I’ve been sympathetic to my teen boys because, as they try to assert their independence against my wife and I, they really don’t have one, unique flagpole of revolution to rally around. The hair issue we’ve already covered. Music? You could argue that gangsta, goth and slash rock is unique, but it’s still founded in the soul of rock, that music we used to piss off our parents! My MP3 player has hints of Korn, Papa Roach, Snoop Dogg and Disturbed among my Bruce, Eagles, Beatles and Steely Dan (yes, quite an eclectic mix). And my kids? Well, you can find in their music libraries the likes of The Who, Led Zepplin, Blue Oyster Cult and Ozzie Osbourne. So is this their attempt to rise up against the establishment? Quite frankly, I feel this is one of the biggest bonds I still have with my teens!

As long as we’re on the music front, I’ve downloaded an evaluation version of AIPL Singulator to see if I can get some of my old vinyl records into my MP3 library. The program is very easy to use and non-tech friendly and very simple to set up. I used The Cars debut album (which I have on Japanese “Supervinyl” … anyone remember that?). The result was a good, albeit slightly muddy translation, which I think is the result of analog and digital formats never quite syncing seamlessly. The program does break up songs on an album so they can be better sorted in MP3 land, and you do have control on just how much time between tracks will be needed to break. The only downside is that, after you flip the album over, you need to create a new file to record.

The eval version does put an annoying, Top-40 radio style tag at the beginning of each track, but the makers promise that gets removed if you buy the full version.

But, for the money, is a cheap and easy way to transfer LP music to MP3. The sound quality won’t be as good as your stereo, but it does feel richer that most digital music when listening on your iPod earbuds.

I think it’s part of a boy’s DNA that, when they turn 13, they must wear their hair long. My oldest decided the buzz cut was no longer acceptable when he turned that age, and now that my youngest has reached that milestone of life, he’s also become allergic to the barber’s chair.

This is a point in life where I’ve realized that my parents had it so easy. When it was time for a haircut and I balked, my dad would just point to a picture of him when he was that age and say, “See, this is how you should wear your hair…like a man!”

Today, when I tell either son he needs a haircut, they pull out my high school graduation picture … the one that makes me look like a pudgy Steve Perry … and say “YOU had long hair, why can’t I?”

It’s at that point I have to throw away any other logic, point to the slender hairs remaining on my head, and reply, “well, THIS is what happens to you when you don’t get haircuts as a teenager!”

So far, that’s been enough to scare them back to the barber…

In response to my earlier entry about ripping vinyl to MP3, I’ve found some software, AIPL Singulator, that requires (in addition to the program) only a patch cord from your stereo’s audio output to your computer’s line in.

I’ve downloaded an evaluation copy and plan to try it out this week. I’ll keep you posted…