Electrical Freakout!

November 25, 2008

I just had one of those experiences that makes you feel very thankful. The other night, the humidifier leaked water into a power strip. The strip did its job, and shut down, tripping the circuit in the process. Today, I got someone sighted over here to diddle with the circuit breakers. We got the power going again, and I plugged a salt lamp into the strip. As soon as I turned the power strip on, it shorted out, and a huge spark leaped from its depths. You could hear it, like a freaky electrical lighter. The smell of burning plastic filled the room.

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The FiOS Chronicles

October 29, 2008

I will chronicle my experience with FiOS. I just got it installed yesterday. Verizon FiOS provides a fiber optic line right to the house. The technology has moved a rung down the social ladder. As a kid, I remember long distance telephone companies advertising that they now use whisper-quiet fiber optic lines, and now the end user has this technology.

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My Continuing Battle with the Elago 2.5mm to 3.5mm Adapter

August 20, 2008

Previously, I wrote about this adapter, and how it almost broke my phone. I may have to amend that by removing the word almost. My cordless phone still works intermittently. The tip broke off, and now makes contact with the jack. This really bothers me.

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A tip for M-Audio MobilePre USB Users

July 24, 2008

I just got a hot new mixer, which I will shortly write about. In the mean time, I wanted to just share a quick tip for users of the MobilePre, a beautiful USB-powered audio preamp made by M-Audio, which I use as one of the components in the mixer. I have it both as an output and as an input. To do this, first turn on direct monitoring. You can do this in the volume control, under playback controls. Make sure that under “advanced” you have the “1-channel input” option unchecked. Hook the mixer or whatever you want to use to the line input on the MobilePre. Now the kicker: The two gains on the front control all audio data coming over all inputs, not just the xlr microphone inputs. This really threw me. At first everything sounded all muffled, and in mono. I couldn’t figure it out, it certainly did not seem on par with M-Audio’s respectable reputation. After some fiddling around, I realized this property of the gain controls, which seems somewhat obvious in retrospect. So, first connect the line, and connect headphones to the headphone out. With the direct monitoring on, you will hear the audio coming over the line-in. Carefully adjust the two gains on the front – one for the left channel and one for the right. Use your brain to balance out the sound until it sounds perfectly balanced. There you go. Turn off direct monitoring, then hook the line-out to your mixer and enjoy. I wanted to post this on my blog in case someone else has this problem, then they will hopefully find it through a search engine and save themselves a few moments’ panic. No, you don’t need to buy a new sound device just to record your beautiful mixer’s output. Have fun!

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