other day why he thought it was that he, and others, are so interested in trying to find life beyond the earth. “I think it’s because human beings love to be alive, and we have an emotional resonance with something else alive, rather than with a molybdenum atom,” he said. “Why are people interested in other animals? Why are we interested in the life history of the armadillo? Why do we go to Antarctica to find out what the emperor penguins have been doing lately? It’s fun, because we are primarily drawn to things that are alive.”

From a June 28, 1976 profile in The New Yorker by Henry S. F. Cooper titled “A Resonance With Something Alive”

Music Review Quotations

Martina Kominiarek on the Counting Crows’ August and Everything After: “…I’d begun to sense my life was all wrong. Instead of trampling down everything that had thus far held all my meaning, I waited it out, riding the waves of Adam Duritz’s enormous accumulation of personal funk. (Though I thought I was riding his haunting lyrics, vocal passion, and perfectly timed crescendos.)

“In ‘Mercury,’ Adam says his crazy girlfriend drives him nuts, and the drumbeats relate how she sucks him into a funhouse that feels like an underwater vacuum.

Drumbeats from “Mercury”:

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