Category Archives: technology

lost in translation

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41g6gTQYtEL._SL500_AA280_.jpgMy daughter drives an old Volvo that doesn’t have a port for an iPod cable. We originally got her an adapter that played her iPod via the cassette player. When it broke after a few months, we looked for an alternative. It arrived from Amazon yesterday: the Eforcity 3-in-1Charging and Car Holder FM Transmitter. She plugs it into the car’s cigarette lighter (yes, the car is old enough to have one of those), tunes the radio to an unused frequency, and plays her music through the radio.

If I were to write instructions for using this gadget, they’d go something like this:

  1. Set your iPod in the cradle, and adjust the arms on each side so they hold the iPod firmly.
  2. Plug the cable into the iPod.
  3. Plug the cigarette-lighter adapter into the car’s cigarette lighter.
  4. Turn on the car radio, and locate an unused frequency.
  5. Turn on the iPod, and you’re ready to rock.

Here are the actual instructions printed on the package insert. (Step 2 is my favorite.) Note that the punctuation is as written:

  1. Insert some cigarette ends of iPod car kit in some cigarette devices of automobile of yours, and adjust the suitable angle, so that your convenient operation iPod.
  2. Draw back both arms, put your iPod into and equal to the urgent both arms , let your protection firmly of iPod among them .
  3. Will charge the plug and connect it on the base interface of iPod, in this way you can charge while listening to the music .
  4. Choose the transmission frequency of this equipment according to the local frequency situation of radio station , the switch is presetting frequency to stir the frequency band , try one’s best to avoid the frequency of the local strong radio station , then open wave band , FM of auto radio , of you , is it search platform or manual to search set let auto radio of you receive frequency that you preset automatically to choose, in this way you can listen to iPod stereo music of high-fidelity taken the place of to you through iPod car kit device .

Parts of step 4 are almost haiku-like:

then open wave band
FM of auto radio
of you

My daughter thinks the manufacturer wrote the instructions in Chinese and then ran them through a translator. Just to see what would happen, I took my version of the instructions, translated them to simplified Chinese on FreeTranslation.com, and then translated them back to English on Babel Fish:

  1. Establishes you in cradle aspect iPod, on adjusts the arm nearby each, therefore they have iPod firmly.
  2. The plug enters to the iPod wire.
  3. The plug enters to automobile’s cigarette blasting machine’s cigarette blasting machine switch.
  4. Turns on the car radio, discovers frequency which has not used.
  5. Is decided in iPod, prepares the jogging with you.

I think that (thankfully) technology has a long way to go before the writer/editor’s job becomes obsolete.

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kleptiPodmania

https://i2.wp.com/media.arstechnica.com/journals/apple.media/stealing.gifWe have children; therefore we have iPods. We bought our daughter her first iPod for her 13th birthday; with it, thank goodness, we purchased Best Buy’s Performance Service Plan. I’m not normally one to pay for extended warranties, but the salesguy warned us that iPod hard drives don’t last long and pointed out that teenagers have a tendency to drop things — and the plan covered normal wear and tear. My daughter’s iPod lasted about 6 months and then died with no warning. I returned it, and after a brief check Best Buy handed over a brand-new one. Another six months went by, and, just like the first one had, the second iPod went belly-up. By this time, Apple was no longer making the original model, so my daughter received a brand-new video iPod — an upgrade that cost us nothing extra.

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teaching a new PC old tricks

The new computer: an eMachine T5212. (The company is owned by Gateway.) Got it at BestBuy after significant hours spent researching prices. We didn’t need a monitor, so this was the best way to go, with a much faster processor and hugely larger hard drive than our old PC.

https://i0.wp.com/www.gadgets-weblog.com/50226711/images/emachine.jpg

Thanks to my friend’s loan of an external 40GB hard drive, I was able to back up everything (I thought) that I needed before we left town for Thanksgiving. When we got home, the old PC started up only after multiple attempts and a variety of ugly grindy noises; it reminded me of trying to start an antique car by cranking it. My husband spent half of Saturday setting up and configuring the new PC — and a good thing, too, because the old one officially died and Refused to Start Regardless of All Efforts at Resuscitation. (We think it may be something relatively fixable, like the power supply; if a local shop can get it running for not much money, we’ll set it up for the kids — in a public, viewable area, of course.)

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Stairway to Heaven, anyone?

Not yet available at the Gap or Hot Topic, but still very cool: the wearable instrument shirt. In other words, a t-shirt that bring your hottest air-guitar riffs screaming to life.

https://i1.wp.com/www.csiro.au/files/images/p9en.jpgThis from Dr. Richard Helmer (shown in action at right), a research scientist at CSIRO Textile & Fibre Technology in Australia:

Our air guitar consists of a wearable sensor interface embedded in a conventional ‘shirt’, with custom software to map gestures with audio samples. It’s an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music making, even by players without significant musical or computing skills. It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original mp3.

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