Although the house has full-house surge protection in the panel, I elect to use a second line of defense for the computers, network electronics, and audio and video systems. In the past, I had used APC power conditioners for this task but another 5 years had passed and it was time for battery replacement. Being tired of messing with lead acid gel cell batteries, I looked around and settled on Furman Power conditioners. After all, something robust enough to protect a $40,000 church PA should be good enough for home, right? Turns out, it was more than good enough. Product impressions and listening impressions follow plus a bit of EE tech.
Continue reading Furman Power Elite 15i Impressions
This is the 4th post in a series chronicling a small church’s experience with the Grandstream GDS3710 Door System. We like the product but the deployment has been like solving Rubik’s Cube. We found we had to do a lot of tinkering to get things working, something that shouldn’t happen with such a sophisticated product.
This article summarizes some of our lessons learned, particularly with regard to use of the keypad to enter PINS, the interpretation of the virtual number field and the various way the doors can be opened using the GDS3710.
Continue reading GDS3710 Part 4: Opening the door
The Grandstream 3710 Door System provides a video intercom, security camera (its recordable using compatible NVRS), RFID reader, and door unlock control relay. The device has a contact input that can be used for an inside exit demand input and a second that can be used as a door status sensor input. And all of this for the price of a door controller from HID or AXIS.
This is a new device so it has a few rough edges. This post talks about the rough edges.
Continue reading Further thoughts on the GDS3710
About a year ago, the retired moocher decided it was time to retire a couple of elderly Drobo Gen 2 direct attached storage devices. After much research, the moocher undertook an orgie of parts ordering, skinned knuckles, and arcane incantations to produce a FreeNAS storage server with collateral duties for networking and media service. Then there was thunder. It wasn’t bad but freenas wouldn’t run. This post describes the recovery actions and reminds all to take a key precaution.
Continue reading If something can’t go wrong, it will anyway
My church is completing the remodel of its new building. Being a retired moocher having nothing better to do, I got sucked into the design sub-committees working on Audio, Lighting, and Networking (including phones). In our current building, we issued keys to trusted congregants that allowed them to open the building to support scheduled activities like choir rehearsal, meetings, and the Sunday program. We kept a key under a rock (well, a figurative rock) having a button lock. Over the years members had come and gone but the key combination remained unchanged. In our new home, we wanted to avoid physical keys and their management so we opted for an access control system. This article describes what we found and did.
Continue reading Small, Simple Access Control
After several years of life with the Sony Alpha 65, the moocher felt it was time for a new lens. So off to Imaging Resource to see what was happening in the digital imaging world. As I was shopping for the Alpha 65, Sony had just introduced its NEX line of cameras. The Alpha series featured a semi-transparent fixed mirror with an electronic finder. The NEX series eliminated the mirror and penta-prism. The main sensor was also the finder sensor.After reading several reviews, I concluded that the mirror-less camera had grown up and was a good choice for me. Many working pros are coming to the same conclusion, especially those shooting travel and street photography where compactness is an asset.
Continue reading The Moocher’s new camera
I made an interesting discovery when I called out from home on my mobile. It showed a new Blue Tooth audio device which happened to be my HomePod. On a lark, I moved the HomePod into my study for the quarterly check-in call with my broker. In my study, the phone (iPhone 6+) speaker phone has a pretty bad echo setting my expectations to switch to headphones after the caller reported hideous call quality.
The first go
When the call came in on my iPhone, I switched it to HomePod expecting that I’d have to switch to ear buds to have the echo tolerable. My advisor calls my Google Voice number which rings both my iPhone and my OOMA Telo VoIP land line. I have the choice of which to use and normally take his call on the iPhone using some Sennheiser headphones made for iPhone calling.
Surprisingly, my advisor reported clean audio on his end free of echo. He sounded well also calling from a 212 area code phone, probably VoIP likely on a local PBX but possibly a cloud PBX. At any rate, HomePod works well as an audio endpoint for a 2 way phone call.
Siri can’t dial
“Hey Siri, call aunt nancy at home”
“Sorry, I can’t help you with that here”
HomePod Siri can’t chat with iPhone Siri to make the call for you.
When I first wrote about HomePod on March 26, I wrote about the out of the box experience. Since then, I’ve had a chance to live with HomePod as a day to day device and to form a more detailed impression of its sound. Originally, I found that HomePod was very revealing and embarrassed poorly mastered material and lossy compression. Those impressions still hold.
Continue reading A week with HomePod
I stopped by the Apple Store on the way home from church, always an expensive detour. This Sunday was no exception. I auditioned the HomePod and was suitably impressed. In the noisy way-too-big Apple Store hall, it sounded creditable in the near field. My impressions after a day at home follow. Most of the reviews focus on Siri when the focus should be on the killer app of the “smart speaker”, music reproduction. I’ll talk about music reproduction.
Continue reading Invasion of the Pods
Over the past several months, I fell in love with Roon, its ability to stream my digital music collection in pristine full definition audio, the Allmusic artist and album commentary, and Roon Radio, the ability to play other things from my library like what I had been listening too. Nothing offers this combination of features. Nothing appears to have the commercial traction of Roon.
This article serves several purposes. First, it is my working notes from rebuilding my Roon environment, an iohyve managed FreeNAS behave VM. Second, I offer this in the hopes that it might inspire others to home brew. This article is a bit advanced. You really need to have a year or two of Unix system integration experience to pull this off. It is not a character by character, click by click recipe to build a Roon Server.
Those who don’t have system integrator chops but want a quality music server should consider the Roon Nucleus described in Reference . Roon has developed these robust system specifically for the music serving task. They have adequate storage and computing resources to run Roon Server and are designed not to sneak crud into your audio system over the USB ground. If you’d like a fancy panel with that, Bryston, Linn, Naim, and others, will make pretty metal for you.
Continue reading Roon Take 2