Loaner Cars and Vorbis

I got my car back from the service center today – along with the repair bill. :-(

Oh well, at least it’s nice to be driving a standard again. The only loaner cars they had were automatics which I find downright frightening to drive. They’re always shifting up and down when you don’t want them to and when you really want them to downshift, say to avoid getting smashed by a big truck as you get on the highway, all you can do is stomp on the gas and hope the lousy automatic transmission feels like down shifting. And sometimes on the highway, you’ll accelerate a little during a lane change and for no apparent reason the transmission kicks into first or second gear and slams you against the seat like it wants to beat the Millennium Falcon’s record at the Kessel run. I couldn’t deal with that much lack of control for long with going nuts.

There’s a great interview with Christopher Montgomery on Advogato today. (if you’re reading the syndicated version of my diary on Advogato rather than the original, you’ve probably already seen it, of course). Christopher is working on a GNU licensed audio codec that will be completely unencumbered by patents and other IP problems. It’s called vorbis. I find this good news to be somewhat amusing because I’ve read countless posts on Slashdot from people claiming video and audio codec projects were too complicated to be created as free software – that only large corporations with money for R & D and patent lawyers could tackle projects of that scale.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my many years of programing it’s that nothing is really as hard as it seems. Not knowing how to do a thing makes it seem hard and knowing how makes it seem easy. I’ve found it’s helpful to start each new project with the assumption that no matter how hard it seems, if you just knew how to do it, it would be really easy. And like they say, it’s not what you know, it’s how fast you can find out.

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