Cheryl Crumley: ‘How does this work??? It’s impossible!!!’

☞ Hardly. (See below if you don’t figure it out.)


Chris McMahon: ‘He has 750 cd’s?! Good grief, that’s a lot. That reminds me of your column on the kings of old and how our lifestyles today are better for even the most common man. An ancient king would be able to command a live production every evening if he wished, but it would only be one type of music. Here you have access to 750 different kinds, day or night, and you can fit it in the palm of your hand and listen to it without bothering the person next to you [the queen].’

Dan Pritts: ‘Re: the Nomad Jukebox 3 post: (1) Anyone shopping for such a gadget MUST check the Apple iPod. (2) MP3 files are not ‘perfect digital copies’ of the original CDs. They use what is known as ‘lossy’ compression to squeeze the size of the files – this lowers the overall quality. It is a tradeoff between quality and size.’

Andrew Krieg: ‘A lossless compression requires approximately 10 Mb of storage per minute of music. If an average CD were just 40 minutes in length, only 100 ‘perfect’ copies would fit on 40 Gb hard drive. MP3s are great for travel or listening to at work, but I would never replace my CDs (or LPs) with lossy MP3s.’

Andrea Marcucci (and many others): ‘Your reader wrote: ‘When I finish my CD-ripping project, I will have a perfect digital copy of my entire music collection on my hard drive. Upon completion, I plan to sell the original CDs (probably to the local used CD store) for $3-4 each.’ Good plan, except that it’s illegal. You can’t copy copyrighted material and sell it, regardless of whether you sell the copy or the original. I believe current law allows you to make a copy of a video, lp, cd, or tape for personal use or to give away, but you may not profit from it.’

☞ I should have thought to point that out. Thanks to the many of you who wrote to arouse me from my stupor.


I still owe you a column with your good feedback. But if I don’t get to it, here’s at least one point of agreement with those of you who disagree with my support of the copyright extension: After a less-than-interminable period of time, copyrights should expire unless they are actively renewed. Maybe there would be a small renewal fee. But even without it, just requiring that some paperwork be filled out would likely return the great bulk of copyrighted material back to the public domain.


Wayne Arczynski: ‘I know you are somewhat of an aficionado of Frequent Flyer programs and wanted to point you to this site: These folks are insane, but in a good way. The forums show ways to creatively generate all sorts of miles, including mileage runs. I had never heard of this before, but it appears some folks travel with five or so connections to maximize their miles on discounted fares. Here is one example: DCA-MSP-LAX-AMS-LIS . . . LIS-AMS-LAX-DTW-MSP. Fare: $362. Total miles: 19,000 before bonuses.’

☞ Pavlov was right.


Turner Jones: ‘I always liked Scarce Grease, Alabama – especially when I am on a diet. It’s listed on’


Cheryl Crumley: ‘How does this work??? It’s impossible!!!’

☞ OK, it’s not a miracle. All two-digit numbers, when you do this little operation (adding the digits together and then subtracting that from the number you started with) work out to a multiple of nine.

Take 31: 3 + 1 = 4, and 4 subtracted from 31 = 27, and 27 is divisible by 9. (Spookier still, all 2-digit numbers divisible by 9 add up to 9 – the 2 + 7 in 27 = 9.)

Notice that both the crystal ball AND the symbols beside the numbers divisible by 9 change in lockstep together each time you click.

The crystal ball knows that any number you choose will work out to a multiple of 9. So the site is programmed to have multiples of nine and the ball always in synch.

The first time you use 31, it might produce a smiley face – as does the crystal ball. But click again and it rotates to a different symbol – as does the crystal ball.


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