More Fun With Dentists

Posted 2010.04.19 15.33 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Another dentistry day. I guess I’m paying my dues for having avoided dentists for so long. Ok it’s not a guess, it’s a fact.

I knew this was coming back in November – that was the plan. Once the wisdom teeth were out, he could get at the trio of cavities that were hiding at the back. Well, today he got at them.

To be fair, the actual drilling wasn’t so bad. The needles were worse, as usual. Jabby jabby pokey pokey in the gums. Then he accidentally squirted some of the freezing into my mouth and wow that stuff tastes toxic. It tastes like what I imagine drain cleaner would taste like. Just a horrid, horrid nasty medical waste kind of taste.

The other thing that I really don’t enjoy is the sensation of being tipped upside-down, in that scary mechanical chair contraption, while they fill my mouth up with stainless steel and water. Being in that position triggers my sleep apnea only not while sleeping, so my throat keeps trying to close up and I can’t breath. So they’re busy excavating, one pipe bringing water in, another pipe taking water out (but not as fast as it’s coming in) and all the power tools and stuff, I’m clinging to the chair to keep from sliding headfirst out of it, and gagging for air… Actually that might be slightly worse than the needles. Or not. I’m not sure.

Oh and the other other thing is, just before he started working he cranked up his radio to full blast. He thinks that music blaring at full volume helps people relax and takes their mind off the drill. Maybe for some people. I can’t stand loud noises. I hate going to clubs and stuff like that where there’s noise and music blaring away. The loud blaring music was as relaxing to me as, well… it’s just not relaxing at all.

Think about taking a cat to the vet then the vet turns on his shop-vac and sets it next to your cat, to help the cat calm down. Yeah. Loud music. Car horns. Jackhammers. Crying babies. Chainsaws. And for that matter, vacuums. They all have the same effect on me, and that effect is not a calming one. Fortunately at one point I was able to ask them to turn off the radio.

That was all this morning though. Now the freezing has worn off, and I’m just left with a nagging ache in one of the teeth he worked on. Or maybe it’s all three of them, but one is worse than the others.

I really hate going to the dentist.

Dingoo vs. AAC

Posted 2010.04.19 7.38 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

Yes, you can teach an old Dingoo new tricks.

Aside from being a neato mini portable retro gaming platform, the Dingoo is also a little media player. There’s a long list of digital audio formats that it can handle. For some reason I never noticed that AAC (file suffix m4a) was not one of them.

See way back when, AAC was going to be the new big thing. I’d read that it was better than mp3, technically superior, better sounding, and all that jazz. So when I digitized my music collection, I used AAC. Now, over 90% of my collection is in AAC format.

So I was initially confused when I put a bunch of AAC files on the Dingoo, only to have them not show up in the music player. Of course, mp3 files appeared ok, but it was like the AAC files didn’t exist.

In all my bricking & unbricking adventures, I had acquired tools for examining and mucking with the firmware. I could see a list of codecs and there was an AAC codec in there. So why weren’t my files working?

It turns out that the AAC codec is in there for supporting movies. For whatever reason they didn’t set it up to support AAC files on their own. Wierd. But fixable.

So I opened up the main binary file in a hex editor and got to work. Of all the music formats it was set up to work with, I picked a format I’ve never heard of and know nothing about – APE. I then went through the binary and changed all the references to .ape files, into references to .m4a files. These references were in areas of the binary that determine what files are displayed, and how.

Dingoo playing an AAC / .m4a music file.

And voila, my Dingoo recognizes and plays AAC files. I don’t actually think it’s any big deal, since it already had the codec. All I did was fix up the interface so that the AAC files were available to the user.

But then again, maybe it is a big deal? I don’t know. Maybe noone else has done it, and maybe my Dingoo is the only one in the world that can play AAC music files.