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Anything Goes

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Have you ever noticed on X-files when Mulder is nosing around peeking in dark corners a cat jumps out to startle everybody. A cat is comfortable pet but it is also an X-files creature with that unblinking stare that seems otherworldly.

The 2016 Mazda 3 GT. This baby has an extra 30 horses and 18 inch wheels. It has 6-spd automatic with sports mode and shift paddles. The Bose sound-system has no distortion and better midrange than the 2013 version.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

R. I. P. Buffy The Cat

Buffy was the perfect pet for fourteen years until hyperthyroidism did her in. I sensed she was in her nineth life but she was fine in the morning, and ate her food during the day, but I found her sick and unable to stand last evening. She was DOA at the emergency clinic. I guess she peacefully passed away during the car ride.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Steve Jobs, The Book

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a fascinating read. Jobs made technology beautiful and intuitive for everyone. He was an extreme perfectionist for Apple products, stores, and offices but yet, in the early days of Apple, he was a weird, barefoot hippie who believed you did not need to bathe if you ate nothing but fruit. He pushed his people to accomplish more than they thought they could. So Apple today is the greatest technology leader.

But Apple products are not for me. The Apple control freaks wish to control all aspects of the user experience but I like to know how a given technology works and use it as I please. So I have a modest Samsung Galaxy Ace SmartPhone with Android software. I can install any audio and video media files using a USB cable. No iTunes or App store for me. :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Buffy The Cat, LOL Again!

Cats are susceptible to bladder stones and Buffy, who is lucky 13, has them. They show up on Xray and there is blood in the urine probably caused by these stones. Buffy terrorized the staff at the animal hospital and the Vet called for permission to sedate. She was too stubborn to pee and had to stay overnight for a complete test. Oh, my.

Buffy did not eat for a few days but she now is feeling good again and eating her special diet to reduce the size of the stones which hopefully will pass. Twice daily I pounce on her with a towel and give her a squirt of Clavamox from the Vet to reduce infection. All's well so far.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

HDTV UHF Antenna (DIY)

HDTV Digital Television from antenna provides a superior picture compared to the same channels on cable. And the price is right... free, no monthly fees. The DIY people will be happy to know they can easily make a small and simple indoor antenna for less than $20 that performs as well, or even better than store-boughts. See Fractal HDTV Antenna

Friday, May 29, 2009

SanDisk Sansa MP3 Player Repair

The Sandisk Sansa e260 MP3 Player is a sturdy device with a “liquid metal” exterior frame and an inner aluminum frame for the lithium-ion battery. However, mine did not work after falling on the floor. You may suffer the same mishap since the unit is rectangular and slippery with no protrusions to maintain a grip. Fortunately, this unit can be repaired by anyone handy with a small screwdriver. This project page describes the procedure.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quantum of Entertainment

The latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, is entertaining as an action film but affirms my impression that each new Bond is duller than the previous. Daniel Craig seems to be channeling Jackie Chan with overlong and frantic action sequences leaving him too tired for acting.

Sean Connery played this role with the right mix of charisma, action, and humour. He is the one true Bond.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Goa'uld LostAndFound Department

An annoying disruption of workflow occurs when important items disappear from your desk or work area at the office. Usually a colleague has "borrowed" the item and not bothered to return it or leave a note. A typical employee would issue a polite email with a plea for the return of the item. Perhaps a more dramatic message would discourage such disrespect of your property.

The Goa'uld are the haughty overlords and self-proclaimed gods of the Stargate SG1 universe. The Goa'uld does not say please, he/she gives orders. The Goa'uld is never pleased. Do not "borrow" anything from the the Goa'uld workspace.

In this Sound file, someone has borrowed the Goa'uld pencil and he is not amused. He orders his minions to find the foolish culprit..

The original Stargate series with Richard Dean Anderson was the best. How is the Goa'uld voice created? Actress Jacqueline Samuda explains the audio technique of "flanging". I created the Goa'uld message using Audacity and SoX

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DIY HiFi Speaker Cables

When buying a Home Theater system, your saleman might suggest to shell out ever more money for gold-plated monster speaker cables. This sounds like a reasonable idea since anyone can imagine that skinny wires between the amplifier and speaker might degrade the sound. Moreover, there is no certification for audio amplifier wiring as there is for say, electrical wiring. So, when in doubt, more is better, as any audiophile knows.

But how does one know that these fancy cables will actually provide a significant benefit relative to the cost? Suppose there is a limitation imposed within the amplifier that moots any improvement provided by external wiring?

When purchasing Focal 714v speakers at my friendly neighborhood stereo store, I noticed the salesman was using cables large enough to boost car batteries. On the other hand, my home stereo was using lamp cord. So I disassembled my JVC RX-660vbk to inspect the signal path and remove six years of cat dander. I was dismayed to find the speaker signal path was one foot of 24awg ribbon cable, two speaker switches, and a relay. Moreover, it was a single sided circuit board with several segments of 20awg wire jumpers between the relay and the power transistors. If the amp was run at it's rated power of 400w, the ribbon cable would probably melt.

I would not be surprised to see similiar designs in other "mass-market" audio equipment. The connections are on back of a cabinet, the controls are on the front. Good designers ensure that connections in signal path are robust. Audiophiles invest significant dollars to get this quality. Mass marketers cut corners hoping that customers won't notice subtle differences.

Instead of expensive cables, I suggest to buy measured lengths of 12awg speaker wire from Home Depot or anywhere. Strip one half-inch of insulation from each end. Optionally, dab solder on the last one-quarter inch of bare wire to prevent separation of the strands. Gold plating to prevent corrosion of the wires might be needed on your yacht but not in the benign environment of your home. Just in case, disconnect and reconnect the wires every six months to make a new metal to metal contact.

P.S. 12awg wire can handle 40amps, 24awg can take maybe 3amps. It certainly should not be used in audio speaker circuits.