April 24, 2004

De-stress at the mall?!?!?

Once and a while, we get so frazzled, so caught up and tangled with everything that we just feel like GETTING OUT OF TOWN, and relaxing. The reality is, most of us can't just pick up and go right this minute.

There IS a solution to the stress of it all, and its not the use of recreational drugs or alcohol.
Women have known it for ages, and Men have been very careful on how involved they get - especially if you share the experience of SHOPPING.

The root of all evil is greed, and if greed comes from money, and since money creates stress, you may think that supporting your greed by using money to go shopping is not a good idea for stress releif (especially when you have little of it).

If you need to combat your stress and you get bummed by not being able to just get up and go up north or down to the Coromandel to relax, try the theraputic properties of shopping. Its sounds wacky dunnit?

Do not decide beforehand that you WILL actually make purchases, just go to look and TAKE YOUR TIME.
Have fun and bring a friend. Be especially nice to the people in the stores. Create a nice rapport. Now, if you come across something on sale you just cannot miss out on (and your funds will allow) then sure, buy it. You may even get a discount!

By actually going shopping, you indirectly target greed, by being in the vulnerable position of standing in front of desire - the 'evil'. You like those shoes, or WANT that shirt. When you are in a mall, wanting these things when you convince yourself you NEED them, is greed. Realise the difference and you will overcome the mind manipulation that is STRESS (at least temporarily).

If you have no money to start with, just browse and think about gifts for friends and family. This will get you thinking of them, and appreciate that friendship and kinship is more important that money and greed.

If you still have trouble thinking about the problematic elements of coming face to face with your desires at the shopping mall, try this. Swap the items you wanted in the mall, for your thoughts of your holiday.

You want both, but which would you prefer?

If you eliminate the WANT, you stop the mental debate in your mind. This eliminates stress because there is no expectation to gain anything. Instead you can clearly understand what you NEED, which may be that holiday.

April 20, 2004

Sliding Doors

These are those funny little moments in life, when on reflection you think "BUGGER! I should have!!"
Not regrets, but those times on when your life could have gone like that movie Sliding Doors.

I was taking the bus after work, and we were coming into Newmarket, the driver slammed on the brakes to stop for some girl wanting to know something or another. A 3 second conversation passed, he shut the doors and we drove off. I looked out the window to see who it was as my window passed her, and let me just say - I should have got off at the next stop and run back up the hill, and offer her lunch!

She was exactly the type of girl I'm looking for, and vrooom, there she went. Perfect eyes, perfect height, great smile and certainly not afraid of the Auckland buses! I thought about it all the way to my stop some 20 minutes later.

Any Sliding Doors moments you'd like to think about?

April 12, 2004

Wizard For Windows

Of all the TRN networks in New Zealand and regardless of format, one important part of the everyday running of their stations, is Wizard for Windows. (Channel Z and More FM Auckland still use it also).

This is using old 16-bit technology which runs on Windows 3.1 or a variant of it. TRN considered upgrading to NextGen, as Prophet Systems have been pushing all their Wizard clients to upgrade (Prophet do not even support the software anymore!) but TRN stayed with Wizard. They could have moved their platform to Dalet when they aquired the GWR stations back in 1997. Not only software, but I can only imagine what old hardware is still in use, like soundcards, hard-drives and modems!

So, what of the technology available in 2004?

RCS have been keeping a close eye on TRN as it could have been a huge contract for them. Master Control has proven its stability with the Radioworks stations. RCS already have great bragging rights include managing the automation requirements of one of the two biggest major networks in NZ, along with Mai/Niu/bFM and most of the independents around the country.

Dalet is still around too, with some great improvements and awesome functionality for network stations - although not many stations use it. Im only aware of GeorgeFM and UpFM using it.

Others still out there are Coda, StationPlaylist, Deltatrax, Simian/Wavestation, OtsJuke and DRS/DirEttore.

I listened to Classic Hits and (especially) Hauraki today and being an audio engineer, I heard the audio quality drop. Imagine a distortion, or certain rough 'graininess' on vocals and guitar-based music.

I have a theory. If you are familiar with the 'ACM' or 'ADPCM' audio codec for 'wav' files, it sounds like TRN are batch compressing station libraries. (If you are not sure what Im talking about, its like compressing an audio file like you would with an 'mp3' to save space - unfortunately, 'mp3' is about 10 years old and ADPCM/ACM is as old as DOS.)

Wizard plays 'wav' files, and can accept compressed 'wav' files. Could I speculate that with the added pressure of one new station on 105.4 in Auckland (or two if my sources are right), they need to create diskspace for their libraries?
Old software like Wizard can only accept so many hard-drives and drive-sizes (and I can only image how much space their stations take up), so would this theory explain what's happening to the audio quality on Classic Hits and Hauraki?

**update 13/4: I have been informed that some other TRN hubs have been using NextGen since 2002, however the main Auckland operation has just upgraded. The audio quality issue is apparently just 'teething' problems.

Who says NZ TV sucks?

Considering I have a life and watch about 2 hours a day (includes 3 News), I find myself bombarded with light comedy, movies or a doco on the human brain.
We have great programs nearly every night of the week!

- Rove Live (TV3)
- Nip/Tuck (TV2)
- Friends "last ever series" (TV2)
- Scrubs (TV2)
- Simpsons (new series) (TV3)
- Quality Time (TV3)
- The Late Show with David Letterman (Prime)
- Sportzah! (TV3)
- XSTV (TV2)
- Just Shoot Me (TV2)
- Malcolm In The Middle (TV3)

The Sopranos make a return also after Nip/Tuck wraps up.