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Day++; dollar–;

Ok, finished the great room reordering and I’m much happier now.

Periodically I’ve found that I have to turn my environment upside down and mix it all up. Otherwise things get stagnant and I get edgy.

New room features include moving the speakers to amore correct sonic configuration especially when sitting at the computer. Right now I have Oingo Boingo playing and Danny Elfman is *in* my head which is a spooky experience let me tell you. Another fringe benefit of the new speaker placement is that my big Sony’s get to load the corners of the room better which creates some nice, tight, bone-rattling bass without loading the whole room.

Another feature is that the amps in the speakers are now fed via fiber optic from the very cool little external SoundBlaster box that connects everything to my PC. Prior to this arrangement the speakers were too far away from the PC and I ran everything via copper… Light is better, trust me.

Above all it gave me a chance to clean, organize, box up and store, and otherwise straighten out my space here. This is a good thing and for me it’s like getting a whole new room.

So, yes, my neat-freak quotient has been satisfied for another year.

In other news it appears we are heading for yet another format war:

Sony (love those guys) and about eight other hardware manufacturers have developed this thing called “Blu-ray” which they hope will replace current DVDs. Basically Blu-Ray is a name for a new DVD standard which uses blue-violet laser instead of old red laser discs used in CDs and in DVDs. This allows manufacturers to store more data using the same amount of disc surface. One Blu-Ray disc will hold approximately 27GB of data (compared to 4.36GB on regular DVD) on one side/layer of the disc.

Video will be stored using MPEG-2 technology, just like in DVD-Video discs, but in much higher bit rate. Currently DVD-Video discs can have a bit rates up to 9.8Mbps, but Blu-Ray discs support bit rates as high as 36MBps. The down side to Blu-ray’s format is that it isn’t backwards compatible with current DVDs, but who cares. That $4000 HD-ready TV you bought over xmas has to do some real ugly stuff to get your old $15 DVDs to look good anyways.

Ok, now everyone who isn’t one of the nine companies in the Blu-ray development wants their piece of the pie too. Enter the recently ratified HD-DVD format presented to the DVD forum by Toshiba and NEC. Again, like the SACD / DVD-A war Sony has the better format by forging forwards rather than only going half way for all the “hangers on” out there.

Ok, so just about everyone I know is behind Blu-ray when suddenly Korea and China decide they want their slice of the pie as well. Enter EVD…

So where will the madness end? Who knows.

Chances are, much like the DVD+RW/-RW debacle and the SACD/DVD-A war, we’ll eventually see hardware that doesn’t care what format it’s in. But until then, some time in 2008, you’ll have to be like Aryntha and buy a different player for each media just to hedge your bets that when things shake out, you’ll still have something that works.

Yay money…