Mon, 25 Apr 2005
According to this the MP3 hard drive player I use every day -- a PJB 100 -- is an antique. O.K. Maybe not an antique, but a collectors item.
The PJB was the first hard drive MP3 player. The one I have has a 20G hard drive. It's about 4 times larger than an ipod, roughly the size of a cassette walkman. The functionality and the interface is very nicely done. The sound quality is excellent. My rechargeable battery doesn't hold much of a charge these days, but I mostly use it in my car. The headphone jack is a little worn but I could just fix it with a quick solder. And it's USB1.1 which mean transfers to it are SLOW.
Still, I can't bring myself to replace a box that just works. By and large, I have the same functionality as an ipod and have had it since 2001. All the excitement about random play on a really large hard drive was rather amusing to me since I've been doing that for years. The PJB was a wonderful device to have when I was driving all over the state for work. I still carry my "antique" every day. And until it goes belly up, I see no reason to change. (or I can't get a working kernel module anymore )
Wikipedia has a detailed entry on the PJB-100. One of the coolest features mentioned is one I take for granted: gapless playback. That means that if there is no gap on an album's tracks, then there is no gap in the playback from the PJB as intended. There are still several ways of getting music on (and off) a pjb. My preferred method of upload is through an emacs mode of all things. The Table of Contents (TOC) is a text file after all, so it actually makes a lot of sense.Tue, 19 Apr 2005
Does Outsourcing Deliver the Goods? Outsourcing seems to be all the rage for businesses. This article is focused on the financial return of such efforts and concludes outsourcing is not the grand panacea it's often cracked up to be.
The conclusion: Either the costs of purchasing outside work are too high for the "losers" -- that is, they don't manage their purchases well -- or their businesses have inherent flaws. Flaws that cannot be cured by shifting work to others.No surprise there.
My take -- as someone who works for an outsourcer -- is that organizations need to make a more careful assessment of their outsourcing needs. Merely throwing all IT work at a contract isn't going to produce magic savings. The amount of work, after all, doesn't change. The right answer is probably a mix of contracting and internal talent.