some earbuds are better than others
Tuesday, February 11 2020
Last night when trying to scare up information about my health care plan, I'd found nothing whatsoever. "Open enrollment" for a new insurer had begun in late November, and I'd signed up for a hgh-deductable plan then. But all I'd gotten from doing that was an on-screen message after hitting submit at the end of the web form. There'd been no follow-up email or letter (with insurance cards) in the mail. My fear was that some database glitch (which definitely happen) had made it so that I actually had no insurance. So I'd written the head of human resources at the headquarters of the private equity behemoth that owns my company to find out whether or not I would be bankrupted by my next medical emergency. This morning she responded with news that I actually did have insurance, and she even emailed me copies of my cards (which some actual glitch must've kept from getting to me). That came as a huge relief, and it actually made me excited to do my job, dull and thankless though it's been of late.
Then later in the morning my impostor syndrome flared up enough to quicken my pulse when my boss Alex asked me what work I'd given to the Ukranian outsourcers lately. I didn't have a response, and my embarrassment put me off my game for the rest of the day. But at least I had health insurance.
Earbuds are an important part of my workplace equipment. They allow me to retreat into my own little world (usually the audio part of YouTube videos, though also occasionally music), which is important for a software developer. The other day one of my earbuds went silent, indicating I needed a new set. So I bought a $10 pair at the Red Hook CVS. These proved distressingly shoddy, with a slightly-too-short cord leading down to the plug. So on yesterday I bought an even cheaper $7 pair at the Red Hook Hannaford. These had nice (though thin) fabric-covered cords of an adequate length. But the audio quality was noticeably terrible, with an especially weak bass response. I'm no audiophile and have rarely noticed poor sound quality since the arrival of digital audio, but the poor quality was obvious. So today I reverted to one of my sets of travel headphones. But even these were noticeably-inferior to the ones that had gone bad. Perhaps I'm becoming more of an audiophile as my ears age.
This evening after drinking kratom and taking a bath, I tried a few of the many ESP8266-based boards that can be reprogrammed with an IDE. The first of these was the LOLin NodeMCU, which I was delighted to learn can be reflashed over the air (using its WiFi connection). I then tried to install the "Blink LED" sketch on the WeMos.cc D1, which has the same pinout footprint as a classic Arduino, and it worked with the exact same Arduino IDE board settings. I later learned that it can also be reflashed "over the air." Either device could be a powerful basis for an IoT project that doesn't require the complexity of a multitasking Linux computer such as a Raspberry Pi. Don't get me wrong, I love Raspberry Pi Zeros, which are nearly as cheap as the aforementioned boards. But they require too much electricity to be used in some applications.
Oscar this evening in the cat tree. He recently decided he liked this room near its bottom.
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