Category Archives: Tech

Audio File

Note to Morris:

When you get the package from Amazon, plug the “one-to-one” RCA cable from the digital audio output on your TV into this side of the adapter box. Ignore the connector labeled “Toslink.”

Digital inputs

Digital inputs

Connect the red-and-white “two-to-two” RCA cable on this side of the box into one of the Bose Wave changer’s two aux inputs. Then plug in the box’s power adapter and turn on the TV.

Analog output

Analog output and power supply

Undeliverable on Amazon

For the first time in my 18 years as an Amazon customer there is a problem with my account… that I’m aware of. Here is the transcript of my exchange with customer support:

Initial Question: There was a delivery address in my account that I did not enter. This was the entry:

Mr. Jabati
Hanovia House, (Suite 3)
28/29 Eastman Road
London, W3 7YG
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 181 740 4086

07:34 AM PDT Raja(Amazon): Hello, my name is Raja. I’ll certainly try to help regarding your concern.

07:34 AM PDT Douglas E Pratt: I assume there was a database problem and/or a hack of my account.

07:35 AM PDT Raja(Amazon): I’m sorry about the trouble you had with your account. Would you mind if I put you on hold for 2-3 minutes to check your details?

07:35 AM PDT Douglas E Pratt: Okay

07:37 AM PDT Raja(Amazon): Thanks for waiting,Douglas .
Douglas , I’ve checked your account and In this case I’ll forward your account specialist team.

07:38 AM PDT Raja(Amazon): They’ll get back to you with perfect solution within 1-2 business days.

07:38 AM PDT Douglas E Pratt: Okay. Thank you. I deleted the entry and changed my password. Looking forward to any information that the specialists can find.

Perfect Sound Forever?

Thirty years ago, the ads in the hi-fi magazines said that Compact Discs offered “perfect sound forever.” “Perfect sound” is a complicated topic, but it’s apparent that “forever” isn’t happening. NPR has this piece on CD deterioration.

Some CD players do a better job than others at handling marginal discs, as I demonstrated in this post. It seems that the gold discs manufactured by defunct specialty labels like Mobile Fidelity and DCC are superior after all.

On the subject of “perfect sound,” I have come around to accepting that the CD format is as good as 2-channel audio gets. 44,100 samples per second, 16 bits per sample, represents the limit of what the human ear can hear. There are plenty of things that can be done wrong, and were wrong for a long time, with digital-to-analog conversion in CD players, but the bit depth and sampling rate are fine. Here is the best explanation I’ve seen.

Come to the Sunshine

Something that Denro and I talk about incessantly is how drastically music changed year-to-year in the 1960′s. The best place to go for a thorough and insightful exploration of Sixties popular music is Andrew Sandoval’s unique and outstanding online show, Come to the Sunshine.

Andrew Sandoval, "Come to the Sunshine"

Andrew Sandoval, “Come to the Sunshine”

After Pop gave way to the Psychedelic shake-up of 1967, 1968 was the year when underground FM stations started to take over the older teen market. The influence of FM on AM could be heard in records like this one, which became an unlikely top 20 hit.

What made underground, aka Hippie, radio possible in the Sixties? The same thing that was behind other 60′s happenings like NASA, the pre-Internet Arpanet, and the Vietnam War. The United States Government, that’s what.

To promote the adoption of FM stereo radio, on January 1, 1967 an FCC mandate went into effect that required radio broadcasters to no longer simulcast their AM signals over their FM stations. College-aged disc jockeys started to flood the airwaves in major cities, formats changed overnight, and instead of playing the latest singles they played album cuts.

The iconic Boston station, WBCN, had an overnight format change, but it didn’t happen because of the simulcast requirement. What made ‘BCN possible was the desperation of the owner of a failing all-Classical station. Former ‘BCN disc jockey Carter Alan, who is now on WZLX in Boston, has the story in his excellent book, “Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN.”

Cerfing the Net

It’s going to be a while, probably well into 2015, before we see Stephen Colbert on CBS, shorn of his faux cable news persona. The truth is that I am rarely staying up late enough on weeknights anymore to watch Colbert, so I use the DVR catch up on the weekends.

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf was on The Colbert Report recently, and although he was interesting he took too much credit for himself and Bob Kahn. Why no mention of Bob Taylor, who originally envisioned the Arpanet and got it up and running before joining Xerox PARC? Cerf should also have given an up-front shout-out to Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web which is, let’s face it, what most people think the Internet is.

SCOTUS shocker

AereoShutdown

Shelley Fabares is sad, and I’m sad too, because Aereo, the online DVR service, has shut down. I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling that brought Aereo to an end, but what shocks me is that I’m forced to agree with Justice Scalia! Broadcasters may have won this battle, but they have already lost the war, just as the music industry had when they shut down Napster.

AereoEnd