Further thoughts on the GDS3710

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

If something can’t go wrong, it will anyway

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.

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Small, Simple Access Control

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.

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The Moocher’s new camera

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.

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HomePod is a Speaker Phone!

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.

Invasion of the Pods

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.

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Roon Take 2

Abstract

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 [4]. 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.

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Adios Facebook

The recent revelations centered around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica compel me to bring this relationship to an end. Yes, Facebook, it is you.

  • Buggy iPad app
  • Buggy iPad messnger app
  • Only trolls are participating. Everyone I want to hear from is a lurker
  • You aided a hostile foreign power’s information warfare campaign directed at the US electorate, a campaign that probably resulted in the election of the worst US President ever.
  • You allowed an advertising client to plunder 50 million user’s profile information
  • Said advertising client left that information lying about on open or easily penetrated servers

So on Passover, the account goes.

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Introducing YouMail

I’m impressed. Favorably impressed. StraightTalk was OK but ATT, my MVNO carrier had gotten lazy. StraightTalk was not offering ATT visual voicemail, data tethering, or WiFi calling.

Changes in ATT’s ranking in Consumer Reports prompted me to change from StraightTalk to Ting. Consumer Reports ranked T-Mobile above ATT as a carrier and Ting above StraightTalk as an MVNO. StraightTalk is a competent discount MVNO but had not been keeping up on ATT LTE capabilities rollout. The Ting rate plan model offers data tethering, WiFi calling, and visual voicemail across the board.

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The trials and tribulations of the retired moocher lifestyle