Freya+ Comes to Camp

Freya’s portrait courtesy of Schiit Audio.

So now, the Dismal HiFi is a whole pile of Schiit with Vidar, Gumby multibit, Modius, and Freya+ in the system. It just sort of happened. Gumby on faith, then Magni and Modi in the study, Modius for TV audio in the lounge, Vidar for muscle when Ampzilla finally got toasty, and then Freya+ because Aunt Nancy Pelosi wanted me to stimulate the California economy. Purchases of Schiit gear help lots of ordinary people in addition to co-founders Jason and Mike.

Anyway, kudos to Jason for design and a terrier’s attention to detail, Mike and Dave and others who helped with design review and critical listening. And kudos to the counter-intelligence who put things together, pack and ship. It is always a pleasure to unpack a Schiit order because you know your it will be picked and packed correctly and the kit will work. Thanks folks.

Audio Music Technology Video

A Little Raspberry Pi

I’ve been watching to Mandolin.Com live stream shows during the live music quarantine. My old practice was to AirPlay from an iPad to the lounge AppleTV. I got tired of this (WiFi stalls next to the airport) and decided to eliminate the stuff in the middle. Raspberry Pi Foundation came to the rescue.


A Maggie Face Plants

When I was purchasing the LRS, I was fearful that bull in china shop Rocky would knock one over causing the diaphragm to rupture. Well, the right one has face panted twice with no ill effects.

Rocky has also baptized the right one twice. The grill cloth proved resistant to staining and cleaned up using a microfiber cloth moistened with Skout’s Honor dog urine cleaner.

After the break, read my observations about placing Maggies.


Thoughts on the US Electoral College

Thanks go to Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan. Mark graciously grants Creative Commons share and share alike use of his cartograms. The featured image cartogram weights each state by its number of electoral votes and colors it by its 2012 presidential election winner.

In this article, I examine the original design objectives of the Electoral College and the biases in the Electoral College that result from our country currently having a majority of large low population states. I deliberately avoid matters of party beyond the obvious urban-rural party preference.

Reference [2] offers some suggestions for how these faults may be corrected. I may write about Professor Sabato’s proposal in a future article.

Audio Greyhounds Holiday Letter

Adios, 2020

Ahoy, all. Its been a crazy year. So far, I’ve missed the plague but my list of pre-existing conditions is getting longer. I hope the year finds you healthy and looking forward to a better 2021.

Tleilaxu Eyes

The year started off with cataract surgery. I now have Tleilaxu eyes and Warby Parker readers. It is nice having good distant vision and not needing glasses for most tasks. I have aspheric prosthetic lenses that correct my astigmatism. So fancy lenses and laser surgery Medicare wouldn’t pay for. The interesting bit is that laser incisions heal more quickly and have lower complication rates. Should be the standard of care CMS.

Eating Recipes

Make a Crumble

Crumble is a British tradition that came over to the colonies with the early settlers. It is a deep dish berry concoction consisting of a filling and a topping that is quick to make, tasty, and somewhat nutritious. This recipe fills a 1.5 liter casserole and takes about 2.5 hours to make without a hound helping.

In theory, this desert (or breakfast served over Chobani Yogurt) can be good for you as it is rich in antioxidants but it also contains 30 ml of sugar and a 30 grams of butter per serving.


Phone System Makeover

Dismal Manor remains an OOMA Telo subscriber and a Ting Wireless subscriber but has discontinued Google Voice service. We were running into voicemail configuration issues that caused two of the voice mail services to start talking to each other. Healthcare providers were unable to leave messages. This had to be fixed so Dismal Wizard got out the lopping shears.

Personal Computing Technology Video

Got Mandolin Shred?

This Sunday, I watched a Punch Brother’s live show. Yes watched Punch Brothers live streaming an hour-twenty or so of non-stop live music. Just five guys and a Neumann U-87 performing Oprey style like they always do on stage. Lots of tuning as keys changed. But tight and moved.

Punch Brothers engaged a start up streaming production company to produce the show. Mandolin handled the lighting, video production, stream production, and content distribution and ticketing. The band prepared and practiced like they would for any live gig. Mandolin boffins and roadies handled all the tech for the show.

Publicity for the show. A Punch Brothers tweet, a Chris Thile retweet. Don’t know how big the crowd was. Dismal Manor was a sudden sailor for $25. Calvin needs shoes, what can I say?

Home automation Personal Computing

It’s a New Dawn?

Thanks to Apple for use of its Apple Silicon banner image. It’s a new dawn in Apple Land.

MacOS 11 Big Sur arrived at Dismal Manor. Its arrival was mostly uneventful after troubles with installation media download were resolved. Reference 1 gives an excellent guided tour (geeky) of Big Sur. Here, I’ll hit some first impressions.

Personal Computing

Apple Silicon?

On November 10, 2020 Apple announced new small MacBooks and a Mac Mini based on Apple Silicon M1, an Apple designed ARM system on a chip similar to those in iPad and iPhone but tweaked for larger computers. So what’s different and how should it affect your purchase plans?

Anyone spending time on YouTube and various fan sites has noticed the vast amount of click bait on the subject of the new M1 Macs. Most of it is some version of the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt video). We are trying hard not to add to it or to get out over our skis here at Dismal Manor.

Apple has done something great. It will get greater as software shops revise their products to best use the new hardware and Mac OS Big Sur. Present Day Production advises continuing with your current computational environment until your software suppliers have sorted their products for the new OS and hardware. But the M1 Mini and Big Sur are working well enough to purchase and begin exploration and migration planning. What they are finding is that the core product works but individual audio or video plugins may be fussy. Fussy is not good for shop margins or delivery commitments so they are holding short of the runway until their suppliers say they’re good to go on the M1.

Apple released its most popular computers first, the individual laptops and the workhorse Mac Mini. They held off on iMac, the larger MacBooks targeted to knowledge workers, and the custom machines used in the graphic arts and software development in the large.

These machines look familiar on the outside but are completely different inside. The processor architecture is different, the graphics subsystem architecture is different, and the memory is on the processor die. So why upset the world like this? The Cold Fusion video introduces the core ideas underlying the Apple Silicon product line.