The online home for Greg Leedberg, since 1995.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Well, I have officially survived Cornell now... grades came in last week, all A's and B's. I'm happy... the GPA is slightly lower than at UNH, but only by a small amonut. I expected to see it dip a lot more. Cornell has a reputation of being the hardest of the Ivies (and the one with the least amount of grade inflation as well), and I certainly did work harder for those A's and B's than I ever worked before in my life.

In other news, the job search has begun. I've been sending out lots and lots of resumes, but I'm trying to stay with just companies that I am truly interested in (i.e., I'm not resume spamming :-) ). Lots of jobs out there that are appealing, it will be interesting to see what I end up with (if anything at all, given the current job market...).

Also, Christmas and New Year's were fun. My big gift for Christmas was an iPod. I absolutely love it. Just a year ago, I thought iPods were too overpriced to own. But then I started using the iTunes music service to buy music online. Buying music from iTunes has completely changed the way I discover music... I have found so many artists that I love who I probably never would have explored before. iTunes is really good for that. Examples? Bonnie McKee, the most. I never would have tried her music if I had to pay $20 and had never heard it. But you can hear 30 seconds of all songs, and $1 isn't much to try the entire song. I've also discovered lots of songs by artists I already knew of, but songs that I otherwise probably would never have heard.

Once I started using iTunes music service, I discovered just how great iTunes is for listening to music. I was previously a WinAmp faithful, and iTunes initally seemed too big and bloated, but it really is not. It's so great being able to access music by artist... or album... or song... or genre, or anything else. And being able to search my entire collection of ~3,000 songs instantaneously. And being able to rate songs (and then have highly rated songs play more often in shuffle mode!). And smart playlists are great... I have a playlist of all my highly-rated songs, a playlist of music I like to listen to while working (slow, soothing stuff), and (since my highly rated playlist happens to be dominated by slow, soothing stuff) a playlist of highly rated songs that don't appear on my work music playlist. It's so amazing what you can do with playlists. And there are lots of small touches that show that iTunes was designed by people who love listening to music, for people who love listening to music. iTunes is such an amazing music player in so many ways I can't even go into them all here.

And once you realize how great iTunes is, you realize how great the iPod must be (to carry around all the functionality of iTunes with you all the time!). And it certainly is. I love having all my songs with me, all the time, and all my ratings and play lists as well. The iPod may cost a lot, but now I realize that it is entirely worth it. $300 to completely revolutionalize how you listen to music? Worth it. Entirely.

We get Napster for free at Cornell, but it absolutely pales in comparison to the iPod / iTunes combo, to the point that I refuse to use my free subscription to Napster in favor of iTunes. Napster is (largely) subscription based, so you have to keep paying $10 - $15 a month just to keep your music (I like music a lot, but don't spend nearly that much each month on iTunes, and I get to keep my music forever). Both iTunes and Napster have digital rights management, but only on Napster do your rights change depending on what song you downloaded. And, iTunes effectively gives you the same rights as you get when you buy a CD -- since you can always burn your music to CD once you've bought it, you can then do everything you could have done with it in the past, if you so desire. And I have yet to see a Napster player which looks nearly as sleek as the iPod, or which is nearly as useable (it isn't easy to navigate 3,000 songs, but the iPod does it gracefully).

So, in conclusion, I love my iPod :) And if you aren't already using iTunes, you should.

I also got nesting dolls from my girlfriend (little known fact -- I collect them!), one of which is authentically Russian! And a Bonsai tree... I needed something to take care of in my life, not to mention something to liven up my room at Cornell! :)

For New Year's, I just went down to my girlfriend's, and we watched movies and TV till midnight. It was a LOT of fun. I love just relaxing and spending time with her.

Well, that is it. I go back to school in a week and a half. I'm sure I'll post again before then, I will hopefully be doing a lot between now and then!