The Ongoing

Sometimes the “ongoing” stuff in life catches up and forces me to post updates.  This is one of those times:

1. I’ve picked up vintage audio gear that’s starting to stack up on the workbench.  I need to write some blog posts that show what I’ve snagged and what I’m going to do with it.  The latest?  A Dual 1229 for $1 at a yard sale.  It’s pretty beat up, but the basics are there.  I posted at Vinyl Engine with some of the notes about the gear, looking for advice about where to go next.

2. It’s time to redo Tammy’s business website, and I’m looking for hosting.  I’m thinking Dreamhost.  Ideas?

3. Cleaning out old gear is fun and sad.  Fun because I get space back.  Sad because it’s stuff without a good use anymore.

 

Microsoft Surface

Update:  The “pro” version has a stylus (fail) that you have to charge (!)

 

Lots of things have been said about the new Microsoft Surface.  Read coverage at The Verge for details.  I’m watching the video of the press event, and more than anything, the utter silence at 10:39 into the video says it all.  The “reveal” video/CG of the metal shards turning into the name had just completed.  Steve Ballmer pulls out the actual tablet to show the attendees.  Utter silence.

That said, it looks cool, but many will think “I already have an iPad, why this?”

‘Nuff said…

New Apple Stuff That I Want

Apple took the wraps off several new items today.  Here’s my top 3:

  • Mountain Lion – upgrade for $19.99 and get a ton of new features including deep integration between iPhone/iPad and your home Mac
  • Airport Express – This new version of the lightweight $99 wireless access point will replace my old Linksys router once and for all.
  • Apple TV – now that I have an iPad, I have a genuine use for AirPlay sharing not to mention the Mac to AppleTV sharing.

Colorado Trip Notes

About 3 weeks ago, I found out that I had a chance to go to Colorado for a week long Cisco training course. I fired off a few quick emails to get approval and it was a done deal. Now that I’m here, I thought I’d share some observations and even some pictures.

Sunday Morning

I left the house at 5:30 AM and here was my view:

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I had to make a quick stop at my local Walmart to replace a mismatched wiper blade and I was off. The first three hours of the drive were familiar and boring – Springfield to KC – so not much to report. I hit the Kansas Turnpike and was greeted with my first surprise: 75 MPH speed limit! It looked like I was going to make good time. I allowed myself a side trip to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS.

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I was happy to have a break from the road and it showed:

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The trip added about 2 hours to my total drive, but it was totally worth it. I drove through some of the prettiest farm country and rolling hills I’ve seen. I wanted to stop and take more pictures on the way, but daylight was burning. That said, I had a promise to keep and that was a stop. At the Garden of Eden.

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Now it was time to push on to Denver. Back on I-70 I was able to make good time and Denver was soon in sight. I made it to my room by 7:45PM which made my total day trip time 15 hours. I was tired but not too worn out. I crashed and had plenty of sleep to start the training in the morning.

Tomorrow’s post: Loveland Pass and the Continental Divide

Updates from the hinterland

Hi loyal readers!

Yes, I’m still alive. There is much to write about but I haven’t taken the time. I’ve posted to Twitter from time to time, but not much substance. Let’s see if we can fill in some blanks:

1. I sold my XBox and all of its games. Yes it’s true. I’ve been a gamer for many years and I’m sure that I’ll come back to it in time. Just not right now. I traded everything in at my local GameStop when I got enough to (almost) buy an iPad. Sure, it’s a second generation unit, 16GB and WiFi only but it is still great. It is something I should have done long ago. I’m writing this blog post on it now and even touch typing is a breeze.

2. I’ve been traveling a lot for work. For me traveling is fun, but my last trip to St. Louis was the best. Tammy got to go along and we were able to meet up with friends on two on the nights. Good times indeed. I have a rare job that allows me to mix work and fun so I try to take advantage of it when I can.

3. Vintage audio again has made it in to my house. This time it’s a blast from the mid-80’s–a Dual CS-505-2 turntable and two components from NAD. The NAD amp is a simple 3320PE with a companion AM/FM tuner as a separate unit. The speakers that were included in this combo were some truly amazing Merlin 1B’s from 1986. There is much more to that story so I won’t spoil it by giving away too many details. Look for a full update in a few months. The Dual is heading north with me to meet up with Bob from Fix My Dual in Des Moines. He will take it apart and give it an overhaul then we can make it our primary turntable.

Two Hours with my Sennheiser HD280 headphones

tl;dr – They are awesome!

I’ve spent the last two hours working at my desk and listening to my music collection via iTunes Match.  These new headphones have a quality that is hard to describe to someone–mainly because I don’t think I have the right words in vocabulary.  The sound is certainly clear and well-defined considering the source and my local PC’s sound card.

The HD280 speakers are amazing for the size (watch a video if you want to learn more) and produce what I have to call a “compressive bass” sound.  Instead of bass ‘hum’ instead your ears can feel the air pressure changes therefore the bass has a tactile quality.  I think this comes from the way they encompass the ear and truly isolate the air gap between the speakers and eardrum.  These are the first headphones that I’ll have to worry about volume limits.

More later…

 

Sennheiser HD280 Pro are as good as you think

Quick review of the Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones:

Basics

Sound quality is amazing. Reveals the quality of source material, whether it’s vintage vinyl (Rush-Moving Pictures) or 256Kbps AAC from iTunes Match (Love and Rockets-Ball of Confusion). Nearly complete sound isolation. Manual that comes in box lets you know you paid for a quality product. Coiled cord perfect for your desk or the chair next to that vintage amp.

Interesting notes:

They feel like they compress my head in a gentle vise. Might be therapeutic. In reality, the sensation is more like stepping in to a sound proof room and closing the door.

I have a set of Sennheiser HD201’s, the $30 cousin twice removed of the HD280 Pro. $70 buys a lot of difference and when you spend 4 to 6 hours a day with headphones on, it’s worth the investment.

PS: If you go through a Sennheiser dealer, they can add a microphone.

SOPA Protest

Like many on WordPress.com, I’ve set my site to “blackout” to draw awareness to the internet censorship dangers of the SOPA and PIPA legislation in the US Congress.  Please visit the main page and read some of the information and act if you feel it’s important.

I do.