Trying Out Ogg Vorbis

I’m trying out the Ogg Vorbis plugin for Winamp on my NT box. It was easy to install – just downloaded the DLL and dropped it into the winamp plug-ins directory. I’m playing some of the samples from the Vorbis sample page and they sound ok. Definitely as good as any MP3 files I’ve listened to. It’s hard to say if it’s better than MP3 without listening to the same piece of music encoded in both formats at similar bitrates. But I don’t have any complaints – even at the same quality as MP3, it has the advantage of being free. I’ll try it out with XMMS on Linux next.

Return of the Buckling Spring Keyboards

WooHoo! I just discovered something really wonderful. A company called Unicomp, Inc. has obtained the manufacturing rights to The One True Keyboard – the IBM buckling spring keyboard. They’ve apparently been selling them for a while now but I only just ran across their website today. This means I won’t have to buy our keyboards at auctions and surplus houses anymore. Even better is the news that they’ll be updating the design with USB support in the future. I’ve been worried about the USB thing for a while. I’d even thought about trying to build a PS/2 to USB adapter so I wouldn’t have to switch to the mushy, non-tactile keyboards-from-hell that come with most computers these days.

Unicomp also has some models with built-in trackballs and pointing sticks for those so inclined. In August they’ll start shipping another model that can be customized for use with Linux or in a Dvorak layout. And for wimps, they even make a “whisper spring” version that has the tactile feedback of a real keyboard while sounding like a conventional mushy keyboard. Oh, and they have all the leftover OEM keyboards from IBM/Lexmark as well, so you can also buy unused surplus if you want to save a few bucks or get the IBM logo.