Monday, April 24, 2006
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Forays into LaTeX
You may not know it by my overly messy dorm room, but I'm a stickler for aesthetics, especially in printed products. Even in 9th grade, I turned my nose up at Romeo and Juliet reading quizzes written in Comic Sans, butcher paper posters made with thin-point Crayola markers, and VFA homework with crappy-ass looking 2-inch margins and 9 point Times New Roman text. That kind of shit just makes everything look so half-assed, regardless of how much work you actually put into it.
Always the enterprising fellow, I've discovered a way where I can do the exact opposite: put very little work into something, and make it look awesome. It's a typesetting language called LaTeX (pronounced "luh-TEK"), and it's basically like HTML for the printed page. I'm not going to go into how it works -- the learning curve is admittedly a tad on the steep side -- but as I get more and more comfortable with it, I find myself actually enjoying doing menial little typed homework tasks. It's especially useful for math equations (most math textbooks are typeset with LaTeX), but that's not something that I have much use for. Sarah, however, is kind of excited about learning to use it for chemistry and physics papers (either that or she's just humoring me).
For more information on LaTeX, check out CTAN.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
I've never felt smarter or more productive! Last night, I sat around and actually listened to some music (and by "listen", I mean I really listened, as opposed to "had it on while I did other shit"). Tonight, I am down at the Odegaard Computing Commons PowerMac G5 corrall, happily plunking away on a $4000 machine. Tomorrow, I will probably practice longer and more efficiently than I ever have before.
Of course, all of these revelations make me feel sort of stupid. It is amazing how mush a child of the 21st century I am that being without my computer gives me absolutely nothing to do in meatspace, but oh well. When I get my iBook back, I plan to more carefully evaluate how much time I spend with it and how I use it. I certainly won't (and can't) give it up entirely, but it's enlightening to go without for a couple of days.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Faust's Damnation, the Danse Infernale, and Why I Love iTunes
Colin Davis -- Damnation of Faust
Originally uploaded by rossination.
I've been preparing for the UW orchestra and wind ensemble auditions to be held in a couple of weeks. The audition material includes, among other things, orchestral excerpts (!) from Berlioz' Damnation of Faust and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Not having either of these in my music collection, I went over to the iTunes Music Store, and 5 minutes (and $1.99 later), I was listening to both of these tracks. Then I threw them into a playlist called "Audition" and set it to repeat until I sounded like Joe Alessi of the NY Philharmonic.
Just kidding about that last part.
There have been so many times that I've found CDs in stores and considered buying them -- but why spend $17.99 on an album that I'm going to compress and put on my iPod anyway? I can see the reasons for audiophiles to not want to purchase music already compressed into a lossy format, but for those of us who use the most popular portable audio player in the world, it's a really great thing.