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Various Projects [14 Nov 2004|12:02am]
I thought I had things all set up as far as playing music here goes, but things fell apart, somewhat literally. The cord won't stay stuck to the ceiling in the basement, basically because it's dirty cement (or something like it), and what the hell sticks to dirty cement (or something like it). The problem is that the sagging cord is probably annoying the hell out of my neighbors. We share the basement, and the cord runs across both halves. So, there's one problem to be solved. It has to be solved during daylight hours, or else I have to go spelunking with our crummy flashlight---the basement gets quite dark and I'm too afraid of the electrics down there to muck around with lightbulbs.

The cord runs from my computer to the stereo in the living room. There is a second problem, which S picked up on. It's only playing one side of the sound. Like, it's losing half the stereo. I'm not sure why this is, because I don't know anything about mono and stereo and sound and wires. Nothing I made in electronics class (I did take one) ever worked. And I had to do some splicing, because the plug on one end of the cord would not fit through the hole in the floor. So I cut the plug off, ran the cord through the hole, and spliced the plug back on on the other side. I'm actually pretty sure I did this part right. What is the most likely explanation for the failure to convey the full sound to the stereo? I know it is playing correctly right out of the computer, because I can hear the whole sound in headphones plugged into the same out as the cord connects to. Could it be the kind of cord I have?

I tried one sloppy solution to this, which is to find a player that can mix stereo down to mono. Oddly (to me), I was unable to find such software. Mplayer appears to be able to do it with "-channels 1", but a) Mplayer crashes like that's its job and b) In the minute or so that mplayer will run before taking a dive, I'm not confident that that option is working either. Doesn't such player software exist? I realize I could recode all my music, but I'm looking for something that can do it on the fly. I experimented briefly with mpg321, mp3blaster, xmms, and various others.

Other than fretting about this, I've been working on the novel (up to about 7000 awful words right now, far short of where I should be to finish by the end of the month), studying Python and German, cooking, and tending the fire. Tomorrow I will do more of the same, plus watch football, maybe get a haircut, and try not to get worked by S at Scrabble.
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Printer Snafu [14 Nov 2004|11:06am]
It's official, the Amazon 3rd-party retailer I ordered a new printer from thought that I was ordering toner. This toner has been sitting on my desk unopened for a few days now, as I have been waiting for the actual printer to arrive.

I got impatient and wrote to the company yesterday, asking when the printer was going to come.

Basically, they said, "Printer? What printer?"

Apparently their product is listed incorrectly on Amazon. It is listed as a printer when in fact it is only toner.

This is ludicrous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they are charging $93 + $25 mandatory expedited shipping for the product. This is a reasonable arrangement for a printer, but a thoroughly unreasonable proposition for toner.

I thought I was getting a real deal on the printer (which is usually $250-$300). Instead, I was getting ripped off on the toner.

They are sending a return label and all, so it's not going to end up costing me any money. But both S and I needed the printer this week; that's why I finally gave up on repairing the HP 5L and ordered this new Panasonic. So it did cost me something.

The retailer was "Office Quarter". I'll be leaving some suitable feedback on Amazon about them. This was probably partially Amazon's fault as well, but in the end I think it is the retailer's responsibility to verify that all of their products are listed properly, and, you know, to maybe look at the description of the item being ordered as well as the part number when an order comes through.

TigerDirect has the printer for $199, then $129 after a $70 rebate, so I guess that's not too bad.
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