Current Mood: quixotic
First, if you live in Texas, you should vote in November in the Constitutional Amendments Election. Details are here:
Of particular interest to me is Proposition 2, which aims to amend the Texas state constitution to ban same sex marriage. I’m realistic — this is almost certainly going to pass. But I am going to vote against it, and I hope there are others out there who feel similarly.
Almost all of the arguments being used against same sex marriage (it goes against tradition, it just isn’t right, etc) were used by people who opposed interracial marriages. Some like to bring up the argument that by allowing same sex marriage, the government is somehow anti-family. After all, same sex marriages are not going to produce children. There are so many problems with this argument, but here are the first two that come to mind:
1) There are plenty of children out there now which need families. Same sex marriages are more likely to adopt than they are to conceive children. This is a good thing.
2) A same sex couple probably isn’t going to break up and find opposite sex mates just because they can’t get married. Thus, forbidding them marriage does nothing to encourage families or breeding.
Anyway, my intention here isn’t to get on a soapbox. Everyone should be voting anyway, no matter how they feel. Here are details on Texas voter registration:
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
Slim Devices, makers of my beloved Squeezebox and Squeezebox 2, have just come out with their third generation Squeezebox. It is functionally equivalent to the SB2, but it has a new design. At this time you can still order both the old design and the new design, but the word is that they’re just going to sell out their stock of the old design and then stop producing it. So if you’ve been putting off buying one, now is a good time. The “old” models are being sold at a significantly reduced price (even though they are the same hardware, with a different appearance). They are having a sale on the new models as well — $100 when you buy two.
If you’ve read my previous LJ entries, you’ll know how much I love my Squeezeboxes. In my opinion, they are some of the best products I’ve ever purchased. Anyone who owns a stereo but has a music collection on their computer should own a Squeezebox. After getting my Squeezebox, I haven’t used my stereo’s CD player at all. I ripped all of my CDs onto my computer into FLAC files — for those unfamiliar, these are compressed music files not unlike MP3s, but unlike MP3s, they are lossless. That means they have the same audio as the original CDs. MP3s are lossy — when you rip a CD to mp3, you lose audio data. If you play your MP3s on a good stereo, or rip them to a low bitrate, you can tell the difference.
Anyway, I ripped all of my CDs to FLAC files, and now I can access my entire CD collection via remote control from my couch. No more hunting for the song or CD I want. I can search my library from my couch for any song or album or artist that I have on my computer.
“But wait,” I can hear you saying, “I already have a large MP3 collection. Do I have to convert them to FLAC?” No! The Squeezebox can play MP3, FLAC, WMA, WAV, and many other formats as well. In my case, I ripped all of my CDs to FLAC. But I have some mp3s that didn’t come from CDs. Those are in my music library as well, and are just as easy to access.
So how does it work? You install the free SlimServer software on a PC. This PC has to be connected to your Squeezebox via a network. The Squeezebox supports wired networks and 802.11g wireless (with backward compatability to 802.11b, of course). Your SlimServer software scans your music library, and it serves the music to the Squeezebox. I should mention that the server software can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, BeOS, and probably other platforms as well. And it’s open source, so if you’re adventurous, you can modify it yourself. But it is user friendly, so if you’re not the adventurous sort, fear not.
Did I mention that you can run multiple Squeezeboxes from the same server? In my case, I have two SBs. One is a Squeezebox 1 (no longer sold), and one is a Squeezebox 2. They support all of their previous products even as they release new versions of the Squeezebox. In some cases new functions can’t be ported to the old hardware (for example, the SB2 can listen to internet radio stations even if your server is not on, but this feature is not available on my older SB1). Another cool thing — you can synch up your SBs to all play the same song as the same time. So if you have a house, you could put SBs throughout the house, attach speakers to each one, and then have all of them play the same thing. I should mention that I haven’t done a lot of testing of this feature, so I can’t vouch for it first hand.
Oh, the customer service. I’ve never been happier with the customer service of a company. They have web forums and mailing lists which are actively monitored by Slim Devices employees (including their CEO/founder). They are extremely helpful and enthusiastic. They go the extra mile for their customers. I could go on and on.
And, apparently, I have gone on and on already. If you aren’t convinced by now, then I doubt there’s anything more I can say to convince you. Let me wrap up by saying that I did a lot of research before buying a network music player. I bought the SB because it was the best product available. Since that time I have still researched new products being released by other companies, and I am convinced that no company offers a product as good as the SB from Slim Devices. If you want a network music player, they deserve your business.