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Portable audio players traditionally have poor quality amplifiers built in. Because you're used to it, you probably don't notice that the louder it gets the worse it sounds. Static gets introduced, instruments blend together, and frequencies get distorted. Ipods are known to have among the worst audio quality in the portable music market. A headphone amplifier takes the burden off of the player and does all of the amplification. It also processes the sound, which I'll get into in a minute.
So who needs a headphone amp? Ideal candidates are people who have high end headphones, or even just big headphones. These phones need more power to drive them, so they tax the player even more than usual. Examples are the Etymotic Research and Shure E5 headphones. Another time when it's essential to have an amp is when you're trying to split the audio between two pairs of headphones, as this doubles the power needed from the player.
Have you ever noticed that wearing headphones for a long time is uncomfortable and makes you feel restless? There's a reason for this. When we hear audio in real life, it's never only coming in through one ear. Even if someone's yelling at you directly from your left, your right ear gets a little bit of that through your bones and skin as well as from reflections of the sound. This is called crossfeed. When you listen to headphones, there are some sounds that only come in from one ear. This fatigues your brain because the sound seems so unnatural and it can't place its location. A good headphone amp will automatically crossfeed a bit of audio from each channel to the other ear, resulting in a much more pleasant and relaxing listening experience. This sounds like a bunch of bull, but the difference is obvious once you have an amp.
I normally hate socks. Before smartwool I had only 4 pair, which I wore only when exercising. My main criteria when buying shoes (and I have gone through phases where I have bought lots of shoes), is to buy shoes that don't require socks. So if you can tolerate the thought of socks, you're already a step ahead of me.
For some reason, I like textiles more than your average 25 year old. I think that wool is an amazing material and I have read about it extensively. It is an excellent insulator, which means that it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The fibers are very strong, so it can't be flattened over time like cotton (that's why wool rugs are so popular). It has natural oils that repel dirt. It wicks away moisture and can hold up to 1/3 of its weight in water before feeling wet. It even absorbs odors.
When I heard about Smartwool socks, I wasn't excited. I had a pair of wool socks before, but they were far too itchy and thick for me. I read that these socks were used on Everest, though, and that they weren't itchy. I had to try them for myself.
Fired might be a harsh word, but as of today I no longer work at the glorious Smiley Media. Working there was really fun, and I learned some interesting things, but at the end of the day I don't think I'm really meant to work in an office.
The only part I'll really miss are the people at Smiley Media. Steve is really good at hiring interesting people, so it was fun to be in that type of atmosphere every day. Unfortunately I never really "got into" the work, and thus I wasn't nearly as effective as I should have been. I felt somewhat guilty about that the whole time, occasionally pushing myself to be more useful, but found it hard to maintain. Since I helped hire two really good employees for the company, I may still help them find more, so if you're awesome and want to work there, let me know.
Now here's the thing: Smiley was such an awesome place to work, and I still couldn't hack it. This means that there is no way I will ever get a job again. The only possible exception is a really cool experiment that I'll be conducting soon, but you'll agree that it hardly counts.
First, a couple blog notes. I haven't been posting as much because my free time has been filled with writing my new book. More info and the cover are in the forums. Also, lots of people have been linking to me recently. I really appreciate it!
For those who don't know, waterboarding is a controversial subject these days. It's an torture method which is used to interrogate suspects and designed to simulate drowning. Supposedly it's so bad that the average marine can only handle it for 15 seconds.
So, a couple of my friends, LadyTea and Doug share a goal of losing some weight. Neither is fat, but they each want to slim down a bit before the summer. So, in the interest of motivation, I have promised to post a picture of LadyTea in her bikini and Doug in a speedo on May 1st.
So, prepare yourselves to witness the beauty of two svelte people who are committed to their goals. (By the way... I have two awesome stories coming soon... haven't had the time to type them up yet)
Hey everyone... one of my favorite sites for personal finance is a site called "Get Rich Slowly". I just wrote an article for them, which was published today and also featured on Lifehacker. You can read the article here, and make sure to check out some of his other articles as well... lots of good stuff there.
It's 10 minutes before midnight on the last day of 2006, and I'm sitting in bed writing a post. I guess that shows where my priorities are. Anyway, a year ago I wrote down my goals for 2006, so our first order of business is to review them.
1 - Become Fully Polyphasic.
I guess I did this one, but I'm not polyphasic anymore. I'll count it as a win since I made it and then decided not to be polyphasic.
2 - Gain 15lb. of lean muscle mass
I totally did not do this one at all. In fact, I lost 12 pounds this year because I went vegan.
Let's be honest: My blog is pretty cool. It's not nearly as popular at Boingboing, Tuckermax, or that weird housewife who writes about her kids, but I have a pretty steady readership who all post comments and get something out of the site. Since I started around a year ago, I've averaged 1200 unique readers a day (half of that is thanks to huge spikes from digg and such). My blog hasn't made me rich, but I've probably made a few thousand dollars, which is a nice side effect. More importantly it's made me a much better writer, and has helped me chronicle the past year of my life.
What I'm saying is this : I can't help you build the next Engadget or WWTDD, but I can help you get started to building a moderately popular blog.
First you need decent hosting and Wordpress. Don't mess with blogger - no one reads blogger blogs because they all look the same and don't have cool plugins that you need. I know you can customize it and all, but stop arguing and do it my way.
During my second year at college, I thought that investing was easy. I read about options, paper traded for a few months, and then solicited my friends for investments. Many of them invested in my hedge fund - "The H Fund", which I started with a friend. In total we had $26k, which was quite a lot considering how young we were.
The fund survived for a few months, even being profitable for a short amount of time. In the end, though, we lost all of the money. Luckily I have awesome friends who understood the risk, and no one was mad. Still - I learned my lessons and stayed out of the stock market for years.
For some reason or another I started reading about Warren Buffet. For those that don't know, he is the second richest man in the US, with a worth of over 40 billion. What makes him exceptional is that he is the only person on the top 100 richest people list who made his money through investing.
Like most kids I used to delight in waking up at the crack of dawn to unwrap the mountain of presents under the tree. With shreds of paper covering the living room I'd run upstairs to call my friends and compare our hauls.
One Christmas, maybe when I was in high school or so, my parents asked what I wanted for Christmas. For no good reason, I felt different.