BBC radio has free audio books on occasion. The website was too long, so we shortened it to Tinyurl.com/fredinspring. There you’ll find “Uncle Fred in Springtime,” by P.G. Wodehouse, read by a whole group of actors. Part one is available until Dec. 6, at which point they’ll put up part two.
“27 Science Fiction ideas that Became Science Facts in 2012. Click to find descriptions of an invisibility cloak, a computer controlled by thought, a photo of DNA, genetically-modified silk stronger than steel, spray-on skin and genetically modified mice that lived three times longer than normal — the equivalent of a 200 year-old human being.
Genius (for iPhone and Android) gives you lyrics for any of 1.7 million songs. Besides lyrics, you get annotations and in some cases, can hear the song. We looked up Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” and tapped the line “When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her) can get Reds to ‘yes’ her, then I suppose, anything goes.” Mrs. McLean back then was the wife of the owner of The Washington Post, and had recently embarked on a highly-publicized trip to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, precursor to the USSR. The “Reds” were Communists, of course. We love the song but never understood the Mrs. McLean part.
Nothing has ever equaled Stupid.com for, well, really stupid gifts. This is where we got the talking stuffed bass, suitable for mounting on the wall, and the two mechanical love birds that sang to each other. We got them for our Aunt Dee; she loved them. We hesitated over the “grumpy cat” coffee mug and the “exploding wasabi” candy, but we were tempted.
AsSeenOnTV.com has all that stuff that ran in commercials endlessly on TV for several weeks until the buyers collapsed of exhaustion. Last chance for the those wonderful Ginsu steak knives or the collapsible pocket fishing rod, and on into the night. And you thought they were lost forever when you couldn’t find the piece of paper you wrote the number on. Remember: operators are standing by.
We’re thinking of buying one of Audio Technica‘s latest turntables as a gift for our young relatives. LPs are so popular again that a rare version of Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin'” has a starting bid of $100,000 on eBay.
By the way, Dylan and many other recording artists have said the sound from a record is much better than the digitized sound of CDs and DVDs. Bob agrees with this and thinks it’s because of the restricted dynamic range compared to a digital recording.
Our phonograph acquisition began when Joy ordered a Simon and Garfunkel compilation on eBay. She thought she was ordering a CD, but when it came in the mail as a record album, we figured we figured, okay, let’s buy a phonograph.
Some of the new players from Audio-Technica can not only play records but can convert the sound to MP3 files to be burned on a CD or listened to on your phone, tablet or computer. We have one of their earlier models and love the rich sound of a genuine record, so we’ve never actually done a conversion to MP3.
We buy records from thrift shops, but lately we’ve noticed them popping up at stores like Barnes and Noble. The new turntables from Audio-Technica start at $120 for silver or black and go up to $130 for a sporty red or blue. Both can connect to speakers or a stereo system.
The Cube+ is one-and-one-quarter inches on a side. The very, very tiny instruction page that comes with it has no words, only tiny, tiny drawings. It appears to be some kind of intelligence test. We flunked.
Since we couldn’t figure out step one to get the little camera going, we did what we always do in such situations: we went to the web. It seems, you’re supposed to use your smartphone to control the cube and take videos and still shots. But we found this impossible because the app for doing that kept crashing. Also, it’s very difficult to tell if the camera is doing anything or just sitting there. We had ours on a table and could never get a decent video or still shot.
The camera has a magnet for mounting on metal. Joy took a long, bumpy bike ride with the Cube on her handlebars. It didn’t fall off, but the magnet was very weak and the camera shook. She wanted to stop the video and start over but it kept going no matter how often she pushed stop. A couple of times the Cube slid around on the handlebars but hung on, pointing at the wheels. Polaroid says you can stick it on your bicycle helmet, golf club, skateboard or anything metal, but aren’t most helmets plastic these days? Ours is. Skateboards are made of wood. And, putting it on a golf club? No way that would stay on the club.
So all in all, we decided to use it as a fake surveillance camera. It has a pretty colored band around it, so it’s very noticeable and people will think they’re under observation. Who knows? In a galaxy far, far away, maybe they are.