Friday, September 15, 2006

A Quick One

This week has gone by rather quickly.

I did some modem testing at work on Monday and Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon after a conference call regarding our new WiFi-related efforts I left at 1:30. I wanted to be home so that I wouldn’t be rushed when I later met my friends for dinner and to see The Who at the Wachovia Center in Philly.

This was my third Who concert -- I saw them in 1989 and 2002 -- and they still kick ass. The Philly show was the opener for their 2006 US tour. The band consists of the two remaining original members -- Roger Daltrey on vocals and Pete Townsend on guitar and vocals, plus John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards, Pino Palladino on bass, Simon Townsend on backup guitar and vocals, and Zak Starkey on drums.

Daltrey sounded good although he can’t quite hit the high notes like he used to. Pete sounded good as well, and his guitar playing rocked. He still does his trademark windmill. Palladino is a great bassist (although obviously he’s no John Entwistle) and Zak Starkey, well ...

Zak Starkey may be the best damn drummer in rock today. He’s that good. His playing is very reminiscent of Keith Moon’s.

The Who started the concert with I Can’t Explain and followed with some of their early tunes, The Seeker and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, then kicked it up a notch with Baba O’Riley. They also played their new mini-opera Wire and Glass. Pete was rather apologetic to the crowd for making us sit through new stuff, but it was well-received. I liked it. They also played The Relay, which I haven’t heard on the radio in years, and a good selection of tunes from Tommy including a great rendition of Amazing Journey/Sparks. Nothing from Quadrophenia, however.

The one down part of the night was the opening band. Someone thought it would be a good idea to have Peeping Tom -- a rap act -- open for The Who. A real WTF?!? moment there on par with when The Who opened for Herman’s Hermits or Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees.

My next concert will be Eric Clapton in October. His opener is going to be the Robert Cray Band, which should be very good. I’m really looking forward to the show, having seen Clapton twice back when I was in college.

Wednesday I was back in the office for a short while before our department picnic. Yesterday I spent hanging out with a guy from Arris who was upgrading a CMTS in our lab. We’re evaluating some of their pre-DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding technology. Imagine a cable modem which supports download speeds of 150 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 40 Mbps. Cool stuff indeed.

Today I’m doing a bit more testing of one of our modems. I’m also playing around with Nisus Writer Express. I’ve been looking off and on for a lightweight word processor for OS X. Word generally works OK but has a lot of overhead. NWE is definitely lighter and by default saves files in RTF format, but will read .doc files. Complex Word files do not translate perfectly, however. So far I’m mostly liking what I see, so I’ll putz around with it for the rest of the 30 day trial and then decide if I want to pay for a license.

Tomorrow we’re piling into the truck for a trip down to Arlington, VA for a 90th birthday party for my grandfather. I’m expecting the drive to suck but it’ll be worth it to see him and the rest of the family.

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