One thing I've been noticing lately is a lot of cars being pulled over by the police. In an age of labor cuts and dwindling budgets, it seems like even the cops are having to justify their jobs and increase revenue. This means a lot of tickets are probably being issued where they once were not. Because of this, I've been driving a lot more conservatively over the past year or so... but not everybody has gotten the message. When I was driving over to Seattle last week, I was twice passed by cars going way over the speed limit, only to catch up with them down the road after they had been pulled over.
Today it happened again. The police are not playing around. At least not in Washington State.
A part of me is happy about this, because there are people on the road who are downright dangerous and should be pulled over. But another part of me is concerned at the thought that the police may be going too far. If people are being pulled over for going 65 in a 60, for example, I don't consider this to be ticket-worthy. Even a temporary passing speed of 70 in a 60 should not be a ticketable offense if somebody is passing safely. Hopefully, things are not getting out of hand, because there's a fine line between "To serve and protect" and "To humiliate and harass."
Personally, I'd rather pay more taxes to the police so that they don't have ticket quotas and can focus on public safety and dangerous drivers... like the assholes who are slow-driving in the passing lane AND AREN'T PASSING ANYBODY! It may cost us more money, but at least it's not affecting our insurance rates, so we're saving in the long-run.
In the meanwhile... watch your speed, citizens!
Oh... for those of you who were asking which headphones I ended up with after my rant yesterday...
Blogography's Bose AE2 Audio Headphones Review
Bose is one of those companies that usually gets massacred at review sites because most everybody seems to think they are overpriced and have poor sound. This is kind of surprising because every time I've stopped at a Bose kiosk and given them a listen, I've been relatively impressed. No, they're not going to win in a contest against $1500 studio reference cans (obviously) but, for the most part, I think they're worth the money they charge.
I have four sets of earbuds, with my favorite being the Klipsch S4i. The problem is that earbuds become uncomfortable for me after a while, and I was wanting something that went over my ears like a traditional headset. Unfortunately, the three pairs I tried at the mid-low-end (JVC, Sony, and Skullcandy... each $50 or less) were not at all comfortable. It finally got to the point that I didn't even care about the sound, all I wanted was something that didn't squeeze my brain or dent the top of my head. A Google search for "most comfortable headphones" eventually led me to Bose. Target had a listening station and AE2's in stock for $20 off ($130 total). They were about $60 more than I wanted to spend, but oh well.
My thoughts on my new cans can be found in an extended entry...
Overall, I'm pleased with the Bose AE2's. If you don't want to read a bunch, I've boiled everything down to the pros and cons.
• Lightweight and super-comfortable.
• Crisp, clean sound at "normal" volumes.
• Surprisingly good bass.
• Nice and loud on my iPhone.
• Removable/replaceable cord.
• Noise isolation is pretty good.
• Noise leakage is not bad.
• My ears get warm after a while.
• No gold-plated contacts on the plugs?!?
• Plug doesn't "snap" into my MacBook and is easily pulled out.
• Midtones are lacking at higher volumes.
• Wearing over eyeglasses can be uncomfortable.
• Cord is whisper-thin and seems very fragile.
• Design is kind of pedestrian and boring.
• No storage case? Just a flimsy BAG?
That pretty much sums it all up. The first thing I did was to play through five tracks that would put the AE2's through its paces (results are listed below). It was a mixed bag but, for the kind of music I like to listen to, I was pretty happy. Playing through my typical albums (like Yes by the Pet Shop Boys and Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode) revealed a lovely balance of highs and lows with beautiful, crisp sound at standard listening volumes. On top of that, they are amazingly comfortable to wear. Eventually you'll want to take a break when your ears are suffocating and hot, but that's a problem with most all over-ear cans.
Are the AE2's worth the price? I'm tempted to say yes, just because they're so comfortable, but the answer is probably more like "maybe." If they were $99, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for pop or acoustical music fans. At $150, I'm more hesitant. There probably are better value cans for the money out there, I just don't have the patience to hunt them down. I can say that the lack of gold contacts on the plugs and absence of a case is surprising for headphones costing $150, but that's Bose for you.
If forced to give them a grade, I'd have to go with a solid B.
For anybody interested, here were the first five songs I played and my comments on them...
And there you have it. Fortunately, you don't have to take my word for it. Head to a Bose kiosk at your local airport or mall, or go to a listening station at Target, and experience them for yourself.