Bare Bones MP3

Tell me something: how many of you out there are sick of bloated programs? How many of you believe this statement applies to MP3 players? I myself find WinAmp and Windows Media Player to be full of features I don’t need. I mean, what purpose does that squiggly wave form visualization screen serve except to waste equations on your CPU?

If you feel the way I do, you might want to check out the Mini MP3 Player. This player sits as an icon on your system tray. To add in your songs, you simply open up the playlist, open up explorer, and drag songs to your list. You right click, hit play, and you can also right-click and go to the next song, or the previous one. The total size of this download is 45.3 Kb.

Yes, you read that right: roughly 45300 bytes.

The program is a bit more bare bones than I would like. Once you set up your playlist, you can’t do anything with it except clear it and start again. You can’t change the order of the playlist — at least, not as far as I’ve found, yet. You can loop your list, but there is no random feature. Maybe these will appear in the next version, but one must be careful not to wish for too many new features, lest bloat sets in. In the meantime, the folks behind Mini MP3, have my gratitude for giving me what I asked for: an MP3 player, nothing fancy, nothing more.

Another player I’ve downloaded is CoolPlayer, which has more features, including shuffle and internet streaming, but it features the same slim download, this time of just under 200 Kb.


I’m starting to notice more and more of the fine print they put in commercials where the people on camera do something remotely risky. This even includes car commercials where the guy is going into a skid. We are helpfully warned: “professional driver on a closed course” or somesuch.

Once, just once — perhaps during the commercial where one driver is so impressed by the improvement to the torque of his Ford truck he fantasizes about jumping over cars with a boat attached, or perhaps the Mazda mechanic that performs repairs while the car barrels down a desert road — I’d like to see the fine print companies write the following:

“Don’t be a Moron.”

That should just about cover it, I think.

Please Note: If You’re Having Beer for Breakfast, You Have a Problem

So, my name is out among a list of people telemarketers get to call when they want to set up a focus group. Focus groups are fun times. You get called in by complete strangers who ask your opinion about such deep topics as pizza, Ontario Hydro rates, and what type of soda I drink, etc, and for just two hours of my time, roughly every six months, I walk away with $50 in my pocket. No harm in that.

However, no other focus group out there pays more than focus groups on beer. I’ve heard payments of $100 are possible. But though I’m asked if I would like to join a focus group on beer, I’m never ultimately invited. Indeed, the conversation goes something like this:

Telemarketer: Okay, I’m glad you’re interested. Now, if you wouldn’t mind answering a few questions.

Me: Certainly.

Telemarketer: Do you, or any of your family members, work for an advertising agency or a market research firm?

Me: No.

Telemarketer: Have you attended a focus group within the last six months.

Me: No.

Telemarketer: Within two or three bottles, can you tell me on average how many beers you typically drink a week?

Me: Er… two.

Telemarketer: I’m sorry, but you don’t qualify. We’re looking for somebody who consumes more beer than you do.

Me: How many beers do I have to consume before I qualify for these focus groups?

Telemarketer: We’re looking at around seven or more.

Me: Seven or more a week?

Telemarketer: I know. That’s a lot.

Me: You think?

Telemarketer: Some of the people I talk to tell me they drink about twenty or more beers per week.

Me: Lady, if these people are drinking twenty or more beers per week, you’re not the person they should be talking to.

Andrew at Bound by Gravity gives me a heads up about a new product called Molson Kick, a refreshing brew that contains the extract of a highly caffinated plant called guarana.

That’s right: caffinated beer. Finally, you can now drink beer for breakfast!


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