Archive for February, 2008

SITE UPDATE: #5 Blue Line cars finally in service

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Today I headed out to the Blue Line to track down the first train of #5 East Boston Tunnel cars to enter service.  0708-0711 entered service yesterday, the first new cars to do so on the Blue Line in 29 years.  I was quite successful in my endeavor.  I caught them with little wait at State and rode them to Bowdoin, out to Wonderland, and finally back to Revere Beach, where I got off to get some photos from a pedestrian overpass near the station.  I had to wait around in the cold there for almost an hour before they returned outbound, and then waited some more so I could get some photos of them going inbound there as well.  I then caught another inbound train, hoping to catch the new cars at Aquarium.  I just missed them there, but while I waited for them to return from Wonderland I got plenty of photos at Aquarium, which I’ve never photographed before.  I must say, the T has done an excellent job refurbishing Aquarium.  It’s brightly lit, allowing for excellent shots even with my slower lens, and the new (false) ceiling gives it a very modern appearance.  It’s definitely one of the best stations in Boston.  After the new cars came back inbound, I again waited at Aquarium for them to return outbound and get a few more shots.  After that, I headed back home, where I warmed up with some hot chocolate.  Photos can be found here, starting with the last two on the page.

I also took a few photos of Revere Beach while I was waiting for the new cars to return there. Here’s a view of the beach looking north. The lamppost was rather interesting. I also thought this apartment complex just north of the station looked kind of interesting, with its blocky profile.

SITE UPDATE: Cape Cod Central and Mass Coastal photos

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Today Bernie and I went out to find the new Mass Coastal Railroad locomotives.  We were successful, finding all of them lined up behind the engine house in Hyannis.  After getting plenty of shots of them and the Cape Cod Central coaches there, we went to Bourne to photograph the lift bridge over the Cape Cod Canal.  The photos are here.

Everything except the song I want

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Since Amazon opened it’s MP3 store in September, I’ve been slowly converting my collection of DRMed songs acquired for free from iTunes to DRM-free MP3s as they become available on Amazon. I’m now down to 44 iTMS free songs that haven’t been replaced with MP3 or iTunes Plus versions. Not bad, all things considered, but there’s a handful of those remaining songs in relation to which both stores have become quite annoying. For two of those songs (”German Test Drive” by Spymob and “She Moves In Secret Ways” by Polly Paulusma), both stores offer high-quality versions of every album released by the artist - except the one the song came from. >_<

Another song ("Telescope Eyes" by Eisley) appears to have all but completely disappeared off the face of the earth. Even the physical CD ("Laughing City") is out of print. Making this even more annoying, the song itself is not entirely gone - but all the available versions of it are 30 seconds shorter than the one I have. I don't care if the upgraded version of a song I buy is from a different album, but I want the same version of the song.

Finally, there's one other song ("In The Shadows" by The Rasmus) which is available from Amazon. However, since I ended up buying the whole album from iTunes shortly after getting the song for free, I'm waiting for it to show up in iTunes Plus (which, btw, has another album by the same artist >_<).

That brings me to another rant. At this point, all four major labels have decided that DRM isn’t working and agreed to offer their catalogs on Amazon. However, only EMI has agreed to do the same on iTunes. This is getting rather annoying, as I’d like to upgrade as many as possible of the remaining 728 DRMed songs I have in my library, both for the higher quality and to get rid of the DRM. While iTunes and the iPod are unlikely to disappear for decades, I’d like to future-proof my library as much as possible in the event they do disappear, as well as leave open the possibility of using equipment that can’t handle Fairplay. Hopefully the contracts will come up for renegotiation later this year and the other labels will agree to make their music available on iTunes without DRM.

On an unrelated note, Apple today released a 32GB version of the iPod touch. That’s the minimum size I would consider buying, as my music library is some 18GB. The $500 price tag means I won’t be buying one anytime soon, though, unless I get a lot of cash and/or Apple gift cards for my birthday next week. I read somewhere that flash memory prices are supposed to drop dramatically this year, so I expect by September Apple will cut the price. Or better yet, release a 64GB version, which I’d rather have as it’s about the same capacity as my current iPod, so it will hold the same amount of photo and video content.